Sunday, December 14, 2014

693. Superstar's Lingaa Review

Bachelors who are in their mid 30s who struggle to get a bride for them would get a burning sensation in their tummy when they see a 40 year old man marrying a girl in her 20s. But when it comes to a certain 64 year old uncle who romances with a 33 year old actress and a 27 year old actress simultaneously, these 30 year old men will only admire the style and charisma of the man on the screen. That is Rajinikanth for you. 

Lingaa is a movie that has got mixed reviews from people. Rajini fans are going gaga over it and the so called critics call it a boring screenplay work. People will always have different opinions. This version of mine is neither for or against the movie. This review is an admiration of each and every frame and showcases what Chronicwriter understood from the movie.

The movie opens with the letters S U P E R S T A R  -    R A J I N I projected on the screen and the audience erupt in joy. Newspapers are torn and thrown in the air. The theatre experiences tremors that could be measured on the Richter scale.

The Introduction for Rajini is the first of its kind in Tamil cinema. Henry Olonga - the Zimbabwe bowler who was once molested by the Little Master does a cameo role in the opening song where Super star is introduced. Super star is accompanied by the Russian belly dancers from Gemini circus.

As usual the mesmerising voice of SPB sets the tone for the perfect introduction song. The68 year old  Guinness world record holder who has sung more than 40000 songs still sings like a man in his 20s. Rajini's make up artist has done a great work on his face. Rajini indeed looks dashing.

Once the introduction song is over, Rajini and his 4 friends are arrested for bad choreography. They are all thrown inside the same cell in the police station. Anushka who was last seen in the same police station a few years back in the movie Vaanam, again makes an entrance inside the police station; this time to bail out Rajinikanth. Rajini steals the chain from Anushka that Simbhu stole in Vaanam movie.

Astonished by his stealing skills, Anushka challenges to go one step ahead and steal a gold necklace from Lalitha jewellery. Together they carry out the most amazing gold robbery that has ever been captured in Tamil cinema History. For the first time in Tamil cinema, Rajini freezes the spy cameras and then steals the necklace.

The stealing scene is copied from an old Hollywood movie. KS Ravi Kumar also follows AR Murugadass in stealing skills. During the stealing process Rajini and Anushka gets locked up inside a cupboard (The same manner how Vikram and Jyothika got locked up inside a cupboard in the movie dhool). A Lizard now makes a sound (This scene is copied from Suryavamsam movie)

Immediately Rajini becomes Jack Sparrow and becomes the captain of a ship. The Mona Mona Gasolina song is played in the background and Rajini starts dancing. The song has the same chord progression of Arima Arima song from Endhiran. I guess A.R.Rahman was so lazy that he just copy and pasted the same song and rearranged some music instruments to come up with this song. This time, Rajini dances better and he is not arrested.

Now as one Rajini is exposed for more than 30 minutes, director KSRaviKumar decides to introduce the next Rajinikanth. The book publishers of "The Hero with a thousand faces - Joseph Campbell" approached KSRavikumar before the movie and told him that the book was not selling properly and pleaded with the director to promote the book in his next movie. So the second Rajinikanth is made to read this book. Rajini shows his amazing reading skills in a moving train.

The Pirattes who danced with him in the ship enter this train and fights with Rajinikanth. After the famous train fight scene from Endhiran, Ravikumar decided to use a train fight scene in this movie to show that he can take a fight scene better than Shankar. The technology used in the fight scene is a mixture of Spiderman stunts + Jackie Chan stunts + Jetix stunts and Super Mario stunts.

The audience erupt again inside the theatre and tremors are again experienced. During the course of the fight Rajini's hair gets disturbed. So in between the shots, the make up artist wipes away the sweat and applies powder on his face and also combs his hair and applies hard Gel on his hair. After the fight is over, superstar's hairstyle again becomes perfectly normal.

The second Rajinikanth is now introduced as a king and the Mysore Palace is shown in the background and they say that it is Lingeswaran's palace. The villain is a Louis Philippe model. Rajini suddenly decides to build a dam to solve the Cauvery issue and because of that decision the Louis Philippe model suddenly decides to copy what Raghuvaran did in the movie Muthu. As a result the King donates his kingdom and his palaces to the peasants and goes into a No-witness place ( Kann Kaana idam) to become a puttu master.

After some time the peasants of the kingdom decide to eat puttu and they go to the No-witness place and eat the puttu made by the puttu master. At this point of time Lingeswaran decides to utter 8 punch dialogues which he read in the book by Joseph Campbell. Tremors in the cinema hall again.

Sonakshi Sinha is given the same saree that Nithyananda wore in the movie he acted with Ranjitha. The same sleeveless rendition of the saree makes the men in the cinema hall to miss heart beat. She is last seen chasing the same train in which the king was first seen reading the book.

Rajni's dressing in the entire movie is top notch. His tuxedos, Sherwanis and his suits are a treat to watch.

The Climax of the movie is the best climax in Tamil cinema history. Jacki Chan is known for his stunts without a dupe artist. Jackie Chan holds the record for the longest jump from a cliff and landing on a parachute. The measured distance was 200 feet. Rajinikanth bettered this record and jumped 400 feet in a bike and landed on top of a parachute. Because of this unbelievable jump rumours start to spread that he would have taken performance enhancement drugs to achieve this feet. So to clear this suspicion he is taken for interrogation by Finishing Kumar aka KS Ravikumar.

Note: Only those who have seen the movie, will understand this review. Others will not understand this review at all.

Additional Note : I am a thalaivar fan. People have either criticized the movie or praised the movie. I did not want to do any one of that. I just wanted to write a review in a manner that would be understood by those who have seen the flick.


Friday, December 12, 2014

692. Akka - Memories from my childhood.

Yes! That is my akka (elder sister). That's how I call her. She is 3 years older than me. This photo was taken in front of our house where we grew up. The house is located in Watertank road in Nagercoil. Read this [link] to know more about this house.

Akka and I were like India and Pakistan when we were children. I was Pakistan. She would punch me down with a single blow and I would run to Amma crying for help.

The blue window behind us in the picture is a window that I would have climbed more than 1000 times. There is a sunshade above the window and a mulberry tree next to it. 

I will climb the window, hold the mulberry tree and climb the sunshade and get to the roof of the house. Those are unforgettable memories.

A singer tailoring machine will be placed near this window. My mom would be stitching clothes for us most of the time in that machine. At nights, I would climb this window from outside with the hope of scaring my sister and my mom.

On one such occasion, I ended up seeing my own translucent image on the glass window pane at the top of the window and got scared and fell down. One week leave from school :)

This is one of the dresses stitched by mom. My sister and I would wear the same colour combination to church on Sundays and to school on Fridays. Yes I used to wear tie all the time. I am showing my toothless aggression in this photo. I lost those tooth in a cross fire at the India Pakistan border.

This picture where I am sitting on a moda  is taken in the terrace of the house. My friends and I have played cricket with plastic ball, football with a bigger plastic ball in this place. 

My sister and I used to fight for that moda all the time. I would always been asked to sit on the moda. My mom would tell my sister "He is a small boy. Let him sit". 

When I sit on the moda I would feel like a King and when my sister stands next to me, I would treat her like the maid who stands behind the king and fans him with a peacock feather.

All these photos are more than 20 years old. These photos are helping me a lot to remember my childhood in the 1980s and 1990s.  That is the power of photographs. 

We had almost all the fruit bearing trees in our house. We had tender coconuts at arms reach. Mulberry, Mango, Sapota and custard apple were the other trees that served me with delicious fruits all the time. The big jack fruit tree at the back of the house is where I spent most of my evenings. On Saturdays, we would split open a big jack-fruit and our whole family will massacre the jack-fruit like four lions feasting on its catch.

This paasamalar photo with my sister was taken just before we had a big fight for who should clean the water tank. She won as usual.


The childhood memories series will continue for sometime. I am in that memory mood these days

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

691. The Indian Barber Shop - A slowly disappearing Art form

If you are living in an Urban city in India, you would see the boom of beauty parlours and spas in the last ten years. Franchisees of Toni and Guy, Green Trends, Femina, Naturals have taken the cities of India by storm. It has become a prestige symbol for most of the people in the urban community to get their hair cut in one of these parlours.

Offlate I can see one art form slowly disappearing from the Urban scene. I am talking about our very own Barber shop. I still get my hair cut in my favourite barber shop. I grew up in a small town called Nagercoil- the southern most town in India. Even now when I go to Nagercoil, I make it a point to visit Balan Barber shop in Chettikulam. That old man has cut my hair when I was a 8 year old boy.

Every year when I go there, he gives me that broad smile and says " Chennai water has ruined your hair". The manner in which he criss crosses with his scissors is an art by itself. Hair cutting is in his blood. Even when he is not cutting your hair, he would go on clicking the scissors. There will be an old tape recorder in his barber shop that will be playing old MSV/ Mohan hits and Illaiyaraja songs.

Image Source : Internet 
All I have to do is go and sit there on that chair. He would adjust the head stand and ask "Medium or Short?". I would say "Medium". That is all he had to know. He would tie a cotton cloth around my neck and he would spray some water on my face. That feeling when the moist water is sprayed on the face is something that can't be described in words. One has to experience that feeling to understand how it actually feels.

He would then start cutting my hair. None of the present day parlour hair specialists can match his artistic brilliance. He would then take a blade and break it into half and put it inside a razor holder. The shaving behind the ears will start. It would give a tickling sensation and every time I would smile when he does that.

He would put Ponds powder on my neck. and brush off the hair from the neck and shoulders. Then he would apply lather on my cheeks and start shaving. The cheeks will finally have the baby bum feeling. After this, he would dip an Alum block in water and keep it on my cheeks. It is the best after shave lotion in the world.

Now comes the most important part. He would pour a handful of Navratan oil on the head and would start playing drums on my head. The massage is hundred times better than the Ayurveda/ Kerala and Thai massages combined together. The massage would make me to sleep. To give the final touches he would crack all the stiff joints in the body.

Finally he would again spray that water mist on the face and say " Done".  I would then take a Rs 100 note and give it to him. He would take that money from me and keep it inside his inner shirt pocket and return Rs 40 to me. Yes! The total cost for all the treatment is just Rs 60. If I get the same treatment from any new-age parlour, I would have to definitely part away more than Rs 1000.

When my friends boast about their new hair style that they had from the new parlour in town, I would just smile and tell them " You have no clue about Balan Barber shop". Balan uncle must be more than 70 years old.  His brand of barbers are slowly disappearing from the scene. I am worried that this art form will soon totally disappear from the scene in another ten years time.

If you are not from India and if you plan to visit India anytime in the future, please get a hair cut from the Barbers in India. I am sure you would love that experience. I will be going to Nagercoil soon and I will get my hair cut at Balan Barber shop.

- Chronicwriter

690. Tips for Travelling in Indian Trains

There are certain things one need to follow to survive in Indian trains. Indian trains are the home for rats, bed bugs, cockroaches and various other insects that can be only identified by a professor of  zoology.

Carry a rat trap, Odomos cream, "Hit spray" with you while you travel in a train. When the railway attendants hand over the bed sheets, make sure that you check the bed sheets for bed bugs.  Use the "Hit spray" only on the insects. Never ever spray it on the fellow passenger who fights with you for a seat or a berth.

If you are unlucky, you will get a seat in the last cube of a bogie (Seat numbers 1-8 or 65-72 in a 2nd class or 3rd A/C) you will have a treat for your nose. The unflushed toilet will send aromatic waves to knock you down.
 There is no solution for this. Just imagine that you are in the middle of Cooum river or imagine that girl in your college who has that foul smelling mouth. Just bear the smell and wait for your destination.

There are different kinds of travellers you can find in a train. There are the young guys and old men who scan the reservation chart before entering their bogey; hoping that they would be sitting next to a hot girl. Murphy's law plays it trick all the time for those who enter a train with such an expectation. You will always end up sitting next to a stinking guy who has not shaved his arm pits for the last 7 years. There will be kids who will be climbing the ladders and rungs all the time. Every bogie will have a baby who will cry throughout the night. There will be a girl who will be on the phone all night. There will also be that Know-it-all middle aged gentleman who will keep on yapping to glory and give soul stirring speeches that has the power to give you instant dysentery.

You will be one among these people. When ever I get into a train, I climb on to the top berth and close my eyes and go to sleep.

The plug points : The train compartments have plug points that are located near the window. Most of the time those who sit near the window utilise these plug points.

When you travel, take an extension cord along with you and use the cord as shown in the picture. You will be an instant hero in the whole compartment.

If you travel in a chair car, you will face many problems. Getting the middle seat is the worst thing that can happen to you. You will have to fight for the arm rest and if your neighbour is a meanie, your journey will be dreadful.

If your neighbour doesn't give you space to keep your arm in the arm rest, just spread your love with gaseous emissions. But make sure that they don't end up throwing up on you.

These days Eunuchs have started attacking everyone in trains for money. They will demand you to give Rs 100 to them. If you do not give them a minimum of Rs 10, they will kiss you. Sometimes they will even flash for you. It seems that is the highest form of curse that one could receive.

If you intend not to see the private part of a transgender, I request you to go to the top berth and pretend sleeping. If they still wake you up, there is no way you can escape.
- Chroniwriter

Monday, December 01, 2014

689. Moi Moi - My Chinese girlfriend

This is a picture taken on April 24 1992. This picture is close to my heart for many reasons.

1) This picture was taken on Sachin Tendulkar's birthday.

2) I was 10 years old at that time.

3) The place where this photo was taken is Darjeeling.

4) I had just fallen in love with the girl standing in front of me. She is a Chinese girl. She was a 4 year old girl then. I learnt that she got married now and she has named her child "Chriz". That is when I realised that she had also loved me dearly.

5) The shorts I am wearing looks like a boxer designer underwear. I lost that shorts in the train in Kolkatta.

6) I was shivering when this photo was clicked.

7) Moi Moi and I are wearing the same color tops - A clear indication that we were in love.

8) She was a Chinese girl and I am an Indian. It was a Indo China love story that bloomed much before China started exporting cheap products to India.

22 years have gone by. Things have changed a lot. Today when I took a look at this picture, I felt a chilling sensation down my spine and my body literally experienced the chill weather of Darjeeling. For a moment, I felt like Autograph Cheran.

In fact I took my bicycle and started to pedal it towards Darjeeling. Love can make you to lose all your senses and I was a perfect example of that.

Moi Moi! Where ever you are, stay happy!

- Chronicwriter