Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog
Monday, September 29, 2003
definitely a fallout of yesterday
Stanley Kubrick played chess;
To assert himself, to exercise control,
To show off his intelligence, and to whet his ego.
He was a storyteller-sportsman;
I am a storyteller-showman.
probably a fallout of yesterday
Knowledge should not, and cannot be �commodified�. A commodity gets its value by its redeemability, consumability, and depreciability on use. But knowledge does not diminish when distributed, but rather grows.
CAS and changing preferences in Chennai
Last evening, the popular Satyam theatre complex was crowded; so crowded that people were literally spilling out on the stairs and onto the street. Naturally, all the shows were running House Full, including for a non-descript movie nobody would otherwise watch.
What do you say? You travel all the way to Satyam to find your favourite movie on House full, and would you want to return home just like that? Having come this far, any movie would do. Yesterday, we guys weren�t even that lucky.
Vipul explained it with the CAS theory that HBO is off-air. I was not very sure, and wanted to blame the holiday season; but I guess this has been the case at the cinemas for the past few weeks. What happened to the video rental parlours? Or (I want to be happy), has the big screen returned to popular taste? Or as Vipul, Mihir and I finally agreed, is �going out� back? Well a lot of factors deliberately, accidentally, or not-at-all, seem to have come together to create another hopeless weekend in an increasingly crowded city.
So we were left with no option but to go to Coffee Day and Landmark to bird-watch (people-watch to be politically correct, and preferentially incorrect) and incessantly talk about music, movies, books, philosophy and life.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Monday, September 22, 2003
The most enjoyable part of my Hyderabad experience was watching an Imax movie. Being brought up on normal size cinema, the only way we would get to experience the �train scaring away the restaurant guests� at the first Lumiere screening, is to watch an Imax movie. Of course there is the novelty factor, but there is a lot of potential too. What the movie theatre is to television, Imax is to the movie theatre. Filmmaking in such a large format requires a further refinement of the cinema�s visual and aural grammar. To most television-type filmmakers with absolutely flimsy visual sense and attention seeking edits, Imax is not the medium. It requires much more talent and discipline than what many of today�s tele-tized directors (whose work fares so badly even on the normal large screen) think they possess.
I believe that David Lean, or Akira Kurosawa, or Stanley Kubrick would be best suited to make the transition to the new medium. Yours truly, who is a big fan/wannabe heir apparent to the genius of these guys would definitely like to do that since all three are now dead.
I wonder why Imax, while sporting a good number of documentaries, has not thrown up a good fictional film. I wonder how fiction would fare in this medium. I guess it would redefine the concept of the mise-en-scene and staging.
Ramoji Film City...
...is a quasi theme park! If you forget the fact that almost all Govinda dance-numbers are shot there, you might be able to appreciate the sheer scale of the place. Apparently, they are also pretty well equipped and well staffed. That makes shooting there, a good option; if you are a producer with big ideas and a lot of cash.
The dormitories where we stayed were very good. My idea of a good business/pleasure/holiday destination is one that has clean food and clean toilets.
Back from Hyd
Thanks to VSNL (or Tata Indicom or whatever), I could not inform the world that I was leaving for Hyderabad on Friday. And now I am back.
It was called an �industrial visit�. Turned out to be quite an excuse in every sense of the word. Hyderabad is a lovely place but I just have one gripe. All the guys look like the villain from Jeyam and the girls... what girls? That�s precisely the point. The sex ratio in public (even in the apparently �happening� Imax theatre complex) was pathetic. Something like 500:1 M:F. Forget ratios, I�m talking about visibility and watchability. My mother, who has spent a substantial part of her youth in Andhra Pradesh informs me that Hyderabad is not representative of the whole state. I don�t want to sound sexist, but what the heck? It isn�t healthy.
This morning, on the 17D back from Central Station we passed through college Road and WCC and now I know why I love my city.
Thursday, September 18, 2003
I got almost married
Yesterday I was almost married off. My parents are helping out the family with my cousin�s horoscope (they�re planning to get him married off). As my dad was the one who put the �jathagam� in circulation and word began to spread, one my mother�s cousins thought that it was I for whom this is being done. After a score of phone calls and word spreading all over Tamil Nadu, I came back home to shock, scandal and a good laugh. It took some patient talk from my mother to all the people concerned that she had no plans of getting me married off, that sense returned. For a while, my mother�s cousin had almost �finalised� things. Even my usually levelheaded grandmother had started to help in the �process�. But now I�m OK! .............Phew!
Last night Kingsley and I saw Shankar�s Boys. I went in with very low expectations because of so much bad press; and I liked the movie. But alas, Shankar is no deSica. This movie has all the masochistic traumas of the realistic film, but Shankar cannot be a complete realist; and that is his stamp. There is this classic Shankar naivet� and a somewhat detached sense of fantasy. Yet I liked the movie for what it is. Plus, I am somewhat bemused by all the objections about the portrayal of adolescence. I can sure point out too many Tamil films and filmmakers who have made it more vulgar than shown here. So screw the moralists!
One thing is, for the first time in a Shankar movie, the last song of the film seemed �in-place�.
Sunday, September 14, 2003
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb
Loved the movie!
Sellers in one of his most memorable roles, and of course, I need not elaborate on my admiration for Kubrick. I wonder how a truly black comedy would be received in Tamil. Visu and Mouli in their theatrical dramas have made excellent emotional comedic pieces. Cho Ramasamy has had his satires. Kamal Hassan, being one of the best spontaneous comedic actors I have seen, would be great in such an effort. Despite the tremendous potential, most of our best Tamil comedies (especially in recent years) have been merely verbal. Other than Singeetham Srinivasa Rao, not many people have been able to make good use of the genius of Crazy Mohan. In Strangelove terms, that leaves a rather large �comedic gap�.
Kubrick would hate Columbia home video for the DVD. Bad video mastering: lots of scratches on the print; and the picture contrast, poor in Kubrick standards.
Saturday, September 13, 2003
What a wonderful film. Remarkable script and really good work by Danush. Tamil film and television have been full of formulaic, trite mastershot-closeup-intercut-mastershot filmmaking, that this movie stands out. Almost every director today seems to be affected by television, and in fact, make their movies for the small screen that I find it surprising that they complain about their films being seen on video CD. Prompting of dialogue and cues and the resultant reliance on the montage detract from positive storytelling. Kadhal Konden in that sense is good because Selvaraghavan has �staged� very well. The storyline is also hassle free without unnecessary �tracks� and unwanted songs. Dhanush�s performance is good for one simple reason, not just for his facial expression and dialogue delivery, but for his body language. Not many actors are able to emote in a long-shot or in a lengthy shot. Yuvan Shankar Raja has shown his brilliance; not only in the songs, but also in his seamless background score.
Friday, September 12, 2003
Thanks to Vaseem Thabrez and thanks to his (very costly) magazine subscription; I got to see the premier show of the second Tomb Raider movie last evening for free. How much masala can you pack into a Jan de Bont movie? As much as...er, forget it!
A very enjoyable film nevertheless. But they could have put in a little more effort into the climax and a little more brains into the opening. The middle part, as we can very well surmise, was very exciting (I am talking about the movie).
There are nice people in this world
A few days ago I was talking with one of my teachers about further studies. An undergrad fresher, about six or seven years my junior, who also happened to be at the same place and heard my conversation, came to me this morning with some stuff he had collected about UK education for himself. I was impressed by this chap. There are very few people I�ve encountered who would go out of the way to help somebody out without any apparent benefits for themselves. I would sure like to emulate this guy�s example some day.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Although the author is himself of the profession and knows the things that long practice, aided by much special reflection, can teach him about it, he will not linger as much as might be thought over that part of the art which seems the whole of art to many mediocre artists, but without which art would not exist. He will thus seem to encroach on the domain of the critics of aesthetic affairs, men who doubtless think that practice is not needed for them to rise to speculative consideration of the arts.
He will treat of philosophic more than of technical matters. That may seem singular in a painter who writes on the arts: many semi-erudite men have treated the philosophy of art. It would seem that their profound ignorance of technical matters was looked on by them as a title to respect, persuaded as they were that preoccupation with this matter, so vital to every art, debarred professional artists from aesthetic speculation.
It would seem almost that they had imagined a profound ignorance of technical matters to be one reason more for rising to purely metaphysical considerations, in a word that preoccupation with a craft must render professional artists rather unfit to rise to the heights which are forbidden to the people outside aesthetics and pure speculation.
Sunday, September 07, 2003
It should surprise most people that till now, I, who seemed to have haughtily usurped some authority about film and filmmaking, had not seen Citizen Kane, indisputably, one of the greatest, if not the greatest film ever made. I did see it finally on DVD on Friday. The film is impressive: great even. If you catch hold of the DVD, don�t miss the theatrical trailer: magical and pioneering.
I did my schooling at PSBB in Chennai and some time ago, a few enterprising people from my very talented class of �98 decided to start an e-group to bring together all of us. I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to see that four of them had gotten together to create a lovely website for the class. Put your hands together for 12E2 of 1998.
Paolo Coelho�s book is a definitely refreshing and uplifting work of literature. Wisdom can come from misery; wisdom also comes from transcending misery. This book helped me do the latter.
Any kid is enamoured by flying and aircraft; so was I. Discovery Channel was the only place I could see flying machines: until yesterday. It was a dream come true to see the Sukhoi 30s do their �stuff�, and that too happening right in front of my eyes, live. Everything about the airshow was �super�, thought I just wished at the end, one of the Chetak�s would pick me up from the crowd and drop me on my terrace: the crowds and the traffic jams would not permit me to get back home easily. I did get back home, late, sunburnt, hungry, tired and very very happy.
Monday, September 01, 2003
The Man Who Wasn�t There
Remarkable: quintessentially Coen Brothers! Evocative is the word, but not imitative. I believe one the biggest hang-ups of the so-called progressive Indian filmmakers is an unabashed aping of style and concept, without being reflective or inspired, not developing on allusion. The Man Who Wasn�t There is very much classic noire and very much Coen.
Roger Deakins, the cinematographer has crafted his B&W work superbly so as to be striking, and at the same time complementing the storytelling. The DVD from USA Home Entertainment is good in its image quality and navigation art, but the interviews and behind-the-scenes footage look very amateurishly compiled.
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