17 March, 2006

Hatari!!!!

Danger!!!

That's the name of the Movie I saw last night Well to get it straight its called Hatari !!!! means Danger. I have been waiting to see this movie for a long long time and have waited to get hold of this DVD for a long time.

Well there's a story behind this. In around 1984 on Doordarshan they had this Quiz programme called Quiz Time hosted by Siddarth Basu at 2100 and one of the rounds was a Audio Visual Round where they showed a lady trotting away with 3 baby elephants to take them for a shower and the question was to answer the name of the Movie. And Lo! Behold my dad answered that question and so did the Boys from Poddar College

Since then I have been fascinated by the song and have always wanted to watch the movie. So last week when HMV had a mega sale I went and bought the DVD after reading the reviews about the movie.

The movie is nothing like the present day movies. Made in 1962 this movie by John Wayne abd a couple of other stars from other countries the movie has been shot real smooth.

The picture details in an episodic, yet never over-indulgent, fashion the activities of a group of individuals based in Tanganyika who capture wild animals for zoos and circuses. Composed of a multi-national array, ranging from the U.S. (John Wayne, Red Buttons) to Germany (Hardy Kruger), France (Gerard Blain), Italy (Elsa Martinelli), and Mexico (Valentin de Vargas), the ensemble bonds together through their sharing of skills and commitment to a common enterprise.

Dallas (played by Martinelli) is the outsider, a photographer employed by the zoo to which many of the animals will be sent in order to document the process of their capture. Like many women in Hawks's films, Dallas must prove herself the equal of her companions, which she does by exhibiting her expertise with animals (becoming the mother to a trio of abandoned baby elephants) and her ease with the group's friendly banter and amiable horseplay.

The interactions of the characters are bracketed by the exhilarating and expertly shot sequences of animal captures. Fluid tracking shots follow the trucks as they pursue wild game across a scenic landscape. Hawks reportedly improvised much of the picture on location and used no doubles for the actors. The tone of irritation that crosses Wayne's voice in a tense sequence where they capture a belligerent rhino evidences how unprotected the actors felt. At the same time, the characters' dedication to the tasks at hand and the light-hearted pleasure they take in the species housed at their compound undercut the distaste some may feel at their profession as wild game hunters.

These characters embrace the creatures they capture not as alien species but co-inhabitants of an edenic paradise. The evident enthusiasm that they take in washing a chattering hyena or the maternal attachment Dallas exhibits as she leads her elephants to a swimming hole, punctuated by Henry Mancini's celebrated "Elephant Walk," underscore how relaxed they are around their fellow mammals. Hawks delineates a world in which men and women, humans and animals, co-exist and achieve an enviable degree of harmony and serenity.

The absence of any underlying malevolence or ambiguity makes Hatari an undeniably involving, yet potentially unsatisfying, picture. There is something lackadaisical about its structure, if not its length. Over two and a half hours long, Hatari is languid in its pacing but holds one's interest throughout. The progression of scenes is connected by the seasonal collection of animals, not by any single dramatic moment or striking event. Still, one has the sense that Hawks so enjoyed depicting a fascinating profession that he failed to balance the informality of the film's structure with a more sustained examination of its themes. While, as usual, Hawks is acutely sensitive to the relationship between the sexes, allowing his female characters to engage the world as deliberately as his male leads, the native Africans in the picture remain relegated to the background. They are denied any role other than that of supernumeraries in the exploitation of their continent. Notwithstanding these caveats, Hatari is a worthy addition to Hawks's body of work and a joy to watch. Its embrace of the open air and evocation of the varied inhabitants of a
complex ecological system refresh one much like a cold glass of clear water.

Colors are accurate and solid from beginning to end and really bring the wonderful cinematography to life. For the most part the image is nice and sharp but medium and long range shots are noticeably softer, grainier, and less detailed -- presumably as the result of
filters being used to counteract the harsh conditions. Fortunately, no attempt was made to artificially sharpen the image so the picture remains very natural looking throughout. The film elements do display a bit of wear and tear on occasion but these blemishes are never a distraction. Given the age of the movie, and the nature of the filming environment, this is a very good video transfer.

"Hatari!" is the type of film that slowly grows on you. The long running time allows for a leisurely pace and by the end of the film you'll feel right at home with Sean Mercer and his cohorts. The dialogue and character interplay is truly top-notch and would be enjoyable even if the setting were more subdued. But the addition of the wonderful African scenery and exciting chase scenes adds that much more to the mix and the end result is yet another classic from the great Howard Hawks.

Baby Elephant Walk, from Wikipedia


The Baby Elephant Walk is a tune written in 1961 by composer Henry Mancini, for the 1962 release of the movie Hatari!.

The composer combines brass instruments (including repeated blasts from the tuba) and woodwind elements to convey the
sense of a toddler that is large and plodding, but nonetheless filled with the exuberance of youth. The catchy, jazzy
simplicity of the tune has made it one of Mancini's most popular works, prompting its appearance on nearly twenty later compilation and best of/greatest hits albums.
Review: "if Hatari! is memorable for anything, it's for the incredibly goofy 'Baby Elephant Walk,' which has gone on to be infamous musical shorthand for kookiness of any stripe. Get this tune in your head and it sticks."

And certainly It does The song is the ringtone on my Cellphone and also my songlist on my MP3Player... I would certainly watch the movie Again and so must most people who have not seen the movie...

15 March, 2006

Jayalalitha Nominated for Oscars

"Jayalalitha Nominated for Oscars" - Is this a Joke....? Well no it is news on TOI and well what a farce...

Who has nominated her? World Federation of Tamil Youth (WFTY) on Tuesday said it has nominated Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for the Nobel Peace Prize, 2006.

For what is this? For her "dedicated efforts in ushering Peace, Performance, Progressiveness, Productivity, Partnership and Prosperity for the people of the state during the last five years," its president Dr Vijay G Prabhakar said.

Weird Tamil Politicians...."We would also be celebrating April 14, the Tamil New Year as 'Selvi J Jayalalithaa day' in 15 countries, highlighting the progress of Tamil Nadu under her leadership," he said.

Grow up guys dont make a farce of giving Nobel Prizes for crazy stuff. Making Vaiko join her party after all the political vendetta against him -arresting him under POTA for 2 years and then Vaiko back stabbing Jaya under every Political Rally and then come election Vaiko joins her... How much money was spent in buying him out.... Well she does deserve the Nobel prize quivalent for Politics and surely Jaya is the one who will get it... This person has cases against her and she should be nominated for the Nobel Prize yooooo hoooo

Dr Vijay G Prabhakar should be hit at the place it hurts most for nominating people like Jaya; a US congress man for Nominating Sri Sri Ravishankar for Peace. This guy is sitting under billions of dollars of money, lives in a palace, does not pay taxes and we should nominate for the Nobel prize...

There are better things to do in this world and better people who should be nominated for the Nobel Prize....

08 February, 2006

BodhiTree : Gand Mein Danda

BodhiTree : GMD
It required a little educating from Abesh's side - so the first thanks go out to him. It's the story of my life (and probably many others out there). The song of all songs for the truly frustoo engineer : Gaand mein danda by BodhiTree. The lyrics were written with managers in mind, but that doesn't stop you from feeling the song was written with you in mind. Even XLRI Ki Kudiyan is applicable to engineers and their colleges.
bodhiTree is...
1. Poornima Dore - Drums 2. Jishnu Dasgupta-Bass/ Vocals
3. Bharat Rajagopalan - Guitar 4. Abhishek Narain-Guitar/ Vocals
5. Satadru Bagchi - Vocals 6. Shambhavi Kumar-Vocals
7. Dhananjay Mishra - Vocals

Download mp3 files:

- Gaand Mein Danda
- Sabka Katega
- Too Many Potatoes
- XL Ki Kudiyan

Click Here for Lyrics to Gand Mein Danda

If they eventually release an Album I bet I would by the CD. Another Good Album I heard was BC Sutta by Zeest a Pakistani Band. Click Here for Download

23 January, 2006

The Lost Embers of Sholay


Sholay (1975, Producer: G.P Sippy, Director: Ramesh Sippy)
Star Cast:
Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya BhadurI and Amjad Khan.
Supporting Cast: Satyen Kappu, A.K Hangal, Iftekhar, Leela Misra, Macmohan, Sachin, Asrani, Keshto Mukharjee, Helen, Gita, Jairaj, Jagdeep, Jalal Agha, Om Shivpuri, Sharad Kumar.
Screenplay: Salim-Javed. Camera: Dwarcha Divecha. Music: R.D Burman.
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi. Playback: Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey & R.D Burman.
Art Direction: Ram Yedekar. Editing: M.S. Shinde. Sound: S.Y. Pathak.

Managed to get hold of "The Making Of Sholay by Anupama Chopra ISBN 014029970x" from a friend. As I was reading through the first few pages I felt so nostalgic. What the Hell? I need to watch the movie as I read the book. And guess what I had the " director's cut" of Sholay... Yeah the same uncut edition from Gabbar dies at the hand of Thakur.... Why wait so long to post? Don't ask. The connection between mind and body seems to be going through a strange state of dissociation and limbo.

Nothing was planned. There on my book rack lay a copy of Sholay - The Director's Cut. So as the rest of YMCA gettying ready to go for a Friday Night, I flopped on the bed and popped DVD into the laptop. As I listened to the train coming into the platform, and then the hummable Sholay Title Theme and then cuts to the dacoits chasing the train with Thakur taking the thugs JaI and Veeru. Of course, the original grouse was that Eros had been a skunk about producing DVDs of either version. The delight is in the details.

As i went thru the movie the dialogues Kitne Aadmi the?; Yeh Haath Mujhe De De Thakur; The Suicide scene by Viru, Tumahara Naam kya hai Basanti?; Jai going to Chachis house for Viru, how can anyone even forghet these dialgues. I may have seen the movies a zillion times.

Everyone knows the ending in the released print: the police arrive (too late, as always) in time to stop Thaakur saahab from killing Gabbar; then we have Jai's funeral, Viru leaving on the train (along with basantiI who decides to tag along). In the original ending there ain't no cops. Thaakur uses his specially designed shoes (another deleted scene appears on this edition to support the shoes -- raamalaal punches another spiked stud into the special shoes as Thaakur
watches on) to stomp Gabbar's hands (with the ye haath mujhe de de Gabbar), and then manages to kick him onto a metal spike sticking out of one of the sides of the place where Gabbar had tied Thaakur and appropriated his haath. While Gabbar's death itself is nicely done, it's rather hilarious to see the Thaakur/Gabbar fight sequence (especially the physics-defying leaps that Thaakur indulges in -- since he has no hands). It's like you were watching Crouching Thaakur Hidden Gabbar.

The other additions include more detail in the Ahmed (Sachin) meets Gabbar sequence. There's more explicit menace (and a larger hint at what brutality was in store for Ahmed). Frankly, though, I prefer the more understated version in the original release, where all you see Gabbar do is swat a fly and then you cut to the donkey returning to the village bearing Ahmed's corpse. I feel compelled to paraphrase that sentiment about the Ahmed scene.

As I read thru the book only then did I know that Sholay was meant to be a flop during the initial days and then soon picked up. And as the movie came to and end so did the book. That was what I feel an evening well spent

Losing the nostalgia for Sholay:
'Sholay' : mention the name and you will be greeted with a volley of well-rehearsed dialogues...
'Arre O Samba…Kitne AadmI The?…
'Sarkar Maine Aapka Namak Khaya Hai… Ab goli Kha…'
'Hum Angrezon Ke Zamane Ke jailor Hain…Soorma BhopalI A1…
'Yeh Haath Mujhe Dede Thakur…Chal Basanti, aaj TerI BasantI KI Izzat Ka Sawal Hai…

' The list is endless. Every dialogue is a moviegoer's delight. Today it is impossible to see the film in a theatre, what with the crowd delighting in repeating the dialogues along with the characters. Therein lies its strength. Sholay is the greatest, if not the highest money-spinning movie of all times in India. (For the simple reason that the tickets in 1975 cost a mere Rupees Four! But at today's rates, the six year run (not to add the repeat runs) of the movie would ensure returns that would be unfathomable. The very mention of the film, 'Sholay' produces an automatic response of fear and trepidation. One tends to conjure up intimidating images of dhamakedar dacoits and dashing damsels,who incidentally are in a fair ammount of distress. The film is fraught with high voltage drama and tension enough to make a grown man weak-kneed.

As a movie, it is difficult to categorize into any single genre. It could well be clubbed as action or drama, musical or romance. It was also seen by some as the curry-western, a milieu of Indian spice and western machoism. In fact many a parallel has been drawn between 'Sholay' and John Ford's 'Stagecoach' (1939) Whatever it classifies as does not interest us because this Ramesh Sippy - Javed Akhtar brainchild blew the collective minds of an entire generation of Indian moviegoers. And is still doing so.

The tale is one of Thakur Baldev Singh, played by the late Sanjeev Kumar, once a senior police officer. In an attempt to fight the evil dacoit Gabbar Singh (the dynamic debut of Amjad Khan), he joins hands with two local smalltime crooks , who despite their criminal records have hearts of gold. The Thakur is quick to recognize the underlying humanity beneath their fearless, tough-as-nails exterior.

These two outlaws, Jaidev and Veeru (played to perfection by Amitabh and Dharmendra respectively) procede to Ramgarh, the Thakur's estate. In an exceptionally poignant moment of the film, the two while trying to break into the Thakur's safe at night and escape with the loot are seen by Radha, the Thakur's widowed daughter-in-law, who offers them the keys on the grounds that at least it would open her father's eyes to the fact that they are crooks, and not the brave fighters he perceived them as.

Through the device of the flashback, the viewer is let into the traumatic past at the same time as Jaidev and Veeru are enlightened by the Thakur. It is here that we are introduced to the character of Gabbar Singh played by the invincible Amjad Khan. Who, on being caught by the Thakur and unceremoniously being sent to jail, swore revenge. Gabbbar Singh escapes soon after and guns down the Thakur's entire family ruthlessly. This scene of carnage and relentless massacre went down in the annals of history as the goriest bloodbath in Indian cinema at the time. The only one to escape the carnage was the youngest daughter-in-law, Radha, who was away at the temple. Coming home to this devastation, the Thakur in a violent rage, rode unarmed to the ravines where Gabbar Singh reigned. Finding him helpless and ironically
vulnerable, Gabbar Singh chose to hack off the Thakur's arms which had once held him prisoner.
Gabbar Singh went on to become yet another iconic figure-head of terror. His opening exclamation "Suar ke bachchon!!! " is a classic example of his irreverance. He was the kind of man who wouldn't lose sleep over feeding golis to his namak consuming chelas. He delivers one hundred percent of the quintessential villian, one who pursues evil as an end in itself. On the more romantic front, Veeru falls in love with the gregarious tangewalI Basanti, while the more serious Jaidev feels drawn to the young and lonely Radha, who watches him silently from a distance. When Veeru goes to keep a rendezvous with Basanti, he discovers that she's been kidnapped by Gabbar's men. To add fuel to the fire, Gabbar orders BasantI to dance on splinters of glass if she wishes to see her love-interest alive. This time it is an all out war, and the men fight it out desperately. Fatally wounded, Jaidev pretends he is mildly hurt, and sends Veeru back to the village with Basanti. He manages to heroically blow up a bridge and kill most of the bandits. At this point Thakur arrives on the scene and insists on fighting Gabbar alone.

What follows is a rather dramatic display of footwork, enough to give Ronaldo a run for his money. Thakur hits out with his hobnailed shoes at a wily Gabbar, who without the protection of his gang becomes a cowering beast. With Jaidev dead , Veeru decides to leave Ramgarh, but in the empty compartment of the sleepy train he finds … Surprise!!! A coy Basanti waiting for him in heated anticipation. The film is groundbreaking because of it's unabashed display of violence and gore as well as for it's repertoire of catch phrases, which have inspired many a free spirited rebel who wished to talk tough. Several wannabe Gabbar Singhs spouted daku-lingo merrily, much to the displeasure of all mild mannered gentry. Interestingly enough, when the film was released it didn't open very well. This was attributed to the fact that it was way ahead of its time. But its six year uninterrupted run at the box office gave it enough time to catch up with its swashbuckling style. Thus it is safe to say that emerging as a brilliant little spark of superlative filmmaking, 'Sholay' built up enough punch to rewrite movie history. It continued to gather momentum as it went along the rugged terrain of time and transformed into a raging orb of fire, destroying all conventions that came across it's path.

The film has made use of several interesting innovations.
This included, spectacular inematography, with shots panning over rocky heights and barren landscapes, often under the menacing shadow of a threatening cloud. It was also the first film to be shot in the large-screen, 70mm format with stereophonic sound. This gave the film most of it's pulsating tension.
Although in present times of desensitization, one would not even bat an eyelid at the most gruesome of murders, for its time, 'Sholay' was a revolutionary film, which inspired many film makers to continue its trend of imaginative cinema.
To date 'Sholay' remains a cult film by any standard. Many clones followed, but the original will always stay fresh in the minds of all movie lovers. It's doubtful whether any will ever surpass the sheer canvas and magnitude of 'Sholay'. Maybe in terms of money spent or money earned. But in completeness? In script? In cohesion of a story well told or a project well received? Doubtul.

As Gabbar would say, "Pachas kos door jab bachcha rota haI to maa kehtI hai, bete soja, warna Gabbar aa jaayega.." However it goes without saying, that the fame of Gabbar and thereby 'Sholay' goes way beyond the pachas kos margin.No one could of have imagined the spectacular degree of SHOLAY's success. The film changed lives, transformed careers, and even twenty-five years after its release it remains the box office gold standard, a reference point for both the Indian film-going audience and the film industry. Over the years, 'Sholay has transcended its hit-movie status. It is not merely a film, it is the ultimate classic; it is myth. It is a part of our heritage as Indians. The film, still as compellingly watchable as it was when first released (in 1999 BBC-India and assorted internet polls declared it the Film of the Millenium), arouses intense passions. Its appeal cuts across barriers of geography, language, ideology and class: an advertising guru in MumbaI will speak as enthusiastically and eloquently about the film as a rickshaw driver in hyderabad.And the devotion is often fanatical. 'Sholay' connoisseurs - to call them 'fans' would be insulting their ardour - speak casually of seeing the film fifty, sixty even seventy times. Dialogue has been memorized. Also the unique background music: the true 'Sholay' buff can pre-empt all the sound effects. He can also name Gabbar's arms dealer who is on screen for less than thirty seconds (Hira), and Gabbar's father who is mentioned only once as Gabbar's sentence is read out in court ('Gabbar Singh, vald HarI Singh...'.

After watching the film yet again, I can see my global appreciation for the film break down into appreciation for the
specifics. From noting the influences (both acknowledged and unacknowledged), to noting the innovative space that the
film defined and noting some of the understated performances I have come to the point where a bulk of the film just grates -- the Viru/Basanti romantic stuff is overdone (a trend in Bollywood that still refuses to go away); Hema MalinI grates; Dharmendra hams gloriously; some of the timing of Amitabh's retorts seems off, there's a lot of perfunctory "essential" sequences that don't seem to add much to the movie (the jail sequence, even Soormaa Bhopali), except perhaps to establish the characters enough from a mainstream POV; and there's a LOT (and I mean that, a LOT) of exposition. All these won't be grouses that a mainstream audience looking for a "complete" entertainer will have. And perhaps that's where Sholay fits best -- a film in the mainstream mould that attempted something different while complying with the conventions of mainsteam "entertainment". And for defining the "curry" western.

Do I still like it? Time to toss that coin.

Again as beautifully put by a Veteran Director in the book "The Making of SHOLAY " the Indian Film Indstry can be rightfully classified a s Sholay AD and Sholay BC

What is it about 'Sholay' that works on us still? When people watch 'Sholay' today, certain aspects of the film seduce them all over again: the soaring imagination of the story and the way it is told; the vitality of the scorching rocky landscape, charging horses and falling men; the gritty directorial conviction that allows an unhurried tale to be developed, full of texture and rhythm. The elements fall into place perfectly:a marvellous chemistry between the actors
; a fable like story detailed into a superb script; unforgettable dialogue and fine performances. The film skillfully blends traditional and modern elements. It has, as author Nasreen MunnI Kabir says, 'Differences in lifestyles which co-exist without appearing illogical.' The steam engines, the horses, the guns and the denim give the film an ageless quality, a feeling of several centuries existing next to each other.

Facts on Sholay.
01. Released on 15 Augast 1975.
02. Real Bullets were used for the close up action scenes.
03. Amitabh was almost killed at the end of the movie when a stray bullet from dharmendra missed him by inches.
04. First scene shot for the movie was Amitabh returning the keys to the safe to Jaya.
05. There are two sets of negatives, one in 70mm and one in 35mm as every shot/scene was done twice.
06. The last shot done in the village was Jai's death scene.
07. Basanti's chase sequence was shot over twelve days.
08. Jim Allen,Gerry Cramton,Romo Commoro,John Gant...some of the foreign technicians who worked on the action sequences.
09. The train sequence took seven weeks to shoot.
10. The last scene shot for Sholay was the Thakur meets Veeru and JaI outside the jail and offers them the job.
11. Sholay took nearly two and half years to complete (450 shifts)
12. Amjad's voice was nearly dubbed as there were whispers it not being strong enough for a villain.
13. The background music took a whole month to complete.
14. Sholay's Budget was close to three crores.
15. Jaya was pregnant during the shooting of the film with Shweta Bachchan.
16. Jaya was glowing again during the premiere of Sholay...this time with Abhishek Bachchan.
17. Sholay's premiere audience saw a 35mm print as the 70mm one was stuck at customs.
18. Sholay was released in Bombay with 40 prints.
19. Saachin was a veteran film actor with 60 films behind him from 1962.... but A.K Hangal was a newcomer to films.
20. Amjad's first scene shot was his introduction scene .....his first lines "Kitne AadmI The"?
The deleted 'Chaar Bhaand' qawaali. (8 mins)
Playback: Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Bhupinder and Anand Bakshi, with chorus.

Chaand sa koI chehra na pehloo main ho
To chandnI ka mazaa nahin aata
Jaam peekar shraabI na gir jaahe to
MaikashI ka mazaa nahin aata

(There is no joy in moonlight
Without the moon-faced one by my side.
There is no joy in wine
If having drunk I do not stumble and fall)

16 January, 2006

Murder In the First




Yesterday Sunday at the end of a nearly boring day of Cleaning the room, Ironing the clothes and a few seconds at the
Speakers Forum at the Indian YMCA myself and another friend decided to watch a movie as weh ad slpet in the evening and not feeling Sleepy. Watched East is East with all the tickle tackes and the Desi english by Om puri and all the Bloody Bastards spewing out of his mouth.

Later we decided to watch a Movie called the Murder At the First - A movie based on the tortures committed at Alcatraz in the name of Justice By none other than the Americans.... This is the second movie I was watching about Alcatraz after Escape from Alcatraz.












So what is Alcatraz?
This is High Security Prison that overlooks the sea and is a High Security Prison for everyone right from Hardened Criminals to Petty Criminals. The Hole or the Dungeon is a place where a person is to be kept in Solitary Confinement with no Light, no sanitation, no windows and worst of all no one comes to speak to you and no clothes.

A history Of the Alcatraz can be read here.






The Picture On the right shows a Aerial Snapshot of Alcatraz

Murder In the First

Murder in the First is a story about one of the most infamous prisons in the world, Alcatraz, and a statement about the
American system of justice. The idea that criminals who commit horrific crimes should be locked up and forgotten is
appealing, but people who propound such ideas usually do not allow for error. This movie, starring Christian Slater as
a young lawyer, and Kevin Bacon as the innocent who survives the ravages of the justice system, serves as a reminder that power corrupts, and that no justice system is perfect.

PLOT DESCRIPTION
This shocking prison drama was inspired by a true story. In 1938, Henri Young (Kevin Bacon), sentenced to Alcatraz for stealing $5, attempted to escape from prison with three other prisoners. One of the escapees was captured, and to curry favor with Warden Glenn (Gary Oldman), he informed on the others. Young was soon brought back to custody, and was to be punished by spending 19 days in solitary confinement. Nineteen days stretched into three years, in which Young was kept in a pit with no light, no toilet, no furniture, and nothing to read. Young emerged from solitary a vengeful madman, and he quickly murdered the convict who turned him in. Young was put on trial for the killing, and assigned a first-time public defender, James Stamphill (Christian Slater). Stamphill was horrified by Young's tales of the conditions at Alcatraz, and he used them as the basis of his defense for his client, believing that anyone would be driven to madness and murder if they had been treated the same way as Young. Murder in the First also features Embeth Davidtz, William H. Macy, Brad Dourif, and R. Lee Ermey.

Performances
The performances are all superb. Christian Slater plays the role of the freshman lawyer well, and Kevin Bacon's Henri Young portrayal of a prisoner on the verge of insanity is brilliantly convincing. Milton Glenn (Gary Oldman) is ruthless and cruel as Alcatraz's Associate Warden. There is enough drama in the movie to keep the audience from getting bored, even though there is little action. I think a bit more time could've been spent exploring how the post-Depression post-Prohibition era mentality among the American people allowed such an institution to exist.

The most powerful moment of the film comes when the Warden of the prison (Stefan Gierasch), who is nothing more than a paper pusher, is on the witness stand and keeps repeating "he tried to escape" to justify the human rights violations of the inmate. I firmly believe that there is no crime that justifies punishment that could potentially penalise a single person not deserving of that punishment.

After the Final escape which was made into a movie called Escape From Alcatraz the Prison was closed down and then converted into a Tourist Attraction. To know more Click Here

AWARDS
Best Actor (win) - Kevin Bacon - 1995 Broadcast Film Critics Association
Best Supporting Actor (nom) - Kevin Bacon - 1995 Screen Actors Guild

SIMILAR MOVIES
Stir (1980, Stephen Wallace)
Ghosts... of the Civil Dead (1998, John Hillcoat)
Justice Denied (1989, Paul Cowan)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont)
The Interrogation of Michael Crowe (2002, Don Mc Brearty)
Convicted (2004, Bille August)
Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954, Don Siegel)
Brubaker (1980, Stuart Rosenberg)
Chattahoochee (1989, Mick Jackson)

RELATED MOVIES
Lock Up (1989, John Flynn)
Reversal of Fortune (1990, Barbet Schroeder)

Top 4 Alcatraz Movies
Since the beginning of the movie industry, Alctraz has been the subject of many movies. These are the most popular.
1) The Rock (1996) - A reluctant chemist and an ex-Bristish secret agent lead the counterstrike when soldiers threaten a nerve gas attack from Alcatraz against San Francisco.
2) Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) - This is the most highly rated of all the Alcatraz movies. Loosely based on the life of Robert Stroud.
3) Escape from Alcatraz (1979) - The story of Frank Morris and his escape. Stars Clint Eastwood.
4) Murder in the First (1995) - Inspired by a true story. Henry stays in confinemnent for years, loses his sanity and commits murder. The story follows a rookie lawyer who contends that Alcatraz was to blame.

All in all Its a wonderful movie to watch with really good performances by esp. Kevin Bacon as Henri Young.
A MUST WATCH*****

Happy Pongal

Happy Pongal

I have been in London for about 4 months and this is my 5th Month. I have been away from Family and Friends not to mention my 8 month old daughter who I miss dearly. But the stay has been fruitful in one way or the other. This time I have celebrated Diwali and Pongal in London.

The previous day was my friends birthday and we were awake till about 3 AM and then sleeping and getting back to the temple prayers at 8:30 Am something really nice. In all my life in Chennai I have never been to a temple and here I am in London taking the pains and making a rush for the temple. Been to East Ham a couple of times but the idea of celebrating Pongal with seeing the boiling and overflowing milk and eating Pongal something I have not done after marriage.

The Temple was filled with people and the festivities were really nice. I think all the effort should go to the Sri Lankan and the Malaysian Tamils who have been in London for long and have tried to maintain their cultural identity. Bringing priest from India to do the job and maintaining the decorum for the pujas done in the temple at the right time having the environment for the same wow it was something really nice.

And on the way back the usual went to Chennai Dosa had the breakfast Buffet and trudged my way back home.

Once Again Happy Pongal.

12 January, 2006

The Human Body

The Human Body - The Diving Reflex

When in India, I had seen a Terrific programme on BBC called The Human Body and almost a similar programme on the Discovery.

I was simply amzed about the facts mentioned.

So the first thing I did was bought the DVD called The Human Body from the BBC Shop and I have seen the same almost 10 times during my 5 month stay in the UK.

Did you know that the neurons in the brain emit pulses at 400kmph which is simply awesome and then a few seconds later its ready to do the same thing all over again.
And If all the electrodes were connected then the electricity from the brain can be used to light a Bulb.

What amazed me was that after a baby is born until four months the baby can swim underwater.

The better part is it canswim under water with its mouth OPEN.... Yeah mouth Open.

The trick is the valve in the oesophagus does not allow the water to go to the lungs but sends the water to the Stomach.

What the doctors are still not able to understand is how does this all happen. Is it because of one of our long evovled Ancestors or its is during the stay in the fluid environment in the womb?

If you get a chance to view the Serial which is 8 Part episode or Buy the DVD I would say it is a must Buy...

Links:-
The Inner Body
BBC Human Body - An addictive educational site which has some interactive sessions on the body and some Psychological Tests as well.

Philips MiraVisionTM Mirror TV


I have to say, it’s a weirdass concept, but I wouldn’t mind having it up in my home. If you haven’t seen it, Philips MiraVision Mirror TV is pretty much just that: A LCD monitor that, when turned off, is a reflective mirror. Certainly nicer than a big black screen in the bedroom. So it’s nice to see that Philips is now offering the TV in 32- and 42-inch sizes.

Read More Here at: The Philips Site

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the coolest of them all?
Step aside, wicked stepmother. Make way for Miravision, where things are not what they seem. A brainchild of Philips, this converged device hides an LCD TV behind a thin polarized reflective sheet. Switch on the TV, and your favorite reality show comes on. Turn the TV off, and now it's an innocuous wall-hanging mirror. For those who like to admire their reflection, a "picture in mirror" mode lets you watch Singapore Idol in a corner of the frame at the same time. The screen can also be hooked up to a PC for surfing the Net, and there're plans for a waterproof version to grace bathroom walls. So now you see it, now you don't.

Price: Est. S$5,000-S$6,000 (US$2,922–US$3,506)
Availability: Global launch, October-November
Device: LCD TV-mirror
Basic specs: Available in 17-inch, 23-inch and 30-inch widescreen versions, Super IPS display, accepts component, HD and XVGA signals, multiple AV inputs, customizable frames

09 January, 2006

Aamir’s British heroine revealed!


After Rachel Shelly in Lagaan, Aamir Khan is being paired with yet another British actress.

And this time, it’s for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti.

And the girl happens to be Alice Patten, a young British actress who will be making her debut in Bollywood with the Aamir Khan starrer. Alice is the daughter of Chris Patten, who was the last British governor of Hong Kong.

Let’s wait and see how long her tryst with Bollywood lasts!

NDTV Versus IBN-CNN Live

NDTV Versus IBN-CNN Live

Usually on a weekend (especially on a Sunday) I go to a temple in East Ham (Never been to a temple in Chennai), but this time around the price of the Tube Fares have risen so dramatically that I have had to think twice on things I need to do on a weekend.

As I was sitting at my window sill viewing the Fitzroy Square near the place I stay and out of Boredom switched on the TV and latched on to IBN-CNN. I was watching the news and only then did it click on me that hey this is Rajeev Sardesai's Channel. Yeah the same guy who quit NDTV to form a TV News Channel of his own. The news content was good but the news readers were quite a disaster. The news went on as follows "In the country of Iraq....." oh now u see Iraq is a country. Thanks guys for letting me know...

Rajdeep and his firebrand reporting came under fire from none other than Bal Thackeray using the choicest curse words on Samna - Shiv Sena's magazine. Read this to know more...

I then queried one of my friends who works for the BBC in Chennai and he told me that there were 2 schools of Journalism - one where the Newsreader knows nothing about the news and he/she just reads what the script writer has written for them because they read properly and are presentable e.g.: BBC itself and then there is this other school pioneered by NDTV in India where the Journalists double up as News readers.

It remains to be seen which school, IBN-CNN plans to follow. My channel of choice is and will always be NDTV- the programmes they have are quite nice be it We the People or the Current Affairs ort the double Take all of them are so informative. I have been following the NDTV right from the days of The World This Week on Fridays at 9:30 pm to Mission Kashmir by Barkha Dutt (India's Christiane Amanpour) and also the Vote Counts during every election hosted Dr. Prannoy Roy and Sopariwala

One area where we could see the similarities between Rajdeep's IBN and Prannoy Roy's NDTV can be seen in Sonia Gandhi's Interview with Barkha Dutt on NDTV and Rajdeep on IBN-CNN. Read This...

The good thing about the CNN-IBN launch is the competition to NDTV. However, CNN IBN's nowhere near NDTV right now (for me at least) and I think it'll take time getting there. IBN's got one big gun in Rajdeep, but NDTV has more than one (Barkha Dutt & Nidhi Razdan for example, if you want to leave out Prannoy Roy). Plus, NDTV had a head start and they're an established brand, so they'll take time to topple.

The downside of this whole thing is that both channels fall over each other about Exclusive this and Exclusive that, which gets tiresome after a while. NDTV remains my primary TV news source but CNN-IBN's the second choice. I've never quite got used to Headlines Today.

The Times Group is adding its own TV channel to the mix, so I'm sure it'll be interesting times. Tabloid TV maybe?

NDTV has been in the business for a long time even before they went on air with their independent offerings NDTV 24/7, NDTV India and NDTV Profit. As the organisation driving the news channels of Star they catapulted these channels to the top tier of viewership ratings. Prannoy Roy's special programmes before, during and after major elections established his reputation as a psephologist to reckon with. Do we remember him as an anchor in the weekly show 'The World this Week' on Doordarshan?

NDTV sans Rajdeep has many saleable stars in their own right. I think their reputation and popularity stems from the brand value of their anchors. I recall a hoarding put up by NDTV prior to their IPO which has their instantly recognisable anchors and newscasters standing together. We could tell their names. In that sense the journalists took the centrestage. NDTV is right up there on the pecking order of television news channels.

I have been to IBN's site and watched the free video. There is always room for those who seek to raise the bar. Not convinced though about their positioning though. Time will tell...

NDTV is a trend-setter though! It still remains to be seen who leads the English News reading channel in the TRP Ratings....