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

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Illusionist

The illutionist [ 2006/Drama ]
Directed by : Neil Burger

One of the most attractive forms of art is magic - even it fascinates a rationalist not as a belief just as science. It's always better not to know the secrets behind them. It's like doing an autopsy to a fantastic IR song - better to let it be like that. I followed the entire series of David Blaine's program in AXN TV few years back and I became a fan of him. The main reason is his skills and he does that in street [ NY mostly ]. And of course, another great American illutionist is David Copperfield who makes the truck or any other big object to disappear in public.

Similarly there lived a person in 1900 in Vienna named Eisenheim, the illutionist.

Plot :

In 1900s, a magician lived - Eisenheim using his supernatural n magical talents to entertain upper-class people. At teenage, he falls in love with an upperclass girl, Sophie. Their teenage romance break up and they depart, temporarily. He leaves Austria and travels all over as an explorer. After few years, they meet again in Vienna - he as a famous magician and she as an would-be princess. She is also engaged to the prince and of course, the prince doesn't like Eisenheim.

The prince tries to keep the magician away using the local police Walter Uhl. The inspector is an outsider in this story and the story is uncounted from his memories.And at the end, the film justifies the plot and the means.


The 2 great actors Edward Norton and Paul giletti have done a neat job in handling their roles. Paul's best comes in Cinderella man [ what a perfromance in such a great film ! ]. Edward Norton is also know for his wonderful work in The Painted veil and Fight club. In fact, the story unfolds in the eyes of the inspector Walter Uhl and then he has the mised sympathy and suspection on the illusionist. The climax is interesting and explained much with Paul's expressions [ resembled me old Sivaji Ganesan's acting with his facial expressions ] and it was a good one. Edward manages with his looks and unpredicted charactersization just apt for a mysterious illusionist.

Looks very much like a fairy tale, right ? yep. It was written as short story first and adapted to screen by Neil Burger. The tone of the film is so appealing that they take us the that period. Somehow, commonly they follow a light yellowish brown tone [ like in Hey Ram ! ]  and an old technique called 'Autochrome' in filming. The same pattern might have seen in other movies like Sleepy hollow, Sweeney todd. Check Ayutha ezhuthu - the film is told in 3 different episodes with 3 different colours [ Red, Green and blue ! ]. The mood of the film and the selection of colours are really wonderful. The films gives a black n white feeling formed much with shades. Dick Pope has done the commendable job as cinematographer [ nominated for academy award too ! ]. He claims that most of the scenes were as real as possible with less CG involved.

The sound is also interesting and it is used perfectly; when the inspector talking to the prince in the field, where he hunts with loud gun shots. The heroine is more native and doesn't appeal as much as the hero n inspector roles. The good thing is that too see a 2 hrs script converted from a short story interestingly well. [ Memento is also made from a short story - another mysterious masterpice ].



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Few grams from the gold mine - part II.

Part I is available here - http://film4thwall.blogspot.com/2009/05/few-grams-from-gold-mine.html

Disclaimer : Do you have the in-depth knowledge of raaga, scales, kamagam, sangathi, melakartha raagam, misra chapu thaalam [ appdinnaa ?! - 7 beat rhythm cycle] ? If you don't have, don't worry - IRs music requires just 2 ears and a slight interest in songs.

* 2 more songs on counterpoint technique are "poonthaliraada" from panneer pushpangall and "Edho Moham" from kozhi koovuthu [ the first interlude has the notes from Santoor ] This song needs a separate post.

* A song transforms from carnatic music and then suddenly changes to western music without any change in the tune or voices. The song is 'Oh Vasantha raja' from Neengall kettavai.

* There's a reverse song which changes from western to a folk/percussion based, from the middle to the end without any disruption and of course we can hear 2 different songs within one. "Raajathi Rajaa un thandirangall" from Mannan.

* Ever tried looking at 'Raja Rajanintha raja' from Agni Natchathiram -it's fully based on percussion [ drums n chorus mostly ] and without the usual flutes/violins/any other regular instruments.

There's no rule that after gathering 10 intersting points I should post a blog [ 10 points kedaikalainnu sollu ha..ha.. ]. How's the photo of IR given above ?

* Thanks to KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM radio show !



Monday, September 21, 2009

Unnaip Pol oruvan

Unnaip pol oruvan.
There are 2 possible crowds watching this movie- one which has watched the Hindi movie 'A Wednesday' and the other one have no idea about the Hindi film and watching this Tamil version.I belong to the first type. Raajkamal films has produced this kind of songless police story long back in 1987. So what's new ?

I better don't waste lines, describing about the story. I strictly don't want to compare these 2 films[ though it is apple to apple ]. Whatever it is, the screen presence of Kamal makes a greater impact than anyone else. Kamal does a justified role of his age and experience. He avoids the looks of Naseeruddin shah but not his body language. Kamal's biggest asset is his voice - his intonation is a big plus as he has a relatively small role in story like this.

I was slightly worried about Lal but Lal has done a neat portrayal of his role with his Malayalam accent - of course, they didn't try to hide it. His personality justifies the role along with his body language. The other characters are done by Ganesh Venkatram, Bharath Reddy, Lakshmi and others [ because everybody else comes as just 'others' ]. Interestingly, the Tamilnadu CM's voice is also mimed in this film. [ The trivia is TN CM stays very next to a temple near his Gopalapuram residence - interestingly it is 'Gopalaswamy' temple :) ]. The plot is slightly alien to Tamil fans [ some English dialogues too ] as the bomb blasts are not a close incident as it was to Mumbaikars.

The good thing is that they haven't used songs in this film too. Shruthi Hasan has done an average job in her area. I couldn't find a great scope for dashing BGM [ like Vettaiyadu Vellayadu ] in this film. Instead of introducing Shruthi with a music album, she has a got a film to get her debut. [ Still Nilai varumaa is a nice song ]. The red camera work is as usual an advertising gimmick to add. Those who follow journals can understand these kind of hypes or fights [ why somebody can;t file a case during the shooting itself instead of just before the release date ? ]. If you are able to keep the Hindi original aside, it's a fantastic effort [ without songs, fights, comedy track ]. Tamil version has some jumps with missing flow and gives less importance to the other characters.

Coming to the business side of the movie.. Why Kamal would want to do this film that too along with Mohan lal whereas the same could have been done with Prakasraj as the common man and Nasser as the commissioner - think about the saleability then. That's the idea.. but it's a brilliant business idea. The same reason why Manirathnam has used Abhishek Bachan and Aishwarya for the story of Ambani - GURU [ international sales ! ]. The film could ve been sold well in Kerala along with Lalettan and similarly in Telugu along with Venkatesh.I am not sure about the role of the director Sakri in this lion's feast. [ Innoru Santhanabharathi ! ]. For the comparison game, I vote the Hindi version. [ couldn't resist this line ! ].

Whatever it is

- Tamil cinema definitely needs this kind of film.
- For the best and original effect, watch 'A Wednesday'. Naseer Bhai and Neeraj Pandey deserve the best accolodaes for their roles.



Friday, September 18, 2009

Reel rewind - Classics

Reel Classics - Mullum Malarum [ 1978 ].

World cinema need not necessarily be an Iranian, Spanish, Chinese or a Japanese movie. We do have the best in Tamil. For any art, it is more essential to note the time it is shared to public. If Jayakanthan had written the story 'Agnipravesam' in 2009, it wouldn’t have created the same shock waves as it did in 1965 [ A modern viewer may write about i-pill to Anandha vikatan ]. Mullum Malarum had came and broke all the rules that Tamil cinema had till that time. It was the time where in most of the new directors were experimenting..Bharathiraja wtih Kizhakke pogum rayil and Sigappu rojakkal, Rudrayya with Aval appadi thaan, KB with Nizhal nijamagiradhu. Rajini was a budding hero with Bairavi, Shankar Saleem simon kind of films. It was a transition stage for tamil cinema. [அந்த‌ மாற்றத்துல‌ த‌ண்ணி ஊத்தின‌ ப‌ட‌ங்க‌ளும் வ‌ந்த‌து..]

MM starts with Ilayaraja' artistic standard BGM [ Dolak ] and a beautiful number with his voice [ Maaniname - This song too has the Ganjiraa]. Those were days when none of the technician or artists had adjectives before their names - it's nice to see such a great team with a simple title cards. The very first scene depicts the relation between Kali and Valli. The beauty is that the characters at young age don't speak a single word. It's shown in just few scenes [த‌ங்க‌ச்சி..ப‌சிக்குதாம்மா kind of dialogues were avoided - just 'looks' .. Have you ever called your sister as Thangachi :) ]. They grow up without any transition shots like spinning wheels or running legs or any object in motion. Young Kali breaks the headlight of an ambassador car [ Title card starts here ] - That's Mahendran actually breaking the Tamil cinema cliches.

Kali : He is introduced with his characterization. I observed his natural way of speaking Tamil with including Kannada dialects [ரீய் .. வ‌ங்க‌ளையெல்லாம்.. .., வ‌ள்ளிக்கு மாப்பிளை கேட்டேன்.. க‌ணோ. Kano is used in Kannada - Naavu yaavudhu bidalla :) ]. Once the psychological reason for liking Rajini was said that his common man looks and complexion. Without make-up and seeing him in his kaakhi uniform, anyone can easily say that he is a winch mechanic. His furiousness is well depicted in the fight with the clerk - one of the best fight scenes; watch Kali's body language. The first 30 mins take up time to establish the characters. As the story flows, his character gets built up very strongly as you slowly get into Kali's variants of emotions. His anger, sarcasm, affection, temper, inability and what not. I like the famous scene where he meets the Engineer about losing his job. Character biography and the actir Rajinikanth were used at their best.
ர‌ண்டு கையும் ர‌ண்டு காலும் இல்ல‌ன்னா கூட‌ காளிங்க‌ற‌வ‌ன் பொழ‌ச்சிக்கிவான் ஸார்.. கெட்ட்ட ப‌ய்யன் ஸார் அவ‌ன்..

Valli [ Shoba] : The native face, expressions, innocence, hearty laugh and the character was so pleasing. She cries in case of any issues - this has been used in all the important scenes including the climax. She doesn't know or have much to talk. She is so poetic and got more shots [ may be because BaluMahendra handled the camera :) ]. The way Mangaa [ Jayalakshmi ] and her mother gets in to the life of Kali and Valli was handled very fluidly. The Engineer has the soft characterization and tough when it comes to work. Every character gets their dialogues in ration and that helps to understand them better. Valli was innocently beautiful [ Check "adi penne" song ] and Mangaa was gorgeous [ watch வைக்க‌ற‌ எட‌மா அது ;) ]

The other important factor is IR.. It starts with Maaniname - this is the other song where Ganjira is used apart from Nithtam nitham. For any new director, the role IR played was prolific. I never saw the effective usage of Dolak in any other film - that too it's used in climax. The other observation is that he used a lot of Santoor music. He uses a bit music even for moving the winch. IR's effect is also used with silence too.

Above all, it's a director's movie. He decides what to come and what not to. The neat depiction of even smaller characters make the story interesting [ including ve.a.murthy, samikannu etc ]. The fight sequence which shows the anger of Kali was the best I have seen with persons rolling in the road. The body language used by Kali was amazing with folding the lungi, buttoning the shirt back.. excellent. Every scene show in the first half gets repeated with the same tempo [ Kali doesn't regret for it - the clerk insulting him, uriyadi game, his work etc., ]. The clash between Kali and Engr is well depicted; they are differentiated right from their skin tone, body language, voice, manners, dress, rich vs poor Kali's house doesn't even have electricity - they both are good but entirely different in expressing the same. The beauty is every minute detail is explained in the visuals mostly and more in sharp dialogues. The good example is explained here by Sudesamithran http://www.uyirmmai.com/Uyirosai/ContentDetails.aspx?cid=915

Balu Mahendra has worked as cinemtogrpaher.. with 35 mm limitation, he has worked out the best, it seems. The good thing for that period is that they used minimum make-up [ Check the powder coated face of Radhika in Kizhake pogum rayil - Saamee ]. Though there were 2 pairs, not even a single duet was formed forcibly - what a relief ! Good that they didn't even use the usual Tamil cinema word kadhal [ except when Kali asks the Engr with doubt .. இந்த காத‌ல் அது இதுன்னி சொல்லி வ‌ருமே.. அது....எதாவ‌து.. ? ] - Even the engineer proposes to Valli for marriage very decently - one of the best proposals on screen !

IR played his usual role in BGM and songs. Senthazham poovil, maaniname and Adi penne are the good numbers [ others are inserted ]. I don’t see the connection of tribal people in Mahendran films [ Aasaiyai kaathula in Johny - it's similar to MM ]. He has BGMs for every character and sequence and the best of dolak comes out in the climax. The climax looks cinematic and the compromise looks sudden. I never liked the logic of Villain turning into good. At least, kali says still he didn't like Engr.

It ends with Kali asking

" இப்ப‌ என்ன‌ங்க‌டா ப‌ண்ணப் போறீங்க‌.. புரிஞ்சிகிட்டீங்க‌ல்ல‌..." [ எப்படி ப‌ட‌ம் எடுக்க‌ற‌துன்னு :) ]. Though it was not intended, I interpret that the film asked the tamil cinema world in that way.

Trivia :

- The river scene where the characters feed the fishes was taken in Sringeri temple [ Tunga badra river ]. Check the above photo - I had been there.

- During the shooting Balu Mahendra and Venu chettiyar had some conflict and that was resolved by Kamal !!

-The winch was loacted in Glenmorgan neat ooty.

- There are 2 intrepretations for the title.. முள்ளும் ம‌ல‌ரும் [ உம்மைத் தொகை :) ] and the other meaning was that முள்ளும் ஒரு நாள் ம‌‌ல‌ரும்.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The kite-runners - II

This is the 2nd part of my previous blog 'Kite runners-I' - pls click the link below.

As usual, the next part is in our home town. Along with other sports[?!], [ Goli [ heard of "oorgaa bendha" ?!:) ] , Tops, Gilli [ for every sport I know the village term too - pullu koti or kitti pul ], Mudhugu puncture, cycle race, Thirudan police, exam pad cricket, book cricket - what a decent of games [ Kallaa mannaa aadinadhu therinjaa maanam povum ha..ha ]. We [ me and my cousin ] used to make and fly kites on our own, as our hometown don't sell kites. [ Idhellaam oru ooraa ]. So we decided to make our own. All we needed were a good English paper [ ChettyKulam bus stop Bhai helps us for this ], sticks, few rice flakes. The tough part is always making the 'Susthiram' [ Artha saasthiram maadiri Kaudilyar artha soosthiramnum oru book ezhudhi irukalaam :)].We used to collect the thread from the neibhorhood hand-woven mat looms [ ippellaam power loom ]. The loom workers gave it freely as our entire home town is a small scale industry of making hand-woven mats [ Aranmanai Kili song 'Raasaave unnai vida maaten' song has got a shot of heroine weaving a grass mat]. The string ball has to be formed with a crushed paper in round form. A knot is very important to a string ball. [ Indha knot-i pinnaala use pannuvom ].

Making the kite works out more like the art and craft lesson in POGO channel with Rob. But with not the complicated n costly gadgets that Rob uses - Camlin or Reynolds products. We make a square paper, fix one stick in the diagonal part and the other like a bow the other two diagonals. The glue was some cooked rice. It needs some time to dry in the sunlight and get flattened. To make it flat, we cover it up with another set of paper and keep it under the piles of suitcases [ everyone at home had their own suitcases]. Then comes the Susthiram part.

Artha soosthiram : We calculate it with the height from the top with four fingers and from the bottom, it is 8 fingers. We need to make a knot and hang/balance the kite [ Idhu ellaame uthesamaa dhaan seivom ]. The kite is ready. The string contains few knots as the mat thread doesn't come as continuous. the tail is made up of again some pieces of news paper.

One fine day, We made one of our best Kaathaadis and flew all the way close to the telephone tower. We never knew we could make that happen. Out of curiosity, we extended the thread till the final end was reached. It was held by me in the first hand and my cousin got the second for a safety [ DR site engineeru avaru ]. We missed the important knot to be made in the stringball [ Knot sonnomla :) ]. Close.. In front of us, we lost our glorious kite which was made near perfect. It flew away very fast and crossed the temple nearby. We couldn't climb the temple wall and chase. [ Inneram school groundai dhaandi irukum.. vudraa]. That was the best of kathaadi days. But we weren't sad because the life of our hand made kathaadi is very less [ just a day ]. We never worried and just got into the next sport fluidly [ Srinivasa-la ennada padam ? ].

One sub-plot is about our 'goli' games. The types are : regular, soda, dama [ big ones ]. Dama golis were used for the game 'Lock' played by seniors, mostly [ un pakkamaa.. en pakkamaa ]. We played the simple raja game to oorkaa bEndhaa [ Bayapadadhinga ]. The UB game is slightly a lengthy one and the guy who is lost will be asked to run the goli with his folded fist [ idhuku thamizh per sonnaa enaku adi vizhum.. venaam]. I was good in playing golis - I used to earn [?! ] many marbles from 'goli mela' games. [ bet katradhu - film melayum aadalaam - match box label melayum velladalaam ha..ha..]. My father used to throw the golis back to street [ kashtappatu sambarichadhu ! ]. One more trivia is that Pondicherry still has the tradition of playing Boules [ or bowls ] - a game with iron balls learnt from French people. Do u know 'Pentanque' - the French game ?

Try observing the lyrics of Lajjavadhiye and Veyilodu velayadi songs. Na.Muthukumar has extracted the best of childhood n village games.

After coming back to Chennai, I started visiting beach [ Ungaluku vere edame kedaikaadhe ! ]. The best part of Marina beach now is they sell kites for just Rs.10/- . Leave about the price. The happiness, I felt was priceless. My family still wonders why I buy a separate kite for me and fly the same, smilingly.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Eeram - Neat effort.

Eeram [ 2009 ] - Suspense thriller
Music : S Thaman [ Remember the stout drummer in Boys ]
Written & directed : Arivazhagan
Producer : Shankar

Plot :

The film starts with a death scene of Ramya in a big apartment complex, which is identified by water leakage. Ramya's ex lover Vasu is the Asst Commissioner who investigates the case with special interest. 2 more mysterious deaths happen in the same block. Vasu starts investigation with Ramya's husband Bala, Bala's partner Vicky, another person X. The case becomes more clueless as it progresses. What proceeds then and what Vasu face are the most terrific and gripping happenings. This is enough to know about the story.

View :

Writer & Director Arivazhagan has done a decent effort in making a nice n interesting suspense flick. Thaman did a wonderful job in re-recording [ and Sound effects too ] and followed Yuvan in the songs [ Thank God - just 3 short songs ]. Cinematographer Manoj has done a catchy job to get the mood of a thriller. The dialogues are sharp and effective. Due to the limitations of Tamil cinema, a thriller which should have been ended in 90 mins, was dragged to 140 mins [ 2nd half konjam dragging ].

The artists have done their job neatly [ especially Sindhu menon] and justified their roles. The design and concept of the film is too good - wetness. Right from the first frame, water is used as an element throughout the movie. Nice to see cloudy/rainy Chennai and Trichy [ he tried something like David Fincher's "Seven" - Trichy eppadi sudumnu kann[ kaal] aara kandavan naan . It's a decent effort from S pictures and Arivazhagan. [ Kids don't like the film - My son was enquiring about when Spider man would come and fight with the police :) ].

It's good to see the varieties of movies that come out. The movie resembles, reading a thriller of Sujatha. As always, it's more effective in theatre.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

The kite runners - I

ஆத்தாடி.. என் காத்தாடி

Out of the mighty sports of Aminjikarai, I was fascinated much towards flying kites. Anything related to kite is a form of art and for every sport, there's a season. I remember, mostly the quarterly exam leaves in September was the period, when people choose to fly kites. In Aminjikarai, I stayed in one of the high rise apartments. From our terrace, I could see Chetpet railway bridge, Perumal temple, Pazhaniappa theatre's rear end etc., If I climb the water tank [ Sometimes, I didn't know how to get down :) ], I could spot out Anna nagar tower. Terrace is the actual place for this sport.

There were different kinds of kites - 25 paise ones are the cheap ones [ 1 sq ft size ] and has less life. Bombay kaathadis are medium budget ones with a triangular tail. The highest classic range is Baanaa kaathadi [ looks like trace paper - see the above photo ]. The sound it makes was so majestic, when the kite perces the air. Baana comes in different designs [ ஒத்த‌க் க‌ண், ரெட்டைக் க‌ண் [ the above photo has rettai kannu baana ] , நாம‌ம், Star, crescent ]. The perfect thread for flying kites was "Maanja". There are different types of threads too [ busku nool [ பார்ச‌ல் க‌ட்டுவாங்க‌ளே ! ], paai nool, twine nool, maanjaa nool ]. Maanjaa nool is the best form of thread for the expert level of flying kites, but a dangerous one. In Thirukurall, there's a saying about "நூலாருள் நூல்வ‌ல்லன்" - Maanjaa is that நூலாருள் நூல்வ‌ல்லன் [ காத்தாடிக்கு குற‌ளா .. ஸாமி.. உன் ஹிம்சை :) ].

The sport doesn't end with just flying the kites. We were supposed to get into deal [ kite fight ] and cut off the opponent's kite [ that's the reason we use maanjaa ]. There's a separate gang which runs behind the kite flying off which got cut from the deal. There are kids who just run through the streets just following the kite which goes in 'off'. The folks jump any kind of terrace [ appave parkour :) ]. The most complicated part of preparing a kite was making the 'soosthiram' ; a triangular grip which holds the kite with right balance. [ illainaa side adikum ]. Only experts could do that job [ ணா ணா.. சூஸ்திர‌ம் ம‌ட்டும் போட்டு குடுணா ]. Also, the novice fly the kites with tail and the experts don't. We the small kids were like camera assistants just holding the string, when the senior takes a break. [ இத்த‌ புட்றா.. தோ வ‌ர்ரேன் ].

The preparation of Manjaa itself is a big process. They get colour powders, glues, eggs, crushed bottle powder [ mostly soda bottles ] and some chemicals. It goes for 2 or 3 days to coat the thread with maanjaa paste, dry it up and roll it. The shape of the thread bowl itself looks majestic and so big to carry. Somehow, I felt using the bobbin [ raatai ] for flying kite as not a native method.

We also had a local gym in our neighborhood where all the teenagers join and looking at the arms most of the times [ For them exercise means dumb bells ]. I had a senior friend named Venkitu. He worked in a local company in night shifts mostly and spends free time with me. I get friendship easily with a person who is hard to get friendship with [ Moody fellows mostly ]. We bought a "Banaa" kathaadi one fine day and started flying it high with manjaa nool. We didn't make Maanjaa but bought it from outside. The whole afternoon and evening we made several deals and cut the opponent kites easily. The practice is that the kite has to be brought down before the sunset so that one can safeguard it. Out of curiosity, we spent more time flying it and it was getting dark at that time. We were about to bring back the lucky kite [ rettain kann baana ]. Those were the days that any terrace was filled up with TV antennas. [ இங்க‌ வைக்க‌றேன் ட்விஸ்ட்டை :( ]

Somehow, in the dark evening just before landing the kite, it went and stuck to the antenna. It was torn - I couldn't digest that sight; I could have accepted even it went off on a deal [ வீர‌ ம‌ர‌ண‌ம் ] . After that we didn't fly kites that aggressively. That was my relation with Bana kathaadis, during my Chennai days.

- To be continued..



Monday, September 7, 2009

S(pectacular) P(eppy) Balu

S pectacular P eppy B alu.

Sometimes, pleasant surprises come in FM channels. The beauty is the unpredictability of the songs. Of late, I heard these 3 songs in FM and thought of sharing. SPB songs are like a party - The basic rule is 'NO RULES'. There are so many songs in his name to talk all about in our life time. Apart from the melody area, I came across these most peppy numbers and highly energetic songs of him. It can't be reproduced at all, immaterial of the number of times, we hear it. It's like Sujatha started guiding the readers to write a short-story. However, we just end up in enjoying his work rather than reproducing or analyzing it.

The common piece in these songs are trumpet [ Mandram vandha thendral ].

1. Senorite I love you

Film : Johnny/IR

Normally, IR tries to keep the singers within the boundary and there are songs wherein he relaxes the rule. One such number is Senorita. It's a western style peppy [intermediate level] song. The preludes/interludes have the regular violin features of IR. On the lighter side, I think it's really difficult to control SPB, to get what IR wants :) [ he has his own way ]. It's like looking back an unusual n mischievous friend’s group photo after a long time. Still, IR dominates with his extraordinary 'violin talks' in the 2nd interlude.

As he sings..

எங்கெங்கோ செல்லுதே
என் நெஞ்சை அள்ளுதே..

2. Kavithai padu kuyile

Film : Thendrale ennai thodu/IR

I like this peppy song for its masculine voice [ Kaatru en pakkam veesumbodhu ] and the joy in the song. The lyrics was just filler for this fast number with percussion [ something like 'Bogi' molam :) ]. The preludes are more enjoyable. Though the tune is slow [ with light percussion ] the impressive and stressed pronunciations of SPB [ ஒளி வீசும் ந‌ட்ச‌த்திர‌ம் ] makes this song a sweet one. I couldn't resist imagining Mike Mohan with his shaky steps for this foot tapping number.

3. Appappa Thithikkum uthan mutham

Film : Japanil Kalyanaraman/IR

The best in this small list. I cannot add this song just one more western song from IR. I could imagine something like this.. Before the recording, IR went out on a call and by the time he returned back SPB did the recording of this song. It's purely a SPB song, apart from the music arrangements of IR. It shows the extreme attachment of the singer to the song even if they might have recorded at odd hours of a day, in a busy schedule. Verve, peppy, freaky song. I always wonder how he could laugh and song simultaneously [ like "மேன‌கை என் நாட்டிய‌ம் பார்த்த‌தால் ம‌றைந்தாள் .. அஹ்ஹா" - remember எரியும் விள‌க்கு "சிரித்து" க‌ண்க‌ள் மூடும்]. Interestingly, the background beat is used in "Rambumpum aarambam" in MMKR and the initial [ pabapapaa humming in Kavithai paadu kuyile. ]

Enormously energetic song. However, when I watched this movie in those days, Kamal's onscreen romance and "silmishangall" overtook the song :)

This is neither the complete list of SPB peppy songs nor the list of tamil songs with brass instruments. Just some seashells in the beach of Tamil film music.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Birds - Alfred Hitchcock

"...and remember, the next scream you hear may be your own !! " - Alfred Hitchcock.

You might have come across the news that Kandasamy masks will be issued to the kids who come to theatre. Don't think it's a new n great marketing idea or a brand new publicity stunt. No. Not at all. Cinema industry had much more veterans than our Kalaipuli in the past, too. In 1963, as part of the movie promotional scheme, 'The Birds' promoters [ Universal studios ] issued bird masks to the public who viewed the film in theatres. Some Tamil film producers can also do the same to ask the audience to wear bird masks ' Come and watch the movie without brains ' :)

What do you think that can horrify the viewer ? Serial killing, Haunting Bungalow, shady looks, horror music, howling dogs or wolves ? That's the conventional way of horrifying. Our master director Alfred Hitchcock, didn't think conventionally and just used sparrows, crows, seagulls and their silence ! Not the animated or enlarged kind of birds. Just 'The Birds'.

If you still wonder n ask ' What great damage birds can cause other than pecking or poking ?', pls watch this movie in the late night [ strictly ]. The original form was a short story named 'the birds' written by Daphne maurier.

The Birds [ 1963 / Suspense ]
Produced/Directed : Alfred Hitchcock
Script : Evan Hunter
Cast : Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Sparrows, Crows, Seagulls :)


The story begins with young Melanie meeting a lawyer Mitch Brenner in a pet shop. Mitch looks for a pair of love birds and Melanie pretends like a sales girl in the shop. After that, Melanie buy lovebirds and decides to gift the same to Mitch; she gets his address and find his place in the island "Bodega bay". She doesn't meet him there and leave the birds in his home. While returning in boat, she encounters a strange attack by a seagull. Mitch helps her and takes her home, where he lives with his possessive mother Lydia and sister Cathy.

Strange incidents start to happen in the island. Swarm of birds attack the children in a birthday party; birds kill chicken farmer; birds disturb the school children etc., People from the island are extremely frightened and start leaving to SFO. Mitch, Melanie and others stay locked in the house and the birds find the new way to get into the home to attack. No one know when the birds attack and when they remain silent. What happens then is the climax.
The Bond movies always have a short action sequence before the title credits roll on and then the actual story begins. Hitchcock uses the reversal theory. His story never gets into the problem directly. Instead, he takes the time for audience to think about something else and present a different side of the story. Like, in Psycho, the story starts with a working girl stealing his boss's money [ $ 40k ] and galloping. But the actual happening was even more worse than the audience could think of. I noticed this technique playfully and later found that there's a term defined for this "Macguffin". MacGuffin is something that the story line is built upon, but it has no significant purpose.

Similarly, 'The Birds' start with a romantic encounter of Melanie and Mitch in a pet shop. She travels to Bodega bay, finds his previous lover and his family etc., All of them are just forming a platform for the actual movie. The story travels on its own flow [ may be first 40 mins ] until Melanie first come across a bird attack in the island. What happens then cannot be explained in text. That's the mastery of Hitchcock.

The beauty of this film is there is no background music for this suspense thriller. That's the height of creativity/confidence, a director can hold. Instead, the role of sound is extraordinary in this film. The use of sound and sound effects consciously changes between heavy noises and dead silences. The effective usage of silence makes the audience more terrifying than the actual attack. The ultimate result was the viewer is frightened not only during the attack but even when nothing happens. The best scene is to get the local school children to come out of the school, where 100s of birds slowly gather one by one and sit on a stand outside the school [ with this school song "ristle-tee rostle-tee" in the background ]. The other intersting shot was the bird's view of the town in chaos.

The mother character was beautifully portrayed for her possessiveness over any girlfriend of her son [ உல‌க‌ளாவிய‌ பிர‌ச்னை போலிருக்கு :) ]. The psychological friction was also portrayed well.

In 2007, there was a news that somebody plans to remake this film with Naomi watts [ "The painted veil" heroine - Have you seen her in "21 grams" ?! ]. The heroine of this film [ Tippi Hedren ] asked this question in an interview, out of frustration - "Why would you do that? Why? I mean, can’t we find new stories, new things to do?". I second and value her opinion. Some things can't be remade again- just like Hitchcock works. This movie is the grandpa for the movies that had animal attack as the theme [ Jaws ].

Hitchcock's films happen to be timeless wonders and they were filmed ahead of their time. I wish I could see all the Alfred Hitchcock series in Sathyam or PVR kind of theatre.

B : காக்கை குருவி எங்க‌ள் ஜாதி - நீள் கடலும் மலையும் எங்கள் கூட்டம்.
H : அங்க‌ வேண்ணா அப்ப‌டி இருக்க‌லாங்க‌. இந்த‌ ப‌ட‌ம் பார்த்திருந்தா அப்ப‌டி பாடி இருக்க‌ மாட்டீங்க‌ ஸார் !


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Monsieur Verdoux [1947]

Can you buy the statement "Murder is the logical extension of business" ? Yes, it's the idea of the protagonist, Monsieur Verdoux. [ ஃப்ரென்ச் சென்ட் பேர் மாதிரி இல்லை ? ]

Verdoux is the name of the skilled hero and Monsieur is just the title to the name [ equal to Mr in English - pronounced "meu ssi eu" ]. I used to come across this word used by traffic police, when I ride in one way or stop beyond the stop-line in Pondicherry [ மிஸ்ஸெ.. எங்க‌ போறீங்க‌ ஒன்வேல‌ ? ]. Why French title ? First reason is that Chaplin movies were banned in US for his political inclination towards communism. Second is that the story is about a real-life serial murderer in France [ named Desire Landru ] and the screenplay adaptation has also France as the place.

I don't remember seeing any of the talkies of Charlie Chaplin. The last film, I saw was Modern times. This film was introduced by SRamakrishnan, almost a year back. The interesting part of the film is that Chaplin is the script writer, protagonist,music composer and the director.


Verdoux is a common man who lives in France, with his wife and kid. He looses his bank job and finds a strange method of making money. He travels frequently across France in different names and lives different roles. His target is any rich widow woman and their unaccounted money. He manages to convince the different ladies of his life at different circumstances. There's a subplot when Verdoux experiments his newly formulated poison on a lonely girl, he finds in streets. Meanwhile, affected people start complaining about him and the detectives get into action. One detective finds our hero, almost. In fact, he arrests him. We expect Verdoux to react aggressively for the arrest. No ! He reacts in a different manner. After all, he is a cool murderer.

Good things don't prolong in life. While he tried to marry the nth rich lady in life, he gets trapped in a situation and escapes. Economy crashes during the world war and Verdoux looses his money and family from him. He meets someone on the road, whom he thought differently in the beginning. Police finds him and what happens is the end.


I found the root dialogue of '"கொலை குத்த‌ம்னா.. யுத்த‌மும் குத்த‌ம். Isn't it ?!" of Hey Ram. Check this dialogue in this Chaplin's film "One murder makes a villain; millions, a hero. Numbers sanctify, my good fellow!" - In fact it was taken from another 17th century reformer. Do you the root of kurudhipunal dialogue "Everyone has a breaking point " - It's from "12 Angry men". Not only films.. their dialogues also travel across the borders.

All his career, Chaplin did his regular tramp character, edited in fast sequence, type of movies. This movie is extremely unusual from all his earlier works. But he couldn't come out of his character fully in this movie - doing completely a serious role. Sometimes, verdoux's body language changes to Chaplin's tramp character. His characterization involves multiple roles - A calm family man, bank clerk, captain, business man, lover, philosopher, a clever investor and on top the common man who fights against the system to save his family.

Though he gets the money in an unethical manner, he behaves as a perfect family man at home. He never gets tensed. He instructs his kid to be kind with pets. A single sequence is used in this film to explain about his past job - he counts the stolen money at the speed of an automatic counting machine ! . I liked the sequence where he invites a poor girl to his home, for testing his newly formed poison. The sequence that follow was very interesting and the dialogues too.

The way he faces the detective was also an interesting part of the movie. Somehow, he takes the story to a comical one and ends the story with a good note. The boat sequences and the wedding party sequences are enjoyable one [ I laughed ! ]. Interestingly, the dialogue portion is too good as it involves about love, philosophy and economics. I am not sure whether this movie is remade in Tamil - but I recollect that a still of MRRadha [ in the cover of MRRadhayanam book ] resembles the way Chaplin posed for this movie. MRR is the only capable artist who could have done this in Tamil, swimmingly.

One fine dialog to end with.

Priest : May the Lord have mercy on your soul.

Henri Verdoux : Why not? After all, it belongs to Him.

Simple n good movie.