Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vaagai Sooda Vaa- Its all about Learning!

Direction: Sargunam

Music: Gibran
Cinematography: Om Prakash

Cast: Vimal, Iniya, K. Bhagyaraj, Ponvannan, Thambi Ramaiah and others

After watching Kalavani and enjoying it, i knew i wanted to watch Vaagai Sooda Vaa... Vimal and Sargunam seems to be a good combo...

As the screen came to life and the movie began, it was obvious this was a movie set in the 1960s or 70s...  Bhagyaraj is seen making a promise to his wife that he will get his son a Job with the Government office, that of a teacher atleast and have the family name held high among his clan....

While waiting for the Government job to fall in place, Veluthambi[Vimal] joins the  Grama seva and aims at spreading the value and importance of education. He is sent on an assignment to the desolate village called Kandeduthankaadu near Tanjore. Though he is reluctant, his father[Bhagyaraj] urges him to take it up atleast to gain experience as they cannot afford the 100Gms of Gold asked as bribe for the Government job.  He lands in this village that is filled with families who are into Brick making.

He is offered the shack that was used to store the goat, much to the chagrin of the man in charge of the goats[ few scenes where the goat is sent to chase him around are so howlarious]...Anyways, back to the story, he then seeks out Madhi[Iniya] to offer him meals daily [she is quite the cheeky one, gives him pot of ragi porridge with green chillies and when he goes complaining to the women of the village, sneaks in and replaces chillies with some meat only to take them away again as soon as the women leave]... Madhi falls in love with him, dreaming of their life together....

With time, he realises the kids in the village would rather play around or go work in the Brick stacking unit than come study.. he tries to lure them by offering to tell stories, but he is unable to come up with an interesting story....

And in between all this, there is one man [Elango], who looks insane , walking around chanting "i hear birds, i hear them all around me" living near the entrance of the village.. One night he comes to visit  Velu telling him "you should not go, i shall leave" and the next morning passes away...

 There are powerful enemies lurking about... The local bigwig JP (Ponvannan) who treats the villagers like slaves and demands they repay him if they say a word against him... and the last thing he wants is for them to learn and become educated. It is only when Velu puts out a challenge to the villagers on the number of bricks laid out that the villagers understand how they are being conned and the women instantly agree to send their children to study...   

The arrogant owner (Ponvannan) now locks horns with Velu, sending out his goons to kick Velu out of the village. but he is saved by the gang that opposes Ponvannan, the man who redeems the villages of their dues as well. 

Meanwhile, Velu gets a letter that the Government job has come through and gets set to leave the village... As he is bidding goodbye, he tells the kids who have by now become attached to him that he will be back soon... One kid, comes upto him shows a slate with his mother's name written on it [albeit with a tiny error] and then drops some coins into his hand and tells him to bring back a notebook to write in... This tugs at Velu's heart and he goes to the bus stand and tells his father he cant leave this village now... Not when they are ready to learn...

Alas, he returns to the goat shack only to be told by the village medicine man that a letter came for velu, which he read that said the Grama Seva is unable to pay him what was promised and that he should pack up and leave....  

Having given up the Government job and with no pay from Grama Seva, Velu continues to teach the children of the village... The beautiful turn of events is when the villagers come together and payhim from their petty earnings.

The movie has quite a few touching scenes and moments...It has been set in a village that is in the middle of nowhere and is completely barren.... It is a slow movie, but gains momentum in the 2nd half... I enjoyed the movie immensely...  Do watch it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Muran- sleek and smooth...

Genre: Thriller
Directed by:  Rajan Madhav 
Cast:  Cheran, Prasanna, Jayaprakash, Nikitha, Hari Priya, Suma
The story is fairly simple: it is about these 2 guys, who are poles apart in terms of their personalities and how fate brings them together, leaving one of them no choice but to follow suit... The 2 men are Nandha [Cheran] and Arjun[Prasanna] 

The movie opens with Cheran and some others sitting in a table having a drink while Prasanna is standing on the ledge asking a waiter to count to 3 so he can jump down and hopefully fall into the Swimming pool.. he is piss drunk and not in his senses, but hell bent on doing this feat...   

And the following day it so happens that Arjun gives Nandha a ride to Chennai when his car breaks down [no thanks to a bunch of drunk driving rash on the highway].. With time, they start sharing their life stories... As the flashback unfolds, Nandha passionate about music, plays the guitar talks about being married to  Indhu (Nikitha) who hates music, wont give him a divorce till she gets her hands on her father's possessions and is possibly having an extramarital affair. Nandha is vexed with his marriage, but then he smiles once again when he meets Lavanya (Hari Priya) with whom he develops a strong bond and possibly even love.

On the other hand, there is Arjun, son of a millionaire and, all he wants to do is party and blow money [kinda like Ranbir in Wake up Sid]. He talks about how his father Devarajan (Jayaprakash) has ruined his life, the love he had for Linda [who worked in his dad's office and who was forced to have sex with his dad during an official trip and thtereon committed suicide].. Arjun talks about how Nandha can move on with Lavanya if his wife was taken out of the equation and how his life would be better when his dad is removed from the picture.  

Arjun loves Thrills, while Nandha is a "play it safe" kinda guy. But Nandha realises Arjun is serious about this plan of his... But then, he walks away giving Arjun the number of a leading psychiatrist to seek out!!
This is where the movie takes quite a turn and twist.... One day, as Nandha goes about his routine he receives a call that his wife met with an accident and has died.. He is stumped and shocked.. That evening, he receives a surprise visitor... no prizes for guessing.. it is Arjun who comes to say "no need for Thank you" :-)

It is then that we feel chills down our spine, wondering what is Arjun really capable of! Arjun has actually put his words into action, proving he was serious and that he now expects Nandha to do the 2nd part of the deal- kill Devaraj.... Nandha does try, but fails and then calls it quits!
And as days go by.... he comes to know what Arjun is capable of , the extreme he goes to which leaves Nandha with no choice but to follow suit and go kill Devaraj based on the plan laid down by Arjun... What happens next is the grand climax and finale... let me not spoil it for you....

A friend mentioned that the movie was inspired by Hitchcock’s film, Strangers on a Train (1951).. Now since i have not seen this, i quite enjoyed it and felt the movie had a very Hollywoodish touch to it, the sleek neat way of execution, with each scene flowing smooth...  

Its a movie that will have you glued to your seats, wondering what next.. who will kill whom... if Nandha or Arjun will get caught.... 

The songs are ok, i dont really remember any of them...

Plot is good, the pace is maintained through the movie... 

Cheran and Prasanna have done an amazing job, doing justice to their roles to the dot.. Prasanna as a bad guy is quite a feat, it suits him!!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Let the rain kiss you by Vibha Vyas

The book is about a girl, rather girls, and about how in a family of girls, each one is of a completely different personality. The book is also about siblings, the relationships , the mother daughter connection, and the impact Rains have had on this Sahni family.

Narrated through the voice of Kittu[Kirti], the tomboy of the family, the one girl who stands out from the lot, the one who has made it on her own, with grit and gumption.

The story is about Kiran who commits suicide giving into a battle that she feels she has lost and has no idea how to deal with failures.. It is also about her father who shuts himself out on her death, stays in her room but eventually proves he cares and loves his other daughters. 

It is about the mother, how she favours one child over the other, how she treats the one daughter, Kajal who is fair and beautiful better than the others, how the girl, Komal who is dark and not so pretty is made to do all the cooking and other errands around the house, while others enjoy a carefree life.

There is also the tale about the grandmother, a mother in law, and a mother, who is the backbone of the family, who has been through a lot, had to deal with the battles of the country, seperation from her family, the sister who makes an appearance later [who has converted to a Muslim with whom Sumitra breaks all ties then and there]

And then there is the rain... Sweet little drops of water that dont seem to bring anything but bad luck and pain to this family. Everytime there is a wonderful function or moment about to happen, the pitter patter of rain is a sign that things are about to go wrong. Everytime it rains, the mother and grandmother are petrified and hold their hearts in their mouth with fear, anticipating the worst.
The characters in the book are-
Sumitra: The matriarch, the woman who holds the Sahni Family together.
Krishnakant: Sumitra's son who often leans towards the mother when battling with the wife.
Naina: The mother, a very frustrated wife, and with big dreams for her daughters
Kiran: Naina and Krishnakant's first daughter. Smart, talented, good at studies, but knows nothing but winning. 
Kajal: Second daughter, very beautiful, and very aware of her beauty  and the power it has over men
Komal: third daughter An average[dark] looking girl. Extremely talented in singing, but does not sing at home since her dad bans it, stammers when nervous and an amazing cook
Kirti (kittu): the youngest of the Sahni clan. A rebel, a fitness instructor by profession and hell bent on creating her own identity
Ranbir: A businessman who was chosen for Kajal but ends up marrying Komal.
Vinayak Kapoor: A family friend of the sahnis.
Urmila: Vinayak's wife and almost a member of the Sahni family , who encourages Komal in her singing pursuits.
The book is a good read , it is a book that will have you wondering what next in the pages...