Thursday, March 6, 2014
Thursday, August 9, 2012
If I say that I was totally blown away , it is not an exaggeration. I have always been a bit doubtful of this technology and the results it produced and I must confess that I have revised my opinion in toto. Kudos to the Team at Prasad , they have done an absolutely splendid job. Every frame is so "alive" and I felt that Superstar as well as the others looked even better than they did in the film - so beautifully Cinematographed by K.V.Ananad. Shankar's larger than life canvas and his taste for the opulent is truly shining in this version. The sets that were breathtaking in the original are absolutely "Jaw Dropping" - another Kudos , this time to Thotta Tharani. We can safely expect that AVM will be doing its utmost to ensure that we can view this in all our favourite Cinema Halls/Multiplexes and of course they are the masters of Publicity , so we will all be well warned of the arrival.
I was talking to one of the Producers who told me that this was a project in which 400 people have been working for more than a year - WHO SAYS THAT THE FILM WORLD CANNOT KEEP A SECRET ?
Not a word of this came out till a few days ago. They have gone one step better than the earlier conversion attempts. They have gone for "dual" image , which requires Two Projectors and the Server in the Theater to handle both , this has contributed to the sparklingly crystal clear 3 D images.
I have always been a fan of the "Superstar" and when the Titles come on and each of the letters S U P E R etc starts to jump out at you , I am sure the Theater will Thunder - Summa Kettala Adhurudhu Illa ???? I am given to understand that Superstar watched a few parts and was totally impressed with the quality of the work and has given his Thumbs up.
Like the rest of Tamil Cinema Fans , I am looking forward to the release which I understand is not very far off.......so Rajini fans can rejoice that their "Thalaivar" is going to come "live" and boy are we in for a Roller Coaster ride.......To me it was like watching a "brand new" Rajini film - this 3 D has made such a difference.
When he tosses the coin up.....it almost comes and hits you in the eye.....this is no toss of a coin, it is a sure blockbuster. The 3 D's I saw can simply be described as Dazzlingly Delightful and a Divine experience.
What makes me prouder is that all this hi tech conversion work was done here in NAMMA CHENNAI -
Friday, July 27, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
IRENE stands for Image Reconstruct Erase Noise Etc. It is a turntable ( a record Player) with a camera instead of the Stylus. A high definition Camera captures images of the Grooves on a record and converts it into a Sound file. Records that a are to sensitive or damaged or even broken can be "read" and thereafter Listened to in this.
Other than the Library of Congress in the United States, RMRL is the only place to have this equipment. They hope to create an archive of our "Sound" history. Good luck to them.
MANY PEOPLE HAVE DONATED THEIR OLD 78 RPM RECORDS TO THE LIBRARY....said Sundar , when I went ( to donate some of my Grandfather's old Tamil Books). I think the best way for us to get a digital disc of all this music lying in our attic is to "donate" it to RMRL. They in turn will give you a Digital Copy.You get to listen to that "old" S G Kittappa or Saigal and also ensure that this heritage is preserved well for posterity.....
My entire collection of old Tamil Drama and Cinema Handbills (bit notice) was given to them to microfilm and load in their database for use by researchers. So too some of the Letters of my maternal great grandfather Rt Hon V.S.Srinivasa Sastri. I am not just talking but have walked the Talk.
My appeal to all of you is to take the trouble this "summer" , climb up the Attic - (Paran) and pull out those old shellac plates....Bring it over to RMRL and get to listen to the Music. For those of you who do not know about RMRL , it is in Tharamani. Just Google it......
The Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL) project was initiated to preserve, catalog, and expand the collection of Roja Muthiah, who during his lifetime amassed one of the world's finest private libraries of Tamil publications. The University of Chicago Library spearheaded a global effort, which resulted in the founding of the Roja Muthiah Research Library to house the collection in 1996. The RMRL provides research materials and facilities for students of Tamil studies in a variety of fields spanning the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
The Library's notable strengths are its holdings in classical and modern literature, literary criticism, medicine, cinema and the related culture of printed works (such as song books), folklore, material by and about women, religion and philosophy, and numerous publications of historical value. The collection is comprised of more than 100,000 volumes of books, journals, and newspapers. In addition there are rich holdings of oleolithographs from Ravi Varma's workshop, nearly 30,000 journal abstracts and indexes, an enormous collection of clippings, drama notices, wedding invitations, business and family correspondence, and palm leaf manuscripts. Most of the publications date from the later half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century.
The Hindu too wrote a nice piece on this "new arrival" -http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/article3405580.ece
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
I have been wondering about the way these caps are being awarded. Needless to say that they are given to some really great Batsmen and Bowlers , not some , all of them.....but did they get it for the "right" reason ?? That is what I ask....the mere accumulation of Runs and Wickets cannot be the sole reason to be honored with a cap that bestows on you the title of the "best".
I for one believe that an innings of 35 scored at a strike rate of 200 is more valuable than a 60 scored at a run a ball - unless the Team required someone to stand and stem the rot.....even stemming the rot cannot Win you the match in this format - you can pace your innings the way Chris Gayle did in one match slow and steady and then the floodgates opened taking his strike rate above 150.
The collecting of wickets with total disregard to the economy rate and the bowling of dot balls during the "death" overs as the sole factor for the Purple cap cannot be fair in the overall scheme of things. Just as the Powers that be got a "team" of technical experts to arrive at a formula called "Duckworth-Lewis" , they should get some mechanism worked out. In the ICC rankings , What you get after winning against Bangladesh is totally different than what you get when you beat England or Australia. This is something that also needs to be worked out.
As a start I would prefer if the Runs scored is multiplied by the Strike Rate ( not as 165 or 189 but as 1.65 or 1.89) and points awarded. The Highest Points gets the Cap. I am sure a methodology that takes into account economy rate/dot balls bowled and wickets taken will also be possible.
Can we get to see the Most Valuable and Successful Batsman and Bowler wearing the Cap.....
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
As the heroine playing sthreepart
Shooting Agathiyar with seerkazhi and lakshmi
with NTR during Sampoorna Ra,mayanam 1958
APN the Director....
I wrote an article in the Hindu on Shri A.P.Nagarajan , noted film Director/Producer. It was published on Sunday 15th April in the Cinema Plus section , here it is , un edited with a lot more Photographs.
The Master of Mythlogy
The recent release and success of “Karnan” has prompted a lot of interest in the revival of some of the old mythological classics. The early years of both Silent and talkie Cinema was surfeit with Myths and Legends as the subject , slowly by the late 50s the “social” subject had almost fully taken over , the fact that the Dravidian parties and its Leaders contributed a lot to this cannot be denied. The one person who brought the “Mythological” back to celluloid was A.P.Nagarajan.
His son C.N.Paramasivan , an NRI businessman , says that the film Karnan and the warm response given to it has prompted to him to restore and present his father’s films like Thiruvilayadal , Saraswathi Sabatham , Thiruvarutchelvar and Thillana Mohanambal. As they are all films that have been seen many times by people on Television the restoration has to make both a visible and an audible difference to the Theater audience. We need to offer them something more than just viewing a good quality print. Some of the others like Kandhan Karunai , Karaikal Ammaiyaar , Thirumalai Deivam and Sri Krishna Leela too will be considered if the restoration costs reduce says Paramasivan.
Akkammapettai Paramasivan Nagarajan was born on the 24th of February 1928 and christened as Kuppuswamy . His family were very wealthy landowners , almost Zamindars with thousands of acres . His father Paramasiva Gounder died when Nagarajan was a young boy , his mother Lakshmi Ammal followed her husband within a few months . His maternal grandmother Manicka Ammal took charge of the young boy and brought him up. She was afraid that he may not be cared well for by the Family. After a while she took him to a Drama Company and she did not inform them of the boy’s antecedents , later he shifted to Avvai T.K.Shanmugam’s Drama Cpmpany . As there were many Kuppuswamis his name was changed to Nagarajan. Nagarajan learnt his basics of the Dramatic Arts and even went on to play the “lead” in the Play “Gumasthavin Penn”. He was a remarkable actor , who brought to life all the roles he donned. His early “sthreepart” roles being very popular with the audience. He worked with the “Madurai Jayarama Sangeetha Boys Company “ as well as Sakthi Nadaga Sabha along with Sivaji ganesan and Kaka Radhakrishnan.
Nagarajan went on to grow in the world of Tamil Drama and started his own drama company the “Pazhani Kadiravan Nadaga Sabha” and in 1949 married Rani Ammal. He wrote and acted in several plays , when one of his plays “Nalvar” was made into a Movie . Nagarajan wrote the screenplay for his own Story and acted as the Hero in this Film. His film career had begun in 1953 both as a hero and as a writer. In an interview to a magazine he mentioned his father’s name as well as his ancestral village Akkammapettai. Some of his family members read this article and came down to meet him and he was re united with his family after almost 20 Years. Actor Sivakumar reminisced that the entire cast and crew of Thirumalai Thenkumari were hosted by the proud family of Nagarajan at the ancestral home.
He also acted in many movies for Producer M.A.Venu formerly of Modern Theatres like Mangalyam , Nalla Thangal , Pennarasi , wrote for Town Bus and by 1956 decided to focus on his writing. He wrote “ Naan Petra Selvam” , Makkalai Petra Maharasi , in the latter he introduced the “Kongu “ Tamil accent for the hero. The first of his many Mythologicals - Sampoorna Ramayanam ( 1958) was a big success and Rajaji , who had little regard for cinema watched this film and praised Sivaji Ganesan’s performance as Bharatha. He then started to Produce in Partnership with the actor V.K.Ramaswamy Nalla Idaththu Sammandham (1958) , Thayai Pol Pillai, Noolai pol selai (1959) , Paavai Vilakku and made his Directorial Debut with Vadivukku Valaigaappu (1962) . He launched his own Production Company with Navarathri and then went on to make his mark in the field of Mythologicals as well.
In 1965 , a year after Karnan , Thiruvilayadal hit the screens and set Box office records everywhere. This was followed by Saraswathi Sabatham , Kandhan Karunai , Thiruvarutchelvar , Thirumal Perumai , Agasthiyar , Thirumalai Deivam , Karaikaal Ammayaar and Sri Krishna Leela. He made Thillana Mohanambal and Raja Raja Chozhan , both of which too deserve to be restored. His son plans to re release some of the classics next year when Indian Cinema celebrates its century and his father’s 60 th year of entering Cinema.
A.P.Nagarajan passed away in 1977. A self taught man whose life was as much of an epic as were his Movies.
Nagesh On Thiruvilayadal
In his autobiography Nagesh wrote – “ Everyone kept telling me that I had done a superb Job and at times even stole the scene from the hero , so I was extremely scared that it may not see the light of day as the Director was as it is struggling to trim the film’s length. One day as I was in the recording Theatre Sivaji walked in and wanted to see the “Dharumi” piece. He did not notice me in the dark sound engineers room. He watched it once and then wanted to see it again – by this time I was sure that my scene , especially the solo lamenting, will be axed. To my astonishment , Sivaji turned and said – Do not remove a single foot from this episode as well as the episode with T.S.Balaiah , we can cut anything else. These will be the highlight of the film. This is my opinion but as the Director you have the final say. Whatever Dubbing additions have to be done , get that fellow (Nagesh) and lock him up in the Studio and don’t let him run away till he completes it to your satisfaction. He has done outstanding work. That was his generosity to his fellow actors “ .How prophetic , for these two turned out to be all time classic performances and the backbone for the film’s success.
The Achievement of KARNAN
· When first released it was the first of the mythology series that made a comeback in the 1960s. It was an answer to the “rationalistic” dialogues that started catching up in the early 50s and totally drowned the Mythology genre. A trendsetter even then.
· In its re release Karnan became the First Tamil Old classic to be fully digitally restored.
· The first to be re released in 72 Centers all across tamil nadu
· The first to be re released in 10 Screens in Chennai City
· The first re release to celebrate 25 days in 30 centers , 5 in Chennai and 4 in Madurai.Despite the Examination season and the IPL it is still showing a healthy collection with many shows sporting the House Full sign. On the day of the first Chennai Super Kings Match while many a Theater went a begging, Sathyam saw an almost full house.
Friday, February 17, 2012
My wife Padma and I had to go to the Passport Office to get her Passport renewed. I was so totally taken aback at the experience.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I wrote an article for the Hindu Metroplus dated 25th January.....It was edited from a slightly bigger article , more general and with a fuller world view....here is the total version , for those interested in reading what came in the Hindu - here is that link too -
A COUPLE ON STAMPS.
Marriages are made in Heaven is an oft repeated phrase. With Valentine’s Day round the corner “love is in the air”. Many marriages have stood the test of time and tribulations but more often than not The marriage of a couple from Tinsel Town has always been viewed at with doubts about its longevity. Indian Cinema too has had its fair share of break ups. This problem becomes more acute when both are from The Film Industry. The formula for leading men in those days was to Marry a quiet, simple Homemaker and for the leading lady it was to marry a successful businessman preferably from overseas. What was almost an essential was for the Lady to quit her Profession. I must add that many a film marriage has been quite successful and both have scaled heights of professional excellence.
One of the greatest honours a person can get is when he or she is featured on a Postage Stamp. It is quite a rare occurrence for a Husband and wife to be featured together on a Stamp – Pierre and Madame Curie were on several Stamps , one of the earliest being the French Issue in 1938.
Recently Monaco honoured Baba Amte’s son Dr.Prakash Amte and his wife Dr.Mandakini Amte with a Postage stamp. The Comedienne Lucille Ball and her actor, singer husband Desi Arnaz too feature in a Stamp.
During Royal Weddings , the couple is often featured in Stamps issued to commemorate the occasion. Even the latest wedding of Prince Harry was featured in Stamps issued by UK, New Zealand, Gibraltar. Actress Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco was also one such.
It has always been a practice till recently by all recognised Philatelic Countries , not to issue Stamps for people who are still alive – Royalty and Heads of State apart. Dictators like Idi Amin had their way , either it was their head on a Stamp or the official’s on the Block.
Since Independence, India has issued around 2700 Stamps and The Father of the Nation and Kasturba Gandhi have been honoured on Stamps both Individually and together. In fact Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most featured people on Stamps by the largest number of Countries. The Couple adorn both a Stamp and a Postcard.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru too have been issued with Individual Stamps. His daughter Indira and grandsons Sanjay and Rajiv too have been featured on Stamps.
Durgabhai Deshmukh, Freedom Fighter and Social Reformer and her husband C.D.Deshmukh , the first Indian Governor of Reserve Bank of India , have also been featured in Stamps. She was a member of the Constituent assembly while he went on to become the Finance Minister of the Country from 1950 to 1956.
The three other couples so honoured are related to the Film Industry and the world of Arts.
Devika Rani , the famous actress and her Husband Svetoslav Roerich were both honoured with Stamps. He was a famous Painter. His father Nicholas Roerich too has been honoured with a Postage Stamp making it a unique family – Philatelically speaking as well.
Gemini Ganesh and Savithri have received this great honour. In a career spanning 50 Years Gemini had acted in more than 200 films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and even Hindi. He was affectionately called the King of Romance ( Kadhal Mannan). In her 30 plus years of acting Savithri acted in more than 300 Films. She has also Directed a few Films and was known for her portrayal of tragic roles.
The multi talented Singer, actor Kishore Kumar and his wife Madhubala have both been featured on Stamps.
The one on screen couple that shook India in the 50s was Raj Kapoor and Nargis Dutt. They too have been honoured. In Nargis’s case the stamp shows the logo of the Spastics Society of India, an Institution for which she was the first Patron. Sunil Dutt sending a letter using the Stamp honouring his wife Nargis is truly poignant . Sunil Dutt specifically forbade any such move to honour him and so collectors like me lost a golden opportunity.
From International Cinema we have The Star Couple of Lord Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh joining the ranks while the entire Barrymore family feature in a stamp of the United States. Lionel, Ethel and John , the grandfather of Hollywood actress Drew Barrymore. Alfred and Lynn Fontane , the famous actor couple too have been featured in a Stamp.
With almost half the Indian couples honoured for Professional and Social excellence by a Postage Stamp hailing from the Film Industry , It must lay to rest the adage that “Filmi” marriages do not result in a fair deal for both. All of them truly had the Stamp of a great Couple.