Monthly Archives: July 2006

Potter bares all; ‘Hugging’ Saint

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is going to step out of his clothes for a West End stage revial of the play Equus, reports The Guardian. Potter will never be the same again.

There is a new movie out on Amritananadamayi, known in the west as the Hugging Saint, reports NYT.

Just posting ’cause I think you would be interested.

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Pulikesi: Lacking in ambition


If there is one thing that is lacking in the Simbudevan-directed Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi, then that is ambition. Shankar, known for his perfectionist and ambitious ways as director, however, fails as producer to add a touch of class needed to make this movie a great comedy.
After choosing a full-length comedy with Vadivelu in the lead, the filmmakers seem to have settled for a watered down script. Making another Kadhalikka Neramillai or Michael Madana Kamarajan was creatively round the corner if only the debutant director had believed in himself.
Vadivelu is at his engaging best, delivering a performance that cements his place among the comic greats. As Pulikesi, the fictional ruler of what seems to be a tiny kingdom, the actor is on home turf. Satirizing Sivaji Ganeshan and himself in turns, Vadivelu plays Pulikesi as an endearing nitwit with a passion for punishing his subjects in innovative and cruel ways.
As Pulikesi’s intelligent and patriotic twin, Ugraputran, Vadivelu models himself on early MGR, but portrays the character with a hint of self-parody.
You know this story. You must have seen it hundreds of times. Two brothers, separated at birth by the evil designs of the villain (Nasser), come together to defeat him in the end. Since they are twins, they also switch identities and baffle the bad guys. Simbudevan walks this trodden path, but with a sense of irony that reveals that he has seen the countless classics with the same plot.
All of Pulikesi’s antics give the director room to deliver a rather loud social commentary on present times. All through the screenplay, the commentary on corruption, casteist politics, child labour and illicit arrack is as relentless as the comic retorts.
The movie is a welcome relief from the gangster craze gripping the Tamil movie industry.

This story was first published on Chennai Metblogs. A compilation of my stories is here.

Why I love the movies?

Movies aren’t anything like people. An evening at the cinema hall isn’t like an evening with your girlfriend. Movies don’t expect to be wined and dined. They just expect to be seen. You pay. You enter. You have fun. Period.
The flickering images on screen are seductive, but aren’t any match for a girl. But at least they are hassle free.

Why criticise a film?

A.O. Scott, one of my favourite movie critics, evaluates the role of a movie critic in a recent essay in the New York Times. In the light of the spectacular success of movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Da Vinci Code despite extremely poor reviews, Scott says that critcs and audiences are finding themselves on the opposite ends of a bridge. The audiences want to have fun, and the critcs “go sniffing for art”.
“…my colleagues and I must face a frequently — and not always politely — asked question: What is wrong with you people? I will, for now, suppress the impulse to turn the question on the moviegoing public, which persists in paying good money to see bad movies that I see free.”
He says that critics don’t influence the public’s taste for movies as much the Hollywood studios do.
“So why review them? Why not let the market do its work, let the audience have its fun and occupy ourselves with the arcana — the art — we critics ostensibly prefer? The obvious answer is that art, or at least the kind of pleasure, wonder and surprise we associate with art, often pops out of commerce, and we want to be around to celebrate when it does and to complain when it doesn’t. But the deeper answer is that our love of movies is sometimes expressed as a mistrust of the people who make and sell them, and even of the people who see them. We take entertainment very seriously, which is to say that we don’t go to the movies for fun. Or for money. We do it for you.”
Read the entire essay here.

My first video

Bye Bye Barrett

Syd Barrett is a name always whispered with reverence. Sadly that is all I have heard of this music genius: whispers. On Sarpvinash, there are lyrics to a song of Barrett’s. Sometimes, only you can write your best tribute. Know more about Barrett here.

Bestofme

This post has two reasons. One, self-indulgence. Two, Making the best of me accessible to all at one place.
This is the best of what I have written in the last six months. My first post on the hype preceding the Oscars in Hollywood appeared in The New Sunday Express. I posted it here on Jan 20. It was also the first time I wrote about films after years of wanting and waiting. Notice the stupid repetition of the word season in the lead.
A couple of weeks later I wrote the review for Chinatown. A classic movie. I wrote this in half an hour, never bothering about who would read it.
I wrote this as a tribute to my Grandpa. The best of me I thought, till I got rapped for being self-indulgent and writing about me instead.
My first book review. I discovered I wasn’t pathetic, but not quite there yet.
My first “work” in Tamil. Needless to say, it occupies a special place in my heart.
One morning I woke up and found that the hits on my blog had tripled overnight. The reason was that I was featured on a paper called DNA. Boy, was I flattered. They had featured a blog called A suitable ally?
The first time I put on paper something personal was when I wrote about this affair. Liked it better than the political story.
After landing the metblogs job(?), I wrote two stories about Chennai to keep them happy. First
was about my first few years in the city, and then about smoking up.
Simply the best review I ever wrote, was for Pudhupettai. I was really inspired.