Friday, July 29, 2016

The aftermath

In present day world, the easiest way to fame is the 6 letter word - Kabali. Whether you say good about the movie or otherwise, either way you would achieve instant famedom. Especially in case of latter, when swarms of fan(atic)s or the more hep term "bhakts" will troll you till you relent.
You say "its an ok movie" they say "why ok? the movie is the greatest thing after sliced bread and wheel. If you want message in movies, then cinema is not the place you should be looking at it for. If you want oscar winning performances, well that's what those movies are for and obviously "thalaivar" padam means paisa vasool entertainment and is meant only for catering to his fans" Basically they say "SHUT UP" in so many small words.
You say "this movie is not like rajini's previous movies and is all senti and slow" they shout back at you with the very same fact as the positivity in the movie.
You say "there is no story" they say "when does rajini movies dealt with stories" and that is a positive comment
You say "its not worth the hype or the daylight robbery in the name of ticket selling" they say "no price is more to watch thalaivar"
You say "the movie is flop" they produce stats and figures that should ideally make IT and revenue department roll its proverbial eyes.
On top of it all there are people, who have put statuses on their FB wall that, if anyone on their friend list say anything bad about the movie, they would rather un-friend them!!! Such is the craze abound that people go out of their way and right into everyone's way to support the star. In their psychopathic frenzy, they defend every aspect negative and illegal about the movie and their star, with their sole goal being to stay right about their belief and painting everything true in the name of democracy. Be it vairamuthu or anyone else for that matter, especially for people in cine industry, they cannot get away with their honest opinion on the movie. They would be isolated and their reputations tarnished for speaking their heart out.
This movie might just be a case in point against the rising levels of intolerance. Every famous public personality has their own following and if any comments against them results in such mob hysteria, we are all set for terrifying times. As it is whenever there is a "Thala" or "Thalapathi" movie release, their fan fights would put actual war to shame. With social media proving ideal base for creatively targeting and tarnishing people, negativity breeds quicker and faster than mosquitoes on stagnant sewer.
Should there be a regulatory mechanism for social media? That would be a question for the ages.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Kabali time

Well, there are some movies which has to be reviewed and posted. Illati saami kutham aaidum. Kabali is right up there.

Is it a typical Rajini movie? No
Is it anything like Ranjith's previous movies? very little to say so
Is it an unique never before attempted storyline? Bah. No

So what's it about that movie that has everyone chanting its name in feverish frenzy? Its nothing but the charisma of the hero of the movie and over above everything the market savvy promotion knack of producer Thanu. From flight to fairness cream, he had made sure that Rajini's face is plastered across all and sundry. For a person who seldom dealt with commercial ads, he has sure been milked for his marketable money. Unlike other movies that get released online, decent word for piracy, a day or two after the movie's release, Thanu's undeclared war on torrent sites only resulted in the movie getting co-released on torrents alongside theatres and that too in HD print. This goes on to prove that, when the movie is getting released across several thousand screens, its virtually impossible to control the leak, despite water tight support against the same.

Coming to the story, the first half is a cacophonic mix of issues faced by Malaysian tamils, with dialects bordering on local tongue. The intro scene of Rajini, often the most anticipated and cherished moment for the fans, got leaked online and even then the sheen of the magic was undisturbed. For non Malay non Singapore tamils, this may not be their cup of tea to relate. The concept of tamil suffering across the globe was brilliant but sadly it didn't translate onscreen. Had it been relatable, the movie would've gone up several more notches in its reception and might've even been critically acclaimed. Rajini couldn't look any dapper in suit. It fits him to a T and more than Ajith's salt and pepper hair style, his is worth its salt (literally and figuratively). The movie's first half has more of Ranjith's flavour and second half is owned by Rajini. For those who long for Rajini to don roles similar to what Amitabh has been doing for more than a decade now, that is freely experimenting on roles that suit his age, this movie could be that step. With age not on his side and him being a reclusive actor, sadly we may not get to see much more of this version of Rajini. In this movie, however, we get to see the vulnerability that he can portray so easily and the strength he brings to the don character. But for the climax fight, in usual cinema masala style, there is hardly any rajini to be seen on screen. Its the character that dons the scene. Another major noteworthy point about the movie is its songs. Unlike his other movies, there are hardly any chartbusters in this one, but for the viral hit "Neruppuda". Maaya Nadhi song has been neatly pictured. And the open ended ending, where there is implication that Rajini might've been killed by one of his own is something of a new for his film endings as well. Its difficult to classify the story in any genre. It has revenge, family sentiment, fight, politics and, surprisingly for a Rajini movie, not an inkling of comedy. Yet none of it strikes close to heart, for its the star who matters and he definitely has done his best compared to his other movies in recent decades. Guess the director must be venkat prabhu's assistant. Like him, he has given chance to all the cast and crew of his previous movies in this film. Probably a minute in rajini's movie might worth more than the sum total of all their efforts in other projects might have been the thought process behind them accepting such miniscule roles, after some really good performances.

Gils verdict: The expectation around the movie, despite its hype, was more on how the director, whose previous movies were so natural and more artsy would mould the commercial star. Similar was the expectation around simbudevan when he took up "Puli" for he had aced the deal in "Pulikesi" movie. Needless to say, both the directors have failed to meet the expectations and have struggled at best to retain their original story style while catering to the audience demand for the stars. Kabali is an ok movie at best and that too because of the star power called Rajini and for his credible performance. But, what else can one expect from his movies :) Those who watch it just for Rajini, may not be disappointed. If you go with expectation on the director or for trademark rajinisms, give this a miss.

Note: The movie has put honest and frank opinion at risk. Will post about it next.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Second innings

Once a while life throws situations at you, that make movie scenes and plots in novels pale in comparison. Some months back i had posted about a colleague of mine who was down with brain tumourhere. The doctors she went for treatment, made use of her illness to sharpen their theoretical knowledge on brain tumour, by performing live practical's on her head. Such was their callousness that they literally told her parents on their face that their daughter wouldn't survive to see the new year. Iron willed is a milder term to describe this girl. When person after person, looks at you in remorse, accompanied by a sad tilt of their heads, specially reserved for lost causes and your own physicians give up on you and to add to it all the agonizing amount of expenditure involved coupled with an alien surrounding so far off from your native, depression would be considered as not just the state of mind but country of residence. Despite all the negativity around her health, her will power and ambitious spirit always shone bright and it never felt like speaking with someone on their last lap whenever we spoke with her. Her confidence was contagious and she never gave up on life. The merciful gods finally shone bright on her fate and through some friendly connection, her medical condition was referred to US, where they performed a critical operation and successfully cleared her tumour. She is all hale and healthy and back at her sprightly best now. For making up for those months lost in sickness, she has started with super vigour on her career and has already taken up freelancing assignments for content writing and have even taken up few interviews to get back to work!!!

The comment section of the previous post was filled with prayers and all your noble wishes has been answered. The feeling is surreal and the fact that she has recovered is yet to sink in but very very happy for her. Probably they should make a movie of her with the theme of indomitable will that won over fatality. For all those who crib and lose heart, including me, over trivial things and willing to give up at the drop of a hat, this person is a big time morale booster.

May her and her tribe grow.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Circle of life

2016 hasn't been kind on the job front with me job hopping back and forth between the same companies. When I was peaking at the client place with everything so well set, I decided to make a jump, purely based on career advancement as the goal. It was the most logical and practical decision I had ever taken in my career front, probably the only time when I wanted to make the move rather than having to. But it turned out to be a damp squib. Apparently my morals and ethics were way too stronger than I had imagined and it didn't quite gel with the unprofessional attitude that was encouraged in the new company. I again went back to where I came from and as luck would have it, the project that I had nurtured with such care went off to competitor in my absence. Had my move been based on any negative reasons, I might've not even considered moving back. But having based my decision on the right choice for my career, it feels all the more blue to be back at what I didn't feel was a right step. In fact, it had pushed me two steps back from where I wanted to be.

It was creating all more chaos in mind, when a conversation happened. It was with a friend who seemed to have taken a fast path into his career and after so many stutters and false starts, he is on home stretch now. The discussion point was no way related to career and office and was more about why he feels black money and parallel government run by private individuals is the right way of life in this country. He was so utterly convinced that, since the government doesn't care two hoots about improving his lifestyle and since there is absolutely no value for his tax money that just keeps increasing and at every stage of life he has to bribe the officials to get things done, he professed that given an option, he would happily cheat the government. His belief was that there are only two options, either we go against the system and clean it up by coming on top of it, which is possible only in movies or side with the villains, anti-heroes rather. He shared a hint on how he came back so strongly on his career front, having taken a real life matinee idol, whom he considers as his thalaivar, as example. He reeled off as to how many "alcoholic club" parties he had to attend, having been a teetotaller and how many favours he meted to his superiors and how he coerced appreciations from them for him and his team. He also mentioned how he advised another friend of his on surrendering to his boss, to protect his job, when that guy was about to get into a war for having been overlooked for another promotion. He finally completed with a quote that, unless everyone else is willing to by the rules, there is no point in playing solo and if you have to survive for long, thick skin and playing to the gallery are the two vital tools that one need to be strong in.

I couldn't quite disagree more with him on any of the points that he so strongly believed in and have put in practice with bumper results. But I can't help to realize how each of my career decision had tallied to every single point he made. I was recommended to have a personal discussion with a superior to take the case of my promotion, few years back, in one of my previous companies and the suggested venue was a pub!!! In another case I was literally asked to fall at the feet in submission and plead for my case and be in the good books of the boss when the situation was dire and finding a billable position was as difficult as Lionel Messi scoring in shootouts on major cup finals. Those discussions only made me more adamant and my ego much more precious to me. I did manage to win a role for me solely based on merit and till date no one approaches me for any out of the way favour. It helped me to keep a clean slate with my superiors and they never held me on to anything. I established my capability that they tried to question and when the promotion was finally offered I rejected it and quit the company. At hindsight it was a stupid decision, but felt good on the ego side. After the conversation with my friend, it made me realize the enormity of the stupidity for I am almost convinced that, if you have to survive, leave alone growth, you have to suck up - not just sometimes but every time. There are people who simply refused to believe that there are options like doing your work and then claiming the reward - even exists!! for they are accustomed to the assured way of sucking the way up.

I am becoming fast disillusioned with what is called as service industry. Nothing could be more fake than this entire industry where more than honesty and honest intent, having a drink and smoking with your bosses sets you up for bigger things. Again, this is not "naan romba nallavan" kind of post. Every "I" mentioned in the post represent those people, who don't smoke or drink and are solely dependent on their wits to grow in their career and not by sombu adichifying.

My actions and their reactions in my career, never before I realized the reason behind them. Now that the past is evident with the results, its the same situation once again. The skin has grown way too thick to shed. Anjula valaiyala..pathinanjula valaiyuma? God only knows :)