Sentimental Education

Korean films always pack a punch, especially Korean action. So when I got to know that there was a film which paid homage to it. Needless to say I was very excited.


Shiri started on a very bland note. It had all the problems of a Korean film and also although highlights of it too. So it takes a good forty minutes to know who is who, differentiate them by face, differentiate them by name etc. on top of it, there the storyline twist also involves names and faces. But luckily by that point I got hold of the story.

The film was very much like a Tamil film in the initial phases where the story gets evolved, the twist, romance etc. but after some point the story really gets into the grove. The romance works like anything, even though it is short lived. There is a sequence where a couple hang clothes in their terrace, there isn’t anything much to say but it brims with romance. There is more obvious first scene where the lady is in a shirt, just a shirt, may be his shirt. Is that also a tribute? Because if given freedom even I’d like to shoot one such scene in my movie.

With time I didn’t only got familiarized with their faces but also got familiarized with their identity. Everyone looked like someone whom I had already watched in some movie. And that being with so less Korean movie knowledge.

The movie couldn’t do a LA Confidential but still it scores. Once one of the two friends start suspecting a mole in the office things become really interesting. It takes a Departed turn, may be an Infernal Affairs turn for them but still it doesn’t go into that zone. The way the fishes were taken care and how it becomes integral part of story was brilliant. In fact the title connect, the water, the phrase associated with it, the symbolism, everything works. What I found to be bad graphics of a red bubble in the bomb could also be an indication of Korean flag. Suits, isn’t it?

Having been the first open film about Korean Reunification theme, it played itself really well. Especially during the climax where it left me with heavy heart. That’s why I titled the review to be sentimental education. Sentiment is too easily taken in action film. The thing I loved about this film is it takes it perfectly. When it’s needed. There is not a single dramatic movement. Even during the climax scene when the cop chases in car and train comes towards him, it’s just one cut. Just remember how Fast and Furious made a whole scene out of it. That’s the beauty of the film. During the climax when the heroine fires a wrong shot there isn’t much to ponder, all happens within seconds but still leaves a profound impact. I loved the way they differentiated between the assassin and the hospital girl by using a different style of teeth. Beautiful, really.


Life happens

Sometime some movies blow you away. Some movies stay with you. Some movies do both. I’d have never got a chance to watch this movie if not for Benny. Otherwise how would have I known anything other than Sairat or may be Fandry because I googled for Sairat.  I was happy because the posters were not appealing, with one of my friends commenting that the poster would give a tough competition to Kannada film posters. And I thought it would be a great guilty pleasure movie. But what happened was something totally different.


The film promises right from the word go with two kids talking about dresses, which makes us think it’s for each other, then makes us think it was for someone else and only finally we get to know that it’s for their granny. All this while we don’t see anything on screen. We see an elderly women dressed crisp and going somewhere. One advantage is I knew none of the actors so I didn’t know which one was makeup which one was real. Makeup wasn’t great but still it made the impact it ought to.

The beauty of the scene doesn’t stop there. Another person enters, our initial assumption is that he’d be her husband. Just like how we thought that Aruvi was pregnant as soon as we see her vomiting. Even though this one not being as epic as that scene in Aruvi, still it was a suspense. Then we get to know that it’s her sister, or may be only when in flashback where they both come again. Not sure but the point is how the story unfolds surprise after surprise without being cheap.

Now here comes the best part, for me the best scene in movie in fact. The kids ask for a gift from their granddad who had come from US but he says he hasn’t got one as he had come just for a day. Then goes on to say that he hasn’t got one even for the person who’s celebrating his birthday that day. The latter part is a surprise but the former could have easily been made cute. How many times do you really see someone not giving presents to children? That too without making it a ‘meaningful’ scene. Loved the purposelessness here.

Then the film goes to flashback mode and stays there throughout. Swapnil Joshi as Shreyas or more fondly Rishi Pakur was brilliant. Ankush Choudhary as DSP was equally good but I didn’t like the opening scene. Sai Tamhankar as Shirin, severely reminded me of Jangiri Madhumitha and just like here she was fabulous. I loved her character in the movie. But the one who steals the cherry is Jitendra Joshi (Sai), oh boy, how effortlessly he does a joker here.

The film does a good job in revealing each and every character so beautifully. And also the romance of Shreyas and Meenu (a beautiful Urmila Kanetkar, the surname immediately reminding me of Hrishikesh Kanitkar and that four to chase 300+ against Pakistan). By the time you see the interval you feel very bad for Shreyas, he hasn’t done anything wrong to be in the position he is in. You can’t support one instead of other too.

The film shows what happens usually, life. At one point when Shreyas’ father dies and her mom reveals about her boyfriend back then we get to know the harsh reality of life. When we see the faces of all women in that scene, all I could do was pity. But it’s not only him. It’s the same with DSP, Shreyas and everyone. May be it’s an ant parenting film as well. The most irritating moment of the film is when you see Sureka’s dad dancing for her daughter’s wedding. On the contrary the loveliest scene of the film was Shreyas’ break up with Meenu. It’s so sensitive and we are going to feel bad no matter what but thanks to the way it was handled and the bravery of Shreyas the scene was beautiful.

When Shreyas was getting beaten up in the climax, I was like ‘oh no not another Sairat’ but thanks to the DSP’s Deus ex machina I was saved, as much as Shreyas was. I don’t have much exposure to Marati films but caste, money, power etc. was central theme of Sairat, heard the same for Fandry and here too there was an undercurrent of all the above. Again all I could do was only pity. But between these too, if I take out Sairat’s climax, I would vouch for this film.

The film effortlessly uses 70s timeframe and style to tell a heart wrenching love – read as life – story. Special mention to Tik Tik Vajate and the numerous times the tune comes in the background. I loved the way the director had put the end credits as A film by Team Duniydari, which didn’t look like a cheap trick like Rajavin Munani Isai in Onayum Atukutiyum.

A lovely fairy tale about Love

Sometimes the easiest of titles could provide the greatest of impact. The title ‘Your Name’ couldn’t have been simpler. That too coming after watching ‘Werckmeister Harmonies’ a couple of weeks back. Well that’s a different league. Enough said about that.

your name


It was a herculean task for me to watch ‘Your Name’ which was getting stuck in almost every single medium that I tried to watch. May be that’s the way to go about for this movie. It was as much struggle as for Mitsuha to meet Taki. As being a person bad with names and all this body swapping it was even more confusing to discuss it with friends. As one of them rightly pointed out that this title being ideal for me. I couldn’t help but agree with a laughter.

Still talking about the title. The fact that when you see a person of opposite sex and thinking that you’ve already known them is considered the most clichéd emotion but when the whole film evolves and gets to the climax for that specific teeth. Wow couldn’t the emotion have been more sacred than this. This works even better because it’s an anime, the barring teeth, and face shattering expression is one of the common templates of an anime movie. So when the climax happens with that expression. Oh boy, couldn’t it have been better than this.

It takes a good twenty minutes to know what is happening in the movie. First you think it’s a dream, then you think it’s someone thinking that they’re in dream, then you know its body swapping and the final topping in the timeline change. It couldn’t have gone more complex than this. With a complex storyline like this all you feel is to get up and hoot but here the emotional connect is brilliant. Especially when you know that they’re from different time periods, your heart sinks thinking that they eventually wouldn’t join together.

The opening scene of the movie is something spectacular but while watching that none could have imagined it to be an impending disaster. That’s the first success of the movie. Luring us into the beauty and then scaring us with disaster. In that way making the disaster look even scarier.

I thought this is going to end up being my most favourite movie. Even though it was almost there it just couldn’t beat ‘The Grave of the Fireflies’. Taking nothing away from ‘Your Name’, may be the complexity hampered the process to it becoming my all-time favourite.

When Mitsuha first dreams of going to Tokyo I thought it’s going to be a coming of age movie where she’d go to a metro and realize how peaceful village life is. I was relieved when that was not the case. But still I liked Mitsuha’s lifestyle, the setting, the way her sister comes to wake her up when she touches her boobs. The grandma. Etc. etc.

Every anime film would have a cute little sister character who’d run around smiling, not realizing what is happening around her and being carefree about the world. So when something bad happens to her it’s very tough to digest, maybe that’s why ‘The Grave of the fireflies’ had such an impact on me. Even when I write this, I couldn’t stop thinking about the scene where she eats those buttons. Sob. Sob. In a similar fashion, in this movie when Taki knows about the asteroid and warns Mitsuha’s sister about it, she doesn’t heed to it. That was the most heart breaking scene in the movie. I’d have felt really bad if something had happened to her.

One of the most interesting things about the movie from that of Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli ones are, the use of music. I like the way the pop music was handled. Also the jump cuts, angles looked like a live action film. Something which Studio Ghibli would never hurt its ego and do. I’m in fact liking this whole non Studio Ghibli movement.


New Age Harmonica

Great movies look greater while watching for the second time because you know what to expect and you are aware of the timelines. It was the same with this movie was well. Having planned a lot to watch it on a tired-less day with a clear frame of mind. It failed. It always does, it was a tiring day after weekend work in office and pressure cooker brain fry. To sit in a dark room with high contrast black and white frame itself was a tough as such.

Werckmeister Harmonies.jpg

More than a thriller, the film draws you in its eeriness. Anyone who had watched Stalker would immediately notice the similarity of it with this movie’s first scene. The scene as such is a superb one, it feels like you’re in a ride. When Janos explains the Solar system, it’s actually funny as well. When the bar owner asks the people to get out, it was like, “orama poi vilayadunga da”. It was funny. When comparing it with the Stalker’s pub scene, this scene’s cinematography looks better and Stalker’s settings look better so can’t really single out a winner. The camera angles are lovely in this scene and so in the next scene. People who have read about the movie would know that the film contains only 39 cuts but it doesn’t really feel so because you see a lot of dimensions in each scene. Things appear even more beautiful when you watch it for the second time. It will look better and better with each time you watch.

For example, take the very first scene and now imagine where all the camera went, it’s very tough right. Next time you watch the movie, trace the camera, you’ll know that’s equally tough. And after a point you’ll lose track of it too. The success of the film is it makes you think all these crazy ideas, how a particular scene was created, where the camera moved, how the perspective changes etc. That thought wouldn’t come in every other movie. That’s an achievement.

Each shot can be taken and talked about separately like a short film and that’s the right way to do so. If I have a film running parallel to me in another screen, I could give a live commentary. If people own original DVD do watch the live commentary. It’s education.

Without wasting much time, if first scene was my favorite scene, I loved the second scene because of its beautiful pattern. The camera starts at door, consider it north, swerves to east, then to south, then to west. Thus making it a beautiful Rangoli. If you could watch the scene again after reading this review please do so. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it like a child.

And when it comes to perspective I loved the scene of a truck. May be this might not work for people who are watching for the first time. This scene might strike if people have good memory. I don’t have, so it didn’t strike on my first viewing. You start seeing a truck from long distance which closes on you and you see it at last from Janos’ point of view. At one point all you see is the body of the truck with that irritating noise of truck. You feel as if you can see it inside. Now I knew what was inside, first time I don’t know how it’d be. But the beauty here is it goes to a poster where they mention about The Whale, The Prince and Magic. What’s even more beautiful is how things change after a while, where the circle would get complete. After a chaos, the camera pans to Janos and then the same poster again. Such a beauty. The lovely thing was the circle.

The films standout scene would be the long walk, again a beautiful use of camera to capture emotions. I don’t know how everyone performs so well for a great film. May be they know beforehand that it’d be great. Because to have such a crowd walk with so much discipline with so much intent in face is not an easy task. Kudos to the director. And the way the scene unfolds in hospital and finishes off is another brilliance.

Everyone would have noted the music and shift in composition, be it the mob scene or in the whale scene but the thing that we fail to notice is the sound. The truck coming closer to us, the opening of Whale door, the footsteps of people. That’s the thing which brings eeriness to the movie. I’m not sure when was the last time I wrote such a passionate piece about an art film, I’m more an emotional movie fan but the fact that I was touched by this piece, like music, like a harmony shows how emotional the movie is.


Come…Fall in Love (with marriage)

It was my first Hindi film in theatre I guess. It was not the time where Hindi movies were on theatres. So I watched it in a B-grade theatre with mosquito bites.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.jpg

DDLJ when watched looks quite outdated because this looks more of a marriage story than love story. This being said with the ephemeral idea of how love in India means finding a person to get married. The things that we are debating now are why there couldn’t be live in relationships, why couldn’t love be there outside marriage, why should love be restricted to just one person and lot of other #mychoice problems. But let’s rewind to the past. It was a time when we were coming out of teachers telling us during Valentine’s Day on how love doesn’t mean having boyfriends and girlfriends but it could be loving your parents, friends etc.

So this was the time period which was sandwiched between these two when we and our parents both were in a stage that Love Marriage is wrong. Better than now because we don’t understand their point on why love marriage is wrong and they don’t understand why we’re rooting for love marriage. So DDLJ happened in a time where there was just plain rage where both are in sync and one wants to out power each other. Read clearly its Love marriage that we are talking about and not Love. That’s a whole different topic. I’ll get a chance to talk on it when the next GVM movie releases I think.

For this generation – in fact even I don’t belong to DDLJ generation, even though I celebrate it, it would have been better if I had been in my teens at least to completely appreciate it – it’d be better to take YJDH and compare it with DDLJ rather than telling how JYDH had taken so many inspirations from DDLJ.

Raj – a rich spoilt brat, who drives Porsche to college, whose dad celebrates his failure in college and drinks beer with him and Simran – Sanskari ladki, who sings Om Jai Jagadish Hari, I don’t know who still sings that out loudly in their home, meet each other when they are on Euro trip. You can’t get a better setting to start a love story. A road trip and two charming people. What else do you expect? The locales are as exciting to watch like that of Jeans where they showed seven wonders.

I even though like SRK post this movie, I could understand why it was celebrated back then. It was like how we celebrate Bunny now. I found SRK far more convincing in his later movies like KKHH, KKKG. I’ll leave it to you to expand all the abbreviations.

I found the first half to be insipid with romance being cheesy and scenes not really working out. If not for SRK and Kajol it’d have been a very tough watch. When I got to interval it felt as if I watched one whole movie. I was completely exhausted.

But the second half of the movie, something I hardly remember, something I wasn’t expecting anything out of it, is the reason behind the movies success. Only when watching now I could see almost every scene in the second half of the movie was taken in some other movie. And how many loose, tight remakes we have seen of DDLJ, need not mention about the inspirations. But of all the movies, even after so many years, this looked like an organic way of making parents understand children’s love. Rest all still looks like acting. Only that it ranges from best to worst.



This film is total dope. I’m finding it tough to concentrate to write but it’s like how when you are high and that’s when your senses are completely sharp. I’ve to write a review in present tense for this.

Arjun Reddy.jpg

What a day I chose to watch a film. It’s Sunday night and all I could think of is another horrible week at office. Its seven years and it doesn’t subside. In fact it’s getting to the worst, a peak where there is a sense that something is going to happen, again. It’s the third week of January, probably the time when all the New Year Resolutions break and make you feel naked. At least I’m not completely stripped. I’ve that much control. But yes even my resolutions are almost a failure. It’s almost not all. It’ll never be all. I’m not as confident as a layman to not take a resolution at all. To consider New Year and Birthday, just another day. I’ll continue to make list. I’ll fail. I’ll fail miserably. Still I’ll make list, I’ll make new list. I’ll tick it off too. Like how the grandma says she’d have convinced her parents. Probably the best character in the film.

After watching the movie, I was sitting down and staring, not thinking of anything. Now I’m staring at the screen not thinking of anything. Rarely does this feel happen in me. There were a lot of movies, coming of age movies where I get emotional. I watch it repeatedly to become sad like Premam or Tamasha. But Arjun Reddy can’t be watched again. It’s a single act magic. You watch it once and that’s all.

I’m amazed how the director could make a movie so dope and still make it work. I don’t know how so many liked it. Generally for movies like Tamasha when people didn’t like it, I loved it. I felt special that not everyone could connect with the movie but here I’m happy that people liked Arjun Reddy. It’s like accepting people who are different.

The film is organically dope. That’s some kind of writing. There were lot of scenes excellently conceived. Especially when you see the film as a character study it’s a great lesson. I loved the English lines Vijay spoke. Wow how good can it get. Probably only Matthew McConaughey could come close to it, in his True Detective. The dialogues were something you would heed to it only when you are high on dope, but when a general audience had seen it and liked it, it feels so good. It’s like touching that place in cerebral cortex to make it understand. There are so many scenes about objectifying women, about feeling blood in hands by being surgeon, about his girlfriend pulling the bed to make love, the way he says, “Y beedi is nice”, the dialogue to dean post football fight, the rush of adrenaline, eat and laugh after sex, the music behind it. Wow, just wow. I loved the scene where he talks about objectifying women and this comes in a film where there are lot of kissing and drug scenes. It’s like a slap in the face for people who have item numbers, objectifying women and talk morals about not smoking in cinema. I only wish that he had not said that, “we swear but we don’t objectify women”.

Of course Vijay rocks in the movie. He has a bit of Dulquer in him, in his looks but definitely a much better actor. There is a bit of Dev D in the story but it doesn’t romanticize it as much as Dev D. When knowing that Vikram’s son is going to act, this could be the best gift a dad could give to his son. Bala would love to make a first urban story in this concept. Even Dhruv looks a bit like him. Vijay in fact looks like many. He even look like Thegidi hero Ashok Selvan. But how the movie is going to suit Tamil audience and whether Vikram would overdo it by nurturing his kid too much is to be seen. If this had been an original movie, there couldn’t be anything better than making debut in this one.

The films immediate impact is wanting to smoke. Don’t know how right a feeling that is. It’s not a film where you’d root for Arjun. The premise is great. The fact that it happens in Medical College and he’s a doctor is a treat to watch. Of course he’s hot, like his friend says, he can woo any girl if he stands in the middle of the road with just his underwear. He’s rich and he’s talented. That makes this easy in third person’s perspective but that’s what the film is. If he’s poor and not talented the film would have been short film and ended in ten minutes.

His life is clumsy. Even Italy looks clumsy looking through him. Look how Corsica looked through Ranbir’s eyes. But the fact that all this is for love. It’s just again a bloody love story is hard to digest. I generally don’t like intervals. I don’t even like to go pee while watching a movie but the best thing I did while watching the movie is I took a dinner break 15 minutes before the climax, where Arjun comes back from Italy. It was gem till then but post that, he coming back, the kid being his, everyone uniting. It’s so convenient. It’s too great a film to deserve a happy ending like that damn it.

Generally post watching a movie there would be specific scene, specific instance or the overall mood that would linger in mind but with this movie it’s like that phase after you are drunk where you want to get back to normal but you don’t want to. All that runs on my mind is Dulquers face with Vijay’s confused look. It’s like a jigsaw. I hate that confused face of Dulquer. He’s such a limited actor. But I could pity him now. I could pity my mom who has to listen to my dad. I pity my dad whom I put into a pity state with my cynicism. I pity my family who have to see my like this time and again. I pity everyone.

Pleasure is completion

– Vikram M N

This has been second of the three impending arrears. Just the week before I completed last year’s arrear Rajahmundry and the very next week, the New Year week, I planned for this trek, at the cost of missing New Year Party. I feel bad if it’s New Year and I’m not with my regular group of Arun and Lokesh or with Arun or Lokesh.


Day 0 – Re-start


It was the repeat of what I did three months ago but this time there wasn’t a direct bus to Bodi. Idiots. They had cancelled the bus so we took a bus to Theni. It wasn’t as crowded in CMBT like last time so the bus started on time. I didn’t want to repeat the mistake of last time by waiting for the bus to stop in its regular abode for dinner. I asked guys to parcel it in Perungulathur. And boy, wasn’t it the best decision of my life.

So here is the cast.

Chennai Team

Prabha – Trek Organizer

Selva – His friend

Shiva – My Lights On Friend

Richie – His Friend

Arvind – Lights On Friend Arti’s brother

Mani – Aspiring director and my friend from Tadiandamol

Coimbatore Team

Sharmi – Prabha’s friend

Naresh – Her brother

Siva – His friend

Anusha – Dhoni (don’t know for what she’s called so)

Looking at the description, it looks like a film title. ‘The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover’

So the Chennai team started on time, everyone were disciplined, they weren’t carrying any unnecessary stuff. May be due to the fact that they’ve already trekked but even first timer Arvind didn’t have big luggage. In fact mine was the biggest, but lesser than last time as I did not have tent. But I didn’t want it to be too light. I had to train for other treks.

In bus Shiva and Arvind had some serious soccer talks which I of course didn’t understand. I slept as soon as I boarded the bus. I was yet to recoup from the previous week’s travel tiredness and an almost there cold. The previous week post the trek too was hectic, thanks to my cousins visit here. I was a bit worried whether I’d get sick for the trek but thankfully I didn’t. And due to all the above factors I had a sound sleep in bus. Only woke up at the point where they usually stop for dinner.

Day 1 – Perfection


We reached Theni New Bus Stand at 5 AM. In a hurry to catch Bodi bus we left Richie back as he was having a standalone tea. We met the remaining Coimbatore folks at Theni Old Bus stand and reached Bodi in half an hour. Richie reached there in a while. After trying hard for morning ablutions and failing miserably at it, we took bus to Kurangani. There was also another Bangalore group who seemed to be amazed with such low ticket rates of Tamil Nadu State Transport Service. Proud moment!


We reached Kurangani and everything was still fresh in the memory, including the failure. The room, the restaurant and everything. We were given a room to freshen up, the same place where I stayed last time. And Coimbatore folks took it to a level up and had a bath before the trek. Beautiful, isn’t it. We had our breakfast with a view in an open terrace. Just like last time the food was brilliant. Idly and Vada with Sambar, Chutney was fabulous. Don’t know how they make Idly so soft.  I ate quite a few Idlys and got ready for the trek. Prabha had parceled his share as he was fasting.

We started off in the usual path, everyone together. This time there was water dripping at a couple of places en route so at least we had points where we could fill our bottles. But don’t get mislead by this. Be prepared to walk the whole route with just the bottles you have. Last time we didn’t have any water points. So at first water point we settled, people were clicking lot of photos. Already an Electrol packet over.

The next stretch from First water point to second water point took a tool on Coimbatore gang with Sharmi struggling a lot. But they somehow managed and reached the place after a delay. Prabha and I were walking along them. Rest of the Chennai team had already reached there. From there I led to Othai Maram (solo tree). I was panting as I walked quickly and sun was beating too but reaching there was such a relief. I wanted to reach there first so as to set up my camera and take some extra rest. I did it in the process. Rest of Chennai gang came in quick succession but the Coimbatore gang took a lot of time to time. As soon as they came, they ate and took rest. Lemon Rice was divine.


We started from there at 3 AM, which was quite late and I was asked to be the sweeper by Prabha. I obliged. That was the wise thing to do. Chennai gang proceeded at a fast pace but for us it took forever to reach. Sharmi and co were struggling a lot. No amount of lies could satisfy them about reaching the destination. After a point it became pitch dark and we were walking only in moonlight. I think that got on to Siva. He who was becoming a trekker by saying the usual dialogue ‘almost there’ dialogue quite often, started to get irritated once it became dark but somehow we managed to reach Kolukumalai by 7 PM. By that time we reached, Sharmi told that she’d need a vehicle to go back the next day. I could see how exhausted she was. I could empathize because I know the pain of it, I was in that position only a couple of months back.

We met with the remaining gang at 7 PM and got to know that they reached by 5 PM. That was quite swift. Their idea was simple. None knew the route, so they wanted to reach some destination before it got dark and they did it in style. After having amazing tea, opting for free Wi-Fi and posting ‘irutarayil moratu kuthu’ selfie, we proceeded towards our tent. I didn’t sit the whole day except for Othae Maram. Sharmi noted that and told me to sit at least once we entered the tea estate J Quite observant.  I wanted to check my endurance thus that move, nothing else.

We warmed down near dinner place and settled for dinner. A very hard Chapati with chicken and Rice. Chicken curry was good but Chapati gave some serious scares so I didn’t ask for repeat. They were thinking a lot about giving a second serve of Chicken. That was quite unexpected. I could see how the place was getting commercialized. But somehow managed to get a second fill and had a satisfying dinner.


Within minutes we went to tent, stayed for a while at camp fire and I slept first. My usual thing. The stars were beautiful and there were people with loud music partying for New Year but they looked meek in front of us. That’s what walking could do to you. Mani and I settled in a tent and I was telling him, how five starish it looks when compared to Tadiandamol where the tent was wet and dinner was bread. Weather was great, right amount of chill to enjoy and cozy sleeping bag. With aching limbs and satisfying heart I slept really well. Except for once where I had to loo. Somehow I wasn’t worried about the next day, my usual habit, I somehow had a gut feeling that I’d be completing the trek.

Day 2 – Elation


Day started at 4.30 AM sharp. Coimbatore folks had opted out of trek to Meesapulimala peak. So with the remaining team we started off on the dot. Again great discipline. We had tea near the counter and started the walk. It was dark and cold in the morning and Shiva was wearing sandals which made him feel even colder. Beyond a certain point I, Selva, Richie, Shiva, Arvind and Mani started walking first. As I knew the route I hurried past everyone. Rest of the guys too agreed to the point of covering as much distance before the sunrise. I guess the sunrise point is somewhere before the actual peak but we didn’t stop anywhere and proceeded.


By the time we reached the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border there was visibility. We could see the peak in front of us. That peak which was not even visible last time around. Selva, Richie, Shiva and Arvind proceeded at a brisk pace. While we were walking we could see the horizon and sun slowly coming out. Everyone were giving different kind of expression. As I was walking last, I could see everyone’s face glued to the mighty sun, the sun which we hate daily. It was so nice to see real joyful elation. It was like meditation. I turned back a few times to view it. It was of course beautiful but I didn’t want to stop before reaching the peak. At certain point, everyone were mesmerized by the beauty of sunrise and stopped to take photo, video, time lapse etc. but I proceeded towards the peak and reach there first. To spread the hands and shout out success inside me felt brilliant. Job done! But Job not Well Done yet as I had to complete the trek.

But those few moments at the peak was brilliant. Mani and Prabha were nowhere to be seen. One of the two guys reached there. It was first time for him too. The view was brilliant but sunrise was the one which stood apart. I haven’t seen anything like that before. We took few silhouettes and selfies and started our way back

The return from the peak was scary due to elevation. We saw Prabha climbing up with our guide. Arvind and I reached in quick succession to the camp site. We met Mani there who told that he wasn’t confident about climbing the peak due to elevation. Not confident both physically and technically. Wise decision to make. Selva, Shiva and Richie too came down at 8 AM. I was getting hungry by 7 AM but unfortunately the breakfast was not ready. We met with the remaining Coimbtore gang who were lazing around. We got breakfast in some time. After hogging we went to tent to finish our packing and Prabha had come by then. But in all, we wasted close to 3 hours there. We couldn’t put our bags in jeep because it would not be possible to take it again to the stream where we had planned to take bath. In the mean time we took a lot of good photos and relaxed before the decent.

We started exactly at 11 AM after packing Parotta for lunch. Within an hour or so we reached Othae Maram and had our lunch there. Parotta was chewy but the peas masala made for it. Shiva and Mani discussed world movies en route. Within few minutes we started off from there and walked at swift pace. At a point I lost track and got doubt about the path so I started walking back, luckily Mani and co weren’t far away so we continued tracing the route to Kurangani. We stopped at two water points to fill water but we didn’t have much thirst while climbing down. Again I made a point to not sit anywhere. Everyone walked real fast and reached our destination in a couple of hours.

We bribed a couple of people there and went to stream. Had a great relaxing cold bath and fish pedicure. Also did some underwater stretches. It felt great but I had to control a lot to not sleep. We had an amazing Sarbat in Kurangani as tea was not available. We couldn’t spot the Coimbatore gang. Everyone there said that they hadn’t seen the jeep yet. So the Chennai team sans Prabha decided to take the return bus to Bodi. Luckily by the time we left we saw our guide who informed us that they were waiting for us to enter the stream. So we started off waving good bye to Prabha and guides.

In bus the locals were talking about certain murder which happened in that area the previous day but we weren’t very excited about the gossip. We reached Bodi before 6. I thought of spending some time in bus stand and then taking bus to Theni but others suggested to reach Theni and finish dinner. That was wise as well. I wasn’t feeling very hungry but we got down at Theni Old Bus Stand and searched for Vaigai Hotel, which a passerby suggested last time but that looked like a star hotel, so went to Hotel Thatti Vilas and had a feast of Mutton Biryani, Kuska, Parotta, Kari Dosa, Dosa, Mutton Chukka and Nattu Kozhi Kuruma. Everything was brilliant. Shiva was asking for Brinjal Curry without knowing that it’s a Bai Kadai dish and not south’s dish. I loved everything except for Kari Dosa. Except that everything was authentic and tasty.

From there we took a share auto to Theni New Bus Stand, something I hate. But we had good time pass. I was lamenting, thinking about another year and life in general. In the meantime having Theni special sweets Paal Bonda and some mittai kind of thinks, thanks to Arvind to introduce both to us. On another side Selva and Richie were discussion about Economy or something which I wasn’t really interested.


Bus as usual came late and as soon as we got it, wished each other Happy New Year, I switched off the phone and slept. With that much tiredness I didn’t want to be woken up for anything at all. It was a great way to end the year, beaming with pride and satisfaction. All is well that ends well.



Doesn’t etch in our memory. Still…

It’s always a pleasure to plan up for a Vikram movie, because it would be only me and my best friends. Ithellam Perumaya, kadamai. And on top of it, it was a festival weekend and we were striving so hard to get to theatres by 7 PM from all parts of Chennai. While all the way from office to theatre we were humming the theme music and entered the hall exactly at 7 AM for titles, we were so happy and got our money’s worth. If it could give this much happiness for a Vikram fan, which is like one in million, how would it be for a Vijay/Ajith fan which forms a majority and makes even a very meek movie a hit.


Sketch works because all you see is Vikram. There are hardly anyone who makes any impact. I think that’s been the problem post Anniyan where he wants to act big. And selects only big movies. He’s proud about it too. Don’t know how long it’s going to last. He’s able to pull off his part because of his confidence. No matter how bad the movie is he’d be doing his role sincerely because he believes in it. A trait which only Manorama has in my opinion.

I think this movie is another template movie where the director would have become his fan while seeing his acting and writes, directing only for him and without taking anything else into consideration. I think that’s been the story for the past ten years. Can’t really complain because even Mani fell into this trap. Ravanan looked like more of guilt ridden story to elevate Vikram’s status because of failing to cast him in his earlier movies. Suhasini still keeps saying about this in every interview. I think normal commercial directors who operate in a formula can anymore make films with him. Either they’ve to be classy, new gen or freaks. Look how brilliant Bejoy Nambiar made use of him in David. Of course it ended up being the biggest failure of his career but for critics this could be the best ever film a mainstream actor can make.

Sketch is an age old commercial film which rides solely on its hero, Vikram. He as usual carries the film on his shoulders, does an excellent job but ends up being egoistic about him being the only person to carry the film on his shoulders. It has a string of villains but you don’t really feel that anyone is going to be a threat for him even though how strong they are either physically or mentally. I don’t know whether Vikram would act even if he gets a role like Batman when there is scope for a villain like mentally strong Joker or a physically strong Bane.

So when the sidekicks die, it doesn’t really stay. Because you don’t feel for them. You can feel for them only through Vikram. Sreeman dying alone had at least some impact but it’s more due to Sethu and not due to Sketch. Excellent actor he’s. But the surprise package here is one of the sidekicks cracking timing jokes. He got a great response from the crowd. Good thing was he didn’t overdo it. But his end was predictable too.

The film falls so on usual masala film blue film, a hero introduction followed by introduction song, followed by fight, melody, a pre interval block, a song immediately post interval and climax twist. I hope the songs were concentrated better. Generally a must in a big hero commercial flick. I don’t remember when the last time Vikram got decent songs in his films when he’s not acting in a film by big director. But the consolation here is the BGM. A terrific one, needless to say he excels in those scenes along with fights. There is a scene where he gets back the bike and rides to the garage, an excellent one, if the same scene had been by Ajith/Vijay the applause would have been tremendous, even though he excels with his screen presence. In fact it’s the same with many other scenes as well.

Even though there was continuity, the films editing lacked a punch. But somehow the pre climax scene compensated for it by making a one truly swift scene. The climax got a bit of scare on everyone. It’s not like how you want your hero to comeback from grave but more of sympathy with a ‘oh no, please’ feeling. But that’s oh no it wasn’t again.



Space Sells

A film of which I have vague memory of monkeys jumping here and there. I was force fed this movie by my friend, it was one of the first five movies I watched when I got a computer. Needless to say I was bored beyond words. But what I don’t understand now is, now I found it to me one of the most entertaining of Kubrick’s movie, even better than A Clockwork Orange. Still Shining and Barry Lyndon remain to be on top of these two for me.

space odyssey

The best part about the movie is it works in Space Time. Where things happen slow, emotions less, music nil but tension high. In general in other sci-fi movies it’s not the same. The music is jarring almost in every scene, in every scene you feel like you’re off ground, in every scene you thing as if an imminent disaster is going to happen and deep within you want it happen, whether or not you get a positive or negative outcome from it.

So here in Space Odyssey you feel as if you’re in space rather than watching someone being in space. That’s the biggest achievement of Kubrick here. Even if you’re thrilled with other films, it feels as if you’re in 4D ride but not really up there in space. There is no time to think of anything when you’re kept on tenterhooks always. The changing of antenna control device is classic example of that. It takes place in a relatively lengthier manner than what you get to see in your regular films, on top it there is no music. In fact the acting is brilliant too because you can’t do much when you neither have dialogues nor people around you. What’s even more brilliant is the whole scene happens again when HAL asks them to replace and check. How many times have we undergone this meticulous process in cinema? And not a moment of it is boring.

Of course it poses a lot of questions and the opening scenes look a bit artificial. In fact while I watched the episode it felt like Kubrick was overdoing. I always had this apprehension while watching a Kubrick movie. I wish it had been more philosophical than aiming for perfection. With perfection there is a sense of detachment which happens. It works for certain movies, prime example being Barry Lyndon but with others it proves to be over burden. Even though on one side I could appreciate the futuristic airport and travel to the moon I was like ‘oh not again’ when the airhostess walks on the walk or a Poole goes on for a circular run. It’d have been nice for a lesser organic movie but not for this one. This feels only like a gimmick which would lead to appreciation of Kubrick. How clever he directs, how efficiently the camera is handled etc.

Special mention has to be given to HAL. He’d go down as one of the most villainous character. Nothing but red light, still it brings so much villainy. Can’t define why it happens, may be because of the starring red light, the cold voice or the eerie environment which HAL sets. If HAL’s revenge is as cunning as a human one, his death is even better which almost makes us feel guilty thinking as if we’re killing a life. The change of voice and then the memory going to the initial one is also such a gem.

What happens next is the part which truly elevates the movie. Those few minutes when being pulled into a colored vortex to a space unknown where Bowman sees parts of himself in various stages is eclectic. I think that’s where the greatness of film lies.






Tad too Worked Up but still… works.

Fresh out of the success of Thani Oruvan, Jayam Raja tries to prove a point from the very first scene. Fat people vs. Fisher men, people who come in car to exercise vs. people who go around doing their job, kids with candies vs. kids running with cricket bat. Typical rich vs. poor template. But trying to be smart, he ends up being desperate. Then there is SK (reminds me of a swear word we used in school) struggling with Chennai slang and forgetting every now and then about it and talking proper English and typical Tamil. In recent times only Karthi seems to have done the job perfectly with Chennai slang in Madras without overdoing. How a literate in North Madras would talk when within group and outside of it. Rest all ended up doing too much.


And everyone familiar with the album (Even though likeable, still kind of reminds you of some older songs). Which is almost everyone, would then be waiting for Karuthavelam Galijam. No surprise there, it’s the opening song but the situation could have definitely been better and song and choreography too could have been handled a lot better than setting up close up of SKs fake smile a million times.

There is almost a rushed introduction of Nayanthara who almost does nothing other than looking hot in pink shirt in climax. First time I was bored of Nayanthara post her comeback. Too many close up shots and her trademark smile wasted for not so funny sequence. Chemistry absolutely zero.

Yes you guessed it right. As third introduction there was Fahad Fasil scene. He made sure that all three had proper intro. Only that he made it evident to everyone but still Fahads opening scene ends up to be the best scene of the movie. His performance except for the scene where he shouts in angst out of car, was a treat to watch. Right from his name. In the opening scene he scores the moment he gets up. His dialogues makes us ensure we are on a high but the moment he gets up he steals the show. The best thing about him is he’s so subdued, Vikram could have done this scene and got a lot of claps too but to do this so subtly is the reward. Not only this, each and every scene, his expressions, and everything is minimal. Thus it works. Even in the last scene where the whole city lights up, including few in theatre. What was more awesome was to see Fahad breaking the light in his room. That’s Fahad taking on the whole world.

SK has to gain more confidence when it comes to acting. He was nowhere to be seen with Fahad around but that was acceptable. The chemistry with Nayan was more depressing. He generally is really good around heroines with his charm but here it was a total failure. The two scene he hugs and one scene where he has his hands around her waist, he was so not confident and looked like he was thinking what would Nayanthara think if he came a little too close. On the other hand look at Naanum Rowdy Thaan, Vijay Sethupathi was brilliant in combination scenes even though the film revolved around Nayanthara.

The film tries to get into serious mode little too quickly and little forcefully so the gear change doesn’t work without friction. But the director does a fairly decent job. It’s not as swift as Thani Oruvan but the film moves at a decent pace and engages every now and then. And Raja somehow does the climax decently rather than killing the villain in a clichéd warehouse.

Sneha does a beautiful job but it’s not as strong as the Jaya Seal’s one in Samurai. But that’s where Raja scores, it’s not so bad which will make you cringe but bad enough to make you feel bad and evoke sympathy. That’s good way to make commercial cinema. The first rule is to make it watchable.

He also took a commercially viable story which everyone can relate to, made it look like an intelligent film and thus making it a perfect commercial pot boiler. In the end all ends well that ends well.

Velaikaran is not really a movie which I could give a positive review but the fact that I took leave and watched it as a guilty pleasure shows how the movie could work for you. For me the timing worked perfectly, if it had not been on last week of December I would never have watched the movie. That week if I’m not travelling, I reserve it strictly for guilty pleasure and Velaikkaran was one such experience.