Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Music of 2012

Its time to list out my favorite from music of 2012. I am boycotting Hindi music as a protest for Chennai express posters :P Even otherwise, there is nothing much for me there as I have lost interest in Hindi songs :D

This list is based on what sounded good to me and consists of songs only from those films released in 2012. So Kadal, Edhir Neechal et al will feature in next years list only :D

Songs/Albums/Artists are not listed in any particular order.

The SWEET 16 - Melodies that touched my heart

The FAST 8 - Peppy numbers that I loved

The Other Favorites:

From across the borders: From whatever little I had listened :D

Favorite Albums:
  • Nanban
  • Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal
  • Neethaane En Ponvasantham
  • 3
  • Oru Kal Oru Kannadi
  • Naan Ee
  • Thuppakki 

Best Music Directors:
  • Harris Jayaraj - Nanban, Thuppakki, OKOK
  • Anirudh Ravichander - 3
  • G.V.Prakash Kumar - Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal, Thaandavam
  • D. Imman - Kumki
  • Ilayaraja - Neethaane En Ponvasantham

Best Male Singers:
  • Karthik
  • Vijay Prakash
  • Aalap Raju
  • Special Mention: Vijay :)

Best Female Singers:
  • Chinmayi
  • Andrea
  • Sunidhi Chauhan

Best Lyricists:
  • Madhan Karky
  • Na.Muthukumar

Monday, December 31, 2012

Movies of 2012

The number of movies I watched this year is very very less as I devoted most of my time to watch English series F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Two and a Half Men, Sherlock, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.

Following are the movies I watched in 2012. There are a few more old movies I watched but not in this list as they are nothing worth mentioning :D Except these I haven't watched any new movies and I don't regret, because these are the ones I wanted to catch up and I made sure that I saw them :D 

So I consider all of these my best picks of 2012 :D

Movies are listed in alphabetical order.

Best of Tamil:

Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi
Naan Ee

Vazhakku Enn 18/9

Tamil-Dubbed Films:

English Vinglish

Other Language Films:

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Lorax

Ala Modalaindi
Lifeu Ishtene

I want to watch Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanum also soon :D

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Chennai! ♥

August 22 - The city I love so much turns an year younger this day. 373 is just a number for those like me who have grown up along with the city all through their life.

She might not have the climate that everyone claims the best. She might not have perennial rivers that gives water throughout the year. She might not give the peaceful atmosphere and a relaxed life for those who need it.

Yet she accepts and takes everyone who comes to her with a new hope in life. She gives the safety and security which no other metro in this country can claim to have. She accommodates just people - not religions, languages or castes.

There are pubs and growing night life and at the same time sabhas and katcheris in music season. There are enough of things engage retired people at old age and at the same time opportunities for young minds coming out with hopes and dreams. There is a harmonious mix of all cultures, religions and various diversities which is the unique nature of this city.

On one hand, there are a quite a handful of things to be improved - the roads and drainage system especially in rainy season, the storm water drains. The prohibitively costly auto fares which are a total injustice to the common man. The heavy traffic in few areas which could not be controlled by any means. The need of proper "tourist spots" instead of passing off old buildings and memorials of leaders as tourist attractions - something that is worthy spending time on.

On the other hand, the city springs up lots of hopes in its latest developments - the Chennai Metro Rail project which if goes as per plan will be the most effectively connected transport network in Chennai. The new airport terminals that are built to match those in other metros - yet stays very much closer to the city. The increasing bus connectivity and standard of government buses. The booming industrial zones in and around the city and so on.

She knows to balance herself and stay firm for many years to come. She has done it for 373 years and she will continue to do it. And will make people like me always the proud children of Chennai.

To end with, a salute to the city from her Oscar winning musician:

Monday, July 09, 2012

Naan Ee - The Buzzing Entertainer

Quoting Vidya Balan from The Dirty Picture, "Filmein sirf teen cheezon ki wajah se chalti hain... Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment". And that is what Naan Ee provides you. Entertainment to the core from start to end of the end credits. And the amazing fact is that most of it is delivered through a tiny little housefly (Ee), sans any big stars.

A man madly in love with a girl is killed by a business magnet who sets an eye on the girl. He reincarnates as a housefly to save his lover who is now in the danger of getting into the trap of his killer. As simple as the story and concept sounds, it could have been easily turned into a silly piece of crap by the likes of Ramanarayanan. Instead, SS Rajamouli has created an outstanding entertainer that caters to audience of all ages and keeps them glued to screen all through.

Nani plays a sweet lover and dies early in the film. The only duet featuring him and Samantha is too colorful and a delight to watch on screen. Besides looking pretty, Samantha performs well in a strong role as a micro-artist and social worker and both of these are vital to her characterization and used well in moving the film forward.

But, the film ultimately belongs to two characters. One is the "Ee" or the reincarnated Nani, which comes for almost three fourth of the film. Right from its birth from a pupa, till it burns itself in the process of killing the villain and saving the lady love from previous birth, the fly rules the film completely. On the other end is Sudeep, the strong villain yet who can't get rid of a housefly from his life. He grows more and more evil from beginning to end and at the end gets killed in revenge.

The scenes involving the two are so interesting to watch and most of them leave you in splits. The ways in which the fly keeps Sudeep away from Samantha are very natural and nothing more than what a fly does. The stunts even if exaggerated are not lengthy enough or even a bit boring. Santhanam in a miniscule role shines and other minor characters in the film have performed their best.

The film works big time because of two factors - a strong script and special effects. It is extremely difficult to hold audience for over two hours without any big stars and that too with the antics of a housefly. But the brilliance of Rajamouli's script and direction manages to do that. Even the smallest details are taken care like the view from the fly's compound eye, which is shown as many lenses. The power of its eyes is also used very well in the stunts.

The whole story happens in 3 weeks which is pretty much the average life span of a housefly. Samantha being a micro-artist justifies the mask and metal claws that the fly gets. She interacting with a dumb and deaf girl in a charity event helps her understanding of fly's actions make more sense. The fly in itself is designed with typical features of a male fly. Any other errors made are not significant when compared to the entertainment we get.

The special effects which are said to have cost 7 crore are worth every penny spent, because that makes the film more realistic and non-Ramanarayan type. And the time taken to ensure it comes perfect has really paid off. The first interactions of the fly with outside world in a park are extraordinary and the standard is then maintained throughout.

The outstanding camera work by K. K. Senthil Kumar and crisp editing by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao are a major plus for the film. Same goes with the music and background score by Keeravani, which keeps the mood and tone of the film intact throughout. Dialogues by Crazy Mohan are crisp, and funny too when required. An example is when Samantha feeds coffee for the fly in a saucer, the Coffee Day waiter claims sorry for having fly in the coffee and Samantha replies "No, No, Ee coffee kudichitu iruku".

The film has everything that is required for a commercial entertainer and is a winner in all aspects. Even the end credits are completely hilarious with Santhanam and Crazy Mohan making an appearance. A tiny housefly which could be a nuisance to us everyday has been made into a charming super hero and you can't just stop smiling when it says "I Am Back" at the end. We wish to say the same after entering the theatre for a second watch.

Naan Ee - Flying high

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Movie Ratings from 2010 till date - The Very Good ones : Part 2

Ko (Tamil)
3.5 stars
A political thriller drama, it is a well written, executed and performed film with Jeeva and Ajmal taking all honors for performance from the relatively wooden heroines. A no-nonsense film that is worth spending time on.

The Lives of Others (German)
3.5 stars
A detective who is on a mission to spy a writer and his actress partner discovers sad realities and the troubles they are in and instead of relaying the truth in his investigation, he tries save them but not for long. A film which reminded me of politics controlling film industry in Tamil Nadu.

Payanam (Tamil)
3.5 stars
A flight hijack story and the rescue operation, told with humor, emotions, seriousness and a little masala. Very good time pass and entertaining. Brilliant performances from the whole cast.

Yudham Sei (Tamil)
3.5 stars
The war waged by the parents of a victim of sexual harassment against those who were responsible for her death. The officer investigating their case understands their plight as he himself is searching for his missing sister. An emotional thriller.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (English)
3.75 stars
An ugly infant neglected by his father starts growing younger everyday. He grows younger to teens and then back to infancy as his lover grows older than him. Unbelievable plot but excellent acting from Brad Pitt keeps you glued.

Wake Up Sid (Hindi)
3.75 stars
A lazy youngster leaves his house to make a living on his own after putting up a fight with his father. The careless rich-kid, a college student is taught the meaning of life by his girl friend, an aspiring writer with whom he lives.

Se7en (English)
3.75 stars
Two police detectives working in a crime-filled city, become deeply involved in a case involving a series of sadistic murders. Each murder corresponds to one of the seven deadly sins: Gluttony, Envy, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Greed and Wrath.

8 Mile (English)
3.75 stars
The Eninem movie about the life of a rapper and how he crosses all hurdles in life to win over his rivals. Enimem and Brittany did an excellent job, sad that the actress is no more. Never loved rap before as much as I did in this film.

The Departed (English)
3.75 stars
Hollywood remake of Infernal Affairs, like other such films in this list, does not impress me like the original. Nevertheless, an Oscar winner, its a great film with a brilliant performance from Leonardo.

Pulp Fiction (English)
3.75 stars
One of the top 5 highly rated films in IMDB, this links three interrelated stories with a non linear narration. The film has Quentin Tarantino's style throughout and being forerunner for many films made in this style, this was a brilliant movie.

Harischandrachi Factory (Marathi)
3.75 stars
The biographical tale of Dada Saheb Palke who was one of the pioneers of Indian Cinema, takes us through his achievements and how he brought life into cinema screen in a humorous way with light hearted scenes. Truly an inspiring story for anyone to know.

Apollo 13 (English)
3.75 stars
The events that happened before, during and after the launch of Apollo 13 space shuttle and how despite failures in mission, the astronauts are saved is told in an interesting manner.

Babe, I Love You (Tagalog)
3.75 stars
A sweet and cute Filipino film about the love story of a young college professor and a bar girl who despite their differences find a common interest and need for each other that destines them to be together for a lifetime.

Magadheera (Telugu)
3.75 stars
The extravagant and record breaking hit from Andhra, a film set in historical and modern times and its about reincarnation and reunion. Might sound mythological but the special effects, grandeur and performances makes the film worth a watch. Ram Charan as warrior and Kajal as his lady love were too good.

Leader (Telugu)
3.75 stars
An inspiring and thought provoking story on political games and ambitions of a youngster who accidentally steps into politics. A Mudhalvan type of film with a strong writing, good songs and nice performances.

State of Play (English)
3.75 stars
A political drama about a Congressman caught in a murder conspiracy of his employee and how his friend from press helps him by investigating the crime. As the suspense breaks, unbelievable truths are revealed

Infernal Affairs – 1 (Cantonese)
4 stars
The first one of the trilogy which was remade in Hollywood as The Departed. But I loved this more than The Departed. The reason is that the feel is better in this and the presentation was too good.

Infernal Affairs - 2 (Cantonese)
4 stars
The second one in the IA trilogy is actually a prequel to part 1 and tells what led to the whole story that happened in Part 1. Knowing the background of the primary characters of IA-1 was interesting.

My Sassy Girl (Korean)
4 stars
A very sweet love story from Korea where meeting a girl in train station changes the whole life of a guy. The emotions and the romance has been brought out very well, especially the female lead performed to her best.

The Man from Earth (English)
4 stars
The whole movie happens in a closed drawing room of a house with very few characters and proceds fully though conversations between them. Yet it was totally engaging with an unexpected twist at the end.

Oy! (Telugu)
4 stars
The film that left me in tears for a long time after I watched it. It is an usual love story with cinematic screenplay but the great music, some greatly written scenes and dialogues and performances of Siddharth and Shamili take the film to the next level.

Kavalan (Tamil)
4 stars
A beautiful heart warming love story from Vijay after a long time and sort of comeback for Asin to Tamil after a gap. Both of them along with the surprise element Mithra Kurian makes this an entertaining romantic comedy, with Vadivelu for laughs. A truly feel good movie that brought the Vijay of golden old days back on screen. Rounded off to 4 for the Vijay factor.

Amores Perros (Spanish)
4 stars
An Oscar nominee, its a film containing three distinct stories which are connected by a car accident in Mexico City. Each of the three tales is also a reflection on the cruelty of humans toward animals and each other, showing how they may live dark or even hideous lives.