Monday, February 23, 2015

Confessions of an Ajith-fan

9.30 PM, Devi Theatre, Circa 1996. After a horrific ride on our TVS Champ that grudgingly helped to transport two adults, one teenager, and a chubby child to the theatre, I settled to watch Kadhal Kottai. Thanks to Father, who watched over three films a week those days, I often found myself in city's theatres (even on schooldays). There were no butter popcorn and doughnuts then, mind. But vegetable pups were not that bad.

Beside the snoring Mother, and the enthusiastic Sister, I watched this film. About a couple, who kept writing letters, and fell in love with each other. There weren't many details I could remember about the film (save the camels). No, for some reason I remembered the horny Heera too. Weird. That was the first Ajith film I watched in theatre.

In the next few years, several 'Kadhal...' films were watched, and there was no Ajith in it. However, there was this stud of a channel called Sun Movies. It telecast some 'gems' like Amaravathi, Aasai, Vaanmathi, Pavithra, Minor Mappillai... All the terrible (well, almost!) movies of Ajith that only a kind, jobless soul like me would remember. And, for reasons that escaped my memory, I became a fan of Ajith. You must judge me here!

Let's face it. He was fair and handsome. (I had no clue about his acting prowess though.) But I was a wee bit judgmental then, I suppose. No, maybe more. He was way different than the usual ones in the industry. At least, in my mind. He wore funny jeans, and loose shirts. It still didn't bother me much. He overacted. Let's say 40% of what Sivaji Ganesan would do. Still, it didn't bother me much. Father would narrate stories of him being a naughty womaniser, and hardworking and all that. (Of course, I overheard Father.) Passed no rude judgement yet.

Then, Ajith acted in many strange, cringe-worthy films. Like in Uyirodu Uyiraga, he had some brain disease, and did his wife's delivery all by himself. (Really? Unsure if I am even framing that sentence correctly.) His Saroja-Devi kind of acting in Vaali was unforgettable. Unforgettable in a bad way. I also suffered a lot to uproot my memory of that song - Indru Mudhal Iravu. Eek! Hey, but I was an Ajith loyalist still.

Then came the time, when he slowly started to become Thala. And that was it. He had almost lost a die-hard fan. (Blame it on my age too. I was growing up, I guess. And I developed an aversion to run-of-the-mill ones. Maybe. Just maybe.)

Imagine watching the excruciating films like Jana, Aalwar, Attagasam, Anjaneya, Kireedam, Aegan... Did I mention Citizen, Varalaaru, and Villain? I dutifully refrained from watching all the duds to preserve my memory of the man, and the times when the actor and his films seemed good to me. However, I was not the one to watch Cartoon Network or Discovery Channel or the other English ones. So, I ended up watching the very duds that I tried avoiding, and gathered myself to start loathing the man, and his films. It was official!

Mankatha and Arrambam were not as bad as the other ones. But they were still bad. (How many friends am I going to lose for saying this?) Oh, and that little shit Veeram... What the fuck was that!

And... Several years after I had given up on the man, Yennai Arindhaal happened, restoring all the faith I seemed to have had once. He was super handsome. (Ahem! Ahem!) And, after ages, the man had had the chutzpah to act in a film that showed its middle finger to 'Thala' fans. It seemed to have helped the actor rediscover himself, for fans like... erm... me, who liked him as an artiste, and who reckoned that his right side (that little potential) was not tapped. (Did I just say that?) The film was okayish. (And I wanted to shoot the inner goddess of Anushka. Annoying, horny bitch!) But, what a revelation it was to see Ajith as the director's actor. And, what a relief it was to not watch him shake a leg with the ladies (Fab India customers, I suppose), and mouth punchlines... and be glorified by his side-kicks! Where was this actor all this while?

And, if he would go back to do those terrible ones again... Oh, we always have other ways to watch shitty films.

Image courtesy: www.silverscreen.in

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Strange Party

As we alighted from our car at Hotel Deccan Plaza's portico, Mother said, "Oh, what's wrong with this hotel today? There are barely any people here." The lobby was dimly-lit, and the receptionists were strangely too happy to receive us.

The over-friendly staff at the hotel, ushered us to our table. We were about to celebrate Father's retirement by participating in Maami's Food Festival. Again, there were no guests in the hall. It was eerie to dine at a place that looked rundown. Father, who was a bit curious, asked the waiter, "Are you expecting more guests?" He adjusted his tie, wore a sinister smile, flaunting his blinding white teeth. "No, sir. It's just your family."

Mother seemed worried. "Can we go to another place?" I suggested. Father, who didn't want to disappoint me by changing the plan, reassuringly said, "It's fine. This looks strange today. But don't worry. Nobody would harm us or anything."

I was restlessly drumming on the table, when the waiter appeared with four bowls of cold soup, and two plates of pasta. I was filled with indignation. While Mother and Father looked quizzical, I questioned the waiter. "We have come for Maami's Food Festival. Why have you given us soup and pasta?" I yelled, fisting on the table. The cold soup spilled. Our glasses jumped off from the table. But, the waiter was unyielding. "I think, you must talk to our manager," he said nonchalantly.

I stood up, threw the napkin on my seat, and scarpered to the managers' bay. To my surprise, he was not liveried. His eyes were blue, and matched his denim shirt. He was dark and tall. The air in his room was thick. I wanted to run away from him.

Breaking from my reverie, I chided. "I demand an explanation. Why were we offered soup and pasta at Maami's Food Festival?" His smile was reminiscent of the waiter's. Bright and sinister. "Ma'am, I apologise. Would you like to buy a couple of apartments from us? I can explain the deal to you..."

My head whirred. I couldn't bear a whisker more of that bullshit. I walked out with vehemence, just to find a group of photographers capturing my angry countenance. Click. Click. Click. "What the fuck is happening here? Bastards! Stop!" I screamed, clapping my hands to my eyes.

When I brought my hands down, Telugu actor Venkatesh walked toward me, pushing the bunch of unruly photographers. He was wielding a microphone. "Happy birthday, Deepika! It's a surprise.What do you think of this unusual party?" Moping the bead of sweat on my forehead, I panted, "Where are my parents? What am I on? This is strange. This party is strange. I want to see my parents."

Venkatesh laughed out heartily. He laughed, laughed, and laughed. As the photographers, the actor, and the waiters faded, I heard my phone ring. Dangamaari Udhaari was the ringtone. Anu Boo placed a warm lick on my face, and I woke up to answer the call. "Ma'am, This is Ramachandran, calling from Deccan Plaza. Your booking is confirmed. May I expect you at 7.30 tonight?"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

DogsbodyDogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I was reading the book, I thought I would write a blog about it. The writing was beautiful. The story was extraordinary. And, it's only natural for an animal lover to rave about a well-written book on a dog. So, I wanted to write a detailed blog.

After a long day, I finished reading the book, and promptly went back to read the introduction written by Neil Gaiman (as advised by him). When I read his last sentence - "I hope it (the book) made you happy and sad" - it dawned on me that it was not an introduction, but an ode to this heartwarming story, and to Diana Wynne Jones.

Having said that, now I realise no other article about this book can convey anything deeper than Gaiman's. *wipes tears*


View all my reviews

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Light of My Life

Most men love to impress and pamper their women on Valentine's Day. I am a bit old school, you see. Men like me are fond of love-notes. So, I am going to write about her. 

That girl, the light of my life... my soul. (Sorry Nabokov!)
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It was dark and stormy, as Snoopy would say. I lit my last cigarette for the day. Hosanna was on my lips, along with the cigarette. When I was about to drop the cigarette butt, I heard a girl wail. She was standing at the threshold of my neighbour's house, drenched and tired. Maybe, even famished. 

Her eyes looked extraordinary, despite her deplorable state. They were like black grapes. Particularly like the fresh ones that're just sprinkled with water. My heart plummeted. I knew I had fallen in love. 

I stamped the stub with unnecessary vehemence, and stifled a yawn. I could hear her cry again. I turned around to find her looking for a dry spot, where she could rest for a while. I hadn't seen her before. She was alone and scared. I could have offered her help. But, sometimes, for reasons that you can't comprehend, you hesitate to act, and wait for someone to lead. It was that kind of a strange, yet warm moment. She wasn't aware of my presence. Man, she was really sad... and ravishing. 

I couldn't see tears rolling down her cheeks, but she continued to whimper. It was too late, and it was still dark and stormy. So, I left her to her fate, and locked the door. I know! Bastard!

Two days went without her beautiful countenance crossing my mind. Now, you must hate me more. I found a damsel in distress (hello PG Wodehouse!), she seemed sad, hungry, and pathetic, and a man with a wee bit of humanity left in him would have helped. But I behaved like an ass, and proved that I'm worse than that by not thinking of the girl... and her beautiful eyes.

Three days after our first encounter, I sauntered down the market road. What did I want to buy? I didn't know. I was gloomy for reasons that had escaped my mind, and I needed to walk. As I walked past a fruit shop, my glance fell on a pair of eyes. They were like black grapes and they seemed familiar. 

Perched on a bench, she was longingly looking at a hawker downing a glass of tea. I tiptoed to the stall, and knelt down, as I extended my hands to carry her. Carry her? Yes, it dawned on me that she always belonged to me, and that I had gone to bring her home. 

Startled by my intrusion, she jumped into an empty carton and shut her eyes tight. A bright smile spreading over my lips, I let her be ensconced in the box, and brought her home before an afterthought could challenge my decision.

It's been more than one year since I found my furry-friend. Her mere presence lights up my life.
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Happy Valentine's Day, folks!

This piece is dedicated to the man and the fur-babies, whom I adore.