Sunday, October 25, 2009


Written on 14th october

I had been in Arupukottai for the last one week, if the name seems odd, the that is how it is. I recived a mail today, from one of my classmate in XL informing me about Williamson being awarded nobel prize.For a moment i was transported to a totally different space between four walls , where we , a batch of 14 for the class of Firms,Markets and Global Dynamics, and a batch of 20 odd for Industrial Economies, tried to deconstruct and reconstruct Williamson in different context and savoured the outcomes and the debates. At one time, asset specificity was used by me to explain every context in every discipline.

But what hit me the most was the fact that i couldn't remember the last time I really thought about Williamson since i have walked out of college. I have lazied at home for 2 months,and had the pleasure of staying at The Sonar for 10 days and finally toil hard in Tamilnadu heat for the last 4 months. And, i had been part and parcel of a model that Williamson had always tried to explain more accurately - The boundary of the firm, when does a firm outsource a part of its business and what are the trade offs. The Company-distributor relationship, The distributor-Salesman/hawker relation and the reasons and solutions for conflicts that arise between these parties. The basic arguments between these parties written down on a contract, might be the best of the live examples, I should admit that, over the last 4 months of work at ITC, though i had every opportunity probe Williamson, i never did so.

The point that MBAs are overrated might be reiterated here, as i couldnt apply, if not atleast remember the model. But i would like make it a point that the mistake mostly lies with student of MBA than the MBA course as such. I feel happy today to atleast be in a position to appreciate the applause that Williamson is recieving. So, MBA is definitely not overrated, may be the student is, and its alkways his responsibility to counter that opinion.

Apart from all this, i found myself blushing, as my friend reminded me of how interesting and fun were our economics classes. I was reminded of the period, where i flirted for a while with Economics, still the best of the times in whole of Education. Just puts me in a confusion, whether the touring i do now is a detour or was that a small detour when i fell in love with Economics.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Knowing the other half of truth

I finally found a film society and rushed to it in the right time for the screening of the taiwan movie 'Yi Yi - A one and a two' by Edward Yang.To be honest , the movie was too long for an audience brought up on Indian cinema. In retrospect, we find out that the length was one of the key ingredient of what the movie portrays - Life.

So, where do i start to explain a movie about life, that too when the director tells it in the simplest of ways, if i try to retell it, it will be more complex and spoil the fun. I shall only to refer to the points where the director's ghost seems to be wandering around the characters and makes his presence felt subtly but so strongly, that the dialogues would only become proverbs in your life.The indispensible character in the director's endeavour turns out be the 8 year old kid, who drops words of wisdom with sweet innocence, be it asking his father "Why do we always know half the truth, we can only see whats in the front, we cant see whats behind at the same time". The best piece though, that had a loud applause from the audience is when the kid hands over a photogragh to his Uncle,picturing the back of his head and when asked why is he giving it to him, he replies in a saintly manner, wrapping himself in towel, "You cant see it yourself, i am trying to help you". Moments like this are sprinkled all over the movie, just when you start to yawn at the boring rituals of life intertwined with the inevitable complexes of the characters , the director makes you sit up with these subtle charges of dialogue.

It seems as if the director literally possessed the character of the Ting-Ting's boyfriend when he is discussing movies and says "My uncle says that , with movies , we live our life three times over". Thats when half the audience will be woken up to the fact that their life also would seem the same if presented through flickering frames. A Grandmother in coma as a sounding board for the characters is such an original experiment to pull the audience towards the characters.

The character development is so well done that the audience is set at the centre of a circle that the characters traverse only to come back to where they started and realise the futility of their internal struggles with guilt and mournful retrospections of lost opprtunities.Husband reliving his youth and realising that he is still restricted by the same fears and apprehensions.And its an experience to see his life intercut with his daughter's first date.

All in all, the movie is the directors signature on every frame, that for me is one of the most important thing in any movie,because in cinema, one man's command on his art becomes fountainhead of creative excellence of a larger number, i.e the cast and the crew.

Yi Yi is a movie which you shouldnt expect to entertain you or for that matter make you feel sad or make you laugh, you are not supposed to like it or hate it or judge it in any extent when you are watching it, you are only supposed to live it with the director and it will stay with your memory for a longer time.

Stop Read and Watch

Watching Subramaniapuram is definitely a bloody good experience.Despite the language being my neighbours tongue, I had a consolatory detail to associate with, the heroine being from the coochy-coochy talk show that used to beam on the telugu channel.

Thats where i say that sometimes it really helps, when you stop and read about the movie and the creator and his accomplices who cast this spell on you.

The director, lets call him the creator, he earns that position with all justice, for he wrote, directed and produced the movie and ofcourse acted in it. This gesture often brings out a sympathy from the distributors and sometimes even the audience. Please keep your condolences to yourself. Such a gesture is nothing but a persons love for the art he dreamt about and his desperation to give it a shape in his OWN way.If you have a good sight, you can find that desperation in every frame.

The most important thing for me though is , Sasikumar quoting that he likes RGV. Now lets get that simple, when someone says that he likes RGV, dont try to ask him 'How Much', Because you either hate RGV to Death or love him for life. If you are one of the RGV fans like me, you will start hallucinating with the virtual umbilical cord that the movie has all over, most of which might just be unintended coincidences, but who told you so ;) . The simplest thing could be Sasikumar calling his banner - Company Productions- doesnt that seem to come out of the factory. And then you only find more when camera races after people being chased through narrow alleys.And when you a see a street fight starting for no reason - you cant help that 'gotcha' smile on your face.

So, you know the rule when you sit for a RGV like movie, - Dont fall in love with the characters, because they are going to die a ruthless death. It will seem as the ghost of RGV has sprung out of screen and killed them. If you think i am exaggarating, try watching Siva at the time when telugu cinema was accelarating to sink like Titanic, you wouldnt bother when Raghuvaran kidnaps nagarjuna's niece and threatens to kill. You would be telling yourself "Come on, who are you fooling, when did villians become so honest, that too about killing kids". And then you sit up in a seat. I know, some would say, hadnt he done too much of such things after that. Well, i would only say,its anyday better than, Sharukh dying for 2 hours in Kal ho na ho.

Anyway, you will have to break the rule yourself, because you will fall in love with the characters for their innocence in crime and haplessness in love. So, you only give up all hopes and sit there watching your characters falling in love and then betraying each other and getting hacked to death.

And, you see those drizzle of the new wave all over the screen, when the camera follows kasi steadily without cutting until he sits on milestone and reconcilliates what he has done. If you have forgotten how the old cinema or the so called Hi-Tech Cinema used to look, here it is, Flash on the screen-POV of Paraman : the sickle in hand rising high and coming down-Paraman screaming with blood oozing from a place where the sickle is least probable to strike-Flash again(with zzzzzzzzzzuk sound)-Kasi would be trying to pull out his hair- and then some infinite flashes with twice infinite sounds and the scene would have been benchmarked against the superhit daily serial.

Finally, there is something you will know when you only read about the flick that the lead protaganist and the creator are schoolmates, where the Music Director James Vasantham was Music teacher. Now there is one thing that teachers teach you very well, especially music teachers - How to say your prayers. Like a devotee touching the steps when entering a temple, like a dancer bowing to the stage before his performance, James Vasantham's first song that breaks out of the speakers is by Illayaraja and rest is bliss.

P.S: I have amazing fun when i read about these trivia regarding any movie i see.Subramaniapuram just turned out to be too much of it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Poor Men

When Hamlet draws his last breath,When Othello draws his sword on to himself,When Macbeth shivers seeing the woods move, when Satya wriggles in his own blood at the doorstep of his beloved and when Paruthiveeran bites dust oozing blood painlessly, All i can visualise is the sweet grin on the face of creators of these characters who could etch a character so strong on a page or book and so seamlessly tranfer the imprint the same on to the mind of the audience and finally make it a point to put them through an experience that they cannot excuse themselves for.

Women in cinema had been invariably been pushed to played rosy,coochy coochy second fiddle, and an abberation that occured once in a while had always made a strong impact. Infact every actress now tries to make sure that she plays a strong female role once in her career,which is so because unfortunately, still as a majority,women are treated as a dependent second fiddle(let us not get into the 'discussion of the rise of the corporate women' now. For my own good, I am not in TCS anymore, i am in coimbatore trying to sell soaps to people who form a majority of what India is).

Anyway, the point of the article is that, if women roles were appreciated for being strong, Men in cinema or literature have made stronger and longer impressions in the mind of audience not when they played obvious hero who is invincible, but it is when they played the weak- the weak which every knows but treats it as a huge taboo to acknowledge openly. And some master minds had taken the simplest route to bring this to the forefront. Like they say in cooking shows on TV, 'Boil it with women and garnish it with crime".(Before i go further, this article is not to start a masculine movement or some bullshit like that, it is just my observation from some of my favorite pieces of art).

Othello was a character starngled by the thoughts of being naked to himself about the fact that he has turned vulnerable to the charms of a women who seemed to be manipulating him all the more. But the irony of his fate lay in the falsity of his own imagination which only sprouted from his weakness, that questioned his control over himself that seems to be shared now.

Macbeth struggled to figure out if it was his decision to aim for the throne by putting the king to sleep, or was he just a pawn in the whole plot written and directed by his wife,If not for which he wouldnt have accrued all the guilt.It is astonishing that a man who returned winning a battle had to succumb to words of a woman, well the question remains that he succumbed to the greed for power. I would say you do not need to question that, at the cost of stereotyping men, isnt that what men always sought.

The final frames of Satya still comeback to my mind, as i ponder that how a person who could plot to kill a dozen goons in the most manipulated manner and still escape the police, would walk into a building which he knows will only lock him up to death in a brutal manner.

There really isnt any point that i am trying to make through this article, except that i wish i could sleep well, after this, because, the last time i lost my sleep like this after watching a movie was after 'Requiem for a Dream'. I could survive One flew over cuckoos nest,7/G,Omkara, but Paruthiveeran for its sheer rawness and honesty in its brutality in questioning the heroics and recklessness of men powered and possessed by crime only to be challenged by a woman's undaunted love had a disturbing impact on my mind. The climax justifies itself in amatter of 15 minutes of what all the film was trying to make sense of in an atmosphere alien to most of the people who would watch the movie, but its the characters and their idiosyncracies(as wierd as cutting off a policeman's ear, for the fun of it, only tells you that he will pay for it the way it has to be). The movie stands out as how strongly it justifies its characters, which may be even Satya fails at a few points.

I will stop this piece here, as i have already taken off tangentially. Hope it makes half the sense i wanted it to be.

P.S: I am sure that whoever watched the movie would trash this article for supporting the male character, who technically had to pay for his crimes, while th female's role goes through the brutality for nothing but love. I would still keep the title of this article the same, as the guilt of realising that your previous actions had been the sole reason for your beloved's fate and the helplessness that stays with the character thereby is the worst punishment that anyone can get. Thus, my sincere condolences go to Poor Men


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Learning Thy Neighbours Language

And so arrive in the Tamil Nadu, ok, excuse me here, its Thamilll nadu to pronounce, and as per norms some britisher or god knows who chose to pass the dictum "From now on , Z followed by a H will be spelt as-" he addressed a huge crowd and tried to pronounce the way it is supposed to be , by dragging his tip of the tongue to the roof of his mouth and shouted "Lla".

Forget the English, they are a queer crowd for sure. Thats my first learning on my way to learn Tamil.

During one of my days of travelling to the countryside for my sales training with the salesman in coimbatore, i had no sense of my whereabouts as the milestone read only in Tamil, which was unlike any other place in India so far. So, i thought i will start with the basics-Buy a Slate and learn to read and write.

And surprise, there are only 30 alphabets, unlike 56 in telugu. I realised why my handwriting in telugu sucked so badly(not that i write beautifully in other languages)there are actually enough twists in telugu words as well that would break your slate pencil.And for all the northindians who hate the Tam crowd, the script seemed similar to hindi(though they wouldnt sound the same, e.g : the mirror image or Hindi Ae is Tamil Ra)

So,the second surprise comes in the form of free will the language offers to pronounce it the way you want it to be. For example, same letter is used to spell Pa,Ba and similarly for Tha/Dha and Cha/Sa. You should empathize with me when in my first days of learning, the only exercises i have are the name boards on retail shops, Ads on buses and the milestones, so i spell Chennai Silks as Chennai Chilks and then give myself an extra option as Sennai Silks, and like a curious kid checking for the answers, i find out its Chennai silks at my own discretion.

With this frustration for a day, I launched onto my salesman to write and spell 'bombay' and when he wrote something which would also spell like pompay, i asked the obvious question. He did the obvious, Laughed me off as an FOB and carried on with his work.

Thats when you realise, how queer are the english and is English. Wouldnt a kid be justified if he spells Coconut as Sosonut. With many such questions and pitfalls, i am enjoying my new learning, especially travelling by the countryside and a sneak peek into the last triad of the sale - Consumer-retailer-salesman.

And after 2 weeks of concentrated learning of the language, i had a relieved and entertaining session of watching a Tamil Movie. More on that next time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Globe is Golden

And so it is..

Rahaman wins the Golden Globe and he humbly thanks the billion people in India. Few months ago, my roomie woke me up and said India won a Gold at the Olympics, I turned around in my bed, pulled up my blanket  and said "So What, its just too much noise about too little a thing and it wouldnt make any difference". He disappointedly walked away saying to himself "Well, it definitely feels good, when its someone from your own country". I believe thats true. It might just be my lesser interest towards sports , or anger towards Indian attitude towards sports or it might just be my sleep.

I feel, elated, excited and more than anything proud for Rahman, for where he stands now, in the same room where Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsecee stands. Its unbelieveable to see the nominations being announced on the side of Hans Zimmer, and then giving the award to Rahaman. And it would be a mistake to expect anything more from Rahman than what he read out from a visting card sized note he got with him. He had been a Man of action or rather music than words. And let him be so.I am almost done with watching the press meet and he still doesnt seem to be the one to speak. He keeps his smile through out though, as he keeps ours.

Anyway, thanks to my membership of FLIX at XLRI and my exclusive access to bittorrents , that i could see most of the GG and Oscar Favourites. Wrestler as expected has earned a well deserved award for Mickey Rourke. I am yet to watch Reader, Doubt and Revolutionary Road. (Just that i had an overload of heavy movies, especially european cinema). I would surely like to sit through Kate Winslet's acting.(Funny that she mentions that she has the habit of not winning and wins two awards after some amazing performances in Finding Neverland and Titanic). Just, if you hadnt heard about it, Frost/Nixon is a good watch, it fails to live up to the build up in the climax, but its insight into the minds and motivations of two individuals is worth a watch and a thought.(Those who flocked to the theatres over and over to watch the interview scene between Arjun and Amrish Puri in Shankar's Mudhalvan/Oke Okkadu , Frost/Nixon might seem subdued).

I am waiting to watch much raved about -Waltz with Bashir. And the other foriegn movie "I've Loved you so long" . Well it still startles me that something so Indian,but not 'by' an Indian, a Britisher (as it seems to be always , like it was with Richard Attenbourgh's Gandhi. I guess Tagore would scoff at me for my so called "Nationalism",the Gandhian way) , has gone on to beat movies like Curious Case and Sam Mendes's Revolutionary Road. Funny that, Jai ho wouldnt feature in Rahman's top 100 songs of his career, but it goes on to win the Golden Globe. I also wondered why and how, you will understand, when you watch the movie, when the Titles appear with 'O Saya' in the background , with Slum Kids playing cricket in the backyard of the Airport , and the police chasing the kids through the narrow gullies of the slum and thats when you introduce Rahman. And the man gives his best. And then you give it away to the cameraman to take over the slums(Cameraman is Danish , talk of globalisation), and he cuts three shots into a zoom out aerial view of the Dharavi slums, and the kids keep running, with such an uninhibited smile through what represents the Third World, you are sure to get goose bumps and yes a few votes for sure from the (if i may say so) First World.

Well that was more of an aside, but the point stays that movie making is the best marriage that one would ever experience, pioneers of science and art had been pouring in their contributions and appreciating each other with so much warmth that it continues to be my favourite. :P

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Of Curious Cases and Slumdogs

I screened the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" at my college. It was nice to see a few friends turn up. It definitely ate up 6 hrs of my time in a day as i watched it twice. We were pulling each others leg that how about a "Curious case of Benjamin Felix Rajkumar", coincidentally one of my friends who was watching the film. So what would be "The Curious Case of Kartheek Kanumuru" be.
"My name is Kartheek Kanumuru, I live unusually in usual circumstances, I do not see the light of the day and i eat once in a day and sleep well, really well" So much for my mini auto-biography.

I had been reading up a lot on movies these days, as usual, not very focussed reading but hopping from one interview to the other, one review to the other. So, thought its high time i writre something.

Firstly, The curious case of the slumdog, while all of Bollywood is busy making films based out of Florida,Canada, New York, and all other places where streaks of sunlight lit up sky scrapers and women can just help being beautiful and tantalizing, and world is all a paradise untill an indian family sings and dances for 2hrs 45 mins and then realises that they need to have a climax, A british Film maker had to come to Indian Slums and direct an movie based on an Indian Book and so we now we have the whole of India looking forward to see an oscar nomination for the film.

A fortnight from now, when Oscar nominations are announced, Indian media will rave about the movie and the portrayal of Indian Poverty and its slums and applaud the ensemble cast of slum kids who are the spirit of the movie. Teenagers will discuss that its a great film and in hushed voice say, about/from India. As they try to mince words like Yudhishtar did in Mahabharat, India will continue to suffer from its strangled creativity and insipid cinema.

Well, the truth is , as Anurag Kashyap wrote in his blog, even UTV and Reliance rejected to produce the movie when it was independent(Though i still like UTV for the way its promoting good movies through Spotboy). And to take a note on the poverty portrayed in the movie, Danny Boyle in an interview said that, they put the slum kids in school and paid for their education till they are 16. They even paid the rickshaw puller to take them to school till 16. (It really doesnt seem to work out, does it ?). Well, one thing that will still be indian for now is A.R. Rahman's soundtrack for the movie might just go on to get the Oscar Nomination. Check out the interview with Darren Aronofsky and Danny Boyle on how they made Wrestler and Slumdog respectively.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button itself is a case of David Fincher, starting with Se7en (probably the movie which i have narrated the maximum number of times, i remember literally holding my friend to sit down and listen to the story), fight club, panic room, zodiac and this one is nowhere in that genre, but an amazing concept borrowed from fitzergald's short story of 1920s. One should appreciate the amount of work that had gone into the movie for all the digital mastering and make up. It will pretty much go down at the box office, because its like going to watch ManiRatnam's Amruta after he made Sakhi with Madhavan.Complete mismatch of expectations over an otherwise beautiful movie, actually one of his best. 

I am yet to complete darren aronofsky's wrestler. I am half way through it. This time he resorts to following the actor with his camera. Its really interesting how a director visualises the scene, it is so irritating for the first 15 minutes that you dont see the actor at all and then you actually realise that you are following him yourself. These are people who will continue to be mavericks and the nourishers of creativity.I am still waiting to tie up the camera to one of the actors(if i ever make a short again) and do a scene similar to that of Requiem for a Dream.

So, cut back to the blog of Anurag Kashyap, he is coming out with this movie 'DevD' , which has the rib tickling song about heart break and which is obviously now the heart throb of all the guys. Emosanal Atyaachaar. I just hope this goes on to be AKs big one and its time for the box office to make way for Abhay Deol. Its amazing that an actor had had such a clean record of films, Socha Na Tha, Manorama(An absolute respect to Roman Polanski's Chinatown, but not at all a copy), Ek Chaalis, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye. People like him , Ranvir Shorey and Vinay Pathak are finally having their space in the midst of a lot of crass acting(Come on , whats Hard Core Anti Family man, who would write such a dialogue and shoot it in prague, venice and waste so much money, i hope it doesnt come under GDP or GNP).

I am trying to dig into world cinema, will have to buy a TB HD and download as many movies as possible. I still coudnt figure out a single foriegn movie of AKs blog. All that will have to wait :( . I have placements coming up(are they really?). I will have to get back to some studying and move my ass. 

As for my movie plans, i have given up on making one more for now. I have sadly resigned to my laziness, (ok, this seems too sad, so let me rephrase). I think i am better at writing scripts than executing, though my anateur adventures on directing (if i could call it so, had been ok). But i still like my dialogues for sure. Ok, enough of the screeching trumpet sound.

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaahoooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I finally posted on my blog :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


"These guys are probably the ones with the worst hand writing i have ever seen." Thats how My Team Mate and I were called onto the stage for the El Dorado, Quiz at Ensemble '08 , Conducted by Barry O'Brein. No prizes for guessing, whose writing was it on the paper.

I wish i had written this post some 7-8 years ago. While I watched atleast hundred episodes of BQC and always wished i was there , and watched some hundred other quizzes of different types, i never realised what actually will take me there.

Well, it seems to me now, i finally discovered the key to step into the arena from the audience. One- Persistence, Two-Reading.

Actually speaking, i am not really good at either of these. One thing that is churning its results almost after years after is my ability to sit through all the quizzes even after not getting through preliminary rounds.

Ok, wait, this really seems like an underdog story, i dont really mean it to be so, because i ended anyway 5th out of the 6 teams in the finals. (Excuse the dull tone - its 7 in the morning with no sleep)

Yeah, the second part, i am absolutely bad at reading, the amount of literature i have read is zilch. I have no idea of 99.9999% of the authors that exist on this planet. And my current affairs suck. Thanks to my peer group at XLRI and ofcourse lots of free time in the second year, i have finally started to read the sacred newspaper everyday. I have started to read Economist,TIME, Newsweek(makes one look sophisticated, but indian mags are equally good, Economist scores a bit high though). One of the reasons i never did this earlier is i always used to take the excuse that there is no big deal about it, how does it really help , etc, etc. 

Just from my quizzing experiences over the last 3 months, i kind of have an idea , how it helps.
I traced few of the answers that i knew or got right and how i gotto know them.

1)Identifying Mf.Hussain's Painting : Heard of the controversy around saraswati's painting on anews channel, while surfing channel.
2)Watson's Quote on Sherlock Holmes : Having done merchant of venice in 10th, i had to miss Hound of Bhaskarvilles, only to be bugged by the story in +2 hostel for 2 years, that finally made me read a bit of sherlock holmes.
3)Identifying D.V.Subbarao : Yeah, the gult connection of him following Y.V Reddy, but going through hazaar articles on subprime crisis and its effect on India, you cant help it. This part of reading up on subprime crisis helped me in atleast 5-6 questions.
4)Identifying Movie Alam Ara : Of all the long lectures from my father about being disciplined etc, he also discussed in some rare moments about one of the firsts of Indian Cinema.I should remember it for sure.
5)Identifying You Tube Founders : Setting a quiz in TCS quiz club, i made the same question.
6)Identifying Sound Track of My Best Friends Wedding : It was my direct question in a Movie Quiz which i couldnt answer, so better answer it now.This time , it was a pass question.
7)Identifying Singer of Jab We met Song as Mohit Chauhan: As I Scout for every damn interview of Rahman on the net, he mentioned in one of his interviews that he had been listening to 'Mohit Chauhan's  song over and over. If its rahmans favourite, you shouldnt forget it.
8)Identifying but not recollecting the name: Sulljja Firodia Motwani : Read an inspiring article about 3-4 years back on how a lady turned around an ailing Kinetic Motors. But the name was too long to remember and she was too beautiful to go beyonsd the photo after that.
9)Identifying the couple who won the Raman Magasassay award, but forgetting their names : Reading the middle pages of The Hindu. Just starting, so should make the habit of recollecting names.

Ok, i really feel old, when i see how much time i have wasted without reading up a lot of stuff. I should be happy that i realised later than never. Well the point is, i had no clue that all these things i did, will come to help in this quizzing season.I believe there is more to come like this, if i keep up what i am doing.

The quiz part: We messed up in the buzzer round. It was the first time that i ever sat infront of the buzzer.
Our scoring went something like this:10,10,-5,-5,-5,-5,10,5,10,-5,5,10,5

One good experience : Answering 9/10 in a rapid fire round in a movie quiz , genre being Suspense/Thriller. I missed the name of Psycho :(

Thats it for now :)