Friday, October 21, 2005

No more waking up before the sun rises anymore!! No more 8 am MWF classes for me. That makes me just so happy. Now if I could get all the other students to go take that test and pass, I'd be one happy, satisfied instructor. If only such success would shine on my thesis work.

I'm pretty sure all Rahmaniacs have already heard ARR croon to the title song of S J Surya's Ah Aah : Anbe Aaruyire. I've never really liked S J Surya, and so I never actually bothered to watch the movie. I don't even know if it has been released in the USA. It probably has. I did hear however that the video sucked. The song was supposed to be tribute of ARR to his fans? Whether it was or not, it's my current fave. It's even my ringtone on my cell phone. I think I can safely assume that it is a tribute...looking at the lyrics:

aararai kodi paergaLil oruvan
adiyane thamizhan,naanungal nanban
aanaa neengal, aavannaa naan dhaan
neengalilaamal naan ingu illai illai

kanneer sindhum kangalukku
naan dhaan kaikuttai
vannath thamizh paatu
1000 solvaen aadavum seivaen
punnagai enum ponnagaiaithaan
mughamenum veetil vaipaen
ungal magizhchiai paatil vaipaen

Another thing that's not important but worth mentioning is something I noticed when watching Roja recently. If you listen closely to the background music in the scene where Roja's sister's 'ponnu paakal' takes place, I'm sure the tune is recognizable. It sounded really familiar to me and I had to pause the movie to actually play the tune back in my head. And there I had was the Telephone Mani Pol tune(Indian/Hindusthani- Telephone Dhun)!!! be exact it was the following part:

neerillai enraal aruvi irukkaadhu malai azhagu irukkaadhu
nee illaamal poanaal idhayam irukkaadhu en ilamai pasikkaadhu
vellai nadhiyae unnul ennai dhinam moozhgi aada vidu
vetkam vandhaal koondhal kondu unaik konjam moodividu

I was so proud of figuring that one out. I had a bunch of people listen to it. They were too busy looking at it and had to be to told 'listen' rather than 'watch' to get it. I wonder if he's done this with any of his other BGMs. I sure do know that the 'My Dil Goes mmmm...' track from that crappy movie Salaam Namaste is inspired by a bit ARR did in Swades. One of my fave scenes from Swades too...the time when she ties his dhoti for him. I's one thing to copy oneself...but come on! It ain't right to rip off someone elses work and not give him the credit he's due!

Yeah I have a thing for ppl who cheat. Salaam Namaste is one big rip off in itself. Most of the movie is like an Indianized version of Nine Months. C'mon you guys, stop copying English movies. If you have to copy it, atleast make sure you do a good job. Watching a heavily (and I mean it! Like some 18 months) pregnant Preity dancing around while singing, was just too much. Javed Jaffry's comedy routine was really really stupid.

Moving back to ARR, Maniratnam comes to mind. It's most definitely because when they get together ARR makes his best music. Maniratnam's movies are awesome, cept for the end. Given my recently acquired aversion to melodrama that most Indian films are given to, I always tend to find Maniratnam's films a little disappointing. Nayakan could not possibly have ended any other way and I love the way Aayutha Ezhuthu ends with Surya moving Bharathiraja aside and stepping into the House and taking his seat, looking like a freshly cut sprig next to the white clad oldies. The scene that precedes this one was overdoing it. When there's a small accident anywhere in Chennai, everybody runs to help that person. Traffic comes to a halt. I know this cos I've been in atleast 3 myself :) It's really unbelievable that three men could keep fighting on the bridge in the middle of ongoing traffic.

I hated the way Alaipayuthe ended. All those old movies where the 'power of love' brings the person out of coma or keeps them from dying come to mind. The movie's great! But I find it hard to watch the end when Maddy cries and begs Shalini to muzhichify. I mean..c'mon!!! Roja was much better, but there's the part where he falls over and she screams and then he rolls down the stairs. We know he's been through a lot, he was kidnapped and held for ransom by terrorists, for Pete's sake!!! Now there's where they probably got the phrase'falling over himself in his haste' from. Necessary? Blah! Her dropping down to her knees and making him hold on to the railing to come over to her. Arvind Swami looks so cute in Roja. What happened to him since then? I mean he looks so fat in everything he did after that. Haven't seen him since Alaipayuthe.

The way Bombay ended was probably the worst. Moving from dousing a couple of innocent children with kerosene to having Hindus and Muslims drop their weapons and come together and hold hands...and if I remember right sing? Do they sing? All I remember doing was screaming in my head...No NO NOOOO! The movie was such a realistic take on what happened and it slid to being a run-of-the-mill Hindi/Tamil movie. I didn't like Iruvar that much. Maybe it's because it's a real life story and I don't like the main characters in it. Kannathil..was probably a good movie. I say probably cos there were times in the movie when I was thinking what's the heck's happening and why the heck is it happening? I know a whole bunch of ppl thought that the kid was good, I found her kinda irritating.

I'd have to say Dil Se was a big let down. The movie had a good enough storyline going for it. The way it was taken was just too abrupt. Manisha was ok, so was Zinta. But SRK totally killed the movie. I used to be a big fan of his, thinking him to be a versatile actor. He's so not one. (Chandler impression there) I think he should stick to what he does best. Stupid movies like Kal Ho Na Ho, Main Hoon Na, Mohabatein and all those crappy melodramatic movies. Even in those movies you'll notice that SRK just cannot emote. Ever notice how he vibrates when he cries? The music for this movie is one of ARR's best yet. It's true that there are plenty of great ARR's songs that never get heard,because the movie wasn't a hit. Check out Meenaxi..some really good songs there. Was Dil Se a hit? Well I shouldn't be saying anything about Dil Se....when there are such movies as Paheli and Koi Mil Gaya that go on to become hits. Dil Se wasn't a great movie, no...but give me this one rather than Paheli anyday. I was disappointed by the fact that Maniratnam was the director. I probably would have been less critical of it had it been a Karan Johar movie. I would have been amazed at Johar's insight. Personally I think that as long as there are pathetic directors such as Johar around, Hindi movies are going to stay low. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to iggy them. Paheli was the abso worst though. I expected much more from Palekar.

I didn't know that ARR had done the score for a Chinese movie called Tian di ying xiong aka Warriors of Heaven and Earth back in '03. I was amazed. When he goes international he well and truly does go international. I was able to catch only 30 seconds of some of the songs on I'm looking to buy it soon. There were some reviews about the music, both good and bad. Nothing ugly though. . It was called Between Heaven and Earth for the US media...I think? .

Oh well, I'm done with the SRK bashing for a little while. Or well maybe not...I just remembered that SRK's all set to remake Thenali in Hindi. Ye Gads! Thenali itself was a copy, and a fairly rotten one of 'What About Bob?'. I vaguely remember seeing the 1991 released Bill Murray starrer when I was younger. I'm fairly sure I found it funny back then. I'm pretty sure I did not find Thenali funny at all, given that Jothika was flabby and wearing close to nothing in the movie. Yeah I know, there have been several occasions when my Dad has told me that if only I would use some of my memory for storing info about studies rather than movies, I'd ace all my tests. Kamal's a great actor, and he did a great job on a mediocre movie, but SRK??? That's one movie I'm not looking forward to watching. My all time fave Kamal movie is MMKR. I was looking around for it but was unable to find it. Wonder where I can find that one.

I have this theory that Maniratnam uses only brand new faces(Arvind Swamy, Madhavan) because he's able to mold them easier. Seasoned 'pros' like SRK could be harder to elicit the required response from? Maybe? I wonder if thats why Dil Se didn't do so well. I'm scared of what the outcome of The Mahabharata will be. SRK and Aamir Khan. Yeah he's another one I'd love to rough up sometime :) Again...the Patti ilk...iggy the blog if you can't stomach the criticism.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's Thursday and the weekend is almost here. If it weren't for that one 8 am class that I face every MWF I'd be able to sleep in every day. Even when I need to get some sleep, I toss and turn until 4-5 am before I get any sleep. No wonder they call it beauty sleep. Now I've always had these hideous dark circles under my eyes, and they used to get me out of classes and unexcused absences all the time. "Ma'am/Sir(depending on whether it was ECW or LC), I was really sick yesterday, and here's the letter from my mother." Pulled a long face and looked a lil tired and it worked like a charm all the the time. Now I don't even have to try. I look like a racoon.

Oh yeah, ECW used to insist on a letter from my parents. They used to want to meet my parents too, twice a year! Imagine that!! In college no less. My dad never had the time, he got so annoyed once that he told me to provide them with a photo of him. He insisted that they'd be able to see him more than twice a year that way. I used to wonder if my education in a high school convent just got extended for another three years. Compared to the classes I attended over here, ECW seems worse than a convent. Do this, don't do that. Break the Rules from Boys is the most apt song for ECW. Anyone who had to listen to the crap that the teachers dished out, would agree with me. The stuff I take from my students over here is amazing. If Mala Ma'am were to ever listen to these kids she's probably have a coronary. They eat in class, they put their feet up on the desk when working in class, they walk around whenever they want to, and they also drink soda in class without asking me for my permission!!!! Remember those days when the teachers would threaten you with a TC? I would've chucked these kids out on their ears gazillion times for just their belligerence.The URL of this page is the result of one of my football player students, who insisted on calling me Sushi Baby(I have a feeling he just wasn't about to even try to remember my real name). Shyamu Baby would have gotten me kicked out of the college :) Yes Mala Ma'am, they keep 'frowning their eyebrows' at me all the time.

The best part of ECW was the time when one of the QT teachers gave us homework and then went around grading us, in class!! Of course, I hadn't done my homework. I was then forced to stand for what was left of the class. This was college! Oh! and there was the time when I wasn't able to answer a question in class and had to write out the answer to that question 15 times. Not so bad when compared to the kids who got a score lower than 50 on their test. They wrote out the entire exam 15 times. I have a feeling I'd lose my job if I ever did that to any of my students. There was this other time when a couple of my classmates actually had to wear only salwars for a month because their t-shirt was too short....or they shouldn't have been wearing capris....or something equally inane.

There was this other incident that comes to mind when discussing the narrow-mindedness of Madrasis. I remember a teacher telling me that she'd nabbed this girl playing hooky with her bf every day from college. Her car would drop her off at college and she'd hop into another car with her bf and get dropped back at college in time to go back home. 'We caught her red-handed!' and she looked so triumphant about it too. C'mon!!! and don't give me all that crap about our 'culture'. Almost every kid in Madras has a bf/gf. They hide it real well. They start as early as 6th-7th std. It happens in co-ed schools all the time. That's probably why there are still so many convents still reigning in Chennai. I can vouch for the fact that convents are the most stifling, intellectually stunting places. They ingrain such stupid ideas in students. The girls go stir crazy...become sex starved by the time they're out of school. The opposite is true too. Guys tend to look at women as mere sexual objects. Hence the incidents relating to ' eve-teasing' is rather high in Chennai. Hindus pray to godesses too. Shakthi, Devi, Meenakshi, call her whatever you want. They pray to her, yet they treat women so badly. That's another issue altogether. I hated the two years I was forced to attend classes at the 'Chapel Meadow'. I don't know about the other schools but the nuns at this one were real curmudgeons.

Right, I have a tendency to ramble on. Oh! and a self professed nonself-critical reader. My advisor has been expressing his feelings on my shortcomings quite a bit of late. I think that would be evident from the fact that he's kept me on the same chapter for a while now. Anybody who knows me also knows that I have frustration pouring out of every pore of my body right now. What can I say? I could say what every body else has been telling me. Patience! Lordy! If only He had doled out extra my way I think I'd be a better person all around. Believe you me, I've learnt patience the hard way after I got here. I just need a large dollop of it right now.

Alright, I'm done whining for now. I have many many 'whys' in my head now. Will be found pondering them while listening to ARR at my desk if needed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I've always been a bit of a Rahmaniac. Its only due to this really annoying friend of mine, I call him Patti, a take on his other nickname Pathe, that I actually listened to every single song composed by ARR. Yeah Patti! ARR does kick **'s ass! For those who don't understand Malayalam, Patti = dog. I think if someone smells like a dog, acts like a dog and thinks like a dog, you can be assured that he/she is one...a dog. :) JK Patti JK(disclaimer)!!

Moving on to more important matters, such as the enlightenment, I've always thought that he was one of the most talented music directors of all time, but I never realised the extent of his talent. If you haven't already listened to his Water tracks, get a move on and listen to them. Well all of his music is mind-blowing. The sad part is that most non-Tams can't listen to and completely appreciate his most beautiful creations. They hear the dubbed versions and appreciate them, imagine what they'd do if they could understand his originals. What I absolutely love abt ARR is his humility. There are so many instances of this wonderful trait of his. He's huge, he's an international phenomenon. If you don't believe me check this gentleman's blog out.

He also seems to be the most humble celebrity from where I stand. There was a concert in Bangalore on Oct 8th, and living in this village called College Station, and being as impoverished as I am, there was no way I could possibly have gotten to fly home to see him in action. I heard all the accounts though and for a while there I got asked by everyone I met whether I was doing fine? I turned a very pretty shade of green for a few days in between. There were a whole bunch of pics being circulated of people photographed with a very tired looking ARR. Dang! I wish I could've been there! He's supposed to be coming to North America(prolly not even the USA) in Feb of next year. Hopefully(keepin my fingers and toes crossed) I get to see him live in concert.

I've posted one of my fave pics of his. I'm going to have to look up who took the pic, it wasn't me. You can see him, the lil guy inside of his car, surrounded by his fans. He looks like any other ordinary guy. So unassuming. He's what I would call a dark horse. Brings back to mind that old adage: never judge a book by its cover.

Every time I try to think of which of his songs are my favorites, I find all of his songs tumbling through my head. I can tell for certain which ones aren't my faves, but I'd probably have to say that his first movie has his ultii songs. Roja....oh man! my Mom probably rues the day she bought the cassette for me back in 1992. Rest assured I played it over and over till the cassette gave way. My family was heartily sick of Roja by the time that happened, I was also forbidden to buy another one. However, I am now the proud owner of the movie itself. There was this one time I couldn't find the Kaadhalan tape and I actually asked my mother where my kaadhalan was. She gave me the 'look' before she went purple choking on her laughter.

What is the deal with ARR and Manirathnam? When asked why he comes up with simply awesome music for Mani Sir, he smiled and replied that Mani Sir knows how to use the music. I'm sorry but I disagree. Dil Se had amazing music, one of his best yet, but I always felt that the songs were just stuck in, for no reason at weird intervals in the movie. Oh well, I could go on about the choice of actors and all of that but, that could make another great post.

I'm not done extolling ARR's praises. There's plenty more where this post came from. If you're of the Patti ilk, ignore this blog. Cos I'm goin' tuh be runnin' down every other MD who lacks originality.