Anand Fadeout

Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Redone again

I have redone my template... again.
Comments please!


3:10 pm

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Comments [32]

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Friday, July 23, 2004

Another Request

As I expect to find some free time in the near future, (now that I have said it, I am sure as hell I will not) I wish to tackle all compatibility and usability issues in my blog. I want you to tell me what they are. You could even make suggestions, but I am not sure I might be able to accommodate all of them.


12:10 am

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Comments [10]

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sometimes I wish I had formally studied literature as well

Well, maybe it is still not too late. As of now all I can do is talk about visual literature � the film as a literary medium. Lazy wanted me to include some stuff about in medias res (originally in the comments to troy) in the main blog as well.
I feel it is a relevant discussion kept in context. So here is continuation of the discussion.


1:58 pm

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Comments [5]

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

A Request

I have reorganized both my blogrolls. Please tell me if you are happy with it.


11:44 pm

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Monday, July 12, 2004

Troy

Ever since I saw a poster quite some time ago in one of Satyam�s corridors, I had wanted to see the film. The close shot of the bronze-god Achilles found perfect form in Brad Pitt.

I finally saw the film today; sitting between a talkative group of loud-ringtone, bright-cellphone Marwaris, and a couple of �large� Bengalis. The unusual cosmopolitanism in my seating unfortunately went on to only reinforce stereotypes (especially of rich and tasteless Marwari boys). As a disclaimer, I have to state that I do not subscribe to that stereotype as I know quite a few Marwari guys who are pretty intellectual and discreet.

Now onto the movie! To adapt the vivid Homer original one requires no imagination, but a lot of creativity. In this sense, I found the screenplay well done. I also like the fact that the screenwriter has taken many liberties with the storyline. That coupled with the careful deletion of all the �gods & goddesses� bits attempts to make the story more human and emotional. But alas it only attempts. If only Wolfgang Petersen had not turned out to be a Hollywood director, and shown at-least a little bit of the sensibility from Das Boot, this movie would have been even better. It is very easy for the immensity of the complex emotional drama in the Iliad to be lost in sweeping camera movements and computer-generated battles.

Brad Pitt definitely looks like the Homeric hero, but a combination of better shot selection with some creative direction and editing could have made his aggression during and at the end of the Hector battle more convincing. Troy is an engaging and good film, worth the money you pay, but I guess the classic poem is incomparably bigger.

I have wanted to make a point for a long time and have only randomly chosen to say it now: The �Cut� is a device unique to the film medium. Therefore, such a precious thing should not sprayed around and used without discretion. This seems to be the bane of most mainstream filmmakers. They envisage fragmented scenes and shots, and cut way too often to be able to let the visuals tell the story by themselves.

So getting back to our film, by my assessment, Troy = {Iliad + (a-lot-of-things) � (a-lot-of-other-things)} x (the trappings of Hollywood).


6:55 pm

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Monday, July 05, 2004

Unhealthy Linguistic Rivalry

I have always thought that academic rivalries are good for developing scholarly insights, but when you bring in chauvinists into the picture, things turn sour. I am a native Tamil speaker and for various reasons am proud of my language. I was also born in Karnataka, and most people from my mother�s side of the family speak fluent Kannada. Cauvery+ have been such huge headaches these days, that it is unwise to continue any academic debate on this topic as loud parochialisms can take over reasonable moderation, eventually detracting from the truth.

I do not want to judge anything, but from what I know of Tamil literature, Sanskrit literature, spoken Tamil and spoken Kannada, I have come to some understanding (however prejudiced, uninformed or unwise). Classical written Tamil has a large non-Sanskrit vocabulary that is offered as an alternative to the currently heavily Sanskritised versions. (At least the one I speak in Sanskritised to a good extant). But the level of Sanskritisation I find in currently spoken Kannada is equal if not greater.

To say that Tamil (as it is currently classicised, and spoken) alone is the inheritor of a great Dravidian linguistic heritage would not be that convincing a statement either. All the sources of Tamil/South Indian history that I have access to, are in someway related to the Dravidian politics of the past so many decades. Despite Dravidam, being a rather inclusive (only as far as South India is concerned) philosophy, Tamil chauvinism and hegemonial intentions are undeniably and ironically linked to it.

Tamil chauvinism was initially directed against Hindi and thereby at anything north-Indian and related to Sanskrit. The political ideologies associated with it included among other things rationalism, atheism, and left-wing anti-upper caste ideologies. In an interesting conversation I had with a friend in Loyola, I was called a north-Indian simply because I was a Brahmin and my brand of Tamil was impure and Sanskritised. I have always thought that I was a South Indian. But is South Indian equal to Dravidian? Then, I have always thought that I was Dravidian because I speak what I was told is a Dravidian language. The whole South Indian / Dravidian identity issue seems to be too complex and reminds me of a Tamil platitude that goes UzhakkukkuLLa kizhakku MeeRku

The Tamil I am used to, just like the Kannada I am used to, can hardly be called classical. (In another debate, I can argue about how there is more pure Sanskrit in later South Indian languages that in it so-called offshoots in North India.) All I can say now is that I am proud of being Tamil simply for the things that I see in it, and its literature and history. I might even be referring to an impure Tamil and impure history and literature. If there is an unsullied form of a Dravidian language, then it must be classical; but can it be called Tamil? As far as the current status of the South Indian languages are concerned, none of them can be seen as purely Dravidian. Now, is the classical language status accorded to one that is most Dravidian and consequently least Sanskritised? Or is it given on the merits of literature and body of work? Someone with a better understanding can give a better answer. But are there any non-chauvinistic scholars?


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4:30 pm

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Sunday, July 04, 2004

Whither Parody?

The parody is a very interesting kind of narrative. Even though no comedic-critic would want to intellectualise his/her work, thereby removing it from common understanding, a good piece of social satire is a very intelligent look at things that need to be opposed and things that need to be encouraged. Whichever end of the political system you may reside in, the parody could be seen the Hegelian/Marxian antithesis in the social dialectic.

But those are the intelligent pieces of satire. Right now, the MTV India parody of Sholay imagery is so trite that, it is no longer funny. The same can be said of college sketches and adzaps. The main reason is that they have no underlying intelligence. Just a parody for the sake of it. This gives them a small shelf-life. The truly timeless ones are �really serious� comedies.

By their own nature, parodies are iconoclastic, but if they achieve iconic status themselves, they cannot do their duty unless they go into a self-destructive loop. Self-parody is an artform when consciously pursued (but there are also those who practice it without being aware of it).


5:40 pm

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Comments [2]

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Friday, July 02, 2004

RIP

RIP Don Vito!


9:38 pm

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Comments [0]

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