Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jack Vettriano

There are six differences between the two images. Can you find them all?



Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The Sufi Master Attar is said to have commented about Rumi.

"There goes a river dragging an ocean behind it."

" Don't look at your form, however ugly or beautiful.
Look at love and at the aim of your quest. ...
O you whose lips are parched, keep looking for water.
Those parched lips are proof that eventually you will reach the source."

Monday, March 27, 2006


                         CRASH----Being unconventional, is it the convention of the day?
     On June 10th 2005 a film titled ‘The Bridge of San Luis Rey’ was released in theaters and it was a miserable failure at the box office. This film is in no way connected with the film in context, Crash. This film is an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winning novel, with the same title, by Thornton Wilder.

     The only similarity between the two films, ‘Crash’ and ‘The Bridge of San Luis Rey’ is that both the films deal with multiple interconnected stories, which seems to be the genre of the decade.

     The unconventional style of filmmaking, dealing with out a protagonist or with multiple protagonists, featuring an ensemble of independent stories that, somehow, come to end in a finale, where in all the stories and characters mysteriously and unexpectedly collide, find its roots in the book ‘The Bridge of San Luis Rey’.

     This book by Thornton Wilder featured the story of a catastrophe—a tiny footbridge in Peru breaks and five people dash to their deaths. For Brother Juniper, a humble monk, the questions were inescapable. Why those five? Was it a chance or the divine intervention that brought them together on that fatal day at that place and that moment of time? Or were they, in some mystical way, to blame for what happened to them?
     This kind of story telling is quite new to the art of filmmaking. The first ever attempt of filmmaking with a non-liner narrative and multiple point of views goes back to the 1950’s Japanese film Rashomon by Akira Kurasawa. After that the best-known film with divergent narratives is the ever-famous cult film of the 90’s, ‘pulp fiction’ by Quentin Tarantino. Other successful films that dealt with this exceptional style of narrative structure include,

Amores Perros (Spanish) by Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu
Traffic (English) by Steven Soderbergh
Suraj ka Saatwan Ghoda (Hindi) by Shyam Benegal
Midaq Alley (Spanish) by Jorge Fons
Magnolia (English) by Paul Thomas Anderson

     Apart from these successful films there were quite a few films that tried to create a mosaic of several interrelated stories. One such film is ‘Heights’, directed by Chris Terrio and dealt with desperation and  ‘The Bridge of San Luis Rey’ directed by Mary McGukian. These two recent films released in 2004 and 2005, respectively did not stop Crash, this years Oscar winner for best film, directed by Paul Haggis, to went on to become the biggest film of 2005.

     The question in discussion here is that, is Crash a conventional film or by trying to be unconventional has it triggered a new convention?

     The idea of divergent narratives is no more a device of innovation or novelty, but it is slowly turning in to a screen convention. Is it believable that a hero can hold several bullets in his body and yet survive; where as an extra playing a rowdy will die with just a single bullet. Of course not! We accept it because it is an accepted convention of Indian films.

     Crash, which deal with the racism in the everyday lives of Americans, was quite successful at the box office and also at the Oscars. The director, Paul haggis tried to tell the stories of hatred in the name of racism by choosing the overused technique of ‘non linear narrative’. He seemed to have paid the tribute to Quentin Tarantino, the man who started this fire, in two scenes.

     Even though Crash went on to become one of the biggest hits of 2005 and its Oscars not many people are happy with the film. Many a people liked the film but majority of them do not vote for its Oscar win. Many say it was just an ‘OK’ kind of film and they find no reason for it to win an Oscar.

     The reason for such divided talk is vowed to several reasons. One of it is that Crash is a fantasy film unless you believe that 90% of the people you pass on the streets of America are constantly thinking about racism and are constantly acting on it in severe and extreme ways. This is biggest loophole of the film and to add more, it pretends to be a realistic. But it’s true that there are quite a few brilliant scenes and in the end the film is moving and inspiring in some ways.

     Considering the fact that there were not many good films in the competition this year Crash was, in a way, lucky to have won the award. But when compared to the films that dealt with such technique are far superior to Crash and one should not forget that none of them have won an Oscar for best film. This in many ways is a disappointing news to the film lovers around the world, as it clearly indicates the degrading standards in the world of cinema. One thing that clearly shows in Crash is that it is what it is today only because it tried to package a set of similar stories in to a bigger collage and it was the only saving grace of the film supported by brilliant editing. Being unconventional, is it the order of the day? If so the world awaits for one more Quentin Tarantino to start the fire with something new and unconventional.


Bug me not

You're browsing the web and you click a link to an article on a site (let's say but instead of getting the article you get a screen asking you to login or register. Infuriated at the idea of pointlessly registering for yet another site you turn to your good buddy

STEP 1: Make a note of the website address your are trying to access. For example:
Or even just:

STEP 2: Visit

STEP 3: Enter the address from step 1 into the box and press the "Get Logins" button

STEP 4: You should now be presented with at least one username and password. Make a note of them.

STEP 5: Go back to the site you were originally trying to access in step 1 and proceed to login with the username and password you noted in the previous step.

With any luck you should be able to access your article now!

Free logins

Raga of the day- Revathi

Aarohanam: S R1 M1 P N2 S
Avarohanam: S N2 P M1 R1 S

Aparadhi Nanalla---Purandara Dasa
Naa Naati Batuku---Annamayya
Yeryeduthum----Papanasam Sivan
Ramathe Yamuna----Jayadeva


The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone.
The Tao is elusive and intangible.
Oh it is intangible and elusive, and yet within is image.
Oh it is elusive and intangible, and yet within is form.
Oh it is dim and dark, and yet within is essence.
This essence is very real, and therein lies faith.
From the very beginning until now its name has never been forgotten.
Thus I perceive the creation.
How do I know the ways of creation?
Because of this.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Give up learning, and put an end to your troubles.
Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear?
What nonsence!
Other people are contented, enjoying the sacrificial feast of the ox.
In spring some go to the park, and climb the terrace, but I alone am drifting not knowing where I am.
Like a new-born babe before it learns to smile, I am alone, without a place to go.
Others have more than they need, but I alone have nothing.
I am a fool.
Oh, yes!
I am confused.
Other men are clear and bright, but I alone am dim and weak.
Other men are sharp and clever, but I alone am dull and stupid.
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea.
Without direction, like the restless wind.
Everyone else is busy, but I alone am aimless and depressed.
I am different.
I am nourished by the great mother.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

raga of the day----kanakAngi

Aarohana:S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N1 S
Avarohana:S N1 D1 P M1 G1 R1 S

Kanakangaka---Koteeswara Iyer
Sri hapustrayanamosthuthe----Balamurali krishna
Dasarathapala----Pallavi Sesha Iyer


Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom, and it will be a hundred times better for everyone.
Give up kindness, renounce morality, and men will rediscover filial piety and love.
Give up ingenuity, renounce profit, and bandits and thieves will disappear.
These three are outward forms alone;
they are not sufficient in themselves.
It is more important to see the simplicity, to realise one's true nature, to cast off selfishness and temper desire.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Q & A with K.Balachander.

Q) When Kannada filmmakers like Girish Kasaravalli and Malayalam Directors like Adoor Gopala Krishnan are making films with a conviction and seriousness towards film as an art form, why is it that most Tamil film makers, who are not less talented, are making films using a middle path to the so called safe formula of 'not too commercial not too serious and artistic? What is your opinion about this being a director who followed the same path?

A) The answer for such a long question is actually very simple. It’s like that and if I have to add anything, unfortunately, it’s like that. But honestly I am quite happy that I am considered as one among those who took this middle path instead of being an extremist.

Q) Many of your films deal with the social issues, especially, of women. These issue-based films, in the view of the producer, are a huge risk to make as they usually turn out to be failures at the box office. What is your opinion of these producers who put in money to make more money?

A) For those producers who are afraid to take risks they will always find filmmakers who are ready to make commercial formula films. When such films are enjoyable to the viewers it will never be a problem for anybody; everyone is safe, the producer, the director and the viewer except for one thing that is the art itself.

Q) How can one become a filmmaker like you?

A) Whatever I am today is because I worked with 100% conviction all through my life. So, if you are aspiring to be like me I suggest you to deal with art, especially filmmaking, with 100% sincerity, hard work and conviction.

Q) Some shots from your award winning film "Thaneer Thaneer" are similar to the shots from Akira Kurasawa's Ikiru and Godard's Breathless. Is it a possibility that while making Thaneer Thaneer these two film makers and the mentioned films, in particular, would have had an influence on your creative process? Or was it just a coincidence?

A) I have surely watched the films mentioned but I am not really sure if I watched these films prior to the making of "Thaneer Thaneer". I have always been a fond admirer of Akira Kurasawa and his films. If you are accusing (smiles) me of copying the shots from the films of Akira Kurasawa, the master of the art, I say, I am honored that my films carry a reflection of the art of one of the greatest filmmakers of the world.

Q) A scene in Thaneer Thaneer shows two illiterates carrying a newspaper to a man who can read. In this scene the actors’ placement is such that the literate person is seen sitting on an elevated position (on top of a hut) while the two illiterates stand below the hut. While shooting this scene, was that your intention to portray symbolically that a person who is literate will stand above the rest of his illiterate community? Or, like it happens many a times is it a figment of imagination aroused out of the mind of a serious viewer out of an admiration towards the director as an artist?

A) First of all, I feel elated that there are viewers who watch films with such sincerity and I feel so happy that after 26 years of making this film there are unnoticed details that are brought to my notice. As a director I really had no intention to portray that symbolism but today I feel that the symbolism is right and just. It might have been the idea of the cinematographer or some other member of the crew. I am happy that such fine detail of the film is pointed out now.

Q) Today, if one would like to watch Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali or Gurudutt's Pyaasa or for that matter any good Indian film form the past all we get is a poor quality CD or DVD with no subtitles, tarnished image and poor quality sound. That’s true with your films too. Don’t you think that it’s your responsibility as a filmmaker to restore and preserve the films from the past?

A) I totally agree with that point and the concern towards preserving the masterpieces from the past. But sadly the state of affairs of our film industry is very bad. Somebody has to do something about it.

Q) In concern with the previous question, don't you think that it’s your responsibility as a filmmaker to restore and preserve the films that you made as a director and producer? If so what are you doing towards it?

A) I am seriously concerned with the fact that the films from the past are to be restored and preserved for the future generations. But sadly I am just a part of the system. My film "Thaneer Thaneer", sadly' has no existing copy of the negative of the film. The producers who made this film are no more and it makes things even more difficult and impossible. But I am working towards it and I want to stress on the point that it’s high time that everyone in the film industry realized the importance of preserving the films.

Q) Why is it that most of your films deal with the issues of women?

A) May be because I love woman. I like woman and their issues.

Q) You have stated in many interviews that you consider Puttanna Kanagal (Kannada filmmaker), thought younger than you, as your guru in filmmaking. What is it that you learnt from him?
A) Age has got nothing to do with learning. You can learn from anybody and everybody. I liked and admired Puttana Kanagal, because, at the time when many of our filmmakers lacked the vision of filmmaking in terms of visuals he was the one who insisted on films being visual than oral. Apart from that his ability to churn out the human emotions from his actors was one of his kind.

Q) Your film, "Thaneer Thaneer" deals with the same issue, "State against her own people", like the recent film "Rang De Basanti". In both the films the general public or the so-called masses resort to violence in the end and the state fights against her own people. Even after 25 years of your film and almost 60 years of Indian independence do you think that there is no other alternative than taking up gun as a means of liberation?

A) If there were an alternative, people would have come up with that alternative. As there is no other suggestion, for me, history will repeat itself and people will always fight against state or, to be more specific, against the irresponsibility of the state and its measures.

Q) What was the influence of Russian films on you?

A) Quite honestly I haven't watched more than 2 or 3 Russian films.

Q) Long back you were seen in a role different than you are. You were seen in the role of an actor. Why is it that you haven't explored that facet of your life as an actor?
A) I have been an actor from the time I remember. As a director I act out and perform every role from my films. Yes I haven't shown myself on screen much, except from very few roles. I have acted in a minor but a significant role in my forth-coming Tamil film due to be released on April 14th. I hope you will enjoy watching me on screen as much as you enjoyed me behind the screen.

Q) After making waves with your TV serials people thought that you stopped making films. Now you are seen again concentrating on filmmaking. What made you shift back to filmmaking?

A) For me, both film and TV are visual mediums to portray and depict my thoughts and ideas. But my career as TV serial maker made me realize that my thought process is narrowing down. This realization made me to come back into films. I wish to make films with the same conviction.

Q) Of all the films you made what is your favorite film?

A) This is the most common question put to me. This was and is a very difficult question to answer. But I personally feel that "Punnagai", a Tamil film with Gemini Ganeshan and Nagesh in it, is one of the best films I ever made. In that film, I was really able to voice out my opinion and I was able to say something through that film. Sadly, that film did not farewell at the box office and I was not surprised because when I made Thaneer Thaneer I never expected it to be a commercial success. The film "Thaneer Thaneer" which dealt with acute water problems of a drought-ridden village of Tamilnadu was released on the Diwali day of 1981 and that day Tamilnadu witnessed one of a severe rainfall of those days. The distributors of that film were very much disturbed with the rain and of course the fate of the film. But as I believed that one-day's rain of cats and dogs was not the ultimate truth and the truth was far more than that unexpected rain. The people of Tamilnadu were able and ready to perceive and understand the same truth. That was the same reason, I believe, that made this so called art film a major commercial success.

Read more about K Balachander here . The Balachander Story