Monday, March 15, 2004

three major things happened this weekend. India played an incredible match against Pakistan and Yuva/Ayidha Ezhuthu's music released... and Vivek cleared civil services' mains!! :))

First about the match. As I said, it was incredible. Incredible in the sense that almost 700 runs were scored in a ODI!! a decade ago this would've been unthinkable. In fact, in all fairness, this was unthinkable even three days ago. But going by the recent trend of extremely high scores being chased down with relative ease, it probably should've been expected. It had to happen, though probably not as soon as it did. Pitches are getting flatter than ever. Bowling all over the world is probably at its worst ever. And batsmen are scoring more heavily (and faster) by the day (either just because of the flatter wickets/bad bowling or maybe factors intrinsic to batsmen like improved fitness, more aggressive attitude etc). Its getting ridiculous even. I mean how many of us actually enjoyed this match in its entirety? Maybe just the last 10 overs. But then any match where the chasing team comes withing 5 runs of the target will have exciting last half an hour or so. The target itself is irrelevant for that. I would choose a match in England or New Zealand over such matches anyday (ok, maybe not on the sort of pitches that NZ dished out the last time we toured there.. but more typical pitches there). Its started to become a lottery now. The only thing that seems to matter is which team has more sloggers in the line up and which team's sloggers end up connecting more that the other. That said, it was a delight to watch Dravid play in this match as it has been for last 2 years or so. He came out and suddenly the quality of shots increased manyfold. Not to say that Sehwag wasn't playing exciting cricket but a silken cover drive is always preferable over a bludgeoned slap over the bowlers head. (maybe because its more likely to be reproducible against better bowling and on better pitches).

Sachin is still playing ugly. Its a pity to see him go after the bowling and missing as many as he did. Though, its amazing how he is able to maintain a great average even when he isn't quite at his best. Its his genius that allows him to do that. He might win a MoS playing the way he did yesterday, but I wont be happy. I am praying to see him get his touch back.

As for Ayidha Ezhuthu, its music was supposed to release today (March 15), and I woke up to find that the songs as already online. Though I am yet to find the hindi version online, but I guess it doesnt matter that much. listening to the songs now. They sound "arbit". very different, and hence interesting. But I am not sure different means interesting for the masses too. More so in hindi than in Tamil. I am not very sure that Yuva's music is going to do too well. definitely not as well as Dil Se. But, as always, this is just a first hearing impression. And in Rahman's case that doesnt mean anything. already one of the songs has started the secong time and I am liking it 10 times more than the first time!!! :) I guess I spoke too soon.. :) Hey Goodbye Nanba!!!! :)

Now comes the biggest news! Apne Vivek Kumar "jaanu" ab Vivek Kumar "jaanu" IAS banne waale hain.. bas interview bacha hai.. :)) abhi tak congrats bhi kar paaya kyounki mila naheen vo.. :) Congrats Vivek!!! :) TREAT!!!! :))) aur interview ke liye ATB... :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

two nice links...

Image doctoring

funny olympics
I dont know what to do. Sachin seems to be going through the sort of bad patch that seemed impossible some years ago. and Rahman seems to be coming up with a GRREAT album every other week. Only Sachin's form is keeping me from dying due to too much excitement. Boys, Ennaku 20 Unakku 18, Kangalal Kaithu Sei, Tehzeeb, Lakeer, Meenaxi and now Yuva/Ayitha Ezhuthu and Naani/New releasing within 5 days of each other!!! These two are two of the most highly anticipated albums of this year. It would be a pity if one of them doesnt get enough attention because of the other.

Yuva trailers are already out!!! and they are impressive! Abhishek Bachchan looks impressive for the first time in his career. The trailers are very well done. one 20 second promo tells you a lot about one of the main characters. Even the color in which the movies title is shown at the end is related to the character. Its bloody red for Abhishek Bachchan, vivacious blue for Vivek Oberoi, and inspirational green for Ajay Devgan. Rani and Kareena are looking good. And the background score/songs sound vibrant.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Raam raam junta...

I am back. :) after sooo many days. Meanwhile, LOTR did a clean sweep at the oscars. 11 out of 11 is incredible!!

Also, I saw a lot of movies during last 10 days. "Kill Bill Vol 1", "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", "Road to Perdition", "Fellini's 8 and half" (though couldn't finish this one), "Kal ho naa ho" (still to see the latter half), "Taxi Driver", "Pulp Fiction", and "The Last Samurai". Most of them were very good (except, of course, KHNH whose first half was enough irritating though Preity's presence makes it bearable... specially one song - "Kuchh to huaa hai, kuchh ho gaya hai" was nicely done).

Bill was an interesting movie. "Interesting" because my roomy wasnt very impressed with the movie though I myself was. I had seen "Pulp Fiction" before this and REALLY enjoyed every bit of it. And both "Reservoir Dogs" and "Jackie Brown" were pretty watchable in parts and were partially very good. So, I had very high expectations from Bill when it released. However, for some reason, I didnt get to see it then.. By the time I got a chance to see it, my enthu had been dented somewhat mainly because of less than enthusiastic response the movie generated from Neelaabh (my roomy). I thought - oh, well maybe Quentin Tarantino failed for once. However, the reviews varied from good to great with only a very small number giving it thumbs down. This, along with the fact that Vivek seemed to REALLY like the movie made sure that I was still pretty interested in the movie. So, I went to see it when it was shown in our univ. And man! was I impressed?

Neelaabh said that the movie showed that the director has mastered some elements that make movies interesting but on the whole the movie didnt impress him much. He seemed to think that the movie was too violent and that the director was continuously trying to shock the audience with gore. This didnt go down well with him. I, however, thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Its amazing that I am reluctant to call Bill a violent movie even though its a movie with much blood and violence. Everything is just so obviously over the top that its impossible to take anything seriously. In fact Quentin said that anyone who thinks that its likely that any of this could happen to anyone like a real person has to be crazy. I agree with him. :) Maybe thats why I enjoyed it so much. If someone asks me why exactly I liked the movie, I dont think I can put finger on anything very specific. The story is not the reason. It cannot be. Because it almost doesn't exist. A lot of critics have really appreciated the various hidden (and not-so-hidden) tributes that Q has included in the movie (in fact not just included.. based the movie on) but in my case that isnt the reason either. It cannot be. Because I havent seen all these classic B-movies. But, I see what they mean. Just that I dont really relate the their feeling of "this is godgiri" at watching this brilliant tribute.

So, what is it that made me enjoy this movie so much? Probably the single biggest factor is the soundtrack. Its brilliant. Its more than brilliant. Its ABSOLUTELY GODGIRI for lack of a better term. you see the first scene (which was one of the only two scenes that shocked me... and considering that anyone even remotely interested in the movie knew much before the movie released what they should expect from the first scene its amazing that the scene was still as shocking as it was) and then a slow song with probably the most appropriate lyrics ever written starts as the credits are shown. It was SUPERB!! if this isn't a perfect beginning to a movie, I dont know what is. the song "Bang Bang" by Nancy Sinatra cant probably be appreciated out of this context. I'll never know that what I would've thought of the song had I not heard it for the first time while watching the movie. Maybe I would've liked it even then, but I am sure the impact it would've made in the movie then wouldn't be as much as now. it simply blew me away. And even before the credits finished, I had begun to think that maybe Quentin hasn't failed after all.. :) This was just the beginning though. The soundtrack throughout the movie was just as good as the perfect beginning. Over the years I have come to realize that I am biased towards movies with a good soundtrack/BGM. So, its possible that a movie that has as good a soundtrack as Bill can impress me a lot even though I probably wouldn't have liked it at all with a lesser soundtrack. But I doubt it. There are other things in the movie that one cant help but enjoy. Though there aren't as many witty dialogue moments as in Pulp Fiction, but there are some moments (like the O-Ren Ishii monologue after she becomes the leader of Tokyo underworld) that are hilarious and remind one of Pulp Fiction.

But I dont think these reasons still add up to quite as much as I like the movie. thats what I meant when I said its difficult to put a finger on exactly why I enjoyed it so much. This is where reading reviews help. There are times when you have a feeling which you cant really put in words and then you read a particular part of a review and you know that this is EXACTLY how you feel. some people are way better at putting their feelings in words than I am. :) So some of the following words aren't original. But the feeling they convey is EXACTLY what I felt when I watched the movie.

I think the pleasure of watching this movie comes more from knowing that in the final analysis its just a movie. A movie like LOTR would've been a failure if it wouldn't have made us feel for its characters. If we would've still been aware of the taste of our popcorn when Frodo stumbles over the edge inside Mount Doom then Peter Jackson would've failed in what he had set out to achieve. Quentin however, very obviously, didnt want this. Bill is the ultimate "popcorn movie". You wonder at the amazing action choreography but you know its not real - you marvel more at how something is being shown than what is being shown itself. you actually love the hilarious inconsistencies because you know that the guy who made the movie did all of this on purpose. As a reviewer said its like watching a master chef making a fast-food-chain hamburger for once. Its still a hamburger, but you marvel at the way in which the taste still tells you that its different.. that its a master-chef hamburger. Another reviewer said something which was even more akin to what I thought. Its so obvious in every frame of the movie that the guy is so much in love with the various elements of movie making that he doesnt care two hoots whether anyone likes what he is doing or not. or whether it confirms to anything that it is supposed to confirm to. Its like letting a child loose inside a toy-shop and just watching him do his thing. There's a joy in watching him play with 3 toys together, or try and fiddle with some new toys he comes across. Heck! its fun even to see him break some of the toys apart! :)