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Minor Scale | Discordant Notes | Page 6
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Birthdays & Oratario

Two stalwarts of South Indian Film Music celebrated their birthdays in the first week of June. While SP.Balsubramanyam reached the cusp of 60-hood on June 4th, Ilaiyaraja turned 62 on the 2nd. Raja’s birthday was all the more cause for celebration with the formal announcement of the release date of his Thiruvaasagam in Symphony project.

Thiruvasagam by Ilaiyaraaja” will be released on June 30, 2005 in a grand event to be held at the Music Academy, Chennai. The CD will be released in the US, at the “Tamizhar Thiruvizha” Annual Tamil Convention during the July 2-4 weekend in Dallas, Texas. More details to follow.

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On ‘Kana Kandein’

Kana Kandein

I’m usually too lazy to write movie reviews, and unless I need to vent, I try to stay away from it. So, yeah, this is not intended to read like a review. What persuaded me to make the post though was the portrayal of the villain by Mallu-boy Prithviraj. A lot was written about his performance in the movie, and he pretty much lived upto the hype I thought. The best scene in the movie, for me, was the one where he reveals his intentions to the lead couple. I cannot recall a subtler transition, in recent times, from good to evil in a span of under 10 seconds. No evil laugh. No menacing dialogues. No measured walk to the window to light a cigar(ette), and blow ominous smoke rings towards the ceiling, as he smirked and made a deliberate half-turn to disclose his plans. Instead, in the middle of a normal conversation, he flashes his usual disarming smile and bam! it’s all out there in the open. Of course, the audience is made privy to the fact that he is a crook from the preceding scene (could’ve been avoided, maybe?), but it still doesn’t do too much damage to the afore-mentioned scene. The movie in itself was not a bad effort overall. A different kind of plot brought together by an interesting screenplay. But yeah, Mallu-boy stole the show from Srikanth. No doubt about that!

PS: Moolai Thirugum is a beautiful composition – maybe Vidyasagar’s best effort in a long time.


There’s an actual website dedicated to athletes who “found” God. While I don’t mean to sound dismissive of their faith, it was still interesting to find the names of some Indian athletes in there, including Jacob Martin and a name from the past, Sebastian Xavier. Sebastian, who, you ask?
For anyone who, every morning, scoured the Sports pages of The Hindu during the early 90s, in a frenzied 20 minute attempt to take in every possible stat listed so as to not feel left out when the Sports freaks hammered it out in class, Sebastian Xavier was probably THE Indian swimming legend! Easily identified by that pool-friendly, convenenient bald pate, Xavier went onto achieve national fame setting long-standing records (his 8yr old 100m record was only broken in 2003). He eventually won the Arjuna award after some controversy, and still remains India’s best swimmer to date. For anyone who thinks that’s not saying much, I agree, but then this post is just a blast from the past kinda deal. And if you want to amuse yourself, check out this hypothetical chart that tries to evaluate how far behind in World Swimming we actually are!

Wah Ghai Wah!

Screw Richard Corliss, here comes the definitive Top 10 list of Indian movies. From India’s showman-entertainer-extraordinaire-moghul-saamrat, Subhash Ghai. Richard was a Dick for picking out just three Indian movies, and two of them in languages other than Hindi. Travesty! Ghai on the other hand does the right thing and picks Ten Hindi movies to figure in his Top Ten Indian movies list. Exactly the kind of narrowing it down approach that was sorely missing from the TIME list. And while Ghai could’ve easily put in atleast 8 of his movies in the list, and I mean very easily, he sets aside any kind of megalomania to only include his best of the best – Taal (Raga of Love, 3 hours of it). Aw! shucks…why did he have to do this now? Now I HAVE to get off work early today to watch Taal for the 63rd time. Curled up on the couch, sipping from my cup of Tazo Chai. Bliss!

Update: Vipul Shah, director of Aankhen & Waqt, comes up with his list of Top 10 Indian movies. I could’ve made a separate post for his choices too…if I knew who he was. To his credit, neither of his movies are featured on the list and he thought of Pather Panchali as an Indian movie.

I concur, Conan

Conan on TV

Conan O’Brien writes about the future of television in the latest issue of Newsweek. The article reads like an extended version of his “In the Year 2000” segment – the attack of the TVs edition.

From Takeover TiVos…

Tough-talking TiVos will even confront viewers, saying, “You’ve watched 40 straight hours of ‘Sponge- Bob’—get off the weed!”

to the Unifying Plasma…

In an effort to bring Red and Blue states together, one giant plasma screen, four miles high, will rise from the central Plains, visible from both coasts.

…he talks about it all.

Apache Ennachee?

Ever wondered what happened of Apache Indian, that blah-bleh-blook-spewing rapper-whatever? No? Me neither. Apparently, he is still around and I found him mentioned on a Screenhead post today. Armed with a spanner and a hairstyle borrowed from the lady who sold us fresh fish years ago, Apache mumbo-jumbos as only he can about Indian Spice and all that. The song is kinda catchy though. A remixed version of Desmond Dekker’s old hit, ‘The Israelites’. Ok, so I was just typing that info off of the original post. I have no clue who or what all that is.

Salim & Sons’ Mobile Theater

Salim and Sons

Some online articles and blog posts from over the last couple of years talk about self-made “film distributor” Mohamad Salim and his 107-yr old projector that serve as a mobile movie hall for the kids of the Calcutta slums.
And then, there are these latest photos from the Yahoo Reuters photo stream, that show (in all probability) his kid, Mohamed Ashraf, hauling around the same projector. No mention of Mohamad Salim though. But I guess he was just taking the day off to dig up fresh movie reels for his next on-street production.

Maybe it’s the long lasting effects of a Cinema Paradiso hangover, but it brought out the sap in me, and made me want to post about this.

Bosey is back…with a blog

Sometime back, I had written about the re-emergence of Chennai-centric humor site, Bosey. Apparently, their new avatar is in form of a Blog. You’ll love it…if you like that kind of humor.

From their ARS to play Superman in new Hollywood movie post:

When asked for his comments, ARS said “Yais, Yais, you are correct.”, in a classic clipped South Indian accent, before removing his glasses and adding “Operation success!”


A Bronze Tale

Clean and Jerk

Like any college hostel housing an assortment of characters, mine in Salem was also home to its fair mix of weirdos, bookworms, sleazeballs, casanovas etc. VB was probably an honorary member of atleast a few of these groups, save the bookworm club of course. And while he was not sleazing it out with the ladies and earning evil stares for his horrid stand-up routines, he was busy pumping iron in the huge empty room on the 2nd floor of our hostel block. For VB was also our Pocket Hercules. All of 5 feet and built like an over-sized G.I Joe. Mr. TIES two years in a row. Unchallenged.

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Memorial Weekend Recos

I’ve recently discovered a good site for the latest Bollywood music and find myself listening to more Hindi albums these days. Mp3 ishtyle. Not that it makes any difference to the overall likeability of the songs, but atleast it’s better to download 6 songs in under a minute, than having to wait for Firefox to get over its “browser rage” everytime I try to load up a Real Audio stream. Being obsessed with Shreya Goshal, I try to listen to most of her songs and got to listen to a song from the film Revati called Mil Gayee Khwaabon Ki Manzil. The music by Jatin-Lalit (remember them?) is reminiscent of the Khamoshi sound in parts, and is overall passable. As usual, the music is nothing to write about, but Shreya’s voice makes the song immensely listenable. Atleast a couple of times.

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Hand Painted Horrors

Kamal as Dracula

For anyone who finds the genre of Indian horror as fascinating as it is bizarre, HotSpot Online is a good place to start. And their ‘Eye Candy‘ section is possibly the best repository of Indian Horror movie posters that I’ve come across online.

There were some easily identifiable faces on the hand-drawn posters, like this one for Red Rose – the hindi version of Sigappu Rojakkal, directed by Bharathi Raja. Rajesh Khanna with his Gurkha looks was easy enough to identify, but the sexy girl in blue happens to be Poonam Dhillon. But posters like this one of ghost-hunting(?) superhero, Shiva-man, complete with mask, cape and the Trishul insignia, took some googling to find out.

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Voting Excess

While the Indian Blogosphere is lauding the appearance of 3 Indian movies on the TIME Top 100 list, excited desi readers have been flocking to the website to cast their own votes. And as of now, all 3 movies are in the Top 10 user-rated list. Not surprising really, if you consider the voting power of the Indian junta on the Internet. Two BBC polls in the recent past come to mind when Amitabh Bachchan was voted most popular actor of all time (they got that right, I’m sure), and Ilaiyaraja’s Raakamma Kaiyya Thattu was in the lead for World’s Top Ten songs for quite sometime until the Irish decided to set things right. I’ll be really surprised if BBC decided to run another such poll, especially if it figured an Indian personality (All-Time Worst Serial Killer – Charles Sobhraj beats Jack the Ripper by a million votes).

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The Baltimore Wedding

This last week, I was witness to a friend tying the knot, tying the knot, tying the knot at the Hindu Temple in Baltimore. Visa restrictions had forced my friend to get married in the US and the bride’s parents were left in the lurch as massive appointment backlogs at the US Consulate in Madras found them watching a webcast of the event instead (We took turns manning the camera and the computer when the audience, and there were quite a few on them on Yahoo Messenger, would throw tantrums about the broadcast quality). In fact, the only elders present were the groom’s parents and the bride’s brother. The rest of the well-wishers comprised entirely of friends who had either driven hundreds of miles or like me, had made last minute flight reservations (thankfully, Baltimore was a Southwest Airlines hub). What resulted was a gathering of self-appointed photographers & videographers turning a solemn (& usually boring) event into the most fun & informal wedding I’ve ever been to.

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Discordant Notes

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