Soft Spot for Old Songs


(One of many great songs from movies starring the legendary MGR. One that stands out is this lyric – “Milk is white, so is the toddy but the truth is only know once I had drink it. Women is the same and I am feeling drunken from her”)

(Kannadasan is brilliant as usual – only a poet like him can think of these words – “the cupid got cheated, thinking all girls are like flowers” which nails the situation in the movie)

No matter where you are right now, no matter how old you are, I am sure you always have your favorite songs that you don’t mind humming the whole day long.

Same goes for me. Despite “starting off” with the music of Illayaraja and later discovering the new age music of A R Rahman and then Yuvan Shankar Raja, Harris and all the new music directors, I always had soft spot for the music from the 1960s and 1970s in particular songs composed by MS Viswanathan – Ramamoorthy and penned by the great poet Kannadasan (I also liked songs composed by KV Mahadevan and AM Raja).

I like old songs for 3 reasons:-

1. It brings back memories from my childhood time. Songs from MGR and Sivaji movies composed by MS Viswanathan were still played as the mainstream songs when I am still an infant. The same songs played during weddings and family functions and it is something that triggers good memories whenever I hear the same songs.

2. The songs itself. Back those days and before the digital age, it is not easy to compose and record the songs and the songs must meet the high expectations of a very demanding directors, producers and audience.

No high tech gadgets to tune the music and composition and the only way to go would be to do things old school – proper orchestrate (instead of music software) and the singers getting the words and tunes just right. MS Viswanathan once told he once worked with a famous director who will drop by the recording studio just to make sure that the singers get the pronunciation of words just right.

3. The lyrics. In those days, every words has a beautiful meaning and it is something to look out for. Who can forget lyrics like “don’t sharpen your knife but sharpen your mind” or “From the neck of Lord Shiva, the snake asked the garuda if it is feeling good and the garuda who will fight & kill snakes replied that if everyone stays at their right place, all will end in an good ending”?

Very deep meaning indeed. Don’t get me wrong, it is not like the new songs has very bad lyrics – quite a number of the songs do have the same beautiful lyrics that one had heard back in the 1960s but sometimes some of it simply get lost within the music.

They say old is gold and the same goes to old songs. It is also ageless too. I just wish someone will compile again all the old songs and re-record them so that tunes that is lost by old technology and analog dust in the past is preserved in pristine condition and made available for the next generation of music lovers.

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Kamal’s Ponmaanai Theduthey


Kamal-Haasan-Movies-711113

(The many faces of the great man in multiple roles all these years and he still making headlines even now. Image source: http://www.bollywoodlife.com)

In terms of acting, after the great Sivaji Ganesan, we were lucky to have Kamal Haasan taking up the lead when it comes to powerful acting. And over the years, he has not let us down with powerful storyline and acting (still remember this?).

Kamal Haasan is also a good singer when he wants to be and he takes the lead (again) with being the first actor (an “A” star actor that is) to sing for another actor (Mogan – another well name from the 1980s). This was back in the 1980s – after his hit “Sakalakalaa Vallavan” and for this, maestro Illayaraja gave Kamal one of the best compositions as well (rest assured it is in my collection). The fast & easy going tune has been in my mind for the past 2 weeks and it does not seem to be getting any boring even if I am humming the tune whilst I am doing up this post.

Enjoy…

Original Tune (I could not find the original movie song scene)

And there is a remix version too (it sounds good too)

P.s. there is no clear sign of the next generation of actors who can produce, write, act and sing (an all rounder) as well as Kamal Haasan but let me tell you this upfront, Vijay is not one of those in the lead. He is a good actor but not in the same class as Kamal Haasan.

Seeing Double


(Perhaps this is just the distraction that one needs from the National Feedlot screw-up by yet to be retired BN politicians)

Still remember when you were young and you used (and still) watch those old Tamil movies where the star actor acts in more than one role (usually playing the role of the father & son or the good & evil brothers)?

(Seeing Sivaji Ganesan in action is one thing but seeing the two of them could be a double whammy. Both interacted well on screen but still there are some limitations as to how both characters blended in on screen. Image source: Business Line)

When both roles is shown on the same scene, one character would be on one side of the frame whilst the other character on the other. The only time when these two characters overlapped each other is when one of the characters is played by someone else (it will be shown without showing the face). It was good and highlighted the difficulties that the actors, director and editor have to go through to ensure that that particular scene comes out just perfect.

Even so, seeing the same person on two different roles at the same time in a movie was a big thing back then and we knew that it was not easy to do. Just imagine the number of takes just to get the actor acting as if there was another of “him” standing next to him and the film editors cutting and stitching the film rolls at the right places.

But those were the years when technology has yet to catch up with the art of story telling.

It is a whole different ball game now and we have seen it in great deal in special effect laden Hollywood movies and they seems to be getting better at it year in, year out. Tamil movies have seen some improvement when it comes to CGIs as well. We saw a great deal in Dasavatharam (where Kamal Hassan played 10 different roles and interacting with each of them at some point of the movie), Enthiran (ya, the stupid climax) and recently Shah Rukh Khan‘s Ra.One (the storyline sucked big time but the CGI is top notch).

Now with computer animations, blue screens (green screens as the above) and well choreographed acting, the result is simply amazing. You can have more than one characters on the screen played by the same actor and they blend and interact with each other as if they are played by different actors.

Take for example this song scene from the movie Thillalangadi (2010) where the hero and the heroin is shown in different roles and interacting with each other in a very fluid manner (it makes it even better with Yuvan Shankar Raja‘s lovable music, very meaningful lyrics and well coordinated choreography).

Now that that is mind-blowing! Add that with a clean, logical story-telling, superb background music and fine acting and you will have a real winner.

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Nice But Short-Sighted?


It’s good to be back…but I catch cold once arrived, sigh

(My usual lunch when I was away – the portion was big and it was good but seriously the noodles back in Malaysia is still the best – plenty of “ajinamoto” and much cheaper too. Photos & videos captured on Nokia N8)

And immediately after my return to home, I have been busy with…eating. I lost about 4kg and somehow it seems like events that have been lined up after my return home may make it impossible to keep up with that 4kg lost.

My brother-in-law and his wife celebrated their newborn and the celebration food was heavy – with huge prawns and spicy mutton. Then the next day after a heavy lunch at Pizza Hut, I had to attend my nephew’s birthday in the evening– another round of chicken and mutton on the house. The next day after attending a close relative’s open house lunch which had huge spread, we went to a wedding in the evening. An Indian wedding that is and chicken and mutton would be one of the must have dishes.

Talking about the wedding, from the very start, we were a bit lazy to attend the wedding – and it had nothing to do with the bride or the brides groom. We were not that close but we knew the parents and grandparents rather closely. We were a bit lazy because of the weather – it was raining cats and dogs (you know how bad the rain has been in the last few days) and it was so niceeeee to sleep. But we knew we could not give the wedding a miss – we already done that for the engagement. So, we dragged ourselves to the wedding – it was still raining when we left the house but stopped by the time we reached the wedding hall.

Perhaps due to the rain (or the RM1 parking fees, I don’t know) the cars at the parking lot seemed sparse and I managed to get a good parking spot. I dropped my family off at the entrance before I went off to park the car. The air was cold and surprisingly fresh. I walked into the hall but what caught my eyes was not the crowd but the arch at the entrance litted full of burning lamps.

On the onset, it looks nice – it was not overwhelming as well but who ever had thought of having an arch full of litted lamps at the entrance probably did not think of this dreadful scenario – a large crowd barging in and someone’s clothes (sarees especially) falling on the litted lamp without them realizing it and catching fire. It is almost like walking through an arch of fire. And if you see in the video above, one lady almost get her saree on the fire and thankfully pulled in time.

At the very least, they should have stationed someone to keep an eye on the litted lamps as people walking in and out of the arch. Artistic values is one thing but whenever there is a big crowd, safety should always comes first. But thankfully nothing serious happened and the wedding continued without any other incidents.

Overall, it was a good day – with additional load of the delicious food from the dinner, of course.

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Case for Namewee


Is he loud? YES

Does he use foul, strong language? YES

Does he get all too excited on something that looks trivial? YES

Does it look like he is arrogant and rude? YES (as one would say “kurang ajar”)

Does he using the wrong side of the National language? YES (he pronounces “orang” as “olang”)

BUT at the end of the day, does he have a valid point too? YES

Put yourself in his shoes. You assemble a wide range of skillful actors from different background, culture and religion and spent the time and money to produce a movie which gets good reviews. Then comes along a columnist (from a mainstream newspaper) who then tells the readers not to watch the movie – it is not because the movie was bad but rather because of the director’s past characters. Don’t you feel pissed off too?

As Namewee had said in his video, it is only fair if the newspaper had commented on his movie after they have watched it. But that did not happen – the comments were made without watching the movie and not on the movie. That is not right and is very unprofessional.

Take a look at Roman Polanski – the famed film director & producer. He is wanted in the US on the charge of unlawful sex with a minor and before he could be sentenced, he escaped to France and remains the same till this day. And yet, his World War 2 movie “The Pianist” went on to win 3 Academy Awards (including Best Director) in US. If one had been harping on Roman Polanski’s characters and had been telling others, not to watch the movie due to what he has done in the past, they would have been asked to go back and screw themselves.

It is the same case for Namewee. The man may have its faults but it is not right to judge his movie, his talented actors and his hard working film crew based on solely what he has done in the past. And whilst we are reading the various responses to his video, we get this desperate argument (I guess since the elections is around the corner and they are running out of ideas) from pro-UMNO blogger in defence of the newspaper:-

His constant haranguing over what he does not like in the Malays (in this case disguised as criticism of Utusan Malaysia), using the foulest of Chinese expletives, will not get any reaction at all except anger and retaliation.

Yes I agree that Namewee focussed his video on Utusan Malaysia but Utusan is not just any newspaper. For many Malays, especially the three million UMNO members, the Utusan is an icon which represents more than just a newspaper. The Utusan is also identified with the modern Malay struggle.

(Source)

What this pro-UMNO blogger is implying? An attack on a newspaper owned by a Malay based political party is an attack on the Malays itself? In the past, too many idiots have wrongly identified real, critical issues with the infringement of Malay rights, attack on Islam or the institution of the King and in the end; those pertinent issues get swept under the carpet without any proper resolution.

Remember the incident of escalating construction cost of the new palace? Remember the protest when the State Government decided to appoint a non-bumiputera to helm PKNS despite the merits? Remember when the issue of families caught in religion conversion was brought up? It is the same thing now.

And mind you, Utusan is not an angel too. They have been in trouble before with their racial laced and politically charged statements. But we are not harping on their “past” acts here. What is important is how one would response to Utusan and Namewee in particular?

Yes, Namewee attacks Utusan but it is not because he is being anti-Malay as being implied by some people. He attacks because as an artist, he deemed what Utusan has done as something unfair. It is only fair to judge his work and if there are shortcomings, raise it up in the right way (whack him hard on it if you need to).

But if you decided not to see his work because you have issues with him on a personal note, then you should just keep quiet and abstain from watching his work. The last thing you want to do is to go around the world, telling people not to watch the movie due to the director’s personal characters and things that he has done in the past.

That is the underlying message in Namewee’s video. And that is why; I think despite the “kurang ajar” manner Namewee lashes out on Utusan, he has a valid point.

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Tron: Legacy


This is one movie that looks very tempting to watch over the weekends…

(The blueprint on paper – good enough for a large wallpaper for the living room – all images source: Fast Company. Copyright Disney)

(This must be one of the slickest bikes ever – especially with cool blue lights and shiny, all around surface – all images source: Fast Company. Copyright Disney)

From Fast Company:-

When Tron Legacy comes out in theaters, it’ll be one of the most expensive movies ever made. But it isn’t being directed by James Cameron or Michael Bay or Peter Jackson. It’ll actually be a first-time feature for Joseph Kosinski–who didn’t train as a film-maker. Instead, he went to grad-school for architecture at Columbia; after that, he founded a Web-design firm, of all things.

But what make the new movie more interesting would be the revised CGI (after Avatar, we have entered a whole new dimension in CG & FX) and the new design of the iconic Light Cycle.

I saw the original Tron movie a couple of times and the central point of the movie would be duel in the Light Cycle arena.

In fact the whole Tron movie was ahead of it’s time – it was made in the late 1970s and one of the few that toyed with virtual world way before internet was something that most of us cannot live without. It is also one that talked about hackers and how computer defenses acts to stop the intrusion to the system.

Tron: Legacy opens tomorrow….

On mission


Update: Thanks to FW, I might have cracked the mystery – the bright green bird is a Nicobar Pigeon – click here for details.

I have been tasked with a crucial assignment by my son.

I downloaded this wall paper from here

bird

It is a picture of a bird on a branch facing the back (the narration on the website states “Unknown bird sitting on a branch at the Bronx Zoo in the Bronx, New York”).

The color of the bird feather is intriguing enough to be captured as wallpaper. My son having a look at the wallpaper on my laptop asked me whether I can “turn” the bird around for him to have a look at the front. I explained to him that it was not possible as it is just wallpaper.

Not letting down on his questioning, he then asked me the name of the bird. Not knowing what is the name of the bird, I simply answered “Green Bird” but he was quick to answer that there is no such thing as “Green Bird”.

I then told him that is an Amazonian Bird (thinking he does not know about Amazon). He asked me what the name of the Amazonian Bird. I looked at the wallpaper again, studied the feathers and replied that it is a small peacock from the Amazon.

He then looked at the wallpaper and said that it does not look like the peacock that he knows – the tall colourful feathers were missing.

I then gave up and told him that I check the internet and get the answer. Only then, he “released” me from his questioning. Now I have a mission to be completed.