Monday, October 31, 2016

Who is afraid of Chetan Bhagat

Ever since his five point someone became a hit and set him on path to become the commercially most successful of Indian authors writing in English, Chetan Bhagat has always been at the center of one controversy or other. In a country, more specifically in an era, where success is worshipped and "success"ors even more so, the adulation received by CB is only matched by the audacity with which he continues to defy all odds in raking up bigger and growing box office collections for his novels, which are, to quote in comparison, like Harris Jayaraj music for movies, a mere copy or rehash of same old setup with different names. Yet, surprisingly, that is the least of all the pointed criticism barbs thrown at CB, with the topmost cry being from the language Nazis, who crib and cry over the cheap level of language used by him. Some even go to the extent that those budding authors who get “inspired” by CB may spawn and their tribe may ultimately result in the death of English language.
Obviously, I am not one of either of the groups in favor or decrying CB. I’ve read all his books, with his latest one in progress. As mentioned above, he has a formula like our movie stars. If something clicks big time the cash register, why change it. His novels are almost always from the same template. A narrator, who invariably would be some –ganist (proto and never anto) and would move the story, forward and backward (flash back in other words), whether it’s a guy or gal, they would definitely and would never be a virgin, with a chapter on when and how they lost it and except for lyrics and tune, one can almost put in songs at appropriate places had you been brought up on steady diet of movies. But then of course, this was a person who had vowed to bring in good scripts to Bollywood, good defined by his own self I guess. Of the half dozen books he had written, this is the theme, template and trait all throughout. If at all there is a theme for his books it should be repetition to the point of being overkill. Ivlo nottai solliyum I read all his books. Like how I watch mokka movies and put even mokkaier review of them. Ithellam emathu kalaachaara urimai. Kelvi kekkapdaathu. 

The pluses of his novels, if one can be at their condescending best, could be that, at peak, his novels would never stretch beyond an hours reading max and with a comfortable pace provided by the conversational tone on each of his books, with no need to rush for dictionary to check out complex words or google for unheard of idioms and phrases, its only obvious that his books are bound to sell more and more. The best of the lot for me is that fact that, a desi author, writing in foreign tongue, has managed to outsell the native language authors, is something we should actually cherish. It’s always the same with success of local guys which is often frowned upon as against those from West. I can understand the expectation and the positive intent behind the criticism. But inspiration as a concept is a fickle one. A good movie need not essentially lead to greater movies, but more often than not cheap imitations. With that backdrop, if people evaluate CB, then they may probably be right. If one has to debate whether such kind of material should even see the light of the day, that would be out right infringement on the right of the author. People who worry about the impact such books cause on the society would very well be required to move their starting point elsewhere on the visual medium and look for the long list of authors before CB, who were albeit not successful. In his defense, this guy is still riding on the success of his first book and is bound to run down soon. And for those who worry about the life and form of literature that is under onslaught by authors like CB and their simpleton language, well, this is post is more meant for them. What beats me is what exactly is their bug bear with CB. Is he the only bad author around who is successful? Those who think he is the only English author who churns out masala stuff that are bumper hits have obviously skipped reading Matt Reilly and James Rollins (Yes, I have read all their series as well. You can say masala novels are kind of my area of liking.) Is it his success as against pure literature (as defined by the critics) is it their love for English language? Is it the fear that his success may set the bar low for fellow authors to churn bad stuff to make money? If it’s all of the above or any, their fears are nothing but unfounded and criticism obviously unjustified. Obviously, CB knows, he is not going to win any Booker or literature Nobel. And definitely not his scripts are winning Oscars or even national award for that matter. So why write? Why all the fuss? He is no muck and with his IIM background, he knows a money winner idea when he finds one.

No one forces anyone to watch a bad movie or read a bad book. But still commercial or masala forms of art always out beat the classical ones, across all eras. Whether anyone would remember CB or his novels after few decades down the line, is as clear as tomorrow’s daylight. It’s always and have always been the choices we’ve to make that defines our taste. Scores of my friends know every line written by Austen by heart. I can never go beyond a chapter. I accept it as a classic because everyone else does. As simple as that. Is there any parameters to define it as a classic or trash, I’ve no clue. I love every single line in the book “Prodigal Daughter” by Jeffrey Archer, whose books have added whatever little vocabulary I can grasp from his vast resources. I don’t know if it’s a classic or on same lines of any definition as well. Lot of people are die hard Potter heads. But does that qualify as classic literature? (I am starting a civil war now) Even Dan Brown for all his success has been torn apart for his writing style and especially the amount of dots he uses in his conversations. There is a whole website dedicated for his wall of shame. All said and done, those authors who invite criticism have all been more successful than their peers. Is being a financial failure and living a life of a loser, dying a dreadfully por death the bane of great authors? Should they lead a life worthy of winning an Oscar post their death?

Ipo ennathaan solla vara? CB padikalamgaria venaamngaria nu kekaravangalukaga oru kathai surukkam of this post. Just like how people throng up to get admission on private schools despite so many govt schools abound, just like how masala movies rule the roost in BO despite critically acclaimed movies bombing big time, janaranjagam is always a winner in any form. Gold kooda copper mix panna thaan velaikaagathu. Terinju mix aana athu combination. Thirututhanama panna adulteration. Intha renduthukum nadula thaan ithana sandai and debate. Till the time people make up their mind, tribes of CB will continue to thrive.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Remo - Movie review

Much ado about Remo could very well be an apt title for this post. Siva Karthikeyan has reinvented the tried and tested success formula of wastrel hero winning laddu heroine, patented by Dhanush and Vijay and Ajith and who-is-who in the movie industry. At some point of time in their career, before their image started deciding scripts for them, all mass heroes have been victim of picking scripts that were bordering on female harassment to abuse, when the same scenario if applied to the villain would lead to fatal consequences for him what might earn catcalls and whistles and even duet for the hero, mocking the heroine. And all said and done, if she, sanely, decides to reject the advances of the hero, there would be even more bashing bhashans on how selfish womenfolk are as compared to how selfless and pure the guys who woo are, who are in fact wastrels as pronounced by all and sundry, right from their own parents to peers to people of their parish.

Rajini successfully tapped the male ego in his movies, wherein he would be that alpha male who would tame the adaavadi heroine and despite all his repeated attempts to embarrass her,she would still swoon for him over her pampering parents. He was rarely unemployed in most of his movies, which never mattered as even though he was a poor guy struggling to make ends meet, dwelling in slums, he would still be seen sporting Nikes and Lee jeans and all designer wear with one thundu on his shoulders to portray his poverty. His success formula was diluted by his son-in-law, Dhanush, to the extent possible, wherein whether he plays a rag picker or rogue, his claim over the heroine would be unquestioned. Such was the clout of the formula that he even had a movie, where in the sensible heroine would be slapped with a legal notice for rejecting the love of a tea seller hero to choose over a dabbu party second hero and no prize for guessing who wins the case in that hit movie. Most of the movies, irrespective of who the hero is, be it Arya or Vishal or Vishnu, the pattern and hit formula was always the same – wastrel hero, love at first sight with good looking, employed heroine, who after one wooing song falls in love, followed by romantic duet , rejects him for trivial reason, followed by tasmac song and rejoins with him, may be out of fear of more such songs!! Ashtey. You have your hit formulae for most of the movies of the past decade.

One look at SivaKarthikeyan’s movies would give you where he is heading to.
Manam kothi paravai – job less guy chases heroine, wins over her and secures good job in life. sangam – jobless guy chases school pass out heroine, wins her in end.
Kedi billa- same as above.
Rajini murugan –same as above.
Maan karate – same as above.
Only movie where he was employed was Khaki sattai and that flopped!!! Imagine the guts of the guy to break the tradition!!

So poor guy, tries the winning formulae in his new movie and all hell breaks loose. In the movie he tries to get a job as an actor and dons nurse getup to improvise which results in him finally winning the heroine, who apparently would’ve become doctor on patient quota to get herself treated is my reasonable guess. Couldn’t imagine a dumber doctor and a dabba hospital where anyone can wear a skirt and become a nurse administering medicines for patients!! Ivangalam doctor sonna potrukara lab coat kuda nambathu. The twist in story could be that even though he is a wastrel and without even knowing the expansion for MBBS, he still comes out as a better nurse than the heroine, who wouldn’t even know the difference between compound and compounder. His defence in validating that the storyline is different from his other movies, could very well be for a fact that both the lead pair are makku plasthri in the movie and not just the hero alone. Keerthi Suresh for what it’s worth, looks cute and chirpy. Satish and motta Rajendran evoke few laughs. Oru sila song nalla iruntha mathiri irunthichi aana manasula ottala. Mathabadi it’s a timepass movie at best.

Gils verdict – Sivakarthikeyan mela kothichu ezhara makkal elaam should realize that rather than venting their ire on media, had they stopped watching his movie or such movies, that itself would’ve led the producers to hunt for different script. Atha ututu pullaya azha udrathulam too much. A breezy entertainer for Siva fans and for those who are accustomed to such nonsense of a story on screen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Vijay sethupathi - movie review

Vijay sethupathi actor thaana..athenna padam per mathiri review potrukannu pongum singangalay..avar paatuku daily oru padam release pannitu poraru. Avlo moviesum thani thaniya review poda mudila. Still, as an actor he has impressed one and all. So mothama a review on him as an actor across all his movies would be apt nu felt.

Exact sequence epo started therila,except for sethupathi and possibly rekka (which I’vent seen yet) in almost all his movies, be it soodhu kavvum or pizza or idharkuthane aasapattai balakumara or even the recent ones like iraivi,kadhalum kadanthu pogum, nanum rowdy thaan, aandavan kattalai or even dharma dhurai for that matter, (shabba..padam perlam mothama sollavay ithana neram aaguthay..intha manushan epdi ivlo padam nadichi release vera panraro) his character always stands out on each of the movie and is always that of a middle class person. His looks, but for soodhu kavvum, is almost same in all the movies,except for trimming of the facial hair. His voice modulation or the lack of it is same across all his roles. His getup change or the absence of it is restricted to just the change of colors. No funky hairdoand not even punch dialogues worth remembering across his movies. And the mix of all these simpleton-ism is what makes him stand out in the crowd of “being the center of attraction” lovers.And another reason for his near repeat appearance and make over is that he dons the role of the common man, the literal man-next-door in all his movies. He is so much relate-able in his roles that, its very hard to distinguish if he is acting or just being himself or ourselves for that matter. There is no over the top histrionics or melodrama or burst of emotions. It’s all so subtle and genuine that, he makes acting as a profession look so easy.

Either his luck or his tremendous knack of picking the right script, every story he has picked has such unique yet relate-able storyline. It makes one wonder, had he rejected any of those scripts, would any other contemporary hero would’ve even bothered to pick them!! There seems to be a conscious effort in not getting portrayed as a image conscious hero, thereby creating a wedge between him and the audience. Yet at the same time, the kind of scripts he chooses makes him experiment as well. It all sounds ridiculously simple, yet something that has not been achieved by no one else in the industry. If he was the lovable rowdy in “nanum rowdy thaan” which was more of a comic caper, his portrayal of a gethu inspector in “sethupathi” was a pakka example of commercial masala. The movie might’ve flopped because it was so anti-viay sethupathi-ish in every aspect. But the actor in him, striving for experiment scored the golden goal with that movie.

His latest movie that I saw was “Aandavan kattalai”. A simple movie on the struggles one has to undergo to get a passport in every means possible that are illegal. It could be considered as a in your face movie that talks about how easy it is to enter and exit out of the innumerable loop holes in our system and how ridiculously corrupt our government machinery has become. He plays the role of a simpleton in search of a good job in UK to settle in life. How he gets into muddle with his spouse name, while being single and his escapades that eventually lead him to getting married with the heroine forms the plot. Had any other actor taken up the role, I really doubt, if the end product would’ve been as simple. There are no hero glorification songs, no public bashing baashan or gyaan to the society. Of course, all these credit goes to the director and script writer. But had he been like another of his contemporaries, he could’ve very well forced his opinions and made a mess of an otherwise simple story. He has created an image of credibility about himself and the kind of scripts that he selects.

Gils verdict – cheers to the first and only unassuming hero in current tamil movie industry. May his tribe grow.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

PINK -Movie review

After a really long time, a movie review :)

Have been hearing and reading rave reviews about this movie. The title suggested it could be yet-another-feminist flick, hell bent on painting all men bad and how miserable and suffering women folk are. But the positive reviews aroused curiosity on the movie. More than being feminist, the movie scared the heck out of me is an understatement. To rephrase, its one of the scariest movies i've ever seen.

It doesn't have any jump out of your skin kind of horror or make your spine chill kind of bgm's and sudden heart stopping twists on screen play. What makes the skin crawly moments of the movie is its candidness. When people watch horror flicks, they kind of know what to expect, the least of which being getting scared. They may jump at the shadows for a while, till the after effects of the movie passes by. But movies like PINK would surely give you sleepless nights, more so if you care for the women in your family. More than a story involving protagonist and antagonist, it brings to light any unfortunate day in the life of women in any metro, when their stars shine down and make them cross path with those in power. To me the scariest part of the plot was the ease with which people bend law to their will. Even with crores of cases pending and with corruption ruling roost, the good people of this country, still have an inkling of belief in the justice system. When the corrupt takes control of the court and write their own judgement, that's when it hits real hard. More than their act, its the ease at which the system surrenders to their beck and call, that makes the movie scary beyond imagination. The three girls who suffer the torment of those rogue guys could very well be your neighbours or even from your own family. Their response to the situations forced on them are so realistic that its almost like watching a LIVE proceedings on the happening of the life of some one near and dear. Their pain, helplessness, struggle to live a normal life, the stigma associated with imprisonment least of all the nonsense looks that they've to endure the moment they step out of their doors, none of them are fiction.

When i saw the tamil movie "Soodhu Kavvum" the title took a whole two hours running time of the movie to hit on me, when the only good guy of the movie, is asked to relinquish his post for his corrupt son, who as the end credits rolls by, comes up successful in that post. It justified the title that crime eventually wins and pays, making a mockery of goodness which was in minority. Similarly, with Amitabh being the old crusader in a rusted and broken armour to rescue the damsels in distress, that was the only part which felt cinematic. The reactions bordering from callousness to sheer ignorance of the plight of the girls sounded logical and infact shamelessly normal, as compared to the intentions of Amitabh to help. Needless to say the old chap has done a marvelous job. How one wishes that Rajini sticks to his rise to stardom formulae of redoing Amitabh’s hits in tamil in current era too. Would pay big bucks to watch Rajini do this role. Nevertheless, Tapsee Pannu, the “Aadukalam” girl is a million bucks worthy selection for the role of the uber modern girl who is both vulnerable and strong, free willed yet locked down by society, soars up to enjoy her life on her own terms and gets bogged down by bullies. Couldn’t imagine anyone else in that role. Rest of the cast are also picture perfect. The success for the director lies in that fact that, some might even root for the inspector who refuses to take their case first hand and admonishes them for roaming around in the night, wearing skimpy clothes. Honestly, it would be an almost similar response from any normal guy to a gal if she comes and complaints to him about any trouble. But is that what he is supposed to do and is that the right response in this sickeningly bad society? Should one dig the hole deeper and push their head in it to avoid such issues? Is embarrassment the biggest bane of women who want to have a life on their own terms? The movie doesn’t answer, but sets these questions on.

Gils verdict: As a society, we react only when the issue occurs at our door step. That too, the valiant of the lot, at best, may take a single step towards getting justice, only to falter and fall at the first hurdle. Despite all this, if people still doesn’t take law on their hands it’s because of what little belief they’ve on the judiciary. In an ideal world, I would want this movie to flop like hell. But in current world, it requires a 100 day run, tax free and probably shown across all and any medium possible. Not because it’s the best movie ever. Just to scare more people like me, into thinking. Be scared. Be very very scared.