Sunday 24 October 2010

Movie Review : Endhiran

So, I finally got to see Endhiran. In a half empty Bangalore multiplex on a Sunday morning, I realised that the Rajni magic is fading. When we look back at Rajni's career, there will be two phases - the growth to a pinnacle at Padayappa and the indifference and decline after.

Wait a minute, you say. What about the hits after - Chandramukhi, Sivaji even though they were balanced by Baba and Kuselan? All I say is two words - marketing hype. Sure the numbers are mind boggling, but then, the revenue streams are much more diverse and international now. Playing up the numbers is part of the machine. Rajni is too big now to fail. There is too much riding on him - and not just from a commercial perspective. He is our last Superstar, with a capital S. Can we let go? With him will end an era in Indian filmdom; one that has almost no real parallel in any other part of the world - a true star system, independent of the spin doctors.

Anyway, coming back to the much talked about Endhiran. Let me keep it simple - indifferent music, indifferent special effects (except for about fifteen minutes at the end, and most of it you've seen in the trailer) and most importantly, nothing Rajni about it, to coin a phrase. Since more people know the plot of Endhiran in India than can sing the national anthem correctly, let me not even talk about that. This should have been a Kamalahaasan movie. It would have done his ego good to duplicate himself about a hundred times, bereft of prosthetics and a need to act different parts.

For Rajni, it's a movie that is not about him. This is a director's movie and the show overwhelms the star. Me, I pay to see Rajni - the mannerisms, the dialogue, the emotion (please note that this movie is one where Rajni has no mother or family, which means no good son, brother thread to keep the hankies wet), the self deprecating humour and in-references (Endhiran has a bit of that). All I get here is a pastiche of I Robot, The Terminator, a Janet Jackson video, the Mask and Transformers. Rajni is incidental to the whole thing and for me, that's a no-no.

To be fair, the movie has a certain amount of philosophical sophistication in the script - debates on the nature of the creator-created relationship, Asimov's laws of robotics, the fusion of man and machine (Robo Sapiens!) and the nature of love. 

In the end, this is a movie about a robot Rajni on hormonal overdrive taking on the world to mate with a robotic-looking Aiswarya Rai. Given her acting range, that's only expected.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Kid Stuff : The Town of Zombies

Another story written by my son when he was eight.

Contents

1. The Summer Vacation Starts
2. The Journey Begins
3. The Planets Align
4. The Town is Found Deserted
5. The Curse is Broken 
  
Other titles in this series

Harry and the Magic Axe
The Worm who Ate the Earth

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Chapter 1: The Summer Vacation Starts

 Sam had just begun his summer vacation. He was very happy because he was going to his grandfather’s hometown. It was called Sparksville. He was picked up by his grandfather. His mother and father came too. But they stayed back at grandfather’s house while Sam and grandpa set off for Sparksville.

Chapter 2: The Journey Begins
  
Sam just finished packing his things and then his grandfather arrived. He said bye as they dropped his parents in his father’s house. They sang songs and played lots of fun games. Then after a three hour journey they reached.
  
Chapter 3: The Planets Align

When they reached the town was crowded with people they stayed at Sam’s grandfather’s house. Then they went to the arcade, theatre and then to buy some food and they saw that the town was deserted. The people had all gone home and it was only 7:00pm. Then the planets aligned. The alignment was there for a week and Sam was staying there for a week.

Chapter 4: The Town is Found Deserted
  
The town was found deserted and they got worried. They headed back to the house, ate a meal and played a game of noughts and crosses. When they went to bed, Sam went to get a glass of water. Then when they were asleep they heard strange noises and looked out the window. They went outside and saw the zombies rise from their graves in the cemetery.  They were chased by the zombies to the town’s clock tower.
  
Chapter 5: The Curse is Broken
  
When they reached the top of the clock tower Sam found a talisman with the planets aligned and zombies rising at night. They wondered what it was for and they looked down at the zombies. They were waiting for them to come down. Then Sam found out what it was for. It was the source of the zombies awakening. Sam threw the talisman hard on the ground and the curse was broken forever and the zombies returned to there resting places in the cemetery. After a week, when they were picked up, Sam told his parents about the whole adventure.