Tuesday, September 25, 2007

விளம்பர விளையாட்டு 22

# 10 points to be won
# Email answers to blogeswari[at]gmail[dot]com
# One attempt per person. Only one guess allowed

Ten television advertisements have been posted with sound, muted. Identify them. All these commercials are on esnips which may take time to load.











Results on the next Vilambara vilayaattu

Answers for விளம்பர விளையாட்டு 21

Picture grid :
Vicks, Rexona, Pampers
Jr.Horlicks, Ariel, Snuggies
Lizol, Parachute, Bru

Audio : Chakra gold... (thangamaana rusi)

Results: It is a tie again! Rajarajeswari Subramaniam and Hamsika Iyer win with 7 out of 10. Congratulations!
Umayal thiagarajan - 6 out of 10 ; Dhivya R - 5 out of 10 ; Manikandan Rajamani - 3 out of 10

Saturday, September 22, 2007

ஸ்பைடர் பிள்ளையார்

[ Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simmermon/480012075/ ]

A Happy birthday song to the dude above, penned by HIS ardent fan - yours truly ...to be sung to the tune of

TV Theme Songs - S...

பிள்ளையார் பிள்ளையார்
பேண்டு போட்ட பிள்ளையார்
கட்டம் போட்ட ட்ரெஸ்ஸ பார்
தெரியுதா பிள்ளையார்
இவர்தான் பிள்ளையார்

ஆனை முகத்தான் அசத்துறான்
சிலந்தி ட்ரெஸ்ஸுல கலக்குறான்
போசு இவன் குடுக்குறான்
கையில் வித்தை காட்டுறான்
சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் வந்துட்டான்

வேண்டியதை வேண்டிக்கோ
வேணுங்கிறதை கேட்டுக்கோ
கேட்டதெல்லாம் தருவார்
நம்ம பிள்ளூ சூப்பர்ஸ்டார்

பிள்ளையார் பிள்ளையார்
மாடர்ன் கடவுள் பிள்ளையார்
கெட்டப்பை மாத்துவார்
கொழுக்கட்டை தின்னுவார்
யானை முகத்தோட சிரிப்பார்
தெரு முனையில் இருப்பார்
ஹேப்பி பெர்த்டே பிள்ளையா...ர்

Will miss you Pillooos.. See you next year, dude!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Film-making:The Madness -DUBBING

Ah, my favourite topic: Dubbing aka Dupping in Kollywood baashai. I am not talking about films like Aparachitudu, Shivaputrudu, Idhu dhaanda Police which are dubbed from the master language into another. This post will talk about dubbing artistes who dub for actors and actresses in films.

You can't give full credit to an actor whose voice dubbed by another for his/her performance. Their job is probably just 60%. 40% of the effort is put in by the dubbing artiste who scream, shout, cry, laugh, smile, talk infront of the mike.

In a hero dominated industry like ours, no one really cares whether the heroine knows tamizh or not." Ellam dubbing la pathukallam pa" is one term you will hear most often on the sets of a tamizh film when there is a dialogue oriented scene filmed. It means that during a dialogue shot, the usual imports from Mumbai like Payal Agarwals, Pooja Khandelwals and the Neha Mehtas will say 1-2-3 or a-b-c-d if they are convent educated, their voices are later dubbed usually by Savitha Reddy, Priya or Renuka Kadhir. No wonder Simran and Jyothika sounded the same. Real life sisters Radha and Ambika had the same voice too - Durga R. Sundarrajan zindabad! Blame Meena or Kanaka's irritatingly cute cute "poangaa mamaaa" on Uma Bharani. The brief for these dubbing artistes is plain and simple. "Oru love-oda tamizh ponnu madiri pesunggammaaa!" Seriously, listen to Meena in Muthu - yikes! Radha in Mella tirandadu Kadavu - One slap on her face when she kozhanjufyes with Mohan with that over-cute voice. The most irritating of all - Jeya Geetha for Kolangal Devayani saying "Precchaaanai" and "Tollssss". The most popular is Anuradha who is Khushboo's aasthana dubbeee. Khushboo was one of the few actresses who came out in public and gave credit to Anuradha. No dubbing in Kollywood is complete without two mentions. 1. The first family of Kollywood dubbers - Hemamalini who was a queen bee dubber dubbing for most actresses in 80s, her brother M S Bhaskar, their children, grandchildren etc. 2. Average playback singer S N Surendhar's claim to fame was that he dubbed for Mike Mogan. No concert of Ganghei Amaren in the 90s was complete without SNS saying "poranda kuzhanda en teriyuma azhardu..." dialogue from Mouna Ragam. But when Mike Mogan started dubbing himself without SNS, down went his market along with the mike.

Most of the villians like Andhra imported like Kotta Srinivasa Rao or Mumbai irakkumadi Aashish vidyarthi probably say sa-ri-ga-ma-pa-da-ni if they have to say "yeeei.. unnaa summma vida maatendaaaa..." and Rajendhar, Sai kumar, Sai ravi etc do the honours for them. Watch the blockbuster film Dhill and see Ashish Vidyarthi's lips saying "ya ya ya ma ma ma ya ya ya" for everything.

Having said that, I must give credit for some film-makers who make an effort to get new voices to dub for the cast. Actress Kaniha dubbed for Sadaa in Anniyan and for Shriya Saran in Sivaji. The sync - less said the better. But I quite liked the voice that matched the face. A whole bunch of people were auditioned to dub for Suman in Sivaji. Finally, Subbu Arunachalam whose voice, in a way sounds similar to Suman's real voice with a nasal tone was used. Deepa Venkat was fantastic for Simran in Kannathil..Singer Chinmayi had dubbed for Bhumika in Sillunnu oru kaadhal, Tanisha in Unnale Unnale and now Padmapriya in Sattham Podathey. I will not bore you guys again talking about the sync in the above films because it was indeed terrible but again a different voice. Yet to watch Sattham... so can't comment on that.

A lot of popular actors and actresses have dubbed for other actresses. Saritha for Naghma in Kaadhalan and other films, Revathi for Kajol in Minsara Kanavu and Tabu in Kandukondein, Banupriya for Urmila Matondkar in Indian and Sripriya for Jayasudha in Alaipayuthey. Rare actors like Jayashree [of thendrale ennai todu fame] dubbed for Geetha in Azhagan, Jyothika in Pachaikili. But when popular character actors dub for other actors, you can't but visualize the dubbing actor's face instead of the one on screen. When I watched Mallu actor Murali, I could only see actor Rajesh who dubbed for him because of his distinct voice... Nasser for Nedumudi Venu in some film - Again it was nasser's nasal voice + nose was what I was thinking of, not Nedumudi+nose. Delhi Ganesh is one lucky fellow. He has dubbed for two big superstars in tamizh films -Kannada actor Vishnuvardhan in Mazhalai pattalangal and Chiranjeevi in 47 naatkal. I always think that Suhasini as Thalapathi's heroine, not Shobhana.. may be it is because I visualize Suhasini automatically whenever I watch Shobhana's scenes in the film. But I was happy to see the hindi film Guru in tamizh visualizing Surya instead of the boring Abhishek Bachchan...he he he. Actress Rohini's voice matched Jyothika in Vettaiyadu better than the usual Savitha Reddy voice. Rohini is one person who has a nice, natural, un-dubbey tone to her voice. Vikram has this distinct credit of dubbing for both Abbas and Prabhudeva in V.I.P.Vikram dubbed for Abbas in Kandukondein as well.

Ah! Gautam Menon and his hitchcock-tanam. Not only does our man show his face in all his films but has also started dubbing for his villians- Jeevan in Kaakha Kaakha and Milind Soman in Pachaikili. Gautam, you are a decent director not dubber. Ditto Bharathiraja. Do you remember Nizhalgal Ravi's face in Vedampudidu or Bharathiraja 's voice? Bharathiraja for Manivannan in Kodi parakkudu was bad.

Kudos to Ameer for letting tamizh-terinja actress Priya mani to dub for herself in Parutthi veeran. I believe they took 22 days to dub but it was worth the effort. It sounded very natural and rustic. I like Asin better than Trisha for the simple reason that Asin dubs herself. Our convent-educated "naa church park la padichen-enakku tameeel teriyadu" Tamizh girl Trisha - Shame on you! I also wonder why Padmapriya did not dub herself in Sattham... Vasanth had to dub lead actor Prithviraj twice for the film (he mentioned this on a Podhigai show) to cut the mallu accent. In that case, why not half the effort for your lead actress as well, Sir?

Guys, isn't it irritating to listen to the same dubbing artistes' voice and most of the times badly dubbed? Why can't film-makers put some effort to sync the dialogues better during dubbing especially for actresses? Why can't they get their heroines to learn their lines by-heart prior to the shoot so that it does not look bad on screen when dubbed later? The heroines' dubbing looks awful on screen with lips saying a-b-c-d and voice saying "enna mannichuddungaaa....",doesn't it? Vasanth, Shankar, Selvaraghavan - are you all listening?

Bollywood is way ahead when it comes to dubbing. Watch Jism and you will never be able to make out the fact that both Bipasha and John Abraham's voices were dubbed by professional voice-over artistes Mona Ghosh and Viraj respectively. I am waiting to watch Om Shanti Om to see how Deepika Padukone's voice has been dubbed by RJ Prachi.

Ps: The funniest of all dubbings - Anita Raj in Thaai veedu. She says all her dialogues in Hindi. yes.. a tamizh film with the lead actress mouthing her dialogues in Hindi with a completely different voice dubbing for her in tamizh. It is hilarious! This DVD is one collector's item. Buy it, watch it .. now!

Updated - Please check the comments for more inputs from the comments

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Film-making:The Madness - THE CREDITS

It is a different high seeing one's name on the credits of a feature film. You wait for that one moment when you get to see your name on the credits...on the big screen. In a bit of a perasai, one of the projects that I worked on , I wanted my name to occupy the entire screen - so there was my 7 letter name + my 10 letter surname +my purushan's 6 letter name. Ensured that none who watched the film missed this name with 23 letters!

A close friend worked on this marathon 3 hour film. It was quite an ordeal to sit through the film in the theatre and I did that only to see her name. To my disappointment, the theatre was running against time and hence did not run the entire reel with the end credits. Actually a lot of theatres don't. When I watch Kollywood and Bollywood films, it is my alpa pazhakkam to see the credits till the end and say "Hey, look at XYZ's name on the credits as production boy. He served me suda suda pongal when I went for the shoot to Madras" and pult things like "Oh !they shot on ARRI535??Wow!" types

I was watching Karagaattakaran the other day and was very happy to see not just the names of the technicians but their faces too in the beginning of the film... right from the production driver to the manager to the top actors.

Even Farah Khan's Main Hoo Naa's end credits have the entire crew and cast dancing infront of the camera when their names appear...if not their names, atleast their faces with them holding a placard saying 'Production'.. 'Make up'.. 'assistant directors' etc. Much better than names scrolling upwards against a black background to an empty theatre.

Old films are better in this regard in the sense that the names appeared in the beginning, so there was no chance of the man in-charge at the projector room to shut the machine before the end credits roll. Remember old Tamizh films with credits in the beginning "Sangeetham - Saraswathi stores" " Isai Udavi - Pugazhenthi, Joseph Krishna"?

In most films the assistant directors, production managers, assistant cameraman, assistant art directors - get beginning credits. It is only the pult directors like Maniratnam who give end.. maha end credits to the assistants, like the Hollywood lot. While watching some Mani ratnam film, I felt bad for director Priya [Kanda naal Mudhal, Kannamoochi Yenada], whose name appeared in the end credits. When Mani sir suffered a heart attack during the making of Ayidha ezhuthu, it was his former assistants turned directors like Priya, Shaad Ali and Sivakumar who went to his rescue helping him on the sets. Avangalukkellam front la credit kudutha koranju poiduveengala Mani Sir?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mumbai cha Raja

The Elephant God takes over the state of Maharashtra and its capital during these 10 days of the Ganpati festival. Ganpati festival in this state is a combination of the festivities of Deepavali, Pongal, Navarathri, Aadi masam, Thai poosam, Akshaya triti etc etc in Tamilnadu. Most Maharashtrians in Mumbai take off for 10 days to visit their deity in their native village and celebrate the festival with their loved ones . Wherever you go, you can hear someone or the other talking about "Keeping Ganpati at home". Similar to our Golu tradition, the Maharashtrians keep Pillayar idol and offer poojai for a couple of days before the Visarjan. It is a season of discount offers, sale at major stores... like the Aadi season in our land. The city wears a festive look for these 10 days and every street, mini street, road, lane, by-lane has a Ganpati mandal with a pretty looking Pillayar idol.

Here are two pictures of our society Ganpati mandal.. Every mandal performs aarti twice a day and offers prasadam for all visitors.

The fun aspects of the festival:

1) Mumbai is at its festive best... there are Ganpati mandals all over the city, well lit, well adorned. It is a treat to watch the well decorated mandals and the effort that goes into it.

2) Visiting Mandals with a variety of themes can be great fun. There are Pillayars made of coconuts, chocolates, groundnuts which attract huge crowds.

3) One gets a day off on the day of Visarjan. You spend the day sleeping at home because all main roads lead to the sea where Visarjan happens are blocked, so there is nothing much that one can do. For maha vettis, there is a live telecast of the Visarjan on the local cable channel that one can watch from noon to midnight.

4)For the advertising gang, the festive season starts with Ganpati and goes on till Christmas time. Since advertisers tend to spend a lot more during these three months for Ganpati, Dussera, Deepavali and Christmas, the ad gang gets to do a lot of work and the smart freelancers [unlike me] tend to make a lot of money.

The moan parts:

1)Adding to the traffic woes are the traffic diversion posts all over the city. On a normal 'Mumbai' day, if it takes you 2 hours to cover a distance of 30 kilometres by road, these 10 days you will probably have to add another half hour of sulking in the car.

2) You will probably have an L R Eswari screaming out of a loudspeaker at only the temples of Madras but in Mumbai almost all building societies compete with one another to be their loudest best. You will probably hear the ever popular "Devaho deva ganpathi deva" and the Gayatri Mantra on repeat-u mode in the mornings and suddenly Mr.DJ - usually called Vicky takes over in the evening to play "Ohhhh..aashiq banayaaaaa.." or "Beedi Jalaileeee" with jing-chak beats.

3) Idols made of Plaster of Paris are a lot more popular than the clay ones. Despite repeated appeals from environmentalists, these idols only add to the environmental pollution mess.

The Lalbaug Cha Raja - a huge Pillayar mandal at the Lalbaug area in Parel attracts huge crowds owing to His wish fulfilling power. This deity is the most popular pillayar in Mumbai.Every year He gets tons of diamond, gold and ofcourse cash offerings at the mandal. These offerings are utilised for numerous social activities. hmm.. He even has his own personal tailor. Get Lalbaug Cha Raja's blessings here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

விளம்பர விளையாட்டு 21

# 10 points to be won
# Email answers to blogeswari[at]gmail[dot]com
# One attempt per person. Only one guess allowed

1. Picture grid:
Identify the ads, starting Row1 L to R. Every correct answer carries one point.

2. Listen to this tune. Identify the product. The correct answer carries one point

Answers on Vilambara Vilayattu 22
Answers for விளம்பர விளையாட்டு 20
1. Picture grid: Clinic, maaza, nokia, max newyork life, splendour bike, emami mentho plus
2. Tanishq
3. Shahrukh & Surya : Himani Navaratna oil, Emami Fair and handsome,Sunfeast,
Himani Navaratna talc
Results [based on your first guesses - only one attempt allowed]:
It is a tie between Umayal and Manikandan - 9 out of 10 - Congratulations!
Ambi 8 out 10 ; Dhivya R - 6 ; Rajarajeswari Subramaniam
- 6; The Visitor -5 ; Hamsika- 4
By the way, Hamsi and Ambi - I had asked the COMMON products that both Surya and Shahrukh endorse.

Ganpathi Bappa Morya!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Film-making:The Madness

Film-making-It is more a mad effort than a team effort. Script discussion, budgeting, shot breakdown, Budget approval, financ(ier)es, Crew contracts, Artistes' tantrums, location hunts, Equipment deals, Annoying assistant directors, Patient Production Managers (ahem ahem), Eccentric Executive producers, Demanding directors.. uff!! It is indeed a mad mad mad effort to put together a film.

But it is a super experience to be a part of a shoot crew. Advertising films is jujubee once you are part of the feature film eccentricity. In ads, you shoot for a maximum of 3-4 days with a week's pre-production, post production goes on for yet another 3 days and once your ad film gets approved you are out of it. But feature film is a completely different ball game. You are part of a feature for almost 6-8 months, think, eat, breathe the film for the entire period. If you are in the production, art, costume, direction department you forget your sleep for that period, work round-the-clock, party hard and wait for that one big day when your film releases.

These days Bollywood film-making industry functions very differently from our very own Kollywood. In most Bollywood feature film productions, the crew does not get on floor without a bound script, no last-minute dialogues scribbles on paper, the first assistant director's[a.d] break-down is the bible, he/she calls the shots, treate on-par with the director, second to second assistant director takes care of the artistes and not the director's chai, the last assistant director is the clap guy.. Each department is given clear and specific tasks. Like for instance, the production manager is responsible for the make up van's diesel but if the artiste sitting in the van refuses to come out for the shot, it is the headache of the second second assistant director to get the actor out. The production personnel cannot be blamed for the shoot's delay. Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Don, Swades, Honeymoon Travels (P) Ltd are few of the many films whose pre-production went on for a year before they went on floor. With every department handed out a detailed list of requirement for every scene and shot things are made easy with less goof-ups. It is a great boon for the lighting department who, with a bound script and storyboard, can go about with their work instead of waiting for the cinematographer's instructions till the last minute. This saves a lot of time and money.

Unfortunately Kollywood still functions the old way where the assistant director is more the director's assistant taking care of his needs "Director tea kekkaraaaru", "Sir-kku chair eduthupodungaappa" is also what he does apart from sitting for script discussions. A friend of mine worked as an assistant director in Kollywood's # 1 director's production. A schedule was shot in Switzerland and including the 2 main actors they were just about 12 of them flown to Switzerland. She ended up acting as a friend in the film apart from dialogue rehearsal sessions with actors, ironing actors' costumes etc. It was a terrible experience for her. "No budget" was the answer from the producer's front when confronted. But I wonder how that justifies an A.D doubling, tripling, quadrupling as costume assistant, make-up assistant, actor etc. My friend was on her next flight to Bollywood city from Chennai, as soon as the film wrapped.

A mega hit tamizh film is being remade in Hindi with the same director from Kollywood who is used to his way of functioning. In Bollywood, he has been given the first assistant director who calls the shots, is treated on-par with the director and is probably flown business class! Wonder how Mr."devotee-of-Lord-Shiva's-son" is managing with his Bollywood first A.D

But I still go with Kollywood when it comes to artistes. They are punctual, humble and do their homework unlike the Bollywood lot. Having worked with a couple of Khans, some Ka, Ra, Aj, Vi actors in Bollywood, it felt terrible seeing all months of pre-production work on a feature film to start shoot at 9.30 am go down the drain when these characters reported at 10 am for an 8 am reporting call-sheet.. Ennatha seiiya? Ennatha solla?

I came across this website which covers the madness of film-making...blogs by directors, assistant directors, production stills, interviews with cast and crew and so on.

If you are interested in film-making as a process, do visit http://www.silenceonthefloor.com/

PS : Mani, Ambi , LKS, The Visitor - will post Vilambara Vilayaatu results soon. Have been a bit busy with work

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

'Aag' and Advertising

RGV ki Aag and Advertising have a great similarity. The former is, I am told a pathetic remake of the cult film Sholay. Whenever the advertising brains run out of ideas, they quickly scribble a few dialogues from Sholay and come up with a script which only they can appreciate. So in that sense a lot of ads, too are Sholay copycats.

From Sanitary Napkin to a Steel plant anything and everything is advertised with a Sholay dialogue... and mostly these are radio spots where the poor client with a limited budget happily gives a go-ahead for a Sholay-ed radio spot presented by the agency 'french beards'.

The most popular ones are on Gabbar Singh who will probably say "Areey Oh Samba, kitne toffees they" and his henchman "Do". Gabbar says " Aur ek dalo.. XYZ toffee.. do ke saath abhi ek muft". Let me admit, even I have been a part of the production of such 'award winning' scripts, but I often wonder how clients are so gullible in approving such pathetic stuff. But with such scripts over flooding the market, guess who is most happy? The voice-overs artistes! The Gabbar, Thakur, Dharmendra imitators are hugely in demand and they charge anywhere between 10-15,000 per radio spot. I once did some radio commercial where there was an old lady voice artiste uttering some Sholay dialogue and I was told that she was a hugely popular character in Sholay. So, if you think you can do a "Basanteeeee... Un kuttonke saamne math naachnaa!" in Dharmendra's voice, or "Chod dho Mujhee" in Hema malini's voice, it is time to do PR with an agency 'aatu daadi'. Good luck!

Meanwhile, here I am, waiting for that one.. any one friend to accompany me to watch the classic RGV ki Aag. If I get the baaghyam of watching the padam, will post review soon.