Sunday, June 26, 2011

My hometown... My movies...

Recollection of movie watching experience in my hometown
The age and maturity influence a lot, being a young kid then cinema hall is always exciting; the projector room was some sort of mystic place.

Most of them say go to the theater to watch films, not in a TV. The following will be my recollection of movie watching experience in my hometown, let’s stick only to the English movies here.

Its Environment and locales
Set in the foots of a huge rocky mountain Syed Basha, which can be a perfect backdrop to mountain-trekking , Krishnagiri is a small town situated from just 90 Kms from the so-called silicon valley of India has to consider itself lucky, but it doesn’t much cash on it. It’s a usual kind of town that is sometimes unique in its own way. 

Having an almost equal number of population,  constituting Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, the town  shares its boundaries to Karnataka and AP, also adding is a good number of Muslim population which adds a cosmopolitan feel in this town. So it’s no wonder that all language movies are realised here and in Hosur. Much importance is given to English, aka Hollywood movies. Now-a-days the English movies are dubbed in Tamil which attracts a wider viewership.
Syed Basha Mountain

The town got theatres’ named Anand, Santhi, K, Sri Murugan, Apsara, Nayantara (known as Tara), and Raja. With abandon ones like Central, Ravi and Royal. Yes there is a hall just named in one letter, “K”, it has to be a distinctive theatre in India or in the world named after a single letter.

First Film

My first taste of an English film came from the movie, The Lion Of The Desert (LOD) by Antony Quinn, I just remember the protagonist name as Omar Mukthar and the final scene when he was hanged with a boy colleting his broken spectacles. The film was screened in my favourite theatre, Central.

The Lion Of The Desert
Its customary in India or at least in Tamil Nadu to find a movie hall named as “Central”, you have one in my hometown, one in Dharmapuri, Coimbatore, Thirunalveli, the list goes on. Coming back to the movie, LOD, it has to be 1985-86. 

Then my English movie experience relied on the home videos, and then came the arrival of the Jackie Chan English-dubbed films from Golden Harvest, which was seen till the end of the credits.

Central Theatres

During my 10th grade, right after finishing my last final exam, my friend Venkatesh called for a movie named Abyss, in the Central, it was a jaw-dropping experience. The film with such a high magnitude in the end of the under-sea-world raising, then later I came to know that the theatre has changed the screen as PANAVISION, means huge screen with big picture and adding a terrific sound which made Abyss a wonderful experience.
This theatre was indeed helped me in seeing many Hollywood blockbusters, Pierce Brosnan James Bond films released simultaneously here in the India Release, which is a common now, but not then. Titanic ran for more than 50 days with packed house and so was the re-run of the Evil Dead which posted a huge banner with red-evil eyes.

English cinema appreciation was there unlike other films the audience was not dull to the Hollywood blockbuster, I remember in the movie Jurassic Park, the scene when the helicopter lands beside the waterfall got a huge applause from the audience.

As I mentioned earlier with the same name as Central there was a movie hall in Dharmapuri, which was special for its sound system, still the DTS or the Dolby hasn’t been installed in these area, this theatre had a sound system called as STEREOSCOPIC sound (if my recollection is correct), the film Matrix was a good experience with its vibrant sound in the action sequences.

Home Video and its developments

This phase was predominantly dominated by Video cassettes. Small Video stores, like Om Shakthi, Greenland in the Colony Road sprang up in the town, which rented movies for Rs. 10, it also depended on the print if it’s a good quality then it was Rs. 20. Most of the yesteryear blockbuster like Jaws, Indiana Jones, Terminator and kid-section like Honey I Shrunk The Kids were circulated well.

Then came the cable guy, who made the cassette renting out of business, regional language movies in weekdays and English movies on the weekends. This phase made a cable TV revolution all over India and my town was not left behind.
 Not so long the satellite TV caught into the race, with BBC and Star TV entered the town, then came India’ most loved English movie channel, Star Movies, with its daily dose of unending films, still one of my favorite channel. 
The Compact Disc and DVD’s still hold its share even now with the grey markets, going to the internet it’s now online streaming and torrents and rapidshare download.


Call it as nostalgic, but I never get the same familiarity in a multiplex now as I used to get in the theatre in my hometown. The age and maturity influence a lot, being a young kid then cinema hall is always exciting; the projector room was some sort of mystic place. Technologically the multiplex gives a delight in viewing, with its cosy seats and Rs. 90 popcorn.

The advancement of the technology, like VCR, cable, satellite TV, DVD’s, internet download has made easy access to the films, I can download a Korean film “3 Iron” using the net, but I can’t find it in a store. But the real understanding and the magic is in the screen, it makes one enchanted to a surreal effect, that’s why the screen was coated with silver earlier and called as silver screen. A movie is meant to be watched in a theatre. The real essence of a film is felt only when watched in a theatre.

Recent Times

With all these advancements and hurdles, those theatres in Krishnagiri are still surviving, in fact the Raja theatre which used to run second-run films has started screening new releases and Tara which used to screen films for mature minded people! got renovated and started screening new releases, which is also the costliest movie hall in the town.

Kudos to the theatre owners to impose fresh blood in their screening system, like UFO’s. They are becoming more corporatized and even stand-alone ones are not left behind. This is good for the cinema and its audience. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

One Week Job (2010)

The question that comes into the mind of every graduating (or schooling) men and women, what kind of job will I get and what kind of job do I settle for.  In India we hear mostly, become a computer whizz, doctor, engineer… Most of the western world or some of our elders will say follow your passion.

What is our passion? To answer this question a Canadian Sean Aiken, turns to a quest of finding his passion, mission is one job in a week, so 52 jobs in a year.

It’s a documentary style film, which follows the 52 jobs that Sean took on the year. Sean starts with a bungee jumping instructor and ends with a mayor of a town, gets loads of media and public attention and in this pursuit donates the money to a charity. At last becoming a motivational speaker, summarizing his 52 week experience to a collage audience.

Overall a good work, the making of the film doesn’t yawn on you as it’s kind of fast paced and little rational thoughts, now and then. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TABU: A Story Of South Seas (1931)

I got intrigued after watching the silent movie, “The General” by Buster Keaton, having seen silent movies of Charlie Chaplin in my childhood I was not conscious about these kinds of silent films or never turned my attention on these. We always tend to go for innovative aspects like sound systems like DTS, Surround,, or visualization like CGI or 3D, but forget about the beginnings, the dawn the cinema. The talkies era was a pure visual medium of cinema.

So after the Buster Keaton film I was looking for a silent film and TABU: A Story Of South Seas (1931), fell into my torrent swarm.

Part 1 : Paradise

The story is the loss of ignorance or the paradise. A remote island in the South Sea of China, were the civilization haven’t affected it gives rise to a romantic tale of Matahi (Boy) and Reri (Girl). The film is divided in two parts, Paradise and Paradise Lost.

The islanders lead an ignorant, laid back life as tribal, here comes Hitu, an old warrior and a kind of guru from a neighbouring island in a small ship seeking for a virgin girl (Virgin Scared) and he names Reri as the Virgin Scared as a highest honour. The head of the island gives Reri to Hitu, heartbroken Matahi shows dissent to Hitu as no one can seek Reri as she is scared now and if any man even tries to see her, then its Tabu for them, that’s DEATH.

Part 2 : Paradise Lost

The second part, Matahi and Reri run away from the Hitu and settle in a neighbouring pearl island to a hidden life. With his sea diving capability Matahi finds pearl hunting at ease, but he is duped by a Chinese trader. Meanwhile Hitu arrives and meets only Reri, orders her to come with him else he will kill Matahi.

Unable to escape the island due to the debts to the Chinese trader, Matahi goes to the pearl hunting alone, while Reri leaves with Hitu. Matahi tries to rescue her, but Hitu sails through the waves leaving Matahi alone in the sea, presumably death to him.

Cast and crew

The cast predominantly include native islanders; they are agile, beautiful and intrigued. Tabu has a nice blend of a tribal musical notes with hip shaking dance. The film is noted for its cinematography, which won the academy award. The director of this movie is a prominent figure in the German expressionism F. W. Murnau of Nosferatu fame. Unfortunately Tabu was his last film and many of his films through the 1920 era were lost. 

Note: Thanks for reading and don't forget to post ur comments

Friday, June 17, 2011

July 32nd - Korean

It’s a grey story of how love turns into shattered dreams, relationship between the father and his daughter. The  killer Man Su is a father of a beautiful girl Rosie, one day Rosie insists Man Su to take with him to work, of course the killer’ work in to kill, in this act he is surprised by the police and he is forced to leave Rosie with a prostitute. He tells Rosie that he will be back tomorrow to take her, the calendar reads July 31st, Rosie asks “so you will come on July 32nd?”

There is no July 32nd, so neither the father returns, what happens to the girl and Man Su is the rest of the story. As usual the Korean movie tells the tale in a way that we can’t even imagine and brutal ways of telling the truth as it happens in the daily life, like the final scene of revenge on Rosie.

The background score and the cinematography are well-ordered, so is the song that’s played in the beginning and the end. Characters don’t go over-board, the director plays them in a circle as he likes and they fit in the role to T. The film starts at the same place and where it ends in the same place with the same song. All is not well, it ends in grey scale which never goes off line and remotely happy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Seventh Seal

Swedish film released in the summer of 1957, directed by acclaimed director Ingmar Bergman is a much talked after film in the international cinema circles. I had this movie a year before, but haven’t watched it, decided to see what the movie was about, started in the wee-hours of 2 AM in the night. Within minutes passing I realised the critics were right about this movie.
Set in the medieval ages of 14th century, a Knight returning to his homeland from the crusades sets to meet “Death”, yes its “Death”, portrayed in a human form. The Death tries to consume him by saying his time has come, the Knight challenges the Death to play chess with him and makes the Death to post pone his final moments on Earth.

The Death travels with the Knight on the plague stricken country side, on their way they are accompanied by various kinds of people and also involved in discussions of self-purification on the knowledge about the god and the existence of the god. Like the following lines,

Is it so cruelly inconceivable to grasp God with the senses? Why should he hide himself in a midst of halfspoken promises and unseen miracles? . . . What is going to happen to those of us who want to believe but arent able to? . . . Why cant I kill God within me? Why does he live on in this painful and humiliating way even though I curse him and want to tear him out of my heart?. . . I want knowledge, not faith. . . . I want God to stretch out his hand toward me, reveal himself to me. . . . In our fear, we make an image and that image we call God

The above lines are the ones which are echoed in the minds of the agnostics in even today’s world, but the answer that Death gives to the Knight is “God is silent”.

One cannot trick death, that’s the saying which is always true, seen in the Final Destination. Death check-mates the Knight, but the Knight in the event of his falls distracts the Death in allowing the escape of his fellow travellers. Questions asked by the Knight are still relevant even now, they feared death in the form of plague and other diseases, the modern men is fear of himself.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hangover 2

The pack is back...

Here comes the sequel of a movie which most of the present day men has experienced it, abstaining teetotallers. This time the wolf pack goes to Bangkok, the asiatic version of Las Vegas, because as “”Vegas takes it”.. “Bangkok too takes it (him)”.
Stu, the doctor, ops the senior dentist gets married to a Thai, it’s not Mellisa in an island near Bangkok, as usual the pack goes through a blackout and then starts the quest to search of the groom’ brother.
We are taken into to a wild world of smoking and drug dealing monkey, monk who vowed not to speak, Interpol agents, at last our own Mike Tyson with a rap. We get to know the demon, of course semen inside Stu.
All put together an entertaining and can be seen who haven’t seen the first too.

Alan you could have left the monk alone by not letting the monkey to play with the water hole.

Friday, June 3, 2011

To Drive or not to Drive... To Walk or not to Walk

The roads of Chennai is full of chaotic activities, unreasonable things are happening all the time, but somehow everything gets even at the end of the day.

To Stop or not to Stop…

Sometimes the drivers think to stop or not to stop in a signal. RED signal the driver is looking for the traffic cop (TC) , if there aren’t one then wizzzzz-off the road. So the RED signal becomes unimportant but the TC is.

Pedestrians crossing the signal, even though the GREEN MAN is blinking they can’t cross as they are in the mercy of the vehicles, elder people don’t even get in the road as there are hungry cabs waiting to take you. Sometimes its other way around, the pedestrians crosses the road even its RED MAN, they just hold one hand up to stop the incoming traffic and do a cat walk.
Most of the roads don’t have a foot-path, so walking in the road and getting home without brushing two-wheeler is luck. Even if there is a foot-path, some pedestrians won’t walk on it or it will be used by the shops, there is something called Nadai Pathai Viyabarigal Sangam, Association meant for foot-path shops.


While writing this article one of my friend shared a link in Facebook, a short film regarding the traffic and civic sense in Vadodara, similar things does happen in Chennai too.

Thanks for your time in reading, comments and feedbacks are welcome.