Monday, July 31, 2017


Consider these two story lines –
Story 1 – Very contemporary with probably the most original storyline in recent times (unless if inspired from some foreign language film). Deals with murders that are being televised online and also has a tragic real time incident as backdrop and has an interesting twist which is untraceable.
Story 2 – pretty stale. Done to death backdrop of cop vs gangster. Involves lot of flashbacks and is almost predictable or the twists are hardly original.

Which of these stories would you bet on to be a winner at BO? I would want to bet on the former, for the only reason that the latter, being a cop story is dime a dozen.
The movie with story 2 is “Vikram vedha”, the recent blockbuster which is running packed houses, increasing in trend every day. The former being a damp squib of a dud movie called “Inaiyathalam” (Website). When I was watching Iniayathalam, I felt at many places, what reviewers mean by amateurishly picturized. There is a chase scene in a mall, where the hero is seen chasing the bad guy. In one shot, the bad guy rushes past a glass décor and in the very next shot, the hero shatters the décor jumps across and confronts the bad guy who is shown to be still running behind the décor. An obvious editing mistake. Another cliché, that we keep hearing is, how tv artists find it tough to shine on the silver screen. A good example for the same can again be found in this movie, in Erode Mahesh. He is infact the defacto hero, who has his own duet, the only duet, hogs the role of comedian as well and sadly gets killed in the end (spoiler alert!!). He gets to mouth lot many technical stuff as dialogue, much more than your office network admin and he dutifully manages to recite them, sometimes in chaste tamil. Having seen him on TV across multiple shows, his gags and gig hardly sound original or fresh. Had it been done by any other regular movie personality or even a new comer, probably this character would’ve felt a lot more realistic. But nothing to take away the effort by Mahesh. Ganesh venkatraman (claim to fame – bigboss and previously “Abhiyum Naanum” trisha’s punjabi lover) does all the things action heroes need to do – look smart, fight and wear a stern look. But he does exactly the same even in the reality show, which makes one wonder if at all he can emote in any other way. His efforts have clearly gone waste. Heroine looks much older and probably fits the role of a single mother. But hardly inspires as a cyber crime fighting techie cop. Infact, many a times, I was wondering whether they directly shot the movie on a handy cam and released it without even watching. Many of the scenes on the first half hour were hardly coherent. The pace, despite so many logical gaps, picks up slightly during second half and with the introduction of the surprise villain, it almost makes you wonder, when the climax lets you down, completely and miserably.
The major flaws that I found in such a great story on paper, was primarily on the way its been set for screen. Despite its 2 hour running time, its been made to feel even longer with uninspiring dialogues and erratic investigation technique, which is neither all the way technical nor its diluted for common men. Meaning, it’s a dud for A center and will never get theater in B centers. For such a great storyline, I wish the director had paid bit more effort in fine tuning his screenplay, which would’ve made it a super surprise package and probably made the career for the lead actors.

Gils verdict - Wish they remake this in telugu or Kannada and make this movie a great hit so that it can be remade in hindi for a larger reach. Probably the tamil version is a case study for how not to tell a tale.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Life lessons from the little guy

For past few years, I’ve been so much bogged down by negativity around me, especially colleagues whose professionalism, or the lack of it, drove me nuts. I was having trouble to fathom how people can be so irresponsibly idiotic and so callous at the same time. One common thread across all those characters I could find was that they were all connected to someone seriously higher up on the echelons and had their backing and blessing for no reason obvious to me. I decided to quit fighting the shadows and reset my priorities and opted for something that I didn’t want to do in first place. I had to shelve a lot of my ambitions and goals and literally kick myself into being someone I hated and like a soldier simply following orders without bothering on the logic, I forced myself into a different routine. Needless to say the pinpricks and ego bashing were severe and took a toll on me with stress levels shooting up to stratosphere. I seldom manage to compartmentalize issues and till the time my fair share of explosion hasn’t happened, it never feels satisfactory. Swallowing pride and turning back on a conflict are never my strong points, when I know for sure I am being unfairly targeted. But all said and done, if at all there is one thing that I look forward to at the end of the day, is the call “appa” when I open the door to my house and a warm hug from junior.

He has a sing song way of calling me and the moment he see me at the door, he would rush to me and “order” me to take him outside to say his “hi” to “alaa” (nila in tamil, moon in English. But ala it is for him). If it’s cloudy or if the moon is not visible, he would keep calling for it to appear and needs convincing and cajoling that his “alaa” has gone out on an errand and he can say his “tata bye” later. He would still insist on saying his “bye” himself and would direct me where to take him next. It’s probably the only thing that I look out for nowadays, that five minutes with him where he would find some use in me, for the moment we step into the house, he is all mom’s. It’s been more than a decade since the call for “Appa” is heard in our house. The realization has not stuck yet that it’s me who is being addressed as such, but whenever I hear the cry for “Appa” I still keep visualizing my dad, rather than me being the person.

There is so much we can and need, to learn from kids, but we rather end up forcing our thoughts on them, trying to make them miniature replicas of our own selves. They find happiness in even the simplest and silliest of things. Junior doesn’t need a fancy toy for engaging himself. A mere lid of a bucket brings him so much joy when he twirls it on the floor like a left handed Warne. He is fascinated by colors and shapes, as basically everything is new for him and is worth analyzing. When you see him play with mundane things, then only you realize that such a utility is available within those items which make it a toy for him. As much as he gets glued to his mom and being overly protective of her, believe me even when you try to play hit her, he will jump on you and bite the skin of your body, he has his own set of people, segmented time wise, as his play mates. But the moment the clock ticks past 6, its mommy time and nothing in the world can console him or replace her. Sensing my jealousy all across, yeah you are right.

The main thing that I’ve observed from his actions is that, anything can be considered trivial or important, but it’s how you look at it makes the difference. Be it a toy or a lid, end of the day, it’s what you want to make out of it and not what it should be made out for.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fiction crate - incentive for your interest

Few weeks back I received a parcel, which had a slogan printed t-shirt and a thriller genre book by an Indian author. I knew that I’ve been nominated for the review and the parcel was expected but I had little clue on the concept of book curation and about the subscription box “Fiction crate”. Due to postal delay, the parcel reached me after a month’s delay and the hand written note along with the parcel, acknowledging the same, was a pleasant experience. It’s been a really long while since I received parcels with notes, that too handwritten. It was very personalized and was quite literally charmingly old world. There were some cute book marks as well and one trivia tag.

The tee shirt that accompanied had a slogan on book reading and felt it was tailor made for me, literally and figuratively!! I’ve started reading the novel a while back and will post a separate review on it later in this space. Thanks to Brags for clarifying that the concept was to post a review about this concept of subscription boxes and not on the book.
I Googled to figure out more about this concept and for those who are into subscribing books, this concept would be a pleasant surprise, especially Fiction crate. They don't just send you books, with cute hand written notes and book marks. But also have surprise goodies like slogan carrying tee shirts, all for a nominal amount. They've various packages for subscription and each of them have surprise goodies alongside the books. You can select your genre and they are pretty prompt in dispatch.
You can check out for more details about this subscription facility and from what I read looks like they come out pretty nominal cost wise and considering that they provide a personalized experience for those who subscribe in the form of surprise goodies, they have an winner upfront. The handwritten notes are a sure plus and is quite charming to say the least. Also you can refer and relate to first-hand experience of other book worms who had a taste of fiction crate and their service.

Adhavadhu..enna solla varenna

Sometime back, went for a lunch meet with friends after a really long while. I don’t exactly remember the last time I had such a leisure meet with friends, not because I had been busy but off late had been shutting off myself without even me realizing it. The frustrations in office had crept to such an extent that it had totally changed my psyche and made me so much negative and angry that, I was lashing out at every single opportunity, at anyone, be it family or office. There was nothing extraordinarily different or path breaking in that meeting that set to light this thought process, but the very normalcy of the event made me realize, how far from it, I was.
Whenever I read through my older blog posts, more often than not, I would be stumped by the thought process behind certain posts, on what was the trigger and many a times, I couldn’t even believe it was written by me as I would never be able to attain such a mindset to write such kind ever again. The person of that moment used to feel lost forever and I never used to ponder on the reason why, thinking that anyone would feel the same in such situations. But after this recent meeting I realized the very basic facet of life – you get to mirror the people around you. It might be a paradox in itself if each of us are a mirror, but not everyone are of the reflecting kind. From what I understand about myself, I tend to imitate/copy the people I spend time with the most and my personality or psyche at any point of time, is most probably not my own. I always consider myself as an empty container that looks out for personality to be imbibed. It sounds pretty lame an excuse to dump my mistakes on others and quite a convenient one at that. But how much ever I try to figure out, what is it that makes me, I always feel that, as against the Reebok motto, I am not what I am, but rather I am who others around me are!! Probably a living kicking example of the motto “show me your friends, I will tell you what kind of person you are”.
So, idhanal sollikolvathu ennavendral, athaagapattathu magajanangalay.. you better behave well and be good for gils sake J

Monday, July 03, 2017

Preserving the brand

Few weeks back I read an article on MGR, our ex-cm and ..well if you need me to explain who he was you would be the exact person as target audience for this post. The article was one of the several thousand written since his heydays and went on eulogizing the kind of person MGR was and how his legacy continues to live even after about 3 decades since his demise.

Whenever I read something about this man, I am always stumped by the unabashed adulation he manages to generate even by those who were never born in his lifetime, never been directly linked to him or never even witnessed his deeds in person. Yet, when they mention about MGR, they all go gushy mushy and all heartwarming, making him sound like a saint. Even current day superstars or crowd craze heroes never get such a warm reception or mention. Even for Jaya, who succeeded him and matched his legacy point by point, there is always a counter in the form of misdeeds done by her and on her scandals. Probably MGR had the advantage of not living in such maniacal times like present where each and every activity of the leaders are under scrutiny and media is not so lenient on exposing their misdeeds. Even the opposition controlled media goes soft, when it comes to MGR. Agreed that there are cases and scandals linking MGR and are in reports. But never have they been brought to light or public scrutiny as much as those done by Karuna or Jaya. May be there is a sense of opportunism for both the parties involved as the man was Charisma and charm all over and had the unshakable faith of the masses.

MGR was inarguably the first person to translate his movie roles into real life and cashed in on the innocence/ignorance of the masses and more importantly convert the same into votes. Till date people swear by him and praise him for all his good deeds. With his birth centenary year in progress, there are functions being conducted across the state in his names and his movies are getting re-released, 5 decades after the first release. And no surprise to the see the crowd thronging the theaters to re-live his onscreen magic. What stumps me is how come this one “brand” has survived across all scandals and has managed to sustain its charm across all these decades amidst all the media scrutiny. Even his worst detractors wouldn’t blatantly disregard MGR as they know his fans/loyalists/vote bank (call it whatever you want) wouldn’t spare them and any act of praising MGR will only result in more publicity and positive view by the general public.

Coming back to that magazine article that triggered this post, it concluded with a song “Ennai Theriyuma” from one of MGR’s movie “Kudi iruntha kovil”. Just have a look at the lyrics of the song and you will understand how his legacy continues to survive. Probably the lyricist deserve the credit for the song, but for them to be inspired a lot depends on the person on whom its portrayed and true to the content, the saga of MGR continues to remain new and current, even 3 decades after he breathed his last.

Naan puthumaiyaanavan
ulagai purinthu kondavan,
nalla azhagai therinthu
manathai koduthu anbil vaazhbavan,
 ennai theriyumaa naan
sirithu pazhagi karuththai kavarum
rasigan ennai theriyumaa,
ungal kavalai marakka kavithai paadum
kavigan ennai theriyumaa,