Tuesday, February 19, 2013


  • Straight off the bat, Viswaroopam is no classic. It will probably not even figure as one of Kamal's above average efforts but it is watchable in most parts.
  • The biggest problem with the movie is that it is wildly inconsistent. On one hand, it is meticulously detailed, in other scenes it is incredibly simplistic. There are times I thought it was Zero Dark Thirty, other times it felt like Ek Tha Tiger.
  • Beautfully shot, technically sound are praises you'd read enough already. I concur. The action sequences are very stylishly filmed (including an obvious Guy Ritchie tribute) but somewhere in the middle, the movie loses its heart. The background though a tad loud fit well in the movie. The songs do not hamper the narrative so full marks to Kamal the director.
  • Watch out for the dialogues - delightfully insouciant at places.The Pashto and Urdu made no sense beyond a certain point - where's the fun in checking out Tamil sub-titles at the bottom of the screen to understand the fundamentalist mumbo jumbo... There were times I just wished I was sitting through one of those funny Vijaykanth movies of the early 2000s with a Pakistani villain and his side-kicks, all speaking Tamil with a strange accent... 
  • Now let's come to the characterisation...Why does Viswanath (Kaml) choose to pose as an effeminate dancer? There is no bloody reason at all. It's there to serve no plot purpose, it's more for Kamal to showcase that he has got Birju Maharaj associated with this project and that he can dance Kathak.....in an embarassingly amusing way for a 59 year old....and the effeminate bit, heck, its just to show off...or probably make audiences squirm. God only knows what goes on inside his mind. Now to the annoying Nirupama (Pooja Kumar) - which Tam Brahm in the 21st century speaks like that? Maybe one from the agraharam shown in Sethu but then she is also supposed to be a nuclear oncologist (who romances/flirts over Faraday Shields...wooooohoooo) living in NY who has no problem speaking with a phoren English accent. Honestly, it was so grating I felt like scratching myself with a nail. Give me the absolutley droolworthy Renu anyday please...
  • On the acting front, I quite liked Pooja Kumar & I'm surprised Kamal chose a 36 yr old to play the female lead....no kissing scenes though...and you'd have to wait till almost the end credits for some "action".. Quite surreal that she is the same girl who starred in Kadhal Rojave long loooooooong ago... I really used to like this song....anyway I digress.
  • Andrea Jeremiah has screen presence and one wishes to see her more often in front of the cameras. Rahul Bose was comical but Shekar Kapur was a pleasant surprise.
  • Why are all the foreign actors in Tamil films so godawful - Dawkins and the FBI investigator couldn't act to save their lives. I do hope they paid to figure in this movie - that way Kamal gets to recover some of the 90 crores he put into this.
  • The movie also alternates between "hey-look-I-am-so-smart" and "Look-here-dumbos-you-getting-it?" mode -  funny in the way NYPD, FBI were written in large font + bold and smart in the way it uses pigeons as agents of terror....but if you're a Kamal fan like I am, you've seen it before and you know its bound to rear its ugly head all too soon.
  • Overall, Viswaroopam was what I'd call a time-pass one time watch (as long as you're not paying those extortionate Bangalore multiplex rates).
PS: The observant would have noted that my comments above did not mention Islam, Jihad or any of the 'forbidden words'.   All T-H-A-T controversy over this masala pot boiler? Someone's got to tell me what's happening here !!!!! How much money exchanged hands?

Friday, February 08, 2013

How times change

When I was growing up - coming from a middle/upper middle class Brahmin family -  as a male child, one was truly "happening" only if one had participated in a Maths Olympiad, won a couple of Spelling Bees competitions, written the NCERT/NTSE and won a scholarship and at the very least made it to the Extended merit list of IIT-JEE. "Truly arrived" was reserved for only IITM / IITK entrants or for REC B.Tech (Computer Science) kids who ended up in the US with an MS/Phd from the top 20 post grad schools with a job in Microsoft in Seattle.

These days, you are a "minor celebrity" if some local TV/FM channel interviews you, you are "happening" if you have made it past fastest finger and won Rs 5000 in KBC and you have "Truly Arrived" ONLY when 3 lakh SMSs are sent voting for you thereby ensuring that a vastly more talented but poorly networked competitor loses.

Now, there's a first...I could soon become a published author

I was on a roll last weekend. Frustrated at work and wanting to let off steam, I was narrating some of the recent meaningless assignments I had been entrusted with at work NOT by my boss but by arbitrary people who turn to me as a last resort when every other option on Planet Earth has been exhausted.

These assignments vary from the mundane - finding out the alma mater of my CEO (and trust me, it wasn't easy AT ALL to find out) - to the bizarre (facilitating an introduction to a customer CIO based on a random airport meeting/conversation that a very senior colleague of mine had with this CIO's ex-reportee....and my senior colleague could not even remember the full name of afrementioned reportee).

All these assignments invariably have an element of humor (gallows or otherwise) associated so as I was narrating this to people, someone suggested that I should write a book about the nonsense that happens in the corporate world. For a moment I was speechless. Maybe this was my big ticket to fame and riches but reality hit me within a few minutes when I realised Sidin's already been there and done it.

I've not ruled it out yet - there is enough fodder in my head for 3 books but there is such a thing called timing so I'll wait for the right moment.

8 absolutely arbitrary things I learnt over the last few days

  1. Never judge a book by its cover they say but truer still is the axiom - never judge a film by its trailor. Classic case in point being David.
  2. It doesn't matter whether we are talking of the men's team or the women's team - as a nation, we are incapable of finding any consistency in our cricketing form.
  3. Its been 3 years since I scoured the net and read a dozen blogs a day but nothing seems to have changed much. Yesterday was such a non eye-opener. There are still the elitist fools, raving lunatics, sane voices of reason, mokkai kadiyans....the more things change, the more they stay the same
  4. Working from home makes you lazy and fat. Working from office makes you ragged, edgy and tense. Why work then?
  5. A Rs 3 bajji made of old kadla-maavu and oil that's been re-used for ages is REALLY NOT the cure for constipation.
  6. 3 guys and 2 gals, 3 gals and 2 guys, 2 odd ball couples, 5 single straight guys...you could create a story with any of the above gender constituent combinations, add a-laugh-a-minute and I will watch them ALL. What is it with me and American sitcoms?
  7. The longer you stay in a company, the tougher it is to move on. The toughest changes aren't the ones that involve new people, policies or culture. The scariest bits invariably involve the office shuttle, the new canteen, the coffee vending machine, the scanner/copier/printer etc....Hmmmmmmm
  8. On a related note, updating a resume sucks. Its fun for the first 3 mts when you do the formatting - bold, italics, underline, right justify, choose the bullet type - and then it hits you "Have I done anything, ANYTHING AT ALL, worthwhile that will reflect "well" on my resume?"


What I've learnt about blogging

  • Write about things that are dear to you, things that you care about or stuff that means something to you. People might agree or disagree, like or dislike the piece but will respect your opinion if it is put forward the right way.

  • Do not try to be too politically correct but also do not write to incite or provoke. It's fun to debate but its wisest to avoid starting a gutter fight. Also, tone is as important as content.

  • Lastly, but most importantly, do not indulge your audience and pander to their requests. At some point in time, you will be consumed by this overwhelming desire to please them that you lose your identity. What happens then is that you don't realise your own voice 10 years down the road when you revisit what you've written.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

RACE you to the exit door....vrooooooooooooom

Anyone who sits through the whole of Race 2 needs to have his head examined. The director duo of Abbas-Mastan have never been known for their realistic style of film-making but Race 2 takes stupidity to absurdly high levels. Leaving aside the amateurish plot, the meaningless twists, the nonsensical and vulgar comedy track, the tacky dialogues, even the guilty pleasures of watching John Abraham trying to act and Deepika Padukone attempting to mouth serious lines is not worth sitting through this 2 hr 10 mt montrosity.

For once, even the reliable Rajeev Masand has been way too generous.


Airtel Super Singer

Parents are in town and so life in the evenings has changed dramatically. From watching ESPN, Star sports, Star cricket and Star world, I find myself increasingly staring at Vijay TV and listening to young kids/adults trying hard to become the next Airtel super singer.

While I am no fan of reality contests and the million wannabes who want to make it big through these stupid programs, one does get to meet once-in-a-while a real talent. However, what I do find disconcerting is the fact that success in this show seems to immediately take them to the next stratosphere... While Pooja, Sathyaprakash, Sai Charan, Santhosh are good finds, they are nowhere near the finished product or even look like becoming genuine superstars like an SPB or a Chitra. Instead of working their PR engines overtime, I would very much love if they put in a few years of slog, worked their way up the ladder before becoming real stars. More shocking is the news I heard that Super singer junior 3 winner Aajeedh is already singing at school/college fests in Trichy. So sad !!!

Btw, I have seen these music programs for ages and the 2 out-of-the-world singers who have captured my imagination were Sunidhi Chauhan from Meri Awaz Suno days and Alka Ajith.

How awesome is Temple Run 2 !!!!!!!

I am not an avid gamer and I have a tendency to play either language based games like Scrabble, Letterplay, Hangman etc or Sports based games like cricket and tennis. However, Temple Run 2 is just mind-blowing... the graphics are out of the world, the beast is scary and the rest of the obstacles genuinely challenging. The only problem is that I suck at it... but then that is just now. Gimme 3 more months :-)