Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cho and Thuglak

Still unable to believe that Cho is not alive and it's his death anniversary (Dec 7). I have been reading Thuglak and following 'journalist' Cho for almost 18 years. I am not exaggerating, I liked his sense of humor and started reading Thuglak only for his 'kelvi badhil' section.

Later, started understanding the sarcasm in his movie dialogues too. The way he would explain complicated topics, his boldness and humor sense all this created more interest in Thuglak and I have not missed a single edition of Thuglak. Slowly I started understanding the cartoons and political satire in Thuglak. Sathya sir's cartoons and his 'padhavi paduthum paadu' etc all made me a huge fan of Thuglak.

At one point of time, I felt Cho was one of the very few journalists who never feared to express his thoughts and I was convinced Cho was a very honest journalist, especially when he predicted defeat for ADMK though he admitted that he wanted admk to win. Not many had this honesty.

He has mocked almost all politicians. But he would never hit anyone below the belt. He has never missed an opportunity to take a dig at Kalaignar's politics and business, but not a single word was spoken against Kalaignar- the person. When he invited Kalaignar to attend his son's marriage, Kalaignar came with his family and there was a question from a reader, how he was able to maintain good relationship with almost all the politicians, he replied politely 'for this, the credit should go to those politicians, not to me'.

He had good relationship with many prime ministers starting from Morarji Desai to Modi. But never used them for his personal benefits.

Cho, never failed to respect people who differed with him. Thuglak strongly opposed the dravidian politics but the same Thuglak published the interview of Veeramani. Thuglak is perceived as a Hindutva mouthpiece, but for Thuglak anniversary, Jawahirulla, Peter Alphonse, D Raja, T K Rangarajan, Pazha.Karuppaiah were all invited as chief guests. Jawahirulla was not interrupted when he was talking against Modi. Later, with Jawahirulla on stage, Cho took a dig at him. Thirumavalavan was interviewed.

Dr.K V S Habib Mohammad, wrote a series of articles about Islam, under the heading, 'Islam oru paarvai' in Thuglak for several weeks, which showed Islam in positive light.

Cho had the maturity to restrict criticism to one's public life.

During emergency, he boldly opposed Indira Gandhi. He even wrote fictional plays and mocked Indira Gandhi (in)directly. Whenever the name Thuglak or Cho is referred to, some people immediately point out to his community and they even blame him as someone against the backward communities. Whereas in reality, Cho campaigned for Babu.Jagjivan Ram and wanted him to become the PM.

Whether it was Congress or BJP, Cho's criticism was based on the policies, without any bias. When the BJP opposed the civil nuclear deal, Cho was the first to criticize BJP and he strongly supported the deal. Infact, Cho mentioned the nuclear deal as an achievement of Manmohan Singh. He supported the UPA govt's move to bring FDI in retail. He strongly supported the action taken against the LTTE.

Ever since LTTE was formed, Cho was against the outfit. He was against Indira Gandhi's support to LTTE. He never changed his stance on LTTE and opposed them till his death. He was in favor of a unified Sri Lanka with Tamils getting equal rights.

When the entire nation was going crazy on Anna Hazare, Cho started mocking Anna and his team, right from day one. Some articles against Baba Ramdev too came in Thuglak.

Cho was always viewed as a spokesperson of ADMK/BJP. It doesn't mean Cho never criticized these parties. If you read Thuglak regularly, you can understand Cho never spared them too. But the criticism will be constructive, not abusive as some other weeklies does. That is the reason why he was seen as a spokesperson. Best example was, though Cho supported demonetization, the next week, Thuglak cover page had a cartoon about the prevailing cash crunch situation and mocking BJP. There is a difference between criticizing someone strongly and abusing them. Cho, always preferred the first way.

Cho helped DMK to ally with Mooppanar in 1996. In fact, Mooppanar came out of Congress and formed a party, based on Cho's advice. He also worked for ADMK-DMDK alliance in 2011. Before forming the alliance itself, Cho confidently said to Vijayakanth that, he would be the leader of opposition, if he joins the ADMK alliance. Cho never believed in dramatic changes overnight. He was practical. For him, in 1996, ADMK was a bigger evil than DMK. That is why he supported DMK, inspite of DMK's anti-brahmin politics. In 2011, DMK was a bigger evil and with DMK in power at both state and centre, many felt, a second term to DMK would turn TN itself a slave of one family. Cho felt the same. Then he brought in DMDK into ADMK alliance and rest is history.

His plays like 'Unmaye un vilai enna', 'Saathirangal sonnadhillai','enge brahmanan','Mohammad Bin Thuglak' are very popular even today. People write non sense in the name of quoting Ramayana or Mahabharatha. Cho wrote both Valmiki Ramayana(Valmiki Ramayanam) and Vyasar's Mahabharatha(Mahabharatham Pesukirathu) in Tamil, the authentic versions of Ramayana and Mahabharatha. I have listened to Cho's explanations to Bhagawad Gita, it gives an inexplicable pleasure. Only a gifted personality like Cho can do all that.

Personally, I have never imagined politics without Cho. Every day, I would be having some discussion about Cho. It may be on any topic, with a friend, with a colleague, in a facebook group, or even with a stranger, it happens. Unfortunately, at a crucial time, he is not alive. Had he been alive, ADMK would have come under the control of OPS. Sadly, Cho is not alive and we are missing his comments about various issues.

This is just a small article. A short tribute to my favorite journalist Mr.Cho Ramaswamy. If I get time, will try to write more about him.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru - Review

Review may have spoilers.

We have seen lot of cop stories in Tamil cinema and most of them were successful too. Even this year, we had an interesting, entertaining and stylish Vikram Vedha. Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru is different from other cop movies. Theeran is neither like an Aaruchaamy or Duraisingam I.P.S to utter 'naan Police illa porukki' kind of punchlines nor a stylish Anbuchelvan I.P.S. The movie is based on real life incidents. Its based on 'Operation Bawaria' headerd by Mr.Jangid. Theeran goes after the dangerous dacoits who were a nightmare to the public in 90s.

You can easily identify what kind of movie Theeran is, on watching the first scene, after the title card. The police officer asks the trainee cop to demonstrate how would he handle a weapon(knife with blood) from the murder spot and the trainee cop will religiously lift the knife with a white kerchief, on seeing which the senior officer would ask 'how did you learn this? from movies? and the trainee replies yes'. That was really funny and I liked the way the director trolled all other cop movies.

Bose Venkat, plays the inspector, assisting Karthi. He is there till the end and has done well too. The scenes towards the interval were the best part of the movie. You would feel like watching the deadly robbery in person. It was filmed in such an interesting way. I would say, these scenes are one of the best in the history of Tamil cinema itself. So much of realism.

The chase begins after interval. Theeran takes charge of the operation completely though he has a team. Karthi shines as the honest cop Theeran. He doesn't overact, shout or utter any meaningless punchlines. He has a very good screen presence and he has concentrated on his body language and expressions. His calm acting, appeals to the audience and you can hear claps and whistles when he says 'mein bevgunaa(I am innocent)'. But what works for the movie is, the cruel nature of the dacoits. Because you have a ruthless, brutal gang of dacoits, the person who hunts them appears Godly on screen.

Usually, Tamil movies based on real incidents, would only show police in bad light. Theeran is different even in this aspect. It shows the police in positive light but doesn't fail to take a dig at our corrupt system and careless authorities. Some sarcastic dialogues in serious scenes, shows what kind of talent, director H Vinoth is. When Bose Venkat starts explaining the case to Rajasthan cop, something like, 'sir actually is was' for which the Rajasthan police asks 'are you from Tamil Nadu, your English shows that'. There is another dialogue "உங்க ஊர்ல கொள்ளை அடிக்காம ஏண்டா இவ்வளவு தூரம் வந்து கொள்ளை அடிக்கிறீங்க? இங்க உத்தர ப்ரதேஷ்ல எங்களை encounterல சுட்டுடறாங்க. ஆனா தமிழ் நாட்டிலே போலிஸுக்கு 20 ரூபா கொடுத்தா போதும், எங்களை விட்டுடறாங்க. அது மட்டும் இல்லை, உங்க போலீஸ் கிட்ட துப்பாக்கியை இருக்காது ஆனா எங்க கிட்ட இருக்கும்". You just can't stop clapping for these dialogues.

The movie happens in 1990s and there is a reference to Vajpayee's Golden Quadrilateral. The movie also refers to the history of 'Kutra Parambarai'. Vinoth had a proper script on paper and has done some research too, before bringing it on screen. Theeran has a good background score by Ghibran and  stunning visuals by Sathyan Sooryan.

The only negative with the movie is the duration of love scenes. They could have trimmed it. I am not a fan of the director's previous movie(his debut) 'Sathuranga Vettai'. I felt it to be a very ordinary film with some good scenes here and there. Its unbelievable that this director, has made a brilliant film like Theeran. A film based on real life incidents is not something new to Tamil cinema. Its difficult to have a racy screenplay for movies based on real incidents. But Theeran has.

Theeran will satisfy both the set of audience,  who prefers artistic films, which concentrates more on script and making and who expect only a racy action film without any boring moments.

This is a terrific movie. Don't miss it.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Aramm - Review

Aram, directed by Mr.Gopi, who filed a case against director A R Murugadoss and leveled charges against director Ranjith of stealing his stories for the movies, Kaththi and Madras respectively, has directed this movie. The Lady Superstar of Kollywood, Nayanthara plays the lead here. Gopi might have lost the case in court, but with Aram he makes a strong statement against those who called him liars. Aramm is a well made, hard-hitting film, with some avoidable communist dialogues.

We have seen lady super stars playing action roles, like Vijayasanthi fighting against a bunch of rowdies or preaching feminism (ex. Jyothika's Magalir Mattum). This is not a movie like that. Gopi doesn't compromise on the script and there are no unwanted scenes. The story keeps moving while he establishes characters. In fact, it takes a while for us, to see Nayanthara, in action.

Aram mainly deals with the villages, that are being neglected by the govt and authorities. There are two different issues shown in the movie - first one is water scarcity and the second one is, resource scarcity in rescuing kids, from bore wells. Yes, most part of the movie, deals with rescuing a child, who accidentally falls down into a bore well. I swear, you will not get bored at any point while watching this movie. The duration of the movie, too is just 2 hours.

Nayan utters some powerful dialogues like "ஒரு உயிரோட விளையாடறோம்ன்ற குற்ற உணர்ச்சியே இல்லாத அதிகாரிங்க இருக்கிற வரைக்கும் இந்த நாடு எப்படி தான் உறுப்படுமோ?", "கிணத்துல விழுந்தது இந்த ஜனநாயகத்தை நம்பி இவங்களுக்கு ஓட்டு போட்ட மக்கள் தான் சார்". The way the movie mocks at the callous attitude of VAOs, police officers, councilors etc, is truly enjoyable. When there is a delay in beginning the rescue operations, one guy questions, will the attitude be same, had it been a minister's son or daughter? There is a reference to a guy, who invented robots to rescue people from bore wells and the director questions, why such guys are not given importance?. Children falling into bore well has become too common nowadays, and some serious steps needs to be taken to resolve this problem.

While it is true that still there are lot of villages without a solution for water scarcity and their honest demands being neglected often, the comparison with rocket launching doesn't make sense at all. Right from the beginning, there's a reference to rocket launching and if you think patiently, you can only feel it doesn't make any sense.

It is true that villages lack basic facilities, authorities often neglect such places, politicians exploit the people and raising our voice against them is the need of the hour. But, because some villages lacks basic amenities, saying that we don't need rockets or satellites, is meaningless comparison. This has been the attitude of communist people for a while, we don't need rockets(even Surya's father Mr.Sivakumar made this statement recently), we don't need industries, we don't need digital improvements, we only need food and water. Going by that logic, we don't need movies, malls, theaters, smart phones etc. It's enough if we have food and water. Isn't this a meaningless anger?

It is the duty of the govt and authorities to focus on everything - both public welfare and infrastructure development. Expose on how the poor and downtrodden are neglected is a much needed one, but taking a dig at infrastructure through mass media, is not the right thing to do. There are different departments to deal with different issues, because those responsible for providing basic facilities, should we derail the growth of other departments too?

The TV discussion scenes (with news 18 Guna, Muthukrishnan I think) was a total let down. In reality, our media has not done anything useful. At least in movie, Gopi could have shown the media doing something interesting.

Nayanthara has a very good screen presence. She has done her part very well. There's nothing ugly, in the name of experiment. She knows her strengths and has played it smart. Not everyone has the charisma as Nayan has and that is why her dialogues are well received. Though the performance of everyone is natural, Ramachandran Durairaj, the one who plays the father of the child, was just stunning. After a while, he doesn't get too many scenes, but he makes an impact. While the village, attitude of officials, performances are too natural, the interrogation scenes between Kitty and Nayanthara was too artificial and the climax was kind of filmy.

Only if you are confident with your script, you can make a 2 hour Tamil movie with most part of it showing the rescue operations. The theater response was encouraging too, there was no sarcastic comments from the audience side and they didn't fail to whistle and clap for some scenes. Finally, Gopi has tasted success with a sincere film. Congratulations Mr.Gopi!!!

Aramm is good and don't miss it.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Rajni and politics

Rajni is again in the news, the reason is same, the age-old-political-entry stunt.. There memes doing rounds against Rajni thinking that he is a RSS man,BJP fellow etc.Well I don't agree with the statement that actors should not join politics. India is a democratic country and anyone can join politics. But, why am I criticizing or mocking Rajni?

He has been making political statements since 90s and some of them were hilarious. In 90s, 'Thamizh Naattil vedigundu kalaachaaram paravi vittadhu, Jayalalithaa aatchiku vandhaal Thamizh Naattai Aandavanaala kooda kaappatha mudiyadhu' etc.. Well, there is nothing wrong in making political statements too. Now we have twitter/facebook/whatsapp etc where almost everyone is a journalist, a critic. So there is nothing wrong in making statements too. But he used his fans for his personal gains. In 2004, I have witnessed Rajni fans campaigning against PMK and they were distributing the audio cassette with Rajni's speech. He will 'voice' out his support during elections and his fans will be doing all the field work. If you are not sure about your political ambitions, why do you involve your fans in such activities?

In 2004, he opposed PMK and gave a speech against the party and urged the people to defeat PMK. But PMK won all the 6 seats it contested. Rajni didn't have a face to acknowledge the defeat.He either underestimated the Tamil Nadu electorate or overestimated himself. How can a 45 minute speech make a difference in politics - which is fulled with caste,money,alcohol,biriyani,rowdyism,religion etc? I still remember that speech, it would end up like this 'nanbargalidam thanjam pugundhu vittadhaal, idhark mel vimarsikka manam varavillai' -  PMK was part of the DMK led alliance then, so (D)MK was Rajni's nanbar and he is not going harsh against PMK.. He thought, a 15 more mins of his speech would totally wipe out PMK. This clearly shows, Rajni has no idea about politics.

He released the first look of his 'Jaggubhai', exactly on the day of elections in the year 2004, posing himself as a Muslim. The moment, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam objected to it, he dropped the project. I agree, cinema is a multi-crore business and none would like to face losses. But Rajni, cleverly used the mass media to his advantage. Had PMK not won those 6 seats, TMMK might not have objected Jaggubhai and Rajni might have ended up with another commercial blockbuster. There was a tagline in Jaggubhai - 'Iraivaa, nanbargalidamirundhu kaappaatru, pagaivargalai naan paarthu kolgiren'.Then something happened(heard one Saamiyaar mediated between Rajni and Ramadoss and they became friends. No, that was not Jayendrar).

So Rajni is someone, who did not have a face to meet the public, after a virtual defeat. He did not have the guts to field a candidate on behalf of him, against a party, that attacked his fans. He is someone who thinks his words are more than enough to influence the outcome of an election.He is someone who endorsed DMK-TMC in 96, defended the DMK govt during Coimbatore bomb blasts, offered a half hearted support to BJP in 2004. Before entering politics itself, he has switched sides :D If there is someone who has committed lot of political blunders, without being in politics, then it can only the Superstar Rajnikanth.

After 12 years, now again, he started it.

Jayalalithaa is no more, Kalaignar is inactive in politics, so Rajni thinks, he can try his luck again. Personally, I dont have a problem with Rajni's political entry. He can start a party or join any party, that's his wish. If his approach is convincing, he may be successful.

I am perfectly ok, with any actor, becoming a politician or CM. As if we have only true leaders in active politics. But the criticism against Rajni is valid and would continue for the reasons mentioned above. If Rajni really joins politics and his approach gives some hope that he would be better than the existing parties, we can appreciate him. As of now, I don't have any hopes on Rajni.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Kavan - Review

Kavan it starts well,but lack of an interesting script and poor supporting cast , lets the movie down, though it entertains a bit.. when you are making a movie about media terrorism, you should have a good actor, who can scare you with his mannerisms and looks, as a villain..You should have an equally good actor, as his rival..Some Akashdeep plays the villain here, leave alone scaring you, he doesn't even looks serious.. reminds me of some old comedians in good old Doordarshan serials.. and the man who plays his rival is none other than our legend T Rajendar.. I was thinking whether this is a spoof movie. A good actor, instead of T Rajendar, might worked out very well. Bose Venkat as a drunken politician fails to make any impact..

What saves the movie is Vijay Sethupathy's screen presence and acting.. He does well in scenes mocking Arnab Goswami and loud anchors..The interview scene with Bose Venkat was enjoyable, because of Vijay Sethupathy, especially VS's sarcastic expressions and smile..Madonna doesn't have much to do,she too can be seen with Vijay Sethupathy.. Vikranth as Abdul, makes his presence felt.. This is the second time I liked Vikranth's acting after Pandiyanadu..

On seeing names like SuBa and Kabilan Vairamuthu, I had an expectation that Kavan would be on par with Ko, if not better.. But the mediocre writing is the major drawback of Kavan..It's really disappointing to see these guys too adding some usual commercial stuffs about terrorism,minority, naxalites etc without a proper justification.. They have added some dialogues to satisfy the crowd that outrages on issues like methane extraction, nuclear power etc.. I am fully ok with writing communist dialogues in movies, agreed it sells,.. But when these dialogues fail to create any impact due to a poor script, you end up with disappointment..  For example, a movie like Joker, with a strong script and brilliant performances, made me enjoy the communist propaganda.. But definitely not Kavan.. Though the Kalpana story was handled well, Vikranth's Abdul character is pretty ordinary.. Kind of cliche. There is a dialogue about Rangaraj Pandey,Gopinath,Arnab Goswami that you have to attain their stature to bring some change in the society, though I partly agree popularity and stardom will help you in bringing a change, I dont think either of them has done anything good to the society :D

Hip Hop Thamizha's music is as bad as the villain's performance..The rap music for Bharathiyar poems was highly irritating. Probably one of the rare scenes in the movie which showed the reality, that how much irritating these 'reality shows' are. Someone should tell the music director Adhi, people call him 'modern Bharathi' to troll him, something like Sir Ravindra Jadeja. This guy took it too serious it seems.

Kavan, though better than the director's previous movie Anegan, is strictly average..