31 July 2007

Here's one thing I absolutely can't stand!

It happened again this morning on the train. The guy, two seats ahead of me, switched on his iPod. And I could hear every screaming word of all the songs he was listening to.

Given that anyone (normal) who travels on the train to work at the unearthly hour of 6.30 am in winter, will be far too miserable to make conversation, the iPod sounds practically reverberates around the compartment.

And, it's all I can do to control myself from walking upto the offender and telling him: "Look mate, you may be deaf, we're not, so turn it down, will ya?"

30 July 2007

Missing portrait

(spoilers ahead for all you people from Mars who still haven't read the book)

I now have another query - on 'HP & DH" of course.

Everytime you read the book, new things strike you. At least, they do strike me.

Ok, the question is, why was there no portrait of Snape in the Headmaster's study when Harry, Ron and Hermione go in there at the end?

Harry, of course, goes in to check with Dumby on what to do with the Hallows. But at the end of book 6, there was a new portrait of Dumby in the room as soon as he died. So why was there not one of Snape, as he had been the Headmaster and had died by then? (Hopefully, Harry would have been humane enough to bury Snape next to Lily).

Also, very conveniently for Harry, he starts reading Voldy's moods again throughout this book. How did this change, from Book 6, when Voldy was employing Occlumency against Harry so he could not read his thoughts? I guess Voldy had other things on his mind in this book...

I am very nearly obssessed, need to get off Potteritis soon... anyway, answers anyone?

And hopefully, no one will still want me to put up spoilers now... but maybe I should, just in case...

26 July 2007

HP & Deathly Hallows - thoughts from second reading

I still don't get why Dumby had to be downsized in stature - he was such a towering impressive figure in all the other books. Maybe just so Harry would find everything harder and still triumph in the end? And also to fit in the Deathly Hallows etc?

And if Marvolo (Voldy grandpa) was a Peverell and Harry is also the last of another Peverall line, does this mean Harry and Voldy are distantly related? Is that why Tom Riddle felt there was a strange likeness between himself and Harry ? (Book 2)

And I noticed just now that Harry does not kill even one Horcrux in this book, although he did start the process in Book 2. Funnily enough, even Crabbe (or is it Goyle) gets to kill one (unknowingly of course) using Fiendfyre.

I was thrilled to see I had guessed right about three things,after finishing Book 6:

  1. That RAB would be Regulus Black and that he may not have destroyed the Horcrux.
  2. That Dumbledore's photo in the principal's study would play its part in helping Harry.
  3. And that Snape wasn't as bad as he seemed to be - and he's probably one of the best characters Rowling's created. So effective and after being such a heel to Harry in all the books, he still earns our sympathy when we get to hear his true story. Truly, I ended up feeling he may have been a better man than James Potter. Although Rowling did her best to confuse us by showing Snape making the Unbreakable Vow, killing Dumby etc, so that we wouldn't figure out where his loyalties lay.
The last chapter was a lost cause. I could and did work out that Victoire was Bill and Fleur's daughter, but how on earth was 19-year-old Teddy Tonks on the Hogwarts train? Don't students finish with Hogwarts by the time they are 17? And too many kids and too many names in this chapter. I liked the bit about Albus Severus, though.

Also not sure how Kreacher, whom we last saw in 12 Grimmauld Place, turns up to join all the other house elves in the Battle of Hogwarts.

Pettigrew's death was a loser and Dobby's death was terribly sad. Bellatrix's end was satisfying, although I would have loved it if Neville or Lupin (before he died) had been the ones to kill her.

But what a wonderful way in which Rowling has fitted all the charaters together. What a read. What a read!

23 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Stayed up way past midnight on Saturday (July 21)to finish reading this one.

Maybe I should put up a spoiler alert before talking any more about it.

The good news for me is that Rowling kept deaths to the minimum - if even so many didn't die, You-Know-Who kind of loses his scare appeal, doesn't he? Some of the deaths are really, really sad. And again, there are soemtimes sections of the book that are very depressing (unlike the previous book). This one's a bit like 'Order of the Phoenix'.

And JK being JK, almost all the loose threads from the previous books are neatly tied up, thanks to the ever-convenient Pensieve and a chance encounter Harry has, titled 'King's Cross'. I say almost, as I am still not sure about a couple of them. Will revise the book to see if I have missed it...

I wished she hadn't painted Dumbledore in so many shades of grey - but I guess the end justifies the means.

And the biggest surprise is how Harry manages to destroy the Horcruxes (come on, you knew that this book was only about how Harry manages to do that). Hermione and Ron actually get to destroy one each. And unbelievably, Neville destroys one more. And the last one is destroyed by none other than You-Know-Who himself....hard to believe? But that is the truth. Hats off to Rowling for that one.

And for all of you out there, if you still haven't read it, do. It is well worth it.

There, a review without giving away too much of what really happens.

20 July 2007

This touched a chord

Read this today - this story goes by the headline of "Unwanted Indian granny thrown on rubbish dump".
Words fail me. What are we coming to?
I think it's high time we gave up double standards and admitted that what we need in India are good quality old age homes like in the West. At least, that way, we won't have to dump them so horribly. It can be done in a more refined way...

16 July 2007

Another day

another dollar! Back at work yet again!
And is there anything good about today? Yes, my comments section is back, thank goodness!

13 July 2007

More than 100 hits in two days and not one comment!! So what does that tell me? It tells me that I've successfully managed to do something to vanish the comments section ...have to work on this...


Saw HP and the Order of the Phoenix last night. And actually, I found it well-made and quite crisp. Enjoyed it. It was as good a movie can be when you take out the 1000 extra details that can figure only in a book.

Can hardly wait for Book #7.

9 July 2007

Sivaji – the Boss in Windy Wlg – my review

Probably the zillionth review of the movie online, but who cares, it’s what I think that counts and my two cents are important to me.

Prologue: Even before you get into the theatre, school your mind to employ a very high degree of willing suspension of disbelief technique.

Alright, yesterday was the day we saw this movie.

Extremely entertaining, technically brilliant – typical director Shankar trademarks – hats off to art director and cinematographer. And of course, being a thalaivaa movie, the fights were snazzily choreographed as well. A la Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style…But the huge wheel fight reminded me of Pirates 2, where there is a similar scene.

A lot of touches from Shankar's other (and older) movies are visible. And I found the movie a bit stretchy…by the time Mottaboss came on screen, I was a teeny bit restless...and the last half hour of the story was too crowded - too many things fitted into it.

Rajini is Thalaivaa, no doubts about that. And he gets away with it all here. Nevertheless, he does look tired and jaded – there is no freshness in his acting or mannerisms. And yes, in spite of the careful makeup, he does look old enough to be Shriya’s dad. And (I know that I am going to be murdered in my sleep for saying this) I think he should quit while he is ahead instead of being forced to quit due to a string of flops (that has happened to the best, eg, Rajini’s Baba is a case in point). Or he should go for more Sultan-type movies (his next, which is an animated pic being made by his daughter, where he does the voice over). His take-off of yesteryear stars like Sivaji Ganesan and MGR was hilarious. But his scenes of bathroom humour were pretty crass.

The movie was less of Shankar and more of Rajini – but full marks to Shankar for presenting a much more stylish Rajini – my pick was ‘Mottaboss’ (although his motta did look a bit artificial). And the worst of the lot was the vellai Tamizhan – blond, blue-eyed, white-skinned Rajini – gross as!

I enjoyed Vivek’s comedy thoroughly, have always found his style a lot classier than Vaigai puyal’s (Vadivelu), which is largely slapstick and mostly unsophisticated.

Heroine Shriya seems to have a lot in common with yesteryear Rajini heroines like Meena and Soundarya, including the fact that she is baby-faced (kind of) and young enough to be his daughter. She provides the oomph factor adequately in the songs. But why was her ‘dhavani’ tied so strangely? And why so many wardrobe malfunctions during the songs? In most of them, she appeared in a variety of beautifully made and absolutely stunning lingerie-type outfits. Maybe they were meant to be passed off as her costumes, but I swear I had to grab my glasses to make sure – no wonder they’re calling her the hottest thing after Simran!!! But all the clothes, be they lingerie or not, flattered her figure and she looked ravishing. As for her acting, well…..not really much to say. And Nayantara in the 'item number' Balleilakka' was so lost...

Rajini’s mannerisms: no punch lines, and no flipping ciggies into his mouth. Instead we have him first flipping chewing gum into his mouth. Later on, he goes around flipping the one Re coin that the villain (fairly good job by Suman) gives him. Of course, he flips the coin into his pocket, not into his mouth – just thought I would explain the obvious, just in case;-). Then towards the end of the movie, Mottaboss starts drumming on his motta head in every scene. The sound is actually quite hollow - an empty top storey? Or was it a false ceiling?

Music: ARR had done a great (not fantastic though) job given the constraints of composing music for a Rajini film. And song picturisation was the usual Shankar – classy!

Rajini’s bathroom/toilet humour.
Too much of Rajini’s family chasing Shriya’s family – got tedious during the lunch scenes.

And the biggest disappointment of all, at least according to me, was the way Shriya attacks Rajini for being dark and says they won’t make a good pair, simply because she is so fair and he is so dark. And our Thalaivaa, instead of telling her to go jump, actually goes home and rolls around in fair and lovely and bleaching powder, soaks in a tub of multani mitti, wears an airconditioning suit to avoid getting tanned further and drinks gallons of saffron milk (another opportunity for toilet humour) in the quest to match Shriya’s fairness.

Of course, at the end of it all, Shriya says she was actually lying and she likes him because he’s dark, but I did wonder what sort of a message this sent out our junta, who are all already obsessed with Fair and Lovely! Too bad this issue was used as an opportunity to further the comedy track rather than to let our Thalaivaa tell the junta that black is really beautiful.

Of course, the thrill of watching the Boss on big screen, surrounded by a desi audience, who screamed and whistled at all the right places, was great.

And storyline: One man Boss(Bachelor of Social Service). That man Sivaji. As simple (and non-existent) as that.

And my verdict? Paisa vasool alright, but only just!

Epilogue: 8 out of 10, I think (after much thought, coz the movie was overall a really good show. For me the let-down was that it was not a 10 on 10, especially with all those credits and after all that hype.)

4 July 2007

Punctured and taped

Me! Or more accurately, the skin on my left shoulder/back.

First punctured with acupunture needles.

And then the remains taped up by my very able physiotherapist to 'pull' my shoulder back to its right position. All thanks to OOS.

Computers have a lot to answer for!

2 July 2007

'Sivaji - the Boss' in Windy Wellington NZ...almost here

They also serve - those who stand and wait, at the world's end. No no, not the pirates. I meant us film-mad southie Indians (I don’t think too many north Indians would be rushing to see Rajini – they can anyways see Hindi movies in the regular theatres) here in NZ, specifically in Wellington, waiting patiently to watch the latest offering from Kollywood.

Down here in the Antipodes, the drip effect takes a long long while to reach Wlg.

After doing the rounds in Oz, Aucklanders became the first Kiwis to cheer at the first sight of da Boss or to wolf whistle whenever Shriya came on screen. Reactions have been mixed.

Now that they are done with the movie, we were waiting here with bated breath for Thalaivaaaaaaaaah to land here.

Finally, Sivaji - is here. The Boss is here. Finally here in Wellington. At long last. Rajini - king of Style...(and to think I didn't give a hang for da Boss and was never a big fan when I was in India - of course, no one's gonna believe me if I say that now)

We are having 2 shows of ‘Sivaji – the Boss’ on Sunday (July 8). And come what may – hail or wind or temperatures of zero degrees C (which is a possibility, given that it’s winter here), you can bet our frozen toes (or any other parts of our nearly-thawed anatomies) that we will be there at the theatre on Sunday.

Unlike some idiots in Chennai who paid up to Rs 1500 for tickets, we are paying only $18 per person here. But we are still idiots, as a normal English blockbuster ticket doesn’t cost more that $15 anyways….and you wouldn’t catch me going for ‘Ocean’s 13’ (in spite of all that eye candy in it) on any other day except a hot Tuesday when I need to pay only $9 for my ticket….talk about priorities.

I am only scared that after all this hype, ‘Sivaji’ may be a big letdown. That’s been happening so often in the recent past….good reviews etc, but the actual product turns out to be pretty lacklustre. But wait…all will be revealed in 6 days’ time… Rajini+Shankar+ARR should be equivalent to at least paisa vasool if not equal to it…