Tuesday, December 6, 2016

J Jayalalithaa - The Iron Lady of Tamil Nadu

A sitting CM, mass leader passed away. 'Amma' canteens functioned as usual. Not even a single stray incident of law and order reported. But the entire state cried for her. This is the best tribute for the #IronLady . There are many women in politics, but Jayalalithaa is still unique. She rose to power only because of her hardwork and remained a powerful force in politics due to her talent and charisma. MGR never announced her as his heir. Infact his wife Mrs.Janaki Ramachandran was made the CM by some 'so called MGR loyalists'. That govt lasted for just 2 weeks. All those loyalists are now either in dmk or has become their jalras. It was Jayalalithaa who united the party(Sasikala group helped her in that) and came to power. MGR's image helps ADMK, but then you need a credible face to cash in on that support. One may very well argue there were lot of negatives in Jaya's administration. Is there a govt without negatives? ADMK's rival DMK has proved itself to be worse than ADMK on numerous occasions. Be it Sarkaria or 2G, ADMK doesn't have such 'different' scandals to its name. . More than that, I can say there is none as bold as Jayalalithaa in TN(even in India). It was under Jaya's rule Veerappan was killed. Vijayakumar I.P.S paid respect to her today. An official, after retirement, still has respect towards a politician, that shows how much liberty he had while serving under her leadership. When Veeranam scheme was introduced, Kalaignar said, 'Veeranam thittam veenaana thittam', but the scheme was successfully implemented and that was one of the main reasons for ADMK's gains in Chennai. Rain water harvesting, cradle baby scheme, eradicating lottery, improving the power situation significantly etc are all achievements of Jayalalithaa. There is a perception that AIADMK is BJP's B team for obvious reasons(because it was led by Jaya). She was part of BJP alliance in 1998(only till 1999). Then she had an alliance with BJP during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections and that alliance ended soon after the elections. She has strongly opposed BJP on several issues(sometimes sensible and sometimes political). Yet her haters and rivals, never failed to project her as a BJP ally. Whether or not, she was in alliance with the national parties, she never gave up on the rights of Tamil Nadu when it comes for issues like Cauvery or Mullai Periyar. Didn't make any compromise for political reasons. Opposed GST citing valid reasons that TN would get affected. Never made stupid comments on national security for the sake of publicity and to prove her secular credentials. Truly a no-nonsense Chief Minister. While it is true that the ADMK govt could have handled the recent floods in a better way, one cannot deny that they handled Tsunami very well. The ministers had a fear of losing their post based on the complaints against them. Being a dravidian party, ADMK was never against any religion. They openly acknowledged their faith in God. Jayalalithaa would never come out without performing 'pooja'. Jayalalithaa had an option to withdraw the cases against her in 2001, but she faced all the cases legally and emerged victorious. So much of confidence. Her political opponents even pulled her saree in assembly, but she came back stronger. Had she been healthy, I am sure in 2019 she would have been a strong contender in national politics. It is too hard to digest the fact that she is no more and we will not be able to hear her 'makkalaal naan, makkalukkaagave naan' kind of one liners. The welfare schemes announced by her were very well implemented. Her achievements cannot be listed down in a single article. The 'Amma' of Tamil Nadu, would continue to live in the hearts of the common man forever. No wonder she is called as 'Iron Lady'.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saith'Aah'n - Review

Vijay Antony knows how to sell a product profitably. He doesn't command a huge fan base, but all his movies opens with houseful shows and infact sustains in the long run. This time he is back with a thriller(or science fiction or horror or revenge story or a message oriented movie or something else). Before writing more, the review may have spoilers, so if you haven't watched the movie and don't want to lose the excitement of watching the movie, you can skip the review.

Director Pradeep Krishnamoorthy should be appreciated for showing his respect for Writer Sujatha. Sujatha's photo is shown in title card and the director says, half the movie is based on writer Sujatha's novel. Thank you Mr.Pradeep, as a Sujatha fan, I was really happy to see the tribute shown to my favorite writer.

Yes, Saithan is based on Sujatha's Aah.. Reading novels itself is an experience. The beauty of reading is, we are left to imagine how the characters and the environment would be. It is not easy for a director to make a movie that can match the expectations of the readers. But Saithan's problems are actually different.

Here, the protagonist(Vijay Antony) is a psychologically disturbed software engineer - Dinesh Kumar.  He has a beautiful wife and caring mother. And he has good friends and a caring boss too. Suddenly he starts hearing voices in his head. That voice tells him to commit suicide. He consults a psychiatrist(Kitty) and says, he is not sure of whose voice it is - may be that of God. He speaks about Jayalakshmi teacher and some unknown names. How did he got to know about these people? Who are these people? From where they are? Whose voice is it? Did Dinesh Kumar commit suicide? Is Dinesh really disturbed? Or is he playing pranks with some motive? That is what Saithan is all about.

The script sounds interesting, isn't it? It was a novel written by Writer Sujatha in early 90s. Vijay Antony, as an actor hasn't shown any improvement but his command over box office has grown up to an unimaginable extent. He appears in almost all the scenes and its really unfortunate that he keeps his face rigid throughout the movie. He doesn't even attempt to show different expressions. But the heroine Arundhati Nair has done well.

The director says half the movie was based on Sujatha's novel, but he doesn't say what the other half is. The movie is nothing but rearranging the events in Aah with some stupidity in the name of scientific experience. We are suddenly introduced to a bunch of clowns as villains. Without villains, how can you show our hero is a 'mass'? To be fair, the first half is good, but the second half tests your patience and the climax leaves you disappointed.

Saithan may end up as yet another commercial blockbuster for Vijay Antony. If it happens, he should thank Joe D'Cruz for his clever dialogues and he can pat himself for an engaging background music.

The director has made a mockery of the novel by making Vijay Antony play both Dinesh and Sharma. He hardly makes any impact as either Dinesh or Sharma. The most interesting part of the novel was the way the flashback was narrated. In novel, there was a futurologist, who would hypnotize Dinesh Kumar and find out what he was going through. The psychological disturbance was explained very well(in novel). Aah didn't have villains. In Aah, Dinesh will kill his wife and what follows next is an exciting court sequence, involving the famous Ganesh-Vasanth. I am not sure, whether to complain or feel happy for leaving out this court sequence. Who knows Vijay Antony might have played both Ganesh and Vasanth too, so I should only feel happy.

Dear Pradeep Krishnamoorthy, inspiration is different from what you did. For this, you could have used the novel as such, it still would have worked wonders in box office, I swear. But you will not do.

Commercial cinema needs some 'saithans' like mass elements, transformation scenes,fights, romance, sentiments, songs etc. What could have been an exciting psychological thriller, ends up as an usual mass masala movie because of the saithans mentioned above. Unless and until these 'saithans' are destroyed, we will never get quality movies.

Saithan - strictly for masses. If you are looking for some cleverly written psychological thriller, you would only end up with disappointment.