Dedeicated to Chinthu who is turning 16 (x2) this week

ஆளும் வளரணும் அறிவும் வளரணும் அதுதாண்டா வளர்ச்சி
ஆசையோடு ஈன்றவளுக்கு அதுவே நீ தரும் மகிழ்ச்சி

Identify the song, movie and share your thoughts on these lines.


Morning Raga

An English speaking South Indian movie that has North Indian actors Shabana Azmi, Perizad Zorabian and Lilette Dubey in the prinicpal cast. That is good fusion in itself. The movie's story line itself is based on a carnatic-western music fusion band which helps the whole new age ambience.
If the Hollywood marketing gurus were to have made a trailer for this movie they would have probably kept saying Shabana Azmi in the voice over a few dozen times in a 40 second trailer. The movie and the director (Mahesh Dattani) depend so much on her.
The story has an interesting premise - there is a road accident - one woman loses her son - one kid loses his mother as their bus goes over a bridge. The bus went over the bridge to avoid a drunken car driver who too dies in the accident. Nineteen years later (or something like that) that son, mother and the daughter of the drunken driver get together on their own accord to create a fusion band. I would call that cool.
The English medium robbed the movie of some nativity. The dialogues seemed stunted in parts. I, for one, couldn't make out what the support cast in the band were saying. That apart, the acting stood out as acting in most places. The only naturals were the village milkman and his buffalo. Maybe this could have been avoided if the dialogues were not in English. Anywise, Shabana Azmi gives a bravura performance - but well like I said it was clear that it was a performance. She has lip synched to the carnatic songs without making it look awkward. She is definitely the reason why this movie was green lit, I am sure.
On the music front, I guess Mani Sharma had it easy this time around. He had to take some well know carnatic compositions and give it the fusion flavor. It was indeed a big giveaway to see one of the characters (Prakash Rao) do the same effortlessly with a Mac Powerbook.
We rented the movie for Shabana Azmi but returned it giving Rajeev Menon the top marks. Cinematography is the class topper here.
My personal black mark has been that I was late in seeing this 2004 release. It has lost some of its freshness as there have been a spurt of good indie movies from India in the recent past. Most of them good!

Weekly Revelations

  • The Simpsons has its animation outsourced - to Korea. All the animation work is done in South Korea. Only the creative input is done here.
  • Aquafina is actually bottled tap water. They lost a case and now have to print "Public Water Source" in the bottle labels.
  • The book sleeve/cover on hardcovers can double up as bookmarks - how didn't I catch this before?
  • Ramkumar is 'normal' since his wedding.


Picture Quiz #1

Identify the personalities in the picture. One of them should be easy... the other one?

I'll try and withhold the correct answers and give a fair chance to everyone. Clues too might be available in the comments section if warranted.


A Tribute to Ram

Well it is Ram's birthday today and what better way to pay tribute than embarrass him. I would like people who know him or anyone else to wish him in the Comments section so that it is stored for posterity. Also a few words of some awkward situation he was in would also be nice.
I fondly recall the time I starved him in the name of cooking dinner and how he wolfed down semi-cooked rice and called it nice.
Happy Birthday Ram - hope you get a proper dinner this time around.

Cheeni Kum follow-up

Check out

There is a discussion going on over which of IR's songs should be used in a new Hindi film titled 'Pa' featuring the Bachchans. One of the contributors suggests

Ponvaanam paneer thoovuthu - Specially if it has some nice lyrics and has Shreya Goshal singing

So, is SG the new SJ?



The usual... identify the original song of which this piece is an interlude


Cheeni Kum

Cheeni Kum is an interesting album but not the first of its kind. Interesting because it is a collection of five of Ilaiyaraja's finest compositions tune-wise. New lyrics and sung in the fresh voice of Shreya Ghosal. However, not the first of its kind - I remember this concept having been attempted before.
I am trying to recall the name of the album - the cover had the cast of Sathileelavathi (Ramesh Arvind, Heera but not Kamalhaasan). That album featured songs from Johnny among others.
Coming back to Cheeni Kum, the songs have been reproduced not only in language and lyrics but also in mood. I have to say it does not feel odd when the 'title song' is in a peppy flavor although the original one from Mouna Raagam was a sombre solo. The lyrics while not exceptional are easy on the ears.
My favorite in this compilation is Jaane do na - as good as the original.
On a side note, Amitabh's commentary in the opening is rather funny.
impress karne ke liye 25 lakh ka haar bhi de sakta tha
lekin bina price tag ke apako lagega 25 rupay ka hai
aur price tag ke saath de nahi sakta
To impress you I can get you a 25 lakh necklace
But without the price tag you might think it is a 25 rupees necklace
And I can't give you the price tag...

Refer Tamil Hub for extra alasals



Singing Bee this time...

Identify the song with the lines

Thittam pottu thirudura koottam thirudikonde irukkudhu

adhai sattam pottu thadukkura koottam thaduththukonde irukkudhu

Leave your answers by clicking on comments (don't answer anonymously... kinda defeats the purpose).


North by northwest

Getting back to my Hitchcock basics, I saw North by Northwest the other night. Supposedly, the last of his hits in the 60s before Hitchcock went into a career slump - a brief one though. This movie can so easily be remade in Thamizh - the aged hero effortlessly played by Cary Grant (twice divorced smooth talker) will definite have a few takers in Kollywood - might be the slick thriller follow-up to Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu for Kamalahaasan. The only burning question is which national monument in India can replace Mt.Rushmore? The answer to this has the potential for the box office boosting controversy that some producers seek at the time of story discussion. My other major worry is over the damned cell phones. Hitchcock was lucky to have lived in that bygone era. Adapting the script would be a big problem in the present day as many plot developments are based on the fact that the protagonist is far away from a telephone. Bloody technology... coming in the way of a good story. Finally, do we have airplanes fertilizing the fields in India? I guess not! So, it would be difficult to recreate the iconic plane chase of the movie. Well maybe it need not be a fertilizer plane... a simple two-seater plane in the middle of nowhere can be achieved I guess. So there you are... some challenges but an interesting premise for a Thamizh thriller. It would be a bigger headache in Hindi - Sanjay Gupta would make a Sanjay Dutt movie out of this plot I guess. Or... Ram Gopal Verma would make it with new faces and shoot the climax in the Qutb Minar or something and India's culture warriors would be offended. No, I don't see that happening.