Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Alamar ( Mexico - 2009 )

Alamar, roughly translated in English “To The Sea”, it’s a Spanish language film from Mexico, which tells the story (Well there isn't one) of the relationship between a father and son. 

Film Trailer__

The film opens in black-and-white mode, taken with a handy cam. We see Jorge (Father) and his wife (who is filming), the both are in a car, driving through Rome. Then there is a series of photographs with the voice-over by Jorge, narrating how he met his wife and their life till his son, Natan born. 

Once the photo-show is done, Jorge takes Natan to his fishing village. The rest of the film is set in the village, with Jorge, the kid and his grandfather. 

The film depicts the daily activities of the fishermen, their deep sea fishing, catching big fishes, birds, seagulls, crocodiles, et al. In all these activities listed above we see Jorge teaching Natan and Jorge getting advice and pointers from his father. 

The day comes when Natan has to leave his father, so he draws his experiences in the village (Father, boats, Fishes, birds…), put the paper in a bottle and throws it in the sea. The film ends with Natan playing with bubbles along with his mother in a city park. 

There is not much narrative part in the film, so I assume that both Jorge and his wife got divorced and Natan is staying with his mother. The part on the fishing village was Natan’s last chance to live with his father. 

What can we take from the film- 

The first thing to get noticed is the photography. The sea is always a treat to cinematographer’s and this film uses it intelligently in capturing the immensity of the sea. 

The next is the simple and joyful life of the fish folks.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Critics of Viswaroopam

...mix their personal feelings with their objective analysis.                                                                   .

Much is said and written about this film. What is there to say ?, well there is a lot to say, one- there is a second and presumable third part coming soon, the second is the criticism the movie has earned, good and bad. 

Praising Critics

A section of critics who are ardent Kamal followers. 

These people finds a meaning in everything in the movie, even if Kamal or other character sneezes they will find a reason and say there is a “metaphor” to it

For example, the scene when Rahul Bose (Omar) takes something from his mouth (possibly a speck of meat) and feeds it to a pigeon. This scene was praised by these kind of critics by adding a metaphor tag to it, oh Kamal portrayed how filth\bad Omar’ character is !, but actual in the recent interview Rahul said “feeding the pigeon” was not even in the script and he did it spontaneously as he had nothing to do in the scene. 

Venom-ic Critics

These people are anti-Kamal fans or anti-US fans. Preferable later, because these people liked earlier Kamal films such as Anbe Sivam (which had a communist ideologies). So you don’t like the subject, you criticize the film with a butcher’ knife!. 

These people with their “enormous” knowledge chop the film, scene-by-scene. They forget that this is not a “documentary” film to have historic accuracies and the filmmaker has to have dramatic sequences to thrill the audience. So if Kamal’s protagonist is pro-US, let him be one, it’s a bloody character he played.

In most of the Tamil films, our hero is a Rowdy-Gangster, doesn’t mean they are a gangster in real life? 

Both these critics mix their personal feelings with their objective analysis. I would like to quote, Chuck Klosterman (Who is he- an American Columnist!!), 

It's far easier to write why something is terrible than why it's good. If you're reviewing a film and you decide "This is a movie I don't like," basically you can take every element of the film and find the obvious flaw, or argue that it seems ridiculous, or like a parody of itself, or that it's not as good as something similar that was done in a previous film. What's hard to do is describe why you like something. Because ultimately, the reason things move people is very amorphous. You can be cerebral about things you hate, but most of the things you like tend to be very emotive.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Being Tamilian

To start with I like to give a short repertoire of my genealogy. There was a letter “D” to my initials, which my mom decided to discard it when I went to school. The “D” means “Desampettai”, which is supposed to be in Andhra Pradesh (I didn't find it online). It is believed that my great grandfather had come from Desampettai to Krishnagiri. 

It is very typical of the places in the border of Tamil Nadu (or any state) to have family ties with the nearby state. The Tamil which is spoken there is distinct as always, because of sharing the border between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. This is the only district ( Krishnagiri ) in Tamil Nadu to share border between two states ( Niligiri- Shares border between Kerala and Karnataka ). The dialects and words used will have origins in Kannada and Telugu. My first language is Kannada. 

Let us come to the subject, we all know who the Dravidians are, loosely presumed to be people living in south of India. Let me ask “Who Tamilian is and what makes one a Tamilian”. ? 

Few questions I have, 
  1. People who live (proof of address\ration card) in Tamil Nadu are Tamilians? [Very naïve question] 
  2. People who speak Tamil are Tamilians? 
  3. People who speak different First Language, but born and live in Tamil Nadu are Tamilians? 
  4. People who speak Tamil, but are not in Tamil Nadu now are Tamilians? 
  5. People who speak Tamil, live outside India- who got ancestral roots to Tamil Nadu are Tamilians? 
The more I probe into these questions the more it alienates my selves from the secular concept of being Indian.

**To be Continued** PART II READ HERE

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Maria Full Of Grace ( Colombia, 2004 )

Language: Spanish
Country: Colombia\USA
Year: 2004
Starring: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Johanna Andrea Mora
Director: Joshua Marston
Genre: Drama

This is the first time FilmBulb is writing about a movie from Colombia (Of course this film includes US companies in its production). To know more about Colombia, click here

The movie is set in Spanish language. Maria, a young-teen girl works in a flower plantation near Bogota. Her family, especially her elder sister is depended on her salary. She becomes pregnant,  meantime she quits her job owing to a spat with her manager. While on her way to Bogota to find a job, she meets her friend Franklin who proposes her for a drug-mule job (For Indian readers- Remember the Tamil movie Ayan). He promises for big money and takes her to a drug-dealer. There she gets acquainted with Lucy, who had done the mule job twice before. Lucy prepares Maria on how to swallow the pellets using grapes. 

The day arrives to leave, their destination is New York. Maria finds Lucy and her friend Blanca on the plane as mules. Did they get past the US customs, what was their fate is the rest of the story.

Maria, Lucy and Blanca on the plane to New York

The presence of Catalina Sandino Moreno as Maria is well-matched. She embodies the hesitant nature of Maria very well. Even though she emits the doubtfulness- she takes a right-move (I have to say bold move). No wonder she got nominated for Best Actress Academy Award. 

With the initial viewing, one will see this movie as a drug-trafficking film, I thought the same, but the vein of the story is people’ appetite for prosperity and freedom, which is Maria won’t get in Columbia, but she thinks she will get those in America. It is simple yet gripping tale of survival.

Youtube Trailer

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rajapaksa - Welcome to India

From- Anandha Vikatan

An image is worth of 1000 words, this week Anandha Vikatan carried a cartoon ( By - Hasib Khan ) of Rajapaksa walking into India with blood-stained shoes. As Justice Kutja wrote about Modi in his blog (All The Perfumes of Arabia), Mr. Rajapaksha cannot wash his blood-stained hands in any temples in India. Today, there was disturbing pictures of the Prabhakaran’ son killed in a point blank range, which was published by Channel 4 UK.

There is a strong protest in Tamil Nadu (only Tamil Nadu) against Sri Lanka for human rights allegations and war crimes. These evidences should come from Tamil Nadu and not UK. When the war was closing in SL, international media was barred from North SL, but by the media strength that we have in Tamil Nadu, why did one… just one journalist was there secretly at that time to collect the evidences.

I have a question “who and what makes a Tamilan ?”, I have to think hard.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Picture Collage

This was a picture collage which I did some ten years before, when I did this I didn't even know that there is something called "picture\image collage".

There is no particular meaning in this, but these are the personalities who were in news for various reason at that time ( Should be Jan 2003 ) and also who I liked the most.

Let me know how many you can identify.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vishwaroopam Box Office

Pic from  the Forum on

I can’t abstain myself to write about Vishwaroopam again in this blog, so I would like to wind-up about this movie by giving few details which I found online.

Box Office collection

This might not be the accurate numbers, because most of the cinema theaters don’t give\have the exact DCR (Daily Collection Report) from which the box office collection is calculated. (Read more on the theater practices – click here). So I give the Vishwaroopam numbers as not an accurate number, but should be some-where near to it. Two weeks domestic gross will be INR 120 Crore + 10 Crore for International. Reference Link.

Other reference link (Which is very exaggerating)

But seeing the response audiences, footfalls to the theater, looks like Kamal Hasan would have touched the break-even point as of now in the 2nd week. With still a few weeks left to run, there are no big movies to be released sooner ( Ameer-Adibhavagan on Feb 22nd and Bala-Paradesi on March 1st ); I think Kamal can go to the bank with a big smile.

For those who ( Unknown Insiders in the film fraternity and outside parties who tried to disrupt the screening ) thought this will be a flop got a big rivet.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My take on Best Picture Nominees - Oscar 2013

 Here is my take on the best picture nominees of the US Academy Awards 2013. This should be the first time I watched all the films in the best picture category.

Sweet little story of an elderly couple living in Paris. The movie plays on universal theme of neglecting older people. Read my full review here. 6/10

Zero Dark Thirty
Again a real life based movie, the story is about hunting of Bin Laden, just this fact is enough watch the film. Well-paced movie. Directed by The Hurt Locker Kathryn Bigelow. 6/10


Directed by Steven Spielberg, but I didn't find much Spielberg'ism in it. If your not aware of US history, better do your homework to watch this film. Chances of winning best picture 7.5/10

Silver Linings Playbook

Romantic comedy, could be a classic as it's nominated in all acting categories. Are they working on a strategy to win best picture, chances are 6/10.
Life of Pi
Beautiful adaptation of the novel and good use of 3D imagery with some dose of spiritual and philosophical elements, does this fetch the best picture, 6.5/10

Les Miserables
It’s a musical of the Victor Hugo novel. Even though I liked the story, the sets, cinematography and the costumes, without dialogues it was odd watch for me. 5/10.


Based on true facts of rescuing US embassy employees in Teheran, Iran. It's an edge of the seat thriller. A drama Rambo-style. Chances of winning best picture 7.5/10

Beasts of the Southern wild

They said it's a fantasy film, so I have to keep reminding myself that this is fantasy, while watching, cause sometimes it goes on like a real time story. Excellent music score.  5.5/10

Django Unchained
This should be Quarentino Unchained. I kind of liked the film, except the ending, which IMO ruined a superb film. 5/10

The "chances" # are just my take, doesn't reflect any analysis.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tamil Nadu in Numbers - 1

An attempt to get the numbers of my state Tamil Nadu. I tried to put the good ones, more over I didn't find bad ones!.

Just to get a feel of its size the following numbers might be helpful, like starters,

Area:- 11th biggest among all states.
Population: 7th highest among all states.

Welfare Numbers:-

Human Development Index (HDI), 8th (.547) among states. It is calculated by taking the life expectancy, education and income. TN HDI is more than national average (.467). Will get more details later on this.


Life Expectancy - 64 years - Ranking 5th among the states, national average 61 years.

Money.. Money.. Money.. GDP (Nominal) 

Tax Revenues (2010 - 15) -

Tamil Nadu is the 4th largest tax revenue generating state behind Maharashtra, AP and UP.

HIV Awareness -

Tamil Nadu ranks 3rd (98% males - 94% Female) in HIV awareness behind Kerala (99-95) and Manipur (99 - 99). Least Jharkhand (53-29). National (80-57).

Reservation Policy-

Tamil Nadu now has 69 per cent reservation in educational institutions for socially backward section of the society, the highest among all Indian states


According to Transparency International India, on the scale of Alarming, Very high, High and Moderate- Tamil Nadu features in Very High band in corruption across the public services.


Tamil Nadu is 2nd highest in receiving most number of foreign tourist visits in 2011. 

To be continued..

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Best scenes in Vishwaroopam

After many years I watched a movie in my hometown (Krishnagiri). I watched it in a theater named Apsara, which was 70 - 80% full, to note here-  being a small town this movie is released in two theaters. I came to know it is doing a decent turn-out in both.

Most people who are reading this might have seen this film. So without much into reviewing the story let me take you right away to “my” best and not-so-best scenes\shots\sequences in this film.

The movie title opens from Right to Left (This is how Arabic and Urdu is written).


Dialogues, I liked it most, very apt to the scenes, funny-witty when required and serious-note when needed.

Few samples- 

Nirupama to the doctor ( psychiatrist I guess ) referring to her relationship with Viswanath ( Kamal )- I told him I can’t read ( study ) while sleeping.

Shekar Kapoor referring to Osama’ death to Pooja: - If you are a kin of the Arakan you will know the pain of losing. ( If you had watched Hey Ram, the same kind of dialogue is used ).

First (Only) Full Fight-

The scene when Viswanath transforms- The fight concludes in a flash, just few seconds, viewers (me) are just amazed of what happen! (I thought “can we see it again”). Then the camera shows "the ever husband cursing wife", she is dumbstruck ( as we ) and she tries to rewind of what happened now in her mind, then the same fight goes into slow-mo , and once done the camera again gets back to her in close-up, now she realizes what has happened, as we do gasp.

Swing Scene (Unjal)-

Omar introduces his son (small kid, could be 10 years old) and another boy (a suicide bomber, ~15 year old) to Wisam. In the next scene, Wisam will try to put the 10 year old into swing ( unjjal ), not interested by this the boy will say “I am not a kid” and he leaves, now the ~15 years old suicide bomber will sit on the swing and will gesture Wisam to push it. I found this scene interesting and well written, it is like a small poem, let me know what you got from this scene.

There are much more bests, but let stop here and go to not-so-best of mine.

It is definitely a spy-thriller, but we are blind folded for almost over the half of the movie and we are not sure what the hero is targeting at. (Eventually they had set a target for part II, face-off between Wisam and Omar).

Dialogue delivery, especially Omar (Rahul Bose). I thought if he would have talked in normal way it would have been good.

Most of the time its multi lingual, so they can put the sub titles bigger, with fonts having bordered in black or they can put the subtitles near the character itself.

When they say Americans troops won't kill women and children, I can take this as a POV of the character, but in reality with the information we get from the media innocent women and children had lost lives in the Iraq and Afgan war, especially the drone-attacks.

What is your best\bad scene in this film ?

Box Office Collections. Click Here
For critic about the critics. Click Here

Friday, February 8, 2013

Amour ( French, 2012 )

French Poster - Wikipedia

Language: French
Country: France\Austria
Year: 2012
Starring:  Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert
Director: Michael Haneke
Genre: Drama 

What will happen when one get old? Who will take care of the old people? The best person to care of an ailing old man would be his wife and vice versa. It’s their love which drives the elderly people to sustain the hard life. Amour (Love) is one such French film which shows the love between an elderly couple. 


Georges and Anne

Living in an apartment in Paris, Georges and Anne, both retired music teachers lead a life which will put their emotions into a test. It is a kind of who breaks first. Anne, experiencing frequent blackouts undergoes a surgery, which goes in vain and leads to paralyze her right hand and leg.

Geroges takes care of Anne. There is no improvement in her health, rather she deteriorates. Unable to see her suffering; Georges put her to a permanent sleep.

Visu Tamil Director

It is slow placed, can’t expect fast reactions from elderly, but there is a bit of suspense as the story moves to end. This film reminds me of Tamil films made by Visu in yesteryear which were told in a lighter sense to suit South Indian family system and the audiences.

Michael Hneka

Watch if for some wonderful performances by Jean Louis Trintignant as Georges and Emmanuelle Riva as Anne, directed by Michael Haneka.

Nominated for Best Picture - Academy Awards 2013.

Amour Movie Trailer

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Some Strange Characters - Part 1

These are some of the strange characters I see among some of my fellow Tamilians.

வட நாட்டில் இருந்து வந்த Parota and Briyani-ya  கட்டு கட்டுனு கட்டுவான், ஆனா Hindi கத்துக்கமாட்டான்.

Louis Phippie Coat, Pant, Shirt, Belt, Leather Shoe அணிந்துக்கொண்டு தமிழ் கலாசாரம் கெட்டுப்போச்சின்னு கத்துவான்.

Office-la pizza, burger’ra பத்தி வாய் கீழிய பேசி, வீட்டுக்கு போனாதும் வாய் ரொப்ப pizza-va முழுங்குவான்.

IT ரொம்ப மோசம் sir-னு சொல்லிடு தம் பையனுக்கு BE seat வாங்கி Software Engineer ஆக வேண்டும் என்று எங்குவான்.