Saturday, June 21, 2008

monumental visage

kamal could've added just one more element and boosted dasavatharam to another level. instead of the introductory ilakkiya tamil sorpozhivu he engages in at that horrendous rendering of a stadium, he could've requested aby baby to do a voiceover. i'm guessing amitabh's tamil would fit between junoon tamil and khalifulla's ridiculous diction. so more unintentional fun for the tamil folks and instant love from our hindi speaking brethren. even better, kamal should've thought of a 11th role as amitabh but then the title wouldn't have fit.

apparently surveys done a few years back revealed that aby baby had the highest recall among desis. thus his face or voice is on nearly everything you use on a daily basis. he is on for some hair oil, pens, chocolate, suits, tvs, banks and so on. soon a stage will come when a kid watches sholay and will remark to his appa that jai looks strangely familiar to the thatha who was hawking bubble gum in the ad break that just ended. i think the indian govt should declare him a protected monument and levy fees from anyone wishing to use him (100 times more for foreign companies). in return, the ASI would give him therapy to keep his voice in shape, shave and shower him about once in 10 years and if needed conduct reconstructive plastic surgery. the simplest alternative is to invent cloning. that makes 2 folks i am recommending for cloning - 1 specializes in jooming, the other in selling.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

kamal goes decimal

what does one do when in india for an extremely short amount of time, that too for a wedding - spend 3 hours at a multiplex watching sivaji's competition turn up a year late at the finish line and still manage to finish second. kamal spent 2 years making dasavathaaram, about 1.5 of which i am sure were spent putting his masks and wigs on and then removing them.

kamal plays god/fate of his own story as he unleashes several threads (10 to be exact) and then weaves them back into a small yet somewhat complete ladies handkerchief (what else can you weave with 10 threads). the magic of kamal is such that he manages to completely disappear in some of those threads letting the character take over the screen. balram naidu for one was outstanding. khalifulla on the other hand looked (and sounded) like one of the masked sivajis from uthama puthiran. with most of the characters donning prosthetics, kamal's vivid expressions were missed quite a bit. body language and voice only go a certain distance.

the story is indeed novel for a tamil flick and kamal does a fine job walking the fence between the mass and the elite. keywords (chaos theory anyone) are sprinkled to pique the interest of the elite while the mass is entertained with some good fight sequences and for a while by an ex-cia agent / part time stripper/full time killer who in addition to fluent tamil also knows the way to heaven. seeing her talk tamil was like watching jackie chan speak tamil in the afternoon star vijay movies (for those who havent seen police story in tamil, it is very similar to shriya speaking tamil in sivaji).both sections of the crowd are however bound to hate asin who screamed like a banshee whenever she opened her mouth. the music was a huge letdown. kamal could've at least courted illayaraja for some tunes.

all in all, a jolly ride. one of the two main aims i had when coming to chennai is now fulfilled :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

post flight postcard post

international flights have their share of contradictions. 6 foot 2 economy class passengers (me) are expected to squeeze into seat spaces measured in cubic inches, yet the petite air hostesses struggle to reach up and close overhead bins on those humongous 777s. i requested and got the emergency row seating on each leg. it's next to the toilet and usually a lot of screaming kids but it cant be beat for the comfort. put in an excellent on-demand entertainment system and i am all set. 3.75 movies were taken off my to-see list.

back in madras for my wedding, i am enjoying this trip more than any in the past. the weather is awesome, bhelpuri from shree mithai and mango duet from aavin complement it very well. my body composition is slowly changing from tofu and black coffee to paneer and filter coffee.

Monday, June 02, 2008

i'm finished

after nearly 3 years during which my senthamizh vocabulary grew by a smidgen, i am done with 'ponniyin selvan' [links to a review of the english version]. i rushed through the first 3 parts like an express train heading towards central but like the very same train hitting the maze of tracks at basin bridge, i slowed to a crawl for the last 2 parts. a small part of reading this was for gimmick ("hey look i am reading a tamil book"). but i started reading it because it is a historical retelling set in my own tamilnadu and is told in a language i love. a language that i am still not fluent enough to write in..hence this post in the step-mom tongue.

my next tamil book is a collection of crime stories by sujata. with any luck, you can expect a post in the summer of 2010