Monday, 24 February 2014

F.R.I.E.N.D.S - Why does it END?

Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey and Phoebe

F.R.I.E.N.D.S, my favorite and best sitcom among the few I have seen so far. This is not a review of that sitcom, it's just how I feel about it. It was one of my friends who started watching these series and sitcoms in our gang and now he successfully made everyone to watch any one series. I was very reluctant to watch Friends at first. Two of my friends will  be discussion about each and every character and episodes and I was like living in a different world altogether. These two guys were irritating me so much and just because I am getting irritated they started to talk about it so much.

Finally when I was "vetti" for two months before joining this new job in Chennai I started watching Friends, it was last February. I was not much interested initially, but there was quite a few laughs. It was from the 5th episode of season one I started enjoying it more. I still remember that episode, it was hilarious. Then, minimum of two episodes a day become my routine.

I continued it after moving to Chennai. I will be laughing alone with my headphones on every night and my new roommates were looking at me differently. On weekends used to watch until two or three am and will be trying hard to control my laugh so that I won't wake up any of my roommates.

The main six characters Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe they appear in every single episodes in all 10 seasons. My favorite character was Chandler in the beginning, one who makes jokes when he gets uncomfortable. Then, after few seasons it was "How you doin" Joey, he was the funniest character of the show. Among the girls it has to be Rachel even though Monica looked pretty initially. "Divorce" Ross was constantly funny in all the seasons. Phoebe, who looks like out of mind in every episodes with her singing of "Smelly Cats", my least favorite character of the show. Ross and Rachel are examples for on-off relationship. I can write a separate post on each one of them.

There wasn't any serious storyline, it just goes as if watching six people's daily life. I lost count on number of people Monica and Joey dated. To write 236 episodes with these characters and still make it interesting was really great. Hats off to its creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman. It was a brilliant sitcom with so much of comedy in each and every episode. And, there will be guest appearances by many stars like Van Damme, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Bruce Willis, etc., in every season.

It was a fantastic time pass for me. It can relax my mind from whatever mood. Don't miss this sitcom, I guarantee it's a best time pass. An episode a day can keep worries away :). I won't say I miss them since it's ended so long ago and I can see them whenever I wish to. I just wish there were few more seasons. Always wonder why does it end? But, all good things must come to an end.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Balu Mahendra - A legend

Cinema loses yet another legend, Balu Mahendra, who cannot be replaced. Balu Mahendra, how well someone of my age know about this legend? Does everyone know about him and his great work, if not, then the loss is theirs.

Balachander, Bharathiraja and Balu Mahendra are the big B's of Tamil cinema's legendary directors. Balu Mahendra started his carrier as a cinematographer in Malayalam language. He was a master in that, in the black and white era itself and worked with legendary directors like Mahendran and Maniratnam. He directed his first movie in Kannada, Gokila. Then, he started directing some master pieces in Tamil cinema, starting from Azhiyadha Kolangal to his latest Thalaimuraigal.

How do I know about Balu Mahendra? First, as a school kid I hear a song Kanne Kalaimane in TV, then I watch that movie Moondram Pirai and cry with Seenu in the climax and note the name Balu Mahendra at the end. That's how most of the young people might have encountered with this legend's name. Then, we watch Kadhai Neram in TV, which was completely different from other mega serials, which tell you a different story every week with minimum characters, you note down the creator of it, its Balu Mahendra.

Then, you see a psychological thriller movie Moodu Pani and you are stunned by its making and its Balu Mahendra's master piece again. You hear about everyone referring to a movie Veedu, whenever someone about to build or get a new home, who directed that, well its Balu Mahendra again.

From these films I guess Balu Mahendra is a serious director who handle only some heavy subjects and he won't try any commercial movies. But, people back then must have said the same to him so he gives them what they ask, a commercial movie named as Neengal Kettavai itself. Once in a while we watch a movie Sathileelavathi in TV, which was hilarious every time you see. Kamal Haasan paired with Kovai Sarala and the main character is Ramesh Aravind. I thought its directed by Kamal himself, but no. Every one of my friends has seen this movie minimum twice surprised when they get to know it's directed by Balu Mahendra's just like me.

And, every new directors who have given a stunning movie credits this legend as their master. Directors Cheran, Ameer, Vetrimaran, Ram and many others are from his school. These are the things that made me know about this legend even more and makes me watch all of his movies. Even though some of his last few movies were not as good as his previous movies.

His love for Illayaraja is huge, he told he doesn't know how many more movies he will make, but only Illayaraja will score the music for all of them that even Illayaraja doesn't know. It's sad to know we are going to miss those movies. And, this combo has given many evergreen classical hits like En Iniya Pon Nilave, Kanne Kalaimane, etc.

Balu Mahendra likes to handle the direction, cinematography, editing all by himself. In his latest interview he says that, if a writer writes a book that entire creation is credited to himself, a movie also should be made by himself entirely that's why he handles most of the important tasks in a movie. Even in his latest movie Thalaimuraigal, he acted as well as directing, editing. His first and last in front of camera and salute Sasikumar for making this possible.

RIP legend. Not only in Tamil Nadu, he must be celebrated all over India. You will be missed sir, but your movies will speak about you for a long time.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Deception Point - Dan Brown

Deception Point, first novel I read this year, written by Dan Brown. Like his other novels this too contains series of events happening in just one day. Unlike other historical thrillers I read earlier, this one was a political science fiction thriller movie, sorry book.

US is about to go into elections. Current President Zach Herney is losing his respect among the people because of his opposition Senator Sedgewick Sexton's anti-NASA campaign. Since NASA is simply eating public's money without any useful discovery and they keep failing in their projects. Herney and NASA are losing credibility among the people. When Sexton who's a corrupt politician, is almost certain to win, NASA discovers an extra ordinary thing at Arctic. A meteorite which contains fossils, proof of extra terrestrial life. President sends Rachel, Sexton's daughter who hates Sexton, to authenticate the discovery since Rachel works in NRO. Rachel joins the civil scientists team. After authenticating and president announcing it to public, they feel something wrong in the meteorite, they find out it's not a meteorite really. Then, they are attacked by unknown group. Did they find the truth? Who planned this deception? Who wins the election, is the plot.

The main characters of this book are Rachel Sexton, Zach Herney, Senator Sedgewick Sexton. Then, Michael Tolland, a famous TV person who hosts shows about the oceans, one of the civil scientist on the run with Rachel. Then, Gabrielle, personal assistant for Senator Sexton. William Pickering head of NRO, Rachel's boss. Marjorie Tench, Herney's senior adviser.

As usual like his other books, this book also starts with a murder. Reading Dan Brown's novel is always like reading Hollywood movie's script. I wonder why this book was not made into a movie yet. This one was like a bond's movie. In his other novels (Davinci Code, Angels and Demons, Inferno) he explained more about the history. In this novel he explains many things on science and technology. From history lessons to science lessons this time.

In this Rachel and Tolland play the usual Langon and a girl combo. Rachel plays Langdon kind of a role. And, they finally fall in love with each other maybe they are not going to be present in his future novels unlike Langdon. Like Langdon's problem with cramped space, Rachel's problems is with water. Like any other novel Rachel also wishes whatever happened was a dream. Dan Brown's favorite line I guess, he uses this in almost all the novels I have read so far.

This book is also racy. The twists are unpredictable or you don't have time to think while reading. The one who's behind this big lie was really unpredictable or at least I didn't see it coming. Whatever I had in my mind was completely opposite when the truth was revealed. He explains all those UFO's and alien spaceships are just US's secret mission of spy satellites or advanced space crafts. So, something in the moon discovered recently which was believed to be an Alien spacecraft may also be US's ;).

I always enjoyed Dan Brown's novels. The narration will be straightforward, will have enough twists and turns which will keep us guessing what's next. This was really better than Inferno which I read before. Really worth a read for whoever enjoys Dan Brown and thrillers.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's Day

Its that time of the year again, the sales of Greeting cards, Roses, Dairymilk (why Dairymilk) goes high. Some people of certain groups raise their voices, you will get to know about these groups only at this time. Its Valentine's Day or Lovers day, that's how I know it first before getting to know about the word Valentine.

One group says what's wrong in celebrating this day and other says why should we celebrate, this is not our culture, blah and blah. Then, some other people, who says why should we celebrate it on a particular day, we can celebrate it on every day of the year (dei). Every year this month there will be a debate on whether we should celebrate this day or not. It will go on and on at one side, and people who celebrate this day will continue other side.

It was fun during my school days especially in our bus. There will be number of proposals. The most funniest thing is many guys will be seen in a green shirt which means they are single. They will somehow find a green shirt in whatever condition. There will be forward SMSes on meaning of each and every color (nowadays shared in social networks). I still don't know who proposed this dress code and who approved it :).

And, news channels will report some groups made lovers to marry each other or thrashed them. It must be a thrilling experience for lovers :). So not just gift shops and lovers, even these groups get busy on this day every year. They get ready for this day more than the lovers.

The most irritating question some people ask, "What's your plan on Valentine's Day?", even after knowing I won't have a damn plan. I didn't have for past 25 years and it's going to be same this year as well so its not a big deal.

So what's Valentine's Day? In my opinion, it's a day to increase the sales of greeting cards, roses and dairymilks. Should we celebrate it? Nowadays people started celebrating "Thanksgiving Day", "Haloween" and all here, without even knowing anything about it, so why not Valentine's Day?

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day. Be careful and don't end up as a married couple.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Lucia (Kannada) - Mind=Blown

Lucia, a Kannada film which released last year directed by Pawan Kumar. There was a lot of talk about that movie in social networks when it was released. I finally saw the movie, my first Kannada movie. It's a first crowd funded Kannada movie, premiered in London film festival also won the audience choice for best film.

It's a psychological thriller and its narration is non linear. Movie starts with an investigation. Then, we see the hero, who's a 'torch shiner' in a local talkies suffering from insomnia. One night he gets a pill which will make him dream as good as real and it will be continuous. In his dream he is a big film star all those people in his real life appears in his dream as well. The investigation, his talkies life and his love, his dream life all shown parallel. His dreams are shown in black and white. The twist at the end was not like, "oh I knew it", it was really unpredictable. I didn't see it coming.

The three main characters the lead pair and hero's uncle Shankar Anna, who's the owner of the talkies has done the role perfectly. The heroine looks good. The black and white concept is executed perfectly. The songs and BGM are good enough to support this movie. And, the songs seem to be fit in the screenplay also the running length is just two hours and fifteen minutes.

This film also has kuthu songs in the form of dream hero shooting for a song even though he hates it. His movie's heroine tells in the press meet the cliched sentences like 'Shooting was like picnic', which everyone says now. The director tries to spoof many idiotic policies in films, which is seen in all languages.

This is the most confusing Indian move I have ever seen. It was like many Hollywood movies where you will doesn't know what's happening like Inception. I am not comparing this with Inception just stating it for an example. Since it's a Kannada movie I should watch it again to understand it even better. This is the best movie of 2013. Don't miss this even though it's a Kannada movie. Take a bow Pawan Kumar. Watch it and your mind will be blown.

The Tamil remake of this movie is started rolling with Siddharth in the lead. And, produced by Soodhu Kavvum, Pizza fame Thirukumaran Entertainments. So looking forward to this film's release, I am sure it will be yet another feather in the cap for Thirukumaran Entertainments.