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Gautham Menon: Hindu

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 by Blogpur


Gautham Menon has given an entertaining interview in today's Hindu. Click Here. He talks about Vettayadu... (much to my delight) and how he got into films. He also delves into why it was a reasonably big risk for him to do so.

As you know, it's a cop film, but more into investigation than encounters. There will be plenty of action and thrills in the film that's being shot in Chennai and New York. We hope to make it slick and technically superior.


He outlines his next projects and showers praises on Kamal (as if that wasn't expected).

A good read.

Einstein - Life, Politics and of course Science.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 by Blogpur

I don't pretend to understand the universe— it's much bigger than I am.

2005 is the International Year in Physics, it is also known as the Year of Einstein, this is an article saluting the great master.

Albert Einstein: the name is synonymous with science - but just what exactly did the man do and how does his discoveries affect us?


I'm no person to talk about this when compared to the thousands of scholars who scour over his works day and night in universities across the globe, but I have a decent understanding of his findings and breakthroughs and I'm going to attempt to canvas his work and why it's so important us.

Put lightly, I believe Newton has been a bigger figure in Physics and Mathematics than Einstein ever will be. Newton with his laws of motion, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, in which he derived the Laws of Universational Gravitation all layed pretty much the base for the structure which was Classical Physics/Mechanics. Much of his work is still the cornerstone for nearly all our uses of Physics in day to day lives. From the car, to the train, to the lift in the office building and countless other things Newton is there.

Of course, Newton laid the bricks for the space race and also the first flights. It's is pretty much here that his work ends. Einstein takes over. Time Dilation, Mass Dilation, Length Contraction: all part of the Relativity of Simultaneity; without this there would be no space travel. Einstein is really genius for this one. Proving the Michelson-Morley debunked, he found that that the Speed of Light is very much a constant. This alone is a groundbreaking fact. With this he derived equations such as this one: (Dilation)


Doing all this was quintessential to working out various factors in travel. Not only did he do this, he of course linked Mass and Energy in the most popular equation of all time:




















Suprisingly, Einstein never got the Nobel Prize for all this work. He rather got it for his work on the Photoelectric Effect. Where Newton brought about the Classical Physics, Einstein brought about the Quantum physics. Some of you are going to slam me saying that the true father of Quantum Physics was Max Planck, and your right he was. But Planck let his child run the streets, Einstein adopted him and brought him up for the world to see. Einstein's postulates as well as explanation of the Photoelectric Effect is nonetheless etched in Scientific fables.
He said (from what I understand): The energy associated with the radiation from a black body is concentrated in packets of energy called photons. A photon is the smallest amount of radiation energy possible at a particular frequency. A photon cannot transfer part of its energy: it can only transfer all of its energy or none of it. The amount of energy carried by a photon is proportional to its frequency. The intensity of light is proportional to the number of photons. The energy possessed by a photon is proportional to its frequency, hence the observation, in relation to black body radiation, that the shorter the wavelength (thus the higher the frequency) the greater the total energy radiated (for a given temperature). While at this, Einstein also that wave and particle behaviour can coexist, a problem plaguing the likes of JJ Thomspon and his CRT.

But more than all this, Einstein was a great humanitarian. In an age with Fritz Haber, Max Planck and Heisenberg wanted to stay back and help the Nazi War Machine, Einstein had his priorities right. He never indulged in any politically inclined works. He was a pacifist and fled to the US due to his Jewish background. From there of course he worked on Atomic Theory and the Nuclear Bomb, a decision he would later regret.

From the American Institute of Physics:
The outbreak of the First World War brought Einstein's pacifist sympathies into public view. Ninety-three leading German intellectuals, including physicists such as Planck, signed a manifesto defending Germany's war conduct; Einstein and three others signed an anti-war counter manifesto. He helped form a non-partisan coalition that fought for a just peace and for a supranational organisation to prevent future wars. As a Swiss citizen, Einstein could feel free to spend his time on theoretical physics, but he kept looking for ways to reconcile the opposing sides. "My pacifism is an instinctive feeling," he said, "a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting. My attitude is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred."

I know in this article I've missed a lot of his work, things such as the GUT theory, and much of Einstein's later work including his refridgerator. What I have written, is what I understand of him and what I religiously admire him for.

(Thanks to Prabhu for telling me it is the Year of Physics and Einstein Year. Information about photoelectric effect with thanks from Charles Sturt University.)

Cricket for Computer Geeks

Monday, August 22, 2005 by Blogpur

If you, like me, hardly find the time to go walking alone, let alone arrange to play cricket with friends, I wholeheartedly reccomend STICKCRICKET. It's a really enjoyable game that is run by the good folks at Cricinfo.

When you can get 36 in an over off a spinner - you will become my God, I can't time it that well.

Holy Cows! - What a Day!

Saturday, August 20, 2005 by Blogpur


Rumours have been flying as to what will be Rajni's new movie. Rumours end. Shooting Begins. Rajni has signed a whopper deal! No ordinary Burger King whopper - this is the big one. Rajni has signed a film to be produced by AVM Studios and to be directed by the big daddy of all commercial films - Shankar. According to the Sify Report, this is going to be the biggest South Indian movie ever made. If Kamal was that stylish in Indian, I can't wait to see Rajni ripping up the screens! This is what I've been waiting for - Rajni the vigilante on a crusade for society.

Second Biggest News:

After Vettayadu Villayadu, Kamal is doing a movie called "Dashavataram". He is doing 10 roles from Winston Churchill, to G W Bush, Saddam, Osama Bin Laden and more that are being kept secret. Direction by K S Ravikumar. Read the
Sify Report for more details.

It seems there is no stopping the Tamil Industry at the moment, thanks to Vasool Raja, Chandramukhi and Anniyan, it's become pretty powerful. With these 3 releases to come out (VV, Rajni, Dashavataram) I believe the Tamil Industry is going to come pretty close to knocking out Bollywood out of the top spot!

Bollywood's Hollywoodisation

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 by Blogpur


You probably guessed from the title of this post that I am not American: and you're right. However this post isn't about my origins, it's about Bollywood and the utter waste it is churning out. I personally believe Bollywood is hitting new lows, they are doing this through a superficial pursuit to become "Hollywood" standard. I have no objections in advocating better production values and so on, but I do have a problem when Indians start acting as though they are American. To everyone from Shah Rukh Khan to Priyanka Chopra - look at yourselves, regardless of your 1% market share outside the country, you are Indian: so act it.

Since about 2001 (pretty much since Dil Chahta Hai) every Bollywood film has had some reference the US orUK in one way or other. The film Black is a recent example: A POST MODERN INDIAN SETTING? What was Bhansali thinking? Is this supposed to be his vision of the future? Because it certainly isn't the present. Amitabh's english, what is going on? To attract an overseas audience he uses some 2bit Americanised english - I didn't know whether to laugh.... or.... laugh harder.

Bollywood can try as hard as it might to paint some Utopian vision of India in it's films. One in which girls ride water-skis, and cops come chasing crooks during street motorcycle races singing "Dhoom machale...". Fact - it doesn't happen. I don't mind accepting it if it was some ostensibly obvious scifi flick, but not an action adventure movie. 2 Fast 2 Furious just doesn't work on Indian streets which generally use NOS to do welding, not super turbo charging an autorickshaw or perhaps a cycle rickshaw. (Forgive me about the last sentence, I know very little about car modification).

Kal Ho Naa Ho, DCH, K3G, VeerZaara, Bride and Prejudice - all products of an industry so self absorbed and devoted to image, its a real pity because Bollywood has the talent to make some good films. Autocracy: it rules Bollywood. No one is given a chance unless they are somehow magically linked to Yash Chopra. He doesn't fund the movies, he owns the industry. Basically you want to be successfull in Bollywood, go and fall at his feet, do a few favours and hell you might even get a role. Get over image Bollywood, its high time you became called the "Hindi Film Industry" not Bombay Hollywood. As far as I'm concerned you are pretty much BSollywood.

This year all we have seen is skin shows in Bollywood. There have been very very few films of any quality available to the mainstream viewer (but what do they care, as long as it has Preity Zinta dancing around some tree its fine). The industry does have some good filmmakers using novel ideas or (gasp) relevant ideas. However, they are crushed under the weight of the Yash Chropra FACTORY. The Rising, another one of those crossover appeal movies - why is it funded 40crore, when the same movie could be made for under 15? Why- well because Mr Khan and Mr. Chopra, want to fatten their pockets.

Oh I just realised, I went off on some tangent. Well coming back to the issue at hand. Wearing 1inch of makeup and revealing some skin isn't going to change Bollywood into Hollywood. In fact it's going to do nothing but making Bollywood more of a laughing stock. Laughing stock - that reminds me of Aishwarya Rai. She hasn't had a hit in 3 years (and Devdas wasn't even exclusive to her) yet she thinks she can conquer Hollywood and in the process modernise Bollywood. FAT CHANCE. The perception is, B&P was a stuck up Bollywood actress trying to do a role. Most westerners automatically differentiate between their movies and ours. (I hate to call it ours but since I am Indian, I have no option).

Fact: - Bollywood pumps out close to 150films a year. Fact: - maybe 10 of them are watchable. Fact: - Bollywood isn't going to get an oscar by including homosexual jokes in their movies (though maybe a Hollywood movie could). Fact:- By showing slums which seem to be lifted out of a palace, it's not going to change the reality of India. People will still travel on a train supposed to carry 500 but carrying 5000, the probability that more than 50% of the population will go hungry tonight is 100%. The point is, Bollywood is trying to brainwash Indians into believing they live a completely devloped society. We don't.

I could go on and on, (I probably have), Bollywood needs to wake up to itself. It's not in the middle of New York or LA or London. It's in India. India means different parameters, values and styles to that of Hollywood. Thanks to various other film industries, some of our traditions are being kept alive. I will be scared if and when the day comes when India decides to change its name to Indiawood.

A Letter to Guru

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 by Blogpur

Guru,
While I agree on some of the issues you raise, I think you are missing the point. A review his a person's personal opinion. It arises from his context and is intended for a purpose. The review which is published in a newspaper or magazine will differ from one that is published on a blog (etc). Form, Context, Audience and Purpose. If a reviewer wants to bring casteism, athiesm, polygamy, monogamy, taxonomy, generalisation etc, its their point of view. It doesn't neccesarily have to parallel your view. (By your I mean the reader, not just you Guru).

Everyone is going to have different views on a film, I've disagreed with you many times. Sometimes I think your reviews are imperfect, sometimes I think mine are imperfect sometimes I think even a proffesional reviewer's structure, message, grammar, use of clauses, phrases, hell even iambic pentameter - sometimes is suitable, sometimes it is wrong.

There is no write or wrong formula to a write a review. Some maybe better trained in literacy than others, some maybe better trained in appreciating film than others but ultimately its a perception of a film and their reasoning behind liking/disliking, appreciating/ not appreciating it. Little touches are always in films (regardless of whether it is a Periyar statue). Shakespeare in Love is perhaps the best example of all this. Those who know Tom Stoppard's style of comedy as well as Shakespeare will find his little homages and nuances peppered all over the film. Those who don't will find it a sappy romantic comedy. I am in the former.

You said some bloggers write "horrendous" reviews. What makes it horrendous? The fact you don't agree with it, or because its gramatically incorrect? I don't know. I don't like every review out there. I don't read most of them. I wouldn't call any review horrendous. Some lack sophistication in the use of English (plenty of NRI blogs) others have abstract ideas, but ultimately this isn't an English exam, it's expression of one's views. I think every review does that in one way or other.

Most reviews don't criticise, they review. I have attempted to criticise your criticism of criticisers!

Rajni and Acting

Saturday, August 06, 2005 by Blogpur


Most cinema chauvinists will hate to have "Rajni" and "acting" in the same sentence and while I acknowledge that there are far better actors than Rajni (including Kamal Haasan), Rajni isn't that bad, in fact he is damn good. Rajni through the ages has done similar roles (esp during the 1990's) but that doesn't detract from his performances in them. No one is going to discredit Al Pacino for doing similar roles with such gravitas, so why discredit Rajni?

Sure Rajni can't match Pacino in most aspects but Rajni isn't a pushover. In fact in his younger days Rajni was able to do comedy very very successfully (something Pacino can't boast about). Thillu Mullu remains one of my favourite comedies of all time thanks in part to Thengai Srinivasan, but without Rajni it would have been pathetic. Even Kamal and his "comic timing" I doubt could match what Rajni came up with in that movie. He was absolutely brilliant.

Rajni's standard is the rags to riches type character (very much like himself) but then who can forget the sheer intensity he displayed in Annamalai. I doubt Kamal could pull off the stern warning Rajni gave to his enemy in that movie. He captures the audience and keeps them in a trance. Even during scenes when he has to emote to a level, he doesn't dissapoint, indeed Rajni seems to be better than what the media paints him as.

I'm not crazy enough to say Rajni could match Kamal in say Anbe Sivam, Hey Ram, Indian, Nayagan or countless other movies in which Kamal showed that he is the best actor going around in India, but then I doubt Kamal could say "Naa oru thadava sonnna...". If Kamal can change his look, his acting, his accent or his role and keep the audience interested (and indeed the National Award committee) Rajni with his sheer presence and dialogue delivery can keep the audience. It takes someone special to have a continual and universal fan following considering he does pretty much the same role over and over again (at least recently).

Darma Durai, Mullum Malaram, Arulirnthu Aruvathuvarai and Johnny proved that Rajni is immensly talented at acting. Then Dalapathi came and proved he is up there with the best of them. Mani Ratnam pulls every little bit of acting juice out of Rajni and Rajni delivered one of the most layered and powerful performances seen in Indian cinema. It was no Velu Naicker, but it was close.

Ultimately, the public is responsible for Rajni's situation in the 1990's, the Superstar was so promoted that everyone forgot that there was a guy called Rajnikanth under all that mess. Rajni has finally corrected some of his mistakes with the Chandramukhi. The story did not rely on silly Rajni antics, hell it didn't even have a cigarette in sight. Rajni also delivered a better performance than what Kamal did in Mumbai Xpress. I'm no Kamal hater, in fact I love him, and I believe that Rajni has a long long long way to go before he can come close to the sheer versatility and overall credentials Kamal has built up. I don't see Rajni singing, directing, scriptwriting, penning poems, writing novels, writing dialogues and producing. Kamal does each of them and well.

But this article is about Rajni, not Kamal. So in concluding I ask Rajni to do more story oriented roles where he can show his capacity as an actor. He may not be Kamal, but he is streets ahead of his nearest competitor, Mr. Shah Rukh Khan.

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