/* */ Hi Pal.. Film4thwall has been moved to PIXMONK - my new home :).: May 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso - My hometown theatres.

I wanted to rebuild what the cinema hall used to be once; a sacred place where people used to know each other, to spend time together, to smile, and dream - Director Giuseppe Tornatore.

I started watching films in my school days at an above average level. I watch any kind of cinema starting from Telugu dubbing Chiranjeevi movies, MRRAdha's classic 'Rathak kaneer' to 'Schindlers list'. But I had the passion to watch them in theatres alone. I watch DVDs with a heavy heart that I could have enjoyed them much in theatre.

Once I remember my father dragged me out of Tamil exam in 4th standard to watch 'Salangai Oli' in Muralikrishna. My mother took me to 'Sakalakala vallavan' twice. Obviously, when I watched 'Cinema Paradiso', I just easily fixed me in that character where the boy's life is just made up of cinemas, he watched.

The other thing is friendship with a father-like senior [ Like paruthi veeran ] and this film deals with that bonding between a 6 yr old boy Toto and his father-like friend Alfredo.

Nuovo cinema paradiso [ New Cinema paradiso ] 1988/Drama/Italy
Music : Ennio Morricone
Written & Directed by : Giuseppe Tornatore.


The famous Italian director Salvatore gets a call from his mother with a news. He neither called his mother nor visited her for 30 years. But the message takes him back to his hometown. With that his childhood story comes in flashback.

6 years old Toto [ nick name of Salvatore ] helps the local pastor in the church and very passionate about movies. The small town has only one theatre called 'Cinema Paradiso'. He develops with a middle aged theatre projectionist Alfredo. Though Alfredo initially rejects him in the projection room, due to a deal he allows him to work with him in free time. They develop a strong bonding over the time and due to an issue, a new cinema paradiso is built with Toto as the projectionist. The story then flows with the adult Toto.

Toto falls in love with Elena in college and tries to develop the relation. Alfredo doesn't want Toto to fall in love and end his life in the small town. Somehow, the love doesn't become successful and they are separated. Alfredo strongly advices Toto to leave the town and never ever come back for any reasons to pursue his career. Meanwhile, Toto learns to shoot amateur videos.

The 3rd part of the story is the old Toto visiting his home town and spending time with his mother. Toto also finds Elena in the same town and they meet once to talk about their past. Alfredo's wife gives a parcel and film reel as a gift from Alfredo. Toto watches the reel in his personal projection theatre and runs with tears. He watches the best in that cinema reel which he was passionate in his childhood.


- As any good cinema, this starts from the first shot as you see 'FRANCO CRISTALDI PRESENTA'. The mesmerising piano + violin music prepares the audience to just attach with the story. As a good narration the movie starts with a flashback, where the movie director rewinds his childhood days in his native.

- The very first scene explains the characters that are introduced. The kid is introduced sleeping in a prayer session where he is supposed to help the pastor. A clever n mischievous boy who is enormously interested in cinema.

- Ennio Morricone needs a special mention for his sparkling score for this movie. He was involved in the movie right from the scripting phase and hence he lived with the story. That is proven in the music. One of the best theme music and soundtracks, in my collection.

- Editing games - Every scene connects with the next scene in a poetic manner.. For ex., The lightning in the first scene changes into the sunlight in the church, the scale blows by a teacher change into the leveling of film reel, small church bell turning into big school bell.. Even when Toto's mother cries about her husband, the boy is attracted towards a cinema poster.

- Alfredo - A perfect father who is tough in outlook but so soft in nature. He advices Toto not to enter projection operator job but wit a ideal he teaches him. His dialogues are almost made up of cinema dialogues as he watches every film almost 100 times.

- The scene where Alfredo talks to Toto was a fantastic piece. Go away and never come back to this town. This is an important dialog to a person who lives in a small town [ Remember the same dialog in 'Men of Honour' for Crawl Basheer from his father.. The intention is not to make the junior to suffer the same as they did in life ].I could understand the reality by being coming from a little town. Little town takes out the energy. The relation between Alfredo and Toto was amazing. A fatherless kid and a childless projectionist.

- The first love is of course shown as just an attraction at the first sight. The girl is not so attractive in this movie, I guess [ otherwise I would have written 2 paragraphs about her :) ].

- The best scene is after 30 years Toto tries to contact his ex lover and the conversation is shown in a single shot.. Zoom in shows the Toto in a public booth and zoom out shows Elena in a silhouette in her window.

- The dialog between Toto's mother and him after 30 years was a touching one.

- Cinema hall - It's a part of the people from that Sicily town.I couldn't resist thinking about my hometown theatres. I am one of the freaks who couldn't digest cinema theatres changing into malls and marriage halls. My hometown got only one theatre now. :( . The various characters in the movie are excellently portrayed including the theatre owner, pastor, his assistant, a prostitute and whom not.

- The morning school and the forenoon school shots are a beautifully communicated with a noisy children crowd and a silent horse walk.

- The adult Toto tries to impress Elena and the dialogues are nice. Also, the scene which old Toto meets Elena was poetic.

- Most of the dialogues uttered by Alfredo are from old movies and his life style was depicted neatly in the film. He heats his lunch in the old projection light box :)

- The cinema hall itself is a character in this movie. The stages it come across and it's end. I attach with the great theatres that were demolished in my time. [ ex : Ananda theatre in Pondicherry :( ].


I am fortunate to see the directors cut [ 173 mins ] of this movie - it was a treat to watch. I wondered how an Italian cinema has the traces of my childhood. I used to play marbles [ Goli ] in exchange for film stripes and marbles too.. [ Rajini films were costly :) ]
By seeing the cut films Toto adds the dialogue to that and also he collects those films in a box. I see myself in that character and hence my name :) .

- Toto.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kadhal - Film in a song's budget

ஒரு ந‌ல்ல‌ திரைப்ப‌ட‌ம் முடிந்த‌வுட‌ன் துவ‌ங்குகிற‌து ‍ ‍‍: ஒளிப்ப‌திவாள‌ர் செழிய‌ன்.

Do you know why Tamil kings built temple ? [ Review-la engadaa King-um Temple-um :) ] One Discovery channel video of South Indian temples stated that Kings built temple to repent their sins of killing 1000s of people in the name of war and thus avoiding reincarnation. Shankar repented his sins of making stereotyped robin hood movies by producing his films under S pictures. [ eppadiyo join pannite :) ]. Kadhal was produced in a budget, where normally Shankar shoots a song for his films ending in 'N' :). The good thing is that he marketed the movie well.

Almost, all films in Tamil deal with love but very few unfolds the view of the parent's and the consequences of eloping away.

Film : Kadhal [ 2004 / Drama ]
Cast : Murugan, Aiswarya, Rajendran, Vellaiyan, Karattandi, Stepehen
Cinematography : Vijay Milton
Music : Joshua Sridhar
Written & Directed by : Balaji Sakthivel

Fine points

- Opening title sequences and the theme song [ Haricharan - just the words kadhal, humming and a guitar n flute ] was fabulous. Most of the camera work in the title is done as a candid work.
- Murugan asks the same question to Aiswarya in different situations to reiterate that they know about what they do.

- Watch out for the minute detailing like 'Singamle' in the Sumo of Rajendran, Aiswarya illam, wine shop, workshop, christian school.. even the director uses the lines written on the school wall, When they elope one more scooty is shown as some other pair started their love :).

- The beauty of the narration is all the faces are new and they fit just like a glove .. even with their voices. [ Enpaa.. Paapavuku oru Jigardhanda kudu..].

- The scene where the tiffin box and purse were about to meet by scooty's vibration was a good metaphor whereas the tap symbol was an ugly metaphor.

- The body language of a mechanic , school girl, wine shop owner and almost all characters were awesome.

- The montage song 'Dhandatti karuppayi' needs a special mention. I just depicts the happenings in a function happens in Madurai area. Drunk relatives, fight for a leg piece, playing cards, police officials attending the function, school friends accompanying her.. I like every inch of that song.

- The Karattandi character is new to Tamil cinema who is an assistant mechanic in the shed. Even when Murugan was about to say farewell silently, the boy pretends to get beating. When Murugan leaves, the boy runs and ends up in a confusion.. may be his work. That scene was poetic.

- Sandhya - She portrays the childish, rich school girl who happens to live between a poor lover and an affectionate family. Her brahmin friends perfectly matches a typical school friend who accompanies a gir almost everywhere.

- Joshua Sridhar.. He is one of the few debut music directors who makes an impact in the first film. The theme music is the most lovable one apart from Thottu thottu, Dhandatti karupaayi, Ivan dhaan.. The voices are fresh as flowers especially the humming of Shalini singh, Haricharan, Sruthi.
- In the first half, songs are used just like BGM and the audience don't separate them. Also, he had used western music for a Madurai backdrop film and it worked out !

- The dialect was so new to Tamil people apart from Madurai/Dindugal area [ Indhaaru... Tharsaaiyuruve ].

- I would have happier if they ended the story like the girl's father stops them while eloping, itself. Chennai segment [ 2nd half ] of the story is very weak by all means. The story looses its fine touch here.

- The story doesn't have a Villain.. How can you call a father who looses his school-going daughter eloping with a mechanic ? The father character is accompanied by an one handed brother who traces this pair. The end leaves the movie to be thought about.

- Director portrays the time along with the school [ 10th exams, practical notebook ]. The technicians Vijay Milton, N.Muthukumar put a worthy effort.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Visual poem - In the mood for love

தனிமை.. த‌விப்பு.. த‌ய‌க்க‌ம்
Can anyone be able to express freely to the other person honestly ? We have so many filters, we rehearse the dialog before we let it out. There are very few places that we let out whatever that comes to our mind like close friend, in prayer etc., Once Kamalhassan said that he likes the Villain character in any story because he is honest - if he wants to rape a girl, he does it straight forward :). We the normal people hesitate, oscillate, falter, boggle.. at least within ourselves before we express out. This film is about those minute emotions.

Have you heard of the song 'Oru naalil vaazhkkai' in Pudhupettai ? The most philosophical song that I have heard of late. That touches upon the loneliness,hesitation,unexpressed emotions of self. How about an entire movie talking about the same. A normal form of cinema deals much with the story like Bhim singh films.. Another form of cinema mostly deals with the visualization of a simple story. The second form is slightly tough to get attached with. But he Wong Kar-wai made it very simple so that we understand what the characters feel about. The beauty is without dialogues and with the help of cinematography and music.

Film : In the mood for love [ Drama / 2001 / Hongkong ]
Director ; Wong Kar-wai
Music : Michael Gallaso / Umebayashi
Cinematography : Christopher Doyle [ Remember.. Rabbit proof fence ].

Plot :
The story is set in 1960s. Two couples move to adjacent apartments simultaneously. The first apartment has Tony a journalist whose wife mostly comes late or travels. "So" is the other lady who stays in the next apartment and her husband travels most of the time. She works as a secretary in a company. They are accompanied by a friendly house owner lady. Though the apartment is a lively place with people our 2 main characters don't mingle with the crowd, much. Wife of Tony and husband of 'So' don't respond to their spouses properly. Tony and 'So' hardly meet each other. they slowly come across each other in the hallway, restaurant, a rainy day.
One day they have dinner in a hotel and in their conversation they realise something. This disturbs them a lot. they slowly develop a friendship but very cautious about their limits. Tony starts writing about martial arts in the paper and So helps him. he stays in hotel for writing without any disturbance. she meets him in the hotel. Time pass on and on a rainy day Tony says to her that he is slowly loosing himself towards her and nothing good is happening. he says that she anyway cannot leave her husband and things won't change.. also he thinks that they also may end up in a relation. Hence, Tony leaves to Singapore..'So' tried to stop him but not. She weeps.
After 3 years, Tony gets a blank call from 'So' .. he realises that it is her. Tony does a confession at the end. Something happens ..

View :

- The story might look vague but the emotions it leaves us is a simple heartbreak. Director Wong doesn't much believe in script. He shoots through the year and cuts as he needs them and mostly the story is formed in the editing table and given life by cinematographer and the musician [ of curse , less dialogues ]. The true form of visual communication.
- The music makes the movie lively. Their loneliness, hesitation, sadness, compassion, unexpressed love is expressed in music. Just a cello talks to the audience instead of the characters and they use mostly slow-motion.

- Their interaction is poetic and they take their own time to interact with each other. It's not like they dash in the hallway and the next moment they sing and dance in Swiss, half-dressed.

- The story has very few characters and they are neatly used. House owner, maid, ugly friend in press, lonely manager in shipping company.

- The first lengthy conversation they make is brilliant as it reveals their personal sadness. The beauty of this cinema is they never show 'So's husband and Tony's wife. they just exist in the story, invisibly in phone / conversations.

- Some single shots express the feelings magically. An empty football ground, a boy, a foot ball from a top Angle shows the summer loneliness of a boy in Kikujiro. Similarly, Jason Bourne [ the master action hero for me ] enters New York in a ship - the shot is just shown with Statue of liberty on one side and his ship on the other side. here, Wong Kar-wai uses rain to show the loneliness. It rains heavily on the lamp post and road in the lonely street at night. Both Tony and 'So' mostly exchange silences in place of their dialogues.
- Michael Galasso, Shigeru Umebayashi and Christopher Doyle are definitely the masters who made this visual poem lovely to watch.

- The way the movie ends in Angorwat is lyrical. Just a simple beat and a cello. He talks to the hole in the temple wall and closes. A monk just observes from the top side of the temple. I admire the characterization of Tony and 'So' - the casting is perfect with actors having sympathetic faces.


Some movies just pass by with some questions to us. If they lived together this movie would have become one another adultery movie. But the thin line between the hesitation and the romance makes it interesting to watch.

Emotional journey of loneliness and unexpressed love.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ameer Sultan's Saga - Paruthi Veeran.

Paruthiveeran received 2 national awards. One for actor Priyamani and other one is ?

The scope of a film is determined by the impact it makes on us. Most of the movies continue the impact for one night and then diminishes slowly. Very few movies make a lasting impact and make Toto to think for a longer time. One such brilliant piece is Paruthiveeran. Everyone knows about the story and Toto would like to get the sweet spots of the movie.

- Opening : This movie starts right from the frame where 'studio green' logo appears with a sparkling music [ Paruthiyur Ochaandamman kovil thiruvizha ]. Ameer, once said we have heard the film music of villages but not the actual music of village. This movie does the village percussion at its natural best.

The fine point everyone wonders that it's a montage song for titles and the festival. If you watch closely, all the characters are introduced in the song along with their characterization, including douglas and the 2 relative persons of muthazhagu. [ Kazhuva Servai smiles when the eunuchs sing about Devar community ]. This is one of the best montage songs in Tamil [ one more is dhandatti karupaayi from Kaadhal ].

- Trivia time : Thought the movie is set to happen in 2006, no single element of technology has been used [ No cell phones, signal towers, Sun news, computer, bank :) ]. The movie at the maximum has 2 ambassador cars, enfield and yamaha bikes.

- One of the best opening scene for a debut hero, Karthi . Also, watch for the shot when Ameer's name on screen. It appears colorfully with fireworks.

- Priyamani studies in IX 'B' and her teacher justifies the age stating that she spent 4 yrs in the same class. Also, the complexion difference between the young and adult muthazagu is explained in a dialogue.

- They deployed a nice method of using multiple dialogues in the background.. For ex., Muthazgu friends talk about the history class [ Kanmani en kooda cycle-la varratum ], some talks throughout the movie. All the dialogues of kuttichaaku are in this category.. [ nee ennapaa kaathula padam varainjikittu ]. The dialogues are aptly sprinkled with sense of humour.

- Some people reviewed that they don't like the climax and suggested for alternate climax. Ameer's answer is review should be done for the film made and not the film could have been made. Cinema is always made for Toto and not for reviewers :) . How true !

- Some anamorphic shots in wide angle cover the rustic look of the locations fully and those shot gloriously enhances the look of the film. Mostly used in the song sequences. Cameraman Ramji did a fabulous job.

- "Kaadhalin deepam ondru" song gets an apt placement in the film. Veeran mentions about radio and not FM.

- The editor did a wonderful job if placing he flashback sequences without disturbing the main story flow and also doesn't loose in the entire length of the movie [ 2 hrs 40 mins ]. Raja Mohammad got the other national award for his work.

- Sellakka kurathi character is new to Tamil cinema.

- Priyamani got her life time role in this film. 3 best sequences of her are getting beaten up by kazhuvan, getting beaten up by veeran in the pond and the breath taking climax.

- Karthi's wonderful body language needs a special mention.. One nice sequence is that he goes to Muthazgau's house for asking her to marry and the climax. He did a splendid work in the dances. Class ! [ Ameer choreographed his steps - loose control :) ]

- I have to mention about ponvannan and Saravanan.. Ponvannan [ Kazhuva Servai tha/pe : Seenikannu thevar ] natural looks with moutache, beard and his characterization was nicely portrayed. Saravanan needs to be mentioned explicitly for his catchy character depiction. Every character in this movie got a link with the story flow.

- Villain is karthi and circumstances.. Every sequence happens accidentally. The moment you see the lorry in the climax, you get a lump in the throat. [ of course, when u watch it second time ].

- Ameer said some of the sequences weren't actually turned up as he thought and listed that could have been avoided.. cinematic fight with gusthi vaadhyaar disciples, sarigama song, Veeran's reaction in the climax. As per him, the veeran character doesn't know how to cry and he stays still.. for cinema it's changed.

- Yuvanshankar raja's work is noteable as he just followed the true colours of village music except in duet songs. He slipped up in the climax scene, I think. Other BGMs fil aptly. I like the love theme, whenever Muthzagu tries to look for Veeran.

- Madurai slang was used extensively in this movie and it was very nice. Thirapparvai Madhan said to Ameer said the he could'nt follow the dialogues. Ameer replied that the people can't speak Chennai Tamil, sir. :)

- Have u noticed [ Unaku mattum endaa ippadi :) ]. the director chain Bala-Ameer-Sasikumar have a common charcterization in Pithamagan-Paruthiveeran-Subramaniapuram [ school girl loving a thug and thug has a friend ]. I'm afraid Samuthrakani comes up with one more story like this [ he is the associate in Paruthi veeran and he is the villain in Subramniapuram - Kanagu].

Above all, Ameer says 'I don't follow world cinema' !! No wonder this film was screened in Berlin film festival and appreciated much !

Rajini said to Ameer ' idhaan.. idhaan.. idhaan.. idhaan namma cinema.. idhu padamnu solli solraanga..idhu padamillai.. kaaviyam'. I second him.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The LIGHT dynasty

சென்னைல‌ 2 ஆல‌ம‌ர‌ம்.. ஒண்ணு அடையார்ல‌ .. இன்னொண்ணு ஆழ்வார்பேட்டைல‌.. yes.. It is P.C.Sriram.

These are the noticeable, successful technicians [ Cameramen/Directors/others] from the school of PCSriram. Also, I have listed their noteable works for their identity.

** Late Jeeva [ Indian, Kadhalan ]
** Thiru [ Hey Ram, Lesaa Lesaa ]
** Velraj [ Asst of PC and Thiru.. Polladhavan ]
** YNMurali [ Chathriyan ]
** Chezian [ Kalloori ]
** Ramji [ Dum dum dum, Raam, Paruthi veeran ]
** SR Kathir [ Asst of Ramji.. Subramaniapuram, Katradhu Thamizh ]
** MSPrabhu [ Mahanadhi, Thavamaai thavamirundhu ]
** Aravind Krishna [ Pudhupettai, Kadhal konden ]
** KV Anand [ Kadhal desam, Sivaji ]
** Mahesh Muthuswamy [ Chithiram pesudhadi, Anjaathey ]
** Dwarakanath [ Autograph, Mayak kannadi ]
** D.Ramesh babu [ Veede - Telugu ]
** Arjun Jenna [ Kaadhal virus ]
** Preetha [ Abiyum naanum - Lady ]
** Fowzia [ Mitr - Lady ]
** Michael Earnest [ Visual effects supervisor ]

Sabu James, Andrew and Vincent are the other cinematographers, I got apart from this incomplete list. I am afraid of digging it further and stopped. Instead, I started wondering about the master cinematographer, worked and influenced numerous assistants/technicians in the industry. He worked for almost 30 films and directed 3 films in his career. The number of successful assistants are more than his number of films, I guess :).

P.C.Sriram is the first technician whom I saw on screen, getting applause [ I applauded while watching 'Idhaiyathai Thirudadhe' ].

He neither had a colorful academic education nor had guidance from the industry. The closest connection with cinema is that he stayed close to Venus studios. His whole world changed after he joined the Chennai film institute. After the institute life, at first, he shot a 16mm film with his friends and nobody knows the whereabouts of the film. The first official offer he got, was from Pratap bothan for 'Meendum oru kaadhal kadhai' [ Remember Gaapi & Sarasu; Adhikaalai nerame song ] and they shot it for 2 years [1984-86.. loosely based on the backdrop of 'One flew over cuckoo's nest' ]. Then came the offer from Fazil for 'Poove poochoodava' [ 1985].

The greatest chemistry happened then in 1986 when Mani Sir's 'Mouna raagam' brought both together and the rest is history. Both the technicians are legendary and influenced the film world but they assisted nobody.
Alfredo shared to Toto that he couldn't beleive that one can quickly learn cinematography by assisting somebody and come out as a cameraman. I don't know but it happened.
Do you know the cameraman of ' Pallavi anu pallavi', first film of Mani Sir ? It's Balu Mahendra. Also, give a try to find the cameramen for Pagal Nilavu and Idhayak kovil.. You'll get a trivia there :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

From Mao to Mozart - Musical journey

"Music is not just black and white. Music is every color and some that even painters don't have."
- Isaac Stern, Violinist/Music teacher.

We know the cultural differences between western countries and China. People of these 2 countries cannot come together with any of their qualities, language and culture. But one thing can easily fill up the gap and that is MUSIC.

In 1979, Isaac Stern and his pianist friend made a cultural trip to China as invited by the Chinese government. As part of the trip, they travelled, conducted concerts and exchanged the goodness of their rich western music with the traditional and disciplined music of China.

We can't imagine how restricted Chinese culture to let the western music into their system. There was a cultural change going on between 1966-76.


The doc starts with a plane landing in Beijing airport welcoming the western Music teacher Isaac Stern and his team. Isaac Stern, a Jewish violin master brought up in Sanfrancisco. The best part of Isaac is that he is not only great violinist/music teacher but he was also enormously interested in spreading his knowledge to younger generation. During their visit, they conduct concerts, take lessons, and share the best practices in handling the instruments. Isaac is surprised by the young talent in China and their disciplined mastership in the work with lack of emotion in playing. He explains the sweet spots in playing the instrument and everything about music. He visits the music conservatory and learns how the music infrastructure works there. In turn, he shares his views on tuning what they already do to elevate their skills.

Though it was intended to be a concert tour, he took some additional steps to boldly express what he thinks.. That too in China. The documentary also reveals the repression happened to the music teachers who favored foreign music. Though the trip was just a month long, the impact and infectious enthusiasm Stern showed to Chinese musicians had a dramatic impact.


- Slightly resembling Alfred Hitchcock, Stern vigorously and also nicely shares his views on music and the best practices like having a sponge pad hiding under shoulder to rest the violin base.

- His lessons are irresistible and it is understood from the students listening to him. He doesn't stop himself explaining the intricacies of the instrument and also the emotion and life in playing the music.

- One fine scene was that, he asks a Chinese girl to sing what she played in violin..She hesitates as singing is not taken lightly in their culture. Students happily accept his improvisations and reproduce the same instantly.

- The doc touches also upon the tough times the musicians faced for favoring foreign music. Music teachers who favored foreign music were arrested and tortured.

- After visiting the intensive sports coaching of Chinese tots, Stern Amazingly tells that 'but they can't play Mozart' :)


Stern said ' What is music all about? The instrument is not that important. It just the means to the end. Don't use music to play violin but use violin to play music.'

He is an excellent and highly practical teacher. I admire his knowledge and admire him more as he also shares to the next generation. Stern later visited China after 20 years and amazed by the change he has observed.

He ended the documentary with..' You know what I mean.. Open up'. China opened up.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Maestros in celluloid - Themes.

I would like to register some thoughts on the theme music tracks, which made an unforgettable impact on me.

1. Kikujiro / Music : Joe Hisaishi / Director : Takeshi Kitano.

It's an enchanting piano piece. The movie is all about a kid and his friend travelling to find his mother. The kid receives unconditional love from the people he meets on his journey. The peppy part of the music represents the bubbling age of the kid. Also, it resembles his loneliness and wait for his affection from the family.

2. In the mood for love / Music : Micahel Galasso / Director : Wong Kar-wai
This Hong Kong film analyses about the loneliness one gets after the marriage [ Hong Kong-layumaa :) ] . The entire film psychologically depicts the hesitation and hidden thoughts of a man and a woman. The director Wong depends on music and photography rather than the story. He starts his films without a script and forms the film mostly during the editing. So Yumeji's theme explains all about the loneliness in a cello. A slow solo chord represents sorrow.

3. Cinema Paradiso / Music : Enio Moricone / Director : Giuseppe Tornatore

This Italian film is about life of a boy Toto, his old friend Alfredo and his love [ adult stage ] in a small town with cinema theatre in the backdrop. The theme starts with a piano and joins with sax, violins, cellos and flute. Such an enchanting piece to portray the nuances of this classic Italian movie. Another brilliant piece is 'Toto and Alfredo' from the same soundtrack.


4. The Shawshank redemption / Music : Thomas Newman / Director : Frank Darabont

One of the foremost classics, I have watched. The story is all about hope and friendship. Thomas Newman was introduced to me in this movie and later I became a fan of him. Apart from the story, visuals, narration Newman's score added value to the flow of the film. Great movies have lesser dialogues and they convey more in cinematography and in music. The other soothing scores of Thomas Newman are Wall-e, Road to perdition, Finding nemo, Cinderella man, etc.,

5. Braveheart / Music : James Horner / Director : Mel Gibson

Apart from IR, I have never heard of Hollywood soundtracks. Mysskin introduced me the Braveheart soundtrack and the name 'James Horner' - one more Maestro. The music is composed according to the nature of the movie [ Historic Scotland warrior movie ] and hence more pipes were used in this film. The entire movie is a visual treat along with glittering music. The other remarkable samples of James horner are Titanic, A beautiful mind, Troy etc.,

This is definitely not a top - 5 list but the list that came up when I thought about soundtracks.

To end with a small trivia, all the great movies [ even the above list ] had rain sequences in them. They somehow use rain as a mood. Remember the heavy, black rain in Rashomon, Meoirs of a geisha.. As ARRahman said in worldspace ad, "with world cinema and music, there's so much to see and hear".


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Memoirs of a geisha - Colourful visual.

"A story like mine should never be told. For my world is as forbidden as it is fragile. Without its mysteries it cannot survive. I certainly wasn't born to the life of a geisha. Like so much in my strange life, I was carried there by the current. "

Who is a Geisha ? [ Trisha illeenga :) ]. Geisha means artist or a performing artist.

We have very limited knowledge about the other rare breeds of people and culture [ Sumo wrestlers, Eskimos, etc., ]. Books and cinema are the sources to open up the doors for our knowledge. You might have come across a category of people in Andhra Pradesh called 'Daasi'. A film came in 1989, on this subject which yielded national award for actor Archana. Daasi is a slave breed, where they send the Daasi girls as part of marriage gift as maids. They have their own bleak world.

The world of geisha is peculiar and more ceremonial. Their entire life is all about getting recognized as a Geisha. First, I wondered why Steven Spielberg opted for producing a movie based on a Japanese culture [ even directing it - and delegated later ]. It's because of the poetic nature of the narration and a subtle sorrow n freedom of a poor girl. This story is based on a novel written by Arthur Golden.

Film : Memoirs of a geisha [ 2005 ] Period drama
Cast : Zhang zyi, Gong Li
Cinematography : Dion Beebe
Directed by : Rob Marshall [ Chicago ! ]


" We do not become Geisha to pursue our own destines. We become Geisha because we have no other choice. "

It's a typical Cindrella story with stunning visuals told in the backdrop of Japan.

The film begins off in the late 1920s. On a rainy day, a young girl Chiyo and her sister are sold by her family. They are sold to geisha's house as maids. Life becomes tough for the poor girl as no one shows kindness to her [ fairy tale narration ! ]. There's another girl called pumpkin who is trained to become a geisha and one more senior girl [ Hatsumomo ] who plans completely against Chiyo. Chiyo meets one particular person on road, [ a soft hearted chairman ] who treats her very kindly, which she never felt before. She develops an unknown respect and love towards the chairman. This is the first part of the story of the girl.

Later as an adult, she is later taken under the custody of another kind-hearted geisha named Mameha. She trains Chiyo as a perfect geisha. Also, Chiyo's name is changed to Sayuri and becomes the top rated geisha in the district. She attracts men, who don't attract her. She still longs for the chairman and circumstances make chairman to stay away from her, because of his business partner and friend.

Sayuri, later in a different status, gets her final chance to showcase her skills as a geisha and get an offer. Her life continues to be be painful with hatred, backstabbing and jealous. Did she live a life that she wanted ?


- It's a visual treat. Right from the first frame, the film is presented with exotic and beautiful shots. In VLC plyer, there's an option to convert any frame of the film to a wallpaper. This film worth all the frames :) . The other film, I recollect is 'Anna and the King' [ Thai based ].

- The story as you read is simple but slow. No action sequences, thrilling moments or hilarious wits. The story flows just like a stream. Like Geishas, the film concentrates more on the outlook rather than the emotions [ Fantastic sets, extraordinary visuals, fine costumes ].

- The next beautiful aspect was the music, of course. The efforts to recreate Japan in 1930, Sumo wrestling, houses, especially costumes [ Kimonos - similar to silk saree ] are laudable. This movie has won academy award for cinematography, art direction and costumes.

- The water element in this movie is attractively portrayed. The film starts with rain, sea side fishing village, ends in a small park with a pond. The heroine herself is identified as an element of water as per their tradition.

- They were able to find a girl as well as an adult with same attributes of twinkling blue eyes. Those eyes express love, sorrow, pain and what not. [ Chinese ponnudaa.. Vittu veidaa.:) ]. There were handful of scenes, where the girl smiles fully. Even the emotions of the geisha are muted.

- The heroine Ziyi Zhang has done stupendous job as Geisha. The surprise is she is from China and played this Japanese traditional character.

- I liked the chiyo and Hatsumomo characters equally as they portray the good and evil natures very easily.

- Sayuri doesn't cry in the movie, though she had moments for the same. Also, expressing love. Geisha is not accustomed to express her love easily and that justifies her action in the movie.

- The demerits are it's a complete girl movie and the pace. The chairman - sayuri relation doesn't make an impact. A fragile Geisha. The other issues are that they speak English [ Why the hell ! ] and romance relationship lacks the grip.[ Un expectation puriyudhu :) ].


Geishas are definitely not prostitutes [ at least, that's my wish :) ]. This movie is a different genre and serves the purpose of soft entertainment. "Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings, she entertains you... What ever you want... the rest is shadows, the rest is secret." - So was the movie.. It sings, it dances and it entertains.. but slowly.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Few grams from the gold mine

Toto's first post on film music. [ Click the above drawing to see the actual size ].

1. What did IR's father named him as ?
2. Could you guess the early work of ARR as a keyboard player with IR ? - Answers at the end.

- Mayile Mayile - First time, IR experimented mixing a carnatic raga and a folk tune. This song is based on a carnatic raga hamsadwani with a folk tune.Sung by SPB and Jency [ Watch for the best guitar interludes ].

- Prelude [ introductory part of the music just before the pallavi ]. The longest prelude in tamil film songs of IR is "Poongathave" from Nizhalgall. It starts with a violin, violin - group, a percussion bang and slow veenai.

- Normally, there are 2 BGMs in a song. BGM1 is before the Saranam1 and BGM2 is before Saranam2. One IR song has both the BGM1 and 2 as the same. The song is 'Naan yaaru' from Chinna Jameen [ Sung by IR ].

- We know about humming.. ever heard of high/low pitch humming ?!! High pitch humming is used in "Ninaivo oru paravai" from Sigappu rojakkall and a low pitch humming is used in "poo maalaiye" from Pagal Nilavu. [ thanana nanaaa :) ]. My favourite humming is from 'Aagaya gangai' - Dharma yuddham

- Dissolve technique.. [ to break up / melt ]. Rakkamma keiyei thattu song dissolves from a peppy number into a devaram song very easily. The contrast dissolve is from "Ennulle ennulle" from Valli.. Its starts from Chendai and ends [ begins ! ] with a guitar.

- Obsession has been portrayed with the help of flute sound in "Sundari kannaal" from Thalabathy - along with the voice in the pallavi and "aasaiayai kaathula" from Johnny.

- IR did a craving prayer song in Achaani.. Madha un kovilil. SJanaki had done her best to get the right emotions. Watch the voice in this line.. Mezhugu pol uruginom.. Kanneerai maatra vaa .

- Counterpoint technique - Two or more tunes [ voices also ] getting executed simultaneously. En kanmani from Chittukuruvi is based on this technique. Even Vaali tried counterpoint in lyrics too !

- Circular music.. Rarely a song starts and ends in the same music.. "Poove sempoove" from Solla thudikudhu manasu starts and ends with the same guitar n flute notes.

- The known only-aroganam [ ascending scale ] song is 'Kalaivaaniye' from Sindhu Bhairavi. It's done much before in 'Tham thana Nam thana' song in 'Pudhiya vaarppugall' . The songs steps up and don't silde down.

- Kanne kalaimaane from Moondram pirai - This song has a solo violin following just Yesudoss's voice. This deepens the sympathy mood of the song.

- One regular instrument was missed in all the 6 songs of Agni natchathiram - Tabala.


1. GnanaDesigan
2. Film : Moodupani [ 1980 ].

** Few of the snippets are taken from 'Pesum padam', book written by Cinematographer Chezhian.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Nallasivamum Krishnaswamyum

Sometimes trivia happens.. sometimes it is made.. That's the freedom of the viewer to interpret things in his own way.

Nallasivam [ Kamal's name in Anbe Sivam ]

- Can you identify which earlier script of Kamal, had the names Nallasivam and Anbarasan, apart from 'Anbe Sivam' ? .. Answer at the end of this trivia collection.

- The power glass kamal wears has +10 points with which he can't walk or do other activities easily. The nicety is he wears a -10 point contact lens and then the glass.. to come out of this blue. Of course, this question was raised by R.Pandiarajan and explained by Kamal.

- The Shiva painting was based on Salvador Dali's painting "Galatea of Spheres" and Diego rivera's "Men at cross roads" ..Rockefeller centre. which had Lenin's face.[ it's separate controversy by its own but it's also capitalism & communism issue based !! ].

- The photo of Salvador Dali was used in Michael Madhana Kama Rajan. Great artists and their different moustaches shown in background when fireman raju takes his moustache off. [ Dei.. Set property-i kooda vida maateengaladaa :) ]

- Initially, the film was supposed to be directed by Priyadarshan. Heard once the dance master told that he was just smoking with SundarC while the song 'ele machi machi' was choreographed. SundarC got a jackpot in his career - it will be his name in the direction[?!] for the next generation who happens to watch the DVD. :)

- I like the song 'Yaar yaar sivam' - an aptly penned song for the movie. Among all the petty characters, I like the mother superior [ Yaarunga avanga ?!]. Kamal's grateful looks on her increases the value of that character.

It's always easy to say that a film is based on x or y.. however, it is extremely tough to change it according to our format.

Answer : Remember Aboorva sagodharargall villain group :) .. Dharmaraj, Lawyer Satyamurthy, Nallasivam, Francis Anbarasan. Ha..Ha..

Krishnaswamy [ Kamal's name in Mahanadhi ]

- Interesting one.. Main characters have names of the rivers.. Krishna, kavery, Bharani, Yamuna..[ Thulukaanam river perannu kekkadhinga :) - I like his charcterization ].

- The story mostly happens in the river banks..Cauvery, Coovam (jail) , hooghly.. journey returns back and ends in a well.

- The script/dialogues were penned by Kamal and Ra.Ki.Rangarajan.. Ra.Ki. hesitated first.. but kamal gifted him some books on movie scripting..

- I like the contrasts & smaller details shown.. with funk hairstyle to get the impact of close cut hair in jail sequences.

- Kamal's wife was Jayasudha.. an apt BW marriage photo was used from an old Kamal movie. [ Remember Jayasudha's sister Gayathri - Aasayai kaathula thoodhu vittu :) ]

- MS Prabhu was the cameraman [ debut film ] - school of PCSriram.. To my knowledge, it was the first film shot inside chennai central prison's actual cell.

- Kamal's scripts Mahanadhi and hey Ram came were translated as a book in Malayalam as 'Kamalhassante randu thirakkadhagall'.

- The climax was a cinematic one - Kamal had an alternate climax which he couldn't use for commercial reasons [ it is applicable for all his good movies ].

Kamal is an unavoidable personality in my movie experiences. "Hey Ram" ப‌த்தி விலாவ‌ரியா அல‌ச‌லாம்.. Opening shot-la.. ஹ‌லோ.. பாஸ்.. ஓடாதீங்க‌.. நில்லுங்க‌..



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chithiram Pesudhadi - Nam sindhai Mayangudhadi..

Q : Do you know the meaning of the name 'Mysskin ' - Find the answer at the end of the post.

Chithiram Pesudhadi was the first film written and directed by Mysskin. Previously, he worked as an associate with Kathir and Vincent Selva. With kathir he didn't work in a film but spent some months on story discussion. With V.Selva he worked in "Youth" and "Jithan". Though the working style of the directors are different, it helped him to grasp the coordination work in the field.

CP is a very regular story of Tamil cinema; a love story between a thug and a beautiful girl with a small element of suspense in it. Let us see the nuances of this simple n neat cinema.

- Character biography was introduced to me in this film. The hero introduction was nicely planned and in a single dialogue with his mother he tells his background. Normally hero has a flashback either in an introduction song [ stealing vada ! ].

Naren's character directly enters into the script by a simple dialog " 10th certificate kekkaraan.. un kitta irukaa..Un purushan sethutaannu ennai 8th-oda niruthitta.." This is the background of our hero which is depicted by just one line which usually doesn't happen in Tamil cinema.

- The Annachi character was aptly portrayed. He is not a Boss sitting in an old building with cartons/barrels [ usually a ration shop godown ! ] arranged everywhere. He is just another business man and he owns an ambassador car. [ Dadha without a sumo/scorpio ! ]

- Heroine's father character was a nice portrayal [ with white costumes mostly - metaphor for outside purity] of a person with some unexpressed feelings. He always cleans something - psychologically cleaning his mistakes. First, Sivakumar was considered for this role and they dropped the idea, later.

- Hero keeps his head always, low because of the complex on his henchman profession. Also, he walks fast to come out of a crime scene or location to detach himself.

- Heroine’s father utter a dialog in the beginning scenes which looks like an advice to his daughter but not.. " Namma pala samayam enga porom edhuku poromnu yaarkum theryama irukaradhu nalladhu "

- One of the friends always eats in all the frames or sleeps [ literally ]. Even in the initial hospital scene the character concentrates on the fruits basket, takes an apple and just munches.

- The henchman Gaja always stammers except in the climax where he hesitates to stab the hero. The reason is stammering doesn’t happen when a person speaks emotionally from the heart. [ Do you know the singer Madhumitha stammers when she speaks but once she starts singing she'll change herself - Mudhal mudhalaai : Lesaa Lesaa ].

- One of the fine scenes, is ..the hero and friends come out of the auto, talks about the 20K, they fight and join for tea. It was taken as a single steady cam shot.

- Blind woman - She represents the audience. The blind thing also symbolises the hidden truth in the movie.

- Everything was experimental. For ex the hero refuses to accept money from the Mahadevan and asks him to get out of the scene. After this, the camera goes behind him and stays for 10 secs capturing the breathe of the hero. Editor did want to cut this shot early but Mys refused.

- My favourite scene.. A scene explains the come back of Naren [ Thiru ] as a henchman. In single steady angle, the shots are shown in long, middle and close ranges. The scene includes the exercise bar and the bar is used to bang one on it, at the end of the scene.
- Though the movie contains violence, less blood is shed or shown on screen.

- Thiru uses a simple defense technique in fight sequences.. Standing before a wall - so that he doesn't need to watch his back while fighting. :)

- There's a sequence that after turning soft, Naren has to chase somebody on road. He comes across school kids on the way. The hesitation is shown in his legs and then he runs towards the victim. Look for the apt BGM, there.

- No graphics, No foreign songs, No comedy track. The first half contains subtle humour. [ Vanntaangadaa Sowkar janaki :) ]

- Sundar C Babu composed the song .. Vaala meenukum with additional western instruments. Mysskin corrected it like this..' It's a song happening in slum ; where do u get western instruments in the slum - use the bare minimum instruments". He choreographed the Gana ulaganathan's mannerisms, also advised Shobi [ dance master ] to have simple movements and not as trained dance professionals.

Mys said in Madhan's thiraiparavai that Chithiram Pesudhadi is not the best film from his bag but a neat effort to start with. He later proved it in Anjathey. [ Nandalala varratum.. We'll have a vivid discussion :) ].

Mysskin is a persian name meaning simple man. It's taken from the Russian novel 'The Idiot'.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Life is beautiful - for those who faced the hard !

"There is no bigger tragedy than to remember the happy times during the misery." - Unknown quote.

Life is beautiful - for whom ?

Life is beautiful movie was awarded best foreign language film by the academy in 1998. Do you know the other 2 good nominations in the same year ? Answer at the end of the review.

Life doesn't become beautiful for all. In fact, for those, who met with a tragedy, it becomes one. You might have come across the horror movie series SAW.. the serial killer is a 70+ years old cancer patient and sees the other people, how they waste their valuable life.. Also, he kills them for their unimportance about life :). A small tragedy opens up the door.

As I mentioned in 'The counterfeiters' review, there were 300+ movies made on Holocaust, till now. The difference in Life is Beautiful is that it involves a kid and the hero is clownish. A father can take his 4 year kid to a park or a zoo. This father in Life is Beautiful happens to accompany his kid to the concentration camp. We do answer our kids about any damn question, they ask for. How can one explain about mass murder to a kid ?

Every director has their dream to direct a movie based on God Father in their own variation [ Nayagan, Devar magan, Sarkar ] Similarly on holocaust, everyone has tried their own version and Roberto Benigni overtakes others by mixing the right flavours of emotions.

Life is Beautiful [ 1997 / Italian / Comedy-tragedy-war ]
Cast : Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
Co-written, produced and Directed by : Roberto Benigni


The film begins with this dialog in the voice-over. "This is a simple story but difficult one to tell. Like a fable, there is sorrow, and like a fable, it is full of wonder and happiness." - It's a fable which one can't forget easily !

Before the World War II in Italy, Guido [ Roberto Benigni ] and his friend travel to the city to find job.Also, they plan to open a bookstore. Meanwhile, he works as a waiter and he comes across a school teacher named Dora [ Nicoletta Braschi ]. Guido’s funny behaviour and charm eventually make Dora to fall in love with him. They marry and lead a peaceful life. Later, they have a son named Joshua [Giorgio Cantarini]. 5 Years passes by. Till this point, the movie is just a funny flick.

The big game starts. Since Guido is Jewish, and he and his son are forced to settle in a concentration camp; Dora, though she is not Jewish, refuses to separate and is sent with them. Trying to protect his son from the horrors others are undergoing, Guido creates a fiction for them to live inside: they're playing a game, a contest, and they must play it to the hilt in order to win the first prize: a real, live army tank. A tough time for a father to hide out the tragic attributes of a camp and interpreting the entire setup as a game to his son. He makes his son to believe too.

What happens then ? You know for sure that it's not a feel good story.


- The film symbolises a journey and through out the journey, Guido is able to sustain his faith in humanity and a hard desire to survive in life.

- At no point, the holocaust's horror is cheapened by the humour of Guido. The sense of horror is actually intensified as the audience is left with a joke and they can't laugh for it.

- Benigni's father spent 2 years in German concentration camp. He shared his experiences to his family members in a comical way so that the kids are not frightened. That's the knot and essence of the movie.

- Benigni was initially a stand-up comedian in his initial stages of his career. [ like Woody Allen ].

- The film starts in a lighter way with some slapstick moments.[ break less car, girl falling from her house, dashing on someone ]. The director cleverly prepares the audience for a dangerous ride in the later part of the movie. [ Sethu follows this technique ! ]

- Benigni's original wife played as his wife in this movie. [ May be because of the concentration camp :) ]

- One of the touching scenes is that a person who is supposed to help Guido talks about something else, when asked for help, in the hotel.

- Guido mocks the soldier's walk - at first we smile on it.. but during the second time we can't. the wink they make at each other stumps the viewers.

- Here Guido's life and his unconditional love is shown with respect to holocaust and not in the reverse. It's about to what extent can a person go to save his beloved ones in crisis times.

- Though it's a drama to keep a kid in the concentration camp, the impact it makes is tremendous.

-Life is Beautiful does not detail on the horrors of the camp, nor it ignores them. The second half of the movie is more emotional and emphasise love and the power of desire to survival at the best.

- I need to appreciate Benigni for casting himself for the Guido character - it's tailor made. He chose what comes to him, best [ Like MGR.. MGR never chose a character which doesn't fit him - a retired officer ! ] Also, selection of the boy character is a fantastic move. His innocence can never be forgotten.


Comedy is used to emphasise the tragedy and the director Benigni wins. He crosses the thin line of making concentration camp as a funny place.

A father of a girl child can't digest 'Mahanadhi'. Similarly, a boy's father can't digest "Life is Beautiful" [ Of course, a father is a father ! ]. Great films n stories deal with unconditional love [ Hotel Rwanda, Kikujiro, Anbe sivam - Mother superior, The way home, Schindler's list ] and this film does the same.

அன்பின் பாதை சேர்ந்த‌வ‌னுக்கு
முடிவே இல்லைய‌டா
ம‌ன‌தின் நீள‌ம் எதுவோ அதுவே
வாழ்வின் நீள‌ம‌டா !

Life is Beautiful won 3 academy awards [ best foreign film, Best actor, Best original score ]. The other foreign movies nominated were Children of heaven [ kaaviyam ! ] and Central station [ Brazilian version of Kikujiro ].

Friday, May 1, 2009

The English Patient - Tales of love quotient.

Film : The English Patient [ 1996/Drama]
Based on a novel written in 1992/British/160 mins
Cast : Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche
Cinematography : John Seale
Edited by :Walter Murch
Screenplay & Directed by : Anthony Minghella

What travels along with us consistently, right from our childhood [ Shadow-nu kadichu vaikadhinga, pls ].. It's memories. It could be of any kind.. summer holidays, friends, cinema, school ground, college days, girls, journeys, tours, first salary, little surprises. 'The English Patient' is all about digging the memories from almost a death bed. How about a knowledgeable, desert explorer thinks about his past. [ We hardly could differentiate between dessert and desert :) ] This person had been in the most toughest desert journeys, reads books, writes a book, enormously interested in music..

This movie is narrated in non-linear [ mostly present and past alternatively ] and I feel that adds a fabulous experience, watching this movie. Presenting a movie in this manner is a tough job [ Other best movies of non-linear narrations are 21 Grams, Amores perros, Memento, Flags of our fathers and almost all films of Quentin Tarantino (except jackie brown) ]. Tarantino movies are feast to watch [ Thani kadhai ! ].

The goodness of a novel turning into a movie script is its richness of characters and events. Character biography and events are already well set and of course the novel has to be properly penned as a script. [ Academy has original and adapted screenplay section of awards, separately ].

[ Review aarambingappaa .. ]

Plot :

The story is set in 1930s and 1944 [ shown as present and the flashbacks go to 30's ]..

The poetic love story starts with a plane exploding with fire. The severely burnt pilot [ Almasy ] is treated by some Arabians in the desert and eventually moved to a war medical camp. Hana is an ill fated n beautiful nurse starts nurturing him. She looses her beloved ones in the war and she thinks whoever she feel closer would die. She keeps the burnt pilot in an abandoned library like building [ Italian villa ] and takes care of.

The pilot named as 'English patient' thinks of his past life in series of flashbacks [ tiny flashback scenes ] which involves a geological expedition, poetic love, lust, betrayal and war related politics. In parallel, Almasy, Hana, a thief, and a sapper find themselves in each others company in the old Italian villa, close to the end of World War II. The flashback series unfold the identity of Almasy, his love and links to the other characters in the villa.

The past has it story including Mr & Mrs Clifton, where Mrs Clifton is attracted towards Almasy during their joint desert expedition. Also, the expedition carries a mysterious operation, unknown to the members. The narrative structure mixes both present action with thoughts and conversations that offer views of the past happenings.

Do you know what is 'supasternal notch' ? :)
This outline is enough to watch the complicated film.

View :

- The foremost beautiful thing in this film is transformation or dissolving. The sand dunes shot dissolve into the unevenly spread bed sheet [ remember eyeball in Titanic ]. Also, the scenes overlap. Something like this.. the next scene's dialog comes and fills the ending silence of the first scene. Also, the sound.. the foot tapping of Hana while playing hopscotch, turns to a folk beat in the desert. A ballroom dance dissolves in the patient's face. .[ Idhellaam editing games ].

- The main character Almasy is very interesting. I like the intelligent hero who talks less. 4th wall can even feel his performance in his horribly burnt face.

- The moment the character Katherine comes in, you expect something unusual [ Silmisham :) ] to happen. The lead is given by a folk story narrated by Katherine in the camp. She is also an intelligent lady with a caring husband. Still she misses something in life.

- The screenplay is cleverly penned so that the happenings don't traverse in the way audience expect. For example, K leaves the desert along with other team whereas the 4th wall expects her to stay back with Almasy. After a minute drama, something else happens. [ minor twists - usually Bhagyaraj uses this a lot ].

- Also, when you think that Almasy and K develop a relation, they just depart without even saying Bye [ Ada Che! ]. Then she comes back to his place in a nice white dress and the dress is sewed later. 4thwall leaves the reader to guess what happened :).
- The Nurse character Hana is a mix of matured and child-like character. She loves, plays hopscotch, sobs and laughs instantly.. just like a kid. She loves the Sikh sapper named Kip and its' the other love story. Actually, the story is about 2 love stories.. 1 in the past and 1 in the present.

- When I say non-linear narration, it's enormous effort for an editor [ Walter Murch won academy award for this movie in both sound & editing - Editor of all the 3 Godfather movies !]. I couldn't stop thinking about the effort for the film 'Memento' [ narrated in reverse chronology ]

- This film is a period drama without making the 4th wall conscious about that. The costumes, buildings, vehicles, just reflect the time fluidly, without any visual gimmicks.

- A good film shows the same shot twice with a different meaning. Also, the film starts and ends with the same scenes. They call it as elliptical structure. [ Remember the opening & closing scenes of 'A Perfect world' - Clint Eastwood ]. Watch out for such smaller details through out the movie.

- Most of the characters and elements are introduced within the first 15 minutes of the film, including morphine [ a medicine ].

- The dialogues are catchy.. David talks to Almasy saying that 'That is when I had thumbs and you had a face.. n name too'. Almasy, even as a patient cracks wits n jokes.

- The music, silence, sounds are appropriately placed and it's soothing. The folk music 'Szerelem' is a good one.

Conclusion :

If you are a reader, I would suggest you to the read the novel first. Else, if are of Toto's category , just grab a DVD and enjoy the movie. I look forward to read the book 'THE CONVERSATIONS: WALTER MURCH AND THE ART OF EDITING FILM'. [ ஏற்க‌ன‌வே ரொம்ப‌ அழ‌கு.. இதுல‌ எடிட்டிங் வேற‌ ப‌டிக்க‌றியா.. சுத்த‌ம்.. :)].