Posted in Movies

Ajith Kumar

Thala, as he is fondly called is a Tamil Actor, aged 47 and simply calls and presents himself with the same age in his movies, as the story goes. His name also appears in the title card as just his name and without the tag that most of the South Indian film stars proclaim it on. There must be a reason why this person is more than adored by his fans. He is all, by himself with not even a special name tag in his movies.

This post is not a review for Viswasam. I don’t think it needs to be reviewed. It is just a normal Family entertainer on relationship, with fun elements and sentiments. You can probably compare it to a Hollywood Christmas holiday movie for the whole family to watch, except it is for Pongal. What’s wrong in having such a movie, it’s fun. Even Arnold has done such fun movies that we loved in the past.

Nevertheless, Ajithkumar was one person who stood out from the beginning with his famous Vaali and Dheena. He quickly charmed himself out of the Chocolate boy roles before it was late and made his mark. Kollywood had enough chocolate boys in those times and they have all but vanished. Ajith began to pave his way with trials and tribulations. I was a fan since his Vaali and Dheena days, though there were experimental let downs for me in between like Citizen, Red. But when he came back with Billa, Kireedom, Varalaru, it felt good that he was there and still there, relevant and good enough for all his fans.

A simple anecdote in one of the theatres in Madurai goes like this. There was a trailer of the Movie “I” in the breaks and not a soul made a noise. Then came the teaser for “Yennai Arindhaal…” and came the loud roar of fans, made me ask “Where were you guys all the time …!”

A lot of physical pain didn’t deter him. He simply worked through and kept himself straight and honest. He was probably the first to come with the undyed look in Mankatha and made it a special trademark, Salt and Pepper. He even calls out his age frankly, like who cares and his charisma stands out more than anything through his age. It is tough for him to do action and dance and yet he does. Above all, he has multitude of things to keep himself occupied, right from Cooking, photography to Racing and now unmanned aerial vehicle, drones.

He is a person living by his own ways, being honest to what he does and says and doesn’t put out anything superficial or hyperbole. It is what it is for him and that’s it. I have driven through the street in which he resides many times unintentionally (not recently though) and I keep seeing this – “Live and Let Live” with symbols from religions.

I think he just wants to be a Human being and not make a big deal out of whatever he does. Probably why there are fans who love him much. He is intriguing, a unique personality and he has made his mark in his own way. That is why he is

Ajith Kumar

Posted in General

Traffic on an empty road

It should be fairly easy for us to drive on a free Indian road on holidays like today, the pongal festival.

But on the contrary you see loose traffic conditions with vehicles of all size exhibiting freewheeling randomness beyond the point of prediction. It is hard to go by and navigate such a traffic condition as there is too much space to show speed and break traffic rules like driving on the wrong side and jumping red lights

While we complain of traffic jams or heavy traffic, empty roads are also as scary in India as the heavy ones. A light amount of traffic is still required to keep some sanity in place and have some amount of bearable (dis)orderliness.

Happy festival times !

Posted in Movies

Petta, a 2 in 1 film

Rajinikanth’s movies in the early days had a way of story telling with style and humour that would be easy for the audience to digest and relish, whatever the base genre may be – family, action, crime.

How did Petta do this in 2019?

Well, in popular photo editing softwares there usually is a feature with which you can blend 2 images by sending one to the back and bringing another to the front and setting transparency. 2 Images blended into 1. Karthik Subbaraj as a Fan simply brings forward the Rajinism of the Glory days to the front and hitting it right out of the park with the Superstar. But he also manages to keep the background pinned and weaved with the essence of “A Karthik Subbaraj Padam” making it a 2 in 1 film.

The tools the director uses it for making this a 2 in 1 film is widely seen. A long array of actors who simply play to the part and leave the screen when done is simple and appealing, while the General audience may consider them wasted frames, I see them as cherries on top of the cake (No one to blame because, we expect all famous actor characters to be strong and play till the end and appear in some sort of a group fun photo event in the end, a stereotype that the director has avoided).

The photographers work with moving angles, low light shots, silhouettes, rich colours, hard lights in dark scenes, special techniques are his aides making the film rich looking. The soundtrack that blends with the frames and bringing the right emotion. Songs that are enjoyable but quickly come in and go without disturbing the plot much. Last of all, the action sequences are not the mindless ones. They are clearly plotted by the protagonist and it is portrayed how he thinks through it and how he uses the environment spontaneously like a real fighter. This is not just Rajinikanth, you can see a great team work of Rajini fans at play.

A general comment I heard before I saw the movie was a great 1st half and a long and average 2nd half. The 2nd half though I agree could have been quicker, it needed the drag, to plot and sketch the revenge and keep us diverted of the twist. Remember, this is a Karthik Subbaraj padam of the superstar, so it takes time to sketch it. The director plays the intelligence part through the Thalaivar in such a way that an obvious surprise that becomes guessable in the 2nd part of the 2nd half, is merely smoke screen to deviate us from the ultimate surprise in the end. 2nd half drag is the one you would expect so in a clearly made Revenge flick of the director’s one of the favourite – Tarantino. There is no sentiment. It just turns out to be bloody and gory in the 2nd half with no regard. If you like Tarantino, you are bound to like this one because, Revenge has to be awaited for the right moment with the right ways.

Karthik Subbaraj has brought the best from the Superstar in a unique way that he always wants it, leaving the movie with 2 signature. One of the aged Superstar, who we can now tell after this film that there is one and only and no one else who can come and claim Superstardom (Rest are Kozhandaigala!) and Two the maker of Pizza, Jigarthanda who wanted to take Tamil cinema to the modern level and that is the way it is

… A Karthik Subbaraj Padam of the One and Only Superstar.

Posted in General

Jallikattu and A Weapon called Choice

Choice is always ours to make. The latent weapon in us and all of us, is what we choose consciously, not what we fall prey for.

A frog that jumps in hot water, immediately jumps out, but put him in a glass of cold water and heat slow and steady, he will be fine until he gets really burnt. This is the same with Jallikattu ban. Jallikattu ban is only 1 nail in a large coffin for the oppressed by the wealthy and powerful.

I am being generic here as “Oppressed” because it is not just isolated to one community. It happens across the world, to all, to those who are “small”, those who are not in power, or not related to the powerful (and may be the wealthy as well). It is driven by the corporate strategy of Growth in profit margin and business expansion. Sadly, at the cost of sacrificing our own people and the culture.

The corporate owns everything. It wants to derive money out of everything we use and everything we do. Unfortunately, most of us remain ignorant (or consider themselves all known, while being ignorant, which is more dangerous), to the extent that, we consider Facebook and Google as free.

I don’t mind paying for a service or good, if it appeals to me and if it is of use. But if you deprive me of my own, and then sell me what I already had in the first place, that is a problem. If you are a good ethical trader, sell me things that benefits me, not for the ever expanding profit that you would like to achieve, at any cost, going to any extent and destroying my own resources and people.

Here is the Weapon that we all have. The weapon of choice. We can choose whether we want to buy and use. Look all around you and you will find we are already sold to many. Our life belongs fully to the corporate. Our Rice and Sugar is whiter than ever and our body and mind has only turned darker. It is our choice to choose our Food and things right, for ourselves and set example for our children to follow. This is for all the oppressed, small, average normal people all over the world like us, not just for one community.

The Weapon of Choice is yours. It is time to wake up.

(If you get a chance, watch Michael Moore’s “Super Size me” and you will understand what I am saying)

Posted in General

The Elevator Traffic

The success of an Average Indian is determined by how much he can beat the traffic, or so feel that illusion. It is just one of those feelings of I did it, so we can keep our head high and walk from the parking lot to the lift with pride.

“You know what, there was such a rush today on the road, being Monday and all, but I think I maneuvered it, I made it. I beat the traffic today and I am the king”

Only to find an eager crowd of half the office, waiting to board one of the 6 lifts, summoned by that little up arrow button. Now, how do I beat this traffic !

It is really easy, you just stand near the lift where you can see the up arrow indicator glow, showing that this will come up next. Except, after 60 seconds it doesn’t and the crowd keeps thronging on that one lift with light on the up arrow. It’s like the whole crowd cheering in a stadium for this one lift to open up. You only keep hearing the dings but it just doesn’t open.

At this point, you give up and move around to bet on another of the remaining 5 lifts. But which one, the odds are almost equal on a sunny weather monday morning, and I can’t risk the one hope that most of the office has pinned on to the Lift no. 6.

It doesn’t disappoint, it opens up. But, it indicates that it is going down. Very well, most of us stick to logic and respect the direction of journey of the lift and allow it to pass down. But of course, we have that clever person in the crowd, who decides to take the trip down in order to go up. Wait, did this just sound philosophical, go down to go up ! Of course, he had followers, This is India.

The rest of us are now opinionated as we hitch our ride on another lift, genuinely going up, respecting the direction of the lift. But one can never tell, who reached before. Was it the one that went down first or was it the one that came later to go up. We all go up in the end anyway, whether you break or don’t break the rules ! Again, I am sounding weirdly philosophical !

In the end, the fact that one thinks that we beat the traffic in India, is merely an illusion. You get caught in any of the light, be it the Traffic lights or the Elevator Lights !

Posted in General

To Netflix or Hooq or Prime

Let’s cut the chase and get to the point. Consider the below as only my personal opinion coming out of my purpose and usage and nothing too elaborate, of course obviously this is for India.

For 650 per month, Netflix is steeply priced for the Indian market. The Movie content is not very enticing and obviously there are some neat good TV Shows that you can watch. I loved Netflix though for their quality streaming and 5.1 sound via Chromecast. Their HD Quality is awesome and Dolby Digital Plus sound is very intriguing. Netflix is definitely the service for someone who wants quality in their content and who are glued to some of the specific TV Shows (Originals they say). Not for those like me, who end up watching a 90 minute movie over a 2 week period with 5 breaks in between. Not that I am as busy as the Prime minister or a CEO, but just that the 3 year old simply wants to rule the house and begs 50% of my time and I spend the other 50% trying to protect the 10 year old from being tormented by the 3 year old. In the end, I watch a movie like a TV Show with 10 minute episodes. So Netflix is a no go for me, at least as of now and I stopped. If I need a specific movie from this decade then I simply rent it from Google Movies.

For 499 per year (or 999 per year from next) Amazon Prime is practically free. I mean you can watch Kabali in 1080p HD and that alone is worth the 499 that you pay. Sadly, No chromecast support means I cannot easily get it on my TV or my Home theater. Right now, Amazon prime is just a comfort watch on my phone or iPad or on the Computer. I seem to like Lethal weapon, Gortimer Gibbons (along with the Kids) and of course the biggest and the baddest of the shows – The Grand Tour, The only “Auto Journalism Humour” Genre TV Show in the whole known world. Amazon Prime sticks with me, but I wish for a cleaner device support to get it on Home Theater with 5.1 sound. Or just sell us that Fire TV or Fire Stick TV in India and we can give it a shot.

Hooq, surprisingly seems to be not a bad option for 200 per month. It has good quality content (and by good quality I mean Big Bang Theory and Friends). But I see it lacks in stream quality and no support for 5.1 sound. Hope they upgrade, soon and if they do then Netflix will be only worth its originals. Hooq is on trial and hope to keep it, if I begin to see improvements in future.

Hotstar is not considered as it has Mono sound and we are in 2017, not 1950’s.

Posted in General

To The Crazy ones who change the World

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, one of the first few things he did was to make this ad campaign – Think different. An ad featuring the crazy ones who can think crazy enough to change the world we live in.

We have come across them in our lives. They have made us. They have moulded us. They have transformed us. We are probably what we are because of what they did. They are not the popular ones, They are the ones who made the Popular ones…

Our Teachers.

If it was not for her, we wouldn’t have learnt computer science early in our school days. We wouldn’t have read newspapers in our morning assembly and relayed some tough words for us like Gloucestershire. Our English wouldn’t have been decent enough for us to make a living with a multinational company. She transformed the whole school in the late 80’s and 90’s and made us come out of just the mother tongue and the state language.

Our first line in programming “10 REM ADDITION” was the first step towards what we call “the IT Industry” now, made possible by him. With just a Genie key board, TV and a Cassette reader. GW BASIC.

He would walk in and we would expect to be read from a book. But he brought us a Cassette player and taught us French the harder way. Listen, grasp the words, say it, pronounce it. We couldn’t forget the Indicator joke each time he told – “Ca va, Ca ne va pas …”

Because it wasn’t just about reading the experiments and writing them in the exam. He kindled us by making us think what happens when you turn on a torch light, run at more than the speed of light and see. You see yourself turning on the light. We wouldn’t have understood zilch of Interstellar, if not for all the physics.

And so on and so forth…

This world is filled with a whole lot of crazy geniuses who look simple and regular for all of us. They are hell bent in doing only one thing in our lives. To change us, to transform us, to make us not what we want to become, but what the world needs out of us.

To all of them … The Teachers.

Happy Teacher’s Day !

You make the World better.