Sunday, August 31, 2014

17 secrets of Tamil Cinema; Dedicated to the fans.

I made this list after a very long research. It took me two decades to compile the list. I started this when I was in 6th standard. I knew that one day I’ll be a blogger and will write about this as a post. The below 17 are the some of the best kept secrets of Tamil cinema. There are more secrets, but I don’t want to bore you with a long list so I’m limiting with 17. 

1. A marriage scene, when the iyer says "naazi aiuduthu ponna azachinduvangoo". Then we can conclude that the marriage for sure won’t happen. 

2. Villanu'ku birthday party will have oru scene\kuthu\club-dance. Hero will be in the same party in maruvesam, but villain gang can’t identify him, because hero will be wearing coolers!

3. Villain will always have a 2nd job, he will be selling junk goods like- tube light, carb board boxes, old tyres, glass work, ice factory, welding work...

4. If police remove their cap then they are going to convey a bad news, usually someone is dead.

5. The hero irrespective of his profession will handle a gun\pistol\AK 47\grenades as a professionally trained military man.

6. In comedy films, if someone hits with an orutukattai the person who gets the hit will faint instantly without blood.

7. In old films, the servant name will be always Ramu.

8. If hero teases it’s called romance, but if villain does its eve-teasing.

9. Hero will fight for poor people. He’ll fight against the area dada. During the fight they’ll destroy the shops ( Poori kadai, aluminium pathira kadai, rice shop, paanai kadai, tea shops and shops selling color rangoli powder).

10. If the hero is police then he will always be Assistant Commissioner. The Commissioner will be always a black sheep. New trend- Hero (police) will always wear a kappu in his hand.

11. If you see a happy family or twins in the beginning, then you can be sure that they will be separated. One boy will become police and the other will be with villain (Old trend).

12. The villain will always change his mind after 2 hrs 30 mins.

13. A flashback will have song and comedy track. Sometimes a flashback will have a flashback.

14. Eavesdropping (ottukekuradu) is a very important part in the film. Sometimes this is how the story gets the twist. 

15. If the story moves to Andhra, for sure we are going to see some villain. Story is set in North India (Mumbai), for sure there will be a scenes of Vinayaga Chaturthi and Holi. 

16. If villain dies in the end, it will be always by his mistake or accident- like, when hero & villain are fighting; villain will fall from the cliff or a tall building. If someone is going to kill the villain, it will be his wife\chinna vedu or by hero’ mother.

17. Climax- The heroine will be happy in romancing with hero even after seeing her father (villain) death.

What is your top 3 moments in the above list ?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Power & Money will make you invincible !

Two odd reactions I saw last week from the readers and viewers of media. One, the reaction to the ongoing series by Samas in Tamil Hindu and the other to Gobinath Neeya Nanna.

Samas is writing about the three essentials Water, Earth and Sky. In the Water series, he is now writing about the livelihood of the people living in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu. In one post he talks about the impact of exploitation of mineral sand. He points to a company called VV Minerals headed by a man called Vaigundarajan. Once this post was out, the hue and cry of negative reactions were immense. I had never seen such reactions before, it was as if the concerned company had hired someone to give negative comments.

The business might be legitimate, but when there is environmental hazard it is the right of a free press to point out policy holes to the government.

In Neeya Nanna, Gobinath did a show on "Doctors prescribing unwanted tests to patients". After this show suddenly the Tamil Nadu doctors in social media woke up. Appan kudurukule Elle matri some doctors started defending them. Some doctors associations went for agitation and gave complaints asking to ban such programs, some when on to create exclusive banners in Facebook criticizing how the show is conducted.

Never knew there are so many doctors using social media until they started to defend themselves after the recent Neeya Nanna. 

Every profession has its +ve's and -ve's. The work of the media is to ask questions. I think Gobinath was fair in asking questions. If he had played Arnab Goswami then those doctors in the studio would have either ran away or "kadichu-fied" Gobi. 

Of course the show was edited- All the shows are edited. It's no biggie in media. TRP, yes that's how the evil media works and like doctors they are not in life-saving profession. 

Instead of making hue and cry these doctors\industrialists should start to introspect.

If you have power and money are you invincible.

Unfair trading with Mr. Ganesh

**Food for thought on this Ganesh\Vinayagar Chathurthi

"Palum Theli Thenum Pagum Paruppum ivai
Nalum Kalaundunakku Naan tharuven - kolanchei
Thungak karimugathu thoomaniye neeyenakku
Sanga thamizh moondrum tha
" - Avviyar

What the above lines mean,

"Hello God Vinayaga, I will give you four things (Milk, honey, jaggery-vellam & parupu-dhal). You give me just three Sangam Tamil."

Enna oru villathanam. 100 Rupees (Adjusting to inflation!) worth of groceries kuduthutu asking for the entire knowledge in a language!!

Enna oru kuzumbu.

Monday, August 25, 2014

India Song ( France, 1975 )

Written & Direction - Marguerite Duras | Starring - Delphine Seyrig, Mathieu Carriere | Genre - Drama | Country - France | Language - French | Year - 1975

I have this very bad, yet useful way of seeing a film. I don't turn off the movie while watching it or I haven't walked out in the middle of the movie in a cinema hall. I hate to do this because- one, I paid for it, two, showing disrespect to an art (no one can catch my neck and ask), three is I don't want to put myself in a situation and end up to say “I don't like the film”. 

Film is a art, if you don't like a film, then you are not seeing the film as perceived by the maker. So I try not to use my glasses, rather try to use the filmmakers glasses.

India Song is one such movie, that fits comfortably into the above mentioned third category. The reason, not because of the content, but the way in which it is executed. If you are looking for a very unique way of storytelling then India Song is for you, but don't blame if it tests your nerve.

The story is about a highly adventurous women, Anne Marie, the wife of the French Vice-Consul in India. When I say highly adventurous I meant it in having many post marital relationships. The story is set in pre-independence Calcutta, India. It is said that the boredom in the foreign land takes her to the other men in the consul.

Spoilers Ahead- The story is simple, right, but its not conventional way of storytelling. Absence of dialogues, the film is full of voice overs, usually by someone, not necessarily the characters in the screen. They sometimes narrate of what's happening on the screen and sometimes brief the feeling of the characters and their past stories. It is like a poetry and sometimes I felt like reading a 1000 page novel from the 300th page. At first, I thought these voice overs will get over as they are common in French films, but it just went on for the entire film.

There is no such thing called acting in this film, most of the characters are in a somber mood, walking, drinking, smoking. The camera seldom moves and if it does it pans very slow. You get ample time to read the frame as if you are watching an art painting. This is one of the rare experimental film you can ever see.

Some scenes from the film,
INDIA SONG (Marguerite Duras, 1975) (NSFW) from Spectacle Theater on Vimeo.

Friday, August 22, 2014

En Peyar Palar (India, 2008)

Whenever I’m on the Chennai-Bangalore highway I see this river all the way stretching from Ranipet from Vellore. For past ten years, only once I had seen water running in this river, rest of the time it is always dry.

In Tamil Palar means Milk River or Milky River. Pal means Milk. Lar (ar) means river. I kept wondering from where this river is from and why its always dry throughout the year. I had a hunch that this should be from Andhra Pradesh as the Arcot districts share their border with AP, but this river originates in Karnataka.

In Karnataka it travels 90 Kms, in AP 30 Kms and the rest 220 Kms in Tamil Nadu. The entire stretch of 220 Kms is dry!. This documentary “En Peyar Palar” (My Name is Palar) talks about the plight of this river in Tamil Nadu and the reasons for its dryness throughout the year. 

Reason- Karnataka & Andhra constructed various small dams and hold the Pallar water.

Once a fertile lands are now turning out to be useless for anything. The documentary interviews farmers, social activists, people affected by pollution caused by the leather industries and sand quarries in the river. So often we do chest thumping of the industries, but seldom they have facilities to prevent environmental disasters. In India about 40% of leather products are manufactured from the Vellore and surrounding areas. 

Sand is essential in construction of houses\buildings and there is no alternatives. But the problem is excessive mining and most the sand taken in this river are smuggled into AP and Karnataka. These states does not oblige to water-sharing, but they want sand from Tamil Nadu!

The irony in this Pallar river is in a town called Palur in Kancheepuram district, which got a mineral water plant for IRCTC. The Rail Neer from this plant distributed in Southern trains & stations. I wonder if there is no water in the river from where they will they get the water for the plant ? Are they taking groundwater ? What happens to the waste water, because for every liter of a RO purified water, we get 3-Lit of waste salty water !! This is not covered in the documentary as this plant was commissioned in 2011. 

I believe change is inevitable, everything created by the nature has to be destroyed and then it recreates itself. This the law of the nature. But this recycle takes millions of years, but man can do it in the matter of few years. Being a part of this system, all I can do is to sit comfortably in the AC bus and stare at the dry river bed.

Watch the entire documentary in YouTube,

**Pics by The Hindu &

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Oru Nathiyin Maranam (India, 1999)

I remember this incident happening in 1999. I say this as an incident, because that’s how the then media (TV and print) and the state government projected it. But, this should be called as massacre and not just another incident.

Workers from the Manjolai Tea Estate were demanding for their daily wage-rise and better working conditions. Prior to July 23rd some 600 people were arrested by the Tamil Nadu State police and were imprisoned in Trichy. 

Various political parties supported the workers. Under the leadership of Krishnaswamy thousands of tea estate workers, their family and sympathizers marched towards the Collector office in Tirunelveli asking to release the arrested people and tried to make a plea of their issues to the District Collector. The peaceful march turned violent, when the police started firing and lathi charge. People had to jump into the nearby Thamirabharani River to escape. 17 people were dead. According to this documentary the cause of the death was not drowning, the real reason was- police injuring the people and forcing\throwing the injured people into the river.

This documentary film “Oru Nathiyin Maranam” (Death of a River) depicts the massacre which took place at Tirunelveli on July 23rd 1999. The 58 minutes film interview people who were the victims of the massacre, leaders across political parties, social activists, newspaper photographers. 

There are no interviews from the then government persons or anyone from government body. But without hearing the government side story, I can easily relate the motives of the people responsible for this massacre. This news was given less importance by the then monopolistic TV media (Sun TV) and for various reasons print media also downplayed it.

A lathi-charge is very lethal. 5-foot long stick, swinging towards the head is a powerful strike as a bullet and it can break the skull. Having had a firsthand experience of how police reacts in this kind of situation, I can feel the chill, especially when getting hit and thrown in the river.

Watch the complete film with English subtitles,
YouTube link without subs,

**Above image from

Other Documentaries in FilmBulb- The Act of Killing Part 1 & Part 2, Baraka, In The Name of God, How Much Wood Would A Woodchuck Chuck

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What's The Point ?

Brisk business was happening in selling national flags at Tidel Park Signal. Further down to Perungudi- small, medium and large sized flags were for sale in the stationery shops. While I entered into my shift some colleagues who were about to leave for the day (14th Aug) wished me “Happy Independence Day”, I thought “What!!”. I don’t want to spoil their mood and so politely replied back smiling “Enjoy the day off”. At the stroke of the midnight my Facebook wall was filled with greeting messages. NRI friends were waiting for that auspicious 12 AM Indian Time and started to post greeting messages. AR Rahman released his mobile app. People became patriotic! I asked to myself “What’s the point?

I’m not here to say that the country is in shambles and why to celebrate the day. Corruption, black economy, rich-getting-rich, poor-getting-poor, wo\men empowerment, blah.. blah.. blah. These issues are faced by all the countries.

I might be wrong, but my question is “Where was India some 500 years ago?”. Travel to 1400’s, before the arrival of the Europeans, you’ll see there was no country “India”. The land was ruled by the kings- Mughals, Rajputs, Marathas, Nawabs, Katabommans, Palayakarans… The English merchants named their company as East India as their business nomenclature, which was later acquired by British Empire. They commonly referred to this land as India for administrative purpose.

Do we call all English speaking men as Brits? Then how can all the people living on the right side of the River Indus can be termed as Indians? 

While talking about “Independence Day”, people say “India got independence from British”- This is just to keep reminding us that our ancestors were once slaves to British. We are indirectly taught that we are inferior! 

Some part of this land was ruled by Mughals, so is there a day to celebrate of when we got independence from Mughals?

Technically or factually there was no country named as India before the British Raj, so August 15th shouldn’t be labelled as Independence Day, instead it can be called as a Formation day or Foundation day.

OK. Post World War II new nations were born and one was India. Willingly or unwilling it has been forced on us or we are programmed from our birth. So we all have to accept to this concept of Indian (Not Hindusthani!). Respect the nation. Fight for the piece of land. Build big barbed wire fences. Salute the flag, but not like the politician below.

Image 1: Tipu Sulthan Palace in Srirangapattanam by the blogger.
Image 2: Junior Vikatan Facebook Page

If you had endured this article, you might also like- Denationalize The Nations

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

One Aspect I Want To Change In Chennai

This post is the part of Chennai Bloggers Club’ super initiative “CBC Tablog-2”. The exercise is where few bloggers write about a common subject and tag each other posts as a chain-blog. The subject for this Blog Tag is ONE ASPECT I WANT TO CHANGE IN CHENNAI. I’m middle of the list. Check out my predecessor Destination Infinity’ post here - He got plans to construct Burj Khalifa in Mogappair.

Food is essential for survival, but here in Chennai if you are hungry after 11 PM all you can get is a road-side bicycle tea, if you are lucky you’ll get samosa or murukku or some biscuits with him.

The one change I like to see in Chennai is not to close shops, especially small hotels after 11 PM. Around 10:45 PM the city police takes the city in their control. They force the hotels to shut shop. When 24/7 work culture is inevitable, be it IT/ITeS or manufacturing jobs, why can’t the cops let hotels to close in their own will.

I’m not here to advocate for keeping pubs, bars and TASMAC’s open after 11 PM, which is a different topic to debate. Night life doesn’t mean only drinking and dancing. Businesses should be given an option to shut shop in their own time. All I’m asking for is 4 idlies, 1 dosai or pongal, if possible finish with a tea and dum.

There are very few selected places which are 24-hours opened- There is a small hotel next to the Hyundai Showroom in Mount Road towards T Nagar, few hotels opposite to Sutherland, Velacherry, there is one in Maduvankari, Guindy and tea shop next to Dollars & Pounds near Madhya Kailash.

The govt. can at least let the “Bhavans” to close their shops in their own will.

The next post on the same topic will be written by Namma Area.. Get Inspired… Ranking 146th of 3500 Chennai bloggers.. The one-stop shop where you can get all your queries answered about activities in Chennai- starting from EB bills, vaccination, Milk card- This will be Deepak Raghuraman from the narrow lanes of Triplicane. His One Change in Chennai is

The Chennai Bloggers Club-

Image 1- The above CBC TagBlog Logo by Kaushik Govindaswamy (
Image 2- By the Blogger- Closed Shops in OMR

Monday, August 11, 2014

Denationalize the nations

Australian Pelicans (koku) travel thousands of miles in ocean to reach Vedanthangal, Tamil Nadu, India. Wild buffaloes (Wildebeests) and Zebras travel hundreds of kilometers from one of Serengeti to another. All they had to negotiate is crocodiles and lions. The above are few examples of animal migration which happens without any passport or visa. Mankind with its “culture”, “language”, “knowledge”, “rational thinking”, “religion”… etc (ethyadi.. ethyadi..) had created invisible walls (sometime visible) in the name of nations.

This may sound familiar for the fans of the conspiracy theories, as some claim the United Nations & European Union is a step towards “one world” to control the world. But, my reason for denationalizing or making a “one-world “is to stop dehumanizing of humans in the name of wars and other unwanted conflicts.

I’m happy to lose my ethnic identity, my religion & god (which is obviously forced on me), my national identity, my language- if it can stop the wars and hatred. But unfortunately this Utopian concept becoming reality is slim. Small steps towards this idea were taken in the name of Socialism, but its own people turned into dictators or were crushed by external forces.

யாதும் ஊரே, யாவரும் கேளீர்

Some 1000 years before the above verse was written by a Tamil poet Kaniyan Poongundranar. "Kaniyan" means astrologer, hope his words will come true one day.

**Above Image by the blogger

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tale of Two Chappals

This incident happened a few years back in Bangalore. For some reason, I always used to get a theist as my roommate, be it in school, college or while searching for job or when I started to work in Chennai. Sometimes, they (not all) try to convince me and we used have big arguments. This Bangalore incident was with my good friend (still a good friend!) Vijai, with whom I haven't had any “religion” or “god” related arguments, because we know each other well, if he says “North” then I’ll say “South”. So we always willfully or unintentionally differed in everything, but still we are good friends.

He and his family are closely associated with Sai Baba.We were staying together in Bangalore. He was then a trainee in a medical transcription firm, while I was searching for a job. He always had the intention of going to Whitefield. He got the news that Baba is staying in Whitefield the whole week. He then asked me to come with him, I said yes. He was little skeptic of my instant approval to join him. We took the bus from Shivaji Nagar. On the way he casually asked what made me to join him. I said “Let me see him chumma. If they know I’m a non-believer then they won't let me in or what ?”.

That was a Saturday morning and it was crowded in the Whitefield ashram. He enquired about the time and got the news that Baba can come anytime. We left our chappals outside and went in. There were lots of people, but couldn't feel the rush, which we usually see in a Hindu temple. Everyone was calm and waiting. We waited from 11 AM till 3 PM. There was no sign of Baba and finally we came to know that he wont give the darshan today. My friend enquired and found that tomorrow there are chances to see Baba. My friend decided to come next day. 

We went outside to wear the chappal, but to find mine were missing!. We searched, but couldn't find. I thought somebody would have taken by mistake. So we waited till everyone left, then there was one pair of chappal left. The design was close to mine and so I thought someone should have taken mine by mistake. I wore that chappal and came home.

Next day, my friend asked “Are you coming?”. I said, “yes”. 
Looks like you want your slippers ?”.
I said “Lets see, if I can find it”.

Again that day, we waited. Being Sunday, the crowd was double. I was went out few times to see if I can find my slipper, but could find. At 3 PM, we got the news that Baba won't come today too!. 

Surprise, when I came out I couldn't see the slipper which I took the previous day. My friend said “The guy who took my slipper yesterday should had kept it”, but we couldn't find. He jokingly said “You didn't believe and this is a punishment”. I know he didn't mean it. We just laughed and walked towards the bus. I’m bare foot. The gods were happy.

**Above sutta image from Flickr

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Marriage = Know Your Relatives

Last week I had to travel for a relative’ marriage. After become alienated from the hometown, I lost touch with most of my relatives. I wasn't even aware whether I was from the bride or groom-side. 

This was not a distant relative, but still I was not in touch with them. I didn't feel bad, because as I didn't attempt to communicate with them and neither they did!. While talking with one of my uncle he said “Our generation is gone, it’s time for you guys to get to know each other. You young people had to make an attempt to ‘Know-Your-Relatives’”. Later, I felt what he said was correct, but then how to connect with them ?. The first thing which comes to my mind now is Facebook ?. I have few relatives in my friends list, but they seldom message me or they are not active in FB. Even if some does, after initial “Hi.. How are you?”, I don't find anything to ask ?. I feel phone is the best way. Make a list and call them once-in-a-while.

The above paragraph was not intended to this post, but it just came out well. Back to the marriage hall. 

The stage was super-decorated. They used this fancy umbrella lights. Big TV’s were kept with live editing. Nadaswaram and Thavil guys were playing some beautiful carnatic songs. I like carnatic songs, not for the bhakthi involved in it, but for its instrumental. 

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM was the mughurtham time, now the time was 12:45 PM, way past the auspicious hour, but still the sastrigal was making the bride & groom to play with the color-color-rice. This is when the nadaswaram guy started Endaro Mahanubavulu, except me no one really cared a damn about their music. I was enjoying the song and thought no one should sound “ketti melam.. ketti mellam” from the stage. Fortunately, the sashtrigal should have read my mind voice. After the song was done, then they showed the ketti melam signal (like an “out” signal by Cricket umpire). I couldn't throw (is it the apt word!) the akshadai because the stage was too far, so I throwed it on the nearby TV itself!.

Thavil & TV
Then the photo session. The line grew large with people standing with moi covers and gifts. Give those to the bride or groom, shake hands with them, take a picture (which is important) with a customary smile and then head to the dining hall. 

Marriage is a social gathering to know your relatives or is there more than that? There is lot more to write about marriage, let me find another occasion.