Friday, 22 December 2017

What should be one's take away from Velaikkaran?

Before I start off, let me put a clear disclaimer. I'm not writing this with the perception required for a review, criticism or whatever you call it. The movie is good to watch, it has a lot of positives, some logical loop holes, a mind-blowing set of a slum on a near perfection scale and many other technically brilliant elements, but, the forthcoming write-up is not about these aspects of the movie. This is not about Sivakarthikeyan, Nayanthara, Fahad, Anirudh, or even Mohan Raja, but it's about the crux of it and my understanding about the movie. I hope, I had the same understanding that every other spectator who shared the seats with me today, had. If not, I want the readers of this write-up to take a bit to learn what Velaikkaran has taught me. Still, I ensure this is totally spoiler-free.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

My Son Is Gay: Empathy Matters A Lot

It was a special moment for the cast and the crew of My son is gay (En Magan Magizhvan) by Lokesh a movie that came under special screening category at the 15th Chennai International Film Festival. The movie that is waiting for its theatrical release, positively in a couple of months, was screened at the film festival. Here is a review ahead of the time. I swear this is totally spoiler free.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Aruvi: Her Intent's Voice

When the trailer of Raju Murugan's Joker was out, about two years back, the impact it had created was compartively very less to the actual standards and making perfection of that movie. Joker was one of the very movies, that fetched a zero-haters status after a long time (May be, except for some sand mafias and corrupt government officials). So is Aruvi, which, coincidentally, is from the same prodcution house. For me, personally, Aruvi's trailer did not impress much. I was even wondering how this movie could have fetched these many number of international acclaims. But, it all changed last evening when I was totally dumbstruck during the press premier of the movie.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Third law #5: Its Vardah's first stormiversary - How did Chennai bounce back?

Believed to be the second most expensive cyclone of all times that had cost over Rs 22,500 crore for the government to provide rehabilitation and relief, it's a year since Vardah had made its landfall in Chennai. Though the loss made by Vardah was pan Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh, it was Chennai, to be more specific, the biggest victim of Vardah.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Rciihe: Starts well, ends well, too non-linear all the way!

A church pastor simply preaches forgiveness everyday to all theists in town. On an opposite note, a thug lives all his life, forgiving a person, who never could be pardoned.

A centuries-old Roman myth might have an idiosyncratic connect with a Christmas eve shootout in a remote village of Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu.

Betrayal does not come from the enemy but, a friend in need.

A story neither has a beginning, nor an end, but just different perceptions.

Above all, if you think I've mispelt Richie in this viewer's note's title, then, you are the one, who should watch it right away.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Kodiveeran: Not a flagship of Sasikumar, Muthaiah either!

Documenting the cultural identities of select villages of Tamilnadu has been a long time phenomena of Tamil cinema. And for filmmaker Muthaiah, it has been a habit since his first movie. In that row, the recent release of the filmmaker Kodiveeran starring Sasikumar, Mahima Nambiar, Viddharth and Sanusha also has a lot of content that reflect the cultures and lifestyles of a couple of microcosmic villages in Sivagangai district. The movie also has Pasupathi and Poorna in some pivotal roles. And we could see the names of Balasaravanan and Vikram Sukumaran in the title and nowhere else in the movie.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A theatre of sleepless artistes

When you look at the 'About' column of DJ's Ensomneacks' Facebook page, it describes itself as, 'Providing not just the spot, but limelight to talented youngsters!' So, were the words of Vikram Dhanasekar, the founder of the organisation, when I had an interaction with him recently.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Ben's Corner #12: Welcome the new beast - TJJ's Exclusive

If you ask what is the most-waited-for motorcycle of the year, it is the TVS Apache RR 310 hands down. Showcased way back at the 2016 auto expo as the Akula concept, the bike is finally going to be a reality tomorrow, 6 December. There are many aspects which make the Apache unique from the rest.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Ben's Corner #11: RE's Classic Reborn

'It's not a thump but a rumble,' said Royal Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lal when reporters asked him what kind of sound the new 650 cc engine produces. If you didn't understand what I was referring to, well, Royal Enfield unveiled two brand new flagship offerings Continental GT 650 and Interceptor to the world at the EICMA auto show in Milan recently. The bikes which were tested in the nook and corner India for a good two years finally saw daylight.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru: A Kutra Parambarai Ahead

It is not so easy to visualise a gripping true crime incident, that had happened long ago in dark. But, for filmmaker H Vinoth, it seems not to be a mammoth task, after witnessing the premier of  'Theeran Adhikaram Ondru', starring Karthi Sivakumar and Rakul Preeth Singh in the lead along with Bose Venkat, Rohith Pathak and Varghese Mathew in significant roles.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Grey Scale #6: Different rules for different genes

Days after the fishermen crew from Olaikuda hamlet near Rameswaram, were allegedly shot at mid-sea by the personnel of Indian Coast Guard, the State's political system has been shaken with a row of protests and agitations by fishermen associations and Tamil nationalist movements. Having given a political shade to this incident, I tried to harvest the traditional and historical background of the trawling methods of the fishermen of Rameswaram and rest of Tamil Nadu, that is also a major concern that is subjecting them to these cross border troubles. Here are the insights.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Third Law #4: Indian Coast Guard vs Tamil Fishermen - A new villain arises

In today's scenario, when any outsider questions, "Where is Tamil Nadu?" a Tamil fisherman or his family member would probably say that "It is near India" rather than "It is in India". That is the situation right now.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Ben's Corner #10: Mysterious cruiser revealed!

Come November 7, and we are going to see a Japanese cruiser on our roads for the first time after more than a decade. Yes, Suzuki Motorcycles Ltd is going to launch an all new bike on that day opening up a new segment of affordable cruisers in the country.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Quick read: Mersal isn't Aboorva Sagodharargal remake

Just watched Mersal with mom and dad. Personally, for me, it's the nth time I'm watching this. However, when everytime I watch Mersal, there would be comments from any random person in the cinema hall, trolling it Aboorva Sagodharargal part 2, Ramana part 3, and so on.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Speaking two languages ain't an easy job

It all started when veteran film producer SS Vasan showed Tamil film industry a new gen marketing technique by releasing the all time epic blockbuster Chandralekha(1948) in two languages. Probably, it should be the first Tamil movie to be released in an another subcontinental language. Though, the Hindi version of Chandralekha released a couple of months after the Tamil version, it had created buzz among the producers across the country by showing a 700 per cent profit and inspired them to make multi lingual films.

Monday, 9 October 2017

"Bro, we're all singles only" - A fun chat with team Nee Yaaruda Komali

What started as a fun time material now has more than 60,000 subscribers. Here is a young team of six from one of the sensational YouTube channels, named after the infamous counter to Vadivelu's Naai Sekar, 'Nee Yaaruda Komali (NYK)', with whom I recently encountered. With revolutionary videos like 'Ramzan Biriyaani', NYK has already set a signature in the YouTube world with a row of political and social satires.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Grey Scale #5: Unskool, unteacher and so on

Education is not just relying on pen and paper but, is a holistic phenomenon. When one steps into class 5D of Chennai Middle School in MGR Nagar, this sense of being holistic could be felt right away.

The environment of the classroom and the way the 26-year-old teacher and my bestie Gilbert Ram, handles the class makes one want to go back to school and pursue studies under his guidance.

So, what’s special about Gilbert’s classroom? I recently visited his classroom and it was not a conventional one. Gilbert, along with his friends, was giving a makeover to the old government school classroom. The theme was the famous Minions.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Ben's Corner #9: Will Suzuki's Iannone fight back?

MotoGP, a highly acclaimed sport event recently caught the attention of media not because of the successful start of the second half of 2017 season but due to the sudden drop in pace of one of the key factory teams, Ecstar Suzuki. The extent of the issue is so worse that all the internal scoops of the team are fulled with complaints and war of words.

Ecstar Suzuki is the factory MotoGP team of the automobile giant, Suzuki Corporation, Japan. The brand has a rich history in grand prix races as it was the first Japanese to ever clinch the MotoGP title from the European manufacturers way back in 1976. Being strongly hit by recession, the brand withdrew its team from the event in 2011 at the time when its competency with other teams was also dwindling. Despite the fall, Suzuki wasted no time and started developing a new bike from scratch.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Kurangu Bommai had two climaxes on papers: Nithilan

"I had two climax for Kurangu Bommai, the one which you see now was finalised after we believed it would be appropriate", opened up debutante filmmaker Nithilan Swaminathan who had surprised movie buffs and critics with his first movie Kurangu Bommai, starring Bharathirajaa, Vitharth and Kumaravel.

I recently had an opportunity to interact with Nithilan a native of Vellore, during which he shared a lot about his journey from being a short filmmaker till his first feature film and more. Nithilan was the winner of Naalaiya Iyakkunar Season 3, that was telecast in Kalaignar TV and gave quality short films like Punnagai Vaanginaal Kanneer Ilavasam, Puthir and No Comments.

Here are the excerpts.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Tamil Nadu wants NEET exemption - FAQs answered

When I, every single time, start off to write on a social issue, a political vendetta or even a movie's viewer's note, one thing I have in my mind is that I, with all my responsibility, should torch a ray of knowledge on things I at least know. Since the fatal decision of the 17-year-old medical aspirant Anitha has created some emotional vibes across the State, for which even I am not an exception, I restricted myself to not to write on this immediately, as it will surely have a lot of personal and emotional agenda blended both knowingly and unknowingly. Even now, after 36 hours since the death of that pity soul, I am highly emotional. But, as I said earlier, as a journalist and a social representative, I have the responsibility to light my torch.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Ben's Corner #8: Royal Enfield's flagship in the offing

Recently a video surfaced on Youtube where a KTM Duke 390 rider was chasing a test bike supposed to be the upcoming Royal Enfield Continental GT 750 somewhere near Salem. While there were many such videos on the internet, this one went viral because even at speeds in the ball park of 155 Kmph, the Duke rider was not able to chase the bike on test. Not only that, at one part of the video, the gap even widened further between the two. With this video at hand, it is very clear that the test bike is capable of going past 155 Kmph.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

ஓர் கடமை நினைவூட்டல்

இன்று காலை வேலைக்குச் செல்லும் வழியில் (வடபழநி) எங்கள் தெருமுனையில் ஒரு 5 நிமிட நிகழ்வு.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

கழிவினில் கரைந்த கடவுள்

நண்பர்களுடன் நடந்து சென்ற பாதையில் காவல் துறை நிமிர்ந்து நிற்க...
காதலர்கள் இணை இணையாய் காலம் கடத்திய தெரு விளக்குக்கம்பத்தடியும் வேலியின் வசப்பட...
இரவலர்களின் இரவுறக்கத்துக்குத் துணை நின்ற மதிற்சுவரோ மேடையிரண்டைத் தாங்கிப் பிடிக்க...
நடுத்தர வர்க்கத்தின் அந்தி நேரச் சுற்றுலாத் தளத்திலோ ஆயிரம் மாற்றங்கள்...

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Tamil and African cattle belong to same bloodline

It is going to be a film with thousands of heroes but, without heroism says, filmmaker Santhosh, who has made such movie, named after the legendary bull embracing sport Jallikattu. His movie 'Jallikattu, 5 - 23rd Jan 2017' is based on the 2017 youngsters uprising at the Marina beach in Chennai. According to Santhosh, this is the single largest peaceful, non-political, leaderless movement taken forward by youngsters in the past century.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Ben's Corner #7: Fingers crossed for Fazer 250

At a time when one of the highly advanced affordable bikes, Bajaj Dominar is doing dismissal numbers in India, Yamaha's latest kid on the block FZ 25 is already on a flying start with a healthy sales of more than 2,000 units a month. Riding on its success, Yamaha is going to launch the faired version of the FZ 25 coming Monday (21 August). Christened as the Fazer 250, the spy-shots of the bike are already going rounds on the internet. So, will the Fazer strike the right chord? Let's find out.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Whether your weather, man-made?

It's not natural as we think, but an international conspiracy that is being run by the US government. There is a hypothesis that the failure of monsoon and the severe drought occurred in Tamil Nadu in 2016-17 is a man made one. All I say is one acronym, HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), a technology developed by the USA for modifying the weather artificially. It is said that one of the stations of HAARP is located in mountain range adjacent to Tirupati that caused the drought in Tamil Nadu.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

You will even hate Taramani but, won't be disappointed: Ram

With his daughter's crayon arts welcoming the visitors, the drawing hall of Director Ram's office reminds us of the memories of his Thangameenkal, that runs in our minds. Carrying those memories, Soundarya and I entered the room where Ram was waiting for us to interview him. This was one of the dream moments for me, coming true. Though I had already interviewed a lot of celebrities before, I was always having a separate list of special-personalities to meet and interact. And, Ram being one of them, it's like a check box crossed in my bucket list.

Friday, 4 August 2017

GATT opened the Gate - Could be why you lose your ration card

What started as a clash finally ended in peace. In the recent times, people of Tamil Nadu are witnessing some of the never seen before double standards taken up by the State government, especially in the case of various projects and reforms of the central government. UDAY, NEET and GST are some of the hotly contested issues in the State with the latest addition to the list, regulations on PDS joining the bandwagon.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Grey Scale #4: A day's drama

I worked on ground zero during the RK Nagar by-elections a couple of months back. Though this article's timeline has expired, I believe the context is common across the country. So, I felt this shall be spoken here in this grey-scale column.

Friday, 21 July 2017

எடப்பாடி பழனிச்சாமியும் சடகோபன் ரமேஷும்

"ஆறு மாதங்களுக்கு முன்பு வரை எடப்பாடி பழனிச்சாமியை யார் என்றே எனக்குத் தெரியாது. அவரை எப்படி முதல்வராக ஏற்றுக் கொள்வது."- இன்று பலரிடம் எழும் கேள்வி இது.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Is there anyone to inform dead artistes? Vasanthabalan

It was a Super Thursday for filmmaker Vasanthabalan last week, as his movies bagged a total of 12 awards announced by the Tamil Nadu government for films from 2009 to 2014. He won the best director award of 2009 for his movie Angadi Theru. His leading lady in Angadi Theru, Anjali, picked up the best actress award for 2009. What was even more pleasing was that Kaaviya Thalaivan, directed by Vasanthabalan, has picked up 10 awards in various categories.

Despite this, Vasanthabalan has a serious unanswerable question too, which he shot at me when I had an interaction with this coming of the age filmmaker. Here are some excerpts from that.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Third Law #3: Hence, Tamils are anti-Indian

There is a generalised image over the people of Tamil Nadu as they are always against any of the schemes announced by the Central government. Starting from the Koodankulam Nuclear Powerplant to the present protests against Methane extraction in Kadhiramangalam and Neduvasal, for every Central government's project, there is a huge protest driven by the people. This has even earned an honour of being anti-Indian.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Ben's Corner #6: Hidden side of AHO

One of the greatest amendments of this year with respect to two wheelers is the implementation of 'Automatic Headlight On'  (AHO) feature which came into effect this April. Brought along with the BS-IV emission norms, this rule has kickstarted a new era in the history of Indian automobile industry. Now, every bike / scooter sold in India no longer has an independent switch to turn on / off the headlight. As per the rule, the moment key is turned on, the headlight and the rear danger light should glow irrespective of whether it is day or night.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Grey Scale #3: Why manholes still have man in them?

When almost 99 per cent of people close their nose while crossing an open manhole or a dumpyard – even if it is for just a few seconds – there is still a section that steps into the same manhole or works in the dumpyard. India has come a long way in the 70 long years of Independence, but this section still remains in the 1940s, without witnessing any kind of development in terms of livelihood or technology in their profession.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Vedaranyam to NASA - via Velacheri

For T Gobinath, one of the member-scientists of Kalam Sat team that made history by making the tiniest satellite ever built by mankind, past and future are intertwined inextricably: His research involves the study of seeds in outer space. This would help improve life on earth, he says, and adds that it would help mankind colonise space.

When I had an interaction with him recently, I found that actually, it was only during his secondary schooling at Velacheri Government Higher Secondary School, Chennai, that Gobi was given a first push by his teachers towards the world of science.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Third Law #2: Turning towards the old milky-way

Its high time for the population of Tamil Nadu to turn towards the convention in terms of its diet, as every primary food item of the people is getting caught in controversies. After the plastic rice, plastic egg row, it was the allegation of Tamil Nadu Dairy Minister Rajendra Balaji regarding adulteration in private milk and milk products, that has caused a high fear among the consumers.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ben's Corner #5: Long strokers from non-RE brands, a distant dream?

If you ask any Royal Enfield owner why he loves his ride, he might reveal two prime reasons: the thump and the torque. Royal Enfield bikes produce a unique thumping sound which no other manufacturer in this world offer. They have good low-end torque (twist force) which helps them move effortlessly even with heavy weight on-board. So, what makes an Enfield different from the rest? Well, it's none other than that massive engine. The brand's highly successful offerings including the Classic and the Thunderbird range sport their flagship, Unit Construction Engine (UCE).

Friday, 16 June 2017

Peechaankai: All is left

The season of communism or leftism movies has never faded out in Malayalam film industry as all top stars in that industry have acted at least one movie in their career. The recent releases like Sakhavu and CIA have brought even Nivin Pauly and Dulquer Salman too into that list. While in Tamil cinema, Communism or leftism have been a part of a number of movies for a long time, but, they will always play their part in the undercurrent of the story line.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Pitcher imperfect

"In 20 years, this is the first time I am seeing a Metro water tanker entering our street for supplying water,’ says Rajesh, a resident of West Saidapet waiting in the queue in the dead of night a couple of days back. However, this is not just the case of Rajesh but the voice of a cross-section of Chennai’s population, experiencing the worst water scarcity in two decades.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Grey Scale #2: Uma's charity literally began at her home

Its over two weeks since I started this series Grey-Scale, and barred myself posting the second article of it. To be frank, I was a little hesitant on writing about a person who is in the grey scale of this society. I came to know about her just a month back through one of my colleagues. I wished to write about her once I got to know what she was doing to her community for over two years. But, there were/are some restraints for her, due to which she was stopping me to write about her. Anyways, I convinced her at last, and here is the piece.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The K-factor: Rise and Fall of An Aeon

When one intends to collate the history of Tamil Nadu politics since independence, there is one name, which cannot be neglected at any cause. Rather calling it a name, it is the representation of an era that stretches across six decades. It's 'M Karunanidhi', the one vital force, irrespective of its position in the State politics and assembly, has been existing as the center of all masses of the government mechanism in last 60 years, since 1957 to be precise.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Third Law #1: It's more than just collateral damage

Chennai, June 1, 2017: It’s over 30 hours – since the wee hours of Wednesday – that fire fighters have been taking efforts to put out the flames that raged in the seven-storey building of The Chennai Silks, textile and jewellery shop along South Usman Road in T Nagar here in Chennai.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Ben's Corner #4: This Jawa will script a win for Mahindra

When you ask an automobile enthusiast of yesteryear about the best motorcycles of his times, he will immediately name a handful of bikes - Royal Enfield Bullet, Jawa, Yezdi, Yamaha RD 350 or those old BSAs. But in this 21 century, except Royal Enfield Bullets, all other bikes have disappeared. The prime reason for this is lack of flexibility of these classic bikes to adapt to the changing environment. In addition, bikes like RD 350, Yezdi had two-stroke engines with large displacement which made them guzzle fuel. The stringent emission norms and poor fuel efficiency ultimately led to their demise.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Not One More Parotta!!!

For people who have had at least a brunch with me, they possibly would have adjudged what this blog post is going to be all about. They are well aware that I'm a diet conscious person (well, that is not for killing cholesterol and fat). Yes, I am little selective in eating food, not really in taking up healthy eatables but, by barring some unhealthy ones. And for those who don't know me, I can't take you to dinner, instead I can say in simple words that this article is about the ultimate ingredient of all time, which as well is the Caucasian gay cousin of China clay, 'Maida'.

I had been a rebel in almost all dinner tables (well, not all. BTW, I too had a love story (is a sweet novel by Ravinder Singh)) to avoid Maida which comes as a default statutory warning from me, which suits well for the readers of this blog too. So, before starting off this post, let me give you a statutory warning.

Maida is injurious to health. Maida Causes Cancer.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Ben's Corner #3: Akula Races Past Dominar

When it comes to performance-oriented bikes, Bajaj has been ruling the roost for a good-one-and-a-half decades now. Both Hero Moto Corp and TVS Ltd had challenged the legacy of the brand but, eventually failed. When Bajaj partnered with Austria's KTM, the gap widened further. In line with Bajaj's strategy, TVS collaborated with BMW Motorrad of Germany and everyone expected a game-changer from the duo. But, again, their first product, BMW G 310R produced lower power than its direct rival KTM Duke 390. So, there was not much of a hope on TVS' version of the bike, Apache RR 310S a.k.a. Akula.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Grey Scale #1: Keeping Clothes Clean Over The Years

Here is a new series that is going to speak about the things that are in blind spots of a common man. Through this, I am trying to bring out facts about people, place, culture or anything that is in grey area and left unexplored from places I visit, people I meet and things I get to know. This is going to be written under the banner 'Grey-Scale' from now on. And, to start with, I have penned about a grey area in my home-town Trichy. Hope I can make justice to this series.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

This Article Is Penned With Blood, Not Ink

In memory of my Tamil brothers and sisters who were brutally killed in a genocide in the 2009 Lankan-Eezham war.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Ben's Corner #2: Horns of the Hornet Exposed?

The transition from BS III to BS IV was one of the greatest setbacks for the automobile industry this year. This was due to their blatant neglect of the Supreme Court order on strictly enforcing it from 1 April, this year. Above all, automobile manufacturers were in great disappointment as they had expected the Central government to give more room for selling the old BS III stock.

Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Ltd (HMSI), was one of the worst hit by the Supreme Court order as thousands of their BS III scooters became useless overnight. To overcome this, the brand offered a discount of up to Rs 22,000 on some models on the last day of the deadline.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Strike is not just striking people's routine

While the entire State is struck with commutation since the evening of May 14, there are voices that have been raising from the people's end against the indefinite shutting down of transport department. With a lot of regular commuters ruing at the transport officials who have stopped working with a seven charter demand, there are some mild voices that are raised with a third angle version. Here is how these voices claim.

When I was scrolling Facebook news feed today, I just struck with an unusual post by a person (probably youth) who anonymously was quoting himself to be the son of a TNSTC bus conductor. In his post, the boy had came up with a couple of points to ponder before the strike of the transport employees.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Dont' stop here: Plus two or SSLC - It's not the end

In this season of Plus two and SSLC board examination results, there could be some unexpected incidents that occur due to extreme decisions taken by students who score marks lesser than their expectations.

Following this, I have decided to bring some facts into limelight through this article. The State government has been taking up a number of steps to prevent these extreme attempts and motivate them. This article would be a small package of all that put together. Hope this would be useful.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Haunted: Jayalalithaa returns to Veda Nilayam?

It was as similar as the horror experience stories shared during childhood among cousins who meet up during summer vacations, when I got to talk with some people recently. This summer too has such kind of a horror myth, that is spreading like a forest fire across the State. I was hesitant a bit for last few days whether to write this on my blog as it might turn my blog look sub standard. Later, I thought that, this article might be a document of the scenarios persisting in the capital city post Jayalalithaa's demise.

Is the term ‘ever-living’ leader of Tamil people, tagged to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, turning out to be true? Speculations have been rising after her death that her spirit is surrounding her Poes Garden residence, Veda Nilayam. (Please don't laugh at me)

Ever since Jayalalithaa’s death, rumours started to strike the air that Poes Garden has been witnessing some weird sounds and screams at night. When I tried to probe it at ground zero, several versions seemed to support the rumours.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Ben's Corner #1: Dominar dominates! - Review on the fastest bike by an Indian manufacturer

Introducing a new column, "Ben's Corner" which would be penned by Automobile journalist and enthusiast S Ben Raja. Through this column, we are going to bring up some fine stories on analysis of automobile industry, technical reviews about new auto products, test ride experiences and much more on auto and moto things that are trending.

- Team Judgemental Journalist

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Lens: You're not supposed to peep through

Emotions are basically the crux of an art form. Be it a painting, a poem, a stage play or even a movie, it is an in-depth emotion or a social value that will be delivering the message out of it . In recent times, the Tamil film industry has been witnessing a number of quality movies that have received a tremendous welcome from the audience despite of their low production cost.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Of course! For them humour is kind of serious business: Interaction with Aravind SA and Sorabh Pant

Think of a situation where you get a chance to interact with two of the top stand-up comedians of this age. That should be the funniest hour of your life right? Laughing out through intestines and all. I too had a chance to encounter and interact with India's two of the most popular stand-up comedians, Sorabh Pant and Aravind-SA rightly a year back. The duo shared their experiences, efforts and of course lots of humour. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Karikalan: The Colossus who ruled till Himalayas


In this time of Bahubali fever, I would like to brief up on an emperor who was a colossus of his age. The battling techniques and life styles that were shown in movies like Aayirathil Oruvan (2010), Lion of the Desert and Bahubali, are not just fiction or fantasy but actually the ones that were in practice for a long time in the empires here in down South. I penned this feature for The New Indian Express in July 2016. I just want to post this to make a record of the great emperor of all time and to remind the history we have crossed.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

This Sid wakes up with a wish to sing for Ilayaraja

“The very next moment when Raja sir calls me to record a song for him, I would be at his doorstep”, says Sid Sriram, possessor of the mesmerising voice that had rendered AR Rahman’s ‘Thalli Pogathey’ the song that was driving the youth, from Simbu starrer ‘Acham Yenbathu Madamaiyada.

I caught up for an interview with the 27-year-old play back singer who had visited Trichy to take part in National Institute of Technology - Tiruchirappalli (NITT)’s annual inter college cultural fiesta Festember's 2016 edition. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

தமிழ் மொழி பேசும் ஒயிலாட்டம்!!!

தவிலுமிங்கே  நல்லநல்ல தாளங்கள கொட்டுது
சலங்கைகளும் கரண்டையில ஓசைகள வெட்டுது
வண்ண வண்ண துணியுமிங்கே காத்துலதான் வீசுது
முப்பாட்டன் முருகன் கதையகூட பாட்டாவே பேசுது
இதுதான் எங்க ஒயிலாட்டம்
தமிழ் மொழி பேசும் ஒயிலாட்டம்

Saturday, 22 April 2017

It's not funny, but traditional, yet modern

A few years back, the government of California tried a novel method to avoid drought that persisted for over four years in its major city, Los Angeles.

The method which was acclaimed to be the most successful method at the time was to create an artificial thermal blanket over lake 'Los Angeles Reservoir'. This was done by releasing 96 million shade balls (black rubber balls) to control evaporation of water to put an end to the drought.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Garden turns desert post political dramas

Until a month back, it was Chennai's Poes Garden that was with high media and public attention due to all political dramas occurring in the State. The tiny road stretch which is hardly half a kilometer long was the news making spot for whole of the State. But, the scenario has completely went upside down within a fortnight and especially in the past three days, Poes Garden has almost gone into a deep sleep posing a deserted look.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Maanagaram: This metro's gonna knock you down

This is quiet a delayed viewer's note (No, not because of the request of Vishal) I'm penning for a movie which had released about a month back but still has been running successfully (by this, I mean the real meaning of the phrase 'running successfully'). My friend and I had been searching for a movie to watch and were surfing through all online booking platforms. As we had watched almost all movies (of our interest) from Tamil and English that were released in the past fortnight, we had no option than to watch a movie again. For this my immediate and only option was 'Maanagaram' which we had already watched on the first day of its release. Despite a very handful of screens showing the movie, we could find a best time to watch without affecting my office hours.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Kaatru Veliyidai: The wind is not enough

For people who know me personally and for those who read my blog posts frequently, they know that I don't write movie criticism much often though I am a movie buff. Because, I won't get convinced with my own viewer's note unless or until it is in a detailed manner. So, I restricted myself by writing viewer's note for movies that make a larger impact like Iraivi and Kanavu Vaariyam or for that movies which I had watched with a third perception like Kabali and Bairavaa. But once I had watched 'Kaatru Veliyidai', it stood completely in a different category from the other two. This is not just going to be criticism for the movie but I have tried to write the entire idea and the mind set behind it according to my perception.

Monday, 20 March 2017

When funding is denied, everything is denied

I am really struck at the end of this article since I could not land in a conclusion about the education system. I leave it to the readers.

'When equality is denied, everything is denied.' This was the words in the last Facebook post of Jawaharlal Nehru University research scholar Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham before his alleged suicide. It has left behind a lot of questions in the minds of educationalists and academicians on the current situation of research scholars being discriminated inside campuses, facing obstacles and delay in getting fellowship for their projects.

When I recently interacted with several research scholars hailing from various parts of Tamil Nadu in some of the premier State-run institutions, including Madras University, Bharathidasan University and Anna University, I could see that the researchers face many hurdles.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

பெண்களைக் கொண்டாடுங்கள்... தினங்களை விடுங்கள்

உன்னைக் கொண்டாட ஒரு தினம் போதுமா
களைப்பே உன் உழைப்பின் மீதமா

பெண் பிறப்பைச் சாபமென்றான் சாத்திரம் பேசியவன்
தன் பிறப்பின் மூலமே பெண்ணென்று மறந்தான்
உன் உறுப்பை மட்டுமே தேவையென்றறிந்தான்
பெண் சிறப்பு என்னென்று அறியாமல் திரிந்தான்

Monday, 6 March 2017

Nothing to do with Islam but, it is all about the individual

When there is a perception over an individual or a large community across the world, it is not so easy to change in a short span. It takes decades for them to come out of the identity, be it a positive or a negative shade. So is in the case of the followers of Islam after the 9/11 attack at WTO towers in the USA. But, that shade has been rapidly fading out to nowhere in the present scenario claims some known faces. I recently had an opportunity to interact with award-winning story-teller and leading stand-up comedian Aman Ali from New York City on the sidelines of the meeting organised at Amir Mahal, the residence of Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali. It was an enlightening session for me as I really went through certain eye brow rising facts during our conversation.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

If its pan Tamilnadu, why only Neduvasal?

Ever since 2017 unfolded, a number of issues have been rocking the State. Now, it is the turn of the anti-hyrdocarbon extraction protest. Despite the process being carried out across various hamlets and towns in the Cauvery delta region and the rest of Tamil Nadu, it all commenced at small village, Neduvasal in Pudukottai district in the form of protests started by the villagers joining hands with college students from the locality.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Kanavu Variyam: A dream that needs more reception

It all started with Tamil Thai Vaazhthu right after the censor certificate by putting a hidden question to the spectators, that if you are ready to stand up for national anthem, why not for your mother tongue's anthem? And this is that one reason, I feel that Kanavu Variyam (U) should be watched in theaters just to respect their attempt to propose this in their agenda. After watching this movie, I felt that I should really pen a viewer's note (which I write usually on rare occasions) for the movie which I had told my friend Ram too who came with me to watch the movie out of my compulsion.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Calm After Storm: Capital city gets back to normal life

Be it Vardah, Tsunami, floods, a Chief Minister's death or AIADMK's faction fight, Chennai that witnesses chaos at its peak in every of these events, easily gets back to normal routine just a day after the hubbub comes to an end. The city that was experiencing various kinds of turmoil including traffic rush, media attention and security hikes across it for the past fortnight due to the faction fight in the ruling party AIADMK has turned back to it regular life immediately after the swearing in ceremony of the new council of minister led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

When I came across the residence of former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam that is located along the Greenways road and was with media attention in its peak till last weekend has now completely faded out of the spotlight, posing like an ordinary government quarters with normal security force. To be noted, the name board that was carrying Panneerselvam's portfolio including finance and public works department has a major make over.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Stalin does an MK - Tries out the Kalaignar way?

Breaking cacophony in the party that was existing among the ground level cadres, DMK's working president MK Stalin is now all set to fill the vacuum that was created after the party's president Karunanidhi's hospitalisation and bed rest. Stalin has commenced to write a new chapter in the party in which he is trying to emerge out in the shades of his father Karunanidhi.

Recently, when addressing the scribes at the party head quarters, Anna Arivalayam in Teynampet, I could easily notice that Stalin was gently exposing himself with the mannerisms of Karunanidhi with utter confidence and boldness in his speech.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Every number matters: A preview on confidence motion for Edappadi Palanisamy's cabinet

After all of those nail biting moments of the State politics, numbers have become the significant parameter at the end of a fortnight long faction fight that has been eventuating in the AIADMK. It is going to be a confidence motion at the State assembly on Saturday (February 18, 2017) that will decide the fate of the Chief Ministerial term for the next couple of years from now on the basis of trust votes casted by the law makers of Tamil Nadu State assembly.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

It is not the time to connect the dots of Chennai oil spill

In the midst of the swelling conspiracy theories regarding the recent collision between two ships M T BW Maple and M T Dawn in the verge of January this year, I am writing this.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

'Thamizhanda' gets 100% placement in Madras Institute of Technology

I should say that the conclusion of the pro-Jallikattu protests carried out by the youth of the State has not only ended up with the lifting of the ban on the sport but also seems to have opened the space for a wide range of Tamil patriotism. Be it the negligence of multinational brands and boycott of many anti-agriculture products like bottled carbonated beverages, the idea of Tamil patriotism has started to spread as a forest fire which I have been witnessing in a number of instances in the past couple of weeks.

One of the latest instances is the complete changeover in the theme and progress of Madras Institute of Technology's (MIT's) annual inter-collegiate cultural festival, MITAFEST (23 February to 26 February 2017), from a totally western theme to a raw Tamil theme.

The theme of the 45th edition of MITAFEST till last fortnight was 'Halloween'. But not any more. It is now changed to 'Thamizhanda'.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

'CIFF screening, a recognition for a frustrated director', says Uriyadi maker

When a generation-X director handles crucial and sensational subjects in his work, it will always drag in huge critical and ideological crowd into the screens when filmed. But, for Vijay Kumar, who had made his debut flick 'Uriyadi' based on communalism in and around rural parts of Tiruchy district, it is one level up as his movie that was screened in Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) on January 9, 2017.

The movie could rope in audience from international entities. Several Russians, Europeans and Far East Asians watched Uriyadi in CIFF that was screened at the Russian Cultural Center in the city. Having dealt with a very crucial subject, a social issue in his first attempt, Vijay Kumar interacted with some of the spectators including me, in much of light headed attitude and in a cool way after the screening of his film.

His interaction was full of failures, disappointments and the challenges he had faced before releasing Uriyadi. Here are some of the excerpts of that interaction.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Organiser less protest ; a well organised protest for saving the bull embracing sport

It was an organiser-less protest, yet it turned out to be the most well-organised stir of all time. This was what came to mind when I witnessed the mass protests being organised in public places in Chennai for lifting the ban on Jallikattu, Tamil culture's own bull embracing sport.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Bairavaa questions quality of private colleges and their sub-standard managements

Bairavaa (U):

Viewer's Note:

Not a much convincing work nor a worst one too. I should say that Barathan again failed to utilise the 'Vijay Quotient' for the second time. However Vijay tries to carry the movie throughout and Keerthy Suresh as well. Let me not get into the commercial aspect of Bairavaa and this is completely an ideology based viewer's note.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Feminism: The Long Spoken Ideology Of Women-Freedom in World Movies

Its usually an ideology that runs as the central chord of a film and adds strength to the script. Across the globe, several modern ideologies and thoughts have been delivered to the spectators. When it comes to an international film festival like Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) the movies screened would be still better ones with stronger ideologies. At this juncture Feminism is no exception.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Tamil flavours occupy foreign movies in Chennai International Film Festival

I should say that the 14th Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) is that one event that could let people understand that art is beyond boundaries.  Despite the country, language, culture and the race from where they have their origin, the foreign movies screened in CIFF  have lots of instances that Tamil audiences can relate to.

Greek movie Ouzeri Tsitsanis (A Cloudy Sunday) directed by Manousos Manousakis spoke in length about the kind of relationship a Christian man had with his Jewish love lady. The movie is set in the backdrop of World War II in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece. During this time, Nazi occupation was rigorous in the country and Jews were evacuated from the country. In this movie, two plots run side-by-side, a poetic love story and life of the musician Vasilis Tsitsanis.