Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chennai International Film Fest

So, the CIFF this year was a super duper hit. Why? How? Cos i managed to attend, and not just attend a few, but saw 14 movies. Yes, you read it right. I had made up my mind to not only register, but to make it a point to attend as many as possible this year since last year was a bit of a wash out.

Oh, and the cherry on this cake is that I got featured in an article in the New Indian Express as well.. Check it out-

Link to the article

Monday, December 16, 2013

Shopping made fun through Cashkaro.com

There are many of who enjoy shopping, spending hours in the stores or in the mall exploring all the shelves and products before they decide. But over the last few years, we have seen a  changing trend. No, people havent stopped shopping, just where they shop has changed. Am not talking about change in brand loyalties or looking at different stores. Am talking about the new trend of online shopping. There are so many websites, infact some might be cropping up as I type this.

In this too there are different category of shoppers. The kind who go to a store, check out the product, do their research and then go buy the product online, and then there are those who scrounge the various websites and pick from the ones that offer the best deals and prices. 

This goes across books, gadgets, clothes, jewellery and just about everything you can dream off. It really does not matter if it is a low value or high value product, as long the brand is a known one and site seems reliable people will attack... And in this era of changing trends, there came a new site, one that promised to be different.. And this is where my story begins, 

About a month or so ago is when I 1st heard about Cashkaro.com. And then, after a flurry of messages and mails, I was checking the site out, simply out of curiousity. It is a site that has partnered with several ecommerce sites and offers cash back to the clients. All you do is create an account with Cashkaro.com or take the easy way out, connecting via your Facebook account and off you go shopping away.

You not only enjoy discounts, but also get cashback on most purchases [very few have clauses on purchase].  It is like leaving a child in a toy store, you dont know where to look or what to click.. :D 

Initially, I wasnt very aware of the offers and went ahead to make a purchase on Flipkart, only to later realise there was no cash back. But then heck, buying a book is something I enjoy and would never regret. Some time passed by, and the GOSF was happening. This is when I was back on Cashkaro.com, except this time I spent nearly an hour reading through their policies, how it worked, what it was all about and then went ahead did a purchase on Tradus. I ordered for footwear. 

I spotted the details of cashback offer under Tradus, and then had to click on the link there which told me the cashback would happen within 72hours, straight into my account. What is cool is that all the cashbacks we receive can then be transferred to our bank account as well.. as CASH. How cool is that?

To know more about them or the latest offers, follow them on twitter- @Cashkarocom

Alright, enough chatting, am off to check out some of the other deals they have!! And what are you staring at, go check out the coupons and deals already!! 

Happy Holidays!  

Monday, October 07, 2013

{music} Agam - Classical & Rock meet

Oct 5th was the date
Karamaj arangam was the venue
What was happening? AGAM was coming to perform for a charity cause!

We were excited
I was going to be attending a concert after ages, the last one being Bryan Adams in Blore!! 

Agam is a Bangalore-based band who are into Contemporary Carnatic with a dash of rock blended into their performances. Formed in the year 2003, the band is made up of 
  • Harish Sivaramakrishnan (MAIN vocals & violin), 
  • Ganesh Ram Nagarajan (drums & vocals), 
  • Swamy Seetharaman (keyboards, also the lyricist), 
  • Praveen Kumar (lead guitar),
  • Vignesh Lakshminarayanan (bass guitar & vocals), 
  • Sivakumar Nagarajan (ethnic percussions), 
  • Jagadish Natarajan (rhythm guitar). The only change in the band has been that Jagadish’s replaced Suraj Satheesh as the rhythm guitarist last year.

The very 1st time I heard these guys was on Coke studio and then came Madras Market performance. Subsequently I did listen to quite a few of their pieces thanks to YouTube and then went ahead and purchased their album - The Inner Self awakens.. From thereon, there has been no turning back! Infact, I also fell in love with their version of Aromale and Dil se re as well.. 

[image courtesy: google]

Ok, now that you know who Agam is, let us get back to the concert.. On Saturday, friends came over picked me up around 6pm and we reached the venue at 6.10 pm. The place looked pretty deserted, we had a small doubt if the concert was indeed happening that particular evening. There were no banners, no posters, nothing. It was complete silence. I was back in Kamaraj Arangam after nearly 15yrs!! 

Walked into the hall, collected our tickets and waited around for the hall to open. In the background, we could hear the band doing sound checks and last minute practice. We were happy listening to them from the distance. And then, around 6.30, the doors opened and we found seats, making sure the cameras were not in our path. 
[Image courtesy: youtube]

Soon people started filing in, but it wasn't as much as we expected. We were quite upset and sad to see the hall sparsely full, but then we decided to focus on the band and enjoy the music. The show started around 7.45 and it was absolutely mind blowing.

The instruments came to life and then Harish started singing, and that was it...What a voice he had and then for another song he also played the violin... Let us not forget the amazing guys on guitar and drums and the piano. We were lost to the world. We enjoyed every piece, every second of the evening. We were happily singing away, clapping and grooving to the beats..  

[Image Courtesy: www.thehindu.com ]

The band took a break from their songs and belted out Aromale which got the crowd going, and then came Dil Se which was again a big hit with the crowd. They also sang a new composition and few that is found on their soundcloud stream. 

As they say, all good things come to an end.. The show went on till about 9.30 when they closed with Rudra... We dint want the night to end.. Sigh!  Wait, we were not done! After the performances were done and most of the crowd left, we made a beeline for the stage, spoke to all the band members and heard about their upcoming shows, their work life and much more................... 

If you love these guys, and want to watch them live, make sure to mark Oct 18th in your calendar and be there at Havana, Raintree... And follow them on facebook to know more!! 

You can learn more about them from

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

[Movie] Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi

Last weekend I watched yet another Malayalam movie, this time a movie with a long title, but one that had a beautiful meaning. It was Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi [English: Blue Skies, Green Waters, Red Earth]

Directed and co-produced by Sameer Thahir
Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Sunny Wayne, Surja Bala Hijam,Ena Saha, Dhritiman Chatterjee,Joy Mathew,Pearle Maaney, Paloma Monappa and Avantika to name a few. But the main stars are Dulquer and Sunny 

Over the past few months, I must have seen close to 10 Malayalam movies and I have discovered they are quite good. Especially since I began understanding the language, I looked forward to watching more of these flicks. Sunday morning 10am show at PVR was what was on the agenda. I reached the theater around 9.45, grabbed a sandwich & cold coffee at CCD and got ready to watch the movie. 

The story is losely based on 2 college guys who head out on a road trip on their bikes. Destination: unkown. Along the journey, Kasi [Dulquer] decides to head over to Nagaland in search of the girl of his dreams, and Sunny joins him on the mission. At every stage, they meet interesting people, come across challenges, are helped by random strangers, leave with lessons learnt from people of small villages, and there is a spark every now and then with the girl in the town they camp in. There is quite a bit of drama, a tinge of humour and a lot of life's valuable lessons in this movie. It basically goes to show that everybody we meet has something to teach us. All we need is an open mind to absorb these points.. 

The one thing that captured my heart in this movie was the cinematography by Gireesh Gangadharan. SImply outstanding. Even though the movie feels long, he kept me glued in with the sights and sounds captured so beautifully. I have never seen our country look so gorgeous and it left me wanting to travel and explore all these places. From the beaches of Puri, to the hills of the North East, the wide highway in the middle of nowhere flanked by red mountains, the visual were breath taking to say the least.  How can i forget the scene where a group of riders help them and take them with the group to Puri. Oh what a sight. Men on bikes- heart stopping !! :D 

The songs and background score was lovely. It blended perfectly with the rhythm of the movie. The songs that stood out were Doore Doore and Thaazhvaaram. The Manipuri actress is so delicate, while Gauri from the small village near Calcutta comes across strong willed, and the surfer chick in Puri the caring one.  But the one who stole the show has to be Dulquer-  He moves between the various roles with ease and grace, be it the playful college kid, the SFI activist protesting against commercialization  the son , the uncle who dotes on his niece and above all, the confused youngster  in search of his goal... 

Overall rating: 4.75/5 [had it been half hour shorter, would have been crisper]  

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

[Movie] Ship of Theseus

Director: Anand Gandhi

Cast: Aida El Kashaf, Neeraj Kabi, Sohum Shah

I saw the name in the list of movies at Sathyam Cinemas but had no clues what it was about or what the name meant. Infact, I dint know if it was an English movie or a Hindi. I instantly got online and did some research. I discovered that, 

The ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus's paradox, is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late 1st century. Plutarch asked whether a ship which was restored by replacing all and every of its wooden parts, remained the same ship.

Plutarch thus questions whether the ship would remain the same if it were entirely replaced, piece by piece. Centuries later, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes introduced a further puzzle, wondering: what would happen if the original planks were gathered up after they were replaced, and used to build a second ship.[3] Which ship, if either, is the original Ship of Theseus?
[Courtesy: Wikipedia]

And then, I discovered the site for the Movie and learnt a bit about the same. This had me curious and a bunch of us decided to go for the night show at PVR. 

What is the movie about? What is its connection to the Ship of Theseus? let me ask you this-- if the parts of a ship are all replaced, each part, one by one, does it still remain the same? or does it change? This movie opens with the 1st act where a blind girl [filmmaker Aida El Kashef] takes up photography and clicks based on her intuition and other senses. And then comes the story of a Monk who falls ill,the strongest piece of the movie, revolving around the Jain monk Maitreya (theatre actor Neeraj Kabi), who is fighting a court case against animal testing by pharmaceutical companies. Maitreya’s belief in the sacredness of all life is severely challenged when diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. He infact goes on to renounce life only to suddenly sit up and want to fight the battle. And finally, the story of a the corruption or illegal activities that happen in our country and how people change. The last one has been told through a young stockbroker Navin (Sohum Shah) who upon discovering there was a man whose kidney was stolen goes on a journey to find the owner and get him justice. And bringing it all together, typing up all lose ends is the scene where all the people who received parts from a single man come together to watch a movie made by the donor. 

The movie does encourage people to sign up for Organ donation [ I have, have you? visit ireadindia.com and do so now], and how parts from one man could go to different people and make a world of difference.... A beautiful thought provoking movie, it is slow paced, and not for those who look forward to masala or drama.. It is for those who are open to new genre and welcome new ideas and thoughts. 

I was enthralled by Kabi's performance, you can literally see him go through the illness, he loses weight, and has done an amazing job!! 

Monday, August 05, 2013

Tanishq Mia Ad

Well, there are some ads we all love and then there are those that don't make any sense, no matter how many times you see them. And then there is that one ad that you wish was never made and you are seething with anger- for various reasons. I haven't come across too many of the last category, but the latest Tanishq ad comes a close 2nd.

The first time I saw it, it had me gaping in wonder- I wondered who had come up with such a concept and who on earth had gone ahead and given the GO AHEAD for it..

For those who have not seen the ad, God bless you lucky soul.. A boss/colleague tells their staff/colleague to lose the earrings so the clients focus on the presentation.

The girl nearly does away with them, but then continues wearing them which is questioned once again by the other lady. She then counters saying "dont worry, the presentation looks even better than me" and goes ahead to rock the presentation...

What are they trying to say?
That women are jealous of others?
That wearing good jewellery comes in the way of work?
That a woman wearing a good earring is a distraction?
yes, I am appalled at the ad.
How can a colleague/boss just ask their staff/colleague to remove their earrings saying it would distract clients?
And once again question the same few minutes later.....
What do you say?

Friday, July 12, 2013

[Movie Halls] Inox

Here I come with a quick review about another movie theater in Chennai. This time I am talking about Inox Movies in Citi Center complex in Mylapore.

This is a small mall near the Marina Beach, and the theater is on the top floor- 3rd floor. There are not one or two, but 4 screens, some small while others are huge. I have seen quite a few movies here, and off late it has become easier since they have a mobile app that you can use to block/book tickets on. The only catch, need to be at the counter half hour to an hour ahead of the movie screening time to collect the tickets. Ticket here are also priced at Rs 120 and they do levy a booking charge when booking online [like in many other theaters]

You can book tickets through their website - Inoxmovies or via sms as well. They also had the facility to block tickets via SMS, by sending the name of the movie, date and show timing preferred to '575757'.. Not sure if this still exists. 

The last time I was here, my friend misplaced the tickets and so we went back to the counter to check if they will reissue tickets when we were told to simply show the message on our mobile and enter. Hmm,makes me wonder why they don't make it a standard practice! save paper, save time and saves people from standing in line amidst the other who are there for current bookings.

What I dont like about this theater?
  • If you buy a bottle of water at the store outside, you cannot take it inside
  • They frisk you and your bag, and remove items like chewing gum 
  • Cameras are not allowed inside.. what am I going to do? record the movie and sell it? d'oh! 
  • They have currently changed the exit route, and it is quite a task climbing down those stairs[esp for the elderly]
What is amazing about Inox?
  • For 3D movies, they issue 3D glasses on a refundable deposit of Rs50 each
  • The loos are clean and cafeteria has quite a range of options for the movie goers- pop corn, cotton candy, ice cream, brownie, potato wedges, pizza, nachos, sandwiches, samosa, rolls, drinks, coffee and even freshly boiled corn. 
Happy movie watching!! 

[Book] My Brother's Wedding by Andaleeb Wajid

I came to know of Andaleeb Wajid through a friend when he sent me her book to read & review- Blinkers off. Since then we have been in touch through Facebook and Twitter and so it was nice to meet this lively author when she launched her new book "My Brothers' wedding" at Crossword Bookstore in Chennai. It was a fun filled evening where we got to interact with her on a personal level, and hear tales of how she writes, where she got the inspiration for the book from and what else is in store from her treasure chest.... 

Book Name: My Brother's Wedding
Author: Andaleeb Wajid
Publisher : Rupa Books
ISBN : 978-8-1291-2399-2
Genre: Fiction: Romance, family drama, chic-lit [call it what you want, it is a very breezy light read]
Pages: 264
Price: Rs 295/-

My Brother's Wedding is a book based on the chaos called 'wedding in the family".  But it goes beyond the groom and his family, there is quite a bit of craziness connecting people beyond the immediate family members. It has a splash of drama, a generous amount of spice and romance as well.  It is a book that is as close to reality as you will get~!! 

I for one hate weddings. Why? To me weddings are synonymous with tempers flaring, craziness bursting everywhere, expenses sky rocketing and unnecessary squabbles coming into the scene. Weddings according to me should be simple sweet affairs, where the focus remains on the bride and groom, but instead it is all about who gives/receives what gifts, the sudden chaos within the house related to other members, an illness, god forbid a death, how elaborate the menu is, who has been invited, what are the return gifts and what not... These paint quite a disturbing image right, but then that is the reality..

“My Brother’s Wedding” opens with Saba’s blog. All of 19 years Saba starts an anonymous blog, a platform where she can vent, rant and share.  She gives alphabets as nicknames for her characters- her sis, her best friend, her cousin who she has a huge crush on, other friends and so on. The book actually has 2 parallels to it- one the main wedding related chaos and other is saba's blog.  The entire plot is set in Bangalore and revolves around how this wedding is planned and its impact on Saba's life.  

Andaleeb takes the readers through a typical Muslim household and the wedding preparations.  It is also about how families maintain a brave face when meeting others but within the four walls their lives are falling apart. There is the sister who believes her husband is possessed, a Djinn, the guy who lusts after Saba's sister at the wedding who secretly meets Saba and ultimately how all the pieces of the puzzle fall into the place and comes to a happy ending or not.. ;o)  
It took me all of 3 hours to read, the last half hour dragged on, only because I wasn't ready to be done with the book yet. :-) It was such a delightful simple breezy read, ideal for anyone who wants a light book.
For those who want to buy the book, pick up your copy from Flipkart or the nearest book store
Andaleeb also has another book ready to be launched in a month or so-->  More than Just Biryani  and she has started a blog which was about recipes but is also about this book of hers..

Monday, June 24, 2013

[Movie Halls] Ega theater

Second in my movie hall series comes Ega Theater. I like this theater for no reason but for the fact that it is closeby home. A hop skip and jump, I am at the theater [well not really, but it is less than 5mins away]. The theater has been around for as long as I can remember, and we have seen quite a few movies here- with family, with friends and solo. Over the years, I have seen the place go through quite a few changes- The facade, the way they stopped screening tamil movies, how they switched over to ONLY hindi, and then included few other regional languages, slowly incorporating English movies as well.

The most recent change being in the seats within. Ega- all screens went through a drastic change, the seats and the entire theater changed, it now has plush seats, comfortable and swanky. Anu Ega on the other, the small hall still remains the same, old rickety seats and quite an unpleasant hall overall. Wonder why they haven't bothered with this hall. Similarly, the cafeteria too changed, food items became pricey. I guess it is good in a way as it filters the crowd that comes to the hall. The crowd is also decent and does not dirty or mess up the place.

The highlight of this cinema hall is that tickets are priced between Rs75 and Rs95, the cheapest in the city [as far as I know]. And it is one of those theaters where you will get tickets, unless it is First day First show.

You can book tickets online as well, the url is http://egacinemas.com/Default.aspx.

Next time you are in Kilpauk or thereabouts, do check out this theater and let me know!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

[Movie Halls] PVR Cinemas

So, I've decided to do a series on the movie theaters I've frequented across the country and a mini review of the same.. Let me start off with the one that I've been going to quite a lot in the recent few months. PVR Cinemas.

Even though my 1st stint with PVR began in Bangalore, with their cinema theaters in Forum mall, in Chennai it was thanks to proximity. Located in Ampa Skywalk Mall PVR Cinemas was the 1st multiplex very close to where I live. I vaguely remember my 1st movie here was with mom  followed by a fun dinner at Fuego [yes they were good..].

You ride up the escalators to the 3rd floor and there it is, the ticket counter. Like most other theaters, they have a counter exclusively for those who've booked tickets online. They have online booking and a mobile app that allows you to purchase or block tickets. How cool is that?

Coming back to the experience, you pick up the ticket from the counter and make your way inside to the theater complex, but not before a session on frisking.. Yes, boys and girls, men and women, you shall be frisked- seperately ofcourse. Girls, if you are carrying a handbag, it will be checked. Heads up-Do not carry chewing gum, water and most important of them all- cameras. They will get taken away, tagged and stored away. Do remember to pick them up when you leave the theater.

There is a food counter that offers popcorn, coke, nachos, sausages, and coffee. There are few other stalls around the place- Brownie station, chaat stall, momos, sandwiches and even one that sells ice cream. I do miss the Cafe Coffee Day stall.  In all, there are about 7 screens- 1,2 & 3 on the extreme left, 4&5 in right center and 6& 7 on extreme right. Some of them are small, while others are fairly large halls.

The good thing about the theater is that there is a small screen just outside the hall displaying the Name of the movie, show timing, and the seating arrangement chart as well. The seats are plush and comfortable, you can recline to a near lying down position and enjoy the movie :D If you are going for a 3D movie, make sure to pick up the 3D glasses [just wish they changed them to what is given at other theaters] for an additional charge of Rs25. What is more, you get to keep these glasses with you..

Offlate we have been going for quite a few night shows and must say the service is just as good as it is during the day. It has become easy to book tickets. How? Meena Chabbria, who handles PVR South has been gracious enough to oblige and block tickets for us on request and we pick them up at the venue!

Infact, once I had booked tickets for tomorrow but landed there thinking it was for today. The usher   ripped our tickets, sent us in, and it was only later that we realised we had tickets for the next day. The manager was kind enough to say "come back tomorrow, use these tickets, should not be a problem".. So the next day we got there and watched the movie. Felt like such a fool, but as they say everything is an experience~!

Next time you are around Anna nagar or PH road, do grab a movie at PVR Cinemas.

PVR Cinemas URL- http://www.pvrcinemas.com/

Monday, May 13, 2013

[Movie] Chennaiyil Oru Naal

Director:  Shaheed Kader
Production: Listin Stephen, Raadhika Sarathkumar
Cast: Sarath Kumar, Cheran, Prakash Raj, Jayaprakash, Prasanna, Malika, Radhika, Lakshmy Menon, Parvathy
Avg user rating: 4/5

So, a few weeks ago a friend called and asked if i wanted to do a movie. Scouted around the Sathyam site and found tickets for Chennaiyil Oru Naal. It looked like an interesting movie, had quite a star cast. Only when we reached the theater did I discover it was a remake of a Malayalam movie called Traffic which is based on a true story [ one that took place right here in Chennai back in 2008]. As the movie began, I got engrossed and by the end was quite floored. Subsequently I got home, dug up the internet, read about the incident and must say quite impressed with the people who came together to help a little girl get a new lease on life.

So, what is the movie about? Well, it is all about saving a life and tough decisions that need to be taken.
The Chennai city police commissioner [Sarath Kumar], has to make this operation a success. It is his duty to ensure the heart makes the journey from Chennai Global hospital to CMC in Vellore. The police constable Sathyamoorthy [Cheran] volunteers to drive the car carrying the heart to redeem his lost reputation, and takes on the challenge to cover the distance of 170 kilometres in 90 minutes to save the life of a young girl who is the daughter of a superstar Gautham Krishna (Prakash Raj) and Radhika. All of this takes place on a single day, Sep 16th!
How it all begins is two friends, Ajmal and Karthik (Sachin) are on their bike heading towards Karthik's office where he is all set for his 1st interview with the superstar, Gautham Krishna  for the television channel. But on the way, he meets with an accident and is the twist in the tale.His body is gone, his brain is gone, he is on a machine and so the doctors suggest they pull the plug on him so they can use his heart on the little girl who needs it all the way across in Vellore.
To add to the drama, there is the story of Dr Robin [Prasanna], his wife and friend that kind of distracts us from the main story. but thankfully, that is only for a few minutes and the movie gets back on track. The final stretch of the drive through the small town was the highlight of the movie for me.How the entire town comes together, clears the path so the car can go with no hiccups, the cameo role by Surya who encourages people to help the mission succeed and the final note from Surya about organ donation was a tad over the top, but what the heck, it adds to the jazz of the movie... 
Quite an inspiring movie, offbeat, no song and dance, quite real. Do watch if you want to see one where so many people come together for a purpose. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

An evening with the Lord

A failed attempt the last time around had me on High Alert. I was at Landmark by 6 pm for an event scheduled for 7 pm. Yes Yes I know I was early, but heck, the event was in a book store. So, what is the harm in being there early? Yes, of course I read.

Why was I in Landmark in the 1st place? To meet the Lord ofcourse. 
Who Lord? Lord Jeffrey Archer... D'oh!! 
<silence> Yes, that was it. 

The third book  in the "The Clifton Chronicles" was to be launched that evening by the author himself.   "Best Kept Secret" is the highly anticipated third installment of "The Clifton Chronicles" and takes the reader on a breakneck journey from Bristol to the US and on to Buenos Aires in the mid-1950s.

He walked in, grabbed the bike , reprimanded the girl who was doing emcee saying he would do all the talking and began. Opened his talk by saying I love this country, wanna know why? Cos England beat you hands down in cricket... And I also love this country for another reason. wanna know why? Cos you are beating Australia to dirt... 

A man in his 70s, the amount of energy, enthusiasm and zeal was just amazing.  He shared with us the 1st ever story he had written, which had to be 100 words only. He read it out, asked us to guess which was that one extra word he added while he was struggling to push the 99 to 100. Thereon, the evening was filled with laughter, enthrallment and fun...

He then went on to speak about The Clifton chronicles, the plan he had and how it looks like it is going to go beyond 4 books spilling over to a 6th maybe.. "Only Time Will Tell" is the first where Harry Clifton's life begins in 1920, and then came the 2nd book "Sins of the Father" that begins from the time before Britain declares war on Germany. And now, here comes the 3rd....

He spoke about how in Bangalore, a 12yr old girl had stumped him. She had a book published already. He mentioned how at the age of 34 was when his 1st book got published. In Chennai, a girl who asked him a question shared that she had recently published a book, and she was all of 22 yrs of age. He shared with us how tough it is to get published, how to sustain and how to write so as to keep the audience engaged.  

During the Q&A session, there were so many of us with our hands raised, alas only a few got the chance to ask their questions. One of the questions put forth was - Will you ever write a book on India? For which he promptly replied "oh no, I am very scared, India overwhelms me"

Before closing the session, when asked about his personal favorite and most popular of his books, he shared that Kane & Abel was in its 94th print. 

When he was done talking and it had been over an hour, he announced that he would now be signing copies of the books. He took on a stern look and said "look her children, I want you all to come in line, behave and get the book signed. I shall sign each and every one, but only 2 per person and no personal requests"... :-))

Yes, I did get a copy, actually 2 copies autographed by the Lord. One for me and other for a friend, dint mind that I had to stand in line for nearly 45mins.. ~!! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

From the Anklets of a Homemaker by Subhashini

"The painter had no colors left to paint the night. He embellished it with dreams...."[via twitter]

"Rhyme in the recipe. Meter in the measured spices. One of those days when one has to cook poetry in the kitchen. Not with paper and pen...."[via twitter]

Such simple words, but they pack a punch, don't you think so? Well, here is the lady behind these wonderful verses- Subhashini. I've known her as @neelavanam and follow her on Twitter. How did I connect with her? One day, a few words strung together singing a song caught my eye and I was hooked.  

"A pencil carries more potential. It is sharp and focussed. A cursor is a distracted being, throbbing to peep into other windows...." [via twitter]

And everyday I along with her many other followers would eagerly look forward to the verse she shared on twitter. I dabble in a bit of poetry and so it was a lovely feeling connecting with another person who liked it as much, if not more. One day last month? or was it few weeks ago? She announced her book was out, it was a collection of her micropoetry.. I knew I had to get my hands on it, and before I knew it I was holding it in my palm. 

"From the Anklets of a Homemaker"
is the name of the book
Subhashini, the one who weaves magic through words

There are poems on rain
There are verses on life
They all come together 
so fine, so beautiful

I wondered about the title
I wondered what she meant
But by the last page, 
I dint really care :D 

Each poem is a story
a tale
an experience
a leaf out of a day

The words
hold within a few hidden secrets
or maybe a yearning 

Every page
I enjoyed
Ever word
I savored

Honestly, the book was such a breeze to read perfect with a cup of filter kaapi or maybe a mojito. Sit by the window, let the breeze tease your senses and you will enjoy this book immensely. The poems within the book are divided into three sections - Reflections of a Summer Rain, Rivers of endless desire, Meditations. Even though I felt some poems could be interchanged, am sure the author had her reasons for placing them where she did. 

Some of my favorites were,

"The eyes can spot a butterfly ~
but not he huge stumbling blocks
The nose can trace cooking food~
not the fears of a weary heart"

"Desire is the 
pulse of life"

"In a steaming cup of morning coffee~
reflections of moving clouds ~delicious"

"That which you get ~
without asking for ~
are blessings"

No, not gonna share any more... ;o) 

You need to read and pick the ones you enjoyed! Since I write the occasional poem, I know that some sound poetic and some very prose. There are sentences that you could rap, and some that read like a story. That is the beauty of poetry- no set rules, just speak your mind and watch the words take their twists & turns. I don't look for rhyme, nor do I look for a pattern, maybe that is why I liked this book a lot!

Curious? Why don't you grab a copy? You can buy this book from Flipkart or Amazon

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

[Movie Review] Kumki

After hearing rave reviews, i nudged a few friends to watch Kumki. Alas, it was not to be, we were at the theater, Inox, waiting for the doors to open when a staff came over to tell us there was some technical issues and the screening was cancelled. Our hopes fell and we were disappointed. Anyways, that weekend an excolleague of mine called asking if i would like to catch up, and what do you know, it began with us watching Kumki, at Escape Cinemas, Express Avenue. 

I had seen and enjoyed Director Prabhu Solomon's earlier movie Mynaa, which is set in the village and is very rural. Wondered if maybe this movie too would be similar. There ends the similarity. The setting was the only common factor between the two flicks. 

What was Kumki about? 

It is a fairly simple tale about Bomman (Vikram Prabhu, Sivaji's Grandson & Prabhu's son),a mahout who along with his uncle and another help[played quite well by Thambi Ramaiah and Aswin] go from town to town with their elephant [Manickam]. They get invited to temple functions and other such small festivals. On the other side is the village of Adhi kadu [in the region of Panimalai, Marthandam)]where a wild elephant Komban has been on rampage. The wild elephant attacks women who are out in the field and has killed quite a few, especially during harvest season. Unable to deal with the menace and determined to not run away to another town [which is what the cops suggest the villagers do], the village chief calls for a Kumki [a trained elephant used to tame wild elephants] 

The scene where we are introduced to Komban and his rage is quite disturbing. He is all set to trample Alli [Lakshmi menon] when she slips and just about escapes.  One day when heading back to base after a brief spat with the officials after Bomman fails to show Manickam's papers [which his uncle had lost somewhere along the way], the man who helps them Mani annan receives a call from the village asking if the Kumki elephant is ready to be transported to the village. 

The twist in the tale happens now, the ordered Kumki elephant's mahout is stuck with some personal emergency and says he will take about 3days to reach the village. In the meanwhile, Bomman volunteers to go to the village and hold fort till the real Kumki elephant takes over. The villagers welcome and treat Bomman, his clan and Manickam with great revere. While they are under the assumption that Manickam is a kumki, reality is that Manickam is indeed a very timid elephant who shies away from breaking coconuts

In a turn of events, Bomman sets eyes on Alli and falls in love with her, forgetting the real purpose of thier visit to the village. He decides to stay on, telling the owner of the real Kumki that he will manage, and train Manickam to deal with any kind of emergency. Eventually, he understands the severity of things and comes to a point where he says  "i cannot mislead the villagers, i am putting everybody's life at risk, we should just leave" What happens next is the climax of the movie...

As real as the visuals are, i felt the director could have shown more scenes of Manickam and his antics, and of Kumban as well. The songs are beautiful, especially Sollitaale Ava Kaadhala ,Ayyayayo Anandhame and Onnum Puriyalai. The romance is sweet, the pride the villagers have of their property and heritage is amazing.
Vikram Prabhu has done an amazing job, for a debut artist. The scenes where he cajoles and pampers the elephant, the push ups he does on its tusks, wow... shows the relationshiop between a mahout & his elephant.   Lakshmi Menon fits the role perfectly and has played her role well.  Thambi Ramaiah is wacky as always, and infact i felt he got more screen space than others.

A movie worth a watch.... yet another offbeat story..

I would rate it 4/5