Posted in Movies - General, Uncategorized

Irudhi Suttru (Saala Khadoos)

irudhi-suttru

If the hinted substories evoke just enough curiosity, while the viewer in you continues to focus on the main plot as it unfolds, only to go back home to eschew on those incomplete substories and imagine the many layers of these stories based on several subtexts and untied knots thrown at you, then you know the director and the scriptwriter have done a fantastic job of creating a classic movie. “Irudhi Suttru” falls into this category and that’s exactly why I loved “Irudhi Suttru” by Sudha Kongara.

Sudha manages to touch upon several substories that could have taken their own forms, diverting the viewer’s attention from the main plot, while also giving additional dramatization scope for her to make the movie more meandering & more of an emotional rollercoaster. Instead, she chooses to leave all of them unexplored – the substories or subtexts or social issues I mean, leaving the viewer with a more difficult job of choosing to build on them, if needed and as needed.

Here is a list:
1) sexual harassment 2) sports infrastructure in India 3) general favoritism, political influences and overall corruption that ail sports administration in India 4) poverty and proselytization 5) sibling rivalry 6) women empowerment 7) the really heartwarming relationship between Radharavi and Madhavan, about which you have no clue till the last 10 minutes or so, and that too you get a whiff of it through a lighthearted one line exchange 8) Indian women boxers & what motivates them 9) etc. etc.

And no, none of the above is elaborated in the movie. They all are for the viewers to infer and build upon. To some extent, that is as much of a respect Sudha places on her viewers, as it is about her own conviction that the movie would work better if she takes a high road.

But, the movie is really about 2 characters. The story is as predictable as any sports movie, specially one that involves a passionate coach spotting a talent from the crowd, who is completely unaware of anything related to the sport that he/she has been spotted for. Madhavan as Prabhu, a retired boxer, but a passionate coach, is known for straight talk and for blowing his fuse off when confronted or put in dishonest situations. He prefers telling the truth & speaking his mind out in all circumstances – not giving a s**t to anyone or in any situation and he continues to dare his politically motivated fellow boxing federation officials, including the chief. Prabhu gets transferred to Chennai from Hissar due to a past rivalry between him and the federation chief and one which now has manifested into more of a “me or him ego clash” for the chief.

So, Madhavan rides his bike to Chennai where he spots Madhi, a fisherwoman girl, who he believes has all that it takes to become a champion. However, she (Ritika Singh) is boisterous, unruly and completely disrespectful of authority, while her sister is the one who is more focused on building a boxing career just to enable her find a police job (her only life aspiration). Once the backdrops of these two characters are established, it is very easy for the viewer to imagine how the story pretty much ends – sort of. Right? And the director definitely doesn’t want to deprive you of a chance to feel good about yourself at the end of the movie. So, in may ways, this is not a new story. At least the flavor of it.

Yet, it is a completely new movie, because of all the wonderful characters that come together to make up so many unique incidents that build one upon on another and follow a sequence organically, to transport the viewer a climax, which brought me a lump or two.

Madhavan couldn’t have found a better role to announce the breaking of his hiatus. He lives the character of an occasionally drunk, irreverent boxing coach, who doesn’t give two hoots about political corruption that ails the boxing federation. In fact, he tries to face these issues head on in his own rude & ruffled way by giving counterpunches.

Ritika Singh, a debutante, makes you travel with her right from the first moment you see her on screen. It’s not necessarily her beauty or cuteness, but the “life” she manages to bring onto screen. Her character is so alive, and so lovely & she makes everything about Madhi likable (North Madras slang included).

Nasser plays a junior coach and I don’t know if anyone else could have played that part better. All the other supporting cast members proved their worth all around.

Santhosh Narayanan’s OST worked big time in this movie and I thought his music alone moved many scenes very coherently. Needless to add, the songs had already become popular before the release of the movie and that again is largely due to the rugged, unfurled style he decided to adopt for this movie. Hats off to him.

In the end, Irudhi Suttru/Saala Khadoos is all about zeal, love and respect.

I highly recommend the movie, not for feminist reasons (which are also good enough reasons to go watch), but more for the sheer brilliance of the director, her vision of the script and for some top of the line casting.

Don’t hold any punches when it comes to making this movie an undisputed champion in the box office.

Note: It probably should be spelled “Irudhichchutru” to be precise..but I decided to refer to the movie as “Irudhi Suttru” because that seems to be the filmmakers’ preferred way of spelling it.

 

 

Posted in Politics - General

The crisis that shouldn’t have been

Flint Water Crisis

People –

Well. The damage has been done. And right now, the people of Flint need lots and lots of support to get clean water till their regular water supply is restored. I do however hope that the effect of lead poisoning on their health (especially kids’) is minimal or in other words, not as disastrous as the initial studies projected.

City –

The city of Flint has been going through the worst possible socioeconomic crisis for the past 30-40 years. And just as it was trying to bounce back in the past couple of years, this happens. Right now, unfortunately, it is hard to feel optimistic for the economic conditions (and thus the social conditions) there to improve. A lot depends on how quickly the water situation is “sorted out” for local businesses to give the city another shot.

Politics –

Yes. It angers me like many normal citizens that this could happen in a developed nation and that too because of human negligence. Something that could have been avoided if not for human oversight and growing scientific ignorance. Absolutely unacceptable. After things got a bit out of control (largely due to national media getting a whiff of the dire situation), Gov. Snyder finally realized the magnitude of the problem. Or so it seemed. His PR team clearly kept him inside a cocoon for almost 7-8 months since the first signs of the lead poisoning story got out. Having said that, I do not believe, he would have made a conscious decision to either “poison the people of Flint” by switching the water source or “ignore the fact that they have been poisoned” after he found out how much lead there is. It was a matter of mismanagement and also perhaps a matter of the culture of governance, his administration was encouraging. I also feel he is the best man to fix this problem right now. Saw his interview on Fox 2 Detroit and it was clear that he was shaken by the effect of a bad decision on 100,000 residents of his state.

To call for his resignation is the easiest thing to do and that’s shortsighted. Yes, there is a huge political mileage one can get out of raising your angry voice against Gov. Snyder – but then if you really want to punish the people accountable for this crisis, it is not him. It’s a different matter that it is a politically correct thing for him to take full responsibility for the crisis, which he has done. Too little too late? I don’t know. For the sake of the people of Flint, I sure hope not.

But again, terming this a “racial genocide” is stretching it a bit too far and that reeks of politics, the kind we definitely don’t need during crisis. Some Democrats have already dipped their hands into this mess of politicizing the crisis and I hope they don’t make it uglier just because of Flint’s voter demographic. The last thing I would want is to see is Rev Jesse Jackson and the likes stirring up the emotions of an already bruised city.

On the other hand, it is very sad and very obvious that GOP leaders too want to politicize the issue for what it’s worth. So far, no GOP Presidential hopefuls have addressed this issue head-on and we all know why. Not once was this brought up during debates. Isn’t that appalling? That one of the two leading political parties in the country hasn’t shown a bit of human reaction to a national crisis of this nature…?? Again, I smell politics here only because GOP will gain nothing by helping out Flint, as that’s not going to change one bit as to how Flint will vote in the next election.

Here is Gov. Rick Snyder (his office) providing a timeline of events leading to Jan 16, 2016.
Clearly, a well “thought out” timeline, but also one that looks like it has been made by someone who doesn’t want to take all the blame.
(Image courtesy: Gov. Snyder)

flint-water-timeline-snyder_page_1

flint-water-timeline-snyder_page_2
As you would expect, The Daily Kos has found some missing dates/events in this timeline.

Closing thoughts: No matter how much you want to analyze or dissect what has happened, the focus now should be on fixing the problem first and then take a look at lessons learned, so that this disaster never reoccurs anywhere in the country.

Personally, my favorite article till now on this topic is this.
This article looks at the crisis from an organizational work culture standpoint.
Worth reading this, if you have time.

Posted in Humor - General, My Music, Palin, Politics - General, Uncategorized

Not Red Enough

Well. It has happened. Palin has decided to endorse Trump and her endorsement speech was epic beyond anything I would have imagined. It was a masterpiece. And who knew we would end up with one of the best poetry slams of this election season!

And of course, I couldn’t resist quickly mixing it and giving it the right ‘color’. Yeah, the right color..

Here, have some fun.

Posted in Poem, Politics - General, Uncategorized

Same Debate

it’s the same debate
each day we find
upon encountering another attack,
for the umpteenth time.

for how long would
we let calls for more guns
cast a shadow of stupidity
all over our minds?

perhaps we hold too much
value to an outdated tradition
but isn’t it better to err
on the side of caution?

so let’s rally behind common sense
and stop this nonsense,
before the whole world sees through
the gaping hole that is our ignorance.