From Chennai to the land of George Carlin

I have developed a habit of sleeping to digital cacophony - either from the television or from a walkman and more recently an MP3 player. During my first trip to the US, I pretty much used the same ruse to catch a few winks. I browsed through the audio offerings on Singapore Airlines and found a channel that featured stand-up comedians. Bill Cosby being featured in the list and his 'Noah and God' routine was what made me choose the channel. I was introduced to George Carlin this way. It was an eye-opener in more ways than one. The particular piece was an attack on the way English was being abused today especially by the airline industry. 

What does it mean to ‘pre-board’, you get on before you get on?

We would like to pre-board those passengers traveling with small children.” Well, what about those passengers traveling with large children?

They might tell you you’re on a non-stop flight. Well, I don’t think I care for that. No, I insist that my flight stop! Preferably at an airport!

When two planes almost collide, they call it a ‘near miss.’ It’s a near hit! A collision is a near miss!

In the unlikely event of a water landing….” Well what exactly is a ‘water landing?’ Am I mistaken, or does this sound somewhat similar to crashing into the ocean?

they tell you you’ll be landing shortly. That sound to anybody like we’re gonna miss the runway? ‘Final approach’ is not very promising either, is it?

“…enjoy your stay in Chicago, or wherever your final destination might be.” All destinations are final. That’s what it means, destiny, final. If you haven’t gotten where you’re going, you aren’t there yet!

Which brings me to ‘terminal.’ Another unfortunate word to be used in association with air travel. And they use it all over the airport, don’t they?

(The full text is available at

There were quite a few beeps to mask the profanity. This only made me seek out the original version within days of landing in the US.

Carlin's passing away has left me in a funny state of mind. Not a happy one for sure but I can recall only the funny lines that made me chuckle like an idiot during that flight.


Oru mottai, Oru meesai, naalu school pasanga - adhukku oru thalaivan - a violent love story

Oru mottai, Oru meesai, naalu school pasanga - adhukku oru thalaivan

Superstar's famous lines came to my mind as I stared at the sleeping ruffians in front of me. They were ten in all. Three more than what Thalaivar had to deal with in Rajathi Raja. I am not a violent person but this was not a situation resolved through dialogues or mediators. Granted, the ten thugs did not provoke me this time but I have been hurt by them in the recent past. Justice had to be delivered hered.

As they lay there, seemingly asleep, I knew that this was the best opportunity to do away with them.

I started with the smallest of them

The tool that I had obtained specially for this task was now put to test. Not exactly a surgeon's tool but one used in the higher echelons of a hygiene-crazy society. I cradled the tool between my fingers as I approached my target. If I fail with this guy then he is certain to wake the rest of them and I would have lost my chance forever. I held him by the top- while positioning the weapon very close to him - separating him from the rest - constantly checking for movements from the others - took a deep breath - snip! I didn't even realize that I had done it until I saw the body part rolling away from its former position. The rest did not even stir

Encouraged by the first success - I became trigger happy in a way. Until guy no.5. Four successful beheadings and I took my eye away from the proceedings for a second. He was a little chubby. Maybe that is why I missed the first time. I had to cut him twice in quick succession. I was amazed and paused the hacking for a bit. Was there an unknown serial killer in the family history? Where from did I get such cold blood? I just beheaded five thugs. I had to remind myself - thugs they were. They had drawn blood from my dear ones in the past. It was now my turn. Vengeance is mine. Divide and rule. Were they awake, the ten of them would have easily struck the sharp edged tool out of my hand and mocked me. Not today, not now. The meek shall rule tonight. If not by brawn, then by deception.

The remaining five - were they brothers of the slain five? Twins, perhaps? There remained a chubby one, a small one, a tall one and two others who looked remarkably average and remarkably similar. All five were done with in half the time that it took me for the first five. Looking back at the carnage, I grinned with pride - not a single trace of blood anywhere.

I then called every one at home to witness my success.

Cutting my three-month old son's finger nails is not an easy task. Nooooooo!

But today, I prevailed.

Thank you thalaivar(s) - Superstar for the inspiration and His Highness for sleeping through it.


Tintin in America by Hergé

Tintin in America (The Adventures of Tintin)

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A while back I came across this ad and started drooling. In my entire experience with comic books, Tintin and Asterix have been quintessential favorites. So, I plotted with care and finally landed all 55 titles earlier this month. Timeless humour and wonderful illustrations bring back some good memories. Plan to treat this set as a legacy piece. The Tintin series is from Egmont printing house - not the Magnet (or was it Magnum) printing house that I used to notice earlier. The difference is only in the font not in the quality of the pictures. Between Asterix and Tintin (sort of a choice between left eye and right eye), I favor Asterix for the humor content. These are European comics at their very best.

View all my reviews.


Movie Wish List Update

Movie Wish List

The Terrorist - I had the DVD for sometime. Not sure why I never saw it.

The Last King of Scotland - Idi Amin - State of blood - it was my first non-fiction book

Lust Caution - Ang Lee (I just saw Food Drink Man Woman - quietly engrossing)

Be Kind, Rewind - for the story premise alone

Anjaathey - a realistic Thamizh movie - need to see this one

Completed. Refreshing to note that I did not know most of the actors - in fact I recognized only three. I liked the movie.

Iron Man - when critics praise a popcorn flick...

Completed. Good super here flick - Check

Rajinikanth in and as Iron Man

for further insights.

New additions to the list

Saththam Podathey - Vasanth has described this as a Shakespearean tale with a Hitchcockian narrative. Should be interesting.

Aamir - a low budget Hindi movie without the hype is a must-see.


Rajinikanth in and as Iron Man

I saw Iron Man over the memorial day weekend. I have to say - the script has fallen into the wrong hands. I know... I know... it is the rare critically praised blockbuster but I still say that this script did not call for a Favareu-Downey collaboration. Instead it should be, stay with me here, wait for it... a Rajini-Shankar movie. I am so glad this blog is not hosted on Rediff - the outrage would be, as Michael Scott would say, incalculacable. So, yeah, my take on the whole Iron Man experience is that it should be a Rajini-Shankar movie.

I took some time to recall the movie in its entirety after I got back home. Wifey has pretty much started ignoring the zombie unresponsive glazed eyes mode that I fall into. The only time she interferes is when I am driving (sometimes on the shoulder). This particular reverie was devoted to Rajinification of Iron Man. 


The movie at its core is a true superhero movie recalled in many different ways in earlier comic strips and movies. So, I hope I am not giving too much away.

I want to start off with the Las Vegas bit that is shown in the movie. Only here it is a seven star hotel somewhere in India. There is some award presentation ceremony for our hero (a genius scientist specializing in state of the art weapons) and instead of our hero his trusted business partner, Obediyah Steyene, receives the award. Now, for this Obadiah Steyne character - complete with bald pate, white beard and regal features,  I want Shankar to rope in Naseerunddin Shah. Come on, its high time we moved upwards of Aashish Vidhyarthi. So, casting coup number one - Naseeruddin Shah as Ulaganathan Shastri(or some harmless regional last name).

So, the crowd is wondering where the hero is and we find badass Superstar romping with the chicks in a discotheque complete with introduction song a la "Aasai nooru vagai vaazhvil nooru suvai vaa". Rajinikanth is the desi Tony Stark - I am at a loss for mythological names here that will suit Thalaivar's image. Maybe something generic like Thiruchelvan, Thiru for short. Regardless, Rajini is one of the best badass players Kollywood. A few one liners and a couple of punch lines ("Thirooooo da!" is an easy one) and we should be in for a great start to the movie. The slide show featuring Tony Stark's rise can be substituted with shots of Thalaivar's past successes - why not!

Iron Man features a reporter character that the hero 'uses'. In the Rajinification process, this can be the second heroine and she can feature in the intro song. Jarvis, the electronic butler provides a few laughs in the movie and this is the not-so-electronic Vivek/Vadivelu character in the Rajini flick. Tony's secretary and secret admirer, Pepper Pots, is of course enacted by the as of now elusive to Thamizh audience, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. 

As this is a Shankar movie, there has to be an undercurrent 'message' of anti-corruption somewhere in the system. The hero is initially aiding and abetting but eventually abolishes the source of this corruption. We need to work on that. Where do the anti social elements in South India buy their weapons? Hmmm... maybe that's where the corruption is. Thiruchelvan creates a multitude of weapons thinking that it is for the Indian Armed Forces while it is being secretly sold to different shady groups. He is absolutely unaware of this and it is all Ulaganathan Shastri's doing. Shastri is just a weapons pimp wearing business suits.

Thiru finds himself at the wrong place one hour into the movie and is injured, captured and locked down in an adda by the kettavaa. The leader of this particular brand of thugs is some bearded guy with no scruples - it could be that guy from Sathya - Charavarthy. Chakravarthy wants Thiru to build a weapon of mass destruction. Thiru has a Nasser like character for company in the cell while he recovers from his injuries. During this time Thiru realizes that he has been unwittingly helping the villains through his inventions. He starts working on an armor and a plan to escape while a song a la "Vetri nichchayam idhu vedha sathiyam" plays in the background. Nasser dies while helping him escape. A fantastic action sequence where Thalaivar annihilates an entire army of thadiyans follows. After he blows up the adda punctuated by one liners and the camera focuses on the burning embers reflected in his eyes... Intermission.

His army friend (taking a cue from Kuselan, it can be Pasupathi or even Napolean, very regal in 10avataram) who has been searching for him finds him (sans armor of course) wandering in the Deccan Plateau somewhere and whisks him back to the real world.

Reporters (mainly the second heroine) clamor to interview Thiru who promises a different direction for his weapons company and earns Shastri-ji's disapproval. There is a series of covert operations with Thalaivar in armour going after different kalla parts with sidekick comedian and sometimes Thalaive for company. A racy song can find its way in here. Grandiose sets built at the cost of Uganda's GDP should just about do it.

Press and public hail the exploits of this mystery man and gives him some catchy name (which is of course the movie's title). Somewhere around this time, Thalaivar mellows and has a couple of soft moments with Thalaivi. The Tony Stark-Pepper Pots moment in the dressed-up ball so demanded a duet song!

Then it is all business. Shastri-ji puts two and two together. Develops an even better armor based on Thalaivar's design. Seems to do all but kill Thalaivar. Thalaivar resurrects himself with Napolean and Thalaivi's help and puts and end to Shastri and ergo the corruption in the system. Twenty five years down the line, India and eventually the world is a weapons-free paradise.

Maybe we should call this movie... Robo(t)! Ta da