What a Karvaad

[I had posted this in my Gif Blog (I have a gif blog, guys), and I thought that it merited a cross post, so.]  

The phrase “What a Karvaad” originated in the hugely popular comedy film,  “Singaravelan”, which released in the early 90s. Literally translated, it means, “What a dried fish!”, which isn’t really something that you’d want to tell someone, but this phrase has been used ever since the movie released (and very much more so the last decade) to express express excitement over something, eg: “Hey man, I just got hired at BigStartup!” “Woah, What a Karvaad! What is the pay like?”

Interestingly, this line was said by Charlie, and not, unlike popular opinion, Vadivelu – the phrase is probably attributed to him because he spouts a great number of hilarious lines in the film (which are still very popular in modern tamil pop culture today, most notably, Onga Sattae Mele Evlooo Button). 
Anyway, the reason I am writing this is because I just had a horrible day dream (a daymare?) where, about 15 years in the future, I said “Woah, What a Karvaad” to my kid, and then she googled it, and landed up at a youtube video of Dhanush doing Kutthu dance and decided that that was where I must have got this phrase from.  

Yennai Arindhaal

What really frustrated me about Yennai Arindhaal was the severely predictable Gautham Menon police movie elements – the middle class dad of the 80’s who constantly talks in English about following your heart, the modern, strong independent heroine who pursues the hero, the heroine with a past who you know is going to die a gruesome death, Daniel Balaji, and ofcourse, the adopted daughter. The only missing element in this movie, surprisingly, was the mention of love-making phrase. (Edit: I know he talks about going to the medical shop, but it isn’t the mention of sex as much as it is the actual reciting of the phrase “I want to make love to you” that I’m talking about)
Other than that, I actually enjoyed the movie. Ajith is such a good looking guy, really, and in the flash back with the moustache on, first class. It was evident that he stuck to the brief that he received from his director, and it worked, unlike Anushka’s Zooey Deschanel inspired haircut. Arun Vijay though, what a guy! This movie is his big break and I totally see him being cast as a six pack having savvy gangster dude with a mildly high pitched voice in a lot of movies henceforth. If only he’d button his shirt now.
Trisha & Ajith are actually a very cute screen couple. It’d be nice to see more of them on screen. I’m pretty curious to see where her acting career goes now with getting married and everything.
On the whole, I liked Yennai Arindhaal, despite it being about 20-25 minutes too long. If you like Ajith, you will love this movie. Seriously, what a good looking guy. 

A Gif For Monday

So, I was watching Thiruvalaiyadal yesterday (let’s just call it research) and for those of you who haven’t watched the film, I recommend it heartily purely based on the entertainment quotient that lies in Sivaji’s epic Thaandavam.

While the entire Thaandavam needed to be condensed into a reaction gif to express un-expressable levels of anger, there was one particular moment for me which I just HAD to gif and share, stat.

Hope you’re having a good Monday, and if you want an entire collection of Sivaji Ganesan gifs, leave a comment! 

10 Times You Needed a Captain Gif But Didn’t Know Where To Go

Yes I’m still on the Gif trip. Also noticed that Gifs get way more attention than painstakingly thought of & crafted blog posts, so what’s a girl to do? Here are ten times when your life needed a Captain reaction and you didn’t even know it.

1. When You Upset Your Friend’s Dogs (By Just Being Yourself) 

2. Pay Day


 3. When Your Friend’s All “Sorry Man, But I Don’t Have Any Alcohol In My Fridge”

4. Watching Your Favourite Character on Game Of Thrones Die

5. When The New (Cute) Girl Smiles At You

6. When You Just Want To Be Left Alone


 7. When You’re Having Some Particularly Dirty Thoughts At Work

8. When You’re 3 Drinks Down & Want To Do Shots And Suddenly Your Friend’s All, Dude, I Think You’ve Had Enough (Bonus: Lip Reading!)

9. Your I’m-Seriously-Working Face When You’re Actually Watching A Movie (On Media Player) 

10. When You Don’t Get What The Joke Is About [Thanks @Dagalti!]

10 TR Gifs that the internet needs but doesn’t deserve

Here’s the result of all the hard work that went into watching about 30 youtube videos & 6 TR movies – I have culled the most magnificent TR moments that you never knew your life needed until now –

1. When you come out of the theatre after spending Rs.800 to watch Anjaan on the first day

2. When you see your sibling taking your stuff without telling you

3. When your friends tell you “Don’t turn now, but there’s a pretty girl right behind you”

Alternatively: When your mother tells you that the wedding you bunked had Pattappa Saapad
4. When you’re out clubbing but don’t know how to dance

5. When you’re out clubbing, don’t know how to dance and you’re a few drinks down
My PT master taught me this step

6. When you’re stalking your ex on facebook and realize s/he’s become infinitely hotter

7. When the colleague you don’t like tells your boss that you’re the perfect candidate for the project that’s in the middle of nowhere land. 

8. Showing off your newest crush’s facebook photos to your friend
9. When you’re having a tough time in the toilet
10. When you have a sick new ride and you’re driving it down the road like the coolest dude ever


Thoughts on Kochadaiyaan

1. When I was in VIII standard, which feels like yesterday but is actually a little more than a decade ago, the only options for entertainment on television were Cartoon Network and Splash Channel. While I can recall the shows on Cartoon Network (which could be because I still watch it occasionally), I cannot recall any of the shows on Splash, other than two of their home productions, The Pandavas and Sinbad. Both Pandavas and Sinbad were 3D cartoons, which were novel at that time, yes, but also terrible. The movements were jerky, almost epileptic, and the emotions on their faces were binary – they either looked like  needed to take a dump but couldn’t find a toilet or they looked stoned. This, though, was in 2003. Animation was still new to “Our Industry” (Somewhat related factoid – Finding Nemo released in 2003). When I complained about the sub-par animation of Kochadaiyaan on Twitter, I received a couple of replies to the tune of “Tamil Cinema-kku idhu nannave irundhudhu“. Why do we say that? It is not like the creators didn’t have a budget (it was close to Endhiran’s I think). It is not like the creators have never been exposed to quality animation. Why is it that they can take advantage of the fact that it is Tamil Cinema? And why do we let them? Why can’t Tamil Cinema, and more importantly, Tamil audience, have “Hollywood Quality” movies?

2. I’m going to rant about the animation again – The rendering is so focused on Rajnikanth that it seemed to ignore the other characters completely – Deepika Padukone looked less like Deepika and more like Gareth Bale, and her choreography seemed like it was borrowed from The Sims.

3. The story, and screenwriting though, are very good. It’s gripping, it’s interesting, the dialogue is snappy. The reincarnation of actor Nagesh was slighta too much for me, but it worked in it’s own way I suppose. 
4. That you had to have a Rajnikanth – 3 just to help the audience come to the conclusion that Rajnikanth-2 had avenged Rajnikanth -1, I just couldn’t able to. 
5. What really bums me out is that, if only this film had been taken realistically, with a good visual effects team, that would’ve been something new, something bold and a step like none other. Surya’s landmark flop, 7 Am Arivu is probably best proof of this – everyone loved the first fifteen minutes and wanted to leave the theatre for what followed. Historical fantasy/mythology (whether or not it involved any relatives of NT Rama Rao) has had a history of doing well in the past, is always going to sell, and to think of Thalaivar in a Game of Thrones style film – goosebumps. 


[Originally Published in Talk Magazine, Bangalore]

A wise man once said, “Tamil film makers don’t do different things, they do things differently”. Okay, so I may have taken a little columnist license with that particular proverb there, but that’s what it is. The difference isn’t much, really, but the notion that Hindi and Tamil movies are as different as chalk and Chihuahuas or whatever, has been on the rise the past decade and led to the rise of quite a few stereotypes. The most popular stereotype of the lot that people have been tricked into, is that all Tamil films are essentially Rajnikanth saving humanity from all kinds of evil while defying every law that Newton took the trouble of coming up with, which is total and complete nonsense. For starters, Rajnikanth films take at least three years per release.

Anyway, it’s simple enough, all SuperHit Indian movies up to the early 90s had pretty much the same formula. Then, Bollywood changed course while South Indian Cinema didn’t. So today, the “formula” part of the Bollywood “formula” movie involves a story (or something like it), which is embellished with an impossibly good looking star cast, lots of Manish Malhotra and a dance number which has a special appearance by Amitabh Bachchan. Add an “Item Number” which features the latest It Girl and air it as a “promo” a couple months before the actual movie releases and voila, empty hype! I mean, formula complete.

Now the Bollywood story almost always involves a value, such as family, friendship, love and the like. Tamil formula movies on the other hand, thrive on old-school. The hero is the story, the Manish Malhotra, the dance number with the special appearance by Amitabh Bachchan, hell, he’s even the Amitabh Bachchan of that number. Tamil Cinema takes the term “Hero” very seriously. The story is never about friendship or family per se, but his family, his friendship, his love, and his occasional association with the local goons. The truth is, it doesn’t take much for a formula movie to do well in the South – Take the super-hit-beyond-human-comprehension, Baasha. This was not just the movie that elevated Rajnikanth’s status from Star to Superstar DemiGod, but also the only Tamil film (that I know of) which had a flashback within a flashback. (At this point I’d like to put forth that I wouldn’t be surprised if it ever comes out that it was this movie which inspired Nolan to make Inception).

I have personally watched this movie about twenty-five times and I have enjoyed myself thoroughly about twenty-four times. One time I tried to apply logic to the story, and my brain fried itself in the process because there is none, whatsoever. None. NIL. In fact, it defies anything and everything that logic stands for. However, nobody really cared, truth be told no one cares even today, even with all our resources to “better” films and such, because it’s SO entertaining.

The Tamil Cinema audience is really easy to please. All that we really care for, is a tight storyline, fast screenplay and a convincing star cast, and we’ll lap it up, logic be damned. A lot of film makers forget that the primary purpose most people even watch movies in the first place, is to be entertained – We want to be thrilled, we want to pick sides, we want to cheer for the leads and then come out of the theatre feeling good. That Bollywood is now remaking Tamil movies, or making Tamil style masala movies (like Dabaang) is just proof that there is no school like the old school.

However, it is important that Bollywood film makers pick the right movies and stick to the original screenplay – Singam was a wildly successful movie in the South because of it’s Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-It racy screenplay and incredibly simple story line, but the remake was a total disappointment because of a couple of unnecessary twists that were introduced.

Honestly, I don’t think it matters whether people make or remake Masala movies, just as long as they are done right, because when they are, they are so much fun. Masala movies are the epitome of the Indian Movie Experience. I know quite a few people who argue for the cause of finer film making in India, with more realistic subjects, honest emotions and matter-of-fact endings. Personally, I am against that cause. When I watch a movie, I want to be told that the impossible is possible and that there is no such thing as too much ambition. I want to be told that there are police officers who stop at nothing to uphold law, I want to see bad guys go down for whatever they did wrong and I want to see everyone getting their happily ever after. Cinema, to me, is escape. Besides, if I wanted to watch something “real”, I wouldn’t watch a movie. I’d watch the news.

Oh, Those Jerks They Call Heroes

[Originally Written For Talk Magazine, Bangalore]

Love has always been one of Tamil cinema’s favourite narratives, somewhere between Corrupt Politicians and Evil Maternal Uncles. But lately, Tamil Cinema’s interpretation of love the past decade – that is, post 2000 (bet you thought 1990, ha!), I have issues with.
The post 2000 decade saw a lot of evolution and shifts – in ideas, thought processes, values, technicalities and more importantly, in stories, the kind of humour people enjoyed, the kind of cast the audience wanted to see on screen, the parts of North India from where heroines were sourced (and consequently cast as the “simple local girl” of some village in interior Tamil Nadu, because let’s face it, if the audience can buy  a plot where a guy can become a millionaire overnight by singing in front of a black background, Chandigarh and Theni are practically neighbouring cities), the works.  Unfortunately, where the element of romance in Tamil movies was concerned, it was less evolution and more Frankenstein experiment gone wrong.  

Modern romance and love in Tamil cinema has taken the two steps forward and ten steps back route – basically an urban, real, raw story with a 1980s Naatamai ending.  Now the urban, real, raw hero’s idea of an urban, real, raw romance is basically harassment, and that he gets his way at the end of it, is really disconcerting, because if you peel the sticker of “hero” away, all you get is your everyday stalker who hangs around in your bus stop. Whenever I see these kinds of movies, as a girl, I feel seriously offended. It’s not even just about the harassment, but that the hero-stalker believes that he’s been victimized because the girl “rejected” him – it’s, for the lack of a better word, bogus. What’s even more bogus is that after the relentless pursuit, harassment and invasion of personal space, the heroine realizes that he’s the absolute one for her and that he is actually a really lovable guy in his own urban, real, raw way. 

It’s important to note that Tamil Cinema is an education by itself for most people, which is why “mass” heroes always have a title song about important values like doing good, praising the lord, living in villages, charging correct autofares, the lot. So when movies that glorify harassment and teasing and “correcting” the deviant ways of women (which includes wearing jeans) it is not just validation, but encouragement for that kind of behaviour to thrive. Every time I see the upper middle class to rich, educated, heroine falling for the “diamond-in-the-rough” Prince Charming psychopath who had to call her crude names to win her heart, I can’t help but wonder if the Directors would be okay with their sisters doing the same, their daughters doing the same. Ah, but it’s only a movie! 

There is no equality or balance in the equation anymore. The girl isn’t an object of affection, but prey, like some exotic deer rabbit that our hero has to hunt down to prove his ability as an expert marksman. And the girl has no say in this, because if she’s not interested, she’s simply heartless. Or doesn’t have morals. Or both. Because you know, this is how urban, real, raw love stories are! Here’s an idea for a realistic movie – boy sees girl, boy follows girl, girl says no, boy still keeps following, girl says no, boy doesn’t listen, boy keeps following, girl asks him to stop, boy gets angry, says she doesn’t deserve any better, tells her that the only good decision she can take right now is to reciprocate his truelove, girl tells the police, they put him in jail, the end!
This rant comes from a place that is sick of watching extreme creepiness being peddled as “romance.”  7G Rainbow Colony, for instance, was a huge exercise in frustration. Oru Kal Oru Kannadi gave me blood pressure. Avan Ivan made me want to punch a wall or two. 

At this point I’d like to reaffirm my love for Tamil Cinema. I love the experience, to just sit in the theatre and watch an ordinary man becoming something larger than life in a span of three hours is an experience that is unparalleled. But when things start hitting you closer to home, it becomes uncomfortable and consequently unbearable. Recently, when I talked about this with a friend, he pointed out to the classic (and probably the greatest) Romantic Comedy of our generation, Singaravelan. 

I love that movie to the point where I can quote entire scenes off it. But when I think about it now, something doesn’t feel right. Underneath the hilarity, there are a lot of questions – why did Sumathi have to change her wardrobe to only Sarees after she decided she was in love with Velan? Velan had made a family promise to marry Sumathi, yes, but does that justify the endless pursuing? I think the reason Singaravelan stands out and makes you want to forgive it’s subtle moral lessons/misgivings is because it gave us a chase, not a hunt, and it gave us two characters that even the audience wanted to get together, it gave us romance, unlike the movies of today where all you want to do while watching it is get right into the movie screen, grab the “hero” and punch his face.

Belated thoughts on 7 am Arivu

It’s way too late for a review, blame it on the exams, but I finally did see the movie yesterday. This isn’t a review, more like random disjointed thoughts, which, if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, would know is my specialty. 
1. I’ll be honest with you guys. I really like watching movies with good looking actors in it. You know, theres like the big screen, then there’s this gorgeous face that smiles at you (ok, so it’s the camera but a girl can wish). Sometimes I overlook glitches or logical fallacies in the movie just because the actors look nice. Yes, I am shallow.Which is why it’s so appalling that even these completely gorgeous leads (Surya is super hot, and Shruti Haasan, like whoa) couldn’t distract you from the movie’s plot line. 
2. It’s a brave attempt, no two thoughts about that – trying to feed genetic engineering to an audience that whole heartedly accepts Premgi to be an IIT-ian or Tamanna to be Theni ponnu. But Genetic engineering, Pallava history, Tamil pride, Tamils in Sri Lanka AND biological warfare? 
3. The first 20 minutes are great – Surya is shirtless most of the time, so. 
4. Harris Jayaraj’s music is really annoying the crap out of me these days. There’s Oh ringa ringa which sounds exactly like that Damak song from Aadhavan which sounds like Yaethi Yaethi from Vaaranam Aayiram which sounds like Pala Pala from Ayan and so on and so forth and finally leads to Oh mama mama from his debut movie Minnale. Another super recycled tune is that sad Ponamma song which sounds exactly like Anjala from Vaaranam Aayiram. I mean, his professional integrity with respect to not recycling anybody else’s tunes but his own is very commendable, but it’s really about time he came up with a new set of tunes to recycle because this is just extremely tiresome. 
5. Operation Red is hilarious. Especially the Indian guys dubbing for the Chinese. I am not sure if this is a valid comparison but the Indian guy speaking English with wannabe Chinese accent was like really really bad Gobi Manchurian. I wish Murugadoss had just let them speak their language and provided subtitles (a la Gautham Menon in Vettaiyaadu Villayaadu) or even dubbed over (like in the scene were Johnny Nguyen speaks to his teacher in China) because this was super contrived. 
6. Johnny Tri Nguyen as Dong Lee is nice looking and has performed well. Only wished he had opposed to his character’s name. I mean, the possibilities for Dong Lee jokes are endless. 
7. The graphics and visual effects are awful. It’s not Dasavatharam awful, but it could have been so much better considering the star cast and the director. 
8. The preachiness of this movie really gets you after the first few times. I mean, I get that Murugadoss is trying to douse the wannabe “I am talk English so I am madarn gais” subculture but after a point you just want to slap your forehead and go “Yenna Koduma Saravanan Idhu!” to the person sitting next to you. Which I suggest you don’t try unless you know the person sitting next to you. 
9. Finally, should you watch this movie if you haven’t already? I say, watch it, but on DVD. 


Less than 48 hours to go for my next crack at the CA final, I figured I’d write down how I’m feeling.

Am I nervous? No. Already done this once.

Am I happy? No, for the same reason.

So what I’m really feeling is a bit of resentment, a little regret but mostly hunger. I had dinner early today.


ANYWAY, just wanted to say hi, and share my favourite motivational video.

It’s a bit of a thank you for being so nice to me when I’ve been completely awful for not updating as often as I should. I’ve not really had the easiest year you know. So instead of asking me why I’m not updating, you guys should probably just pray for me to pass (atleast) this time.