Me Thinks

Monday, October 15, 2012

Karan Johar = Dan Brown

Dan Brown can't possibly be anyone's favorite author. People might like his books but he won't be named as anyone's favorite author. His books are predictable. They have a formula. Typically, something seemingly impossible/unbelievable happens, more mysteries, suspense and finally good guy is the winner. I have only read 3 of his books but they all seem the same, as gripping as 2 of them might be.

Now let's talk about our future President of India, Karan Johar. Movies predictable and they have a formula. Foreign or foreign look-alike locations, accents, pop culture with a little bit of Indian-ness thrown in the form of a song where all characters wear Indian clothes and dance. And that song is always a hit. Finally everybody wins. Characters that confuse relationships die or fade away. But his movies create ripples, then waves and become super hits. Much like Dan Brown books.

So you and I can call them names, hate them but cant escape from them or their products because secretly we patronize them.

I don't want to watch The Student of the Year but I can't escape from "Radha tera Jhumka, O Radha tera thumka" song.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Barfi - Not a Review

Watched Barfi and enjoyed it. The whole nation is Ooooohing and Awwing for Ranbir Kapoor. He is brilliant, no doubt. He is present in every frame from start to end and he does justice. He'll probably get more awards for this than he did with Rockstar. But the person I am cheering for more is Priyanka Chopra. And this is why.

Bollywood is all about good looks. Even though Barfi is disabled, he is still a hunk, Ranbir Kapoor. A guy like that can attract not just engaged Ileana but also all the girls that pass by him. He is Ranbir Kapoor not Barfi. You can't blame him. That's Hindi cinema for you.

Remember Aydha Ezhutthu and Yuva? Madhavan was made to look like a road-side porukki/adiyaal 'Inba' to portray that rugged character but all Abhishek Bachchan had to do for the corresponding Hindi role was have stubble. That's it. He was Abhishek Bachchan not rowdy. Hindi cinema expects you to look good. And Priyanka Chopra, fortunately, breaks that trend and looks unlike her usual self. She looks ugly (as per Bollywood standards) with curly, unkempt hair, thick eyebrows and I don't know if she did something to her nose but that looked weird as well. She acts well as an autistic girl and I couldn't see Priyanka Chopra at all. She was Jhilmil.

She still doesn't beat Moondram Pirai (Sadma) SriDevi but comes really close. She is not present through out the movie, so doesn't have as much scope as Ranbir Kapoor but with the limited time, she does her best. I hope she wins a lot of awards for her portrayal. Go Jhilmil!! If you haven't already, please watch this movie.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Malarum Ninaivugal

My friend has been asking me to write a manalrum ninaivugal piece about my association with the family who's head is considered God of music by me. If you don't know what IR stands for, please don't read this post.

Long long ago so long ago only I know how long ago, my friend had a Manipuri friend who's cousin was selected by a Music Director to sing in one of his movies. My friend asked me to take care of that cousin since they don't speak much English. I went to the hotel where they were staying. I was shocked. What did I see? An 8 year old girl, her Mom, both of whom speak no English or Hindi and the girl's paattu teacher who spoke a little bit of Hindi. I realized they needed more help than initially thought. I promised to drop them at the studio next morning and helped them with some food that night.

The next morning, as I dropped them at Prasad studio, my heart was beating fast. Will I get to see IR, my idol? Just a glimpse would do. I told my boss, I would be an hour late for work. I knocked on a closed door since the guy at the gate said they should be seated inside that room. Yarru open pannina? IR himself and said "Vaanga vaanga". I froze. Not just that, he asked me to stay back and be a translator between him and the paattu teacher. "Bhaad me jaaye work" I called and told folks at work that I was too sick to come. Was so star struck that day and IR's assistant told me that the girl didn't get the pronunciation right. I helped the little girl with that. She was an amazing singer and so was her teacher. The Mom was just a spectator. The recording was for the song "Oru naal oru kanavu" (eventually sung by KJY and Anu Sriram).

As much as I helped, it was hard for the girl. But what a voice. The next day too practice continued and I went again on IR's insistence that I be there too. Why leave the chance? It was clear that the girl was not going to sing the song. Felt bad for her. I wondered why IR's son KR invited her all the way knowing the drawback. 10 minutes after that thought, someone called my name aloud. I turned to see and it was KR himself. He profusely thanked me for all the help and apologized for not being around. Said "En velai neenga pannineenga". Figured he was a very nice guy from that tone and he was very funny too. He insisted that all 4 of us come to their house for lunch. My dream run started then.

Went to their place for lunch where I met KR's sister BR. BR and I hit it off instantly and Mrs.IR was nice too. IR joined us after lunch. Kept pinching myself that day to make sure all this wasn't a dream. After lunch, they planned an impromptu trip to MGM with the little girl (even they knew she wasn't going to sing I guess) I said bye and walked towards my bike when Mrs.IR said I should go too. Who was I to refuse that offer!! So we went to MGM.

Kadhala Kadhala was a hit and when the MGM people saw KR and BR, they started playing those songs. Some people wanted to take pics with them. To avoid embarrassment, I offered to be the photographer and some people even said "Madam neengalum vaanga". It was a fun day. We exchanged numbers and I left that evening. A huge IR fan got to spend qality time with his family, went to his house and had lunch - that was enough for me. But what followed that was a huge surprise.

BR called me the next day and asked me if we could go out in the evening after work. I agreed. BR, KR and I hung out and had so much fun. I realized we were going to be meeting often. Once they took me to Kamal's office when I said I was Kamal rasigai. I met Ila Arun, spoke to Jackie Shroff, met Singapore group of musicians, went to some college culturals as judge along with them, my qualification being "BR and KR's friend".

I had heard about how grand Navaratri is in their house. Experienced it once when Asha Bhonsle was a singer. BR wanted me to stay when she was singing one of the days. It was risky considering my own house had Golu and stuff. I jaggaa vangified and told them I couldn't come to their house on some days. It was indeed very touching to see them go out of their way to do things for me. They didn't have too many normal friends where normal = non-celebrity. There were occasions when Mrs.IR would ask me to park my bike in their house and ask the driver to drop me. Also sometimes, their Mitsubishi Lancer would be waiting outside our apartment gate and I'd go there.

During all this, I also had many chances where IR would talk to me. I was like Raj from The Big Bang Theory..... Inwardly gushing and making an effort to answer. There was one time when BR and I "sang" How to Name it main piece. As someone who has those tunes tattooed in my mind, it wasn't hard for me. BR was laughing and singing. From the corner of my eye, I saw IR standing upstairs and watching us. Orey enthu pottu I sang. At the end of it, he said, "Idhu nalla irkkey". I almost fainted.

All this went on for almost 2 years but considering we 3 have very little in common, it was hard. When KR got engaged, I met his then fiancee. Very sweet but she was quiet unlike KR. I didnt go to their wedding since I would have been a fish out of water. Later met them at their house and realized I can't be frequenting the house of the newly weds. BR and I still continued to hang out. I switched jobs, traveled etc so our interactions came down to occasional calls, chat etc. Then I moved to the US and KR and I communicated once. He told me about Yatheeshwar. Now I read about them occasionally.

KR is a great guy and BR also very sweet. Never interacted with the brother, YSR. Always thought he was a little "different" from the other two. If KR or BR stumble upon this space sometime, I hope they realize I still think of them and how nice and warm they had been to me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Ashok says I have an opinion on everything. That is true. I think about things that are not really important...don't need to be thought of.

For example, I was wondering how PTO or Please Turn Over came about. I mean, who started using that first? Can you imagine someone starting a story with "Once upon a time" and at the end of the page forgot to write PTO? Would the reader start over from once upon a time again? Check this - The boy said hey are you (missed PTO) once upon a time there lived a boy". People turn the page no matter what. So why did PTO come into existence.

Just when I was thinking about the redundancy of an acronym, I realized how wrong I was. I quickly realized it must have been discovered/invented by a kid during final exams in India. The lazy teacher must have given 10 marks for a 20 mark question because the teacher couldn't turn the page over to see there is more on the other side. And the kid failed or worse yet got 90 in Math instead of 100 thanks to the teacher missing his "LHS = RHS hence proved" at the end but unfortunately on the other side of the paper. That kid probably started adding PTO at the end of the page religiously and we all followed that. I am pretty sure that is the origin of PTO.

Do you have another opinion? Please shout out.

And what's with PS and PS or PPS!!.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kalagalappu - Tamil Movie

The Plot - 2 Odhavakkara boys, 2 redundant girls, no storyline but super funny scenes. Now we have our own Andaz Apna Apna and can call this movie a cult classic. That is Kalagalappu (Masala Cafe) for you.

As a die-hard fan of Chennai 28, I try to watch all of Mirchi Siva's movies. He is hilarious. I also think, Ilavarasan is a very under-rated artist. He is a great actor and has an excellent timing in all his movies and his delivery is so funny. Put Siva and Ilavarasu together and what you get is a laugh riot. Please check out Amitabh Mama scene (and you are welcome).

The 2 ladies are there for no reason. I don't know their names and couldn't tell one from the other. At least one of them leads to Santhanam, who makes you laugh a good amount. Also it was nice to see Hum Log thatha V.S.Raghavan having a slightly better role than what he had in Thamizh Padam. While I am at it, I must mention that the movie also tried to convey a "message" to mankind that natural (or organic?) food can be made tasty and is definitely healthier. The message, although good, is lost in the plot and one wouldn't mind that.

These small budget movies are not typically released in the US and you end up watching it on YouTube or some such site even though one might gladly be a part of the Box Office collection that such a movie might make. Hope someone thinks of releasing movies officially online as well so people can watch them legally online. Until that day comes......

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I did it. Committed a sin. Along with a few friends of mine, decided to do something last night that I shouldn't have done. Disillusioned by some reviews I had read and by Deepika's hot looks, I watched the movie Cocktail.

Not the worst movie but I don't remember seeing a worse Hindi movie in theaters. The movie was made worse by the loud, jarring, annoying music. Jugni and the end song "And Jawani, Band jawani" are the worst. Maybe I should have watched it on YouTube or DVD months later. Now I feel I need to get some thiruttu DVD from Indian stores to make up for the money wasted.

1 boy and 2 girls, of which one of them is rich, the other homeless. So the paavam type always wins in all movies. The non-paavam type is made to look hot, wild and generally sleeps around with everyone. Boy sleeps with the rich girl and moves in while the "paavam" girl continues hating the boy. One day boy flirts with the paavam girl and gives her compliments and lo, they fall in love. Not unga veettu love enga veettu love, the kind that makes a womanizer like him, give up all his womanizing ways and go crazy behind "true love" kind of love. Why, you wonder. Adhudhan terilaye.

So the homeless, "paavam" girl steals the rich girl's boy friend and becomes an angel/hero. Why? I have no freaking idea.

Towards the end the movie shifts to India. Obviously the lovers unite but I am still wondering how the boy and the rich girl reach India before the other girl in spite of leaving hours or days later. I looked for some logic there. Kill me.

So the movie ends and when I wanted to come out because I couldn't take the "second hand jawani" song, someone was blocking the way and I had to stay to watch some bloopers/funny moments. We see Saif Ali Khan smelling his arm pit, lifting his shirt in front of the mirror and playing with his nipples. Oh cho chweet, what a treat!!

PS - The only good moments are when Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia come on the screen.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dollar Biscuit

Girl - Appa Appa Kadaikku Poreengala
Man - Aamaam Kannu. Unakku enna venum sollu
Girl - Dollar Biscuit, Dollar Biscuit, Dollar Biscuit venum

Thus went the ad for Dollar Biscuit on Radio. Majority of the people in TamilNadu know this ad. I always loved it. I imagined the girl to be my age and the scene that I envisaged made me envious of that house. When someone leaves the house, it's so easy to ask "Where are you going?" That's what comes naturally. But that's considered inauspicious. You can ask "Where will you return from?" or "Are you going to Work/Shop/hospital?" etc to avoid getting yelled. But that girl is smart enough to restrain herself and not ask her Dad where he was going. She actually asked him "Are you going to the shop?"

I wondered often what would have happened had I been in her situation. I would have asked my Dad "Where are you going?". From the corner of my house, my grand mother would yell "Hey Saturn, why are you asking him just when he is leaving", while looking at my Dad and that would have probably resulted in him retiring to the sofa and picking up his Hindu paper for the day. Knowing my grandmother's stature in our house, that scene wasn't totally impossible.

But the house in that ad was different. The Dad said "Yes I am. What do you want me to bring for you?" How much that impressed me then. And the jungle for Dollar biscuit was the answer to his question.

At an age when I didn't know too many currencies of the world, dollar meant a pendant with God figure embossed on it. I wondered if that biscuit looked similar to one of the dollars I had seen. I have never seen a dollar biscuit much less buy or eat. I think that radio campaign was a huge success for the dollar brand in terms of creating awareness but I wonder how many actually purchased it. I don't even remember stores carrying them. Never saw them. That is such a shame. That brand must have died. But I hope the owner of the brand or the maker of that catchy radio ad are doing well for themselves now. Nostalgia is a "birch".