An Owl's 2 hoots

Saturday, December 24, 2005

hrrmph! Action!!

Clearing the throat - whether necessary or otherwise, that is how Kamalhassan would probably start his lights, camera action routine!.

Just finished watching the black & white classic - avargaL. Quite possible that Kamal started his casual way of acting from this movie - peppered with banging against furniture while walking, that hesitant way of talking... No, no, I really loved his acting, after all, he is born for acting. Somehow that has become his trademark way of acting, of course, his un-abashed on-screen crying!

Thinking along the same lines, most of the acclaimed tamil movie directors have their own trademark styles/techniques painted, sometimes, scribbled all over their creations. I am not trying to generalize their ways, but it is more likely that it may be the case.

1. K. Balachander:
  • most of his movies would have a house with a long set of rooms, with multiple entrances to each room. Just so because, the all-enduring female lead character can retort to each and every family members' rants
  • he will make sure you don't forget the mirror-reflection technique
  • symbolic scene settings - like kilo yenna velai for the depth of music interest
2. Manirathnam:
  • very short dialogs, which sometimes would be understood only by the writer
  • some of his older movies definitely had a rain sequence
  • one of the characters would be referred by his caste name
3. Bharathiraaja:
  • graamam
  • particularly in song sequences, a shot of a flower, or the heroine showing her pearly-whites (teeth!) or a group of birds flying would be repeated and merged in a transclucent manner
4. Visu:
  • simple sets - just one or 2 houses
  • character named Uma
  • this guy takes theorem-proving/tautology very seriously
  • climax scene would be a 2 page dialog. For every person in the house. For two iterations.
5. Baghyaraj:
  • makes us to wait for his "story, screenplay, direction" title card after a solid trademark scene
  • tremendously taut screenplay
  • subtle matter dialogs
6. Shankar:
  • rich sets. Vairamuthu or vaali must be partly blamed for this. Some of their over-enthusiastic lyrics makes Shankar think too literally and the CGI costs of those special effects run riot!
  • i believe he introduced the "jerky movement" scenes
  • glorifies brahminism - true isn't it?
7. Selvaraghavan:
  • no-holds-barred story settings
  • yuvan shankar raja
  • None of the characters are normal
Just for fun!. Have a nice weekend!.

PS: Merry Christmas and considering how frequently I post, Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Right-arm over

After around a million F5's (page refreshes) in cricinfo, I finally got to play the game. I have joined the county cricket club which was started recently. In India, I have played extensive "under-arm" cricket (with tennis ball) and not much of "ground" cricket. But this one, is the real deal.

Our team is a bunch of desis, some of whom have been playing for quite a while. I daresay that I bowl a decent leg spin, so there you go!. Batting - I am not quite used to these kinds of conditions - namely, pad, abdominal guard, helmet (all very uncomfortable, but very essential), so it is a bit hard running with the gear. But I hope I would get used to it.

Sarasota la marundhukku kooda cricket equipment illa. The salesperson at Sports Authority brought me a croquet set when I asked for cricket items. And then, adding insult to injury, she said, "Oh, I thought it was so-o cute that a guy plays croquet!".

So after settling for a guard worn for cycle-racing (err, it is similar) and a white tee-shirt from Walmart and an almost white pants, I was ready!. The first match of this season(!) was against a team from Ocala, FL. I was expecting another bunch of desis, but my jaw dropped when I saw that they were all Carribeans.

The match was 30-overs a side. We won the toss and decided to bat (3 more players on our side were still on their way, you see!). It was a mat pitch and we scored 131/8 in 30 overs. Since I am a specialist(!) spinner, I came low down the order - almost when the match was over - and scored 2 runs N/O.

After a short break, it was their turn to bat. Pacers started the proceedings and the first ball was smashed with such force I have never seen in real life to 4. Now I know how bowlers feel when Sachin smashes them around. But somehow we came back and plucked 4 wickets out of nowhere. Their chase was a mixed-bag. We bowled well in patches, and got wickets regularly. There were 4 pacers in the team, so I got to bowl later, and that too only 2 overs. I did not pick any wickets, but they did not score more than 8 runs in my "spell". But I did run-out 2 of their batsmen though. Very agile cover and square leg fielder, you see!. End result - we won by 5 runs. I think we had a bit of luck, as they were all set to win.

They were very nice and a sportive bunch. There was a lot of bantering on the field, and their accent was interesting, least to say!. Since we hosted them here, we had ordered lunch. The match had everything - a bit of rain, some blows taken by the batsmen, catches taken, catches dropped, etc. In short, a very enjoyable game. My respect to test cricketers and test matches has greatly increased after playing this one game. Next week, we would be having an informal match for our club sponsors and a pre-christmas party.

So, after watching cricinfo go back in time and reduce the scores magically, its time for some real fun!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Be Indian, Buy Indian, Fly Indian

This news here mentions that the Indian Airlines is going to be renamed as Indian.

Indian what?. Just Indian. Well, ok.. so how am I supposed to call it?. Indian. Hmm... Let's try that again:

Sir, How are you going to travel to Delhi?.

- I am flying Indian.

Sir, that is not allowed and is not possible too. It is extremely dangerous for a human to fly on his own.

- Nooo.. I am flying Indian!!.

Then I am asking Indian?. How are you going to Delhi?

- Indian.. *with tremedous hesitation* airlines..

A-haa.. apdi vaadi!..

Yet another attempt in renaming terms which have been well ingrained in our minds. It just wouldn't work!. As I say, Madras is for Men, Chennai is for Wimps.

PS: I noticed that the last 4 posts or so of mine were pretty long (well, long in my standards), so decided to write one which is shorter, one which really justifies my blog title!


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Car kaalan(m)

Aparna had posted about driving in various countries some time back. This prompted me (although a bit late!) to write about some aspects of driving in the US. Indian drivers: I am sorry, this does not apply to you!.

Most of the cars in the US have automatic transmission ("gearless"). Although I too drive a similar car, my concept of "driving" is when a car has a manual transmission (stick shift). You can only "move", not "drive" in an automatic transmission car. To this date, the best cars in the world have manual transmissions. On any given day, they are more fuel efficient and have faster pickup than automatic. Oh, and you can actually go to the 5th gear (and above!) in a manual transmission, whereas most of the automatic cars can only "go" upto the 4th.

Andha 4 gears use panni indha oorla drivers adikara koothu irukkey!!..

As far as we (drivers) are concerned, anybody who is driving below our speed is an idiot and those who drive above our speed is a crazy guy. And yes, each of us would say we are a safe and calm, and most importantly, a cool-headed driver!. In reality though, it is amazing how even the calmest person you know swears like a sailor when he/she is behind the wheel. But members of the jury, we have our reasons -

1. Consider this: It is a straight road, with 2 lanes on each direction. Traffic is not that bad and the road is relatively clear. You are driving at just the allowed speed limit behind another car. Ok?. For no reason at all, the driver in front of you breaks. There is no necessity at all -just checking if his brakes work or not!.

2. A similar scenario, and oh, this has to be my favorite one for popping a vein. You are going downhill/down a bridge, and as usual, are behind another car. And again, there is no one in front of him. Just because he is going downhill, he brakes. No, he has never heard of removing the foot from the accelerator, but prefers to brake. Seriously, I think it is high time someone builds a smart car which would deduct $10 from the driver's account everytime he brakes without reason. This is an absolute abuse of the automatic transmission system - like he is playing a video game.

3. I am not a sexist or anything, but I am very wary of a woman driving an SUV, talking in the cell phone at the same time. They may feel that they rule the road from atop the huge SUV, not me!. Thanks, but no thanks!.

4. Friday and Saturday night driving?. Go to the nearest temple next day for thanking God that you are still alive.

5. I am not sure about others, but there are few things as suspensful as driving behind a huge SUV or truck which has dark tinted glass. You have NO idea of what is happening in front.

6. Living in Florida has its pros and cons. The biggest con HAS to be sharing the road with senior citizens. Don't get me wrong, I respect old people and all, but please, please don't ever drive anywhere within 500 feet of an old driver in Florida.

The beauty of old drivers in Florida is that they are old, stinking rich (have a house up North and one winter home in Florida), and have ALL the time in the world. As a consequence of their wealth, they go for higher end cars - which is ok with me. Typically, the left most lane is for faster cars, the right most for slower ones and the middle one is for lane changing. If the speed limit is 55 mph, our friends would amble at an earth shattering speed of 25 mph on the left most lane, with their long-forgotten blinkers (indicators) on, just because they MAY turn left at some point of their journey.

And the clincher? - since they are rich, they would be driving the snazziest sports car you can find in the market!. Grrr!.

As Jerry Seinfeld mentioned in one of his epsidodes - "if you are 75 years old, do 75 mph, 90? do 90".

Have a safe weekend!.