Monday, November 22, 2010

10 Things I'd do when I get rich.

Here's another random post from the god of nonsensical tat

"I always knew I was going to be rich. I don't think I ever doubted it for a minute. " - Warren Buffet.

Well, platitudes about confidence and spirit aside, he's Warren Buffet and I'm a graduate student with an eating disorder. Without further ramblings on, here're ten things I'd totally do when I get rich...and i'm not talking of pedestrian things like buy a house, buy expensive clothing or fly business class...this is something beyond that....This pertains to the very fabric of reality... the very nature of good and evil... The very reason why.... well... you get the general idea..

10. Donate quarters to that stuffed-toy machine until i get lucky

That Kung-fu panda plushie would look really good on the back seat of my car.

09. Add a few zeroes to a tip just to watch the expression on the waitress's face

Especially when she's extra pretty, extra nice and gives me extra bbq sauce.

08. Start a blog and pay people for every comment they make.

Whats the point of being rich if you cant buy yourself some fans

07. Get one of those fancily shaped scars on my forehead.

Not a lightning one shaped one though..Thats old...probably will do something new.. like the batman symbol.. Why dont you just go into the kitchen, pick up a knife and get busy you say...? No good.i'd probably get blood all over the counter. I'll leave this one to the professionals.

06. Produce a Multi-billion dollar movie with T Rajendar in the lead.

All things said and done. The man is a FREAKING GENIUS! He directs, scripts, composes the music, handles the camera, writes his own lyrics, sings his own songs, does his own editing, performs his own stunts and manages to break even with every film he's ever made. The only catch is that in my movie, all that T rajendar will do is act...this movie will be directed by shankar, composed by Ar Rahman, star aishwarya rai as his get the general idea.

05. When i drive...everyone will be paid to stay off the road

Please contact the following two people to know why. Phone numbers available on request

Anchita Monga - Phd Student, Li ion nanotechnology expert, Chef extraordinaire
Dhayalan Elangovan - MS Student, Carl Sagan evangelist, Polymer Science Guru

04. Go to space

I really really want to know how astronauts actually sit still inside those spinning toilets that simulate gravity and a library book just doesn't do enough justice to this.

03. Have dinner with the greatest human being of the last three thousand years - Stan Lee

This was originally going to be dinner with Isaac Asimov.. but realized that Asimov died a few years back. Within a span of ten years, Stan lee conceived and created The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Mighty Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The X-men, Daredevil, Dr Strange and of course..Spiderman

02. Pay A R Rahman to let me sit with him as he composes music for his next film.

Last I read on the interblag, he has an army of slave composers hidden underneath his basement :D.

01. Publish my book under the pen name JK Rowling and pay JK Rowling to keep shut

Would you actually read a political thriller set in a domed planet full of sophisticated weaponry (Read: Enough cliches to make you puke) if it had the name 'Raghav Prashant Sundar' on it?

( Thanks for reading. Comment away! Feel free to share your top ten lists as well! )

Friday, November 12, 2010

Siblings in popular culture

My sister is finally 19. Seems only yesterday that I watched her eating Round Sandwiches with sugar and salt, learning to smash open potato chip bags before her first words (true to the family tradition) and enjoying her first day of school believing that my mom was waiting at the gate for her all day. Happy Birthday Poorvaja and may god always give you a lot more than you actually want.

Now that we're done with the obligatory mush, lets get to this post from me, the god of nonsensical tat.

Ever since the first mom-pop duo said .."Honey, i dont like the look of this one..lets just make another" siblings were born.. Just like this duo here...

And since then, siblings have done everything - from save the universe to throw joint tantrums. Here's an indifferent look at 10 sibling sets in popular culture... from the mythical to the eerily contemporary.

Unlike my usual posts, this list is in no particular order

14. The annoying sisters from Metti Oli

Dont even get me started on this... the one who's husband was a drunk-beater was pretty cute though...

13. The Pevensies from the Chronicles of Narnia

12. T Rajendhar and his Thangachi in every movie he's ever made

Watch this :

11. The Bennets from Pride and Prejudice

Yeah. Something about two sisters and one guy.. i didnt have the patience to read up the rest of the wikipedia article. I googled and uploaded the above picture instead.

10. Mario & Luigi

Two Plumbers. One wears red, one wears green. They 'shroom' their way to a pink princess. The rivalry angle wasn't really played out in the humble NES version that we all used as kids...but in later games Luigi could jump higher and was much thinner.

9. Dexter and Deedee

If you grew up during the 90's and you haven't heard of this duo, you should probably do two things.. A) smash your head in with a frying pan B) Spend the rest of your life inventing a time machine to take you back just so you could see the series on Cartoon Network.
Jokes apart, Dexter's Laboratory was one of CN's first successful original productions, winning numerous awards and kick-starting the Cartoon-Cartoon era.

8. Karna and Arjuna (Mahabharat)

Kid gets separated from his mom when he's just a baby.. grows up among the bad guys.. is forced to fight his own brothers in an epic battle... This is the story of Karna and Arjuna... this is also the story of every second Indian movie between 1980 and 1995.

Mani Ratnam's take off on this epic worked but his take on that other big one didnt....and I find that HILARIOUS! :D

7. Latha Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle

They probably had to build a mansion along marine drive just to keep their award trophies in...

6. Serena and Venus Williams

They're both former world number ones. They've both won every major grand slam around, They're both on maxim's booty-licious babe list 2010 (link available on request).

5. Mukesh and Anil Ambani

When there's two guys who're each worth over 15 billion, you probably think they'd sit around and have fun... but no.... Sheeesh !

4. Maggie and Jake Gyllenhall

This is probably the ONLY Hollywood celebrity sibling duo in which both members have enjoyed the same level of success. Well, Jake did get famous playing a not-so-sad cowboy...but i guess we can excuse that for the time being considering all those stunts he pulled in that recent movie.

3. Hansel and Gretel

You probably heard the story of two minors defeating a flesh-eating witch before you could say the names of your own siblings.. so yeah...

2. Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa

Yoda: Told you I did. Reckless is he. Now, matters are worse.
Obi-Wan: That boy is our last hope.
Yoda: No. There is another.
- Empire Strikes Back (1980)

But didn't they like, make out or something in one of those movies?

1. The Weasleys

There's one bloke who studies dragons, one bloke who works for the ministry, one pair of blokes who setup a joke shop and another bloke who's the series's secondary protagonist. There's also this girl who finally gets to marry harry (it rhymes :| ).

Without that freckled, red-headed bunch, the HP universe would've never been the same !

(Thanks for reading. Comment Away!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Of Komics, Kartoons and Kollywood - Namma ooru Justice League

Greetings unwashed masses ! It is time for another unintentionally hilarious post from the master of 'Kollywood What-if's'.

A quick primer for those uninitiated souls...The 'Justice League' is a collection of comic book superheroes who do three things. Soak this in thoroughly....

1. Fight Crime (Everything from petty crime lords to giant cockroaches)

2. Wear ridiculously homo-erotic costumes

3. Cause a lot of property damage

A few years ago I wouldn't have thought it possible, but with Endhiran and the forthcoming Ezhaam Arivu roping in Stan Winston Studios for SFX, I believe we're at a stage where a multi-starrer superhero movie is possible, even probable...

I set about dreaming up a list of namma ooru makkal who would feature in a Tamil version of the Justice League...Here goes.

Ilaya Thalapathi Vijay as Arpudhan (a) Superman

Superstrength - Check; Superspeed - Check; Ability to star in movie after movie despite being extremely boring - Check.

Vijay would essentially be the Superman of our group. And yes...most would agree that he wouldn't be doing anything that he isn't already doing in any of his movies. He would fit very well as the incessantly boring mono-dimensional, do-gooder character that Superman essentially is.

AjithKumar as Kazhugu (a) Batman

The dark and brooding Ajithkumar was the best I could come up with for the Dark Knight Detective. Batman is one of my most favorite fictional characters of all times, but he can be very annoying at times. For instance, he sometimes decides to stop fighting crime altogether...just like our friend decided to spend sometime on the race track (we all know how that turned out). Ajith rarely appears in public or gives interviews...leading to the common perception that he is a brooding intellectual. He makes his big come-back with a movie called Asal and we shant go into any more details. Batman frequently abuses himself...physically, just like our friend tried the Anorexic look for a while when the Obese look failed.

R Madhavan as Pachai Shakthi (a) The Green Lantern

Here's a quick Green Lantern primer for those of you who've never heard of him. He has a magic ring that can pretty much do anything, but for 24 hours only. With Madhavan. A hit here... a string of flops and a hit again. Add to that the unpredictability of his script signings (guru en aalu? really?) and you have a green lantern, ring and all.

Arya as Kalaabhan (a) Martian Manhunter

The good: Super Strength, telepathy, ability to pass through all objects.
The Bad: Ability to look the same in all scenes, ability to drone incessantly, dead eyes and green skin.

Jeeva as Sfeed Party (a) The Flash

In the cartoons and the comics, The Flash is the fastest man alive and his super duper speed leaves everything else in slow motion.

For my tamil version I needed a thin young man who tries to act funny in all his movies while receiving groan after groan from an exasperated audience... Jeeva fit the bill perfectly... along with several others (STR, Dhanush, Bharath etc)

Anushka as Worundhateee (a) Wonder Woman

Bada-Bing, Bada-Bang, Bada-Boom! Nuff said!


And yeah...there're a few zillion side characters that Justice League comics traditionally contain and those would be filled in by those actors/actresses you see in every single tamil movie. People like Vaiyapuri, Karunaas, Santhanam, Vennilaadai murthy and so on....

(As always, thanks for reading...comment away! Up next will be an analysis of all of them comic book super villains)

Monday, October 25, 2010

10 supporting roles that helped further the Ulaga Nayagan's dominance

For those of us who've grown up watching Rajni and Kamal, we know the drill.

Big Star + Big Director + Big Composer = Big Bucks.

A few days back I was doing a rerun of Thenali (that KS Ravikumar/Kamal Hassan takeoff on 'What About Bob' that made a few zillions at the box office). As the scenes rolled by I did my usual, "If i was making this movie who would I cast as XXXXX".... I came up with a few names for all characters except two and one of them was Jayaram's (The other being Kamal of course :p).

A few days later I was typing away into the browser thinking of movies where supporting characters defined the very success of the big stars that the movies were meant as vehicles for.... I came up with a really long list and then decided to trim it down to movies which starred only the Universal Hero Kamal Hassan.

So here's my list of ten supporting roles that helped turn Kamal Hassan movies into blockbusters, furthering the Ulaga Nayagan's dominance.

Honorable Mention: Shahrukh Kahn in Hey Ram

Although Hey Ram didnt set the cash registers ringing like it should have, it gave us the pleasure of seeing Shahrukh and Kamal together, not to mention hearing Shah Rukh talk trash in Tamil... and you can trust Kamal to take a cute little singer and turn her into late-night masala channel.

#10 Karan in Nammavar

Before Karan turned himself into a snorting overweight lunatic whose movies miraculously turn into average grossers in the C-centers, he was a loser who acted bit-parts in low-budget commercial flicks..and before that he acted in one movie with the big K.

#9 Daniel Balaji in Vettayadu Vilayadu

Most of us nay-sayers didnt think this guy would prove worthy enough for the K to tangle with in this cat and mouse thriller by Gautham, but once the movie hit the screens, Daniel had us convinced...but like all traditional one-film-wonders he chose to act in a few crap-fests after this one.

#8 The entire cast of Sathileelavathi

This was originally going to be just Ramesh Arvind, but apart from that irritating
'almost sex' titillation with Heera this movie was a riot!

#7 Madhavan in Anbe Sivam

This movie was apparently K's answer to R's B. We all still ask ourselves if Sundar C came up with this one, but whatever.. i'm not complaining.. this movie transformed Madhavan from a buck-toothed a-center brat to someone who could hold his own against the best in the business.

#6 Mohan Lal in Unnaipol Oruvan

Mohan Lal is one stout piece of awesomeness who has
National Awards x 4
State Awards x 9
Filmfare Awards x 10

....Nuff said.

#5 Prakash Raj in Vasool Raja MBBS

For all his annoying gimmickry and mimicry Prakash Raj was
probably the only person who could do to Kamal what Boman Irani did to Sanjay Dutt. So .... yeah...

#4. Jayaram in Thenali

They say Mohan-lal was initially slated to play this role, but I really couldnt see him as the superstar psychatrist who is brought to his knees by a hard-to-handle patient. I still remember waiting outside the theater with Ganesh, Sriram and Deepak to watch this one; hell bent on watching it for Jyothika and Jyothika alone...

#3 Pashupathy in Sandiyar

I know..they called it virumaandi in the end thanks to some whiney tamil politician, but without pashupathy's dark and rustic touch, this movie would've been a squib damper than the ending to a Karan Johar movie.

#2 Gemini Ganesan in Unnal Mudiyum Thambi

The day after I did a rerun of this in the USA, i went to a red cross camp to donate blood and they turned me away saying I'd been exposed to tuberculosis and malaria in India. Yes. I was also exposed to few million other seething Tamilians who wet themselves when they watched this movie.

#1 Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan in Thevar Magan

It is the year 1992 and Bharathan decides over some puttu and kadala that he's going to make a movie. He ropes in K and requests the best actor in the history of southern cinema to play his father. Most discering tamilians watched it ten times in a loop and randomly smashed things with their heads for a week after. A few zillionz later, that shameless king of B-country remakes 'Priyadarshan' decides that Anil Kapoor needs a hit and re-does the movie in Hindi (where it won another 8 filmfare awards btw...)

P.S. Any gems that deserve mention above? Put it in as a comment! :D

(Thats it for now ! Thanks for reading! Comment away!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Endhiran - A sci-fi enthusiast's take on all things Robo

I finally saw it. I FINALLY SAW IT ! Endhiran, Shankar's 167 crore magnum opus will go down in Indian film history as one of the defining movies of this era a-la a thiruvilayadal, a thillana mohanambal or an ayirathil oruvan (the old one…not that self obsessed 3 hour gorefest that came out last year).

As Endhiran's box office figures continue to inch towards the big dipper, Kamal hassan is probably banging his head repeatedly against a wall and Shah rukh is drowning himself in a bottomless trough of dal makhani. But well ... I'm guessing no producer would've agreed to sink 150 crore into a project unless it starred the 61 year old demigod superstar.

All through Endhiran I couldn't help but feel a strange sense of foreboding. Its the same feeling I get when I read Bicentennial Man or I-Robot(AND NO! I'm not talking about that crap-fest of a movie starring Will Smith... the only thing the movie shares with the book is the title... AMEN).

According to me, what we saw in Endhiran is exactly what the future holds for ? Well, by saying this i dont mean that a scientist with a strange hairdo will create an android in the comfort of his oddly shaped lab with the help of a failed singer and an irritating sidekick. But, like all sci-fi buffs I believe we're closer to creating a Chitti than you might think.

One reason why many of my sci -fi friends dismissed Chitti as being a work of fiction was his memory rating... a whopping 1 Zettabyte. I, on the other hand am a little more optimistic about this... consider the fact that the RAM on my laptop now was unheard of a few years ago.

Also; while a 1 terahertz processor isn't something you'd be able to buy off a shelf at BestBuy tomorrow, they exist and work pretty well.

Isaac Asimov mentions in his later writings that he had to coin the term 'positronic brain' to explain the incredible levels of artificial intelligence in his robot characters. He was apparently writing I-Robot at the time when the positron was being discovered and it was becoming a popular buzz-word in science circles. Shankar and Sujatha explain Chitti's intelligence as being based on a hard coded Neural Schema (something that Chitti himself is unable to reveal to anyone). It'd be interesting to know if Chennai's frontbenchers got all this, but still.. I guess they had rajni and aish for company and weren't complaining.

As a race, we've have been obsessed with the emotions of non-humans since the time we learned to create (statues, cave drawings…you get the general idea). This concept, when delineated in film hasn’t always been convincing. Spielberg did it well in his 2001 release, A.I. while Roberto Benigni as Pinocchio was painful (one a side note: I still wonder how A.I. would’ve turned out had Kubrick actually gone ahead and made it in his lifetime…but no… he abandoned his plans to make a movie about an ultra-advanced robot and made a movie that gave us some nude footage of Nicole Kidman instead.Thank you Stanley Kubrick..RIP).

In Endhiran, Chitti is upgraded with some software that simulates hormones and is given several seminars on emotions and sexuality by his creator. Once this is done, he promptly goes about hitting on his creator’s fiancĂ©e; eventually becoming so drunk with love that he reveals his neural schema to his creator’s arch nemesis. The 'software induced hormones' explanation was a nice touch and i don't believe I've read that explanation for a robot's behavior anywhere (ten points for originality, Shankar!).

Chitti, while courting Aishwarya Rai in the first half, explains how they cant essentially ‘get busy’. When he is eventually upgraded to a leather clad killing machine with a grey tuft of hair, he is able to create an electronic embryo from within and is ready to impregnate the object of his affections. Well, then I guess for some strange reason Bohra’s red chip had a few tons of porn along with all that DESTRUCTION PROGRAMMING :|.

//////Spoiler Alert////

Shankar usually ends his movies with one final revelation (remember that ‘Tell me your dreams’ ending he gave us in 2005?)… Nevertheless, SPOILER ALERT (KINDA): Endhiran cuts to 2050 with Chitti’s parts lying inside an acrylic case in a museum and that girl from the old gokul santol ad who never seems to grow up is on a museum tour with her class.But he kills the whole scene when Chitti's disembodied head actually speaks out. I dont know if i'm missing the point of this scene... but it seemed kinda lame to actually make him talk.

//////Spoiler Alert Ends////

On the whole Kudos to Shankar and Kalanidh "SunTV" Maran for making this movie worth the wait. Rajini's next release will most probably be the much-delayed Sultan-the Warrior. So cya there ! :D

(Thanks for reading! Comment away!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I X3 Telugu Music

The music SJ Suryah's magnum opus hits the airwaves from today. Its isnt very often that the Mozart of Madras composes an original score exclusively for a Telugu movie. As in.. most of his telugu scores are for bilinguals or are re-recordings of his tamil/hindi scores.

Anyways...I can be sure that in a couple of days Komaram Puli shall dominate Facebook walls, chat discussions and Ipods all over the place.

Before that, I thought it'd be nice to make a list of my 5 most favorite Telugu songs. As you probably realize, I have no idea whats being said or where these songs feature in the collective consciousness of Andhra Pradesh, but Telugu, much like its cousin Malayalam, is very pleasing to hear when set to tune.

1. Bham Bham Bole from Indira

There's a reason Chiru commands the kind of fan following he does. Prabhu Deva once said in an interview that the best dancer in india was Chiranjeevi with Hrithik Roshan coming a close second. If you must know, Raju Sundaram came third in Prabhu Deva's list. (P.S. I wonder where Nayanthara comes on that list :p ).

2. Hoyna from Aata

The one composer who's surprised me time and again with his ability to effortlessly combine rhythm and melody is Devi Sri Prasad (who is now becoming something of an icon in tamil as well). Some will accuse DSP of being repetitive, but hell.. some of his songs have the highest play counts on my ipod.

3. Paataku Praanam from Vaasu

This one is from Harris Jeyaraj's much talked about debut in telugu. Although i hear the movie didnt do too well, the songs were big hits. This one would feature in a list of harris's best as well.

4. Chammakkuro from Munna

I'll admit that I first saw this song because Shriya Saran was in it, it was only after I heard the song that i realised it was by Harris Jeyaraj.

5. Kodithe Kottalira Six Kottali from Tagore

Chiru all the way. This song was rehashed by Manisharma in Tamil but it wasn't a patch on the Telugu original.

Songs that just missed the top 5

6. Trisha's rain song from Varsham (DSP)

7. Kanya Raasi from Dubai Seenu (Mani Sharma)

8. Yevaro from Pournami (DSP)

9. Dole Dole from Pokkiri (Manisharma)

10. Go go go adhigo from Sainikudu (Harris Jeyaraj)

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Alternate Careers 101

Well, A recent status message on my FB page read

"is now seriously considering an alternate career as a Professional Wrestling Ring Announcer (and that takes my 'alternate careers' list to 23)"

There's an unwritten rule of facebook that says this...

"If the post is by a female there're at least twenty men, women and children who like, comment, cosset and coddle her until her next post... if the post if by a male, there's at least one douchebag who says 'citation needed'...."

Well, as always i was exaggerating when i said 23, but here's a list of ten careers i've seriously considered in the past. Of course, true to the nature of most blogs i write, this post is utterly irrelavant to your work-day... but you're here and you might as well read on.

10. Martial Arts Instructor: Yes. Way back in the late 90's when men were real men, women were real women and Dr.Vijay was still considered an actor par excellence, I had a long stint with a Karate Dojo, but it was not long before everyone at that place realised that my talent lay not in throwing punches and kicks but in babysitting the pre-schoolers sent there by their over-achieving parents.

9. Cricket Commentator: Mandira Bedi wearing noodle-strap sarees during the 96 Cricket world Cup. Nuff said!

8. Chef: I could whip up a mean Maggi when I was in my early teens...but by the time i hit my early 20's my primary interest wasn't in cooking.....but in eating (the paunch says it all)

7. Ad Model: Why didnt this happen? Please refer to the last five words of the previous line.

6. Genetic Engineer: All the misleading science fiction I read in my younger days told me that genetic engineers did three things - Make clones, Make out and Make money. Sadly...Most REAL genetic engineers I've met do three things - study, get phd's and work as post-docs in labs with small bugs in them.

5. Cryptologist: Breaking codes seemed like a cool thing to do for a living until i realised most code breakers have phd's in a certain subject that i've never really got along with that much.

4. Poet:

Back when i was in fourth grade,
Poetry seemed like an awesome trade.

Most of my poems seemed very nice,
some full of sugar, some full of spice.

but everyone puked when they saw my lines,
and poetry got lost in times confines.

3. Superhero: Lets not talk about this one. (P.S.All people who even broach the subject of red underwear in the comments section shall be tied to a chair and made to watch a running loop of 'Sura')

2. Manga Artist: This was before i realised most of my men looked like chimps and most of my women looked like men.

1.Director of blockbuster motion pictures: Well.. most of my stories were stolen by James Cameron, Steven Speilberg and Robert Rodriguez before i could write them.

Thanks for reading !