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Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Range De Basanti

Hated it! Regressive piece of Hindi trash.
I sometimes try to avoid being judgmental: one, it shows that I know it all, which would hardly make me appear any humble; and two, the terribly mercenary I am, I can hardly afford to, in this stage of my career, estrange many who might eventually give me work. But I make an overall exemption in this case.

9:22 pm


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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Back Online

Anticipating my intended return home, I have finally been bestowed with the pleasure of being in posession of my own computer. Now if that isn't a convoluted sentence, then someone please tell me why IE is better than firefox in handling Tamil websites?

3:38 am


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Monday, January 09, 2006

Back to the dark side of the moon

I get back to work tomorrow and off the web at-least until late Feb, but before that I tried to treat myself and went on a little excursion to London. Did the customary gallery tour all over again. I can never tire of that!

After a morning with Turner and Stubbs, and having walked as fast as I could away from a Hindi film song shoot on Trafalgar Square, I took a nice little stroll on the South Bank.

The NFT has a very comprehensive Jean Renoir retrospective on right now, so walked in and caught a little gem of a film: Boudu sauve des eaux (1932). It is nice to remind oneself that not every film before the 1960s was moralistic and stifled.

Londoners should be familiar with the old-book-sellers under Waterloo Bridge. My landlord who once made a film on them tells me that they've been there for at-least a couple of decades. Chennai has a good bunch of these guys, and every discerning book-scavenger knows where the best ones are. Well, to cut a long story short, within five minutes of browsing through the 'collection' I found a book that I'd been looking for for a while now. Not available that easily (I found only the German original being sold online), I very badly wanted to get hold of it for a screenplay I intend to work on. When I initially walked through the piles of books I even rubbished thoughts of a dramatically serendipitous nature: but say what you may, there it was, right in front of my eyes, waiting to be picked up and promptly deposited in my rucksack! The bookseller admitted to quite like my tale. Certainly made my day.

While the sky relented a little, I walked further along the South Bank listening to the relaxing sound of water lapping the embankment, walked across the river and to St Paul's, where I was greeted by the surreal sight of a rather large line-drawing of the facade where the building should've been, with the dome sticking up out of it. After the briefest of peeks inside, I walked back across the bridge in search of more institutionalised surrealism to the Tate, where I managed to catch a couple of screenings, which included Bunuel and DaliĀ­'s Un chien andalou(1929) and Rene Clair's very funny Entr'acte(1924).

Walked, then ran, took a second look at my wristwatch and then dove into the tube to Victoria and caught the coach back to Bristol.

The thing is, there is so much to see in London, that one can never do justice to what it has to offer. There is always something put-off for the 'next time'. I reserve the same special affinty for London that I reserve for Bombay. The charm of a big city you don't quite live in, but love to visit.

1:06 am


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Sunday, January 01, 2006

King Kong

Nothing much has changed from Chennai. I still go to the movies by myself!
Yet, I'd prefer that anyday to watching a film 'alone', however big the home telly is.

Anyway, not since the Indiana Jones films, especially since Raiders... have I enjoyed an adventure story this much. Even though I am only a moderately mad fan of the Lord of the Rings films, Peter Jackson's filmmaking expertise took my fancy in one scene where Gollum has a heated argument with himself.

Getting back to Kong; while I don't find a constantly roving camera, mood music and quick cuts to be terribly creative cinematically, once Jackson has you sucked into the narrative with exceptional use of the medium (I have to admit, last admired in Spider-Man), these minor aberrations become as insignificant as the far-fetched fantasies of lost tribes and dinosaurs. Much the same reasons for the success of the Spielberg films.

Even the violent sense of humour is a-la Spielberg, but Jackson's film goes beyond that. He does not begin the film with the hero dramatically extricating himself from the jaws of death, but instead chooses little vignettes of poverty and social gloom: very gently told without much melodrama, that you begin to wonder if this film is a glorious escapist adventure at all. This Jackson reiterates with a gruesome death of a nice character every few minutes or so.

The remarks by one kid leaving the packed cinema at the end of it summarised it well: "It was too dark man... it was too dark!"

King Kong lost its nice sense of humour halfway through and ended up taking itself too seriously. I would not fault this as this only appears to be the deliberate intention of the filmmakers. I can only admire the way they were able to suck the audience so well into the film that they could even afford to dispense with a glorious Spielberg ending for what comes in the guise of an Indiana Jones film.

5:21 pm


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