Monday, December 29, 2014

Bye Bye CIFF

Chennai International Film Festival got over on December 25th, but I’m updating this column late, because I had to travel for a long weekend (Got to give some excuse for being lazy!).

The last day, which was my 4th day in the CIFF. Having already seen 5 films in the festival, I thought of making the money worth spent (Rs 500 for the pass). This was not strictly on ROI, but to make use of the opportunity and see as much films as I can, else my main source is torrents. 

I had a chance to catch two films on the last day. Behaviour (Conducta), a film from Cuba. A film about a young boy and to-be retired teacher. The boy, who is having behavioral issues, due to his family condition is given support by the teacher, who in-turn makes him to realize his responsibility.

The next film was from Serbia, Monument to Michael Jackson. A light comic story of a man who proposes an idea of having statue of Michael Jackson in their town to get tourists.

Having seen two back to back films, we (Me, Mahesh and Bragadeesh) were hungry. The nearby eateries were crowded, so we had to skip the 4:30 PM show. We took refuge inside EA.

In spite of Mahesh reminding about the CIFF booklet, I missed it. When we went back to Woodlands the front office was closed and all the staff were busy for the closing ceremony. 

Overall, my first experience was good. Sacrificing (sleep) for an art always satisfies the soul!. I dont have any qualms about the event, some said last year there were 8 screens, whereas this year it was only 5. I sticked to Woodlands and didn't take chances in hopping theaters (Chennai Traffic!).

Next year, if I’m available in the city, I’ll surely visit CIFF-2015.

Previous CIFF-2014 posts

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Day 3 at CIFF

It was my day 3 (Wednesday 24th Dec) in CIFF (Chennai International Film Festival), but it was it’s day 7!!. I was absent for the 4 days. I thought catching up to three films, but had a chance to only see two. Got to get to the office at 5:30 PM.

Already missed out my “not-to-miss” films like Leviathan, Moebius and Winter Sleep, so I did not take time to go through the options available across different venues. The best bet is to go Woodlands and play “inki-pinki-ponki” and select the films.

The first film was “The Sentimentalist”, a movie from Greece. The announcer in her sweet voice said, the movie has dialogues both in English and Greek. And so, there is no sub-titles available as it will be easily understandable. But, in the entire movie, there was only one scene which had a dialogue in English, even in that half of the wordcount were “fucking.. fucking.. fucking”, otherwise marunduku kuda English dialogues nahi. I (most of us) had experienced today, the expression “it sounds like Greek and Latin”.

The movie was stylishly shot. In spite of no sub-titles, I was able to make a story out of it, the crowd politely accepted the movie without subs (I guess this is normal in a filmfest!).

For lunch, I did not want to take chances with Royapettai briyani’s shops. I don't have a steel stomach. Found a small veg hotel in Quaid-e-Millath Road. I owe them two rupees as I didn't have change!.

The next film was from the Indian Panorama section “Munnariyippu” starring Mammootty. 

The very first scene of the movie, when the credits starts we see a dead lizard is taken\dragged by a bunch of ants. This scene sets the pace of the film and we might interpret on how the main character Raghavan (Mammootty) might be dragged or nagged by others. BTW, it is good to see Mammootty set asides his stardom and performs for the sake of the character and not for his brand (I guess this is normal for Malayalam mainstream actors, but not lately).

By 3/4th of the film, we tend to guess on how the film might unfold, as Raghavan irks the viewers and the other characters in the film. But we fail to anticipate the climax. The full story of Raghavan’ past is untold, we tend to get only bits and pieces of it. Maybe, that's why the film succeeds. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Potti Maaripochi in CIFF

My Day 2 in the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF)- I wonder why they want to add the word “International”, they should have kept just “Chennai Film Festival”. Is it because they screen movies from around the world?

Before starting every movie and in their promotions they add “In support from Tamil Nadu Government” and to note, there is a big banner in which it is written “From the blessings of AMMA”. Makkal’in Mudalvar’ presence is there, you cannot escape from amma in Tamil Nadu.

Back to the business part, I went to catch-up at least two films- 5 PM and 7:15 PM.

5 PM show in Woodlands was scheduled for a Bulgarian film Roseville, but they started to play an Italian film “Like A Wind” (potti maariduchi- I guess this is normal in an event like this!). Most of the audience realized it when the title got displayed, but the people who were telecasting\projecting it realized after 15-20 minutes. Then the movie was stopped abruptly and the Roseville film was started. When Roseville started, the lady in the mic announced they are playing the correct film now! An appropriate excuse could have been sought.

Back to the actual business about the film- Roseville. It started as an average Hollywood B-Grade film, like “people driving through the forest and a creature appearing from nowhere”. The plot moved like Kubrick’ “The Shining”. 120 minutes running-time was too much for the film, they could have reduced it to 90 minutes. Sound design and the background score were good.

Before, catching up the next film got a chance to meet my fellow blogger Mahesh. Had a quick chat with him. Rushed in for little refreshment and "chucha".

Next film- Nuoc (2030), a Vietnamese film about raising sea levels. The cinematography was good in capturing the rough sea (Or is it my delusion, because I sat too near to the screen).

**Above Image from Nuoc film.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My First Day In A Film Fest

While reading this piece of writing, people may think I’m too excited and exaggerating my experience, but attending a film festival is in my list of “to-do” items for a long time, I kept skipping it for years. So there is no harm in writing about it!

On the 2nd day of the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF), I took some time from my busy schedule (Iddu reel’u!) and narrowed on the 3 PM show at Woodlands. My target was a movie from The Netherlands- Tuscan Wedding, but I also had an option of 2.45 PM show at Symphony (Adomaya. Life Goes On - An Assamese film).

I was able to reach the theater sooner than I expected and thought of catching up the 2:45 PM show. I parked the bike (free parking only in Woodlands). As said before, I was excited. Walked into the theater and choose my seat.

They announced to switch off the mobile phones, everyone smartly put their phones in the silent mode. Movie started. With in few minutes, I realized that I forgot to take the key from the bike. I was sure the key is in the bike, because that’s my routine way of forgetting it. I was about to move out, but I don't want to ruin my first experience. For few minutes, I couldn't concentrate on the movie. From my past similar experiences, I know the key is perfectly camouflaged and it’s hardly got noticed by the people passing through it (I once, left it on a busy street), so I took a chance (Kurutu daiyriam).

I continued to watch the film. Occasionally, someone was whispering “hello.. nan theater’la irukeen” and some frustrated souls walked away in the middle of the film (May be they had forgot something like me).

Clap.. clap.. clap the film ends.

Oh!! what happen to the key ?- It was there in the bike and the bike was there untouched!.

Note: There is a photo exhibition happening in Woodlands. Theme- Cinema Halls.

Web link for the festival-

Monday, December 15, 2014

Enough Mr. Superstar

By the time you read this you might have seen the film or your friends would have already given their take on the movie as “mokkai”. Yes, they are correct the film is “mokkai”, when you go to Lingaa expecting the Bashaas or Padayappas.

They have taken a time-tested superstar formula- An intro song, powerful flashback and a bad guy. They neither over-cook nor under-cook the film, but they forgot to turn on the stove. Being in 2014 they took the movie which is meant for the year 1999. 

Lingaa is watchable on the whole, even though there are bits and pieces of dragging moments for every 15 mins. The intro song is from the dream of the hero, which is a complete lack of imagination, longgg flashback…wait.. wait.. I’ll stop here, I can see that you are saying “Thalaivar scene’la vandalee podum”.

My fear is when people like Rajani and Kamal can still be super heroes at the age of 60’s, will Vijay and Ajith follow the same. Long live Tamil Cinema.

Enough Mr. Superstar or enough of Mr. Superstar.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mozhi ப்பராபளம்

This is the norm for most of the bilinguals like me in Tamil Nadu, especially while in school, we suffer from this Language’ophobia. மனேயல்லி ಕನ್ನಡ (வீட்டுல Kannada), வெளியில் தமிழ் and in school English. This was how I started my school days in a confused state till 4th Standard, but when I stepped into 5th standard, things became more complicated. Hindi and Sanskrit joined the race to torture me. I was put into this CBSE School in Sri Vidya Mandir (SVMS), Salem. 

Up until joining SVMS, my Hindi vocabulary was verrrryyy limited, like, “Ek.. doo.. theen”, “Chumma.. chumma.. de..dee”, “shoolay”, “namaskar” and not to forget “ek gaon main..ek kisan raghuthatta”. I was a hosteler then, so new joinees were pushed for a special tuition from 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM, while the rest of my friends were playing cricket.

Hindi teacher should be called as Ji or Pandit. Sanskrit sir as Sharma Ji. Tamil teacher as Ayya\Amma. English and other subjects as sir\madam.

Our Hindi tuition Ji was from Ambasamudram, he’ll say “ஒழுங்க படிக்கலே மணிமுத்தாறுல புரட்டி எடுத்துடுவேன்”.

Halfway through my 5th standard year, there came a circular “Students should speak in Hindi, while in Hindi period. Should speak in Tamil, while in Tamil class. Sanskrit in Sanskrit period. For English class and the rest of the subject- English is must”. 

We hostelers had a big doubt, “What language should we speak in interval and lunch period?”. So as days passed, one day during an interval period, I said to my friend Balu, “டாய், நான் one bathroom போயிட்டுவரேன்...”, suddenly someone caught my ear. It was my Sanskrit Sharma Ji (He was like Premji from Goa film). He said “Hey man, you talk in Tamil”.

Me: No, Tamil ji.. bath room is English!! He said, “come to the staff room”. He pulled my ear and dragged me to 2nd floor.

I thought, “Yov Sharma, நீங்க management-க்கு salaam போட என் காதுதான் கெடச்சதா!!"

I ended up paying Re. 1 for talking in Tamil. That one rupee was added to my mess bill.

உங்க மொழி அரசியலுக்கு என்ன மாதிரி எத்தனை ஊரூகாய் ஜாடியோ!

A small pawn in the divisive linguistic politics.

**Above image by the blogger