My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Tamil

This article remains relevant due to the constant issues in India based on religion, caste etc..

My Thoughts

Well I was in 10th standard when I first heard the term “Unity in Diversity” in my civics class. That was an attempt to teach the kids about the greatness of our country and the different languages and cultures India posses from Jammu to KanyaKumari. It was 15 years ago and when I look back now I feel what have we learnt? We are still fighting based on language, religion, region and what not. So what does that one chapter in the book accomplish?

India is a country with a beautiful history and tradition going thousands of years back. The country is made of 28 states and speaks thousands of languages and dialects with 22 of them being official. Each state in India almost has their language as an official language other than English of course. So the country has lots of divide from various avenues. People eat different, look…

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People talk about creative freedom, secularism but for me it boils down to just common sense. The things that have been happening in Tami Nadu are unfair on the brilliant creator that is Mr Kamal Hassan. I am a big admirer of Kamal Hassan’s work. Let me be clear I am no fan boy. I love good cinema and Kamal Hassan has provided that in abundance.

When Viswaroopam released and when I learnt that it deals with terrorism I did not expect it to create such a furor. We have had countless movies releasing in India on similar themes, so I thought this movie will be considered one among them but that is not to be. Viswaroopam was banned by Tamil Nadu government and subsequently by other governments in India and abroad.

I can’t believe that in this day and age people actually believe that a movie can cause security issue. It is sad that one of India’s finest creators has to suffer due to some political agenda.

Kamal Hassan has talked about moving out of Tamil Nadu and even the country if the justice is not served. It will be a shame for the nation/state if such a thing happens. Creative people like Kamal Hassan are nation’s pride. The kind of jewel we all need to cherish and celebrate. India is the only country where their legends are treated with so much contempt. The government needs to wake up and put an end to this madness.

The creative freedom on an actor and creator needs to be upheld. It is sad to see the great man talking about bankruptcy and losing his home. It is even astonishing that the government hasn’t done anything to avert this situation. The perplexing thing is that the Tamil film association has kept mum on this issue. Few actors including our superstar have voiced in their support but as an association they should have stood behind their own.

It is nice to see the support of the fans for the movie. I hope that everyone continues to support the movie and keep our beloved icon in his home state. I hope that the Supreme Court intervenes and overturns the ban on the film. An icon like Kamal deserves better and we cannot let the constitution down.

Kamal Hassan is one of India’s finest actor/director. He has given us numerous classics and is very much responsible for taking Indian cinema overseas.

This is not something we get to write that often. The Indian film industry is synonymous with Bollywood aka Hindi film industry and South films hardly get the recognition. 2011 in a way broke that trend and it will be fair to say that Southern Industries ruled this year. Not only did the south films (Malayalam and Tamil) dominate the National awards earlier this year but the Bollywood box office was dominated by southern remakes. It was a year when the Southern Industries got their day under the sun in India.

As far as Tamil cinema goes it was yet another great year. It was the continuation of the good work which started in 2010 and carried over to 2011. The year 2011 is when the Tamil cinema broke the language barriers and reached to nook and corner of the vast country. The year which began with Tamil cinema dominating the national awards along with Malayalam making it a very southern awards, ended with Dhanush’ s “Kolaveri Di” winning CNN international song of the year.

Dhanush was the year’s biggest star and he was part of couple of good movies this year. The biggest success of Tamil cinema this year has been the success of small movies such as “Engeyum Eppothum”. A movie which was Fox Star’s foray into Tamil cinema, sans top stars and with a new director at the helm was a super hit. Appreciation of good scripts and attempts by the audience has always been the success of Tamil cinema which was again in view in 2011.

This year had releases from Suriya, Dhanush, Ajith, Vikram and Vijay. This year also saw Ajith take over a bad guy role and pulling it off with great panache. Vijay shifted his path from masala genre and signed movies with big directors. Suriya and Dhanush once again confirmed their status as good actors. This year also marked some path breaking movies such as “Aaranya Kaandam”. A movie which received praise from all quarters was a great addition to the gangster genre. The movie did rounds in the International film festivals and won some awards.

Even though some great movies were made this year and some remakes were extremely successful in other languages, this year belonged to Kolaveri Di. The song broke the language barrier to be accepted by all the music lovers.

South cinema comprises of some of the best talents in the country and makes some wonderful movies and this year was really a testament to that fact. Hindi blockbusters like Bodyguard, ready, Singham and Force were all south remakes. The year 2012 promises to be a fine one for Tamil cinema and hopefully will have some great movies. As 2011 comes to an end, here is wishing a great 2012 for Tamil cinema and its audience.

The 58th National awards were announced yesterday in India and the major awards were collected by Tamil and Malayalam movies. Dhanush won the best actor award for his realistic portrayal in the film Aadukalam along with Malayalam actor Salim Kumar who won it for his brilliant performance in the film Adaminte Makan Abu. The best feature film award went to Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu.

Aadukalam was the star of the National Film awards announced yesterday as it bagged 6 awards including the Best actor, Best Director (Vetrimaran), Best Original Screenplay (Vetrimaran), Best Editing (TE Kishore), and Best Choreography (Dinesh Kumar).

Saranya Ponvannan won the best actress award for the film Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru along with Marathi actress Mitalee Jagtap Varadkar for Baboo Band Baaja.

The best supporting actor award went to actor Thambi Rammaih for his excellent performance in Mynaa and the supporting actress award went to actress Sukumari for the Tamil film Namma Grammam.

Namma Grammam also won the award for costume design for Indrans Jayan.Enthiran also bagged couple of awards for best production design (Saby cyril) and Special Effects (V Srinivas M Mohan). Vairamuthu won the best lyricist award for Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru.

With all the awards going to the regional movies Dabaang winning “Wholesome Entertainer” award was kind of a consolation for Hindi films. Vishal Bharadwaj also won the Best Music award for the film Ishqiya. His wife Rekha Bharadwaj won the best Playback singer award for the same movie. Do Dooni Chaar won the “Best Hindi Film” award.Ishqiya also won the award for Best Audiography (Debajit Changmai).

The Best Backgound Score award went to Issak Thomas Kottakapally for the Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu. The Best Cinematography award went to Madhu Ambat for Adaminte Makan Abu (Malayalam).

Nargis Dutt award for the Best film on National Integration went to Bengali film Moner Manush. The Best Film on Social issues went to Marathi film Champions. Indhira Gandhi award for Best Debut Film of a Director went to Marathi Film Baboo Band Baaja.

So overall it was a great day for Regional movies this time. Tamil movies bagged 14 awards in various categories and Malayalam films bagged 6. The 58th National Awards was great one for the Southern Film industries and a particularly proud one for Tamil. Congratulations to all the winners and hope that the winners will strive to achieve greater success in the coming years.

Note – I haven’t published all the award winners, just a few of the important ones are mentioned in this post.

Super Star Rajinikanth gives one of the most compelling performances in the recent times in Endhiran/Robot

I was able to catch Super Stars Endhiran over the weekend and it was a mind blowing experience. It was fantastic that the movie release in the city I reside as not many Tamil movies make their way to the theatres here. We were anyways prepared to drive couple of hours to watch the movie in Chicago if need be. We reached the theatre about 30 minutes prior to the screening and once we entered the movie hall realized that we were about 20 minutes too late as all the seats were already taken.

We were left with only the front row but fortunately just before the movie began we were able to grab couple of seats in the second row. Thank god for that as the first row seats would have left me and my wife with terrible neck pain. So after that was sorted out, the movie began to a full house with the fans screaming when Thalaivar’s name appeared on the screen. The movie was surrounded with great hype as it was touted as the most expensive movie in India and also brought together Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai for the first time on Silver Screen.

The movie totally lived up to its billing and we had a blast watching the same. Our Thalaivar’s performance as the scientist and the “Robot” Chitti was fantastic and the visual effects were stunning to say the least. After a long time Rajini was able to play a character with negative shades in a movie and his performance was simply amazing at that. Aishwarya Rai did her part well and so did the rest of the cast but this movie was all about Rajini and Shankar. Even the Oscar winner A R Rahman had to take a back seat.

First of all Shankar has to be appreciated for attempting something of such a magnitude and for making it work big time. It’s all good to have lots of money to play with but to make it work is completely a different thing. Shankar has achieved the same with flying colors. The last 20-25 minutes of the movie left us all speechless with the special effects. Shankar has definitely pushed the bar as far as Indian movies go. I am not sure if anyone can ever surpass the extravaganza that is Endhiran/Robot.

Well this piece will not be complete without a word on the brilliant performance by Rajinikanth. It takes a huge courage for a super star like Rajini to act in a movie which has the script and the director at the helm. At no point in the movie did you feel that this was a Rajini movie. After a long time we saw Rajini the actor take over Rajini the super star. Rajini for sure has earned himself more fans through this movie. His performance as the Robot was special and his subdued performance as the scientist suited the character brilliantly. All in all brilliant movie and will be a milestone in Super Star’s already glittering career. As the Super Star himself said at the audio launch, “Endhiran is not a movie but a cinematic experience”.

I am not sure how Shankar or Rajinikanth are ever going to surpass this in the future. People are going to expect a huge deal from the director in his future projects and I am not sure how he is going to beat this success. Sivaji was big but Endhiran is bigger and for sure is going to smash all box office records across India. Leaving all the minor negatives aside, this is one Indian movie to be proud of. The criticism that the movie is tad long and is inspired from many Hollywood flicks is something I don’t agree with. Every director while making movies in such a magnitude goes overboard sometimes which is acceptable.

Every ambitious movie made around the world can be accused of being a tad long and there are always few scenes which could have been done without. As far as the claims about the movie lacking logic, it does not hold water in a Sci-Fi fantasy flicks. What can be logical about a movie which begins as an imagination in the first place? What was logical about a matrix or an Avatar for that matter? When you start a movie as a fantasy the directors imagination takes over and his creative instinct drive the movie, so the sudden requirement of logic in a Sci-Fi movie is laughable to say the least.

The there are the claims that we have seen it all in the Hollywood movies already is something again should not be held against the director. Hollywood has been making Sci-Fi genre for over 40 years now, so any movie made in that genre is for sure going to resemble one of them. That should not take away anything from Shankar for making one of the best movies technically from India. Just compare this with other Indian movies and tell me how many directors have ever thought of attempting anything even remotely close? The movie is a brilliant attempt and needs to be encouraged for the excellent vision of the director and for the compelling performance from our own superstar.

Finally the long awaited Endhiran audio release took place in a grand manner in Malaysia yesterday. Lots of prominent Kollywood stars graced the occasion and the most important part of the evening was that the official Endhiran trailer was screened at the function. The trailer was breathtaking and the visuals in the trailers were amazing. Aishwarya Rai Bachan and Rajini combo was looking cool on screen. Aishwarya was looking much better than in Ravana/Ravanan.

It seems like a movie which will be different to the other Rajini movies and I am very much looking forward to its release. Our Super Star as the scientist was rocking and looks very young. Good news for us fans is that the movie will grace the theaters in September. I am sure that this movie will be a major hit and will be another feather in the cap of Rajini/Shankar/Rahman combination.

During my customary lunchtime conversation with my friends few months back I got to know the hatred people had for my home town Chennai. I was first a little bit perplexed and annoyed with their accusations but understood that most of their issues came about due to the language. I decided to do some research online and found lots of blogs and articles regarding the same issue.

To be frank I don’t understand what the big deal is. The major accusation against Tamil Nadu is that they don’t speak the “National Language” Hindi. Which itself is a false premise for the hatred as India as a country does not have a National Language. People fail to understand the same as they have been wrongly taught in schools as Hindi is our National language. Indian constitution does not mention a National Language for India. Hindi along with English is one of the official languages of the country and each state has their own official language along with English.

So this makes our country a linguistically free country, which means that anyone is free to talk their own language. No one is under pressure to speak or learn any language unless they want to out of interest. So this begs the question as to why people from other parts of India expect Chennaites to speak in Hindi. Why can’t they converse in English as it is the other official language of our constitution? My parents were bank employees and we have had our share of moving around the country and every time I am in a new place I would have to adapt myself according to the place I am in. Being a Tamilian I cannot go to Delhi and expect them to speak to me in Tamil. I have to learn Hindi to blend with them. People fail to realize that someone coming outside Tamil Nadu faces the same issues as the ones coming into it.

When I came to the US in 2003 one of my Tamil friends warned me about the Telugu friends in the college. He said that we are isolated and they don’t talk to us. I did not take any of that nonsense and I mingled with them and learned their language and smoothly slid into their circle. I now have great friends from college and I am still in touch with most of them. It just teaches one thing, people who are happy to change themselves and adapt themselves will always come out ahead. People who crib about anything and everything will always fall behind.

I now can speak Hindi, English and Tamil fluently and can understand and speak broken Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam which makes my life easier. For me cribbing is not an option in these scenarios. We are always competing in this world and it’s always survival of the fittest. No place is a bad place; every place has its own charm and culture. If you embrace it then you will be the winner. When we go to a new place the people there don’t change according to our needs, we have to change according to where we are.

I am not going to sit here and say that Chennai is the best place in the world, for that matter even in India but it’s not the worst either. Yes Chennai has its issues like language, Weather etc but has its advantages too. Every place in India is the same. For a Tamilian travelling to Delhi or Mumbai, the issues are the same but we try to adjust. There is no complaints on our part.

Chennai is a great place, I love being there but if I have to move to a different part of the country I will do it without a problem. If I have to learn Marathi, Gujarati or any other language to blend into the local crowd I will do that. That’s what makes life interesting isn’t it. We are moving towards new age India and it’s sad to see that we are still in the stone age of fighting over language and region. Just try to blend with the locals wherever you go and you will find that the place is not that bad after all.

Tamil Superstar Ajith Kumar (Thalai) to race in Formula 2 this year

Ajith has decided to give his passion of racing another go as he is competing in Formula 2 championship this year. We all know Ajith’s immense love for motorsports and Karun Chandhok’s entry to Formula 1 has inspired our “Thalai” to give his racing career another chance. Ajith though quickly dismissed any intentions of him trying for formula 1 and is much happier to be racing in Formula 2 right now.

He also says on his exclusive interview with Rediff that he is going to take racing career seriously this time. He said that he is going to concentrate on racing for the majority of this year and has plans to do just one movie with Gautham Menon later this year. Ajith has already raced in Formula Asia and Formula 3 before and he also had couple of podium finishes in the competitive British F3 championship.

Ajith was thrilled about his prospects with Formula two this season,

“I am really excited about racing in F2. I have a great regard for Jonathan Palmer – thanks to him and his efforts Formula Two is the next best thing to F1. Coming from India with a population of 2 billion, I want to take motor racing in this country to the common man. Right now, it is still a niche sport largely popular in the urban areas. Given my profile as a film star, I hope to use my status to popularise the sport in India.” he said

So best of luck to Ajith and I hope that he has a great season. It will be great to see our “Thalai” get couple of podium finishes this year.

You can follow Ajith’s progress this season at official formula 2 site. You can also get more information about his racing career at Ajith Kumar profile on the same website.

Eeram was one of the better Tamil movies to grace the theaters in recent times

Eeram was one of the better Tamil movies to grace the theaters in recent times

Eeram by S Pictures is one of the better Tamil movies I have seen in recent times. Shankar has always had a knack of picking up good scripts for his production house and he has never gone wrong till now. Eeram had a debutant director Arivazhagan who was Shankar’s assistant in the past. Arivazhagan has done a brilliant job in his very first movie.

Eeram has a gripping storyline, great camera work, fantastic background score and a good star cast. The movie was touted as a thriller but the supernatural angle to it was well concealed before the release of the movie. The movie began brilliantly with a crisp first half. The movie starts with Sindhu Menon drowned in her bath tub. Aadi who is the cop investigating the death is the ex-lover of Sindhu Menon and suspects that this might have been a murder. Nandha is Sindhu Menon’s husband who is in a business meeting in Mumbai.

During the investigation several other deaths happen in the same floor of the building which adds to the suspense. When Aadi finally tracks down the guy who was supposed to be meeting Sindhu often in her apartment the story takes a twist. That was one of the brilliant scenes in the movie and totally unexpected.

As I said earlier the first half was fantastic. The frequent shift between the present and past to show the romance between Aadi and Sindhu was done very well and the pace of the movie was maintained. The movie followed a logical path and investigation by Aadi made the story movie along in an interesting manner. But that’s where the movie changed the course after the interval. Once the movie took the super natural path, it became rather predictable. The movie was also longer by at least 30 minutes.

I guess if you are making a thriller, the ideal length of the movie should be around 2 hrs or little bit more than that but 2 hrs 46 min was little bit too much. The director seemed too confused regarding how he wanted to end the movie and that showed in the climax which was low key. Arivazhagan needs to be applauded to have attempted something different in his debut movie. He could have taken the easy way out by making a masala movie to start his career but I guess he was lucky to have been picked up by S Pictures.

The movie overall was technically brilliant. The camera work was brilliant and the mood of the movie was captured on screen throughout. As the name suggests the movie has water playing an important part in the movie and almost every scene has water somewhere on the screen. The acting was also adequate. Aadi as a cop was very good. Sindhu Menon did a good job and so did Nanda. The music by Thaman was also very good. Both the songs in the movie were nice and the background score was brilliant.

All in all Arivazhagan is a great find for Tamil industry and I hope that he comes back with another good movie as a follow up.

India's diversity makes it harder for the people to stay united

India's diversity makes it harder for the people to stay united

Well I was in 10th standard when I first heard the term “Unity in Diversity” in my civics class. That was an attempt to teach the kids about the greatness of our country and the different languages and cultures India posses from Jammu to KanyaKumari. It was 15 years ago and when I look back now I feel what have we learnt? We are still fighting based on language, religion, region and what not. So what does that one chapter in the book accomplish?

India is a country with a beautiful history and tradition going thousands of years back. The country is made of 28 states and speaks thousands of languages and dialects with 22 of them being official. Each state in India almost has their language as an official language other than English of course. So the country has lots of divide from various avenues. People eat different, look different, speak different so there lays a problem.

The problem is that we study so many meaningless stuff about history that we fail to educate the kids about our own country. I can point out so many people coming from the Northern part of India from the current generation who claim themselves educated have no clue of the fact that Southern India posses of 4 different states and speak four different languages. Same can be said about the people from the south India. There are people from India who will actively talk about the current US foreign policies at length without any problem but ask them what language is spoken in Andhra; 70-80% will say Tamil.

That’s the kind of knowledge we provide our future generation about our country’s diverse culture. Politicians of India are notorious in starting up regional divide to further their political agenda and people fall for it. The reason is that unity is not emphasised in schools or at home from our childhood. Just having one chapter in 15-16 years of education isn’t going to help anyone. I am not even sure if that one chapter exists across the nation.

The rigid mentality of the current modern generation is baffling for a country that has made the entire world to take a notice due to its growth. The fact that this mentality is going to be carried forward to the next generation is even scarier. We don’t have to know the language or speak them but we need to learn to respect each other and not degrade based on region. There was one guy who said that he had a bad impression on south India and I was like based on what? He did not even know South India has four states.

A person from South does not want to learn Hindi and the one from other parts of India does not want to embrace the South unless they are forced to. The country cannot move forward with these divides continuing to the future generation. The schools should include more about our country and culture and beauty of it rather than teaching meaningless history. How difficult would it be to include a General knowledge subject to educate the kids about different cultures and traditions of our country? I guess it also becomes a responsibility of present generation that we educate them to break the language barriers and learn to be friends irrespective of what language one speaks.

We need not speak the language but still learn to be friends with a fellow Indian, Isn’t that supposed to be the absolute “Unity in Diversity”? Indians are already divided by religion, caste, region etc; but one thing which can be eliminated is the language divide. I am not saying that everyone has to learn like 20 languages but I am just saying that we don’t use that to discriminate anyone. It should not be a cause for fight between two people. I have friends who speak various languages and I myself speak or understand 5 Indian languages which makes my job easier though. I guess we need to instill respect and love towards fellow Indian irrespective of their cast, religion, region, color etc from childhood. Unless we do that we cannot call ourselves united. I at least hope that the future generation sees a much united India than we are doing today.


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