Thursday, June 07, 2018

Kaala: A Monochrome Rainbow

For a schizophrenic look at the same movie in Tamil, please visit here...

(Mild Spoilers Alert)

Ever since our dear Lord created us (or is it evolution of?) human beings, there have been the oppressors and the oppressed. And shortly thereafter, the oppressed were fighting against the oppressors for their rights.

Kaala (Rajinikanth starrer; produced by his son-in-law Dhanush and directed by Pa Ranjith) is yet another offering which can be added to the list of zillion art works that have espoused the cause of the oppressed.

Ranjith's previous movies also talked about them in a touch-and-go fashion and it took someone to tell me that Attakathi and Madras were talking about not the economically 'oppressed' but the socially oppressed Dalits. #IgnorantMe

Kabali was bolder and talked about the same set of people albeit from a different nation. Ambedkar and other leaders of his ilk featured reasonably strongly there; Ranjith even made some not-so-disguised statements about the sartorial choice of the hero (to be in a suit) - and educated us about how a simple suit carried the huge message of self-dignity to the people.

Kaala also picks up a similar theme.

Oppressed live in the 3rd largest slum in the world - Dharavi, where on an average, a dozen people live in a hut(?) the size of which is the same as a typical living room of yours!

Such close proximity can be a fertile ground of great camaraderie, enterprise, numbness, angst, dissatisfaction, revolutionary ideas etc., Of course the ubiquitous health issues are a bonus!

Rajini is the local dada in Dharavi.
Rules the place.
Someone wants to usurp the place (Rajini himself values it at 40,000 Cr INR)
Rajini resists.
Loses some.Gains some.
Finally villain  gets vanquished.

You have been there and done this some 734 times.
So, what is the reason that you should do this for the 735th time?


At close to 70, (68 did you say?), he rules the screen. The scene when he suddenly runs into his ex-girlfriend and the subsequent scene when he plays with his eyes and the associated body language then... Tamil movie industry has lost a very good actor. #SayThatAgain

Of course, his comic sense is impeccable. Whether it is to crack inane jokes to his sidekicks/family or that riotous scene in the police station, he brings the house down with his charm.

What the average fan missed out in Kabali was the WWE kind of stunts - Pa Ra has found space to introduce a few such action-blocks to pander to their needs. There again, Rajini goes hyper and people will now talk about the brolly-stunt for some time.

It does help that Samuthirakkani (social-media savvy, boozy sidekick), Easwari Rao (loud-mouthed, love bundle) his son Lenin (who is the actor? great screen presence), Nana Patekar (as the whiter-than-white Hari dada) and Huma Qureshi (as Rajini's ex) - all of them have worked to enhance the colour of black (Sorry! Could not resist that! :-))

What differentiates this with the other 'Dharavi' type of dada movies is that Pa Ra has created whole host of visual and audio subtexts that talks about (a) the greatness of Oppressed (read as Dalits) and (b) so-called followers of purity (read as fanatical Aryans/Hindus).

  1. Rajini and his family are Buddhists. His car number ends with BR 1956 (Ambedkar's death year)
  2. There is reference to him eating beef.
  3. Someone calls someone the black panther/just panther.
  4. There are repeated references to Bheem Nagar, Bheem Chawl, Bheem this...
  5. BR Ambedkar's pictures/murals happen in so many frames that it almost causes a screen burn!
  6. Villain's company is called 'Manu Builders' after Manu Neethi & his fetish towards everything white and making people fall at his feet.
  7. Rajini reads the book Ravana Kaviyam (a book citing Ravana as the hero & Ram as the villain)
  8. When the final riot scene happens, how the villain is listening to the portion of Ravana-being-killed at the temple, while his henchmen go about killing Rajini's people. #ReverseSubtext
  9. Ambedkar's axiom Educate Agitate Organize is referenced over and over - either as dialogues, or deeds or lyrics. 
  10. If dressing up well was the rebel cause in Kabali, it is shaking hands and not falling at someone's feet here.
Oh, the list is endless.

So, after some time, one was more interested in finding these hidden messages than the movie in itself (not that one lost anything by digressing this way!)

There were a couple of things that impressed me and the missus.

  • The immense pain that has gone in recreating Dharavi - right down to the sets (makeshift staircases inside the house), the pottery - making of which is a key small-scale industry in Dharavi, the lanes, the toilets - I have been in some crazy ones in Varanasi; but these take the cake! #GreatArtWork
  •  The scene in which Nana Patekar and Rajini meet in the second half, where both men do not given an inch away 
R: Land is my right
N: Power is my right
R: What are you going to do with so much land? You are going to be buried over 6-feet!
N: Don't preach me what Krishna has preached me already. Even if it is for a day, I need that land!
Despite the fact that Nana Patekar's Tamil was yucky, (dubbed by himself), he managed to convey the emotions beautifully in this scene.

  • The climax scene and the interpretation of Black morphing into a rainbow of colours. Very nice imagination & a beautiful way of creating a legacy.
  • The fact that there is a group of hip-hop street dancers who break into a song in Tamil/Hindi/Marathi for any occasion - it was novel.
Well, that just about sums up the good! ;-)

Naturally, since we have seen this 734 times before, one gets bored fast. One succumbed to ennui quite quickly & the yawns could not stop for sometime, especially when Rajini over a lengthy sequence tries to tell his ex- to stay away. (It is a delightful sequence alright, as he wants to rekindle it; but he loves his wife dearly too...So, that trishanku effect comes out nicely albeit slooowly!)

Pa Ra does try to draw out the characters in the first half & decides to throw them into the Mahim Creek in the second half - only to be substituted by a Tuticorin-type violence with a little bit of redemption in the climax. #NotEnough

Someone told me that Rajini wanted Pa Ra to make such a movie. Bad choice.

Since the movie talks about Politics & was supposedly leaving a political message, I was intrigued by Rajini's portrayal as an agitator where he organizes the agitation.

He organizes the people.
Instructs them about how to agitate.
Someone from the public even calls his agitators as '60% criminals!'
Violent skirmishes between the agitators and the police erupt.
Police atrocities follow suit.
Shooting happens.

People die.
TV footage comes to rescue.
Thankfully, no press conference! :-)

Heard this somewhere recently?

Only that in the reel life, the police are from Mumbai and therefore evil!

But in real life, the TamilNadu police are epitome of goodness and the anti-socials were the only reason for the shooting! That #BloodVersusKetchup moment!

And somewhere in Tuticorin 13 families are mourning still.

PS: My Top-5 Rajini movies stay intact. No, Kaala has not even broken into the Top-10.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Anjaneyam: Peak of Research!


On 17/11, there were 2017 lucky people who got to watch Anjaneyam.

Such was the quality of the programme, many a people wondered how such a mammoth production hung together. So, when Aravinth Kumarasamy , the brain behind Anjaneyam invited for the Anjaneyam - Post Performance Dialogue, one kind of grabbed at it :-)
A group of like-minded art aficionados gathered last Sunday to understand how this mammoth production could have been staged.

And we were not disappointed.

Aravinth answered a number of questions about the genesis of Anjaneyam, the trials and tribulations - at least parts of it, its impact on art scene and practitioners and the support that the groups get from people so on and so forth.

Starting from the fact that Anjaneyam took its ideas from the different Ramayanas written by Valmiki, Kambar, Tulsidas and Java's very own Kakawin Ramayana + that reference by Kalidasa who is supposed to have deciphered Hanumad Ramayana - scrumptious research that started 3.5 years ago!

Then there was the significant influence of Javanese stylized dance form of Ramayana - who are still supported by the royal courts of Java (Yogyakarta and Surakarta) still dancing to the Kakawin Ramayana written in the ninth century AD.

Aravinth did touch upon the value that a dramaturge added to the production in terms of acting as the real sounding board, providing valuable inputs from conception through production.

When asked about the different dance forms in the production and whether it was a difficult task to bring dancers from different schools & styles, both Aravinth and one of the choreographers Mohanapriyan Thavarajah (also the chief costume designer for Anjaneyam), felt that it wasn't the case. They elaborated by drawing attention to the fact that almost everyone was a character rather than a pure-dancer. Even the gandarva nymphs had to act as the divine ladies rather than as dancers; in fact, the only time the dancers were on stage as dancers was in the Ravana's court! Else, they were trees, sea monsters, fire maidens, citizens of Ayodhya etc. So, the dance vocabulary created in Anjaneyam was more around the characters rather than the dancers themselves. Yes, the tree dance, the sea-monster dance, the fire dance sequences were having elements of Bharatanatyam - but they borrowed heavily from contemporary dance forms as well.

Not to mention the seamless interaction with the Javenese dance form - especially the Trijada sequence where the Javanese dancers would gracefully go about interacting with Sita (to the Gamelan music) who will be responding through Bharatanatyam movements.

Another integration highlight was the performance of Ravana – who though not conversant with the Bharatanatyam movements, was at ease with handling a Veena (a traditional lute like instrument used in Carnatic music concerts) including mimicking the hand/finger movements during a particular dance sequence.

As much as he was happy about the positive reception that the programme received, Aravinth was seemed to be more happy and passionate when he brought in the aspects of watch-and-learn as a key teaching method as used in the oriental learning circles. He quoted the example of the kid-Hanuman so ably portrayed by Karthi. Karthi was a gymnastics student who was auditioned and chosen for the role. Though he would have known that his is the central character, he probably would not have known that his character will grow within the production and be performed by such doyens of Bharatanatyam such as Atul Babu, Hari Padman and Balagopal. No pressure! But the fact that the boy was at the rehearsals day in and day out, the interest that he showed to watch others dance even though his portions were done and the reality that even today, he is able to repeat the portions of many other dancers from the production without any formal dance training – all of these bear testimony that art is as much technique and skill as Attitude!

Oh, little Karthi did surprise everyone with a nice memento to all the dance participants towards the end of the session.

Image result for Anjaneyam Ravana

It was while discussing about the costumes, the research quotient of Anjaneyam went up a few notches in my mind. Each of the costumes – right from the Apsaras to the trees, to the monsters, to Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Sita, Trijada, Ravana, Jatayu – had a huge amount of research imprinted (pun intended!) on them. It was a clever and innovative mix of the traditional dresses with the Javanese batik (Rama has a batik when in the forest and a different one when in the palace! Such was the meticulous nature of the preparation!) All costumes were hand-drawn, discarded, redrawn, discarded and redrawn until the final product came up. To me the pièce de résistance was Ravana’s headgear. Instead of a horizontal depiction of Ravana’s ten heads (yes, he must have had tough time when suffering from headaches!), the deca-heads were depicted vertically through an intricate crown made of rubber (less weight, doesn’t move!). Aravinth says that it is an inspiration from Thai/Cambodian Ravana; I say that is painstaking research 😊

 If it was all sound, light and costumes where the research went in, pat comes the answer: No! The script (written over more than 12 months – music composed over 18 months – rehearsals over 18 months with a couple of acts performed in June 2018) drew heavily from Valmiki, Tulsidas and Kambar – especially the genius of Kambar when he came to Aravinth’s rescue many a time including the humorous rejoinder by Hanuman to Ravana (that is a good enough material for a separate post in itself!)

When responding to a question on the financial outlay for the production, Aravinth was quite forthright; it is easy to get the audience to watch the programme. But what is critical is to get the businesses to support the art productions such as Anjaneyam. While there are a number of institutions in town to produce shows, it is important that they are all supported ably by the art sponsors to produce quality. Better co-operation amongst the practitioners? Perhaps, that is the medicine of the day!

Talking about co-operation, it was heartening to see tutors and office-bearers from other institutions attending the session including Vidhya Nair and Subina Khaneja from SIFAS. Vidhya even suggested an extraction and deep-dive performance of Bala-Hanuman to portray the pre-Rama Hanuman – a colourful character I believe!

All in all, it was a stimulating couple of hours which gave an insight into the creative process that went into Anjaneyam.

Oh, forgot about one thing. They say charity starts at home. In Aravinth’s case, critiquing starts at home, perhaps 😊! The last question of the day was from his daughter who asked him about what the areas of improvement would be! So much for producing a great show!

#Anjaneyam #ResearchQuotient100 

Photos Courtesy: Apsaras Arts

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Take My Breath Away! - Part 1

So, after a long time, I am back to blogging.

Some of you might have heard about it or seen it on Insta (or on FB for precisely 30 seconds before it was taken down 😊).

I was diagnosed of Deep Vein Thrombosis/Pulmonary Embolism a few weeks back.

In layman terms this is blood clots travelling all the way from the legs to the lungs and causing blockages. Symptoms are typically severe breathlessness, sweating, dizziness ++, a la heart attack. Yes, I had them & kinda played with fire. But that is for a different day and different party regaling.

This is the first of the status updates that I had shared with friends after a couple days of the incident.


I reached the hospital in time on Monday (14/5) for a quick angiogram (as the symptoms were similar to heart attack). Heart is clear (நல்ல மனசு!)

But a CT scan showed that both the lungs were severely blocked due to blood clots - thankfully in the branches and not the main trunk.

Three things happened:
1. I have been put on blood thinners to prevent further clotting
2. A small stainless steel filter called Gunther Tulip (picture below) has been placed in the biggest blood gutter in the bottom part of the body - also known as Inferior Vena Cava. This filter will act like our சாக்கடை சல்லடை by preventing the clots from reaching the lungs.

3. In a few days from now, the clots from the left leg (which has the clots) will be removed by another simple plumbing work (small tube inserted and clots will be sucked out)

These three steps will ensure that the immediate stuff is addressed.

If you are with me so far, then you will ask the question, 'What about the clots in the lungs?' Good question.

Our human body is a marvel. Normally there will be clots in everyone of us. They will be small and minute and the sheer speed of the blood flow in itself will break these clots and thus we can have our laddus.

Only when the clot is big OR where the flow is not that great - such as the calves (கணுக்கால் ஆடுசதை), this problem can arise. I know I am kind of over-simplifying; but the gist is this.

Reasons for such clots to be formed (also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis) are varied: sedentary lifestyle - sitting for long duration like in long-haul flights, standing for too long (umpiring, you say!?) or other internal reasons. Doctors have eliminated most of the reasons and in all probability it is the lifestyle that is the culprit - pending a few more tests.

I will be in the hospital for the next few days; will be out of the high-dependency-ward and move to the general ward this afternoon, which is good news.

Step 3 above is the next action to be finalised.

Breathlessness has improved. Heart rate, which was in 120s, has come down to 90s after Bhuvana rushed back from Chennai 😂(normal about 72)

Still under oxygen tube; with a pocket cardiac monitor attached - again as a precaution.

The funny thing is that we all crib about allopathy - but the fact of the matter this time around is, except for the blood thinner medicine, it is all plumbing and sewerage cleaning work only!

Thanks for all your wishes, consultancy and advices.

Special thanks to Vignesh (my mama Mali's Son) who showed that they have taught him well in TMC and he has learnt better than their teaching by readily rattling out the symptoms, actions etc. He also went out of his way to check with senior surgeons and provided valuable inputs. Thanks boy!!

PS1: Six months ago when I was in the hospital, Trump was elected the president. Now it seems he might be impeached. #goodsign

1. What happens to the clots in the lungs?
They get cleaned by the normal blood flow thru natural process. It will take some time - a few days to weeks.
2. Can the clots be broken thru chemicals?
Yes, in extreme situations! But not normally. Since these medicines can cause internal bleeding, they are not advisable as standard treatment. One went through that as well. More in the next instalments.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Kabali: Signs of Air turning to Breath!

(mild spoilers alert)

(For a schizophrenic look of the same movie in Tamil, please go here.)

Oh so nice...
  • Why did it take so long for someone to bell the cat and get Rajini to play his age? Delicious portrayal of a 60+ don who is torn between the search of his family and the baddies!
  • Why did people miss out on Radhika Apte for so long? Of the three 'KA's in the movie - Radhika, Dhansika, Riythvika, she rocked!
  • How could the nativity of Tamils in Malaysia today be brought out so effectively - the slang, the costumes, the appearances, the body language. Well researched boys!
  • How can a shooting scene be emotional? The first shooting scene involving Yogi and Kabali is a fantastic conceptualization of emotions, change of guard... Great work Pa Ra!
  • The 'bottling' sequence involving Dinesh, depicting the prevalent rowdyism in Malaysia is so accurate that it hurts.
  • 'Free bird' theme was on throughout the movie - someone or other keeps freeing birds. Nice symbolism at its best in most places!
  • How can songs and BGM be so good and not grating? Santosh is music to ears!
  • Did they empty the armoury for the movie? Approximately, 2946 bullets were sprayed in the 179 gun-fight sequences through the 152 minutes duration of the movie. #KillBillWasKilled

And yet...
  • Yeah, the screenplay was jumpy (after the roaring opening scene, you get a damp squib of a follow-up)
  • Yeah, we were laughing 'heartily' for the grand total of 5 jokes in the movie - most of them lame! ('sarakku means girls in Malaysia and booze in Tamil Nadu' - Pleeeeze!).
  • Yeah, Rajini does spew some dialogues about Tamil empowerment while staring down the barrel of a gun. Where is the deep angst-driven social awareness that #Madras preached?
  • Yeah, the villains are laughable in their fluorescent jackets & put-on accents; I think we should get every male character in a Rajini film to be played by Rajini himself, else too difficult lah! Shankar managed to do that in Endhiran quite well :-)
  • Yeah, there is that epilogue, where the director tries to stamp his authority, feebly though.

This will be a new experience for Rajini fans, self included, to see him in a full length movie playing his age. The body language is quite different from his hitherto body of work barring a few early ones in his career. The scenes where he runs from pillar to post in search of his loved one(s) is quite a revelation - Pa Ra can be commended for that. So, enjoy what we have missed for so long!

But is he the avenger for what the baddies did to his family? Or is he the saviour who whacks the goons for the good of the Tamils?

  • Don't listen to the parlour intellectuals and champagne socialists & blame Rajini for all problems in world including #Brexit.
  • Go watch this for Rajini in his new avatar.
  • Enjoy Malaysian buffet.
  • Savour Radhika Apte's class act.
  • And dear Pa Ra, you are courageous for a third-film director.
And glad to say, that this has made to my top-5 Rajini movies:

1. Mullum Malarum
2. Baasha
3. Endhiran
4. Sivaji
5. Kabali

#Kabali #Neruppuda

PS1: Thanks to Paul Kalanithi for the paraphrased title of this post. May his soul rest in peace. Read the book. Eye-opening.
PS2: Rajini reads My Father Baliah while in the prison. Very apt! Nice touch, Pa Ra!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Thoongavanam - A Noisy Night!

Tightly based on the French movie Nuit Blanche, Thoongavanam is a wannabe-taut-thriller which loses out from the original somewhere. May be it is the duration (89 vs 120 minutes) or may be it is just that we are too used to 5-songs, 4-fights, 3-melodrama, 2-parts, 1-climax formula.

Kamal acts as the corrupt-cop-cum-drug-buster-cum-divorced-husband-who-gives-tough-love-to-his-teenage-son.

A lot of ordinary scenes become extraordinary just because of him - even a simple facial twitch (e.g., father-son conversation while dropping him at school) is sufficient to elevate the experience. So nothing new there. But still at 61, doing his own stunts, running around like a 30-year-old is amazing to say the least. Let us just say that even his wound acts!

Prakash Raj and Sampath as drug-lords were more there for comic relief, me thinks. Prakash Raj even wonders how he would face the mother of one his dead henchmen, who was killed by Kamal & in another scene offers to waive a customer's bill after he bashes him up. So, the menace is kind of lost.

At no stage did one feel the angst of a father who is desperate to save his son - except for a couple of scenes, where Kamal bashes up the molester repeatedly or where he breaks down (no, not Nayakan style ;-) when Trisha feigns ignorance about the whereabouts of cocaine. The latter scene ends with a little gem when she casually tells where the bag is. Oh, by the way, the kid acts well and is kinda cute!

The film can boast of some excellent close-quarter fights, especially the one between Trisha and Kamal. Kudos to the director in not pulling the punches (literally!) in that sequence by allowing her to bash him up.

In a classic pop-reference to Anbe Sivam, one of the characters (who else? Santhanabharathi!), chides Kamal for being preachy and that he makes movies for the elite and not the masses :-)

Thankfully no songs, except a Viswaroopam-like-song that blares out as the end credits roll on.

As most of the movie has been shot within a night club (aptly named as Insomnia), one felt a bit too claustrophobic. Same places. Same people. Same blaring music. Same mooching in the corners, Same boozing away to glory. Same Kamal. Same blood... (no, not the Vadivelu dialogue!)

Tamil movies have moved quite ahead in its criminal activities, depicting them that is. Guns, Coke, Girls, Kisses. (though the last one is not a criminal activity! Kamal has been missing that on-screen activity  over the last few movies; here he compensates nicely by doing it not once, not twice but three times with Madhu Shalini! No wonder she asks right after the third one, 'Are you married?')

Overall, Thoongavanam is a good one-time watch on an original DVD.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Papanasam - Leadership Study!

Have you had that feeling?

Yes, I am talking about that moment, when you realize that someone else has had that brilliant idea which you knew was within your grasp, but could not get it out in the right time.

I have had that many a time. Talk about missed opportunities, hmmmm!

Whenever they come across a runaway winner, those 'creators' in all the *woods of the Indian film industry usually drown themselves in sorrow, Johnny Walker, Heineken or whatever that is readily available!

Drishyam (visual) from Mollywood was one such case. Director/Writer Jeethu Joseph hit such a jackpot, that they were queuing outside his Ernakulam bungalow for remaking it.

Kamal with his gravitas managed to get Jeethu to wield the megaphone and the resultant Papanasam is a very good and enjoyable replica of the original.

To make a movie narrating a life that draws heavily on cinematic elements is quite difficult to achieve - almost as difficult as the ECB trying to get Greece to pay of its debts (or is it the IMF?)

The long and short is that the Tamil version does not disappoint.

Comparisons are inevitable. But to compare Mohanlal with Kamal Haasan is to compare Copa America with UEFA Champions League. Former is 'Beautiful Logic' and the latter is 'Logical Beauty'. So just be and enjoy both.

Kamal himself managed to do a fabulous job; I was wondering whether he watched Drishyam at all. Because, though the shots were identical in most of the places, the little nuances that he brought to the character were nice.

Yes, he does play to the rationalists & front-benchers - 'I am a Swayambulingam - came up on my own without any external help' :-)

Ghibran's music starts off from where he left in Uttama Villain - so much so, the first half hour here has the same re-recording as 'Saagavaram' song from UV! But he really excelled in BGM over a couple of scenes - those electric guitars when the police first comes to Kamal's place & the melancholic/suspenseful violins when the police is about to use third-degree on the little one... phew!

To say that everybody acted very well is stating the obvious. However Asha Sarath, Kalabhavan Mani, MS Bhaskar, the two daughters, even the Pasanga villain-boy... stole the show. Gowthami was a let-down as she did not have the same village-wife pull - as much as Meena had in the Mallu version.

The dialogues were adequate - Jeyamohan must have had a very easy task to pen the Nellai slang - but it was a bit jarring as one had to pay a high degree of attention not to miss any intricacies. May be, have to watch it once more to catch them!

The movie is also a study in contrast of two leadership styles.

Two leaders both of whom are forced to take action when their child(ren) are in danger.

Kamal, the protagonist (illiterate, self-made country bumpkin) is forced to play the leader outside his comfort zone.

  • He chooses the path of taking the entire family/team together. 
  • He confides in them; cajoles them; pushes them; reassures them.
  • He chides them (and yet shows the tender side immediately when the younger one gets scared! - That is the sequence that I can repeat ad nauseam).
  • He even works on a strict need-to-know basis; leads from the front; has the foresight to draw up a plan B and even a plan C. 
  • He draws help from outside; 
  • Above all, he communicates and over-communicates and over-over-communicates!

On the other hand, antagonist Asha (the Inspector-General-mum-searching-her-son) is also a leader worth noting.
  • She chooses her own path purely based on the police gut/sixth-sense.
  • She bulldozes her team - husband, subordinates, third-parties, witnesses etc., through her authority driven by her helplessness and anxiety to find her son.
  • She knows when she has lost it and yet strives for a closure (in the last scene, she steals it away from Kamal without speaking a word! Of course, our man is histrionics personified ;-!)
  • She underestimates and course-corrects half-way down.
  • And boy! Isn't she intelligent!?
Even if you have watched it in Malayalam, you will enjoy the Tamil version for the nativity; for the familiar faces; for a different genre (when have you heard a family-entertainer-cum-thriller as part of an advertisement for a movie that does not have any item-songs or badly choreographed action sequences or punch dialogues... you get the drift, don't you!?)

So, watch Papanasam. 
Yes, it will be on Cable TV eventually. But you don't want to wait for that.

For this is the perfect antidote for 'Senjiruven' Maari that is about to be unleashed on us to assault our senses (and sensibilities) in a couple of weeks' time!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Settle before IPL8 Starts...

Thanks for the great support to GQ'15.

As I told someone, I wanted to finish the donation part before the IPL starts.

Here it goes.

The list of donors and the quantum

Receipt of the BHEH donation

BHEH ( is a voluntary welfare home providing quality health care and shelter for the disadvantaged and aged sick regardless of race, language or religion, alleviating their hardships through holistic nursing and medical care. I volunteered in this home recently along with RMaheshK and we found it to be quite eye-opening and therapeutic at the same time.

I missed a few names in the dedication below from the quiz team - AngelAsh, Bhuvana, Peruri and MurthyLN who contributed immensely in making the GQ'15 that much more colourful! Apologies for the miss.

Then Raghav and Shanky decided to donate to Udhavum Karangal ( 
Receipts below.

No, I am not going to repeat GQ for IPL8. After all who would bet on movies ? :-)

Enjoy the emotional roller-coaster that you will be subjected to, complete with Ravi Shastri and his braying cohorts' exhorting about IPL MAX and what not!

However, my heart beats for CSK and it will take some effort to beat those canary yellow warriors.

Meanwhile somewhere in England, Lalit Modi is sulking. Or has he come back? Who cares?

Quiz prizes are work in progress. Some logistic issues of Indian credit cards etc. Should be sorted in the next few days. Thanks for the patience, folks.

It was a great ride. Till the next one...

--Addtion: Quiz prizes happened through Rambo's help. Great work folks!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Day 35 - Pacy Ozzie Cup!

Well, all the other pretenders contenders were shown their place by the Aussies!

In a 45-day span, their pacers terrorized the opponent batsmen; their batsmen hustled, bustled and blasted the opposition; their fielders seemed omnipresent resulting in a fantastic over-powering performance from the gold-and-green!

I see another long dominant decade by the Australians.

Spare a thought for the Kiwis. They played a very attractive (read as attacking) brand of cricket - though I would say that Brendon McC did the corporate thing of giving his vision sufficient air-time for people to go gaga over! Not that Clarke wasn't as attacking as Brendon
was :-)


They don't call these as Sweepstakes for nothing.

Siva* hit the jackpot in the last leg and has leap-frogged to the top of the pole!!

Congratulations to all the winners: Siva*, Rambo, Vishal and Shanky! Yes, all the four guys who ended up with a positive balance will get a book prize!

Settlement details via a separate email to the respective participants.


The bumper issue of questions drew some interesting responses.

Q30 - Remember Shakti is the answer. John 'Mahavishnu' McLaughlin, Mandolin maestro (late) U Shrinivas (one of his pieces was in Eat Pray Love), Ustad Zakhir Hussain (arey hujoor, wah taj boliye!), Shankar Mahadevan (one of the music directors of KANK),  V Selvaganesh (music director of VKK) [AngelAsh, Bhuvana - 5 points each]

Q29 - John Lillywhite and Darrell Hair are the two great umpires who got embroiled in the controversy of no-balling 'errant' bowlers. One for overarm bowling and the other for throwing. And the story of how the overarm bowling came about due to female wardrobe impediment avoidance is delightful on its own. The second picture is a zoomed up version of a hair. [Raghav (3), AngelAsh (4)]

Q28 - Those graceful dancers are Siddis. They had settled in India who moved to India having descended from Southeast Africa. [Guru, AngelAsh, Raghav - 3 points each]

Q27 - Listen and watch this beautiful Sanskrit song by Sa Dingding supposedly the only Sanskrit Pop singer around. And the lyrics are: The Hundred Syllable Vajrasattva Mantra [Good one, SriG ;-)]

So at the end of the mandala-long event, here are the Winners of Q-Section:

Have to say that AngelAsh and Raghav kept me on my toes throughout. Admirable trait, young people! Guru was steady as usual and the surprise package was the fourth-place winner - she would search for the answers in such innovative manner that Google apparently are planning to reach her for search optimization and analytics :-) 

Pure, unadulterated fun! Congratulations folks!!!

I always say that the Q-Section is 'the' fun part from my perspective and this installment has not been an exception either.

I will reach out to all the participants and winners separately.

So Long, and Thanks for all the FUN!