Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Summer vacations

Sree, had some time back posted about summer vacations and asked me to do so too. And being the kind of prompt blogger I am, its taken not so much a while to post this ;) [Well, seriously, the blogspot site was acting up and so it delayed my posting further though I had the draft ready]. Now here's my post :

The very thought of no school, no studies, brings an unsaid joy onto any kid's mind and in my school days I was no different. The last day of final exams was like the ultimate D-day. The first thing I remember doing was to get back home and put tick marks with a red pen on all my notebooks with "Good", "Neat", "V.Good" remarks.

During my primary schooling, I was out of India along with my parents and during then, we had 3 long months of summer vacation and this time was when we made our annual trips to India and these trips meant fun, fun and only fun. We would be pampered to the core. And going back we had the loads of goodies to take.During one such trip, we made a big tour of Tamilnadu. It was more like a truck van with the tarpolein cover. My uncle made seats at the back and other than that, it was mostly mats and beds. We went till Kanyakumari starting from Madras and covering a whole lot of places inbetween.

Another place which we used to often take retreat was Chidambaram. I know summer in Chidambaram is not a good idea but the load of fun that was in store did not deter us even a bit. The excitement started the moment you got down at the kanji thotti bus stop. What else? A horse cart ride!

The house we headed to was the the ever charming - tiled roof (oattu veedu) type with a centre courtyard. Cooking was done by sitting on the floor. The toilets were outside the house. You had to draw water from well, no pumps or taps (again, an indication how exercise inter-twines with daily chores in villages). But the best of all was the huge swing in the neighbour's house and we were a big cousins' lot and the neighbours were kind enough to let us in all the time. This was the typical traditional oonjal with a wide and long teak plank hung with metal chains. We would look foward to touch the ceiling everytime and few years down the line, we realised there was another version which is the kappal raatinam. In this the chain are criss-crossed and the oonjal swings sideways as against the normal front and back motion. This was just too thrilling and ultimate. The plank would literally touch the ceiling with a jerk leading to shreiks and screams.

Another best thing here was the kuchchi icecream. The little ice factory was not far off from the house and fresh ice was made at around 3 pm and so we would all gather at 3 and our aunt would lead us all with a big ever-silver bowl. Grape ice, orange ice, semiya ice, rose milk ice, paal ice... yummy. The rose milk flavour sticks came in trainglular shapes, the orange ones the normal shape. I liked the kuchi paal ice the best, which came in a thin cylindrical shape. All the big ones used to be wrapped in short butter papers. Probably the manufucturing methodology was hygienic, thats why we had no problem even after eating them day after day. Costing just about 25 or 50 p, each would grab atleast 2 and slurping, licking all the way back home :)

Is a trip to Chidambaram complete without visiting the Natarajar temple? We would head to the temple just an running errands especially during night times. We felt the temple was our second home and not to miss the puliyodharai and sakkarai pongal served hot on lotus leaves at the Lakshmi sannidhi. The sound of the huge bells during the kala poojais cause goose pimples and transforms you to another divine eternal world.

The best of all during summer vacations would be the regular days at Madras. Being in Besant Nagar, it meant a daily evening trip to the Elliot's beach and getting drenched and coming back with loads of sands in pockets. And in the day time, all the indoor games would come out - trade, monopoly, scrabble, carrom and cards. Almost the whole street would ensemble in our house. We had to use 3 card packs to play Rummy.

I could just go on and on with summer vacation but I have listed just the instant few which flashed right away on reading Sree's posts. Thanks Sree for helping me take a ride down memory lane (yet again!).

Thinking of all those now, I can only envy the school kids. I wish if offices also follow suit and declare a month long, okay-let me not be too greedy, maybe atleast a week!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Beginning of the end

Inspite of climax being an important aspect of any movie, many movies have failed miserably on the climax part. And the oft heard comments from people walking out of movie halls would be "The last 30 mins was pathetic, the director did not know how to end the movie". Generally climaxes which have deviated from the norm impresses the audience but that again only if its impressive. Many directors, with an eye of ending their movies differently, have only invited criticism from audience. So I thought I would dedicate a post on climaxes which impressed me. Ofcourse the opinions could be very subjective. They just reflect my taste. [In the interest of fellow bloggers, I've tried my best not to quote the actual climax in most cases so that it does not turn out to be a spoiler in case you have not watched any of the movies before]

Kaadhalukku Mariyadhai :
A very novel theme where lovers part ways for the sake of parents (did any movie prior to this have a similar theme?). I especially love the scene when Srividhya watches Shalini and breaks down in the end. Its amazing how Srividhya's eyes literally "speak" in those scenes. I saw the original Malayalam version climax as well (Aniyathipraavu) and its equally good.

Love Today :
The story would not have made a mark had Vijay accepted Suvalakshmi's love. A fitting end indeed.

KB's movies :
Almost all of KB's movies have interesting climaxes including Sindhu Bhairavi, Iru Kodugal, Avargal, Kalyana Agadhigal. K.Balachander is a director who's movies were mostly ahead of his time. People often ridiculed the logic in Aboorva Ragangal about father in love with daughter and son in love with mom. But again, the end was amicable and there is even a dialogue by Sundarajan who advises against such "rational" actions.

Vaaname Ellai :
For all those dejected souls, Mr.Ramakrishnan comes as a tonic. Infact the scene in which he gets off his car and the reaction on the faces of the actors - I literally get goose pimples every time I watch it.

Bharathi Kannamma / Porkaalam :
Cheran's first movie definitely made a mark. A very decent movie and this is one of the best movies of Meena (who is mostly projected only as a wax doll - another movie which harnessed her acting skills is Rhythm). And also the climax in Porkaalam is worth mentioning and especially the dialogue of Vadivelu when he makes a poser to Murali as to why he did not think about him (Vadivelu) as his sister's groom.

Kaadhal :
When I knew this was a true story, the "effect" was multi-fold. I was curious to know the actual person who narrated the story to the director. What a character he should have been!! Hats off to him.

Kolangal :
Its not the climax exactly but I like the scene when Jayaram tenders apology to the media. The dialogues are very sharp and fitting.

Kai Kodutha Deivam :
Clearly, Savithiri takes the cake here. A slight over acting would have made Savithiri seem like an eccentric.

Ei Nee Romba Azhaga Irukka :
"How can you hate somebody whom you loved so dearly?" is the theme. Definitely a good advice to people who have gone thru' love breaks and rejections and turn hostile towards their ex-lovers. It was a very nice movie but I guess the title played spoil sport ;-)

Five Star :
I always used to feel Prasanna was a highly talent actor but did not get his dues. And this movie was one of those nice movies which did not fare well in theatres. Again, a movie with a nice ending.

Mugavari :
The movie was kind of okay but the end was definitely not on expected lines. Sacrificing ambitions for family was another novel theme and quite touching too.

Karpoora Mullai :
Fazil is one of my favourite directors but sadly many of his initial movies did not become hits and this movie is one such movie and tremendous acting by Amala and Srividhya. This climax is one the most straight forward and "un-cinematic" endings I have ever seen. Among Fazil's movies Bommukutti Ammavukku also had a very different ending.

Thulli Thirindha kaalam :
An off-beat movie - which maybe many would've not even heard of. The advice bit of Kushboo in the end to the youngsters is very apt.

Mahaanadi :
The climax was kind of in expected lines but what was soul stirring in the movie was the one in which Kamal sees his daughter in a brothel and when he hears his daughter talk in her sleep. Infact this movie earned the highest score till date in Ananda Vikatan's film review (I think it was 70%). The movie lingered on to my mind for a week - the scene of Kamal seeing his daughter in the brothel kept flashing repeatedly in my mind as if it had happened to me.

Azhagi :
More than being a love story, I felt this movie reflected about life. Nandita Das, who was from a well to do family ends up spending her life on the road whereas its the other way round for Parthiban and yet life has to go on and both of them take it in their strides. Nandita Das's acting was just mind blowing in this movie.

Kannathil Muthamittal :
The one which I would call "The scene" is in which Keerthana stops with her list of pre-written questions when she hears from Nandita that she (Nandita) had not lifted her in her arms even once. The reaction of Keerthana was enough to make her win the best child actor National award that year. And needless to say about Nandita Das - when she hugs Keertana finally (after Simran's insistence) and how the sky opens up. Simran too had a very different role and did full justice to it.

Thulaa Bhaaram :
I would never want to watch this movie again for the kind of emotions it generates. I read that the movie "Pasi" also has a similar ending. Very very moving.

Sirai Chaalai (Kaala paani) :
Many Indian freedom struggle movies have fascinated me like Kappal ottiya Thamizhan, Veera Pandiya Kattabomman. In Sirai chaalai, the ending makes your heart go out for Tabu and Mohanlal. For Mohanlal because he is executed during the tail end of his term in jail and Tabu because she keeps hoping that her husband would return one day.

Mudhalvan :
Shankar movies' screenplays are very narrative and the flow is pretty interesting. In this movie, when everyone would expect Arjun to shoot Raghuvaran, the story takes a different twist - totally unexpected but interesting.

Gokulathil Seethai :
I was amazed by the way Karthik handled his role (or maybe even director Agathiyan deserves credit here). His role was literally a walk on the edge of a knife. The role could have made him a total negative character had it not been potrayed the way it was done.

Dil To Pagal Hai :
Movie wise, I would not regard this as a very logical or very impressive movie but somehow the movie created a good feeling when watching. I like Akshay Kumar's signalling and the dialogue of Madhuri in the end.

The Associate :
I don't know if this movie was even a hit but I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and more so because Whoopie Goldberg is one of my favourite Hollywood actresses. The ending dialogue is a fitting reply to a casteist and male dominant society.

Cast Away :
To know what perseverance, will power, grit, determination is, one has to see this movie. The climax is heart rendering in that the reason for Tom Hanks' motivation to endure his life on the lonely island gets defeated when he gets to know that his lover has since married and has a little daughter. The scene when Helen Hunt comes running in the rain hugging Tom Hanks and the dialogue of Tom Hanks after that to his friend is something which would defintely make your eyes moist.

So what are your favourite climaxes? Would love to read your list too. So do post them in the comments section or in your blog and post the link here ;) I am sure there are many more which I probably missed and maybe you have them in you 'list'.