Sunday, June 29, 2003

Shankar's Boys

Shankar's Boys website is now up and running. Designed by newenmedia, it is full of rich flash graphics. Yet we have a lot of scope to improve the quality of these movie websites. See Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon website designed by IndiaFM.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Shankar's Boys music will be out tomorrow (Saturday, 28th June ) to set the city on fire. It is the most expected album of the year. AR Rahman's fans including me are already queued outside Music World in Spencer Plaza to snatch their first privileged copies. There has been no mention where the music release function would be. I would like to personally watch the music unraveled. Boys music samples are already out on the net and a song called Secret of success is rocking its way. There has been numerous reviews already posted by AR Rahman fans and everyone hopes a paradigm shift in Rahman's music and also a trendsetter. You too...pick a copy of original CD of Shankar's Boys. End Piracy. Stop!!

Suraj Barjatya's Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon is released today. It's been 4 years since Rajsri's last movie Hum Sath Sath Hain released. Suraj's version is that this movie will no more have the same tone of Hum Aapke Hain Koun but will sound more contemporary. The music is already topping the charts and Anu Malik gets a good break by this film. Hope he forgets his copycat days and come back original. Chali Aayee rendered by Chitra and KK is the topper but I personally like Sanjana...I Love you song by Chitra and Sunidhi Chauhan. It is the fastest song ever in Suraj Barjatya's film. Looks like it is a film of mistaken identities in a love triangle. Kareena Kapoor, Hritik Roshan and Abishek Bachchan are all praying for a hit with this movie. Kareena in an interview " I have only two best friends now. God and Suraj Barjatya".

The punidts are skeptical about MPKDH because of the false hype created by Ram Gopal Verma's Bhoot that only horror movies sells. I am sure Suraj is all set to change these imaginary mindsets. Suraj himself is the biggest film lover of all. He is someone who only watched movies before he became a director. Once he remarked, " The only thing I did to become a director is watch movies. I watched as many movies as I can in the dark crowded cinema theatres in Bombay. I doesn't matter if a movie is good to watch or not. I watched all movies. Good, Bad and Ugly. Only this has shown me how to make movies which people like". And he did. My friend senthil used to say during HAHK days "There is no one else left in Delhi who hasn't watched Hum Aapke Hain Koun. Everybody has watched more than twice. I don't know why the movie is still running." That is the magic created by Suraj Barjatya. Hope MPKDH repeats it.

Jim Carrey has sent all his critics home by his master entertaining performance in Bruce Almighty. His setback came from the sober movies like The Truman show and Man on the Moon. Critics wrote him off that he could no more be the master entertainer of Hollywood. Bruce Almighty, still not released in India, is hitting the Box Office in Hollywood. The story line could be very familiar for Indian audience. Bruce (Jim Carrey), who is a media guy, gets too depressed and wishes for the powers of Almighty (God) to get his life back on track. God (Morgan Freeman) comes in face-2-face with him and grants him those wishes. The rest must be as expected. After reading the movie reviews, I am tempted to watch it as soon as it hits the Indian theatres. Morgan Freeman, my most favorite Hollywood actor adds value to this film with this simple yet gripping performance. That's the reason why this movie has kindled my interests.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

One of the sickest shows in MTV is the Loveline. The viewer of the program writes a very detailed note on the affair he/she has. Cyrus and the new babe ( instead of the ravishing Malaika Arora ) read out the mail so loud and try giving a solution that is subtly well hinted by the writer itself. Mostly the viewer himself gives the clue as to whether he wants to hang around or walk away from the relationship. These guys pretend as though they give a very idealistic solution to it. Any Tom / Dick / Harry could attempt this.

Cyrus, who really rocks in Bakra, sucks totally. His creativity goes to ditches in this program. Mostly the guest is cuturally shocked by the secret revelations of the teenagers who write/call to this program. When the guest tries to give an apt solution according to him, Cyrus interrupts, forces an answer on the guest and quickly jumps to a song sequence. Probably the guests would think that Cyrus really bakraed(sorry from the hindglish) them. The mood of Loveline is so shady with that leather couch and red/blues light that it gives a midnight masala mood to the program.

Last thing, Cryus has started occupying 80% of my 29 inch TV. High time he joins to aerobics with me in mornings.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Serial lighted marriage hall, Madisar mamis, Diamond studs, Silver Vessels, Cousins and Cousins, Friends, Close friends, Known friends, Unknown friends, Long-time-since-we-met dialogues, You-have-become-double-the-size-yaar realtives, Kiddos running around, Sowkiyamas exchanged, Nudging Athais, Talkative Athimbers, Huge blankets, Dirty pillow covers, Close-circuit televisions, Bride with butterflies in stomach, Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, Disarrayed chairs, Click click photos, Flower baskets, Flowing light from video cameras, Unmanned fans, Cellphone Pandits, Crowd everywhere, Paan mouthed grandpas, High decibel mantras, Welcoming siblings, Time ticking away to muhurtham, Crowd around the sacred stage, Groom in position, On your march, Bride walking shyly, Sits on her father's lap, All eyes fixed, Get set, Maangalyam Thanthuna, Go, Go, Go, Mangal sutra tied, Congrats shared, Hands shook, Mom sheds a happy tear as I take a deep breath.

And so my sister's marriage went off well last week. It was the joyous week in my life. My sister got married and is now off to her in-law's place. It was a 4 day south-indian brahmin marriage and I was stressed out at the end of it. But looking back, I'm pretty happy that whatever we were planned, went extra smooth. Some more...

Monday, June 16, 2003

It was a handful of old, rusted, brownish B&W photographs that my sister showed me as I entered the house. An assorted collection of our family pictures which were taken at several occasions of the last 24 years. She is planning to take those selective pictures along with her to her in-laws house as fond memories of our family. A couple of them were really enthralling pics which my dad shot durng our childhood. It brought back some great times we had during the childhood. Especially a pic where she tries to hold our pet cat in her hand. I was so scared to pose with holding the same cat in the hand. She keeps saying, even being a elder brother, I didn't have 'guts' to hold a cat while she was very gutsy. More on these memoirs, still to come.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Why is it that always the two-wheeler driver recieves a call on his mobile when driving. While he is busy yapping on the phone, the poor pillion rider stares elsewhere and tries to pretend that he isn't listening.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Boys are here to rock :

Just listened to the Shankar's Boys music samples through a link sent by my friend. The first one called Boom Boom (not the Vengaboys...this is simply Boys) rendered by Adnan Sami and Sadhana Sargam. Boom Boom has a fresh new feel. The second one is the Theme of Boys. This one is fully instrumental and is with hard beats. The song Girl Friend rendered by Karthik seems very much inspired but it is very catchy. It's tough to judge based on these samples.

Lets hope Rahman rocks!!

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Kamal & Sujatha

Writer Sujatha, in his column Katrathum Petrathum for Anandha Vikatan, remarks that it's been 25 years since he and Kamalhassan had met first. He briefs about his recent chat with Kamal about the digital cinema happenings for Tamil films. Kamal's latest movie Sandiyar, which is now put on hold due to the opposition from caste based politics, was supposed to be shot as a digital film only. Already P.C.Sriram, the ace cinematographer, is shooting his latest flick Vaanam Vasappadum as a digital film. This film is based on a Sujatha's novel.

Kamalhassan's forethought extends to a time when there would be many small cinema interest clubs, which will feature movies that are based on the common interest. And there wouldn't be this normal formula of songs, comedy and fight into the same movie. Instead movies will become diversified by genre. And each genre of movies will cater to a small section of this large cinema-going crowd.

Kamalhassan who was recently in Cannes film festival had released few of his movies in Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) format. This format is becoming more popular in the west as it makes cinema watching a less tedious one. As he remembers, when the steady cam was introduced there weren't many who were ready to use it. Steady cam, as we know is a camera that could be tied to one's body and would help him to move around and film. This would make the shots more realistic when compared to a fixed camera. Kamal and Sujatha's joint effort Vikram, which flopped in the box- office, was the first movie to use the steady cam technology. But now after those experimental films, every movie uses steady cam technology. He is very confident that similarly, digital films will also become the need to the day in near future.
Hostile Takeover:

Oracle, the second largest software maker , has launched a hostile takeover attack on PeopleSoft. The bid would roughly cost $5.1 billion for Oracle. Oracle is offering $16 cash per share for each share of PeopleSoft, a roughly 6 percent premium over PeopleSoft's closing price last Thursday of $15.11. Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, made clear in a press meet that Oracle has no intention of keeping PeopleSoft alive as a separate brand, after the buy out.

On the other hand, PeopleSoft has made a deal to takeover its rival ERP software company, J.D. Edwards for $1.7 billion. The proposed combination of Peoplesoft and J.D. Edwards could increase competitive pressures on Oracle and ERP software market leader SAP.

Hostile bids in this IT business are unusal but not unheard of. Some eight years ago, IBM launched a hostile offer for Lotus Development that resulted in a $3.5 billion acquisition of the software maker.

So as things advance, it looks like, should the deal go through, PeopleSoft would takeover J.D.Edwards and PeopleSoft inturn takenover by Oracle. This combination of the Oracle + PeopleSoft + J.D.Edwards would result with an annual revenue of $2.8 billion for Oracle. Currently Oracle is just marginally ahead of PeopleSoft in marketshare by revenue. It has 13% of marketshare while PeopleSoft has 10% and J.D.Edwards is at 4%.

Being a PeopleSoft proffesional, I personally feel this would affect a lot of PeopleSoft professionals around the world and also the PeopleSoft customers. Even now, many of my onsite counterparts are skeptical and worried about the future of PeopleSoft. But some are sure this would be an anti-trust case against Oracle.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Here is an survey article that says the best invetion ever is ......toothbrush. Phew!!, you might think but MIT professor Merton Flemings is pretty exited to say this. Taking about inventions, he also says about Farnswoth who devoted his life to develop the basis of today's television.

When asked him what if few people would argue that television is an invention that do great harm, he replied "With any good tool, you can do the wrong thing with it. [When I was a boy] there was a machine in the shoe store I could stand on, push a button and X-ray my feet. It was a terrible thing, but we didn't know the danger back then."

We had a similar dicussion on Kiruba's blog where I was pointing out that television isn't a harmful invention and it just depends on how good we use it.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Couple of movies this weekend kept me busy.

One was Lesa Lesa, Priyadarshan's re-make of malyalam movie Summer in Bethlehem. The original Malayalam version had Mohanlal (played by Madhavan in Tamil) and Suresh Gopi (Shaam in Tamil). It is a perfect example of a movie with a good storyline but damaged by bad characterisation and very loose screenplay. Madhavan rocks the show with his powerful cameo performance like Karthik in Mouna Ragam. Trisha scores badly because her characterisation doesn't keep up with the story. Its a heavy role like Revathy's role in Mouna Ragam and is played very lightly by Trisha but with lot of new comer exuberance. As usual Thiru kalakks with his stunning cinematography. Every scene is framed immaculately. Except Ulaga Azagiye song there aren't many innovative number by Harris Jayaraj. Finally, the movie can be re-named Promise Promise, for there are dozens of promises made back and forth in the movie.

Also watched a long overdue movie, Mr & Mrs Iyer. Aparna Sen's exceptional directorial skill amazes me. Rahul Bose, one of my most favourite actors since the TV series, Mouthful of Sky, continues with a simple-yet-relaistic performance. He is someone who is like Morgan Freeman whose acting couldn't be distinguished from the movie. He is the best choice for this role. If this movie was to be shot a decade back it would have been Amol Balekar. Not many would attempt this role which needs a common man and not an actor. Konkona Sen, is an unexpected acting talent in the movie. Her performance as Meenakshi Iyer, goes much beyond the boundaries of a veteran actresses.

Ustad Zakir's background scores are a treat to ears while Gautam Ghose displays the artistic skills of Kolkatta cinedom. But a little disappointing point is the thin line of dramatic feeling that runs throughout the movie. Maybe for me who is accustomed to Mani Ratnam way of film-making, this spoon-feeding-the-viewer-with-expressions-that-could-have-been-sublime technique is slightly difficult to follow.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

This morning was as fresh as Alai Payuthey Madhavan's leap to the sky. Watched Pachai Niramey for the nth time in Sun TV. nth time = number of days from the release of Alai Payuthey * 2. Arguably the best picturised song of AR Rahman and one of the best song of ARR and Mani Ratnam combination. Before Pachai Niramey's coming I would have argued it could be the Chandralekha song from Thiruda Thiruda. Even today Chandralekha is one of the outstanding songs in tamil cinema. Even if Mani wants to picturize a similar song it would be difficult for him, now. It is such a potent combination of extraordinary camera angles, awesome choreography and fresh vocals (rendered by Anuphama). My cousin couldn't believe that the whole Chandralekha song was picturised in the Chennai museum located at the heart of Chennai.

Alai Payuthey by itself is such a engrossing movie. But Pachai Niramey clearly stands out. It could be said as a song with nearly no flaws. The picturisation glues with the tune and color combination is so pleasant that there isn't any diminishing marginal utility funda with this song. Though there is a clear exaggeration of color and this has been achieved by the color grading. I had read in an interview of PC Sriram that he and Mani Ratnam took more than a couple of weeks for the color grading for this movie which is far from normal. The result is such a clean product that will stand over time.

Mani Ratnam loves the Taj Mahal. Not the usual way which others show and see. It is an angle that many haven't even thought about. From Panni Vizhum Iravil in Mouna Raagam to Pachai Niramey in Alai Payuthey he has shown this tomb of love in some real exciting angles. In Mouna Raagam it was a nightly view with a long panning shot. It was mostly a backdrop for that song. But the most intresting angle was in Iruvar. Many haven't even attempted to see the movie in theatre. In Iruvar's Vennila Vennila (rendered by Asha Bhonsle) song when Aishwarya seduces Mohanlal, the camera shows a blurred green leaf and suddenly moves in a fast fashion opening up the Taj from the side angle. It is a very close angle where the viewer is suprised by the sudden appearance of Taj. Only someone of Mani's caliber could think this shot. A similar backdrop of Taj is filmed in Pachai Niramey just as the last shot when Madhavan takes a huge leap among a maze of white clothes and taj forming the white backdrop for that shot. The whole shot lasts just for 4 seconds and it is real piece of class. And so I sipped my morning filter coffee watching Mani's masterpiece.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Truely obnoxious but true. This survey was ordered by Paramount Home Entertainment to coincide with the video release of Changing Lanes, which stars Ben Affleck as a worker who marries his boss's daughter to get on, says that many employees are prepared to cheat, lie and stab work-mates in the back to get on in their jobs.

This and much more than what you imagine. Read it. Link via Balaji.
What would have happened if Jack Welch hadn't become CEO of GE, when he did. Nothing. GE would have produced an equally good CEO remarks Jim Collins, the American management guru.

In this article he cheers that the Indian corportate management would do well if it doesn't inbibe bad habits from the American management practices. Finally, he concludes, "Technology can accelerate greatness that’s already in place. We didn’t find one company that became great principally because of technology. Rather, we found that first companies became great and then applied technology." Makes Sense.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Is Vikram the demi-god ?


Producers, Distributors and Directors are all running behind him. He has been the money grosser for the last 2 years and he is expected to rock the box-office for many more years to come. He already has 2 years of dates fully booked for this next 10-12 upcoming films. And he is still cashing in with his Dhool which has just touched 150 days and expected to celebrate silver jubliee. The first and probably the last silver jubliee of the year.

But before the Dhool magic could fade away he is rocking his IPS chair in Saamy (The God). What a pleasurable movie experience it was to see Vikram performing the IPS officer of Thirunelveli with a professional ease. The ease resembles me Rajinikanth's role as Alex Pandian in Moondru Mugam. It is a role even a commoner who is no Rajini fan will appreciate for he did with his own style and command. But comparing Rajini with Vikram would be crime. They are players of their own style with Vikram taking over the place which Kamalhassan is leaving. While Kamalhassan is busy elevating himself to the international market in Cannes film festival by releasing his movies in Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) format. This format help in watching the whole movie as streaming media over the internet(even with a bad bandwidth). I have some more thoughts on this format and will write more on this, soon.

Vikram's role as Aarusaamy in Saamy is commendable and he is reaching the pinnacle of his career and is expected to stay in top for sometime. It has given him a break from the commercial movies which followed Gemini. Saamy is still a pucca commercial movie but it is the Director Hari's intelligent screenplay that gums the viewer. Saamy story is something which not many people can come to terms with. Aarusaamy comes to Thirunelveli districty as the Deputy Commissioner. Its been a place which is ruled by mafia, specifically by a king maker 'n' don called Perumal Pichai (Kottarao from the telugu cinedom). As a DC, saamy wants to perfom his duties honestly and effectively. His past experience with dons have been very effective but due to the political pressures he has had 8 transfers before settling here in Thirunelveli. He changes his strategy to accept bribe from the dons and also make them accept many of their mistakes, which hinder public people. All he wants is public safety for the people in the town. A practical police officer who also has a love life in the form of Trisha Krishnan. How he makes don come down to ground from their mafia kingdom is the rest of the movie.

Vikram is introduced as a rowdy himself and we come to know that he is in disguise to catch others in just few minutes. Follows is how he practically works his way out of the mafia web and how he succeeds. As he adopts new ways of taking a huge sword instead of the usual latti, against a group of people who tend to increase the public tension, Director Hari establishes himself as an intelligent director who knows what people like. We tend to agree with him that only by being practical police can face the dons. As he says to a don, Endha Aruvaa vettutnaalum Vettum, Enntha Thuppaki suttalum sudum and takes out an alternate pistol from his shoes to make the killing an unofficial one, we know the movie is heading towards a racy ending.

Trisha on the otherhand is introduced a brave girl who throws chili powder and locks Vikram inside the room mistaking him to be a thief. She does her little part far better than expected. A talent to look out for in the coming movies.

One of the most appreciable part is the comedy track by Vivek. Its better watched than written. Watch it to enjoy it.

Harris Jayaraj has done a good job. Kalyananthaan Kattikittu is the biggest hit offlate. All the FM stations keep playing through out the day. Also Pudichirukku' song is picturized well and the BGMs go well with the movie.

But at the end of the movie what lingers in the mind is the energetic, manly and high-pitched Vikram and his acting skills for this is what tamil cinema has been waiting for. A by-runner for kamalhassan and money-grosser for the tamil cinema world. He is surely the present demi-god. Saamy!!.

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