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 now works with one of the biggest stars / production houses in India managing film production. 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 daughters N & I, with good health and happiness.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Legendary Meetup!

Less than a month ago got added on to a Whatsapp group which said 'Let's meet up'. Every time I'd speak to some of my friends from the previous company, the conversations always ended with a "Let's catch up" and we'd make plans and plans to meet which would never materialise. Lower Parel was too far for some, Jogeshwari was very very far for others (the majority), Malad needed a visa (for all of us but one)... so the meet plans always flopped.

Thought the meetup that was being planned on telephone conversations had taken a Whatsapp avatar and would anyway not materialise. 5 in the group became 10, 12... Some of our colleagues from Mumbai who had moved to Gujarat and Rajasthan got added and at the end of every day I'd look forward to the exchange of fun nonsensical nonsense on the whatsapp on random stuff from the gang.

I was and even now not a party person. The boredom shows on my face especially at office Paazhties. But this one was different. This was the THE fun gumbal I had worked with for 4 1/2 years. Some of the best in media sales were going to be a part of this reunion and I was all set to make it. 19th Dec, we had decided with the venue too. Yet I had no hopes. Was very sure something would come up we'll drop it all off. But surprise surprise, it all came together and the junta gang met up finally at 8 pm last Friday.

Had a rocking time meeting the entire gumbal after years. Same office anecdotes cracked the umpteenth time, Dozens of pics clicked, Some Specimens ripped apart, and Sirippo Sirippu for a good 4 hours.

I'm already looking forward to the next meetup. In the meantime, got to think of a more superlative description to the whatsapp group which is now titled 'The Legendary ReUnion' . Thank you SG, SRK, JK, SK, SG2, KT and the entire 'hot n' happening' gang.

Kollywood Kisnan - 8

As a 'haanarable' member of Mylapore Thiruchabai, Kollywood Kisnan will fail in his duties if there's no write up of the epic 'Gnana Oli' on this auspicious 'Good Governance' day.

This is one movie that does its annual rounds on Tamizh Tollaikaatchi every Christmas. While the songs have made it to the Xmas Oliyum Oliyum playlist every year since 1973, the movie is played every year on Christmas Day on Jaya movies, Jaya max, Murasu, Sun Life and so on. Such is the power of the performances of Lawrenceee and Anthony played by Major and Nadigar T respectively.

This movie has tremendous repeat value because it doesn't have the usual over-thadavaging, mega lip pursing Nadigar T and K.R.Vijaya type 'ennanngaa' heroines. It has this Father-daughter paasam between Nadigar T and Saradha, friendship, kaamedy, betrayal, emosion and all Navarasams portrayed by Major, Nadigar T, VKR, Manorama.

The Tamizh makkals, particularly the elitist Madras gumbals that goes gaga over the 2nd word in the 4th para of Rangan's review of Kamalagassan's Englees have failed to acknowledge the greatness of Nadigar T's English. Here's the greatest example of Nadigar T's greatest accent in this greatest scene.

Major comes to ask for Saradha's daughter's hand for his son. Major (Inspector Lawrenceee) is after Nadigar T who escaped as convict Antony and is now 'Kodeeswarar' Arun. Major wants to take Arun's finger prints and thus prove he indeed is 'pazhaya' friend turned foe Antony. Sarada (Arun/ Antony's daughter) brings kaappi and serves everyone. Nadigar T happy-a has kaappi. The director puts his touch using close-up shots of Major having kaappi to indicate to the audience that something dramatic is going to happen.

Major finishes kaappi, quietly takes the tumbler puts in his pocket and leaves. As he says tata bye bye Nadigar T asks...

Nadigar T - "Inspector, Mattravargal seidhaal adhu periya Kutram. Adhaye neengal seidhal adhu gnabaga maradhi illaya?"
Major - "What do you mean?"
Nadigar T - "I mean the silvah tumblah"

Kindly note the twirl in the tongueh of the silvah of the tumblah. Wonder if any actor in India has / had this natural accent. Watch the scene here

 There are plenty of other examples of Nadigar T's Englees the best one (only after Silvah Tumblah) being "Lawrenceeee is a combination of a cobrah and a wounded Tiger". The many expressions of Nadigar T in this yet another epic scene is captured here as a collage.

I hope these channels follow it up with the telecast of the other two in this Nadigar T-P.Madhavan 'epic' trilogy - Gauravam and Thanga-p-padakkam.  I demand a belated National award (if not an Aascar avarrdu) for Nadigar T for Gnana Oli. He certainly deserves one. Don't youh agreeh folkhs?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy New Year

Every year, as part of the Deepavali inaam (Diwali baksheesh), is set aside a sum as 'Deepavali Dhandam' for a Saarugaan film that releases every year on the festival day. This year was no different. Happy New Year (HNY) starring Saarugaan + 6-7 odd edubidis is in the theatres. This review is to spare you from this mega bore so that you can save the money and spend it for dog biscuits, yet-another-iphone-cover, Saravana Bhavan idli and so on.

It's a 3 hour long film where the first 15 minutes are set aside for brand credits. From Anjaal aluppu marundhu to Amazon there were 20 odd names as 'Brand partners'. 15 minutes in the end were for end credits out of which 14 1/2 minutes for 'Team SRK' with a dozen people dancing around. Have to admit the end credits are the best part of Farah Khan's films where you get to see the faces behind camera.

Saaarugaan is some brilliant boxer... No no... Expert student... No no fitness freak... No no, he plays Revenge Ranganathan ( oh how i love using 1y3ng0rz names for such "characters") who has been wanting to taking revenge on Jackie Shroff for 8 years for imprisoning his father Anupam Kher. He puts together a team of losers who decide to rob some Diamonds in Dubai, apdiye dance around, goof around , crack some stupid jokes and... Shabba, by the time the film ends you have a good 'korattai based' nap. Ulagam Suttrum vaaliban had a better storyline da, dei Saarugaan.

Deepika Padukone looks very good and has spared us, Tamizh folks, from her 'Bokwaaas baat'. She plays a Marathi mulgi and dances in a bar, is hopelessly in love with Saarugaan.  I really miss our house-help lady (nicknamed GT) who used to work with us in Madras in the '80s and '90s. GT would have made a fantastic choreographer for Deepika's intro song. C'mon, for years, GT, every Friday evening would do her 'Saami vandha aattam' at the Kadumbaadi Amman temple. No different from what Deepika was made to do in the 'Lovely' song.

This year, composer 'Durvaasar Dudlani' has been busy wielding a broom, putting a cap asking makkal to vote for Aap and in that, has given Aappu to Saarugaan. He, along with Segar have this standard template of songs for all their albums.
Heroine intro a.k.a Saamiyaattam song sung by the "latest sensation" - tick
Lou song with Shreya Ghoshal / Arijit type or both - tick
One gumbaloda Govinda dandanakka 'Hum hain Hindustani' song - tick
Not a single song was good. Time for them to take a break... Oh wait. 

'Ayyo paavam' Bachchan is now the Santhanam of Bollywood. He should stick to such roles and not try and be main hero and all. His few gags were funny. Boman Irani and Naseeruddin Shah pullai play two more edubidis. Sonu Sood should come back to Telugu films where he, with his "Ekkadanchi choosthavaa Champisstanu raaaaa" will get more screen time than in this film.

Remember the MGR-Asogan-Nambiar "Jaani,..Peterrr...Jumbooo" films where the villains were in one unknown hideout and the hero goes in search of them, opens a cave like structure (with a gadagadagada sound)? Those had better sets than HNY. Such tacky cardboard stuff by the art director. Sagikkalai.

At one point, there is a "Apne Apne Nokia phones uthayiye,vote kijiye" dialaak. Such brand plugging and all, abachaaram. This is allowed only for Delhi clients :-) okay, may be it was Nokia - Delhi client, so blanket permission to use brand names in the meant film. {Okay for those of you who got the sly, Yay to us :)}

These Farah Khan films are like Hindi FM radio stations who, for some 12+ years have been 
writing radio ads with Sholay "Basantiiii... Thakur" type Aracchamaavu dialaaks. And just like the Radio copywriters this Farah Khan and team put self applause at their own spoofs and it is supposedly funny. HNY is the 3678465th film with "Bade bade Shehron mein Chhote chhote mannangatti..." Dialaak. After a point, every dialaak seemed like a spoof to me.

Aappu New Year - 2.5/5

Friday, October 24, 2014


A.R.Murugadoss who is known for his socially relevant films picks yet another 'emosionally appealing, applause getting' subject for his Kaththi. This time, Dr.Joseph Vijay in a dual role as Jeeva and Kathiresan a.k.a Kaththi (reminded of "Surukkama Suppi saar" in Thillu mullu) who has velutthu vaangified in the film.

Full marks to Stunt master Anl Arasu! After a long time two interesting fight sequences in the film - the tv crew & the coin ones. 
'Bro' composer's songs , some of them decent, have been pathetically filmed that they don't ottify with you. Dr.Visai Saar is the only saving grace in the songs. Background score is good though.

Like in most Tamizh films, the heroine has absolutely no role apart from standing beside the hero like a prop. But our heroiney lady should have made some effort to improve her dancing skills, acting skills no? Oohoom. She should henceforth put her name 'Summa'ntha in the titles. Akka is sooo bad esp in the songs, she even looks at Dr.Joseph Visai Saar bayandukiney as he dances like a superman (does Superman dance? Never mind). The only emotion 'Summa'ntha puts is thanks to Raveena, her dubbing artiste.

No major role for Neil Nitin Mukesh but he looks like one suave villain, MNC, Englees speaking and thus 'Rin' veluppu. Goood dubbing by (RJ?) Gautham.

Murugadoss knows what works with namma makkal, when to make them cry, laugh and when to get the required applause. And he has not gone wrong in his judgement. Makkal oraey da laughter for Satish & Vijay Saar's kaamedy and giving super applause and emosion reacsion in other scenes. Vera enna venum? Paisa vasool.

Kaththi - Saarpu Saarpu ji - 4/5, also #IlayaThalapathyVijayRoxxxx

PS - Murugadoss ji, the only time I heard one RJ speak sense was in your film. Please write all his RJ links too, henceforth.