My Inner Voice

Some people hear their own Inner Voices with great clarity and they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy or become legends... - Jim Morrison

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kamal's films exposed

I am posting a few trailers of Hollywood movies that remind you of a lot of Kamal movies. This is an addendum to my previous post on Kamal's lack of 'authenticity'.

'Nala Damayanti' - Green Card trailer

'Panchathantiram' expose - Very Bad Things trailer

'Indiran Chandiran' - Moon Over Parador

'Magalir Mattum' - Nine to Five Trailer

'Tenali' - What About Bob?

'Sathileelavathi' - She-Devil trailer

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sujata and her daughter Shwetha Mohan - truly speechless

This is the kind of amazing talent our nation has. We keep wasting our time praising and ridiculing pieces of art that dont deserve as much attention as these talents actually deserve. Makes you truly speechless after you listen to them...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Dasavatharam only proves a point about Kamal that some of us already know, Kamal is very confused when it comes to making movies. Note the word 'making' and not 'acting'.

As an actor, his histrionic skills are un-questionable. 'Dasa' proves to be a testimony for this fact. But covering up the face in foot-long mask or mould and leaving your eyes alone to do the acting is becoming a pain in the rear-end. The make-up clearly is preventing the emotions to come through. It will surely bring 'wows' from those first-benchers who will leave the theatre and start screaming into those TV channel microphones, "Kamal-u nalla nachikkiraru, kamal-u soopera act kuduthikkiraru....". But I think its high time Kamal showcases his histrionics without a 'fancy-dress'.

Coming back to my statement about Kamal being confused; he watches and admires movies that are made for a higher level of intelligentia, movies that are not meant to be money-grocers, but heart-ticklers. But when it comes to making his own movies, he is forced to make money from a crowd which is a widespread strata of intellectuals, ranging from illiterate to highly qualified. He is always confused whether or not to make movies that are understandable and appreciatable by all. So he always makes a mixture that reaches none.

Dasavatharam is a classic example of this turbid state of mind. By now the 'so-called' concept of Dasavatharam, 'Chaos Theory', has been discussed and dessimated by many reviewers. This review will not go into those details. Rather this post will tell you a piece of information that many filmmakers don't know about their own films.

If Dasavatharam is based on Chaos Theory, every Tamil movie made thus far is based on 'Chaos Theory' !!!!!!

Baffled? Here's why: Kamal argues that the series of events that took place from the 12th century to the modern day tsunami was nature's way of preventing a huge mishap from happening. All the 10 characters, played by 'his excellency', helped nature's course. But what you don't realise is that in every movie made thus far, there is an end towards which the movie is moving and there are a bunch of incidents that happen towards that end. Meaning the characters in the movie help in reaching that end. The only difference is that those characters are not all played by the same person.

For Eg: The villain rapes a young girl. So the hero avenges the villain. Now put 'Chaos Theory' into picture. If the young girl had not put herself into a 'rape'-able position, the evil villain would have never been identified to the hero. So the young girl is nature's little entity in the bigger 'Chaos' picture. See, you can apply this logic to every damn movie.

Other than this 'unique' vision, Dasavatharam is only a bunch of co-incidences in the whole scheme of things, just like any other movie has been. Every thing in our movies happens 'by-chance'. Boy meets girl 'by-chance'. Rain happens 'by-chance'. Hero meets villain 'by-chance'. Villain pushes the hero 'by-chance'. So Dasavatharam is also only a movie of 'chances'.

If you really want to make a movie about Chaos Theory and its subset Butterfly Effect, you do it by showing both sides of the coin. The underlying concept of Chaos Theory is that, no matter an incident X happens or not, nature will make sure that its intended end happens neverthless.

For Eg: Whether or not Krishnaveni Patti puts the 'whatever-thing' into the idol or not, the intended end of 'evil' getting destroyed happens. Thats the 'Butterfly-Effect' in simple terms.

Thats exactly the reason why a movie like 'Butterfly-Effect' scores.

In essence, Kamal should stop being confused and say 'damn-the-money', I will make movies on my own terms. Then, and only then, can his admiration of good movies get translated into his own.

On a side note, here are some notable comedies in the movie:

  • For eons, there have been spam mails circulated about how Rajini in some movie (god knows which) removed the brain tumor with a bullet. No Rajini movie had ever done that, but people took pleasure in ridiculing it. But Kamal-ji you have truly implemented your own form of curing cancer with a bullet-shot, kudos!!
  • Love blossoms in the midst of dead-bodies from the Tsunami, wow, Kadhalin-pudiya konal!!!
  • Jayalalitha supervises the Tsunami destruction, but when the award ceremony happens, Kalaignar is the CM. I know elections are frequent in TN, but THIS frequent? whew!!
  • Why would anyone make a bio-weapon that can be nullified by something as common as 'common-salt' ??? Never said if it needs to be 'iodized' though !!!

Naan 'Dasavatharam' nalla padam illai nu solla maaten....Nalla padama irundha nalla irukkum-nu thaan solren.

Comments and brickbats welcome.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A soulful Politician...

If a soulful politican ever existed in India, today he would say the following:-
"...Our nation is mired by rising poverty levels.

Our groundwater is as polluted as can be. And it threatens millions of people and their homes.

Our infrastructutre is rapidly crumbling, unable to withstand the uneven growth in a few selected sectors in recent decades.

Our farmers are dying even though their exported crops fetch millions in foreign revenue.

For every child starting a good school today, we put 2 children on the street.

But we have every intention of addressing these problems. We are just waiting for our BPO people to get off their phones, telling Midwesterners how to install Windows VISTA on their home computer!!!!"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thamizhane Ponguga...Pongi enna seiya???

I saw a programme called "Thamizhane Ponguga" on Vijay TV. Aptly titled and telecast on Pongal, a day quintessential for Tamil Nadu. Having been born as a "Thamizhan", it grabbed all my attention. The motive behind the programme: to kindle the "Thamizh" spirit on a day of "Thamizh" festitivities. With the likes of Kanimozhi and Gnani sharing their views on the "Thamizh" spirit.

But a little while into the show, I started to think in a direction opposite to what the show was leading me to believe.

Advocates for Tamil culture for ages have cited one stark example to drive home their point...JAPAN. How many times as Tamils, have we heard the following staement, "Take for example Japan...". True, Japanese have for ages strived on their language. Have defied all 'learn-English' attitudes. Have provided for their entire population who speak nothing but Japanese. Have made the English-speaking world depend on them for many of their needs. Have made the west look up to them for technological advances.

Wait a minute, does this argument make sense? Can Tamil be compared to Japanese and hence can Tamilians be compared to Japanese? Are we comparing apples to apples or are we making the cardinal sin in any intellectual altercation - comparing apples to oranges?

The Japanese language is a national language spoken and understood all over Japan. Tamil is a regional language understood only by the Tamil region. The synonymous equivalent of Japanese would be Hindi, which, inspite of many protests, is understood and spoken by the majority of Indian people.

"Why cannot Tamil be made the national language?" Is that it? I heard you. Here's my answer...In addition to have fallen behind in advancements, we will fall further behind in educating a vast number of people, a new language. If your point is to have educated them from the past, then its not an issue of our generation, but its an issue of generations gone by.

Tamil cultural advocates, including Kanimozhi, should understand that a language should help advancement- culturally, socially and economically - of the people who patronize it. They should help their politically connected family and friends understand that, once you create an economic environment like Japan, where Tamil patrons needn't depend on anyone else for their economic growth, the language will automatically take precedence.

Yes, I love Thamizh and pledge by it...Fine. I cannot go out of the region cause I don't patronise any other language...Fine. I try hell hard to find a job in the region, I get none...Fine. First few days, I stick by my conviction...Fine!! But after a few more days, my hunger crushes my conviction...NOT Fine Anymore!!!

Campaigning for a language is appreciable, but there are more basic issues to look, political genuineness, corruption-free-people-oriented growth, basic economic and social guarantees for the poor and above all of these the common man is more concerned about putting food on the table. By enforcing a language on government run-schools and other public institutions but not enforcing it on economic entities like corporations and financial institutions, these politicians are only creating a further divide. A divide which will keep their long-term goals of staying in power intact, but will lead the economic lower class, clearly in the path of ruin.

So all you advocates, get your basics right. Correct me if I am wrong, but please dont tell me that my point doesn't ring a bell...'coz that shows you are intentionally deaf, just like your politician friends.

Monday, October 02, 2006

So much for "co-incidences"...

To every Tamil movie fan, the name Kamalhaasan, is a name that evokes pride. Pride in the fact that there is a creator cum actor, who can take, if not already taken, Tamil film-making to heights never seen before. I too had this sense of pride, after having watched Kamal's movies for almost all my life.

Then 'Netflix' happened to me. Never had I got a chance to watch world cinema as much as I have done in the last few years, thanks to the amazing concept of Netflix. Anyways, this article is not a promotion for the same. This article is about the authenticity (or the lack of) the 'Icon' of Indian cinema.

Kamal's career can be phased out into two distinct phases. The first phase was that of the "Actor"...his initial years were when his mentor (KB) and sometimes other directors had the most say in the works he did. Basically, Kamal was the actor in a director's movie, nothing more.

There has never been any doubts about his histrionic skills. He was and still is the most matured actors to have emerged out of Indian cinema. A person who isn't content with the work he does and the fame and fans that come with it. Needless to say, he came out of the shadows of film stars being just showpieces in a motion picture, that was a story told in the eyes of the director.

Then began the second phase...the "Creator"...The first step, any actor trying to get involved in the making of the movie, would do is writing. The story and screenplay department are the least populated areas of film-making. Scripts tailored to showcase an actor's histrionics, is every actor's dream.

Kamal too started his involvement in the making of a movie in a similar way. Eighties is when Kamal started to make head-way in the so-called journey of cinematic excellence. Raaja-Paarvai was his first screenplay...

"Striving to be independent, a blind but determined young man moves away from his overprotective family. The young man meets a kooky neighbor. His quick wit and good looks disarm the free-spirited neighbor, and before long they're more than just friends."

Did you think this was the gist of Raaja Paarvai? Wrong...this is the blurb of a Milton Katselas film based on a Leonard Gershe’s stage play. The film was "Butterflies Are Free".

Raaja Paarvai was not "inspired" from this New York tale. It requires great resourcefulness to adapt this film into the Indian context. Sai Paranjpe's 'Sparsh' was the movie that did this hard-work. 'Raaja-Paarvai' was re-inspired by Sparsh. The timeframes of both these movies re-inforces this fact. 'Sparsh' was released in 1980 while 'Raja Paarvai' came out in 1981.

There are more such 'co-incidences'...

Indiran Chandiran is another of Kamal's milestone movies. The movie was a first in the sense of experimentation with the look of the character. Disfiguring oneself to get under the skin of the character was something "new" to the Indian "intelligentia".

Indiran Chandiran (aka) Indrudu Chandrudu (aka) Mayor Saab is a down-right rip of the Richard Dreyfuss starrer "Moon Over Parador". This movie was the height of Richard Dreyfuss' dramatic skills. Richard Dreyfuss plays Jack Noah who is offered a role in the tiny Caribbean island of Parador; impersonating the nation's dictator, to whom he bears a resemblance. But he soon gets into trouble when he runs afoul of the Parador police chief, who wants to keep the dictator's demise a secret until he can takeover the country.

There are many more such "co-incidences"...

"Enakkul Oruvan" was inspired by "Reincarnation of Peter Proud(1975)" just as "Sathya" was inspired by "Marathon Man(1976)" starring Dustin Hoffman.

Kamal has a great admiration for Dustin Hoffman. It is evident in the roles/scripts he has adapted into the Indian context. Most of us know that "Chachi-420" (aka) "Avvai Shanmugi" was inspired from Robin Williams' "Mrs. Doubtfire". But the inspiration doesn't stop just there. The story line of "Avvai Shanmugi" is surely a rip from "Mrs. Doubtfire", but the character that Kamal portrayed, the body-language, the background of "Shanmugi Paati" itself is inspired from the character Dustin Hoffman plays in "Tootsie". Even the portion of the older Gemini Ganesan character falling for Shanmugi Paati, is taken out of "Tootsie".

The most interesting of adaptations out of Kamal's handi-works is "Anbe Sivam". The movie itself can be split into 2 portions. The first is the portion depicting the travel that Madhavan and Kamal make from Bhubaneshwar to Chennai. The second is the flashback portion involving the duel between the communist-Kamal and the industrialist-Nasser. The first portion is adapted from Steve Martin's "Planes, Trains and Automobiles". The second portion is inspired from Mel Gibson's "The Man without a Face".

The list of such "co-incidences" is endless...Here is a sampling...

"Magalir Mattum" from "Nine to Five" (1980, Jane fonda, Dolly Parton)
"Thenali" from "What About Bob" (1991, Richard Dreyfuss & Bill Murray)
"Virumandi" - The jail interviewing part and the abolition of Death Penalty is from "The Life of David Gale"(2003, Kevin Spacey, Laura Linney)
"Panchathanthiram" from "Very Bad Things"(1998)
"Naala Damayanthi" from "Green Card"(1990, Andie MacDowell, Gerard Depardieu)
"Sathi Leelavathi" from "She-Devil"(1989, Meryl Streep, Roseanne)
"Nammavar" from "To Sir With Love"(1967, Sidney Poitier)
"Guna" is based on "Tie me up Tie me down"(1990)

So much for "co-incidences"...

Inspiration is an instinct. It is the essence of one's imagination. At the same time it is a license that needs to be utilised like treading a tight rope.

Every great creator has always credited the source of his/her creations. Failing to do so, no matter what justice has been done to the inspired product, is a murder of the creator's essence.

Creators are inspired, true, agreed. What I dont understand is how come one creator alone is inspired from contemporary hollywood movies for every film he is involved creatively. Kamal is not inspired by the Mahabharatha or any epic, he is not inspired by a true life incident, he is not inspired by a book he reads. He is invariably inspired by a Hollywood movie made in the last 20-30 years. How else would one judge this kind of a selective inspiration?

To further my point, the Mexican director Alejjandro Gonzalez Inarittu's movie, '21 Grams' was inspired by a psalm in the bible, which talks about the weight of the soul. His movie starts with the credits line reading:- "Inspired by Psalm xx:yy". The inspiration is minimal, but the director stuck upon the idea of it when reading the psalm. But he still credits his inpiration. That is creative ethics at its zenith.

It is a general assumption that there is no-one better in the Indian film scape who has thought and acted differently when it comes to creativity and film-making than Kamal Haasan. Indian cinema has many creators who have been inspired from the west for most of their creations but have later faced ignominy when their plagiarism has been exposed. Deva is a shining example. For people who argue Kamal has adapted western scripts to Indian palettes, Deva has done an equally great job of adapting Western tunes to the Indian scape. Would anyone dare to weigh Kamal and Deva at the same level of genuineness in their respective fields?

Ignorance is bliss. In this case, the people's ignorance is Kamal's bliss.

Comments and brickbats welcome!!!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Name it as you please...

Another town bites the dust...this time its 'Pondichery' will soon be renamed as 'Pudhucheri'...After having made great 'achievements' with 'Mumbai', 'Chennai', 'Bangaluru' and 'Trivandrum', the naming gods (read as, vote-bank-seeking-dirty-a**-politicians) have now turned to rename the 'Beer capital of India'... 'The cities shud reflect the regional language', is what they proclaim...

I just spun the cranky side of my head and started imagining what 'Tamilian' naming-gurus, particularly 'Madrasis' wud name the US cities, if given a chance...lets see...

1) New York would be Pudhu Muttai-Manjal
2) Detroit would be 'D-ettu-rite' (the city wud be dedicated to Rajini's 'ettu-kulle vaazhkai' song)
3) Washington would be Kazhuvu-nooru (Wash + ton)
4) California would be Aatha-tholaipesi (Kaali + phone)
5) Chicago would be Kozhi-kunju-po
6) Colorado would be Kolaaru-doi

Indian politicians have been turning to many ideas to keep their vote banks safe by playing on people's sentiments...Naming cities in regional languages is in fashion of late...

It would do a world of good if they can think about the expense it costs the Government to change the name in every damn place...To think that its the people's hard-earned tax money is like rubbing salt on an already deep and bleeding wound...

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