Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Udta Punjab

Cast
:
Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Diljit Dosanjh
Director
:
Abhishek Chaubey
Screenplay
:
Sudip Sharma, Abhishek Chaubey
Cinematographer
:
Rajeev Ravi
Music
:
Amit Trivedi
Editor
:
Meghna Sen
Producer
:
Balaji Motion Pictures & Phantom Films
Release Date
:
June 17, 2016
Length
:
2 Hours & 29 Minutes
Language
:
Hindi

My Thoughts
Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab is a hard-hitting film that effectively portrays what drug addiction could do to people. It also subtly hints that nothing is more important than self-respect and any kind of struggle is worthy enough to not lose it.

Tommy (Shahid Kapoor) is a celebrated singer who is famous for his party songs that glorifies alcoholism and drug intake. He is a drug addict himself, but eventually realizes his mistake when he finds that people idolize him, get inspired by his songs and end up as drug addicts. A Bihari girl (Alia Bhatt) who aspires to become a hockey player, but is sent as laborer to landlord. She tries to make money out of a pack of drugs that she accidentally finds in the field. However, she herself becomes a victim. She would not only be forced to take drugs, but also be physically abused. Being strong and resolute girl, she gets over the addiction with determination and finds a way out of the darkness. Sartaj (Diljit Dosanjh) is a police officer who ignores crimes related to drug abuse until he finds that his younger brother is addicted to it. With the help of kindhearted doctor/activist Preet (Kareena Kapoor Khan), he finds out the source of such drugs in the market. They also find out that the local politicians back these drug manufacturers resolute to bring the story to people’s notice.

As you can see, Sudip Sharma’s very complex story. There are four stories, interlinked to one another by a common subject – drug abuse. When one uses for pleasure, another uses by force. When one ignores the fact, another fights against it. At the end, they are united by their determination to be free from it. The editing could have made the movie crisper, sometimes it feels never-ending. Some of the dialogs stays in our heart and the background music is good. Cinematography is equally good. Songs are average though.
Alia Bhatt’s performance as the nameless, fearless girl brings heartache. It is very disturbing. Shahid Kapoor’s transformation from the carefree Tommy to the disturbed man redeeming his mistakes is phenomenal. Diljit’s innocence is beautiful and Kareena’s portrayal of selfless Preet makes us wonder if we are doing anything worthy enough in life.

Overall, Udta Punjab is more than drug addiction. It emphasizes on self-respect - no self-respecting man would choose drug addiction and toss his core character to an unreachable height!
Don’t miss it…
Let’s unite and pledge to free ourselves from our addictions –regardless of how big or small it is!

Rating
3/5


Friday, 24 June 2016

You and I

Between you and I
Only I was there
Waiting for that day
When it shall be us
Because love matters
You and I matters
Nothing else

Monday, 20 June 2016

Kumbakonam it is!

Saarangapaani Swami Koil

It’s been a year since I went to Kumbakonam. When I think about it, I am unable to believe it. Time just flies in jet pace. All that remains are the memories fed in our little heads. I also realized that I have not posted some of the pictures yet. So, I decided to do it today – last year, same day, I travelled to the same place… It was a life changing journey…


Waiting for the next one! Hope you enjoy the pictures J



Kumbakonam is famous for the Mahamagham that takes place once in twelve years. When I had been there last year, renovation works were going on because the Mahamagham was awaited. It took place in February this year. So, the Gopuram were either freshly painted or the work was in progress. 




The beauty of the temples in Kumbakonam is that they carry an old world charm and are free from the commercialization that have become a part and parcel of famous temples. Their simplicity is truly marvelling!

Kumbeswarar Koil


The driver who also transformed into a guide for me took me to the Mangalambikavilas Hotel. He told me that it is a very famous hotel and many celebrities go there to relish the taste of the food served there. I have to tell you that it tasted like home food; the kind that mothers cook – free from soda and all that. I had enjoyed the dosa and vada J I still remember its taste. The hotel is situated inside the Kumbeswarar temple. Don’t miss it when go there. And I had also slurped the Kumbakonam degree coffee.




If you are planning a trip to Kumbakonam, Murugan Residency (I stayed here) and Sitthi Residency (Opposite to Murugan Residency) can be a really good option to stay.  And for travel, if you are looking for a good taxi service, you can contact Shankar - 9524724442. Do not miss the famous Kumbakonam Degree coffee…

Mahamagha Kulam

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Oru Naal Koothu

Cast
:
Dinesh, Ramesh Thilak, Bala Saravanan, Charlie
Mia George , Riythvika, Nivetha Pethuraj
Director
:
Nelson.S V M
Cinematographer
:
Gokul
Music
:
Justin Prabhakaran
Editor
:
V J Sabu Joseph
Producer
:
Kenanya Films
Release Date
:
June 10, 2016
Length
:
2 Hours & 10 Minutes
Language
:
Tamizh

My Thoughts
Nelson S.V.M’s directorial debut Oru Naal Koothu revolves around the lives of three women – Lakshmi (Mia George), Susheela (Riythvika) and Kavya (Nivetha Pethuraj). Their lives, situations and lifestyle are totally different from one another; yet interconnected by the common thread called marriage.

Lakshmi hails from Trichy and lives under the shade of her dominating father. In spite of the regular visits by the prospective grooms, she is unmarried and becomes the topic of discussion in her little village. Some people blame her father for not marrying her off and some others suspect that she has some “problems”. Susheela is a celebrated RJ. Yet she is unhappy because she is unmarried. Her family is pressurizing her and she also feels desperate because her older brother (Karunakaran) could be married only after her. Kavya who belongs to a rich family is well-educated and earns well. She has a boyfriend (Dinesh), but he is not ready to marry her yet. While her family asks her consider another boy, her boyfriend asks her to wait until he “settles down”. She is stuck in a dilemma. It can be seen that the men in their lives are compassionate. Yet they are tied down by male ego and fears.

With an interestingly woven screenplay and crisp editing, Oru Naal Koothu convincingly depicts the misery of these women. The dialogs are equally good. The songs are impressive. "Maangalyamae" conveys the spirit of the film, "Adiyae Azhagae"  tears the heart ,"Patta Podunga Ji"  makes us dance and "Eppo Varuvaaro"  effectively coveys the eternal wait of a woman to get married. The cinematographer has presented the film in young and vibrant manner.

A little over two hours, the movie might make us wonder if marriage is the only thought in a woman’s mind. But, the thoughtful dialogs makes us understand that it need not be. But, the family, friends and society would constantly remind them that they are unmarried and inflict a fear in them. The intensity of the fear is such that everything else (their self-respect, identity, living family, professional achievements, good friends, etc.) seem to be meaningless.

All the actors have delivered a good performance. However, Dinesh’ face sometimes look blank and expressionless. As serene and helpless Lakshmi, Mia Goerge steals our heart. Nivetha comes across as fresh air. She is so convincing that it is difficult to believe that she is just a debutant. Riythvika of Madras fame speaks through eyes. Her character is the most liberated one and she has depicted that with conviction. Charlie as the unmarried middle aged man emphasizes on the importance of marriage and Karunakaran as the supportive brother of Susheela is natural. Bala Saravanan’s instant philosophies and one liners will make us laugh.

If Iraivi was about the plight of women after marriage, Oru Naal Koothu is about their difficulties before marriage. It interestingly portrays the dilemma of today’s generation. The unexpected twists in the end makes it even better.

Go for it.

Rating
3/5


Sunday, 12 June 2016

Tired of Pretense

I am tired of pretense
Let me cry that it is gone; or
Let me smile that it is gone for good

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Iraivi

Cast
:
S. J. Surya, Vijay Sethupathi, Bobby Sinha
Kamalinee Mukherjee, Anjali, Pooja Devariya
Radharavi, Vadivukkarasi, Karunakaran
Director
:
Karthik Subbaraj
Cinematographer
:
Sivakumar Vijayan
Music
:
Santhosh Narayanan
Producer
:
Thirukumaran Entertainment
Release Date
:
June 03, 2016
Length
:
2 Hours & 40 Minutes
Language
:
Tamizh

My Thoughts
"Porukkaradhukkum sahikkaradhukkum naama enna pombalaya? Aambala! Aaan. Nedil."
This dialog sums up the underlying theme of Karthik Subburaj’s Iraivi! A movie that questions society, beliefs and the way women are brought up - submissive and accepting!

Arul and Jagan’s mother (Vadivukkarasi) sheds tears due to her husband’s dominance, until she finds peace through coma. Ponny (Anjali) dreams of romance and pristine love, but she marries a man who lusts/loves over another woman and still sleeps with her. Yazhini (Kamalinee Mukherjee) is well-educated and independent, yet men makes the decisions in her life (father, husband and other men). Malar (Pooja Devariya) admits that she still loves her dead husband, but also acknowledges that physical needs cannot be ignored either.

With age, Arul and Jagan’s father (Radahravi) understands that he had taken his wife for granted. He realizes her value only when she loses herself to coma. Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) thinks that the duty of wife is to take care of house and procreate. Arul (S.J.Surya) gets selfishly addicted to alcohol without caring much about its impact on his wife and daughter. He doesn’t understand that he has personal responsibilities too and a life beyond his profession. Jagan (Bobby Simha) thinks that men are devils whose existence always throws women in misery and end up giving only hardships. He believes that the society and family has always taught women to tolerate their husbands and be with them, even if it is at the cost of their self-respect and happiness.

Iraivi has a clear screenplay and ensures that the emotions of the men and the women are rightly expressed. It shows how we worship Goddesses and fail to understand the inner Goddess within women. In this story, men never act; they only react. And, women gets indirectly affected and get punished for such reactions. This is one of those stories that shows the unsaid and makes us uncomfortable. Where the selfish eccentricity of men shouts for attention, the emotional turmoil of women silently cries in the background; like the rains! I mean we want rain for survival, yet hate it when it rains. We don’t want it disrupt our routine lives. We like to dance in the rain but we don’t want to get drenched. Thus, it beautifully captures the brotherhood, at the same time subtly hints the helplessness of women. That’s where Iraivi wins and creates a lasting impression in our mind.

Technically, thumbs up for the story, screenplay, dialogs, cinematography and the background score. The songs fail to amaze, most of them reminds of the other compositions of the music director. At a stretch of 160 minutes, the film seem to be a little slow and lengthy. Editing could have been better. The gory scene where the producer is killed with a hammer is violence at its peak, showing the animal instinct of man. So are the climax scenes. It makes us wonder if killing a human being is really so simple, just like crushing the life out of a mosquito! What amazes even more is that the murderers really don’t care about it and act as if its business as usual for them. I mean, really?!

The movie makes you think, quiver and leaves you feeling disgusted. S.J. Surya has infused life and flesh into the character. He steals the show! The unexpected twists and the relative ease of performances delivered by Vijay Sethupathi and Bobby Simha adds realism into the theme. And the women (Kamalini and Anjali) have supported really well. They depict that education or economic independence of women doesn’t matter unless the society’s (including family) perception of women and marriage change.

In short, Iraivi is a coming of the age film about women empowerment through the eyes of chauvinistic men. It cries for a change and keeps the audience engrossed.

Double thumbs up for Karthik Subburaj.
A must watch!
Rating

4.5/5

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Day-To-Day Kolam



Presenting yet another day-to-day Kolam
Very simple and easy to make…
Perfect for beginners!
(7 dots and 7 lines)


PS: Because many people asked me what a Kolam is…
Kolam refers to intricate patterns drawn both free handedly and by joining dots. These can be widely seen in the Southern part of India. Women draw this early morning, preferably before Sunrise after cleaning the courtyard. Earlier rice powder was used – it was a means to feed ants and small insects. However, these days, stone powder and even chalk is used. If such powders are used, it is called Pudi Kolam. Sometimes, brick powder will be used as outline on auspicious days, Tuesdays and Fridays. If rice powder is mixed in water and similar patterns are drawn, it is called Maavu/Maa Kolam. In West Bengal, it is called Alpona. In North India, people used rice/stone powders for the outline and fill the patterns with colors. This is called Rangoli.

It is believed that Kolam brings prosperity. It is drawn for almost all the auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals. When someone dies in the household, the family don’t draw any kolam for a year.  

Children in small towns learn the art of making kolam at a very young age. In fact, a girl who knows to draw impeccable and intricate kolam is a pride for the entire family and the village she stays. However, owing to modernization, city life and apartment culture, this art is soon dying.


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Idhu Namma Aalu

Cast
:
Silambarasan, Soori
Nayantara, Andrea Jeremiah
Director
:
Pandiraj
Cinematographer
:
Balasubramaniam
Music
:
Kuralarasan
Producer
:
Chimbu Cine Arts and Pasanga Productions
Release Date
:
May 27, 2016
Length
:
2 Hours & 18 Minutes
Language
:
Tamizh

My Thoughts                   
The most awaited Idhu namma aalu is about Siva (Silambarasan) and his love life (including marriage). He is a responsible son who tries to make his father(Jayaprakash) happy. For a change, the father is more like a friend and always supports and understands his son. He is an awesome friend. He shares his space Vaasu (Soori) and together they have an unbeatable sense of humor. He is a cool boss at office. He is also a perfect boyfriend and towards the climax you realize that he is a perfect husband too! Siva is engaged to Myla (Nayantara) and has had a past relationship with Priya (Andrea). Idhu namma aalu lightheartedly deals with Siva’s life, situational villains and how he successfully emerges out of it.

Director Pandiraj (of Pasanga) fame), has laid his hands on a very complex storyline. But delivers it effortlessly with lots of humor. Except for the climatic drama, the movie holds a realistic charm. The narration of flashback is different and the way breakup is handled by Siva and Priya is matured. The editing could have been much better in the second half and the unwanted song with Adha Sharma could have been avoided. Cinematographer has presented the movie vibrantly, oozing with love and romance.  Kuralarasan debuts as the music director and has done a moderately decent job; composing songs that suits his brother’s taste/image. Kanne Un Kaadhal in Yuvan Shankar Raja’s voice is nice.

In spite of 138 minutes, the movie seems dragging and never ending. It doesn’t strike your heart and stirs it. It doesn’t emotionally affect you and you just feel like a distant spectator and not the party to misery. Since the couple’s pain, love and romance doesn’t hit the audience, the disconnection become inevitable.

Having said that Simbu’s charm and Nayantara’s acting coupled with Deepa Venkat’s dubbing keeps the movie interesting. Soori ensures that the audience are thoroughly entertained. Santhanam in a cameo throws some one-liners that will make us laugh.

Go for it… For Simbu and Nayan…
To feel the youngness of love!

Rating
2.5/5


Sunday, 29 May 2016

Until you came…

Island I was
Surrounded by myself
Enwrapped in dreams.

Cocooned in a world of my own
I sang and danced.
I smiled and cried.

Until you came…

But when you left,
I didn’t like my little island
Its beauty hurts; so does its perfection.

I don’t relate to them anymore.
Take me back to realty, my love
I am feeling suffocated!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

My Experiences in AC Coach

F
or the last four years, I have been frequent a traveler in Indian trains. Most of them are overnight journeys that last 8-10 hours. And, I hate traveling in AC coaches!

When I tell my family and friends that I don’t like to travel in AC coaches, they call me a miser. Some of them tell me that I don’t know how to enjoy little luxuries that life offers.  I deny their accusations and tell them that life is not about affordability; it is about comfort.

Scene No. 1
Once upon a time, every second minute, I was scratching my head like a school girl. Something was not alright. I bought a comb designed to fetch lice and frantically combed my hair. I noted at least three louse running for their life between the bristles of my new comb. I felt disgusted. I did a retrospection and figured out the source – the blankets that comes along with the AC train tickets. I had travelled to my workplace that morning and voila! I have louse in my hair. It took multiple bottles of medicines and several sessions of relentless combing to get rid of them. Louse are gone for good, but those memories of controlling the urge to scratch head in the middle of a meeting can never be forgotten!

Scene No. 2
After the blanket debacle, I started carrying my own blanket. That night, I got into the train sweaty and sticky, and soon, I was shivering! For some reason, the AC was unusually high; a complete contrast to the summer heat outside. I struggled to fall asleep, but I could not. Soon, I started sneezing and began to feel pain in my throat. Next morning, I was down with fever!

Scene No. 3
I was cozily snuggled between the blankets (note: my own thick blanket!) and drifting in the dream world. The stillness of night was slowly spreading within the compartment. The journey was very comfortable and I was glad about it. Until… Uncle No.1 started snoring. He was sleeping on the berth opposite to mine. Soon, the grandmother No. 1 on the lower berth started. From the side berth, a young man No. 1 joined the chorus. Many more uncles, grannies and young blood joined the snoring club. The compartment felt like a madhouse with people (both young and old) competing in some snoring competition. I wanted to scream. I could not. I wanted to run away. I dared not. I silently missed the noise of sleeper compartments

Scene No. 4
I was very tired that night. I knew that no snoring could wake me up. Once again, I drew “my” blanket closer to me and closed my eyes. The silence of the AC coach let me fall asleep in no time – only to be disturbed by a wailing baby. I checked my mobile phone and noted that it was only ten at night. I looked at the helpless mother who lovingly started nursing the just born baby. I smiled and happily drifted off to sleep. Another sharp wail. This time from another baby. Then, I heard many other babies crying, as if they were chatting to each other in their own sweet language. I tossed and turned. I tried to shut my ears and concentrate on my breathing. No escape! The parents started losing their temper and the grandparents started making weird sounds to distract the crying babies.
The noise of sleeper compartments is so loud that such petty noises could never overpower it. Cursed myself for booking the AC coach (again).

Scene No. 5
My house is always clean and I take any trouble to maintain it at its best. But, the cockroaches started bothering me. They were in almost every nook and corner. I didn’t know from where it could have come. And, I figured out the source of those cockroaches when I traveled in the AC coach (for the nth time). I found many in the compartments and realized that they would have entered into my luggage and made a house in mine. Between, did I mention that there are rats too? I think that these creatures feel as trapped as the travelers in the AC coaches.  

Scene No. 6
Disclaimer: I am single/unmarried and happy. And I don’t feel jealous towards committed/married people.
Having cleared the air, some couples mistake the AC coaches to their private chambers. With the nice blue/brown curtains around, they take advantage of the privacy. I have seen couples kissing each other, letting their hands explore each other and what not! They cuddle on the same berth under a blanket and pretend to be enjoying the scenery outside (mind you, when it is pitch dark outside).


So tell me, is life all about affordability? Can any noise be as soothing as the noise of the sleeper coaches? Can the AC be the alternative for the normal temperature in the sleeper? Can the kisses be more sensuous than the stolen and shy glances between the couple? Can money buy peace, freedom and happiness?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

நீ இருந்தால்...

நீ இருந்தால்;
யாரில்லையேனும் குறையில்லை.

நீ இல்லையேல்;
யாரிருந்தும்
பயனில்லை.

Translation
When you are with me;
It doesn’t matter if there is no one around.

If not;
Presence of others would not ever matter.

PS: I have tried to make a good translation. I am sure that the essence is captured. But the beautiful wordplay is amiss I guess.