Grandma's Tales

June 15, 2007

Sivaji=Rajnikanth+Shankar+AR Rahman+Sujatha-story

Filed under: Language,Movie — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 11:25 pm

It’s one of those rare times when a movie becomes a mega blockbuster before it is released. One must appreciate the timing of the release, though. The Ash-Abhi wedding got over and it’s off-season for sting operations. The BCCI was thoroughly snubbed by Ford, and CBI by the Argentinian court. And who wants cricket anyway? It’s hot and we need something “cool” and out came Sivaji. The movie is cool, it rocks!
Big news for the media, Rajnikant fans, theatres and those who make their fortune through pirated editions. Bottomline? The R,S,R,S combo sells.
There is no point trying to watch the movie the next couple of weeks. The price is too hefty for bragging rights. Thanks to audience enthusiasm, you’ll get to hear nothing on the screen. All the action will be off-screen. One has to be sure one wants to pay to see that.
I did the next best thing. I asked the man whom I had hired to drive me around town if he was planning to watch the movie today or tomorrow or in the next few days. No, he said. He was offered a ticket for Rs. 300/- He wasn’t tempted. He didn’t think the movie was worth taking leave for. He knew what to expect in a Rajnikant starrer. “In a few weeks the price is sure to come down. I’ll watch it then,” he said.
If he knew what to expect, why would he watch the movie at all? “Habit,” he said. “I’m a regular movie goer.”
So what did he expect in this movie? “Rajni’s style. The way he speaks. The way he produces things out of air. The unexpectedness (?) of his actions. The what-would-he-do-next? expectation. He is athletic, quick on his feet and funny. He looks kind. He is one of us. He is a comic, even in fight scenes. ‘It’s all fun mamoo,’ he seems to say. ‘Don’t take this seriously. Just sit back and enjoy yourself.’ And in the end everything works out fine, there is a message and the movie makes you feel good about who you are.”
Songs? “I’m not a big AR Rahman fan. He is too western for my taste. I like numbers that are folksy.”
Dialogues? “Yes, we like the punch lines. You can leave the theatre practising them. I think the punch lines are written first and the story is written around it.”
He is old. Is it ok if he chases a girl young enough to be his daughter? “Oh that? He is acting as the father as well. If he isn’t doing the role of the son too, how do we get to see the young Sivaji? With the wig and the make-up, he does look young, doesn’t he?”
[Special diet and make-up, high quality resolution, visual effects (VFX),  scan using a 4K resolution all done at Prasad labs. Some 30 people are supposed to have worked on it. The superstar’s skin colour and texture have been improved by special effects giving him a youthful look.]
The movie goes on for three hours! “Yes, that’s how it should be! We paid for it, right? We feel very satisfied we got our money’s worth.”
So, his real life is one thing. On screen he is an entertainer. We like his style, his mannerisms, in fact we’ll be disappointed if he didn’t give us that. We know the story (rags to riches to rags) but we go to see him, so it’s a good thing we already know the story. We can concentrate on what he does, without having to unravel the tale. All we care about are his presence and his punchlines.
Rajni did not diappoint the reporters when asked for an unrecorded punchline. “I am a king, I may be a king, Amitabh is the emperor,” he said, smiling.
UPDATE: Now it was Amitabh’s turn to deliver his punchline.”Comparisons are odious,” he told the correspondent in his baritone, measuring out his words neatly. “We have our own styles. I hear he is very popular in his state and all over the world, especially in Japan. He must be good to win such adulation. But he is he, I am me.”


June 13, 2007

Make a one-minute movie – win one lakh

Filed under: Movie,My Other Avtaar,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 6:08 pm

60 Seconds to Fame!
       Ability Foundation, a Chennai based cross-disability NGO has, for the past twelve years, been working towards mainstreaming disabled people. Its major activities include publishing a magazine, training qualified disabled people for jobs, placing them in suitable workplaces, running a weekly radio programme, holding workshops and seminars and emphasising the need to recognise human rights. In its constant efforts to make the society more equitable and disabled-friendly, Ability Foundation hosts a number of public programmes which aim to sensitise people on issues of disability.
This year Ability Foundation is holding its very successful one-minute film competition, the first edition of which was held in 2005. The competition is open to all people of Indian nationality.  Prizes amount to Rs. 2.25 lakh rupees. Participants are required to submit an original film on the theme “Celebrating Diversity” and the winners will be selected by a panel of eminent jurors. The last date for submission is August 16, 2007. This competition is part of AbilityFest2007, the India International Disability Film Festival which will be held in Chennai in October.

 For more information and details, log on to www.abilityfoundati

June 7, 2007

AR Rahman performs on stage

Filed under: Movie,My Other Avtaar,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:21 pm


AR Rahman was the special invitee at the CavinKare Ability Awards function in Chennai. Ability Foundation and Rahman have been friends for a while now. He has attended the function as a spectator and has handed over the awards to the winners but this year he came as a performer. From among the CDs sent to him, he selected two disabled girls to sing with him on stage. There hadn’t been much time for practice. Radha Roy, one of the singers is from Mumbai, and you know how difficult it is for a wheelchair user to travel in India. The other singer Heeru is from Bengaluru and is visually impaired.
Well, the instantly-recognised name was announced and the maestro, dressed in spotless white walked up, sat at the piano specially brought in for him and began caressing the keys. When did he last perform solo in public?
He played and the audience was enthralled. The melody filled the hall and the hearts of those present. Heeru and Radha sang Rahman’s numbers when he played and the evening turned magical. As Rahman dinged out the clear notes and Heeru’s voice soared along, every one in the audience felt transported to another plane, another time and space. It was an extra-ordinary half hour.
Now compare this with his performance in the bay area where he is on a tour now. No two shows involving the same person could be so completely different from each other! For a well-written report on the bay area show, log on to

May 31, 2007

chini kum is watchable

Filed under: Movie,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:36 pm

Actors – Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu and Paresh Rawal.  Setting – the restaurant area beyond the swing doors. Punch dialogues. An adult theme. Together, do they serve a can’t-go-wrong recipe for an entertaining movie? Can it be less sugar, but more sweet than the usual boy(old man) – meets – girl routine?
For an excellent review, log on to

April 4, 2007

More on Mozhi – again!

Filed under: Movie — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:08 pm

This mail is a surprise. Welcome, Prashanth!
Prashanth |
This is the first time that I am writing a review on a Movie. I am amazed that I am writing one. But that is because the movie is really world class. It is humourous and serious at the same time. It makes you think. It is taken with a lot of thought.
RM is in my opinion in the class of Directors such as Balachander and ManiRatnam.
Hope he continues to give us such movies.
Exactly my thoughts, Prashanth. Would you get us a copy of your review?

March 26, 2007

More on Mozhi

Filed under: Games People Play,Movie,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 5:30 pm

Here are lines that I feel should reach a lot more people than it would as a simple comment.
vasundhar | |
Mozhi is one of the talked-about movies these days. I assumed the credit should go to Jothika for her improved performance(True). But the story did not end quite there.
I rely more on blogs for reviews because, they are not corporated (Did it sound like contaminated or corrupted ) Quite likely).
That’s how I linked to your blog, which made me realise what “Mozhi” has is not glitz but radiance. I want to applaud, TEAM MOZHI, Ability Foundation, and YOU. For bringing it to the notice of people around the world.
Thanks a lot,
I added the movie in my list for Apr 6 2007 in Chennai.
Thanks, Vasundhar, for those kind words. A movie like this comes our way rarely and we ought to celebrate it, and more to the point, support it. Mozhi’s success is a direct attack on the producers’/directors’ excuse for making abusive, stereo-typical movies – “This is what the public wants!” The public has now proved that sensible, well-made movies that provide clean, wholesome comedy will be appreciated.  To make a successful movie, one need not indulge in gory violence, repeated fights and flight scenes,  totally despicable  dance sequences and dialogues that are base and derogatory.
Mozhi vindicates public taste. In a sense, it also shapes public taste by breaking myths about disability. Make a good movie, we will watch it. Don’t take short cuts to make money.
May I compliment you on the wonderful phrase “It is not glitz, but radiance”? I loved that!

March 24, 2007

This is not reality!

Filed under: Games People Play,Movie,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:07 am

Last week, I watched one of those “chupa rustum” kind of reality shows. I watch them merely to find out the psychology involved. What makes people fall for the words of a complete stranger in a street? I say “street” because a stranger in a street is totally anonymous, he could be anyone, as opposed to a stranger in a local department store, in the sense you can attach some credibility to him.
In most of these shows, people get duped because
[1] they are well-mannered. A guy accosts you with a sob story, and as a fellow citizen, you stop to listen.
[2] They are curious. What is this guy selling? Should I know about it?
[3] Greed. Am I getting something cheap? Is it a freebie?
[4] Genuine concern. The poor guy is too scared to get down the tree. Can I help?
In the end all of them are exposed as trusting, uncritical, gullible sods. All for fun. Of course, some wise guys producing the show will claim that they are telling people not to be naive. How can you fall for it? Suspect everything and everyone. All are guilty till proved innocent (My husband endorses this theory fully) . This is public service, yaar!
Right. But what is this?
In one reality show, a guy walked around throwing peanut shells at passers-by. The setting was a well-known amusement park. There were young couples, families with very young kids and elderly men and women walking around, minding their business. The TV guy would sidle up to them, get close and chuck the shells at them. It was a horrifying sight. (I’m breaking a writing rule here – see the previous post). He wouldn’t stop at one or two of those little pellets. He would pretend to be eating – his bag had only shells – and pelt them in a continuous attack. Sometimes he would get in the middle of the group and throw them both ways.
More horrifying was the reaction. No one said a word! Here is this pest, attacking you with garbage, and you walk away?
It was interesting to note the difference in the way men and women reacted. Most men took it stoically, some childish prank, they seemed to say, but the women glared. Some nudged their male companion to do something. But the men weren’t getting into an argument. Many just moved away, shaking the debris off their clothes and hair. Don’t want trouble, you know. Meanwhile, the offender went on, relentless.
Till he did that to a couple of white women. At first they were taken aback, but then they stood in front of him and began to shout. Obviously, in their country, such behaviour in public meets with low tolerance. The TV pest smiled weakly, and pointed to the shooting camera. Horror! The women stopped shouting, but were not amused. They glared, muttered something, and walked away.
Here are my questions:
[1] Would those men and women put up with such behaviour at home? How is it that what is not tolerated at home is condoned in public? Is there such a disconnect between private and public life? To me, throwing litter at someone is an offence, period.
[2] What happens to all those films shot without the participants’ permission? Is someone in the studios watching them and doubling up with laughter? Is it used as a de-stresser?
[3] And who cleans up the mess left behind? Is it our right to litter a public place because we paid the price of a ticket to enter?
There was no shot on the show of anyone (where was the crew?) picking up after the TV guy. To me, leaving all that litter behind is an equal crime.

March 8, 2007

Amitabh Bachchan breaks Nishabd (Silence)

Filed under: Language,Movie,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:25 pm

Not that he was very quiet, AB has been talking to the media with a vengeance, but he spoke at length on NDTV answering questions from the audience. There was this panel comprising Ram Gopal Verma, AB, Revathi, Suchitra, Alyque Padamsee and now I can’t remember who the anchor was. But this is what transpired.
AB: It (65-year-old falling for a teenager) was a challenging role. It was just playacting. Seldom do we do this analysis of a concept – why did this happen, how did this happen, etc. ‘A 65-year-old in love with a young girl’ was just a situation. It just happened. Now what, we asked.
RGV: The point was about capturing one man’s feeling. Something that is within you. It was a question of feeling vs. righteousness, a battle between mind and heart.
Audience qn: Should age determine relationship?
Alyque: Age has very little to do with this. It’s all in the mind. It’s the situation you are in. I feel I’m in college. Amitabh, you? The mind is ticking, the heart is pumping blood…
Suchitra: Academically speaking, may be a relationship is possible. But a lot of it is exploitative.
Revathi: As marriages age, the husband and wife tend to take each other for granted. The magic is gone. The husband moves away. Girl appears, dormant emotions are brought to life.
Audience: Is this a quest for the ideal?
AB: Alyque, is it?
Alyque: Are you being diplomatic?
AB: There’s something I want to make clear. This movie has nothing to do with Lolita (except for the lollipop?). There is no physicality, no overtures. It’s affection for an 18-year-old. And how the protagonist deals with it. He is shy, but is honest in admitting it. RGV told me to walk up to the wife and admit it.
Revathi: And what was I expected to do? I had to fight for my rights. I had spent an entire life thinking of the husband. Not possible to accept the situation!
Anchor to RGV: You didn’t want to endanger the marriage?
RGV: Look, I hadn’t thought about it. This is not about anyone specific. Nor is the theme a generalisation.It’s just a character I picked up. It doesn’t represent anyone.
Audience: Will the middle class accept it?
Oh, god, I had had enough.

March 6, 2007

Why you should watch “Mozhi” – 2

Filed under: Consumer caution,Movie,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 8:50 am

With comments from two readers, I thought I had said all that was to be said about Mozhi. Not true.
Yesterday, I dragged my husband to watch “Mozhi”, telling him that he should know what kind of work the wife’s involved in – the philosophy behind Ability Foundation’s work. And he wouldn’t be wasting his time, since this was a comedy that he would enjoy (the G-gap here again!).
This second time around I absolutely need to add this – Prithviraj (Karthick)’s is an extra-ordinary performance. Did you notice, he is the only guy with different shades of dimensions to his character. He is the high-school kid trying to impress his love (I thought his running was authentic), shyly admitting failure; a responsible young man refusing to drink; a mature adult who understands the Professor’s state of denial and willing to stick out his neck to do something about it; one who is willing to admit he’s made a mistake but ready to stand up for what he believes in; one who doesn’t think he’s perfect, but is ready to take on responsibilities. Someone who’s willing to learn (the scene where he ventures out with ears blocked). A fun-loving kid steered by mature, clued-in thinking.
Radhamohan’s message here is as important as the message about what people with disabilities want. You needn’t be any special person bordering on the divine to empathise with disabled persons. You could be any kid on a college/company bus, doing a job you love, hanging around with friends. All you need is an open mind. To see things without prejudice.
I thought Prithviraj managed to bring out this message very well. So all you guys out there – accept this lovely compliment RM is throwing at you. If my guess is right, that’s what RM is saying here – today’s kids may look like wasters, but they have their heads and hearts in the right place!
Having said that, you kids, will you please keep your comments to yourselves when others are watching the movie? They paid the price of the ticket too! If you have a right (no, you don’t) to make loud comments during the show, the others have a right to watch the movie without wisecracks from the audience, however clever they may sound to you.
And the adults, please help to keep the place clean. Aunty, do you always throw food debris on the floor around where you eat at home? How could you sit there in the middle of self-generated filth for a full two hours while watching what was an enjoyable show?
Once again, my theory: our education lets us down very badly- whether we get it from home or from school.
I had to cross a garbage dump to get out of the hall in Stree where I watched the movie. Sad.

March 1, 2007

Sezhiyan reviews “Mozhi”

Filed under: Language,Movie,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 6:10 pm

I think we have something wonderful going here. Thanks Sezhiyan, for joining in this “praise-Mozhi” campaign. The movie deserves all the pats that it can get. You get to watch a movie like this rarely, right?
Sezhiyan |
Another point was the way Jo was portrayed. Very stubborn, clear-in-whatever-she-does kind of a role. The room in which she was staying was so colorful, just to show how she loves life n how she values it. Jo’s answer in replying to prakash raj’s question abt music in her perspective was a masterpiece..! I cant believe that we are not going to see anymore of this talented actress (JO).
Dialogues was like a spine to the movie. For me the success of this movie should be largely owed to
1. Dialogues
2. Apt acting from all the characters from effervescent Jo to Bhaskar
3. The script n its Director
I wish this crew all success n many more “talking” films like mozhi from them…
Well said, Sezhiyan!

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