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Archive for June, 2007

With ‘Ek Mohabbat’, AR Rahman has come up with another magnificient number, this time for the ‘Vote for Taj’ campaign for the new seven wonders of the world. Rahman is at his best, mixing technology with melody, like only he can and the result is magnificient. As if Rajni not featuring was not an incentive enough for the Mozart from Madras. Heh!

There has been a major lack of awareness about the competition among the general public, which is appalling in this age of internet. The politicians, obviously, can never be blamed, since they are too busy slinging mud for the President elections. Good to see Rahman doing his bit. So much effort for the Campaign to get Taj Mahal elected as one among the new seven wonders of the world. I believe you would have already voted for The Taj. If not, please be a responsible citizen and do vote. If sentimental value does not capture your imagination, being among the seven will unquestionably promote Tourism in India. So there!

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Superstar packs a punch, as usual. But the plot is not so ‘koo’l.

During the late 70s, when Rajnikanth made his mark as a hero in Tamizh cinema, his movies were usually ones which had a very powerful story and relied on Rajni’s acting prowess, which I believe is tremendously under-utilized till date.

Then in the early 80s, Billa happened, and everything about Rajni changed forever. He became a style icon and almost every single movie in the post Billa era, except Thalapathi, has relied on his style and ‘punch’ dialogues. Rajni is simply superb in most of them and has grown into India’s biggest superstar.

Shankar wanted to strike a balance between style and substance in Sivaji and miserably fails. Sivaji will be a blockbuster, because of one reason – Rajnikanth. The irrepresible veteran has carried the movie on his shoulders and quite obviously succeeds, especially as ‘Mottai’ Boss.

But Shankar’s formula does not work for me. The constant switching of the plot from the hero-heroine romance to the hero-villain tussle in the first half is painful. Its almost like bits and pieces shot randomly and strung together. Vivek does himself and the audience a real favour by excelling and that is something to write home about in the first half. At the interval, Sivaji is left with a one rupee coin. He is totally deprived of everything else and as usual, vows to get even on Suman. When the second half begins, Sivaji outsmarts Suman and forces him to agree giving 100 crores back to him. The vaazhakkaai bajji scene oozes style and Rajni rocks. Things seem to get interesting. Then, when you least expect it, the scene cuts back to Shriya, who manages to churn out one stupid reason after the other to turn down Sivaji’s love for her. Then she waves her davani to stop a local train from running over Sivaji. Love blossoms. Duet song. ‘Ponnunga ellaaam endirichu dham katta poittaanga’. One opulent set after another for the song sequences start getting a bit claustrophobic.

Rahman has kept up his near perfect record of coming up with average music albums for Rajni movies. Sivaji’s music is just about ok. And I am not comparing this with a ‘Dil Se’ or ‘Roja’. Anything to the levels of the SJ.Suryah’s ‘Ah-Aah’ would have rocked. Rajni deserves better than ‘Balleilakka’.

KV Anand’s camera and Thotta Tharani’s sets show a lot of hard work. Manish Malhotra has come up with some wonderful trendy stuff for the superstar. Special mention should go to the hair stylist and make up man for making Rajni look 30 years younger.

Overall, as Siva, said after the movie 1+1+1 does not always make 3. In this case the sum comes to 1.75. Rajni – 1, Rahman – 0.5 and Shankar – 0.25.

Karuthu Kandasamy’s comment: “Shankar saar! Engala vechu onnum comedy keemedy pannaliye!”

Image source: Behindwoods

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I have been wanting to write about some of my favourite movies of all time. I start off the series with Sidney Lumet’s 1975 classic ‘Dog Day Afternoon’.

Dog Day Afternoon is the typical example of how a film should really be. The plot is based on a simple bank robbery by two optimistic guys – played to perfection by Al Pacino and John Cazale – which fails pretty badly. What makes this one different from the others is the ultimate characterization of the two ‘robbers’. They enter the bank with high hopes, but things start getting screwed up right from the beginning and progress from bad to worse as the tale advances. Soon the heist is discovered, the bank is surrounded by police, media lines up across the street, and Sonny, the lead robber, is in the position, unintentionally, of having taken hostages.

As Sonny, Al Pacino is charming, lovable, confused and tortured. He steals for a cause, and is – quite strangely for a thief – loved by his hostages. He also manages to attract the favourable attention of the crowd that gathers outside the bank. Such incidents beautifully capture the fact of how people wanted by the law become popular with the common people, with their antics.

The dark humoured movie rides on Al Pacino’s brilliance, and the legend does not disappoint. He delivers with almost nonchalant ease, as the man born with his planetary positions in the wrong place. He tries to be good and is desperate to please everyone, but does not get anything in return. John Cazale, as Sonny’s pensive aide Sal is too good. The scene in which he asks Sonny if he has ditched him is top draw.

Dog Day Afternoon is a fun movie with its share of heartbreaks. One thing for sure is that it will keep the viewer involved throughout. If you are yet to see it, please rent a home video and check it out. It will be an experience!

PS: Movies like these make me wonder if it would have been better if I had got to live during the 70s. That was the time when Classic Rock was at its best and combine them with flicks like these would have been ideal. Sigh!

PPS: After an extended struggle to get tickets for the Tamizh version, I finally get to watch Sivaji tomorrow. Hope its koooll.

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I stopped listening to Hindi pop ever since Daler Mehndi and his brother stepped into the scene and started mixing Punjabi and potatoes with every damn song. I lost faith. But recently I came across a gem in Sona Mohapatra. She is simply amazing.

The lyrics of this song is a prime example of ‘out of the box’ thinking. The lady asks her lover not to come back because she enjoys longing for him. Super creativity!

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President APJ Abdul Kalam made it clear that he does not want to re-contest in the upcoming Presidential elections. But power politics does not work that way in India. The third front have made sure that his name has been dragged in, whether he likes it or not. We all grew up with the knowledge that the Presidents have limited powers in India. But no one would have expected it to be brought down to such farcical proportions. News filtering in says that Kalam has refused the third front’s proposal. But will someone listen to the President of India? I have my doubts.

CNN-IBN’s Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai spoke to special guest Karuthu Kandasamy on Face the Nation

RS: Is it fair to drag Abdul Kalam’s name in the election when he has made it clear that he is not interested in a second term?

KK: Aahaa, inda matter Kalam-ukku theriyuma? (Does Kalam know about this?)

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I Stray II

Decipher this:

clipboard01.jpg

Hint: It is the starting verse of a ‘Tamizh’ song!

Answer will be updated subsequently on the comments section.

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Though he sounds modest in his interviews, any sane person in the country will know that when it comes to movies in India, there is just one BOSS – Rajnikanth. Sivaji has released worldwide, and as expected, the reception has been thunderous, to say the least. I am cursing my fate for being stuck in Hyderabad with no real hope of watching the Tamizh version. I am desperate, though I admire the all-round abilities of Kamal Hassan than to Rajni’s crowd pulling virtues. My sister, who is a ‘Superstar’ fanatic, as she puts it, will get to watch Sivaji, in all his glory, tomorrow in Coimbatore. Phew! Reminds me of the release of another Rajnikanth blockbuster ‘Badshah’. I watched it with my sis on day one and we were bowled over. After watching him in that movie, I became a Rajni fan. And I am ranting for so long, because I need tickets to watch the Tamizh version. Bloody Hyderabad… Sigh!

Meantime, a few links on the movie.

Hawkeye says that Sivaji is 99% style and 1% substance. Anyone will settle for that in a Rajni flick, and I am no different.

Behindwoods clarifies that in no way is this a Shankar movie, it is just a Rajnikanth movie with Shankar as the director.

Rediff has a story on fans offering pooja to Rajnikanth, a tradition not uncommon in Tamil Nadu. Here the location is Mumbai.

Initial reactions from some in the Kollywood (God, I hate that name) film fratenity. Sridevi looks absolutely gorgeous.

And to round off, here is another article from Behindwoods to ward off any doubts on who the real superstar in India is.

PS: Boss, Can someone give me tickets to watch the BOSS. Please Boss!

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