Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sanathana Dharma series - 1. What is it?

Now, immediately after going through a few lines of this post, people may start criticizing me as ‘yet another Hindutva extremist’, or ‘RSS guy’ or whatever. I mean, we are present in such a situation that anything which is written about Hinduism is taken in that spirit, of late. This post is to express how tolerant the Hindu religion is, and how it has escaped all the fight is has experienced from all the other religions, and how it remains to be one of the supreme religions, throughout the world, expressing the human community about the culture and heritage of the people of India, who follow the oldest of all religions.

To begin with, what is Hinduism?

Well, it’s basically a religion followed by the majority of people in India. The name, by which it should be called, is ‘Sanathana Dharma’, roughly meaning ‘The eternal law’. From way down the ancient times, this religion has prevailed, which has guided people towards eternity, or Moksha. It is interesting to know that Sanathana Dharma had no name whatsoever in the past. Since it was a way of life, more than a mere religion, and was the ONLY one of it’s kind, there was no name, until the other religions came in to existence and only at this time, it was referred as Sanathana Dharma, since it was very old and eternal.

Now, what does Sanathana Dharma say?

Well, if, shedding all inhibitions, one looks closely, he will know that Sanathana Dharma has the root principle of Advaitha. Now, one might protest that Sanathana Dharma preaches Vishistadwaitha or Dwaitha, the other two variants. That’s why I said, one has to look closely, shedding all inhibitions. The Sanathana Dharma has its base as the four Vedas, the Rig, Yajur, Sama and the Atharvana. These four Vedas have one Mahavaakya, or the powerful phrase. One phrase each for all the four Vedas. These Mahavaakyas are that powerful that they can liberate a mortal to the stage of immortality. It’s a common practice for a person when becoming a sage or a Sannyasi, that these are preached by his guru, to enable him to attain the goal. These Mahavaakyas are:

1. Rig Veda – ‘Prajnanam Brahma’ – the consciousness is Brahman
2. Yajur Veda – ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ – I am Brahman
3. Sama Veda - ‘ Tat Tvam Asi’ – That thou art
4. Atharvana Veda - ‘Ayam Atma Brahma’ – The (this) self is Brahman.

Now, ‘Brahman’ here is not Brahma, the creator. Brahman is the eternal element, which created everything, and which prevails in everything it created, and without which nothing will function. In short, ‘GOD’.

These four Mahavaakyas are the key to a person becoming a Sannyasi and achieving Moksha. If one recites them again and again, he will, one day realize practically that the one who resides outside, is the one residing inside the person. Once this is practically realized, the Moksha is attained. That means, the person continues to live till his allotted time becomes complete in the world, but now after attaining Moksha, he realizes that the creator and the creation are the same. With this practical knowledge, he serves the human kind, as Ramana maharshi, the Paramacharya of kanchi, Ananthamayee ma, the mother and Arobindo Gosh of Pondycherry, Ramakrishna paramahamsa, served humanity.

This philosophy, which clearly explains that Moksha is not anywhere in the outer world, but which can be attained, at the very instant the truth of the creator and the creation are the same, unfolds. This philosophy is stated well in those 4 Mahavaakyas.

The root meaning of these Mahavaakyas themselves, without any prejudice, clearly states this fact. There are many other proofs as well, which clearly explain that the Advaitha is the root philosophy of Sanathana Dharma.

Now, we know about the religion and the root principle of it. Let’s take a look at another aspect, without which the Sanathana Dharma would have been nearly extinguished.

Jagadguru Sri Aadhi Sankaracharya.

See the next post for the continuation.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My top ten most favorite sounds

Was thinking about posting this when I was eating Poori this morning. As a result, here it is.

My top ten favorite sounds.

1. The telephone receiver replacing sound
2. the typewriter sound
3. Car door closing sound
4. The revolver chamber rotating sound
5. The sound when the table spoon is dropped in to a bowl containing chutney to the brim
6. The projector rotating sound (when playing a movie)
7. the key board key striking sound – provided the keys must be pressed faster
8. the car starting sound
9. The sound made when milk is mixed in a spoon after mixing complan
10. The sound made when a quality leather shoe strikes wooden floor.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Long Halloween - Terrific !







I was browsing through books at landmark, Spencer’s this Saturday the 20th of Dec, as I always do whenever I go to Spencer’s. There is one beautiful comics section there, which has some of the best comics from the US. As usual, my hand went towards one particular comic, which I select every time but then replace it after looking at it with a desperate kind of look. This time also, I was about to replace it but decided against it and bought it (It was Rs. 800/- ! The prime reason why I didn’t buy it all these days).

That book was ‘The Long Halloween’, a Batman comic book . It was that exiting that I went to landmark the nest day and bought the sequel called ‘Dark Victory’ (Another 800 bucks!).

I first read Batman in Tamil during my school days in ‘Thigil’ comics, a division of Lion Comics. The book’s name is ‘Pournami Vettai’. From that moment, I became Batman fan. To me, Batman is different from all the other comic heroes. He has his flaws, his own fears and he is a very normal mortal, unlike superman or captain America or whatever. Also, his villains fascinated me more than anything. Joker, Harvey Dent aka Two face, Ivy, Penguin, Solomon Grundy, scarecrow.. The thread which unites all of these with Batman is that they all are freaks like the Batman.

This story ‘The Long Halloween’ focuses on the early years of Batman when he is trying to keep up a promise he gave to his parents. In his own words, “I made a promise... on the grave of my parents that I would rid the city of the evil that took their lives”. The very comic begins with this phrase.

People get murdered on holidays by a killer, incidentally named Holiday. All the kills have a clue left near them and it’s left to Batman and Commissioner Gordon to bring out the killer. Through some terrific encounters with the major villains of the Batman, they finally bring out the killer, who is the most unexpected.

The Long Halloween deals also with the life of Harvey Dent, who becomes ‘Two-face’, one of the major characters of Batman comics. It talks about who Harvey Dent is, how did he lived, what was his intentions and finally how he became one of the ironies of life; the exact opposite of what he was. A very interesting book.

Here are some of the snaps I took from the net. I will replace them with the original snaps I took from the comic tomorrow.

The illustrations are fantastic ! Tim Sale has donned the work with Jeph Loeb contributing the story.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Can-you-lend kinda jackasses !


‘How much do you have in your hand now?’

Tell me how many times you have heard this phrase in your life. I’m sure you would have heard it a million times. What does it mean? Well, it means you have to oblige the asker whomever he is, have to give him whatever he asks with a smiling face, and wait till eternity to get him back to you and give the borrowed amount, and that too, you must never ever flinch a muscle on your face even if the borrower happily forgets to pay the due back but keeps talking to you about every single thing under the sun except this due!

Well, how many of us will ask money to another person, however close he is, however critical the situation could be, without the feeling of at least a tinge of shame? I know many people have the habit of asking money from others. Some even run entire livelihood borrowing money always from others. To me, I can never borrow money from others. Forget borrowing, but can’t even ask! My hands tremble and my voice changes, and I feel like dying, to ask money from others! Not only money but anything.

I have NEVER borrowed money from others except two situations. Once, the marriage of one of my closest friends arrived, and at that time I didn’t even have 100 Rs in hand. I borrowed money from another close friend of mine and bought a gift. Know how it felt? I was unable to ask money at all! I was trembling, and tears started forming when I was asking the amount. The friend had a golden heart! He understood my predicament immediately and sent me the amount the very next day through internet. He lives in a foreign country (even now).

Another time, I borrowed a big amount from my aunt (my mother’s sister). Even then, I was ashamed, but she graciously understood my situation, came forward and gave me the amount. I can never forget them both in my life.

There are some people like them. But, there is a majority of a crowd which exactly is the opposite. They don’t have any problem in borrowing money from others, and they think that others live life only to give them the money they want. They don’t even have the basic shyness to borrow money, and they just come to us, utter the phrase in the first line of this post, and whatever we say, somehow they stick to their point and virtually grab all the money we have.

A friend of mine is like that. He takes for granted everything he faces. He stays with me in a room and whenever he wishes, grabs the key of the other rooms and goes and sleeps in their room! He doesn’t care about what they will think when they return back at all. And, he has the habit of gifting away anything which his friends ask this guy. Now, you might think this is a good quality. But wait! He gifts away things which are ours! Without our concern he gives away our things, and coolly says ‘I have given it to him’ when we ask for it, after a few days, suddenly noticing that the thing is missing! That too, he says, ‘How can I say no when someone asks’!!

Coming back to the point, he asks money whenever he needs it. Pitying his condition, if we give the money, then that’s it! It will never return unless you ask him 100 times at least! That too, he doesn’t mind if it’s a big amount or a smaller one. Whatever his need is, he asks that amount. Even if we say no, he persists, and draws the last straw out of our pocket! People like this ‘friend’ of mine are the majority everywhere, and people like me, to feel ashamed even to ask the money back, are a very minimal!

I have had the ‘fortune’ of having some friends who are so generous to ask whatever they think they can, and expect me to give them immediately. But, once borrowed, they totally and effectively forget about it! I have wondered many days that how is it possible to forget the fact that you have borrowed money and have to return it back ?? Will you be able to sleep? There should at least be some sort of responsibility and these guys don’t even have the slightest trace of it!!

There are a few relatives as well, who belong to this category.

Anyways, I learnt that saying no in certain situation helps. Do comment to this post, if you have had any such friends or situations. It would be appreciated if you guys comment, instead of replying to me in mail. See you all in my next post friends. . .

Note:- The picture was taken from http://blog.baliwww.com/wp-content/photos/tajen_gafl.jpg

Monday, December 01, 2008

Terrorism and India - a common citizen's perspective !

Are you ready to trust a complete stranger whom you meet in the electric train ? How far will you stretch your hand to help someone whom you do not know ? Do you know atleast the names of your neighbors, not to mention their details ? If a completely unknown person talks to you, how will be your reaction? Won't you step back and withdraw yourselves in to your tiny little shell ? Did you ever notice this alarming resentment which is spreading across people, which has crept in to our minds slowly in the years passed by ? Why is that so ?

Initially, India was considered to be the symbolism of peace and love. A harmless nation. Even though there were occasional communal clashes, on the whole, India was a good nation. For outsiders. Post babri masjid, these terrorist attacks (terrorists need not come from a foreign nation. All the goons the political parties have produced are also terrorists) have increased since then, giving a notorious name to India, among other countries.

Tell me. Hasn't our security become a farce these days ? We are lucky to have lived one more day if we come home safely. Imagine ourselves sitting in an electric train, or strolling happily in a park, or enjoying a TV show or a book or having a sweet romantic talk in our home, when suddenly a blast can turn our lives upside down ! We tend to be the unlucky souls if it happens, and the other people become lucky that day. Is it our mistake ? Is it our mistake to get killed by some slug headed idiotic f**kin' coward who thinks he has avenged the death of his motherf**kin' counterparts who are nothing but again some bunches of foolish idiots thinkin' about avenging the death of their friends or relatives supporting a foolish theory ?

Now, apologies for using foul lingo in this post. But, imagine those innocent lives going off for no mistake of theirs! Is it our mistake to live a fearful life, not trustin' anyone? Why is this happening to us ?

To me, it's the inability of the government which has failed to punish crime the way it deserves. Now, don't jump on me for saying so. Think about this. Even the most feared criminal gets a punishment after nearly a decade. What happened to auto shankar ? What happened to Shobraj?
? What happened to nalini ? What happened to tom, dick, harry and their criminal cousins ? They all are sitting happily in prison, enjoying their stint, while the law sleeps in the court. By the time the verdict comes, they'll have a happy natural death!

Look at the government. Whomsoever rules, they all are sleeping even after such terrorizing incidents. Everytime, the government becomes alert for a few days and then slumbers again. Shouldn't the law be tightened? Shouldn't the criminals shit in their pants fearing
about the punishment?

Imagine the Mumbai Taj atrocity happening in a country like Israel ! I am sure the criminals responsible would have been castrated by this time ! Why is our government acting in such a 'come-criminals-this-is-your-fairy-land' kinda way ?

People are getting more and more resentful about the government. It's high time it tries to protect it's people instead of silently observing the atrocities, issuing comments that law will take it's own course. Please try to imbibe confidence and peace among the fellow citizens, O government! You are the only thing that can save these innocents from dying.

Seriously, I got angry seeing these mindless bastards kill people in Mumbai. The root of such crimes has to be burned completely, assuring the citizens a happy, calm life. Else, the people themselves will start saving them, thereby creating another Calcutta - pre-independence. That time, things would've gone out of hand for the government to do anything- juz like it's now.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram - awsome !!


Before starting the review, I wanna tell something. I saw this movie on sat morning, and again I went to Mayajaal in the night to see this one ! That too, in pouring rain - 22 kilo meters !! It's worth the effort!!

We entered Abirami mall on sat the 15th Nov 2008, to watch a charity show of Vaaranam Aayiram, at 8:30 AM. The theatre was filled, as expected, and people – all are youngsters, were throbbing at the entrance, waiting for the gates to open. As me and my friend entered in to the mall, we were showed the way, and we went in to the screen. The tickets were Rs. 70/- but since this goes for charity, they were placed at Rs.150/- each. Once we entered, we found that our seats were in the third row from the screen! My friend was totally annoyed, and he was complaining that this is the first ever time he has sat in such a close proximity to the screen. To me, I have sat in the first row, forget about the third, numerous number of times. Hence, I didn’t find it a problem. We settled there, waiting for the film to begin.
Exactly at 8:30 AM, the censor certificate flashed on the big screen. Now, I want to mention about something which gives an excitement to me. Every time I go to a movie, I’ll observe the number of reels. Then, I’ll calculate the running time of a movie based on the number. Initially, during my college days, one reel equaled 15 minutes. Hence, the duration will roughly be the total number of reels x 15. But now it has changed. Now I think one reel equals 20 min. As soon as the censor certificate was shown, I immediately looked at the right lower corner of the screen, to find the number of reels as 9. This gives me a joy every time I see a film.
The film began. The thanks cards were shown first, and then the title began. A record, revolving in the record player was shown in tight close-up, as guitar music slowly started at the background. An old Hindi song - 'hai apna dil to aawara, na jaane kis pe aayega' ( from the movie Solva saal) was sung, accompanied by the melodious guitar music as the titles were displayed. The tamil song 'uravugal thodarkadhai.. Unarvugal sirukadhai' followed. The entire title display was very creative, as it gave the momentum so as to what to expect in the movie. I loved the title credit piece.
The first shot of the film is on a house, which bears the name Malini. We see an old guy, walking slowly, emerging out of the house. He has a French beard, and a casual haircut. As he crosses the car parked at the gate, the security runs to the guy, asking him to take the car, but he refuses and says in a muffled voice that he’ll walk. Then he continues his slow stroll.
The next shot, he’s getting a haircut. Once it finishes, he walks to home, and his wife greets him, saying it’s a nice cut. He walks to the small boy sleeping in the bed, places a chocolate bar near him and walks to the bathroom. In the bathroom, suddenly he holds his head with both his hands. He seems to be in unbearable pain, as he pukes blood in the basin. He calls for help in his subdued tone, and his wife and daughter rush in, place him in bed and call for a doctor. The doctor says, he will pass away soon, as his cancer has eaten him up. In the bed, he keeps calling for ‘Surya’ and his wife rushes to the phone. The old man stops calling, and raises his hand. He seems to be smiling, and with this expression, passes away.
Surya, his son, is a major in the army, and he is on his way for a rescue mission, with his team. He is in a chopper, when the news of his father’s expiry is conveyed to him. He sits still, with tears flowing down his eyes, as he slowly thinks about his moments all his life so far with his beloved father. This forms the basis for Vaaranam Aayiram.
He first thinks about his mother, telling him how his father swept her off her feet and married her. Then, Suriya is born. Then his teen age school incidents are shown, then his college, his career, how he falls in love at the instant he sees a girl in a train, pursues her to America, woos her, makes her to love him, and then, how the gal dies in a tragic bomb blast, his return to India, the suffering and torture he undergoes, being unable to forget the girl, how he moves to Kashmir to recover from the disaster, how he regains his confidence back by rescuing a child from it’s kidnappers, his joining in the army, then marrying a friend of him whom was loving him from the childhood, followed finally by his father’s demise.
All these incidents are fantastically shown in the film. They all are realistic, like we are witnessing the happenings in a beautiful family. The father is a very lively, kind, passionate guy who wants his kid to be a practical person. The boy loves his father like anything, and his inspiration is the father. The relationship between them both is portrayed in a beautiful way. The mother and the father are madly in love even at the old age, and they always support each other. The boy grows in admiration of his parents, and everything he does, stands to be something his father has done before.
The acting is flawless. Suriya dons both the roles of the father and son effortlessly. I was amazed when he came as a school kid, singing the Hindi song and playing his guitar (he sings Kisi ki muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar' from the movie Anari and 'Paadatha paattellam paada vandhai'). WOW! He is of the same age as Vijay, and even then, has played the role of a teenage school boy. He looks exactly like a school student!
Gowtham Menon has clearly surpassed all of his previous films with this one (according to me). The dialogues are short, witty and has a lot of hidden meaning. All the romantic scenes were great, with a lot of reality. This is how things will happen if there is a father as kind as the father Krishnan, and if there is a son, who has grown in awe of his father.
Harris Jeyaraj has done a commendable work at the background. Usually, he tends to be jarring at times. Here, the music is mainly guitar and flute. I loved the ‘annul mele’ whistle playing at the background all through the final 45 minutes of the movie.
All the songs are good. Especially ‘Annul mele’, ‘Mundinam’ and ‘Oh shanthi shanthi’. The choreography is excellent.
There are a lot of funny moments, like when the son is playing the tune of ‘vennilave velli velli nilave’ from vettaiyadu vilayadu and saying to the father that it is his own composition, which will be a hit 15 years later (the period shown in the movie is 1993 – 15 years before V.V was released!).
Overall, a fantastic film. I saw the film in the morning, and immediately went to see it again at mayajaal in the night. Saw it twice in the same day. I’ll see it again next weekend in my home town (Cbe). Well done Gowtham ! You have surpassed your own work! Hats off for making such a wonderful flick!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quantum of what ???


Quantum of Solace – The sequel to Casino Royale. When you find an estranged Bond, angry and dark, on the route of avenging his dead girlfriend (Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale), you naturally expect the story and the screenplay to be taut, with no loopholes and a neat script which pulls the audience in to the movie. Well, what we see in the screen, though, is a cropper.

There is nothing to tell about the movie, except that Bond travels to various locations, tracking a trail of suspects whom he kills later. Finally, there is the climax, and then the end.

I know the producers and the director are trying to take Bond to the new age – gone are the days of the enjoying, Casanova type of Bond flicks and in these two movies, the more sinister, dark Bond is portrayed. All said and done, this movie lacks the thrill that Casino Royale provided. Casino was a treat to watch with a fast screenplay and more interesting story. Here, as I said, nothing is interesting, from the beginning to the end. It’s boring, frankly. I’ve never seen a totally boring initial Bond sequence, like this one. May be the makers are moving Bond to the new era, but excuse me – certain features of a Bond flick are expected by people and they should never be shut off. Also, the villain is a totally out of place guy who looks like he is going to doze off any time with an irritating accent.

And, boss, where is the Bond theme ? If I'm not wrong, the first time I heard the theme is at the end credits ! Also, the famous bond title sequence came only after the movie ! If the makers thought this is creativity, then, well I know what can I tell them, but I can't express it in a public blog!

The editing - too irritating, coz at some shots, was not able to figure out what's happening. too much fast paced camera work and editing spoils the fun totally. Also the title song is a bore (how many 'bores' in this review !) with a slow and disappointing title credits. Oops - there is nothing interesting to be praised off !

The end leads towards a third installment to the story – a sequel, with both Mr. White (the one Bond catches at the final seconds of Casino Royale) and the secret organization ‘Quantum’ are on the loose. Bond has to track down both in the third movie. Hopefully, let it be as interesting as casino Royale.

Finally, my personal view about the film – It’s totally shaken and stirred up, and I definitely will compare it with ‘Never say never again’ – the infamous unofficial Bond movie starring Sean Connery. I was thinking so far that it’s the most boring of all the Bond flicks, and now there is Quantum of Solace, to overtake it! Better luck next time, for the producers.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The god named Baba!


Mr. Anandamoorthy was having a letter in hand. He was new to that place, and so was trying to sit in the line, which was ahead of him. But, to his dismay, there was no place in the line. Anyhow, he adjusted and sat in a small space in front of him. After some time, the person whom he wanted to see, came out. He casually strolled past Anandamoorthy and walked away. Anandamoorthy desperately wanted to give him the letter, and as he went past him, didn’t know what to do. Out of sheer desperation, he stood up, thinking of running to the man and handing him the letter, but as soon as he got up, Anandamoorthy heard a voice which clearly ordered, “Coimbatore guy ! Sit down !” (the original words were: 'Coimbatore vaada.. Kurcho ra'). It came from the person whom Anandamoorthy wanted to give the letter. He was walking some 30 feet ahead of him, and without even turning back, ordered Anandamoorthy to sit down ! Amazed by this, Anandamoorthy sat down, and after some time, tore the letter in to pieces, since he was clear that as the person knew that he was from Coimbatore, he would most definitely know the content of the letter too. Anandamoorthy then returned to his place, and lives happily, embraced by the person’s blessings.

The ‘person’ I was referring to, is actually not a person. He is more than that. Infact, he is the only one, being worshipped as god all through the world by his millions of devotees, within his lifetime! This individual has done more than anyone else who’ve ever done anything to humanity! He has built two super specialty hospitals which serve the people absolutely free of cost for all treatments including major heart surgeries! He has built numerous colleges and schools which offer free education to everyone from kinder garden to PhD. He has done water projects including the Medak district Project benefiting 450,000 people in 179 villages and the Mahbubnagar District Project benefiting 350,000 people in 141 villages. He has built a 150 km canal worth 200 crore rupees for the people of Chennai to bring water from river Krishna in Andhra. He has done every possible service to the mankind without any profit, and continues to do so, as he has made his devotees to service, service and service people throughout the past 68 years ever since he declared that he is going to serve his devotees.

He is Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

I am not going to give an account of his life here. It’s been written by numerous devotees all through. The reason I decided to write this post is to recite some experiences of a devotee named Anandamoorthy, a very close relative of mine, and a staunch devotee of Saibaba from 1962. I personally knew Anandamoorthy from the year 1979, and he’s been a man of principles. He is a pious guy, who always sticks with truth in whatever he does. He is highly respected by all the people who know him. A very good person. He has undergone numerous miraculous experiences with Saibaba. Here are a few. Now, this post is absolutely for the devotees of Saibaba only. I know there are a lot of people who don’t believe Saibaba and keep telling he is a fake, without even knowing anything about him. This is not for any arguments or to prove that he is god. This post is for Swami’s devotees, to rejoice in happiness after reading these experiences.

One day, Anandamoorthy heard from his elder brother that Saibaba has come to Ooty. This happened way back in the 1980s. On that day, incidentally, Anandamoorthy didn’t have any sort of money with him to go to Ooty. So he borrowed money from his brother, and went to have a darshan of his beloved Swami. Once reaching Ooty, he didn’t know the place where Baba has camped. Hence, he asked a passerby about the ashram and he was told Baba resides in an ashram called ‘Nandanavanam’ located on top of a small hill. On reaching the bottom of the hill, Anandamoorthy was perplexed as he didn’t find any road to reach the top. Hence, he started to climb on the rocks and after a tough climb for quite some time, reached the top. He saw devotees seated in a semi circle on the top. As he turned his face, he was stunned! He saw Saibaba standing straight opposite to him! As he saluted, Baba gestured him to go and sit in among the devotes, and slowly walked away. Saibaba had actually come and stood there exactly a few minutes before Anandamoorthy came to the top. Until then, he was walking among the devotees and suddenly, as Anandamoorthy was climbing the hill, he came and stood at the exact place where he climbed up! Amazed by the care Baba had towards him, Anandamoorthy saluted the Bhagawan and sat among the devotees. Only then he saw the road which was on the other side of the hill! Since he was walking all through the rough path, out of sheer compassion, Baba stood there, blessed him and walked away!

Another day, Anandamoorthy went to Ooty again. This was during a different year. At that time, Anandamoorthy was performing a puja for his younger brother’s marriage. This puja is nine weeks long, and every week on a particular day, Anandamoorthy would recite manthras on goddess Durga, for the purpose of his younger brother’s marriage, which somehow was taking years to materialize. It so happened that on the final week of this puja, Baba came to Ooty and Anandamoorthy immediately went there to get a darshan of his beloved lord. Sitting outside the ashram, he prayed to Baba that since he has come here during the ninth week, he is dedicating the puja to Baba, and if the marriage is to happen soon, Baba must give him his ‘Paadha darshan’, meaning the darshan of his lotus feet. He also was meditating for the well being of all his family members, starting from the youngest to the oldest.

Anandamoorthy was meditating like this for some time, and Baba came out. He slowly walked among the devotees, blessing them. As usual, he walked past Anandamoorthy without any reaction and was nearing the entrance of his residence. Once he enters, then that means no more darshan after that. Exactly going one step in to the residence, Baba turned. He started walking very fast and came straight to Anandamoorthy! He gave two huge pats(Anandamoorthy tells that they appeared like two huge slaps, the sound being heard all through the place) on his shoulder, and said in tamil “Nalla dhyanam pannindrundhey!” (Meaning, you were meditating very well), and lifted his long kafni (the long dress Baba wears), showing his feet clearly. Anandamoorthy was asking for the darshan of the feet. Hence he was watching the feet with tear filled eyes, as Baba turned and walked inside the residence.

And, the brother’s marriage happened immediately after this incident !

There are many more highly miraculous incidents which have happened between Baba and Anandamoorthy, but due to their sanctity, Anandamoorthy will not like to publish them.

Well, time to wind up the post. This is not intended to advertise about Baba. This is only to recite some experiences of Anandamoorthy, giving joy to the devotees after reading them.

Jai Sai Ram!


Friday, October 24, 2008

The cat again . .



Here are some snaps of the same cat I posted two posts earlier . . It's so cute I can't resist the temptation of taking these snaps . .



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rain in Chennai . . .





Taken today morning (22nd Oct 2008) by me. The last 2 pics are the entrance to the Olympia Technology Park... Seems like a flood, isnt it? Welcome to Chennai's rainy season !

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cats !



Cats ! Ever had the feel of a soft feather like touch on your leg, suddenly while you were doing some important work, which made u jump in the air altogether ? Well, cat lovers won't mind it.. :-)

From my childhood, I've been associated with cats. I remember a grey colored cat which gave birth to four kittens during my early childhood, in my house. I also remember about touching the soft kitten jerking my hand off, as d mama cat came running.. From that time, i've seen a lot of cats.

Our home seemed to be kinda asylum to all those cats. Dunno why.. All kinda cats were catwalking in home. And to add to it, my maternal grand ma, father and me were the only people liking them. The rest had a stick or a bowl of water (which ever they can reach out first) with
them, ready to be used at the first site of a cat, So, naturally, they came only to us.

Grand ma used to talk to the cats as if they were her long seen buddies. She 'll chat all along til the cat leaves for it's hunt. She even used to scold them, at times. Father prefers sitting down on
floor, and the cats will walk straight to his lap, enter and lie down there with soft purrs.. He too will pat them on their back and will sit at the same position till they wake up.

And, their appetite! My cats have gobbled up a variety of items. There's one item available in shops called tea cake. It's a bread like thing. I've never seen another item which made the cats run after us like lunatics, shouting, to eat them. They were the most favorite food of all the cats I've seen so far in my surrounding. Apart from it, I've noticed that the next popular item is palgova. Also cakes.. Chocolate.. Since I'm a veggie, they never had a chance to eat meat in
our home :-)

Even last month, when I went to my home, i saw grand ma talking to a cat, which was lying in the kitchen, half asleep :-) Was a great sight to my eyes!

PS:- Look at this Royal looking cat. Was sitting on the window opposite to the hotel I eat. As soon as I took my camera out, it started to stare at me and the n immediately after I took this one, it jumped away and ran.


--
Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Death becomes his. . .

I met a friend. Not even a friend. An acquaintance. A guy who stayed in our mansion. He's from Andra and was working in i soft. I've not spoken to him at all and hence was surprised when he called me by my name last Friday night at CMBT. I was searching for a bus to bangalore. He
already had a ticket and showed me his bus, which was brand new. Even the fans in every seat were switched on. I too bought a ticket. Mine was 8 and his was 22. He was fuming tat since he didn't knew the local lingo, the conductor cheated him. After talking a while, we got in,
settled in the bus and reached Bangalore. We exchanged mutual wishes and went on our way.

while returning from Bangalore on Sunday night, in majestic, while searching for my 10:45 bus, heard a similar voice. It was him again. He too was waiting for his Volvo at ten thirty. My bus came first, very late around 11.15. He showed me my bus and wished me safe journey. We again spoke 4 a minute and i left for Chennai.

his name was Balaji. He died on the spot in the night near Kolar when his Volvo met wit an accident. along wit 9 other ppl.


Read about the accident in this link :-

http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20081013/1077174.html

--
Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Software and the price of it . .

88,97,601 !

This is the popularity rank of my blog - courtesy Google preview. It has a new option which lets people searching in the net know about the popularity rank of a site. Well, this is not a bad figure, as I figured out so many sites (proper websites) behind me . . Cool, eh?

Well, last month had a lot of interesting incidents happening, which interested all the software professionals around the world (considering the fact that we, the techies, are immune to the happenings around the world - the eternal slouchers, to be precise). The AIG effect - to be exact. AIG, the world leader in insurance, was almost counting the nanoseconds, before it was rescued by the federal bank of the US, giving AIG 85 billion dollars, to continue it's operations.

Being an employee of AIGSS, I was also curious as to what will be the future of AIG. Once it was rescued, we all were certain of the downsizing factor, and an announcement has arrived last week that some operations will be sold, to return the money back to the fed.

Uncertainty is all over the software industry. . . I personally think this is the price one gotta pay as the world moves towards IT. More and more jobs emerging out, depending on the needs, and suddenly when the basic factors collapse, the jobs follow them too.

Okay then . . time to wind up this post. . Hereafter, will be posting regularly like before. Hv fun ppl, and be safe . .

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New villain for tamil cinema


Taken by my GF . . This thing came with a spaghetti packet for free, and I wore it and gave a pose.. She fiddled with the cam for a while and flash ! This was the picture. .

So, ppl.. get ready . . a new villain for the tamil industry is on the rise !! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Award winning photograph . .

This photo won the first prize in the organization wide photography competition entitled 'contrast' . . The one I took at B'lore, commercial street. Watch this pic and see the various contrasts the picture provides . . .

Having said that, it's heartening to see this beggar also. . . Life has it's own contrasts . .

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sincere apologies . .

Dear friends,

Apologies for suddenly disappearing altogether . . . Many reasons . . I'll soon update the blog again . . Until then, Njoy life & hv a blast !!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Now that's what is called a shoe fanatic's dream !!


A Reebok showroom @ Bangalore . . Amazin display of Shoes . . . Luk at the order . .

Thursday, July 24, 2008

at last - www.scorpsaysso.com

Well, juz three posts ago, I was giving my 'to do' list . . One item in that list has been achieved.

check out www.scorpsaysso.com - It'll say 'The domain is parked at Net4 Domains' . .

I've bought the URL. Through Net4domains. Gotta build my own site soon. .Plannin' to transfer my blog here to my site.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

டைரக்டர் புகழ் ஓங்குக . . . :)





Saw this on the back of an auto . . . Was funny but since it's one of my most favorite directors, snapped it . . .

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight - Why so serioussss?


Batman . . My most favorite comic hero. Even while I started reading comic books, I’m an ardent fan of the Batman. So, obviously every Batman movie made attracted me more to this character. I loved the previous generation of the 4 Batman movies made in the nineties. Except the ‘Batman returns’, I loved all the others, since they came during my schooldays and it felt great to see my favorite character on screen.

Now, I saw Batman begins two years ago. Only after seeing it, I understood that this is how a Batman movie should be; Dark, sinister, gloomy and terrifying. That’s what the real Batman is. And all the other characters. Christopher Nolan has brought Batman on the original road he should be walking. Now, went to see ‘The Dark Knight’ at Sathyam Cinemas on 20th July 2008 morning.

Before starting my review, I read everywhere about how great this film is. And, I’ve seen for the first time a new movie, only just 2 days after it’s release, gaining the #1 spot in IMDB. That really is an achievement. It has got 9.7 ratings out of 10 till date. Now, what’s my take on this sequel?

The movie begins well, with the introduction of Joker. From the first instance we see him, he makes it clear about his intentions. He is absolutely not a comedian; he is someone who’s psychotic to the core, mad, cynical and above all, he loves what he does. From there, we move to the introduction of the Batman himself. Then we see the D.A Harvey Dent, who, along with Commissioner Gordon, hunts down all the criminals in Gotham city, to make it a better place. We get introduced to all the characters quickly.

Then, the story unfolds. Joker slowly gets on the nerve of Batman by committing murders one by one, to push Batman to reveal his identity. At this point, the D. A declares that he is the real Batman, thereby making Batman to track down the Joker. The Joker gets arrested. But the D.A Harvey dent is missing, along with his girl friend. Joker has kept them tied down, in a building, and while Harvey Dent tries to escape, he falls face first on a puddle of inflammable material. There, in the police office, Joker finally reveals to Batman about the place, and while Batman tries to rescue the D.A, the building is blown away and the girlfriend dies. The D.A‘s face gets half burnt and he becomes the legendary ‘Two-Face’. Joker escapes from the prison by this time, and now Batman has two dangerous men to track. Finally, what happens is the crux of the story.

Well, to me, Aaron Eckhart was more impressive, as the D.A/Two-face. He’s played an exceptional role. Christian Bale too has done justice to the role of Batman. Gary ‘the Dracula’ Oldman subtly plays our favorite commissioner Gordon. Technically, this is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Great camera work and fantastic music. It adds to the tension.

Heath Ledger – how can I put it? Throughout the movie, I didn’t see him at all. I saw only the Joker. Cruel, demented, psychotic to the core – tearing his victim's mouths with his knife to make them ‘smile’. This is what the real Joker is known for, among us - the Batman fanatics. He deserves a real applause. He provides kick – the life - the backbone - to the movie. This Joker’s characterization is from the initial two comic books of the Batman, along with the comic books "The Long Halloween", "The Killing Joke" & "The Man Who Laughs". I have read both ‘ The man who laughs’ & ‘the killing joke’ and while watching the movie itself, I remembered the comics very much.

Overall, this is one movie which talks a lot – many people may find it boring – the talking. But, to me, this is how a Batman movie must be. Everything works well in this film, making it a truly memorable one. Good movie from a good director.

R. I. P Heath Ledger. His sudden death has given the movie some publicity, but even without it, this is one HELL OF A FILM !!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chaos theory - layman's definition

For some days after the Dasavatharam release, the concept of Chaos theory is spoken all around. As soon as the movie released, everyone began to analyze this theory, as Kamal had based the movie on this theory. A friend of mine came to me one day and suddenly started to tell me that the Chaos theory concept has taken the movie to ‘new heights’. I knew well this guy doesn’t even know what it is and is fascinated by the term being used everywhere that he too started to use it. Frankly, Dasavatharam is a total let down, and is a bore to watch. I’m not gonna talk about the movie as I’ve given the review elsewhere in my blog. Let’s see what Chaos theory is all about.

Imagine yourself walking along a calm road, after buying some hardware, to mend your dog’s kennel. A nail drops off from your package, without your attention. You return home without knowing it. The next day, when you casually browse through the TV, the news about a big accident in the neighborhood captures your attention. A huge truck carrying petrol has collided with another vehicle, resulting in a total blow out. The next day, in the local newspaper, there is a small paragraph about a family committing suicide.

Now, both the things appear unrelated – the accident and the suicide. But, when we look at it closely, the nail you dropped off punctured the petrol carrying truck, which resulted in the accident, and since the driver died on the spot, his poor family, unable to survive after the bread winner died, committed suicide. There might be some more incidents following the suicide also. All these incidences collectively are termed as the ‘Chaos theory’.

It means, two totally unrelated incidents can be related by the incidents happening between them. Two ends can be tied together by one thread. Likewise, two totally opposite incidents can also be related. One incident leads to the next, the next incident leads to its successor, and finally the first incident and the last are connected. This evolves over time. The chaos theory even tells us that the small change in the air due to the flapping of the wings of a butterfly, can result in a huge hurricane ultimately.

Well, if you really want to experience the Chaos theory in a movie, go and see ‘The butterfly effect’ and ‘Babel’. Two stunning movies based on this theory.

Think about the Chaos theory. The next time you sneeze hard, beware! It might result in a cyclone ultimately (!!??)

My 'To-Do' list


There are things everyone wants to do. I mean, not things like brushing the teeth, bathing, dressing up, going to office (I know very well that if there are any alternatives, people would happily sacrifice doing these things), but some goals in their lives, the important things they need to do, before they breathe their last in this earth. Doesn’t have to write one big list, but everyone have their list in their minds, which will be updated quite often.

I once had things like ‘playing for India in cricket and scoring a century in every match I play, ruling India as a prime minister, unveiling my statue in every major Indian city – later realized that I can have some ‘big’ goals instead, thereby giving these ‘small’ opportunities to some other fellow Indian, to achieve (??!!).

Here is my ‘to do’ list. Given are things I wanna do before I complete my life span on this planet. Gonna keep a constant check on them. Randomly arranged.

1. Learn Drumming and guitar efficiently.
2. Go on a long inter-state bike journey at least once in a month
3. To get my own website - www.scorpsaysso.com
4. Go on tours for the best places in the world, along with my gal
5. To get one Octavia – to gift to my gal
6. To successfully establish a writing career – in movies and also as an independent writer
7. Visit South American countries
8. Visit European countries
9. To start my own production house – Clairvoyant pictures (or) Scorp studios
10. To direct movies under my production house
11. To publish at least one best seller before I die
12. Giving public speeches

There is a separate list with 85 items I wanna do, which I composed before 2 years. But, right now, these are the most important major things I wanna achieve before I say bye-bye to this world. I’m sure of doing these and many more. Let’s see . . .After all, when we dream, nothing wrong in dreamin big, coz the same energy is gonna be utilized for a smaller dream also, while dreamin’. So, nothing wrong in big dreamz.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Appanendrum Ammaiyendrum

Think the Ilayaraja effect has not left me as yet. This post is about one of my most favorite songs sung by Ilayaraja himself.

This song has a haunting tune. It starts off by a deep humming by the maestro, followed by the song, mixed with beautiful violin chorus, aptly accompanied by touching lyrics from Vaali.

The song is given below. Take a deep look at the lyrics, and then hear the song. I’m sure you’ll start to think about life. And its purpose.

My most favorite piece is the second Para. What a music!!

‘appanendrum ammaiyendrum aanum pennum kotti vachcha kuppaiyaaga vandha udambu
gnyanap pennae kuppaiyaaga vandha udambu
adhu budhdhanendrum siththanendrum piththanendrum aavadhenna sakkaiyaaga pOgum karumbu
gnyanap pennae pOgum karumbu
bandha paasa saettril vandhu vizhundha daegam
endha gangai aattril indha azhukku pOgum
appanendrum..... (appanendrum)

kuththam kurai yaedhumattra jeevan ingu yaaradaa
suththam endru yaarum illai paava moottai thaanadaa
sivan-ai kooda piththan endru paesugindra ooradaa
budhdhi ketta moodarkkendrum gnyaanap paarvai yaedhadaa
aadhi mudhal andham un sondham un bandham nee ullavaraidhaan
vandhu vandhu koodum kooththaadum vittOdum Oar sandhai kadaidhaan
idhil nee enna naan enna vandhaalum sendraalum ennaachchu vittu thallu
appanendrum..... (appanendrum)

kaiyyum kaalum mookkum kondu aada vandha kaaranam
aadiththaanae saeththu vachcha paavam yaavum theeranum
aada aada paavam saerum aadi Odum maanidaa
aada naanum maattaen endru OdippOnadhaaradaa
thattu kettu Odum thallaadum ennaalum un ullak kurangu
kattuppada koodum eppOdhum nee pOdu meignyaana vilangu
manam aadaamal vaadaamal meignyaanam undaaga angnyaanam attru vizhum
appanendrum..... (appanendrum)’

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Inimitable Ilayaraja . .

Ilayaraja . . .

To me, this is the ultimate word. No other word can tell more.

I’m not writing anything about his life or his songs. It’s there everywhere. It’s like explaining about the sky or the sea or the wind, where there is nothing more to explain, and the only thing we can do is to sit and get lost in the inimitable beauty, and feel the depth, struck in awe.

Right now I’m hearing ‘Janani Janani’ from ‘Thai Mookambikai’. It’s one of the master’s masterpieces. You feel like crying, when you hear it at the right moment. How many such songs! No one can match the great maestro.

Got a mail with the rare pictures of Ilayaraja. Given the pictures below. This is meant for hardcore Ilayaraja fans like me. See the pics and, just give a heartfelt salute to the emperor of Indian music.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mind - unplugged

Dell.. Print screen.. comma.. tere mere beech mein.. Something to write in my blog.. Aise jaise koi deewaana.. key board.. Rasmalai.. the taste.. SPB.. Deep breathe.. Shenai.. Closing the eyes.. Biting the inner lip.. watch in my hand.. Something itching in my right cheek.. I see a mole on my right thumb.. The violin chorus in Tere mere beech is great.. The lights glowing in the office.. Two people walking in front of my seat.. Pesukiren pesukiren .. It’s nearing 7.. I wanna talk to ‘her’.. I’m scratching my right palm with my left index finger.. A net tied between two poles.. When can I go home today.. Virumandi.. Rasmalai again..

Wanted to jolt down the stream of my thoughts flowing inside. Without any prejudice, here it is. Reason – nothing. Just wanted to record the spree.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Singari Sarakku Nalla Sarakku

What’s the one thing which boosts one’s mood, when feelin’ bogged down? Everyone will be having their own ‘booster’ at such times. What’s mine? Well, it’s called in ‘pure’ Tamil as ‘Kutthu paattu.’ In the deeper grammatical sense (??!!), it is called ‘dappanguthu’. I’m sure all the Tamil readers readin’ this will understand what it is. Pure raw Tamil beat songs. There are a million such songs in Tamil which spring up the feeling of confidence and happiness inside.

I dunno, but when I think about it, my love for such songs has started even from my early years. The reason: my uncle has a recording library where he records songs to the music lovers. I grew up there, playing in his shop. We used to have a BIG shop at that time. It was a huge house, which was used as a recording studio. BIG speakers, amplifiers, equalizers and record players filled one room there, and then the record plates and cassettes were all around. Remember, it was the early eighties till the early nineties, and so mostly it was records (the round plates, which had music embedded – just like the ones we use in gramophones).

I remember seeing such films like Vikram, Maaveeran, Velaikkaran, Oomai vizhigal, kaakki sattai, Naan sigappu Manidhan, Sendoorappove, Qurbani, Sholay, Oru kaidiyin diary and many more films in the covers of the record players. They fascinated me the instance I started to visit the library, around my second-third standard. I used to sit there in the evenings, hear all the songs played. I gradually learned how to operate them, and how to record the songs. I have done a lot of recording for customers.

So naturally I was hearing all the songs, and they were planted in my mind, and it ended in me singing them all the time. Those days, T Rajendar’s songs were a mega hit. Customers wanted most of his songs. I love his song ‘Adangoppammavane’ from ‘Uravai kaatha kili’. It’s one of my personal favorites even now.

Ok. Let’s see about all the dappanguthu songs I love.

The number 1 song always will be ‘Singari Sarakku nalla sarakku’ from Kaakki sattai. SPB has done a marvelous job singing that song, and Kamal has also done a fantastic work, dancing to it. In every aspect, it’s my # 1. Here is the top 10 list of my favorite dappanguthu songs of the eighties.

Note:- some are also club songs. They induce that feeling of dappanguthu while seeing \ hearing. Some are not actual dappanguthu but still they quality to be.

1. Singari Sarakku nalla sarakku – Kaakki Sattai
2. Annathey aadurar Otthikko Otthikko – Aboorva sagotharargal
3. Podhuvaaga emmanasu thangam – Murattu kaalai
4. Otthadi Otthadi Oorama Otthadi – Dharmathin Thalaivan
5. Adangoppammavane ngoppammavane – Uravai kaatha kili
6. Adiye manam nillunna nikkadhadi - Neengal Kettavai
7. Ootta sattiya vechikittu – Uyarndha Ullam
8. vethalaiya pottendi – Billa (Old)
9. Kada veedhi kala kalakalakkum – Amman koil kizhakkale
10. Thanni thotti thedi vandha – Sindu Bairavi

The best thing about them is the whistle that comes mostly in all the songs and the ‘para kutthu’ feeling it induces

Apart from these, there are a lot of dappanguthu songs. I luv all of them, but these are some which I’d die to hear anytime. . Post your feedback after reading.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mallikarjun - and his article


At times, we meet some people in life, and they remain in our memories for a long time. We get inspired from them; we try to be like them; I wanted to tell about someone & this post is pending for weeks and weeks. Now, had a bit free time and I spoke with him, resulting in me posting this article.

Mallikarjun – the man who’s been there in Nous Infosystems, my previous organization, for around four and a half years. He was there virtually in every step the company took towards quality initiatives, from his initial days. A dynamic person, who has inspired a lot of people around him. He considers quality as a very vital aspect, and always keeps adding values to his work and the company. Below given is an article from him, about quality. Let’s hear from Malli himself.

Qfactor - the success mantra for a winning organization


“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

Quality has become integral part of growing organization, to manage, control, perform, achieve and excel. Now a days certification is not the only answer for the organization, quality should not end with, by achieving one goal/ certification. Quality is about passion and pride and to be committed to continually improve the company's performance.

"How to make Quality as first, last and forever, a question that often ponders our mind can derive its answer adopting a culture that inspires employees to perform exceptionally well and helps to increase their passion towards quality by using the best practices and having a focused commitment.

We need to be able to achieve quality in concert with each other, to multiply the effect of our personal commitment through synergy, to work towards the common goal as stated in our quality policy.

• Commitment to give us a shared goal.
• Communication to enable us to work in concert.
• Continuous improvement to keep us focused.

Achieving desired quality through continuous monitoring & controlling, measuring/ assigning the process performance at fixed frequency, and resetting the goals based on the trend analysis, which will give the scope for improvement further are the key mantras.

Smart move to achieve the quality works for you i.e. making use of the historical data (Quantitative project management) as data plays major role in smart decision making think in terms defining, measuring and improving.

Another thing to remember is to respect everyone's idea and put sincere attempt to analyze and implement improvement initiatives. Also, sharing the results of the same, to all the stakeholders, awareness on the new process to be implemented as part of new initiatives and sharing the information on impacted processes already existing are extremely essential.

To sum it all up, Quality begins on the inside and then works its way out and is an approach that emphasizes continuous improvement, a philosophy of "doing it right the first time" and striving for zero defects brings out the success quotient in any company.

- Mallikarjun P, TL – SEPG, Nous Infosystems.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Halebidu Visit

Visited Halebidu on 22nd June 2008. The Shiva temple. See the video.

Our Belur Visit

The video I took when we went to Belur on 21st June 2008. This is a krishna temple, built centuries ago, and it has some great sclpture work around. A very pleasing place for art lovers. Check it out

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The top reasons why Dasavatharam is such a drag !


Amidst huge expectations and hype, Dasavatharam got released on Friday the 13th June 2008, worldwide. This movie was in the making for the past two years. Everyone were aware of the ten different characters Kamal was playing in this film, and as more stills got released then and there, they added to the expectation factor. Also, the songs were a hit. Overall, this movie, as they have announced, is ‘the most expected movie of the year’. I was able to grab the tickets online, and off we went to see this film on 14th – Saturday morning.

What’s my opinion after seeing it? Well, the movie is an absolute crap! This movie has absolutely NO screenplay at all. It has been filmed ONLY for the sake of showing Kamal in the different getups. I’m not saying this bluntly, but I’m giving the reasons below. Read them and decide on your own, after seeing this film.

First of all, all the hype about the Chaos theory.. It's rite that this theory has been used in this movie. It's the undercurrent of the entire film. But, the film has to have a good screenplay to make people get in line with it. Without a good screenplay, all the concepts go in vein. To see the best utilization of this chaos theory in movies, See Babel & The Butterfly effect.

As I have written in May in my blog - http://giriraajan.blogspot.com/2008/05/srinivasan-sei-intha-vishnuthaasan.html, I was well aware of the initial sequence where Kamal plays Rangaraja Nambi, a devotee of lord Vishnu during the 12th Century – Kulothunga Chozha‘s period. That sequence is for around ten minutes, and has been filmed fantastically! I was filled with awe as I watched Rangaraja Nambi thrown in to the ocean, tied up with the idol of Vishnu. Then, the story shifts to the current period – 2004.

The story is about a deadly virus which, if unleashed, can be a dangerous biological weapon, invented in the US, and about a scientist who tries to save the world by stealing the virus and a CIA agent who tries to track the scientist to get the virus back.

An interesting storyline. When an ace like Kamal writes the story and screenplay, he can easily make this story a gripping thriller, which can keep the audience taut, glued to the edge of their seat. But, what has happened here is that the pace is weakened by sudden thoughtless interventions by the various characters (all played by Kamal) and the irritating dialogues between them.

Take the example of the initial sequence. The first ten minutes were really interesting. What has made that sequence interesting? It has a well defined beginning, a strong middle part and a gripping end. The protagonist Rangaraja Nambi has a dramatic need of trying to stop the king removing the idol from the temple and thrown in to the sea. He is driven by this need all through the initial 12th century sequence. That part has the audience spellbound. The entire movie must have been filmed in this manner. A well established dramatic need for the main character, the conflicts he faces and finally, the resolution of how he achieves his need. But, what we see is that the screenplay meandering after all the different characters Kamal plays, and as a result, what we get is a boring film.

Also, the Rangaraja Nambi sequence has no connection or relevance with the main story. It stays aloof in the movie, even though it’s well filmed (eventhough the chaos theory unites this piece with the main story).

It’s high time for Kamal to stop writing dialogues which are exactly the ‘Crazy Mohan stuff’. Also, it’ll be better if he concentrates only on his acting, instead of penning the screenplay. Almost all the films he had written the screenplay have got the single most blunder in common. The story meandering beyond characters. Otherwise, he can at least discuss the screenplay with good screenplay writers, thereby trying to correct this problem.

Out of the ten different get ups, the only characters relevant to the story are the Protagonist (Hero), the Telugu speaking officer & the villain. The story is woven around these three characters. So, why introduce the other characters just for the sake of donning a different get up? This weakens the script enormously. What’s the relevance of the tall Muslim, or the old granny, or the black leader, or the US president, or the Kung fu master, or the Singh singer, to the story? Absolutely NOTHING. These characters spoil the story.

Also, the make up is not that great. The Villain, Fletcher looks like a guy wearing a mask. The same with the old granny, and the tall Muslim guy. Also, Kamal sports the same body language through out for all the characters. This spoils the fun totally. I mean, take a look at his hand gestures, his turning the head, his running and walking, and his body movements. All are the same for all the characters.

My sincere advice to Kamal: Try to discuss the screenplay you write with some good movie makers like Manirathnam, and then you will know the flaws you have.

Overall, this movie is a let down. It has absolutely ZERO screenplay. Watch it and you will understand.

My rating : 2/10. For the initial sequence.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mahabalipuram - The lost City

The pictures I took during my Mahabalipuram visit on Sun 8th June 2008. Read the previous post and then see this slideshow.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Emperor Strikes Back !


The period is 7th century AD. It’s a moonlit night. The full moon radiating with its golden light. In the luminous night, everywhere, we see towers, temples, stuphas, big houses, palaces and beautiful gardens. A huge wall encapsulates the city. Everywhere around the city, outside the wall, we see villages. Overall, it’s a wonderful sight in the night.
Suddenly, at the far distant northern side, there is a faint rumbling sound. It grows bigger and bigger. We see dust emanating in the far outline. It’s like a huge wave, coming towards the city. Slowly, as the wave approaches, we understand it’s a wave, but made up of humans and elephants and horses and carts. It’s an army! The moonlight is getting reflected on their weapons, and it gives a chill in the spine. Everywhere there are uproars in the army, and the excitement of conquering a city looms large on their faces. They are marching towards the city we saw earlier (Thanks to Kalki – Sivakamiyin Sabadham).
Yes! This conquest is a very important one in the history of Tamil Nadu. It’s the Chalukya conquest over the Pallavas, and the city we saw is none other than Kanchipuram.
During the 7th century AD, India was divided in to three kingdoms and was ruled by three famous emperors. The entire northern part, till the Narmadha River, was ruled by Harsha Vardhana. From the Narmadha River, till Karnataka, the entire central India was ruled by the Chalukyas, and the entire south India was ruled by the Pallavas. The Chalukya king was Pulakesi II or Polakesi II (He is referred wrongly as Pulikesi). His original name was Eraya in Prakrutha (Old Kannada). He was a terrifying warlord, with a huge army which challenged Harsha Vardhana as soon as he came to the reign. Defeated finally by Harsha, he turned his attention towards the south, which was ruled at that time by Mahendra Pallava.
Mahendra Pallava was a patron of arts. It was only during his period was the famous Mamallapuram (now called Mahabalipuram) was initiated. Also, the famous kanchi university was in its golden height during his period. He was well versed in Sanskrit, Prakrutha & Tamil and has written many plays. He was a great painter & a sculptor himself. He was an expert in playing musical instruments, and at the same time, a very clever and wise king. He holds various titles (which all of us have read in our school days).
When Pulakesi II came towards Kanchipuram, the Pallava capital, Mahendra Varma Pallava fought bravely with him. He managed to save his capital from the warlord, but lost all the provinces to the north of his kingdom. The Pallava army retreated inside the Kanchi fort and the Chalukyas were unable to pierce in to the fort. As a result, finally Pulakesi returned home. But, the defeat stayed on the mind of Mahendra Varma Pallava, and ultimately consumed his life.
His son Narasimma Varma Pallava (AKA Mamallan) succeeded him. He is one of the six Kings of India who have NEVER EVER lost a battle (the other kings:- Karikala Chozha, SamudraGuptha, Ashoka, Rajaraja Chozha & rajendra Chozha). He also had a great warrior general in chief called Paranjothi. One fine day, the Pallava army marched towards the Chalukya capital Vathapi (now called Badami) and destroyed the city completely, defeating Pulakesi II and setting fire to the capital. Pulakesi was allegedly believed to be killed in the battle. This great victory earned Narasimma Varma the surname of ‘Vathapi Kondan’.
But, as soon as the victory, something emotional happened. The general Paranjyothi, after witnessing the war, became compassionate, and he renounced his position. He assumed the name of ‘Sirutthondar’ and became a nayanmar. The famous story of a saint offering his son as food (Pillaikkari) to lord Siva is none than the story of this Paranjyothi.
I personally believe that this story of the conquest is a good material for a film. It has all the ingredients to quality for a nice movie. Anyway, this Narasimma Varma was the one who completed building Mahabalipuram, and that exactly was the place which I visited last Sunday (???!!).. As I knew this entire story, it was a wonderful experience to see Mamallapuram. I strongly felt the presence left over by the Pallava greats.
I’ll upload the pics as a slideshow in my next post shortly. Till then, Njoy life fellas!

Monday, June 02, 2008

If adventure has a name, it's Indiana Jones !


The man with the hat is back – This time he is aged, accompanied by his son and his wife; Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the Crystal Skull has opened on 30th across India, and is receiving tremendous response all over. At the point of writing this article, it has grossed $359,881,000 world wide – it stands #116 in the world’s top grossing movies till date – that too, within ten days of release ! I’m sure it’ll gross even more and will stand on par among its prequels, in the days to come.

Okay. Having said this, how is the movie? Is it good like its predecessors? Nice question. The answer – If you are satisfied about a flick and if there are more parts of it to come, go see them with an open mind. Don’t always have the original one in mind and expect the sequel to be like the original. Sometimes, they do surpass the original & sometimes they don’t. Well, then what category does the new Indy adventure belong to? To me, I loved it. It was interesting, every scene of it. I never felt bored for even a minute. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Before writing further, lemme tell about what I felt about Indy all these years. I saw the previous 3 movies a few years ago. I loved the first one, hated the second and again loved the third. So, when I got the news that it’ll be released in India on 30th of May, 2008, I felt exited. I wanted to go see it the first show. ‘She’ booked the tickets in B’lore (Which again was a complete surprise – I never expected it), and off we went, to see Indy.

As soon as Indy was thrown out of the car’s trunk – his hat – the famous one – comes first, thrown in to the sand, and then we see Indy’s shadow, pushed to the ground and slowly rising, wearing the hat – I let out a huuuuuge whistle in the theater ! From that moment, began the adventure, filmed in great style. Throughout the movie, Indy is first reacting to the circumstances and then starts acting on his own. The film is filled with fantastic CGI work, with good camera (Spielberg’s regular ‘man Friday’ - Janusz kaminski). The screenplay is good throughout (David Koepp, again a Spielberg regular).

This film also has something, which also is a ‘Spielberg regular’ – The Alien! It comes in one scene, without dialogues. Spielberg’s love for the aliens is widely seen in most of his movies.

Harrison Ford is terrific as Indy. He looks like the same man from the previous three movies, without being worn down by his age. He is fit, muscular and casual. This time, he pairs with his son and his first heroine (from Raiders of the lost Arc), to uncover the secret behind a crystal skull. It has been filmed in such a way that the tone of the film is exactly like the previous 3 movies. It’s not digital, and it has the same kind of color shading. It figures that comic book kind of look also throughout. The stunts are also enjoyable. The chase inside the jungle, the final confrontation, the bike chase – every stunt has been well done.

Overall, this movie will make you smile – Go see Indy and cheer for him, as he exactly carries on from what he left 19 years ago - adventure in full throttle !

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What is a ScreenPlay

Imagine your life. Everything is going on fine, and you are happy about it. You are enjoying your life. Suddenly, something happens which twists your life exactly the opposite and you are in a very serious crisis. You don’t know what to do to come out of that problem. Every time you try to come out, you are getting more and deeper in to it. Finally, some incidents start happening and then you come out safely or you lose something and perish.

Now, imagine this is running on a screen in front of you. This makes a good movie. The situation I gave in the first paragraph is what an ideal screenplay must be like.

What is a Screenplay? How should a screenplay be?

This question has haunted many filmmakers in the past. We know that a good film must have a good story, and the story should be believable by the viewers. If the story becomes unbelievable and if the focus is lost, then the film becomes a flop. But, how can we determine a story will be logical and whether it will be taken by the people or not? The concept of the screenplay comes exactly in to the picture at this juncture.

A screenplay is a story told in pictures. It is something which presents the story such that the viewers are able to blend with the story. A lot of research went in this field, and what is now considered to be the screenplay format, has been developed from those studies.

Syd Field, an authority in screenplays, suggests that a screenplay must have three definite parts; what he calls as the three act structure: The beginning (setup), the middle (confrontation) and the end (resolution).

The first part, the beginning, introduces all the characters in a story, shows their relationships. The second part focuses about the confrontations between these characters and finally the third part offers the resolution.

In the first part, while it ends, an incident happens which spins the story towards the second part, the confrontation. This incident is called Plot point 1. For example, imagine an incident happening in your calm life which makes you to panic, towards how to resolve it. The start of the incident or the sequence which takes you to this incident is called the plot point. It leads the story directly in to the second part, the confrontation. Like wise, near the end of the second part, some incident happens which turns the story directly to the third part, the resolution. This is called the plot point 2.

A screenplay must have the beginning, the plot point 1, the middle, the plot point 2 and the end. Before ever opening the pen (or rather, before typing in a single character), these five elements must be known, in order to write the screenplay.

Once these are known, then the scene building process takes place. One after the another, the scenes are written, towards how the story begins, how the plot point 1 occurs, how it takes the story towards the confrontation state, the plot point 2 and then how it ends. If this process is followed, then a successful screenplay is written.

Also, the first part must be within 30 pages. The second part, 60 and the third part is 30 pages long. The entire screenplay must be contained within 120 pages. Usually, a page in a screenplay takes a minute in the screen. So it accounts for 120 minutes of the film. That’s about 2 hours.

This is the art of screenplay. These things must be taken into account to write a gripping screenplay. Like painting, like cycling, like music, it’s an art by itself, and which must be practiced well, to attain perfection.

Some of the well known experts in screenplays: Robert Towne (Chinatown, MI 1&2), James Cameron (Aliens, Terminator 1 & 2), David Koepp (Jurassic Park) , Michael Mann (Heat), Quentin Tarentino (Pulp Fiction), Ted Tally (Silence of the Lambs).

Click on the film names here, to see and download the screenplays.

See their movies, read these screenplays and feel their genius!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

ScreenPlay : an Example

A sample screenplay. The way a screenplay has to be.

I'll tell about the name of the movie at the end. If you read it, you can easily find
it out.


ScreenPlay by David Koepp

Tim stares out the back window of the Explorer with Grant and
Malcolm in it, behind them.  The image is bright fluorescent green.
 
               TIM
        Oh, cool!  Night vision!
 
As Tim watches, the door of the rear Explorer opens, and a hand
reaches out, holding an empty canteen out to catch some rain water.
 
 
60      IN THE REAR CAR
 
Grant pulls the canteen back in, closes the door, and takes a
drink.  He and Malcolm wait.
 
61      IN THE FRONT CAR
 
Tim continues to stare out of the back window with the goggles.
He swings his legs - - but suddenly stops.  He feels something.  He
pulls off the goggles and turns back.  He moves into the back seat with
Lex who is tapping her hat, and reaches forward to still her hand.
 
BOOM.  BOOM.  BOOM.
 
               TIM
        Did you feel that?
                (or)
        Can you feel that?
 
She don't answer.
 
Tim leans over to the front passenger seat and looks at the two
plastic cups of water that sit in the recessed holes on the dashboard.
As he watches, the water in the glasses vibrates, making concentric
circles - -
 
- - then it stops - -
 
- - and then it vibrates again.  Rhythmically.
 
Like from footsteps.
 
BOOM.  BOOM.  BOOM.
 
               GENNARO
               (not entirely convinced)
        What is that?  M-Maybe it's the power trying to come
        back on.
 
Tim jumps into the back seat and puts the goggles on again.
 
               LEX
        What is that?
 
               GENNARO
        What is what?
 
Tim turns and looks out the side window.  He can see the area
where the goat is tethered.  Or was tethered.  The chain is still
there, but the goat is gone.
 
BANG!
 
They all jump, and Lex SCREAMS as something hits the Plexiglas
sunroof of the Explorer, hard.  They look up.
 
It's a bloody, disembodied goat leg.
 
               GENNARO
        Oh, Jesus.  Jesus.
 
Tim whips around to look out the side window again.  His mouth
pops open, but no sound comes out.  Through the goggles, he sees an
animal claw, a huge one, gripping the cables of the "electrified"
fence.
 
Tim whips the goggles off and presses forward, against the
window.  He looks up, up, than cranes his head back further, to look
out the sunroof.  Past the goat's leg, he can see - -
 
- - Tyrannosaurus rex.  It stands maybe twenty-five feet high,
forty feet long from nose to tail, with an enormous, boxlike head that
must be five feet long by itself.  The remains of the goat hang out of
the rex's mouth.  It tilts its head back and swallows the animal in one
big gulp.
 
Gennaro can't even speak.  His hand claws for the door handle,
he shoulders it open, and takes off, out of the car.
 
               LEX
               (freaking out)
        He left us!  He left us alone!  Dr. Grant!  Dr. Grant!
        He left us!  He left us!


This is how a screenplay must be presented. The reader must be able to visualize the
scene in his mind. See how the 'Boom Boom Boom' enables you to visualize it.


This example is given by Syd Field, the authority in screenplay writing,
in his book "ScreenPlay".

I'll post more about screenplays shortly.
But first take a look at this sample screenPlay from JURASSIC PARK !!

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