Monday, June 11, 2018


In one crucial scene, the cops (I think) try to shoot Rajini. Four others - including one leddies and one Muslim (with skull cap, ofcourse) come and say "Engala Sudunga Mudhalla..."
No, I'm not talking about Baasha or Nayagan here. This is a scene from Superstar Rajinikanth starrer 'Kaala' directed by Pa. Ranjith. My biggest problem with the film is that its oosipoana presentation of a story which was filmed with MGR a dozen times in the '60s and '70s.
Thanks to Rajini, Easwari Rao, Manikandan, Samuthirakani and other actors, the film gets saved from being a mega blade fest. It was still a blade fest at the end of 2 1/2 hours + Jana Gana Mana + Interval + Rahul Dravid putting advice twice on No Smoking

Since you've already watched a dozen reviews on YouTube and read a dozen "thoughts" on how the story is about whether Hari dada won against Kaala or that the movie is more of a Ranjith film than that of Rajini's (this, I've read a million times across), I will cut straight to my other "thoughts".

Kaala, Kaadhal, Katthirikkai

Mahendran filmed this scene with Rajini and Sridevi in the '80s. The situation in Kaala is slightly different though, but the director saab has tried to create similar emotions between the characters Karikaalan and Zarina. Rajini is Rajini but Huma is no Sridevi, nor is Ranjith, Mahendran. Whenever Karikaalan and Zarina meet, the pauses in the latter's dialogue delivery are so awkward than the situation itself. Huma looked confused all the time wondering how she was supposed to emote.  Paavam Avare Conphuse aayittaru level.

Kaala -vs- Whitea

Nana Patekar, as an actor undoubtedly is great and all that. With two good actors - Nana and Rajini, in several scenes together, shouldn't the dialogues/ situation light up the bleddy screen? BGM is the only merattifying factor in such scenes urging you to mirandify.  Black Shirt -vs- White Kurta, White cushion -vs- Black Pillow, White SUV -vs- Black Mahindra, Black Panther -vs- White Neta and all the other nuances are ok yaar, but scenes between the two fall so flat. Not sure if it's the dialogues or the situation itself, the spark was missing and it was such a busvaanam.

Kaala, Kaamedy, Geemedy

The police station scene is funny because it brings you back the kaamedy Rajini we remember from Annamalai, Padaiyappa and so on. It's time He acts in a full on kaamedy film instead of clinging on his Ezharai a.k.a Ranjith type directors. And atleast this time, it'd be great if directors with such scripts approach him than scoot off to Bombay for 4 months sitting in Dharavi, writing one khichdi.

Easwari Rao and Samutthirakani are really good with kaamedy dialaaks that are fun. Really wish they cast Easwari in good roles like these that are not just Amma based. Else she'll become another Saranya Ponvannan doing the same thing over and over again.

Kaala's Cast

Along with above actors, Manikandan who plays Rajini's son and Anjali Patil as his friend are fabulous with their asaalttu acting. The casting overall is top notch with this Vengat Prabhu jaalra actor (who played Shivaji Rao Gaekwad), reduced to a 5 second cameo, which is a good thing.

SaNa for Kaala

Most of the songs work with the film. Yes, some of them have a Kabali-ish hangover which I was ok with. #YogiBRoxxx & Arunraja Kamaraj in Kattravai Pattravai are superb. This track along with Semma Weightu Kannamma work really well in the film. Pradeep in Kannamma 😊
The Dopeadelicz tracks were such forcefits. Villains kill one fellow and these rappers start singing randomly "Sollu Kaala Sollu Kaala" types. Dei.

More than the soundtrack, most of the BGMs as standalone pieces were epic. Wish the scenes were as impactful as their background scores.

Kudaikkul, Colourukkul Kaala

The best sequence in the film is the Kudai fight filmed on the Marine Drive flyover. For once, I wish the film had more fight sequences than verbose dialogues which became repetitive after a point. "Shadaap and give us more Sandais", one wanted to scream.

Even the colourful climax in the end, to me, fell flat because after 3 hours, one wanted to sleep, singing "Raaman Aandalum Raavanan Aandalum enakku oru kavalai ille..."

Kaala - The Konclusion

It's very evident that Superstar has signed the film after Pa.Ranjith pongi ezhundufied with feelings about "Nilam, Urimai, Poraattam, Iyakkam..." type emushuns without bothering to read or listen to the script. Neither did the film push Ranjith's ideology nor did it justify Superstar's persona. In times of Vikram Vedha, Rajini who so wants to be cast in roles like Assault Sethu or a Vedha, ended up doing a Vedalam. What a wasted opportunity, this was.

Kaala - In Karthik Subbaraj we trust. 2/5

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Dhanush syndrome*

There's one viral vyaadhi that's spreading across TN, more particularly within the Madras gumbal these days. It's probably been around for centuries but thanks to social media and innapira elements, one is noticing a lot these days.This is this, nobody-cares-for-us-Tamilnadu-Madras-folks-and-you-you-you-"North Indians*"-in-particular-are-very-mean-to-us. Add the "you-people-are-typecasting-us" type aruvai.

Once ok, twice ok but at every platform of late, one has been listening to his polambals. This is getting mega blade by the month where instead of glorifying one's own and one's city/ state/ people's achievements, makkal are using mega platforms to glorify self pity. Why can't we simply accept that people on the other side of Vindhyas are not-so-intelligent like you fellows, don't know that your state/ city and its people stand for more than just Filter Coffee and Masala Dosai? And why do we crave for their attention so much? I've ranted on the typecasting bit earlier, but once I realised the other side is a big dhaddi, chose to move on. 

And with all this ranting what we do get? A bunch of people perpetually whining about "North Indians" not giving them enough attention and all this typecasting. Why does it boil down to a  "Our city didn't get our two seconds in the 'Nation wants to know debate' on National television? None of this give you the city and the state coverage you desire. The city, the state and its people are distinct and have an identity of their own. By wasting golden opportunities that help you showcase the positive aspects of the people and the city/state, one is turning to outrage aathas and uncles like these liberal gumbals. Stop eet nalla Madras and Tamizhnaattu makkale!

*North Indians - people in Delhi, Kolkata, Madhyapradesh, Mumbai and the rest of the North India

*Dhanush syndrome - "Though-am-a-millionaire-now-I-come-from-a-poor-humble-beginning-where-once-upon-a-several-times-I-lived-in-a-hut-and-I-don't-know-English-and-am-humble-so-please-acknowledge-I'm-humble.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

'Aappu' raisal


The biggest eyewaas amongst all the others in Corporate life is this thing called Appraisals. Come Feb-March, one's inbox is inundated with reminders to fill the damn form and meet the superior where they can alasi aaranjify your work in half hour and give you a rating which would determine the salli kaasu you get as bonus.

I never understood why people took it so seriously, practising, rehearsing for days on their discussion/s with their superior/s only because everything right from their feedback for you to the damn rating is pre decided and any amount of argument, cajoling, pleading from your end is never going to change their mind/s.

In one of the reputed companies I worked for, the sloth bears who worked there for 12 years were content with a below average rating year after year since their main dubbu came from freelancing and playing for concerts as musicians. The hardworking lot who were the opposites of these sloth bears, the ones who were always enthusiastic & who went out of their way to get the jobs done, were always given an above average rating.  And 'Bell curve' was the standard nonsensical bulls**t given to justify the latter's ratings.

Yesji. We belonged to the stone age of filling up the form manually. Year after year, I'd always fill up the damn form(ality) at the last minute and was always the last one to be appraised in the team because I was never keen on meeting the 'Thillu mullu' Thengai Srinivasan / Srinivasi a.k.a boss(es) however nice they were, to listen to their arachamaavu. If year 1 was "You need to think of more out-of-the-box ideas" (ok!), year 2 was "you need to manage the team better, go easy on them" (okkk!), year 3 was "you are too easy with the team... be a little more stern" (really?) . Despite being in the top 3 rated in the team, my response to every feedback was Ok, ok and more ok simply because I wanted to get out of the room fast and have a cup of strong tea without any thollai. Why argue / reason out with someone who is not there to listen to you but just put forth their POW and write the rating on the paper, sign and move on?

Mudhalvan Arjun

If being appraised was a thollai, being the supervisor / appraiser is a bigger one. You get clear instructions from the top with the appraisee's rating and many a times the final rating is not in your hands. At one point of time, I wanted to give all my team members (but one) a score of 3.5 to 4 out of the maximum of 4 because except for that one somberi the rest were extremely creative, focussed, committed and went out of their way to get things done. But then I was clearly told by Thengai Srinivasi to distribute the 2.5s, 3s and 3.5s (out of the max 4 points).  So now the task was to keep a straight face and give the ondrai-anaa feedback, something that I was sharing all thru' the year. 

Was all set to take the early morning flight to the following morning with mine and the team's forms and meet Thengai Srinivasi for the all important final signature. The entire afternoon of the previous day went prepping like Mudhalvan Arjun interviewing Raghuvaran. My response, reportees' responses, my lies, their response, my anda pulugus, aagasa pulugus in the name of feedback and on how to seal the conversation and get their signature on the form. Yabba dei. The entire appraisal for the team took about 4 hours with the last guy's alone going for 2 hours+. He insisted on a 4 and I was giving him a 3. The most terrible 2 1/2 hours I tell you. Finally I called Thengai Srinivasi (my boss) and made him speak to her at around 11 in the night. In their conversation, argument etc. the rating came down to less than 3 upon 4 since she was not convinced with his argument which was more katthal kocchal .  

Not long ago I felt all y00th filling up the form online after several reminders from the superior/boss uncle. Infact I had ottukettufyed him on a con-call with another appraisee of his demanding a 5 upon 5 and Uncle giving him a 3 or something. So the #HumbleHurricane me filled the form in a hurry and met Uncle. Uncle was in for a shock going through my form. According to him I had severely underrated myself and if HR were to go by my judgement I was #fail. One severe Sowcar Janaki mode I went into as to what the hell happened with the sweat beginning to pour down my face (well, others may call it tears which it was ;-) The Karna parambarai he was, Uncle gave me more than what I thought I had deserved. Ofcourse not to forget the usual feedback on "out of the box thinking" "Team management" and the works.

Time and again, one keeps reading articles on 'XYZ organisation doing away with the process of appraisals / ratings' and so on. Always wondered when a practice like this would be adopted in Indian companies. I'd love to work in a company that does away with ratings and 'Aappu'raisals and that'd be the day when I'd be open to the idea of leading a team without any reservations.

Happy 'Aappu'raisals folks!


'Aaappu' raisals - The one in which you get a backlash
Thollai - A friggin' pain
Thillu Mullu - Famous Tameel flim, an adaptation of your Indhi flim Gol maal
Mudhalvan - That film which got remade as Nayak with Anil Kapoor
Anda Pulugu Aagasa Pulugu - Lies, Damned lies
Ondrai-anaa feedback - Feedback that's not even worth a penny
Katthal Koochal - Cacophony
Y00th - The one that you no longer is
Ottukettufyed  - Eavesdrop
#HumbleHurricane - The one that I am, always
Karna - That character in Mahabharatha who gave everything to Krisna and cried lyk Sivaji Ganesan in the end
Parambarai - Not the Prabhu film you country fellow, it means hereditary
Yabba Dei - Abeyaar

Saturday, December 27, 2014


July 2000, quitting my full time assistant director job, I had wanted to branch out as an independent professional doing things at my time working with different directors, producers and technicians. Not knowing where to start, a month or two went in establishing contacts, doing the rounds at Famous studio's production houses, faxing resumes, meeting advertising producers/directors. Networking works like a chain. You connect with X who gives you Y's number then move to Z and so on. Someone gave me Shamz's number and mentioned she was an independent professional doing the kind of work I had wanted to do. Wondered what I'd do meeting up with someone who was already doing what I was doing. It was going to be of no help, I had decided. Nevertheless, made a call and Shamz asked me to meet up with her at Juhu the following day.

Still remember our first meeting. She listened to me for 10 minutes, opened her contact book and started sharing numbers of advertising producers and directors who worked with independent production people. It was strange. I wondered why Shamz was parting with all her contacts with someone who she had just met 10 minutes ago. Not just that. .She said If I was ok I could work with her on some of the projects whenever she needed help. I was more than happy. 

A few months later, we worked with a well known photographer who was directing his first social awareness  film. Shamz, Sid the DOP and I had a riot being a part of the shoot thanks to the unintentional hilarious moments. Shamz, Sid and I became one gumbal and would meet up often. 

Shamz flew down to Madras from Mumbai for my wedding and I was really really touched. She would discuss her family issues with my mother-in-law (who adores her), visit us often and continued to help me in my professional life. Shamz worked with some of the biggest production houses, big actors including Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and had stories and stories to share about Bollywood. Her producers and directors always held her in high regard and I was not surprised. It was and is very rare to come across people who are honest particularly with the kind of job that involved huge cash transactions.

Whenever I hit upon one 'I-am-bored-with-whatever-am-doing-professionally-and-want-to-do-something-different' moment (which was every second year), the first person I'd call was Shamz. And she'd patiently suggest career options for me and share contacts too!

Shamz no longer works in advertising or feature films but continues to manage events and big musicians' concerts / dates etc. We meet once/ twice a year but make it a point to speak to each other often.

It's very very rare to come across such wonderful people like Shamz. Tomorrow is her birthday and with this post (as well) I want to wish her a very very Happy birthday. May God bless her, husband A and little daughter I, with good health and happiness.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Have always wanted to write this somewhere but with all these HR folks who read my blog before interviewing, had this little fear but right now I'm in this "pongada / pongadi neengalum unga velayum" frame of mine . Thank you Akka Ammani avargale for this post  thanks to which I'm writing mine.

The last Saturday of September 2014. We had to get some work done from Rajathi Raja Raja Marthanda Creative / 'All in All anantharaman team of the organisation. I was reporting to the Sales Head and unfortunately with the creative team being creative team we couldn't execute some last minute job. The Sales Head dadiyan* was fuming, called me and instead of stopping at questioning and discussing what next, he went a step further and started using abusive language. All I could hear was this -
"I don't care what the f.... you are doing... I want the f... logo f... on air... okay ..f...f...f...f" in a very threatening tone.

While I completely got his anger because the client was fuming and it would've resulted in revenue loss I didn't get his language at all. 

These F words in organisation have become like "Hello, hi how are you" . People especially the big bosses seem to completely ok with everyone using such words. I am not. And I was not going to take this lightly.

I wrote a formal complaint to the HR head cc-ing the CEO pointing out abusive language and the tone of Dadiyan. Reiterated that while the creative team could not execute the job on a weekend and that Dadiyan at every right to question me, he had no business using such language. Received an immediate reply from HR Head asking me to come and meet with him on Monday.

When I entered office on Monday, Dadiyan* came ilichifying and said "Can we talk?" I didn't want to talk to him. I had discussed and rehearsed my conversation well with my husband where we had decided I will not speak to Dadiyan until I spoke to the HR head.

HR head spoke to me at length in the presence of another female colleague from HR and asked if I was comfortable with a conversation with Dadiyan. I declined. Didn't want to speak to the Paowala Dadiyan who had no manners or sense because the only word he'd use for anything and everything was F...

HR was to get back to me on my formal complaint but there was no mail or communication from them on this for weeks. I brought it up again when they mentioned they had a word with Dadiyan, warned him and that this formal complaint against him in his employee file. I reiterated I was still looking for a formal mail from HR on their steps.

In the meantime, the brilliant HR being HR made some organisational shuffling in which they wanted me to shift to a different department after receiving feedback from... Dadiyan who obviously had issues with me. Another sales head who I was reporting to wanted to retain me in his department and did not want me to be shifted to another department since he felt I added value to what I was doing. So I was ok.

In all this kalebaram, Dadiyan resigned. I did not speak to him till November end which was his last working week. I hope I never see that rotten face again ever in my life. Ya and I'm still waiting for the official mail from HR.

How can I not thank the lovely people in my life who helped get through the 48 most stressful hours of my life? The spouse, who at long distance, rehearsed, coached and helped me deal with the entire situation, Sister and brother in law, wonderful friends - PR, Peter, Albert , Debbie and Meer :)