Monday, January 26, 2009

True Lies

Cartoon Courtesy: The Hindu

The above cartoon is a bit dated, could not post earlier as I was facing some issues with uploading images in Blogger. By the way, given the progress or lack of it with the Satyam episode, the value of this cartoon seems to have only been multiplied. So going ahead and posting it still!

Chayamukhi: To See, Not Look ...

Photo Courtesy: P. Sandeep, Flickr

Based on the epic Mahabharatam, 'Chayamukhi' is a very enjoyable drama from Mohanlal, Mukesh and team from Kerala. They were in Bangalore yesterday and was lucky not to have missed the opportunity to watch it.

Malayalam cinema's biggest star, Mohanlal is an actor extraordinaire and watching a drama with him in the lead role was a memorable and thrilling experience for me. With his aura, Mohanlal was a towering presence on stage and was ably complemented by other actors, musical scores and all the other things that went into the making of Chayamukhi.

The story is a largely a trip through the minds of Bheeman and Keechakan (played by Mukesh) and to a lesser extent that of Draupadi (Aparna Nair). Bheeman is on a long journey to find his true love. And one that helps/that-does-not-help him in the process is a mirror named, Chayamukhi. Chayamukhi, per story, is a magical mirror looking into which helps one see his/her heart-throb. Gifted to Bheeman by Hidumbi, it changes hands (to Draupadi and then to Keechakan) before getting broken into pieces, creating a lot of heart-burn in the process.

In the story, Bheeman fails to realize his true love but playing that role, Mohanlal with his flawless act and dialog delivery wins a immeasurable amount of love from the audience. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and there were times when I felt transplanted to a different world altogether. A kind of feeling that only a drama and not cinema can offer. The story is punctuated with great music and time utilization (an un-interrupted total duration of 2 hours and 10 minutes) and on-stage depictions (of a forest, river, winter festival etc.) are worth mentioning.

Don't miss it, if there is one being played in your city and I for one wouldn't mind watching it one more time, :-)

Update (02/02): My friend Pramod, shares a link with pictures of Mammootty, the other great of Malayalam cinema, playing Bheeman.

This one is based on noted writer M.T. Vasudevan Nair's novel, 'Randamoozham'. Reserving my comments (and can-not-avoid comparisons with Mohanlal's Bheeman) till I get to see Mammootty in action.

Mammootty, when are you planning to come to Bangalore, as Bheeman?

Black Man in White House

It was my first witnessing of the US President inauguration and the family joined me in watching the proceeding on television. Like many others are saying, may be this is a significantly important event of our times and not to be missed. Around 2M attending the event (in a city of 600K total population as somebody said) on a day when the maximum temperature was zero- degree celsius was real testimony to the excitement around.

All the major Indian news channels were covering the event live and I switched from Times Now to NDTV when Times Now started speculating on the 20-minute delay to the leaving of the Obamas to the Church, the first event on the agenda.

Obama's journey so far is already film-material. The massive expectations of him is going to make the job that much more difficult, but I feel, he will come out good in the end. With the job he has, the most important thing to do is to ensure that he surrounds him with the best and brightest. He did that very well during the campaign phase and has started on a good note with the appointments so far.

Wish him well and I eagerly look forward to his handling of the most important job in the world.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today's Special: Made In India

Watched the newest sensation about India, 'Slumdog Millionaire'. A huge disappointment.

Incredible, how quickly a halo can be engineered around a product, service, individual or a country for that matter. India is the latest find of the world. Winner of four Golden Globe awards and one which includes another first to India, 'Slumdog Millionaire' is a thoroughly ordinary movie.

While I am happy to see India and Indians being recognized in the world stage, what if all those that are grabbing attention are the very ordinary types and may not be the really deserving ones in the first place. These days it looks more like, pick an Indian if one is around; from Booker Prize to Miss World to Golden Globe. For, if you take the Indianness out of Parvathy Omanakuttan, she hardly looks Miss World-material for me. While I enjoyed the background score in the movie 'Slumdog Millionaire', the track that won the Golden Globe for A.R. Rahman is the typical 'once-heard-move-on' kind that the Bolly- and all the other -woods in India churn out in thousands every year.

While congratulating Arvind Adiga, Parvathy Omanakuttan and A.R. Rahman on their feats, I am finding myself completely lost ...