Me Thinks

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sivaji experience by a Rajini fan

My friend Bubby is a hardcore Rajini fan. And I think its appropriate to post her review here. Although we disagree with a few things, I enjoy reading her review. here it goes.......

Right from the first frame till the last SIVAJI is total paisa vasool.


Sivaji, the software professional or something like that comes to India to set up a project worth 200 Crore and build colleges, hospitals etc. Adiseshan (Suman) is his rival who goes all out to stop Sivaji from building this empire. He succeeds in doing so and Sivaji is left with just one rupee in hand… And this is the interval block. Does Sivaji succeed in building his 200 Crore empire ? (what a suspense…nailbiting I say) .. There you have your 3 hour extravaganza!

Sivaji has all the ingredients of a Rajni movie.. for the pucca Rajni fan.. right from your mill thozilaali [the kaamedy in the first part] to your Manhattan tam guy [Thalaivar englipees la pinraar]. The first half comedy especially the first one hour is mainly aimed at rows # T-Z but let me tell you honestly. I enjoy slapstick comedy immensely and I laughed out loud everytime thalaivar went "ooohh.. haa" after biting those red chillies in the kaamedy scene.

Talking about kaamedy, Vivek is at his best. We have seen him in Anniyan giving those "Thala-muthu natarasaan maligai-la application podara madiri love letter irukkaee…."lines. He is at his peak when he gives those punch lines.. aamam… this time it is not thalaivar but china-k-kalaivanar who gives all those punch dialaaks, but only after taking a dig at all the china-p-pasanga who have started lifting their fingers giving punch dialaaks. Simbu, Vijay , kekkudha?

Thailavar does a Sivaji, M G R and yes, Kamal in one of the sequences. Deepavali annikku pongal saapadalam, aana pongal annikku deepavali saapida mudiyuma? Wondering why I am doing a Ganthimathi here? Thailavar-Superstar can imitate Ulaga nayagan but can Ulaga Nayagan do a Superstar? Adhu....

The Adhiradi second half is for rows #A-Z. Thalaivar has kalakkufyed like never before. The action sequences are by Peter Hain.. and uff.. is Thalaivar really 57? Hard to believe!! Matrix in its umpteenth avadaram in tamizh cinema. The Tamizhised Matrix has its own charm thanks only to Superstar.

The first half has more romantic interludes with Shriya and less of Rajni-Suman modhal. May be it was aimed at the aam junta wanting to look at a typical daavani-poaata tamizh kudumba ponnu again and again with Thalaivar. As a big Shankar fan, I was looking for the Rajni-Suman modhal scenes in the first half which were missing quite a bit. But the director makes up for it by giving an action virundu in the second half.


The music.. A R R !! What more can I say? Like most Rahman albums, the songs didn't get me hooked the first few times I listened. But now, 'Oru koodai sunlight a.k.a Style', 'Adhiradee..' are on repeattt-u mode...forever! Now take a break and ensoy this ..

The Athiradee song is a perfect combination of best music, best singers – my favourites Karthik, Naresh Iyer are the supporting vocals, best costumes- Thailavar's adiradee look- blonde hair etc, Sooper choreography – Lawrence or Raju?


In 'Oru koodai sunlight' , I could not take my eyes off thalaivar's difference avtars. Ufff! This man spells magic and is awesome awesome awesome. Shot in Spain, Prabhudeva has choreographed the moves. Pa.Vijay's lyrics are cool! Blaaze, Rags, Suresh Peters have sung this song.

There are actors and actors who do 10 odd avadaraams in one movie. (Deepa's note - Ellam poramai Padmashree kedakkala nu) Our thalaivar does that in one shot.. sorry one frame.. check out the last sequence of 'Oru koodai'. Naa enda thailavana paapennnu tindadiponeen, saamiyoov!

Raju sundaram, Lawrence and Brinda have choreographed the other songs and have given thalaivar innovative kai-kaal mattum aatara steps.

You blow a thousand whistles when Thalaivar makes an entry in Athiradee on the bike… and the scene where he takes the guitar in his hand and does a jig.. *whistle* *whistle* [ ok ok .. I agree this sequence has been urufyed..adappongappa]


Thotta Tharani, last seen in Nimmadhi, Sorgam, Narakam and other AVM serials, please take a bow. His 3 crore set for 'Vaaji Vaaji' is replete with intricate details and is a maha treat for the eyes. He has transformed locations like never before . 'Athiradee' was shot in Binny mills, I heard. The opening 'Balelakka' was shot in Wai, Maharashtra and is colourful with rajni's face painted bellys and dancers with tigers painted on their bellys.

Thalaivar's look

He looks absolutely fresh, the styling, the makeup and the costumes are completely out of the world. No wonder Manish Malhotra is considered the God of film stylists in Bollywood. Stylist for Shahrukh khan, karishma kapoor, Urmila, Shilpa etc he has given some ultimate suits, jackets, capris etc for thalaivar. Neeta Lulla, too has done her job very well for Shriya. In ' Vaaji Vaaji' the colour coordinated costumes are superb. Thalaivar' s bearded look suits him the best. Manish, don't let the Sais and Bais of the tamil costume world go anywhere near thalaivar.. please ensure that you are with him for all his movies from now on.

THE MOTTAI BOSS : I am going to watch the movie again and again only for this. The mottai, the beard, the contacts.. adra sakkai, adra sakkai, adra sakkai.... Drool Drool.. Thalaivaaaaa......... you are God! Superstar looks stunning in this look and looks the best here. The Mottai boss is called.. well, watch the film, people!

Peter Hain : You saw him in Kaakha Kaakha, Anniyan etc. In Sivaji he tells you once again why he really is BOSS of action. Anda King kong action sequence, the action in the mills sequence, music store etc are Adiradee.. adidadi !!

K V Anand the magician who gave us stunning frames in Mudhalvan, Khakhee (Hindi),Kaadhal Desam etc is one of the many proofs we have to say how superior South Indian cameraman are compared to their North Indian counterparts. The unassuming cameraman's lighting and framing is of superior quality.


Sujatha does a good job, like always. The punch dialaaks (by Vivek ) are like 10000 vaala paattasu. Dont be surprised if your driver / domestic help says "Cool" more often. "Cool" is the new "Idhu eppadi irukku"... the new "Ippudu choodu".
Ofcourse there are these mandatory statistics that are in Sujatha's viral nuni (Tamizh-natula crore black money, india-vula Rs.ABC crore black money etc) which he collects only to use in such films. One thing missing was a brahmin character (read: Iyengar.. no entry for Iyers) which is a part of every Sujatha-written film. Now that Sivaji is out, you can expect his boring Katradum-Petradum in Vikatan to run for yet another year till another Maniratnam film takes over and you will have Katradum filled with "Shankar sneeze pannar.. Maniratnam-kku moottu vali , Rajni Rasagulla saaptar" kinda nonsense.

Trust me to look for such things. Vadivukkarasi's plastic kadamba poo on her head in the scene when the family leaves their home. he he he

One thing that I have never figured out in these umpteen years of tamizh film watching. Why do heroines of tamizh cinema recite wonly the "Kaakha Kaakha kanagavel kaaka" line to save them whenever their taali is in trouble.. Why ? Yean? endukku?
[ Deepz, you are my inspiration in asking such important kelvis]


Suman as Adi seshan is the villian. We saw him last in the disastrous tamil remake of Deewar, Thee with a squeaky voice. For some reason.. sorry for one and only reason the name Suman reminds me of my college, Ethiraj. Adu oru periya chinna kadaiyyaa! Honestly, may be because of his scenes or the characterisation you dont hate him as much as you hated Raghuvaran in Baadshah or Mudhalvan... In those films you hated the moment the baddie appeared on scene. May be Shankar intention was not that . He did not want us to hate Adiseshan so much. But let me admit, Suman has done a decent job... special mention for his dubbing artiste Subbu a.k.a Subramaniam. For once it is not Sairavi, Sai, Rajendran , Murali kumar and the umpteen regular villian dubbers who float around screaming "Deeeeeei" from their throat, giving the same modulation for every villian from Tellywood, Bollywood..[Ashish Vidhyarthi, Sonu Sood, Kotta Srinivasa rao etc]

Shriya Saran in the lead does her part very well. A total thaavani pota tamizh penn in the scenes and 'thaarala' maana penn in the song sequences. Honestly, a Trisha or an Asin could not have looked so good in the song sequences. Again special mention for Kaniha, who has dubbed for Shriya. Kaniha has a thin voice, modulation is not over the top or filmy . For once it is not the same Savitha reddy or Renuka or for that matter the awful Jayageetha doing the arrghs and ummms for the heroine.

Vivek, like I mentioned before is ultimate. Thalaivar and Chinna-k-kalaivanar make a perfect pair and their kaamedy timing is kalakkal.

Nayanthara makes a special appearance in Balelakka and looks hot .

There is Patti mandram raja as Shriya's father trying to act , Solomon Papaiiyya in his inimitable style saying 'Pazhaga vaanga', Uma Padmanabhan with that Velakkennai expression (you have seen the same one a zillion times in that serial Veetukku veedu). Thank God , madam does away with that awful strand of hair that comes on her face in her tele shows. Manivannan, Vadivukkarasi, Naa-inga-yenna-pandren Raghuvaran ,the ever-irritating-mallu-accented V M C Haneefa, 'Policeman' Shanmugaraja, 'Bose' Venkat [ I like him ] are all there. Oh ya, you have Shankar, K V Anand and Thotta Tarani doing a guest appeance in Balelakka .


Over all, Sivaji is an enjoyable experience. Dont enter the theatre if you are looking for logic, and are going to ask stupid questions like "how can some one who is dead come back alive?" " how can THE BOSS get away after beating all the politicians, bureaucrats? etc" .. If you are going to ask such silly koshtans, I suggest you donate your tickets to a Rajni rasigan / rasigai like me and go home to watch Kolangal and Arasi.

I had paid a whopping 180 bucks for a single ticket for the First Day first housefull show. But let me tell you, SIVAJI THE BOSS was worth every penny. I am going again, this time spending double, for my purusan too who is all enthu to accompany me tomorrow to the multiplex. I am waiting for that one friend to come back from Madras so that I can go again to watch it for the third time, next week .

SIVAJI - THE BOSS .. Ultimate.. Cool!!

Who's who:
1. Manish Malhotra – Transformed Karishma kapoor from a badly made up Nadigan (I said Nadigan, I know) to a decent looking actress in Raja Hindustani. Urmila Matondkar who? said many, before Manish transformed her into a sexy siren in Rangeela. Ditto for Rani mukherji, Kajol and the likes.

2. Banu – A well acclaimed make up artiste in South Indian advertising, she had to struggle for many many years to get a membership into the Makeup Men's Union of the South Indian Film association [FEFSI] . The Union heads feared that a woman entering the Union, (paving the way for many more women to enter the field )would take away their livelihood.adakkongakka makka!

3. Subbu - Son of veteran producer Panchu arunachalam, he has (co?)produced Cheran's mayyakkanadi. He is one of the villians on the teleserial Arasi. Some 10 odd people were auditioned to dub for Suman before Subbu was finalized.

4. Kaniha - This former Miss. Madras made her debut in Madras Talkies' Five star and went on to play the lead in a few films including Ajith's Varalaaru. She had earlier dubbed for Sadhaa in Anniyan. Her sister is also a dubbing artiste and she had dubbed for Mallika in Autograph

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sivaji experience by a Kamal fan

I am a big Kamal Hassan fan. I was definitely not planning on watching Sivaji first day first show. As "destiny" would have it, I ended up watching it. I watched Chandramukhi too in theatres and I didn't like the movie, liked only parts of it such as Rajini's laka laka scenes, ra ra song. People were actually looking at the camera and talking just like we used to in 4th standard school plays only instead of the camera, we always faced the microphone even while talking to people standing behind us or beside us. So when it became a super hit, I knew why I was always at odds with Rajini fans.

Just before entering the theatre I had made up my mind to look for faults in the movie. The theatre was only 20% full. Point 1 - noted. Movie not that great, hence so many empty seats even on the first day. (The show was actually added in the last minute and not many people knew about it as it was a weekday afternoon) 5 minutes into the movie came the SPB tongue twister song. It was totally out of place. It was supposed to be on tamil culture. Tamil culture says you can wear tight blouses without a veil and just a small skirt but if you have a pottu in place and a kondai, its OK. But its wrong to wear a spaghetti strap top and a tight jean. Point 2 - noted. The song's setting reminded me of Shankar's Azhagaana rakshasiye song from Mudhalvan.

Vivek-rajini combo is a laugh-fest. You begin to wonder why people even thought Vadivelu-Rajini combo was funny in ChandraMukhi. Rajini's make up is very good. His Raja Chinna Roja hairstyle is back. I can't remember who did the cotume designing for Rajni and Shreya. They've done a fabulous job. I think Shreya is very lucky. All her costumes accentuate her great figure. Thotta Tharani's sets are wonderful. Looks like they spent a ton of money on this movie. Shankar's brilliance comes through in every scene. And I think Shankar is the only director who gets the pulse of the audience these days. One hour into the movie and I knew this movie was going to be a superhit. Its been directed really well. Shankar has maximised everyone's talent.

Since when did Sun TV's Uma, Raja, Salamon Papaya started acting in movies? Uma I think has a daughter Shreya's age in real life. But still she looks too young to be Shreya's Mom. And she has done a decent job. Vadivukkarasi and Mani Vannan are sadly under-utilized. I had a big smile when I saw Raghuvaran on the screen. I've been his fan since his "Idhu oru manidhanin kadhai" (DD soap) days. It was refreshing to see MayilSaami, Chinni Jayanth too. Livingstone was very funny even though he came for only a couple of minutes. The last time I enjoyed a Rajini movie so much was when I saw Thillu Mullu (and I still feel that movie was Rajini's best) Hats off to Shankar and team. Rajini's star power would've definitely carried the movie like it happened to ChandraMukhi but this movie has been made brilliantly.

The ending is lame. And tamil movies still believe that changing the hairstyle gives a person different identity and they expect us to go with that. Other than that, the movie is really good. As Shankar claims interview after interview, the message in the movie is not great. He is trying very hard to convey the message. Whats wrong with making a commercial movie without any message? Someone's gotta tell Shankar that. Unless the movie is a Unnal Mudiyum thambi or Indian or Mudhalvan, the message doesn't really get through. But this is a well-made commercial movie.

Fair Rajini really looked fair to me. But mottai rajini was the best. Rajini acting like a conductor for Vivek's auto was awesome. And Vivek is back with a bang, baby.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Radio Memories

For years the devotional songs on the radio was my alarm clock in the morning. My mother always switched the radio on first thing in the morning. I don't know if it was Madras A or Vivitha Bharti. My mother still insists the program in the radio always told her the time and made her stay organized during busy mornings of the week.
7:30 AM - Sangeet Sarita. This program was about "Shastriya Sangeet". For the longest time, I didn't know what the term meant and I always thought "raag yaman" sounded funny. Imagine a raagam named yaman, I thought. Just when this pogram began, Appa used to leave for work.
7:40 AM - Rangavali. They played nice old hindi songs. I guess that kind of programmed our system to listen to old hindi melodies to day.
8:00 AM - Bhakti paadalgal. Nagoor Hanifa songs were very good. We listened to assorted hindu, christian and muslim religious songs then for 10 minutes. When the second song played, my mother left for work. It was always 8:10. 5 minutes of commericials/ads and then our favourite program started.
8:15 AM - Ungal viruppam. I have a feeling no program has ever had a following as big as this one had in Madras. Not even today's radio mirchi.

A brief introduction to Ungal Viruppam wouldn't be out of place now. Readers write to the station asking for a specific song. If many readers ask for a particular song, they play the song. Just before playing, the announcer reads a big list of names - the names of the people who had requested that song. There were no e-mails and even phones were rare then. So interested parties buy a postcard, write a request and mail it. My brother and I always paid close attention to that name list. The name "ICF Aasai Thambi" was the oft-repeated one. "Wow!" we always exclaimed, "He must be the most popular guy in the city. His name is on every song". We were kids then. I wonder where Aasai thambi is now!

Dear ICF Aasai Thambi,

I don't know if the program "Ungal Viruppam" is still alive. But I sincerely hope you are. You probably moved out of ICF colony and bought a house in Anna Nagar or Perambur or Avadi. Thats because I can't imagine you living anywhere outside Chennai. Was writing requests to the station your full-time job then? If not, I salute your enthusiasm. I am sure you are net savvy now. Do you mail all your friends, acquaitances with such alacrity? Sometimes I wish you had a blog. And maybe you'd make a post on the number of songs you had requested, the number played and such statistics for followers like my brother and me. When I come across sites such as this where you request a song and they'd play it for you, I often think of you.

I digressed. Radio was always blaring in the mornings in every flat in the colony we lived in. Wonder if people even listen to anything other than FM radio these days. I listen to talk radio while driving. And everytime I switch on the radio, the memories of the AM radio mornings "flash upon that inward eye, which is a bliss of solitude".