Monday, June 25, 2007

Effects of a Stupid Rule!

The pictures explain it all

Siva Sena ppl on roads with TRADITIONAL headgear in the protest march!

Effects of a stupid rule on a handsome young man

Don't know why am against(yeah am against this crime which makes me look like an idiot) this rule which is supposed to save lives. But then the guys who ruled from the courts in Kochi will have no idea how uncomfortable and clumsy these CHATTI helmets are, would they? These things were designed for one purpose and that was to save the head of the wearer from injuries and i feel they do justice to that role. In addition to protecting one's life they also help guys(and their girlfriends) who want to hide their identity from the glaring eyes of the public.

But then the major headache comes when we go to buy one of these. One friend was telling that the queue in front of the helmet shops reminded him of the queue he saw in front of New theatre for the tickets of Sivaji, if not more. The major problem facing the riders is that the helmet prices have increased overnight and the govt is taking no action against traders exploiting the situation by levying excess price from consumers. Helmets that used to be priced around 450-500 before the ruling suddenly jumped to the 700-800 price range. This time the shop owners aren't that lucky because the last time this rule was implemented(in 2003) the condition was that ANYONE who's in a two wheeler has to have a helmet, even the pillion rider. Thankfully the court somehow spared the pillion riders this time.

Lets look why the Honourable High Court of Kerala came up with such a ruling in short notice. Well first of all wearing helmets is COMPULSORY under the rule 347 of the Kerala Motor Vehicle Act. So till now the govt. hadn't implemented it because it caused a lot of trouble for the motorists to wear it and take it around. Even now while implementing the ruling from the court, the Hon Home Minsiter Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has given strict orders to police not to harass two-wheelers in the name of helmet. The main issue here being that the policemen are liable to fine a motorist without a helmet Rs 100. But trust me the minister's ruling has been obeyed strictly, i'll say even stricter than the court's directive. Nowhere in the city will one be seeing a policeman checking if the riders are wearing helmets or not. Seems even the police dept doesn't want that 100 bucks from the riders. But this same court had in 2003 said that effect of the Rules and the Act was that the driver and pillion rider were "under the obligation to wear a protective headgear''. So i don't know how long this is going to stand.

Rules stipulate that the helmet should be of ISI standard. But the people who buy never care and we can see numerous non existent brands coming up with all kinds of shapes and sizes. Its like the "Make hay while sun shines" syndrome. Traders are fleeing the customers till the rule is there and i can't see an end to that exploitation.

Would like to hear what you all will say. I just wish this is repealed as soon as possible.

PS: People will start a community for anything these days. Proof for it is the I Hate Helmet community in orkut.

A later addition i got today:

Thought ppl should see this!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sivaji-The Boss, whose boss i ask!

Today i had the privilege to watch a Rajni film on its first day. To be honest am NOT a big Rajni fan. No not even a small one. I just find his antics funny and YES there are some of his films that i adore for their story and for the style. We can't go for a Rajni film expecting it to have a logical story or a stunt that is close to what can happen actually, NO. My 1st Rajni film was Muthu if i remember and that was a film that i didn't like that much. Mainly coz of a basketball stunt. For guys who have seen the film, you'll know what am talking about. Till date the best Rajni film i have seen is Baasha. That had the amazing dialog "Naan oru dhadavai sonna nooru dhadavai sonna madhiri" (நான் ஒரு தடவை சொன்னால் நூறு தடவை சொன்ன மாதிரி) - for non tamilians it translates to "If i say it once, Its equal to saying it a hundred times"(don't curse me if i got it wrong). That was a dialogue that created waves and still is the 1st thing that comes to mind when Rajni comes to mind.

Coming to Sivaji:The Boss. I didn't plan to go for the film till today noon. Mainly coz i had a series of examinations and didn't have the time to stand in the serpentine queues for the tickets and all the fuss associated with it. Also as i said before am not a BIG fan who'd go for the 1st day's show. But luck struck me when Rakesh called up today around noon and asked if i will be willing to come for the film's 6 PM show. I said no probs boss as long as you can get the tickets. So i got ready to go and was supposed to be there at 530. I had to face a slight drizzle on my way and by the time i reached there i was fully wet. Then we waited for Rakesh's contact to show up with the tickets. Then i got the news that there were 3 tickets for the 3 of us(Me, Varun and Rakesh) but 2 were in the balcony and 1 was in the reserved category in the ground floor. I hadn't planned to sit in the ground floor, but then Varun's puppy face look and the dialog "you selfish guys planned to dump me" made me grab the ticket and get in the ground floor seat. The theatre was New, supposed to be the BEST in the town(I'll come to that later) tried to get a seat as back as possible and succeeded in getting a 3rd row seat(from the back) in the middle row. The seat was bw two chain smokers and i had a pretty bad time. Even before the film began the guy on right had done wth 2 and the one on left 1.

Warning Plot spoiler follows:(don't cry later on, or come to beat me up)

The film began by 645. The intro was simply too good, the audience jumping around throwing bits of papers. I was like "Thalle Thiruvanthorathu itreum paandikalo" :O. After the intro they showed Rajni who's a US returned "Senior Software Architect" supposed to be in his early40's(yeah you read it right, 40's for a guy who's 67). 1st thing i couldn't digest was that fact. He looks around 40yish(at the minimum) with all the makeup and the paunch make him look very old than 40's(even for a software GEEK that he is). He's back in India coz he's TIRED making software for the computer giants of the world and wants to invest the money for the improvement of our Indian society by building colleges and hospitals for the poor where education and treatment is free of cost. BTW he's earned about 250-300 CRORE from his great software skills. He shows this off by giving a 500 rupee note to a begger in the opening minutes of the film. Wish we had more NRI's with so much money and such noble thoughts. He finds it a tough deal to start colleges and hospitals and the story is good in this part coz it shows that corruption is rampant in the nation and even if someone wants to start something new for the welfare of the society he has to pay bribes to get his way through.

Then comes the search for a girl to marry for this ELIGIBLE BACHELOR. He needs a girl who's having TAMIL in her looks, thoughts and ways. He finds that in Shriya, our heroine, who's unfortunately not impressed by the hero's wealth and style(rather too much of it). So the story takes a break and Rajni is busy pursuing Shriya in the movie till the interval. I didn't like many of the songs in the 1st half mainly cause they were just there for the sake of having a song. I really felt bad at the Music too. The film just goes on and on without much progress in the hero's plans to build the university in his name, except the moves to get the building sanctioned and paying bribes to people starting from the panchayath officer to the chief secretary. He starts off well and by the interval the villain makes sure that he gives up all his hopes and our Rajni is on the road without any money, except a 1 rupee coin given by the villain as a sign of being the bad guy. Maybe i felt like this because i was waiting to pee for a long time and just wanted the interval to come ASAP. But then that's what I FELT.

Now the facilities @ New theatre's ground floor have been really bad from time immemorial or maybe i felt so coz this was the 1st time i was sitting in the ground floor there. But the queue for the toilet was very long and i was having a BIG problem. I wish the management took note of this and did something to improve the facilities. I felt pretty bad more coz the ticket rates were 10 more than the usual 30 for a reserved seat(40 for reserved and 50 for balcony). Still there was no change in the pathetic conditions.

Now during the interval there was a FIGHT(real one) near the doorway and fortunately i was just watching it from the confines of my seat and from what i saw, i'll never trade seats with the guy who was made a poster on the wall by a huge, burly, dark guy. He looked like one of the gunda's from the film. But as soon as the film restarted, the fans had a truce and all settled to watch the movie.

In the 2nd half we see how Rajni uses the same coin that he got from the villain to screw up the villain's life and then how he earns more and more money and builds up his dream infrastructure. We see his empire expanding to many places and how he uses his muscle power and mind power(i don't know if i can call it so) to get things done his way. Here Rajni uses his laptop and formulates plans to eek out the black money from all the big industrialists and politicians and convert it to good money and invest in his Sivaji Foundation. The laptop has a kool voice recognition software(designed ofcourse by the gr8 NRI himself) which is of importance in the later stages of the film. The songs in the 2nd half are much better than those in the 1st half. I liked "Sahana Saaral" and "Athiradee" quite a lot. Really felt some good effort was given by Rahman in composing these songs. The picturisation was also awesome, especially "Sahana Saaral". The props and set used in this movie are mind blowing and its very evident in this song where we see a set of glass pyramids and cubes, the size of the one in front of the Louvre museum in Paris and the Apple Retail store @ New York.

Glass pyramid @ the Louvre, Paris

Apple store on 5th Avenue, New York

In the end the movie has a surprise and that is something that i could guess about 30 mins before it happened. There was a slight hint about the surprise in the middle and a character was introduced in the movie just for this. The end is usual all out fight ending with Rajni killing the villain and returning the coin in true Rajni style.

The movie has its share of Rajni one-liners, stunts and Rajni tricks(what els to call them?). We see the usual sun glass trick, the coin trick and a new addition is the shifting the gun from right hand to left(which am sure all have seen in the trailer). We also have the amazing set of stunts that defy gravity and often logic; like Rajni getting away with a scorpio with Shriya beside him by doing a wheelie(that too front wheels, ON A 4 WHEELER), Bullet slowing down as it approaches Rajni(think its coz of the repelling magnetic effect that he has on the bullet). Also they had a kool full form for BOSS-Bachelor Of Social Service.

But this maybe the 1st film where in addition to Rajni we see the heroine, SHRIYA doing one that outshines all the tricks and stunts that Rajni does. Its like this, during the 1st half when Rajni's after her; he says that he'll jump in front of a train and die if she doesn't agree for marriage. He stands on the tracks and the train is approaching. Our heroine is watching all this from above the bridge and then she walks off. Now Rajni was putting up a bluff, but now he was really stuck there as his foot got bw the tracks. Rajni is katta desp and the audience prays something happens like a lightning strike or a earthquake that derails the train. But what do we get, we see Shriya jumping onto the track and waving her shawl that was RED (what a coincidence) and the train driver gives in and stops. The guy next to me had a better theory saying "Who wouldn't stop if those were on display". Hats off to Shirya as she's done her part to be a co-star with Rajni.

Vivek rocks in the film as Rajni's UNCLE(yeah you read it right). He has the precise timing and the dialogues that he says are truly for the fans rather than adding meaning to the story. 10/10 for him.

Also forgot to mention, the 1st song is an ITEM NUMBER by Nayanthara. She's changed a hell lot. Now she's much slimmer than she was in Vallavan or the other films.

The Art Direction is truly amazing and hats off to Thota Tharrani for the amazing sets and props, will give 10/10 for that. But that's like standard fitting in a Sankar film. His films always have a message for the public, may it be Gentleman, Indian,Boys or even Anniyan. All have some message that's to be absorbed and i really enjoy watching his films. I will give 6.5/10 for the music by Rahman. The songs don't have the refreshing feel that Rahman's music used to have. Even now when one hears the sweet melodies in Roja or the fast paced numbers in Boys its a great feeling, that is something that lacks in Sivaji's music. The cinematography is pretty good and we get to see some amazing camera work in the stunts and the songs. 10/10 to K.V. Anand for that amazing work. Editing was spot on and i didn't see any glitches even with the elaborate action and song sequences. 10/10 to Anthony for that. I didn't find anything worth mention in the choreography, but was shocked to see that it was done by Prabhudeva and a few others. Maybe coz Rajni really shows his age, they skipped the fast steps.

The film will earn millions by the time the next one comes and that was pretty evident when more than 300-350 people turned up in the queue for the SECOND SHOW. The film ended at 10pm and we were terribly hungry by then. We went and had a ghee roast each and a coffee to do away with the sleep. But i couldn't think about sleeping replaying the stunts again and again in my mind till i reached home.

This is what all that remained of the ghee roast and the ticket.

Overall 7/10 if you look at it from a film's point of view, but 15/10 if you are a Rajni fan.