Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kamal Haasan - Shathavathaaram man!

I read an article by Sudhangan in Ananda Vikatan, a tamil magazine, about Kamal Haasan. Sudhangan is a writer, journalist and TV anchor. Everyone knows Kamal, as an actor, writer, singer, director,choreographer and in so many other avataars. Basically, he is a dancer, who developed into so many other facets.

When I wrote an article about the movie 'Dasavathaaram', in my blog, I don't know how I forgot to write about the first avataar as Rangarajan Nambi, indetail (maradhi manni?!). The charecter, Rangarajan Nambi, recites 'Vishnu Sahasranaamam' in a booming voice (reminding us, the voice of Shivaji Ganesan). In the interview with Sudhangan in 'Ananda Vikatan', Kamal says that he knows Vishnu Sahasranaamam by heart and knows Suprabhatam, tamil shlokas - Thiruppallaandu, Abhiraami Andaadhi (he recites this shloka in his movie 'Gunaa', which is a milestone in his acting career and one of our favourite movies)etc. He recited some shlokas to Sudangan, during his meeting with him. Everyone knows that he is a staunch atheist. When questioned, Kamal said that when he was young, he was in a famous drama troupe, run by a veteran theatre artiste, Shri T.K. Shanmugam (the name of the movie Avvai Shanmugi was selected in his memory - Chaachi 420 in Hindi). They used to tour all the cities and towns, performing their drama. Wherever they went, the whole troupe would go to the local temple and sang relevant shlokas of that deity. So he knows Divya Prabhandam (shlokas for Lord Vishnu), Thiruvaasagam, Thevaram (shlokas for Lord Shiva). His grasping power is amazing. He is always surrounded by so many intellectuals like the late Sujatha, the tamil writer who wrote the screenplays for Kamal's, Manirathnam's and Shankar's movies, Vaira Muththu, the famous lyricist, director Crazy Mohan and others. He learnt to play mridangam for the movie 'Apoorva Raagangal', learnt to sketch from the famous cartoonist Madan, for the movie, 'Anbe Sivam'.....we can go on like this. He learnt classical music from Dr.Balamurali Krishna, the famous carnatic music vocalist, knows all the technical side of film making and writes screenplays for many of his movies. He is a perfectionist to the core.

He is good in comedy roles, in films like Michael Madana Kaamarajan, Thenaali, Sathi Leelavathi, Avvai Shanmugi, Pushpak....the list goes on. He has given classics like Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi, Anbe Sivam, Moondraam Pirai, Indian, Nayakan, Apoorva Sahodarargal, Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu, Sagara Sangamam, Guna, Mahanadi (I shiver when I think of the movie - too emotional), Raja Paarvai, Thevar Magan, Hey Ram, Nammavar... the list continues and should include his future dream project 'Marudanaayagam' too.

We have read his short stories in Ananda Vikatan, his poems, articles, huh, so many things to mention about him. Hey, I forgot to mention about the comedies, Pammal K (uvvae!) Sambandam, Kaadhala kaadhala, etc. Should we say he is good in comedy roles only? No, no, no - he was very good in Anbe Sivam, Gunaa, Mahanadi, Thevar Magan etc., which are master pieces of Kamal Haasan.

Shatavathaaram title will suit him, hmm???

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jodha Akbar - a heartwarming movie!

I missed the movie, 'Jodha Akbar', when it was released. I watched it yesterday and even now, I keep thinking about it! A beautiful movie. A story between a Mughal Emperor and a Rajput princess - sounds so nice, hmm?

I am not a big fan of Hrithik, but I have changed my opinion now! He is perfect for the role of young Akbar! He looks handsome and acts well too! I loved the way he expressed his anger, hurt and love in this movie. When his mooh bhola bhaai kills Waazim, whom Jalal respects as his father, his anger shows in his whole body language.

Music is by Rahman! No proper words will suffice to praise his music, esp. the sufi song, 'khwaaja mere khwaaja'! Rahman also sings this song along with the other singers. We get goose bumps while hearing and watching this song. Song picturisation also is superb. The last scene in the song, where Hrithik joins the dance, is still in front of my eyes. 'Manmohana' song is too good. I think Madhushree is the singer, I think. Her voice quality is very very good. The sound of violins and santoor and tabla is a feast for our ears! Aishwarya sings this song while doing aarthi. I liked the way Jodha asks Akbar (or Jalal - he was given the name Akbar later on in the movie!) to apply sindoor on her forehead and the way he looks at her! I had gone back to my youth while watching it! Both Hrithik and Aish make a good pair!

Aish looks her best in this movie in all the angles. Neeta Lulla's dress designing is matchless. All the jewellery designs, kundan works on the dresses etc. - I was pausing the video often to view the designs of the jewellery - beautiful !

Cinematography also is superb. The battlefield scenes are unbelievably scenic, in an Indian film. The beauty of the desert sands is a feast for the eyes!

Ashutosh has exploited the complete opulence of the Mughal art and architecture. The movie looks so rich and beautiful! Now, how many beautifuls have come here, in this blog?!

Now, about the slight set backs of the movie, in my angle: The climax battle scene - the scenery is good, but the plot looks very ordinary. Aish coming to the battlefield bedecked with jewellery, etc., huh, the overwhelmed feeling is burst like a balloon! We have to shut down the last half hour of the movie from our memory and go back and see the song sequences or the beautiful artistic scenes of the film and then the movie will be remembered as a classic, I am sure.

We will expect more movies like this from Ashutosh Gowarikar and it is going to be tough for him to keep up the quality! First 'Lagaan' and now 'Jodha Akbar'!

Now, I'll go back to watch 'khwaaja mere khwaaja'!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Balika Vadhu - Serial no.1!

We do not have a second thought about Balika Vadhu, being no.1 serial, even after 28 episodes!

The script is too good, background music is soft and the title song...all of us are bowled over by the title song (who is the singer - no one responded to my query!)! They are not displaying the names of the actors also. For background music they are using flute, ghatam, mridangam, tabla, saarangi, etc. unlike the shrilling sounds of keyboard violins!

Anandi, the child heroine is projected as a typical child, believing everyone and everything and we are going to see how she grows up slowly - how she is going to change. It is going to be happy/sad mixture - happy to see how she copes up with the situations, sad to see her suffering while facing the problems, the negative side of people, she has to deal with. Now she thinks if she lies, her nose will bloat! She feels sad for small things and within seconds, with the next sentence, she forgets everything and is happy again.

The incidents which are shown in the serial are still happening. The girls are not allowed to go to school, or allowed to go to school till they are 10-11 years old. Afterwards they are asked to do household work. Like daadisa says - first Anandi has to learn to cook and take care of the house. Anandi has got a good mother in law - best mother in law - who is there to protect her like a mother always. I liked the way Anandi said when Jagdish was eating slowly - we should eat food slowly for it to get digested easily - with a big smiling face because her stomach was full!

The last segment shows the parents of Anandi visiting her in her sasuraal. The look in her mother's face is enough for knowing the calibre of the actress, Raichura!

The music for the title song is by Lalit Sen. The song 'Kesaria....baalamu' is heard in the background often via instruments and vocal...beautiful song! Typical Rajasthani song!
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