Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Believe it or Not!!

This post has nothing to do with Ripley's Believe it or Not! chain of places(actually, IMHO(ok, that's a computer person's version of saying In My Humble Opinion... I've started loving abbreviations for some reason. But I make some of my friends go mad! Ah! This too shall pass!(Ithuvum Kadandhu pogum!)So, my dear friends, hang in there!),that's a good place to go to, especially if you are in New York. They've got an awesome collection there. Even my parents(who have traveled to lots of places) were wowed by the collection. And that's something to say!) but more to do with the last post I wrote about Dasavatharam, Kamal's latest movie. Loads of my friends discussed about it with me and some even said that I hadn't taken the time to analyze the movie better. But even after a full two weeks of analysis and discussion, I still stand by what I expressed in the post. If that movie couldn't wow me in the first place, it just doesn't have that wow factor even if I read a lot about it, watch it again scores of times, talk/discuss more about it. Telling me that the movie grows on me is just not my cup of tea. Come on! I have loads more interesting things to do than spend 6 hours for a movie to make an impression on me. I have better things to do than to re-watch the movie.

All said and done, there were an unprecedented number of forwards about this movie and its interpretations. Kamal should be appreciated for that fact. He has given such a film that everyone has his/her own interpretation of it and each of it seems right. A true test of a person's rationale. Though I got interesting forwards, there was one which stood out amongst them. I was LOLing(again, laughing out loud for those who didn't get it) after reading it(thanks S, for sending it my way! I know you ROTFLed after reading this one!). I'll let you decide if you have to give work to your rationale or not after reading this one. Here goes:

1) In 1978, Kamal's Tamil movie "Sivappu Rojakal" got released. He played the role of a Psychopath killer . One year later, a guy called Psycho Raman was caught for brutally murdering people

2) In 1988, Kamal played the role of a unemployed youth in the movie "Sathya". In 89-90's our country faced lot of problems due to unemployment.

3) In 1992, his blockbuster movie "Devar Magan" got released. Its a village based subject. There will be some scenes portraying communal clashes. Exactly a year later in 1993, there were many communal clashes in southern districts.

4) We all know in 1996 many people in our country was cheated by finance companies. Our Kamal Hasan has clearly depicted this in his movie "mahanadhi" which got released in 1994 itself.

5) In "heyram"(2000), there are some scenes relating to Hindu Muslim clashes . We all know 2 years later, godhra(Gujarat riots) incident happened.

6) He used a word called 'tsunami' in his movie "Anbesivam"(2003).The word 'tsunami' was not known to many people before. In 2004, 'tsunami' stuck the east coast of our country and many people lost their lives.

7) In his latest movie "Vettaiyadu Vilayadu "(2006) there are two characters called ila&amudhan who played the roles of psychopath killers. After 3 months of release of the movie, the noida serial killing came to light (moninder/sathish)

And to add another point to the seven below
8 )He shows the outbreak of a biological weapon(virus/vial) in Tamil nadu --Dasavatharam(2008)


My view: Does it mean now Kamal will become Kamalanandha and start dancing with women (ok! In a swamiyar garb) and bringing out Lingams and Vibuthis and predict the future of politics, cinema and India?
Your Views: On the comment section, please!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Be there!

She moved in this world
A world of new beginnings
A world of new thoughts
A world of new starts

She met people
People from different walks of life
People from different countries
People from different parts of life

She felt unfettered
From the people
From the world
From life

She was scared
Scared of the new freedom
Scared of the new actions
Scared of the new life

The Voice understood
Understood her concerns
Understood her worries
Understood her unanswered questions

The Voice reflected
How to explain
How to simplify
How to break it in

The Voice said
"Tis yours to enjoy,
Tis yours to work on,
Tis yours to live!"

The Voice showed
Showed the uses of freedom
Showed the beauty of action
Showed the meaning of life

The Voice warned
Of the ever present slip
Of the ever present danger
Of the ever present oblivion

She vowed to remember
Remember this freedom
Remember these actions
Remember this life
it is the milk of the universe
the honey that sweetens life
the elixir that man is after

She vowed to work hard,
Hard to keep this freedom
Hard to repeat these actions
Hard to live this life
Hard work prevents slips
Hard work protects from danger
Hard work obliterates the oblivion

The Voice was glad
Glad that she understood
Glad that she related to it
Glad that she knew
Knowledge brings maturity
Knowledge brings care
Knowledge brings wisdom

The Voice supported her
In preventing the slips
In protecting from danger
In obliterating the oblivion
The Voice is there to nourish
The Voice is there to elevate
The Voice is there to "be there"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dasavatharam - Review

I usually don't write a review of a movie. Three simple reasons: 1) The movie is not so impressive or I have nothing new to add to what has been said already 2) I don't watch movies often(yup! I'm NOT a movie fan. If I watch five movies in a theatre in a year, my family and friends would be so surprised because I just don't watch them in theatres!) 3) I usually thrash out a movie with friends or family after watching it(usually, my sister ends up being the scapegoat where she would patiently listen to me analyzing each scene and each angle of the story. Sometimes its good(like in Gajini), sometimes its bad(like in Om Shanti Om) but all the time,its interesting!) But now that I'm stuck in S____ and the first condition got satisfied, here goes the review of Dasavatharam.

Basically, its a good movie but turns bad and then worse as more and more masala is added to it. Kamal is a versatile actor, there is no doubt in it. But he has tried to do too much in the movie. He has discussed everything from politics to religion to science to what not!!!??? Even in each of these categories, he has taken pains to cover each part(or atleast a sliver of each part). For example, in politics, he has used Bush(yup! the very same American president), Dr.ManMohan Singh(yeah, our Indian prime minister), both our CMs(now and then). I fully expected him to bring in or atleast talk about all the problems of the world(like sand burglary). Thankfully he stopped with this array. In religion, he made sure he covered the Saivites, the Vaishnavites(two major sects of Hinduism), Christianity and finally Islam. In science, he went all the way from Biology to Chemistry. And he added the Japanese guy for .........? For what? To create a fan club for him in Japan(just because Rajini has one)?

I like each of the characters that Kamal portrays(I bow for his excellence in acting, but that's about it. I know I might draw flak from Kamal fans but this is my opinion and this is a free world! So, no comments on this statement please!) but my favorite character is Mr.Balram. He is so natural and the character fits Kamal like a glove. The ones with Bush, the old lady(who incidentally likes rose milk and reminded me of the glorious days of summer break where I did nothing but drink rose milk, play in the hot sun, eat icecream and finish a story book a day! Sigh! Now, I just can't imagine a summer like that any more in my life!), Kallif Ulla, Fletcher(Man! Terminator in tamil ;)) were kind of artificial and showed too well that it was pure makeup. It reminded me of someone wearing a mask and acting. Guess the field of makeup hasn't grown to such a level as to what Kamal expects. But its a good effort! And the Vincent character is good as well but it could have been given more screen space. About the first Ramanuja Daasan, his acting was good if a bit too theatrical.

About the story, there was nothing much in it, right from the beginning. It reminded me of some novel where every character hurries every minute only to leave the reader wondering why all this hurry. Similarly, here, the reason to hurry was not captured and delivered properly to the viewer (unlike Kaaka Kaaka or Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu where the viewer can understand the urgency within a scene!) Here, everyone seems to rush all the time but there is no deep meaning for it all. A short version of the story is that Kamal discovers a virus that can kill everyone in minutes and leave the Earth barren and his boss decides to sell it to terrorists. After a melee(I'll tell you, it was neither hilarious nor gripping! It was similar to Race, the movie where it was confusions galore), Kamal reaches Chidambaram followed by Fletcher(another Kamal, the villain) followed by Balram (another Kamal, the ubiquitous law man) followed by a Japanese(God knows why this guy is there in the movie because all he does is to come on in in the end and fight Fletcher, which Kamal himself could have done(given that loads of tamil heroes manage to do it with ease) Or maybe he was aiming to keep the movie natural? Only Kamal should tell) where he meets Asin(who, by the way, is portrayed as a staunch Vaishnavite and says "Perumaalae!"(Lord's name) every minute. But this turns irritating after some time.) and her granny(another Kamal). Now a chase begins where everyone chases in the above given order and finally Tsunami comes to finish up the unfinished business of the humans.

Now on to why I think the movie can't go into must watch list. Simply put, the movie doesn't give time to the viewer to actually get into the story. It starts in US, then chases begin, then moves to India, then chases go on, then climax. What IS happening? A lady before me in the theatre actually asked her husband this question! LOL!

Secondly, each character has been etched too hurriedly and everyone jostles for screen space with the result that no one gets enough to do justice to their roles and finally confuse everyone(now what was the Muslim family doing in the movie? Too many extra characters like that! It reminds me of "I want a share in the apple pie" story and finally everyone gets a crumb and no one is satisfied!). Even Asin seems to have been added to each scene rather than being part of the story flow. Atleast there should have been some good scenes between Kamal and Asin. It finally looked like they kept running all the time and he fights to save her and everyone thinks they go together and she falls in love even though his principles about God are the exact opposite to what she believes. I can take some amount of comedy, but this is atrocious!! Also, talking about life and love in a superficial manner when tsunami has struck is all the more comical!! Maybe that is why they didn't have a separate comedy track in the movie? Its so cruel to use Mallika Sherawat as done in the movie and kill her even before she tries to act(now you can't blame her for poor acting if her character gets killed after a song and a few other shots, can you?)

Third, some of the characters are so out-of-storyish that I just feel that they have been added to the story just to add another character to Kamal's doable characters list(like Avtaar Singh, Fulla, etc). Fourth, there are loads of double entendres in the movie and its kind of difficult to explain kids as to why the audience laugh for a particular sentence when they don't find anything odd or funny in it. I know that it is expected in a Kamal movie (in any movie nowadays, for that matter) but this one had loads(or is my movie watching skills so low that I don't know the present count/trend? If so, I feel sad for the present teens and pre-teens. They have work cut out for them in keeping their innocence and enjoying childhood and adolescence as much as they can)

Finally, I feel as if they've assumed that every person who watches this movie doesn't have basic sense and would accept everything that is dished out as a movie(just because we pay $20 doesn't mean we have to accept all the crap that is given right? Or is it that we are expected to keep our common sense at home when we go to watch movies? This, especially, disappoints me in this movie! I expected better from Kamal Haasan's movie). Example: the bullet from Fletcher's gun hits the cancerous growth in Avtaar Singh's throat and cures him of cancer without need for surgery while miraculously saving his voice and keeping everything else intact. Nalla kaathula poo sutharaangayaa!!

All said and done, this movie is watchable once but not more than once unless you are a film student and want to know how to act even with a makeup mask on you. This is a simple case of "Too many cooks spoiled the broth". Too many things said in three short hours made sure nothing reached the audience, or at best a garbled message reaches them. Want to know how to etch each character and still do something like acting 10 roles in one movie? Watch Navarathri by Sivaji Ganesan. Now, that is a movie! The lead actress(Savithri (thanks for pointing the error, G!)) leaves home on day one of Navrathri and meets eight different Sivajis and returns home on the tenth day to marry the ninth one. Every character adds some meaning to the movie and there is a good flow in the storyline. And each character, ranging from the inspector to the doctor to the skit maker to the terminal patient, has been done so perfectly and is so amazing. We just can't say that one character has been given more attention than the other or has been protrayed better than the rest. Everything was so good and it was all done with lesser makeup! I guess that is why Sivaji is still considered to be among the best of the best when it comes to acting and Kamal is still trying to reach there!