Friday, December 20, 2013

Conjuring - review

It always beats me to wonder why people like to get scared?!!! Why is that people knowingly go for rides in the name of adventure and thrill? Is there a definitive line between thrill and scary? Is it just the adrenaline rush or the false sense of bravado that their heart can withstand sudden surges of beat, with blood rushing through their body, sending a cold chill up everywhere? Where not the very same people spend the rest of their lives in search for peace and calm and happiness? Is it the one of scenario where they want to taste the other side? If its one off case, I cannot understand the presence of thriving innumerable thrill parks and blockbuster scary movies.

Horror has been a successful genre in itself and has often tested the darker side of human psyche. Even atheists who deny god, bound to get scared of ghosts, which I guess is totally oxymoronic. For those who deny existence of positivity, how can they allow negativity to scare them?? Horror movies of the past where more of skin fest with scantily clad heroines, drenched in rain/mud/blood/gore (not necessarily in same order) getting thrashed around by ghosts, only to outlast(??) them in the end for a end credits liplock with the hero. Samayathula ithuku antha peiye paravalangara mathirithaan heroes irupaanga. Athennanu puriala. All pei pada heroines look good. But never the hero. Pen endraal peiyum iranganumngarathuku reason ithaano??

Off late or probably since "Paranormal activity" became a hit, horror movies have been more brainy and grainy. Meaning- the pei's have become more brainier. They don't get tamed just by reading bible and throwing holy water alone. Nor do they listen to all kinds of chakrams on colourful and complex rangoli kolams with jadaa mudi tantriks mouthing god knows which manthram. And the scenes in movies. that which are usually accompanied by leading music of screeching violins which used to give a headsup about the arrival of pei's have also undergone a change. Its the other way round now. All silent when the ghost makes an appearance and the sudden rise in tempo will surely send the blood pressure rates sky high.

Moonu para aadicihi innum kathai pathi solalaiyengareengala. Avvvvvvvvvv. I had been warned by many about this movie. And oru throgi even wanted to watch it on theatre. Have never been a big fan of pei padams for I hate to get scared. I watch movies very closely and for this very reason I avoid such horror thriller flicks on theatre. It really scares the wit out of me and mind keeps visiting the scenes again. So was waiting for a decent print of the movie and saw it few days back. I was down with fever the very next day, which I believe was not because of the movie, with due credit to that irritating kezham who kept sneezing behind me while standing on jam packed queue in Meeanakshi temple. The movie is so scary that, I may never clap again. My friend claims, ever since she saw the movie, walk in cupboards have begun to haunt her. Pei makes appearance pretty late into the movie and after the initial tease of a show, it makes its full fledged presence felt towards the last 45 minutes. Eppaa saaami!!! You can easily say its the "Exorcist" of our times.

I was watching it on mute and for majority of the scenes was watching with ora kanna and still got stunned. Imagine the same on theatre!!!

Gils verdict - Must watch for horror movie lovers.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kalyana samayal saadham - review

A bold topic. That would be an universal opinion of whoever watches this movie I guess. That its the third movie on trot that I've seen which is heroine oriented to a major extent is another interesting aspect about it. The theme was very English/Hollywoodish and probably could be remade in English as a very decent addition to the American Pie series. The hero discovers he has ED problem while trying to do "thappu" with heroine before marriage. What follows next are series of howlarious attempts by the hero and his gang of well wishers (that includes his mamanaar as well!!) to get his problem fixed. Forget about double meaning dialogues and double entendres. Inga ellamay direct meaning thaan. Stand up comedy couldn't have been taken more wittier, literally :D The way the hero stands up (sic) for heroine in getting the wedding venue shifted is a witty twist and cute. The way she takes up the issue lightly is too filmy for the chemistry or the love between the lead pair is not deeply established. Forget about the heroine accepting the hero for his issue, that the FIL not only accepts it but goes on to help him is something which is not believable at all. Same goes for near the climax beach wedding. Doesn't gel with the rest of the movie. "Mella sirithaai" song is brilliantly picturised with cute and apt Facebook lingo. Slowly and surely Kollywood is waking up to the aspect of promoting their pictures. Still miles to go compared to Bollywood. But its surely on the rise. I believe the recent, Raja Rani, movie scored mainly because of the way it was marketed and promoted.
Overall a very short movie. Could've been sweeter and more funnier and dialogues could've been helped with bit more depth in them.

Gils verdict: One time watch. Wait for it go live on Vijay TV this Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Concert concern

I just said one comment, that I felt  Carnatic singers are bit tedious on the ears because they keep repeating the same lines of the lyrics while instrumental for the same song is bit easy to latch on. And that innocuous comment took the same form on FB and thus began the grand debate. (Just hyping up a mokka conv thread :D ..achucho..mokkanu summa sonenga...kochikaporaanga)
There was a view point that Carnatic music is elitist and people were really onto that subject. That set me wondering, forget about it being elitist or not, I frankly don't understand what that word means. The point that people where shadow boxing around, I felt was, that it was casteist. More often than not, its a topic which people generally avoid either to avoid hurting the other person's sentiment or frankly they simply don't care about it. But its the party that gets hurt takes up cudgels to defend. Take this topic itself.

Honestly I've always felt, unknowingly though, that Carnatic music means devotional songs and since the Sanskrit and telugu versions always sung in praise of the hindu deities. Is there any Christian or muslim songs in Sanskrit or telgu with Carnatic music as theme?? to my non existent knowledge on this subject, I couldn't think of any. I felt in that thread there was a basic mismatch between Carnatic music and Carnatic songs. Songs depend on the language of the lyricist. Whereas the tune is independent. The same tune can be used to play tamil songs or even English and thousands of movie hits have their base set on some Carnatic raga or other. The problem of it being elitist is more specific to the kutcheris, which invariably is based on telugu songs probably some Sanskrit and lot of tamil keertanais as well. People use the lack of knowledge of these languages as a tool to criticise those who are crazy over those songs. If you can accept "Makkayala maakkayala" and "Omazhaziya" as tamil song lyrics, guess its high time the naysayers of kutcheris call themselves hypocrites. Infact, now that I started to think on this topic, majority of the music directors are not Brahmins. Be it IR, ARR, Deva or any famous or big time musician, none of them are from this caste. Yet that didn't stop them from learning the ragas and making wonderful tunes out of them.

Coming back to the core point of it being casteist rather elitist. I would say I go with the former. Invariably, I've seen only Brahmins taking up this form of music. Maybe the reason could be the lyrics which they are more familiar with, since majority of them are prayer songs on their households. Even if there are people from other caste or religion who are famous on this line of music, I think they are exceptions and not rules. Probably Hindustani has a bigger reach than its southern cousin for its in hindi(??therilapa..thappuna mannichu) and with lot of sufi influence(??) and is more acceptable to a larger audience with the language barrier being minimal. People who say they like ghazals more than Carnatic just because its "elitist", with no knowledge of both hindi or telugu, I really wonder how honest they are with themselves. If art is seen as something to enjoy and learn and perform, you wouldn't notice whether its a carol or keerthanai or ghazal. As for non-Brahmins not taking to tis form of music I personally feel its more related to the songs rather than the art form itself. Carnatic music needs to differentiate itself from Carnatic songs if it needs a bigger reach, I feel. Again the purists might say the art should be accepted as for what it is and not tampered with. But if you look at our heritage and culture, historically, our art forms have been linked with religion and little wonder people from other side of the great divide feel over awed and the memories of bad old days of caste driven problems doesn't help either.

I like to listen to all kinds of music. But when Backstreet Boys got "dubbed" by Deva into his movie songs, I liked it even more. It maybe too much to ask for centuries old traditional music to bend itself to suit a layman's taste like mine. But if the audience need to increase beyond the occasional NRI's the present form needs to redefine itself is my humble opinion. Obviously it will grow and extend into new horizons and who knows, there might be a super Carnatic singer show in the making soon.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Irandaam Ulagam

One of the most awaited movie of the year, with the trailer raising the expectation manifold, starting comparisons to Avatar and music of Harris who as usual remixes his own hit tunes movie after movie had already ensured good songs. The movie had been in the making for so long with different set of cast being considered and discarded every now then with the notable ones including Danush and Andrea. The title itself carried a charm and considering the Selva's penchant for love stories, the expectations went further up. No wonder the movie crash landed.

I always dream about multi-verses. Ever since I read Carl Sagan's CONTACT, it has remained my all time favourite novel. The concept of someone similar to me rather same as me being out there on another universe, going through similar situations as mine and dealing with them all to differently makes it a heady feeling to imagine and as I mentioned in several other posts, time travel is something I really really wish for :) To go back and forth in time would be an amazing feeling.

Having said all this, the movie is an utter waste. Any can argue for the director but, the fact of the matter is still the same. Its a wonderful story and might've made it to the top seller shelf, very easily. But the screenplay is nauseating and the casting is total crap. Arya badly needs a dubbing professional to help his career, which seems to be taking off, if at all it should have a proper flight. He is all brawn and his acting is a no brainer in the movie. Anushka is an irritated character on both her roles and always has this look as if wondering why the hell I am in this movie. A totally wasted effort. Music, needless to say, same old tunes that we are already familiar with even before they are released. The graphics that looked awe inspiring on the trailers were nothing but Georgian skies painted in multi colour. Looks like Selva took his crew to Georgia and on the locations wrote whatever came to his mind as dialogues and framed the scenes. The conversations are bull crap and even an amateur can write better as compared to the seasoned Selva.

If at all one has to dig up for positives in the movie, there is one very interesting approach to the storyline. Its a love story, obviously, but from a girl's perspective. Its the heroine, who proposes first and woos the hero and she is the one who seems to roam with a  coterie, who even makes fun of the hero. This is something interesting and refreshing to see and hope it doesn't go the extent that soon we may've gana bala singing Tasmac songs with gals dancing in drunken stupor teasing boys!!!  The other aspect that I liked about the movie is the concept of love being introduced to the other world people. Its an aspect that could've been exploited brilliantly. The aliens are always showcased as people with hitech gadgets and gizmos. But rarely with any emotions. And humans teaching love to aliens is right up the alley of Steven Speilberg. And here is where Selva slips and what a slip it is!! If Mayakkam Enna was bad, this movie, makes it look like master class.

Gils verdict: Its a really really bad movie. But still compared to the bull crap of a movie like Azhaguraja, this I would say, a honest attempt gone bad because of lack of honesty. I am tempted to lift off the story line and write one of my own on a similar theme :)

Monday, December 09, 2013

Perception

Twice within a span of 24 hours I was made to eat my own thoughts..words rather. I was so strongly rooted on my opinion that everything around was going crazy and the universe has suddenly raised a vendetta flag against me when there was not even a blip on the horizon. All of a sudden for the past few weeks, things were moving fast from bad to worse, atleast that's how I felt. I lost 60,000 rupees, a major career break through and there were tonnes of other minor pin pricks as well. It was as if everywhere I turned, things were ganging up against me and I couldn't quite figure out the reason. It was all getting repressed inside and I was badly in need of a vent. If I talk to someone about my issues, I feel like I almost have a solution for it!! The more I talk about it, trying to explain the problem to a third person, the more I get to understand it myself and more often than not, it works out for me and this time was no exception. I went to my previous manager, who is a well wisher and a good friend and spoke to him. What started as a 5 mins conversation, went on for 90 minutes. In the end, whatever questions I went to him with, none of them had a solution. Nothing was solved. But, he made me realise, there was nothing to solve either. I was shocked and surprised to realise that, many things that he said were actually true and made sense too. I had been so blinded by my frustrations and rage that, even issues that had been present previously, which never used to bother me, became big time obsessions. I stoked up the vigilante in me and went around with a torch to burn all those issues, fully knowing that even Don Quixote had a better chance against the windmills, compared to my situation. As I spoke, I realised that, though there is no justification for those issues and the inaction of those who are responsible for those, all the while my mind had been occupied with so much work that I never really paid any heed to these burning issues. Now that I've time to spare and as they say bad things cluster, everything looks bad and spoilt. Though I don't subscribe some of his opinions, it made me realise one important thing about myself. A very basic lesson, which I always tend to miss. If I wear a black film on my eye and look at the world, its bound to look dark. And I also realised, I am not cut out for politics :) To me being ambitious, always meant ,to be what you are capable of and not go after something just because I like it and others are there in the race for it. I've been a meritocrat all my life and god willing would love to remain so. And surprisingly, as the mind became clearer, all of a sudden things appear to fall back in place. Though the pin pricks remain, I can now realise, what I need to address and what I can ignore, like the general majority. Now that the darkness seems to've vanished, its time to enjoy the sunshine :)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Review time - The Tournament by Matthew Reilly

I am big fan of masala racy action mystery thriller entertainer novels. Whew!! Is that a genre or a potpourri of genres? Well, its all one and the same for one Mr. Matthew Reilly. In all his novels that I've read so far, his heroes are all powerful one man armies, armed with all hitech gadgets that would collectively put Bond and XXX to shame and also there is not a thing under the world wide web that they wouldn't know or recall at a moments notice to help in their quest to save America which in other words is the world. I am a big fan of his Jack West series of 7 ancient wonders, 6 sacred stones and 5 great warriors. His other series involving Scarecrow are mostly B grade action flick stories. He also has to his credit some lone ranger series in the form of Hover car racer, Contest and few more.

Irrespective of the lead characters one aspect that is common across all his novels is the pace of the story and the factual fictitious blend that he manages to keep pace along with the breakneck speed at which the situations travel. Especially in his Jack West series, the way he mixes historical references and information about erstwhile world's wonders and mixes them in contemporary situations made an interesting read. Its against this backdrop comes his latest addition, The Tournament.

The reason for the 2 paragraph build up for Matt is to bring out the glaring difference in the setup of this novel. Tournament is based on Elizabethan era and is probably the slowest story he has ever attempted. It takes its own sweet time to take off but never really reaches any heights. It traces an incident that shapes the life of Queen Elizabeth 1, the virgin queen, when she was in her pre teens. Tournament additionally has a Sherlokian murder mystery investigation inter woven on it. The title in itself is a reference to the chess tourney involving Grandmasters from across the world, called for by the Ottoman emperor, with obvious hidden agenda. The politics behind the games mimics the show of strength reasons for which countries fall head over heels in organizing such events, just to showcase their spending might. More often than not, its always the opening and closing ceremonies that take the center stage rather than the event itself. The same applies here as well. Matt takes his own sweet time to describe the travel and preparation of the British GM and the focus never really reaches Elizabeth till halfway into the book. Though the base setup is about a chess tournament, barring a fleeting references to how different chess pieces took their present form, it never really touches the core. It was more like a bystander's view of chess, more of a disinterested tone. The historical aspect of the story also veers more towards the immoral activities taking place on the Sultan's rule, ala Arabian nights but is not even a shade of the same class. The author spends a good deal of amount describing the carnal exploits of the young queen's friend, dedicates a whole bunch of chapters towards the not too celibate nature of the gay priests of the erstwhile holy order. In the premise of justifying Elizabeth's vow to celibacy and having remained a virgin throughout her life, the author goes overboard and the murder investigation looses track, which is the only saving grace of the otherwise mokka novel, with flashes of profiling brilliance by the tutor detective, but that too very few and far in between.

Gils verdict: I would never recommend the book to anyone. Not worth even if downloaded for free  :)