Posted in Movies - General

Dasavatharam


The very concept that a butterfly fluttering its wings could have far reaching consequences over totally unrelated, yet related events across the world and that too over a period of time, is in someways based on Chaos Theory, of which I have very little knowledge on, mathematically speaking. Yes – Edward Lorenz may have succeeded in coming up with a viable explanation using his graphical charts and equations to convince his group of intellectual scientists & mathematicians, how a flap of a butterfly in Florida could set off a tornado in Texas, but to extrapolate that theory into more meaningful and easy-to-relate-incidents to convince common men, is not easy. And a visual medium is probably the most powerful one to do that, if anyone dares to attempt it. Many movie makers have yielded to the “sensitivity to their initial conditions”and some of them have actually managed to succeed in making the audience think about the “butterfly effect”. And interestingly, all these movies that have been attempted in the past (mostly in Hollywood), have all relied on different stories, different settings, different characters and entirely different time periods to make their case. That may be why, the theory itself is still fascinating to many scientists, mathematicians and some movie makers, all alike, for over 100 years, since the theory was first proposed.

If Kamal Hassan did indeed come up with Chaos theory as the basis and then built the whole story of “Dasavatharam” on that basis alone, to prove his case, then the rather brash and bodacious attempt deserves multiple kudos. In spite of some contrasting reviews the movie has received (which should explain the complexity of the basic thread of the movie), I am not going to review the movie in this blog, but just present my observations and thoughts, as another movie fan, who caught this movie in theaters recently. The confession is that, I actually appreciated the movie better in my second viewing – and may give another try in its Telugu version soon.
My summary – Ridiculously Brilliant..and Astoundingly Intellectual for the slightly intelligent audience and Highly Cheesy & ‘Mission Impossible Style’ Entertaining for the rest of the average Indian movie audience. It is not often that you can dissect a movie as both entertaining (as in “masala pot-boiler types”) and intelligent (as in “Stanley Kubrick types”) at the same time…
I think this movie is like “Virumandi” and “Anbe Sivam” presented together, in “Aboorva Sahodharargal” format!

“You shouldn’t keep saying that God does not exist and all that..Ok?”…, Asin to Kamal towards the end of the movie.
“When did I ever say that God does not exist? All I have been saying is that if God (indeed) exists, it will be good (for us)”, Kamal.

I think the above line is “Oru soru padham” for this Pot of Kamal Hassan – the dialogue writer. Of course, to quote Vincent Boovaraghan, this pot is so big that you need more than one morsel as a sample. In fact, the opening sequence, where Govind is setting the stage for the whole story to unfold, I have to admit that the dialogues were simply going over my head because the choice of words and the need to explain science in Tamil, gave yet another opportunity to show his literary prowess and as much as he succeeded in coming up with some good lines, I bet more than 80% of the movie going mass in Tamil Nadu simply didn’t pick up a word there..

What can I say about Balram Naidu? Perfection – even though the Tamil with Telugu flavor accent was presented in its movie form (which means the flavor oozes out through the character’s skin), full marks to its conception and execution. Should definitely rank in the list along with Kovai Tamizh speaking Dr.Sakthivel, Palakkad Kamarajan and Tuticorin accented Vincent Boovaraghan..as some of the best comical characters who brought humor to the front mainly through their Tamil dialects. Awesome!

Many bloggers have tried to establish relationships between the Dashavtar that we know from mythology to the ten characters in this movie. Again brilliant conceptualization with enormous attention to details ranging from names, backdrops and dialogues to their respective roles in the movie – in order to establish that analogy. The screenplay writer Kamal gets extra marks for this.

There needs some settling down in my mind, if I have to start looking at every single plot in the movie and every single twist, to understand the application of the butterfly effect. Of course, the writer Kamal has taken pains to weave that theory into the storyline all through. There is always an effect for every action. As an example, When president George Bush (Kamal) decides not to call the cargo plane back to the USA, his action, unintentionally triggers the whole chase sequences in India. And the list goes on, once I start analyzing.

It is a hard theory to present and Kamal chose a less risky and a more difficult path of presenting his theory, in the form of an entertainer – or a chase filled road movie, so that his producer does not feel the pinch. Wise choice..and hopefully, the box office collections will ensure that Aascar Ravi gets to remain as one of the shrewdest producers of Kollywood.

Technically, the movie did not live up to my expectations, in spite of me being able to appreciate all the work they had done in scenes involving multiple Kamal characters. Tsunami CGI work was a big let down for all the talk from Brian Jennings. You can feel the mammoth effort put by Thotta Tharani and his crew, in creating the Tsunami sets…
Camerawork – Brilliant! We need more of Verman in our movies. But music as expected was just so-so.

Chaos theory or not – I feel gratified for getting opportunities to watch such Tamil movies…and the movie is an outright entertainer by all standards, in my books.

Posted in Humor - General, Travel

Being Reclusive

It was a reclusive spot. I had not planned on being at one such that evening, as a more ebullient atmosphere would have been the appropriate remedy for a rather long & draining day at work. But, sometimes getting to plan an evening of cooling down, is a chore – and it adds to the stress of your already droning day. So, here I was trying to leave work at 9 PM, deciding to brave a thunderstorm advisory which was in the neighboring county and get to a cineplex to catch Sandler doing his Zohan stunts. Before anyone gets any idea that I am a big Sandler fan – let me add that, as much as I like the goofiness he brings to the table, which I do enjoy just for its silliness factor, I am not a fan that would go watch a Sandler movie necessarily during the first week of its release in a theater. The only reason I decided to give it a try was because my choices were to watch 4 middle-aged women talk about Sex and their lack of it, in the lovely NYC or Zohan. Anyways, here I was trying to get shelter under a vast roof, as the downpour started just as I parked the car and ran through some puddles of water only to find “sold out” signs in a crowded lobby.

Back to being at the reclusive spot. The first encounter with her was quite amusing. Because I didn’t expect to see her at that reclusive spot. May be, because I didn’t know much about the place as I walked in. I would have preferred to meet a better collection of them. But, it was one of those occasions, when you finally get to meet someone, whom you have heard of quite a bit but never had the opportunity to indulge in any long meetings. The first sight of her was indifferent. I brushed her off, even though I knew I had the opportunity to embrace her that night…since I was busy looking for more of “my types”. When the truth struck me, that I was not going to find my types that night, I decided to take a few steps back to touch her. This time, both of us were equally amused at each other. I held her by her waist and moved my right arm slowly to her neck area. I noticed that she had a golden top with “18” written in bold. Oh yeah! I knew I was safe. As I reached for her mouth, someone behind me whispered “Good choice!!”. I nodded politely.

A few minutes later..I found a reclusive table at one corner of that reclusive place..She and I..and some music on my laptop. I kept staring at her and finally decided to break the ice. I could tell that she was warming up to me. I placed my lips on hers and smelt her. The first touch didn’t strike me immediately, as I did not have any kind of expectations. But once it sank in, I noticed that it was smooth, nutty and yet had the right amount of sweetness you wanted in the first exchange. The feeling started sinking in after a while and I realized that the sensation was very polished. The rest of the meeting went on a more predictable route. The same smoothness and poise were maintained throughout the evening. Whenever I felt her, I quivered. She enjoyed that. After about 20 minutes, as I was still holding her, the patrons of the reclusive place decided to call it a night. Their duty was over for the night and they wanted me to end my encounter with her. Of course, I knew this was coming to an end and hence, had planned my 20 minutes in such a way, that I enjoyed every minute that I spent with her. I did. Now that I have experienced her first hand, I can no longer pretend that I didn’t know how she felt. She still fared a notch below my favorite lady. But at least, I have a choice now, in case, I am at another reclusive such spot where they don’t entertain “my types”. She will be my choice in such places and why not, after all, she belongs to an elite club!

I bid adieu to her and walked to my room, thinking about the velvety encounter that was worth my visit to that reclusive spot, that evening. I wanted to share my experience with everyone right away. Not that I am endorsing “Chivas Regal 18”, but I think if you don’t know what I am talking about, then it is worth a try, even if you hate Scotch.

Posted in Obama

The sweet smell of success…

Sitting at the corner of a table, glancing at a small water fountain that is meant to create a Zen ambience, I quietly wonder what could make the Clintons go at it this long? Does Clinton really represent the blue-collared white America? When did she become a beer guzzling, church going and red-necking politician, when the ideologies she based her political ambitions during her formative years were not so much middle american.
As much as I am a little relieved that Obama has finally got a direct shot at punching McCain’s face (we will see what happens in November)…, I do wonder how quickly the “change” he is talking about becomes yet another presidential slogan or not, though I really wish it is the latter..that I have to wonder about. He already is talking about supporting Israel’s cause – a clear attemtpt to appease the christian voters.
In any case, the way the super delegates started moving into Obama’s camp yesterday was more like watching a one day cricket match, where the score keeps moving and makes you sit on the edge of your seat as you keep a close eye on the required run rate. Finally, there is an African American candidate and it may be historic for the country – but to me, it is finally an opportunity for the country to show that it is slightly out of the hypocritic shadow.
The success should smell for the Obama camp!