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?