Saturday, December 4, 2010

An excuse for my prolonged absence!

There are two kinds of audiences for Tamil movies. The first is the average Tamil audience. It consists of people who see cinema like Shakespeare did, as ‘a willing suspension of disbelief”. They are perfectly satisfied with an average commercial movie. They enjoy the movie of their favorite hero, and their facebook status immediately say “xxxxx, a must watch! Thalaivar Rocks!!”. The second kind of audience would immediately make a sarcastic comment on the status. They would probably list out a couple of Hollywood movies, one Japanese movie and a Korean movie with similar plots, and would further point out that the “Rocking” movie was worth the watch even with a storyline borrowed from so many movies. These are the self-proclaimed critics. Give them the smallest opportunity, and they will clear their throat, take a deep breath, and list out at least 5 logical flaws in an average Tamil movie, and then go on about the quality of Hollywood movies. They would generally labor a frustration against the naiveté of the masses. To which of these two groups do I belong? Well, I lean a little towards the second kind.
It is not that I don’t like commercial movies. As a 9 year old, I was forced to see the movie "Ratchagan". I had never heard about the movie before, and my limited knowledge of the Tamil language didn't help me in deciphering the title. I was sitting in the theater expecting a rural romance, and was greeted with the opening scene, where a burly looking guy pushes a truck-load of cars into a valley. What followed this was a lot of action - cars, containers, bombs, helicopters, Girish Karnaud, Raghuvaran, and yeah, Nagarjun. I totally loved the movie! Even today, 13 years later, I wouldn't mind watching the movie again. I am sure each of us has our own favorites among such logic-defying movies.

One of the recent Tamil movies I loved was Tamizh Padam. For those of you who aren't aware of it, it is a spoof of the typical Tamil 'formula' film. Tamizh Padam scores because it is not a product of anger against the predictability of Tamil movies, but a product of self-depreciating humor. It is a kind of movie that laughs at our “formula” films, while being perfectly aware that nothing will stop us from loving such movies. The flipside of the movie was that it was a bit of a drag. At some point of time, the director must have felt that he will not get an opportunity to make another spoof, and included as many elements as possible. One gets to feel that the film would have been far better if the spoof had been on a single theme, instead of taking on Tamil movies as a whole. This is where we come to the beginning of this post.

All I wanted to do in this post was to try and find out why I don’t write any blog posts. There were a few things that I really wanted to write about, and I did try. I usually start writing about something, get carried away and end up in a totally different place. It can’t be helped, that is the way I talk too. If you ask me about my favorite novel, you will get to know about five novels I like, three I didn’t particularly like, and one I hated. So, whenever I sat to write a post, I had to modify it to accompany a new topic, and then re-model it. Following this, I would delete it and start rewriting the whole thing. By this time, my energy would have gone and I would just save it to my drafts.

So, how did I post this one? I just thought this post reflects my whole thinking process. And as every human being sub-consciously knows, confessing a crime give one a full license to commit it again and again. Now, before I venture into philosophy, I will just announce that I am going to try and stick to as few topics as I possibly can in a single post. I am reminded of a E-Mail writing sessions in TCS training, where the facilitator used to insist that every e-mail should deal with only one subject. Half of me would like to write more about my TCS training, but I think you have got the drift by now.
So, till the next post, if it does come, goodbye!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Selfless Entertainers

Let me start by informing that I have got back access to net. That doesn’t mean I will be more regular with blogging. I am realizing that blogging is difficult for a person as lazy as me.

My net connection works at an excruciating speed. For instance, I open my yahoo mail account to be greeted by the message “Hello V!”, I click the link “Inbox”, and I wait for 5 minutes. It was during the long wait yesterday that my eyes fell on the “buzz” tab below. The first item was: “ ‘My Name is Khan’ earns Rs.150 cr in a week”. I didn’t think much about it initially, and I soon realized that 6 minutes had passed since I pressed the link “inbox”. Losing patience, I clicked the “Reload” button, and immediately regretted it. During the next five minutes, and the subsequent periods of waiting, I had some interesting thoughts.

MKIK was released on the 12th of this month amidst a lot of controversies. I know a lot has been said about this already, but I feel a need to air my views. Bravo, Mr. Khan! Bravo, the media! And Bravo, movie enthusiasts! What a fitting reply to the advocates of separatism! It took a lot of bravery from Shahrukh to come out in the open with his views. I later came across another article saying that the ticket sales of MKIK have fallen by 20%. There are people who doubt the veracity of the whole episode, claiming that the whole thing was a publicity stunt. But I am inclined to disagree. Actors like Shahrukh , Aamir Khan and Salmaan Khan have achieved such stardom not because of not only because of their acting skills. They have wonderful marketing skills. Shiv Sena or no Shiv Sena, they would have found a way to influence the opening week’s collections. Nevertheless, the release of the movie by itself was impressive, given the amount of security devoted to the theatres. Someone pointed out to me that the week had one more incident of trivial importance attached to it, the Pune blast. They even made the preposterous suggestion that the blast might have been avoided if only the security had not been busy protecting the theater screens. Now, that’s a very hypothetical argument. Moreover, like Naseerudin Shah(or was it Kamal?) mentions in ‘A Wednesday’, these common men are destined to die anyway. Entertainment is a basic necessity of the human mind, and the actors are the entertainers who selflessly work for our benefit. They are the salt of the Earth, and foremost importance must be given to them. Many great rulers have known this truth, and have done everything to implement it. Take the state I live in, for example. Practically all movies are given tax concessions, whereas the prices of essential commodities are given lower priority. Everyone is encouraged to watch movies. I recently watched a movie in a theatre in Tanjore for the paltry sum of Rs.100. I comfortably sat in a third row filled with seats having wooden seat, and I fall short of words when I try to describe the sound system. Why would I watch a pirated version of the movie when the theatrical experience so good, and yet so cheap?

In the same vein, my thoughts, as they often do, shifted to cricket. These are really bad times for us. The pride of the nation, IPL is being ridden with self-doubts. Various security threats are making players reconsider taking part in the event. But again, the organizers of the event are facing things bravely. The overseas players must be convinced to play, and complete security must be provided to the event. Of course, we need not worry about terror attacks everywhere- even the terrorists would be engrossed in the IPL.

There are other important developments in Tamil Nadu. Reportedly, theaters around the state are planning to telecast the matches live, and film producers are trying to get the court’s help in preventing this. They fear, rightly, that their collections would go down drastically. On the other hand, a few actors have managed to turn the wrath of politicians towards them. Kollywood is being pitted against the man power of politics and the money power of IPL. I don’t think it can survive either of them. But still, actors, cricketers and politicians are very important to our nation. They have sacrificed their whole life to entertain us, and we must protect them from any troubles they are facing.

Ample security must be provided to all of them. If there are any security personals left, they must be assigned to protect the tigers. Reportedly, there are just 1411 tigers left in the country. After all, there are more than a billion men, women and children.

Do let me know what you think..