Archive for February, 2009

I once tried channeling the disdain I have nurtured for every source that celebrated the grandeur of the Oscar Awards. I ended up with a severed fingernail and a bad taste in my mouth. Papa Bear tried it once too. But then he flew into a rage, smashed his neighbour’s light bulbs and killed several moths.

Knowing that it is futile to hate something for which we don’t even have an ounce of respect is not going to help. Even if it does, we don’t need therapy. Mostly because frustration is fun. And fun always leads to funnies.

So in the spirit of fun, funnies and our general disdain against golden statuettes, we give to you…



Yeah, that’s right. The friggin Bhaskar Awards.

At random intervals, Papa Bear and I would be spoofing films, actors and actresses who have won the Oscar Award over the years. And not just the ones we hate. We plan to spoof what we love too.

Visit the Bear’s lair for more details sometime next week.

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gran-torinoGran Torino: For my money, Gran Torino is the best mainstream American film of the year. Probably Clint Eastwood’s finest performance as a director and actor too. I’m sort of glad that it was left out from the Best Picture category and the general Oscar hype. Now I don’t have to hear people talk about how it wasn’t as good as Mystic River or Million Dollar Baby. It can peacefully rest on its armchair along with other brilliant American films such as Tears Of Julian Po, Wrestling Ernest Hemmingway and Woman Under The Influence. They could possibly spend afternoons discussing how less of a fuck their directors had given about their popularity and how much better it secretly made them feel. Aging, I think, should be reserved for gentlemen and I dare you find a gentler soul sneering at you in utter disdain than Walt Kowalski.

b00006g9w102lzzzzzzzBully: Larry Clark and Harmony Korine have been responsible for some of the most visceral teen movies that America has ever (or never) even. Right from Ken Park, Julien-Donkey Boy and Gummo to Kids and Bully, each film was a brutally realistic depiction of what kids went through while socializing and having sex. Having said that, these weren’t particularly good films… I think Kids was the best of the lot, purely based on the last line delivered by Leo Fitzpatrick towards the end of the film. Gummo possibly is the most pretentious one because it tries to deny the fact that beneath the vile imagery there is a scantily clad social message. Bully is somewhere in-between. Based on a true story about yet another brutal teen slaying, it features actors, actress, children, cuss words, rape scenes and sexual perversions. Too bad that it’s 2009 and we got to see all those things on news channels. Edgy? Maybe. Brilliant? Certainly not. But have a looksie anyway…just to see what Harmony and Clark were once capable of.

Yes Man: Kollywood comedian Vivek’s 8,765th saccharine-coated jab against Chennai’s traffic is funnier than Jim Carey’s new film. And Vivek hasn’t been even remotely funny for the better part of the decade.


Notorious: Anyone who has a perfectly surface-level understanding of American pop culture over the decades will know that the hip hop community during the early Nineties was split up into two factions – East Coast and West Coast. With 2pac Shakur (Tupac Amaru Shakur) and Biggie Smalls (Christopher Wallace) playing alpha males in each of these factions, guns were drawn, rhythms were laid out and verses spat against each other. What triggered the rivalry and more importantly, who struck the first blow is something a lot of people didn’t know back then and even now have barstool conversations to ponder about. Director George Tillman does a pretty decent job at capturing the frustration that drove a young Biggie to the microphone, but he falls flat on all things concerning the darkest phase of hip-hop. The bias in favour of the East Coast takes an annoying turn when he portrays West Coast legend 2pac as a paranoid lunatic craving for attention and worse, unnecessary ‘beef’ with a brother. He even makes Biggie out to an innocent, over-excitable kid from the Bronx who didn’t understand why everyone just couldn’t hold hands and get along as the good Lord intended. I’m going to call bullshit on this one. I guess, the most enjoyable moments in Notorious involve Biggie Smalls on the microphone, even though I am sort of in shock over the exclusion of Machine Gun Funk. For what it’s worth, I’m glad that even the East Coast thinks Puff Daddy fucking sucks.

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Best Picture

Slum Whale Douchebag

Slum Whale Douchebag is a touching third person narrative of how two annoying NRI kids (Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto) convince a douchebag coast guard to stop irritating the local whale by pissing in the ocean. Along the way, they discover love, friendship and vegetarianism.


Best Actor

Don Cheadle

Don Cheadle was awarded the golden statuette (Best Actor award) for his role as a homosexual liberal Jew rapper who goes through life just like anyone else. Somewhere down the line, he thinks about doing something different but then sticks to the beaten path and once again, does what everyone else at his age and social status is expected to. Critics have praised it as the best performance by a non-homosexual liberal Jew rapper as a homosexual liberal Jew rapper.


Best Actress

Maneka Gandhi / Susan Sarandon

Maneka Gandhi was awarded the Best Actress award after the Academy wrongly perceived her to be the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. Once they realized that she was a slimy pseudo-hippie and not someone who can teach them how to fight violence with inner peace, the Oscar award was snatched away from her and given to Susan Sarandon. Of course, since Mrs Sarandon has not acted in any films this year, the statuette is now on sale at e-Bay. And rumour has it that some Page 3 socialte in Mumbai bought it for her pet slumdog.


Lifetime Achievement Award

The Academy

This year’s lifetime achievement award was given to the honourable jury at the Academy for being able to get off their beds in the morning without falling off their asses, having taken into account the copious amounts of crack they smoke every morning before deciding to embarrass the aesthetics of art by nominating devastatingly mediocre films such as Braveheart, Titanic and Slumdog Millionaire.


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stevie-wonder-13Today wasn’t supposed to be a very pleasant day. For one, it’s Thursday – a day that corporate life has taught me to loathe for various logistical reasons. Not helping was the fact that I had a bunch of stuff I had to write for my company’s Manufacturing domain, which (as glamorous as it sounds) makes watching paint dry seem like attending a Tool concert, high on LSD and surrounded by the entire cast of Harold & Kumar.

To prepare myself for days like these, I listen to a lot of music on my way to office. Yesterday, I downloaded a bunch of sounds from the mp3 blog – Souled On – one of my favourite places to haunt online. I came across this song ‘As’ by Stevie Wonder and a recent cover version by George Michaels and Mary J. Blige I had heard the cover version a couple of times on the now defunct and quite possibly France’s greatest contribution to Chennai – The MCM channel. It was straight-up, white ass R&B with Ms Blige channeling the spirit of Gloria Gayner. But it sounded alright. But since it never could match up to the deranged pop styling of “Killer Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, “As” turned out be my second favourite Michaels’ track (possibly the last).

The good blokes at Souled On also included the original version sung to perfection by Stevie Wonder. The song itself is a whiff of summer breeze, the sort that encourages the mind wander off to unchartered places at a pace that will have you tapping your feet. The chorus is a different beast altogether….with a melody that will stick to your brain like peanut butter on broken glass. The Blues-inspired closing sequence will have you reaching for as many versions of “Little Red Rooster” as you can get your grubby hands on.

stevie-wonderNo seriously, this is one of the most fantastic sounds I have heard all year. With Stevie’s vocals soaring like it hasn’t since “Pastime Paradise”, “As” is living proof that intention behind creating the Rhythm and Blues genre was a perfectly soulful one.

Damming evidence too that music can save your sorry ass.

Fuck you, Thursday. Thank you, Stevie Wonder.


Stevie Wonder – As

Mary J Blige & George Michael – As


http://souledonmusic.blogspot.com (you’ll find mp3 versions of both tracks when you scroll down to the Love Lockdown: The Go Nicole Yourself Edition)

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I hear that Naan Kadavul is not an original concept. It is an adaptation of Ezavathu Ulagam, supposedly a brilliant novel by Mr. Jayamohan. Greg was telling me about the storyline in the novel and suffice to say, it seems way more twisted than the one on celluloid. But then again, that speaks in volumes about how the language of words surpasses visual interpretations rather than uttering a whisper about Bala’s skills as a director. (All that I know so far about the book stems from what Greg has told me)

For instance, the blind maiden (Amsavali) finds a bit of solace in the caring arms of her brethren who share her ignominy of being rejected by society. She even shares a vaguely meaningful relationship with Murugan. Apparently, Mr Jayamohan has been unkind to such random glimpses of humanity. In the novel, I hear that Amsavali is led into the seedy lair and forced to breed with her fellow disfigured urchins. Why, you ask? For making crippled babies that would be genetically engineered to be seek sympathy from rich temple-goers, of course. Also, on paper Murugan gets drunk and forces Amsavali to get…well, you know the rest. On screen, he sobs uncontrollably and tells them how much he loves the poor bastards.

I don’t blame director Bala for giving the story a far more humane twist. I know, I know…purity in translation of art has taken a violent bashing during recent times. From the harrowingly bad Pink Panther remakes to the slumdog travesty that has sprung out of Vikas Swarup’s Q&A, previous incarnations have had it rough. Despite the fact that Bala resorted to showcasing physical brutality that I guess he figured would have a far more direct impact on the audience than the emotional scars that apparently run deeper in Ezavathu Ulagam, I still think Naan Kadavul did enough to dispel any notions of artistic prostitution. Having not read the book yet, most of the confidence I have about Naan Kadavul arises from the simple fact that I had not enjoyed a Tamil film this much since Gunaa.

I guess, translation works well even if it doesn’t stay completely true to how it was originally intended to be. Director Milos Forman turned Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest on its head just because Jack Nicholson had oodles of charisma. Even Heath Ledger’s Joker persona, in hindsight, was far more theatrical than the version that DC Comics’ aficionados have learned to love and fear. But still, they all stayed true to the ingenuity of their creators. Much like Naan Kadavul did too, I’d like to think.

f10But this post is more about introducing Jayamohan in a time when mediocre Indian writers still find it fit to wax poetic about blue mangoes they once ate under a tree on their grandma’s farmhouse in a quiet little town, far from maddening urban chores. And then they discover this orphaned puppy with Alzheimer, which eventually teaches them a fine lesson on life, love and the oedipal relationship they once shared with their stepfathers. Damm those self-centered yuppie writers who think epiphanies are sold at a discount at Spencers.

We need to proud of writers such as Jayamohan, Sarnath Banerjee and the lateOV Vijayan. Sure the Booker or Pulitzer wouldn’t mutter a breath about them, but then again why should we bother? Do we watch Kamal Hassan films based on how many stars Roger Ebert gives them?.

Click here to read the sparse information that Google has to offer about writer Jayamohan.

Click here to read how Jayamohan gave the middle-finger salute to Tamil Nadu’s Nadigar Sangam.

And definitely click here and here to hear Jayamohan talk about Naan Kadavul.

(If any of you out there know how to get your hands on a copy of Ezavathu Ulagam, send an email to christy.lateralus@gmail.com I am very interested in begging, borrowing, stealing…)

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polarbears1I’m all up for fighting against Ram Sena, Shiv Sena, Keith Sena, John Cena and everyone else responsible for making Indian society a more retarded place than it already is. Like I have said many times, the entire lot should be fed SARS-infected dog shit three times a day. But since our legal system is not mature enough to facilitate forceful consumption of diseased feces, the next best thing would have been to align our anger, frustration and insolence together and send a message that truly speaks against the callousness of civil governance and the terrifying consequences of giving political weightage to caste-inspired groupism.

So, the young minds online decide to come together and use every ounce of creative and intellectual acumen they can collective muster up to send pink underwear to Sena offices in India. While it ranks a notch above the insanely futile candlelight vigils that we are notorious for, it doesn’t change the fact that this is by far the dumbest call to action since some moron told John McCain, “Sarah Palin is your ticket to the Whitehouse”. So once again, youngsters manage to unite together (mostly online since Sena-ites can’t throw heavy objects at them through Facebook) as one voice and make absolute idiots of themselves.

Even more pathetic is that fact that most of the women campaigning for this nonsense are middle/upper-middle class and within the 20-35 age group. Pretty much the same as those victimized (and I agree, they were) in Mangalore. I guess people give a shit only if tragedies showcase possibilties of them facing one too. Too bad not many nuns have an account on Facebook; perhaps at least they could have campaigned against Kandhamal incident (apparently no one with an existing account cared enough) .

While I sort of have a soft corner for these kids looking to fight for their rights as individuals…No, wait. I don’t have a soft corner for them. I loathe them for not realizing the frivolity of their actions and more so because once this so-called pro-culture movement is dead and gone, they would probably completely give up on questioning civil slanders ever again and resort to excuses such as “Oh well, at least we tried, but this world, I tell you…THIS WORLD”.

No, you didn’t try. You sent pink underwear to other people. That’s not trying; that’s just constructing a mirage of pretending to try so that you can high-five your office colleague / roommate and stifle a tear or two about how much it hurts to know that Indians are victimized by pseudo-religious anger and politicized corruption – two threads on which our great country has been doing a fucking headstand for the past century, balancing seven hundred tones of hatred and self-pity on each one of it’s pinky toes.

The largest carnivore in Karnataka told me this morning that over 5,000 pink chaddis have been collected so far and then grievously muttered something about how “guns don’t kill yuppies, papa bear kills yuppies”. Hmmm…5,000 votes in favour of an independent political party during the elections would have been nice too, don’t you think? Or how about 5,000 written letters to various media organizations in and outside of India to let them know that referring to certain people as ‘slumdogs’ in India would only falsely indicate a drastic upward surge in their social hierarchies?

An assault against India’s evolving culture and the safety of it’s women demands more than petty mindgames and designer panties. If you think otherwise, throw your goddam pink shoelaces at those guys who raped that nun in Orissa. Bring a feather-duster as backup too.

That will teach them a lesson.


Thought of the day (from papabears.wordpress.com)

“It’s a prettier sight watching middle-aged women flinging their undies at Kenny Rogers than this”

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Son Of Bosey are perfect to drown the noise at office. With loud cackling. They also happen to be Chennai’ best bloggers (Kiruba Shankar‘s blog is as Chennai-esque as Swedish doughnuts Turkish goats…wearing hats…looking content )


Four updated gems:

Ramalinga Raju to star in new film ‘Millionaire Slumdog’

‘Surangani’ outbreak on passenger flights baffles Airlines, Aviation Ministry

Congress, BJP looking to consolidate terrorist vote bank.

‘Local Warming’ scientists feel left out, ignored

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Firstly, click here to read the worst review I have ever read. Read it for shits and giggles. The writer’s perception of cinema is so fragile that I fear that even a mere dip in web traffic for his article might give him a severe case of diphtheria. I guess this is what happens when people attend classes to learn how to appreciate cinema.


I watched Naan Kadavul at Udayam theater yesterday morning and it dam near thrilled me to bits to see people walking out of the theatre, shaking their head in disgust. Some of them looked like deer caught in the headlights on the highway. Those who managed to sit through the film walked away, mouthing obscenities at director Bala and the decay of Tamil cinema. Few men wearing nice clothes proclaimed aloud that it was pretentious and likened it to Dasavatharam.

I am glad that most people I know didn’t like it. It’s nice to know that there are so many people out there unable to grasp the logic of Naan Kadavul. Too bad they so proudly wear their badge of ignorance; that sort of takes away a lot of pleasure I had in knowing that society is not perversely insightful enough to make sense of it.

Granted, alot of things could have been different; I will be the first to admit that. The brutality seemed a bit excessive at times as did a few of the scenes (the police station shenanigans) and yes, I was truly shocked by Illaiyaraja’s sub-par tunes. At times I even felt that the costumes and accessories seemed too French-y New Wave to bear a sense of realism in the film’s context. It certainly wasn’t Arya’s best performance either (he was better in Paatiyal). See, actors portraying exaggerated characters or those who are not within the scope of public perception have it easy when it comes to performing on-screen. Anything gesture they make can be labeled as ‘character eccentricity’ and subsequently (and unfairly) be rewarded with a National Award. That’s why I don’t understand why Vikram won the award for Pithamagan when Surya clearly deserved it more.

Pooja, however, killed it with a seriously good performance. As did Devaraj, Rajendran (this man rules on so many levels) and Azhagm Thamizhmani.

Despite it’s flaws, Naan Kadavul ended up being a harrowingly brilliant film. Bala has created a work of art that strings together little fragments of spiritual consciousness and social intellect and drowns them in a muddy pond of depravity. Granted, it could have been executed with a bit more finesse, but I am not complaining. I can only appreciate Bala for ignoring the polished packaging (Anbe Sivam) that gives intellectual acumen a more mainstream appeal in Tamil cinema. People have talked about the film having such a large disconnect with the audience, but I guess that speaks more about Tamil Nadu as a society rather than the film itself.

I also firmly believe that it wasn’t Bala’s intention to send the masses on a guilt trip by shedding so much blood. Believing such tripe would be akin to comparing cannibalism to Aghoris-ism. Naan Kadavul is not one of those teary-eyed films which distract the viewers enough for Mr Iyer to say, “ayyo pavam, our world is so bad, no?” and then ask Mrs Iyer to pass the mashed potatoes. No…no…no. Naan Kadavul is not about showcasing the brutality that deformed urchins go through either; even though the sheer enormity of violence might hint otherwise.

It’s purely incidental that you aren’t thinking about the mashed potatoes. Don’t blame Bala for that.

If you have been living under a rock, click here to read Nan Kadavul’s storyline and such.

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sideways-4Sideways ended up being my absolute favourite movie of 2004. With Alexander Payne’s storytelling coupled with Paul Giamatti’s sketchier-than-thou character, the film almost seemed to feverishly mutter to itself when confronted by visuals of rare beauty. Like an author on painkillers recording a soliloquy for YouTube…without the self-indulgence, of course. The film had a lot more going for it. Thomas Haden’s jabs to your funnybone, Sandra Oh’s quizzical expressions, and every single scene that was fortunate enough to have Virginia Madsen smile on its behalf.

The spotlight stealer, as far as I’m concerned, was Rolfe Kent’s original compositions for the film’s soundtrack. When Miles (Giamatti) stays over at his mom’s dainty duplex, we are treated to an exquisite instrumentation (“Slipping Away As Mum Sleeps”) that ominously peers over Miles during one of his moments of utter desperation. The sound revisits the film briefly much later when Miles hears about his ex-wife’s wedding. He grabs a bottle of wine, guzzles it down while running downhill, closely followed (almost comically) by Haden asking him to get his life together. Miles comes to a screeching halt when he looks around at the vineyard that has outgrown his path. He tenderly holds a piece of grape between his fingers and looks at it with a delicate balance of admiration and despondency; the strings pour at a sweet melody and cinema, as I know to be, lifts itself to another level.

“Asphalt Groovin” is seductive as hell, with a killer carnival-esque folk sound always luring the listener in with tender force. “Constantine Snaps His Fingers” is a slight variation of the previous one, sort of reminding me of the liberties that Kronos Quartet took with the soundtrack of Requiem For A Dream; the way they shaped and shifted a singular tune into many variations with each one being a haunting memory of the other.

“Lonely Day” is mesmerizing and almost delirious it its treatment of Miles’ sadness. Very, very trippy. It also would have been the album’s finest song if it weren’t for “Los Olives”. I am not going to say anything about this instrumental, but I do beseech you to listen to it. You have no soul, if you aren’t moved by it. Either that or you absolutely have no inclination for jazz, which merely means that I can no longer be your friend.

rolfekent-cuRolfe Kent has also composed music for About Schmidt, the deadly Silence Living in Houses and Adrian Brody’s finest hour – Oxygen. IMDB tells me that he has crafted original compositions for Freaky Friday, Legally Blonde Mean Girls, but thanks to the Ultra Max, Kryptonite-fueled, Amnesiac Art Filter (there’s a discount too if you order it online) that I have installed in my medulla oblongata, I’ll be keeping an ear out for his sounds in the future.

(Mp3 versions will be available sometime during the weekend)


Rolfe Kent – Asphalt Groove

Rolfe Kent – Constantine Snaps His Fingers

Rolfe Kent – Lonely Day

Rolfe Kent – Los Olives

Rolfe Kent – Miles’ Theme

Note: In other news, one of the members of the colLeague of Extraordinary Carnivores at my office has decided to blog…er spit venom. You can read it by clicking here.

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Nagesh (1933–2009)



Oh damm…Nagesh passed away?


Good night Server Sundaram Saar, you will be missed.

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