The last alphabet Z is for Zoo in Tossing it out - the last one on the A to Z April 2013 challenge!! I want to taken a moment and think through on what happened in the month of April and how i chance hit on the atoz challenge - while i decided to write about Indian regional movies on the same topic selected by Arlee on his blog, I was unaware of how much of fun and challenge it is to get this done!! Thanks to the team who initiated this challenge and specifically to Arlee!
While there are many movies around animals and some scenes on zoo, this movie called Annai or aalayam is evergreen in my memory. This is a 1979 Tamil regional movie which was a family drama with typical mother sentiments around an orphaned elephant. The little elephant and its naughty actions were a great attraction for me at that time - i remember pestering my parents to go and watch this movie the second time in the movie hall - which in those days is a real luxury. The hero (who is a hunter) ensures that the little elephant is united with its mother at the end of the movie and the entire movie revolves around the little elephant. One specific song sequence where the little elephant equally dances with the hero/heroine is something very interesting.
My first thought is Azhiyadha Kolangal - It is a 1979 movie in Tamil regional language and directed by one of those intelligent directors, Balu Mahendra. It had leading actors in the main roles, though the movie focussed on the life of three teenage boys and their adolescent days - their first love, witnessing a death, emotional excitements, small village..etc.
I still remember the day i forced myself with my father and his friends to watch this movie. It was a rainy afternoon, where we had to take up the strong showers, get wet and still made sure that the movie was watched.
While I was looking for sci-fi film, i went ahead and reconfirmed my understanding of the word Xenophobia in Wiki – “Xenophobia is an irrational or unreasoned fear of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner,” and φόβος (phobos), meaning “fear.” With this definition reconfirmed, I can put the entire load of movies with Indian freedom struggle as the theme
Over the course of 17th and 18th century, the East India company from Britain completely colonized India - while it brought in various challenges to the Indian community, this also brought in an irrational fear about the British among the population of India.
Madrasa Pattinam is a tamil 2010 period film, which very nicely portrays the feeling of people towards the British. While the storyline has a romantic theme and the challenges the Indian public faced during the British rule, this movie will stand a long time in depicting the transformation of Madrasapattinam of the 1940s to modern-day Chennai.
As Tossing it out says, there are many movies on writers - so, it is more to think on the one which impacted me. Here is letter W for A to Z April challenge.
Anyone who has read the language of Tamil or been in Tamilnadu will be impressed and influenced by the great works of Subramania Bharathi - he was a writer, poet and a visionary. He could think years ahead and had strong views on social issues - he also played a very influencing role in Indian freedom struggle.
I grew up reading the poems of Bharathi - many of my current thought process probably are shaped up by those strong verses - be it those dialogues by Panchali in “Panchali Sabatham”, which completely reflects and depicts the progressive women OR the cat poem “Vellai nirathil oru poonai” which reinforces the importance of unity in diversity , he was a VISIONARY. All is poems and their themes are still valid even after so many years.
Bharathi is a 2000 Tamil film which won national award - this was based on Bharathiyar’s life story. While he came from a patriarchical society and was initially an hypocrite average male at that period, he was open in his mind and understood the big picture and was ready to make amends when he realized his shortcomings. This makes him a real life hero. Look at this short scene from the movie - he changes from an ordinary egoistic male to a matured individual - after this incident, he learnt to treat individuals gender-neutrally and became an advocate of gender equality.
I can only think of Bharathi as the one writer who influenced many lives in the past and will continue to do so in the coming days also. You can read more about him here - http://www.indianetzone.com/9/subrahmanya_bharathi.htm
Venice in regional films would have been tough in the past, but in the recent times most of the Indian movies at a minimum have one song sequence shot at a foreign exotic location. So, there were many movies which had songs shot at Venice, though this movie in Telugu language was shot majorly in Venice. Nenu Naa Rakshasi is a 2011 Telugu romantic drama. Having the limitations of understanding Telugu, I still felt compelled to watch this movie till the end to figure out the story line - unlike the typical south indian romantic drama, this movie had lots of twists and unexpected turns in the story (ok, call it illogical turns) - i doubt if this movie is something which i will remember but for the location it was shot and the beautiful heroine.
Europe brings in lot of nostalgia in me… It also brings in lot of expectation in me - one of these days, it is in the bucket list to go around in Europe with no specific plans with like minded folks - may be also get paid for that trip and evaluate the places around Europe - it is something which will happen when the soul of the universe aligns again to make it happen …!!!
Utopian movies can be what is listed in Tossing it out OR can be the real drama where the main characters are so idealistic that the whole movie feels utopian. Here is the letter U for A to Z challenge.
Kalki is a 1996 tamil regional movie directed by one of those famous directors of south India, K.Balachandar. While the movie is a drama, the main character in the movie was portrayed so differently, it made the whole movie utopian. Almost 17 years since that movie, I am still looking to meet someone with atleast 10% of the idealistic heroine’s character in real life. Ofcourse, the heroine’s boyfriend who waits and accepts her AS IS adds to the flavor of utopian movie!!
While the movie revolved around women and their rights and the challenges of a patriarchical society, I still felt that this movie is more of a wish of the director than of a reality! I may be sound sarcastic, but that is how i feel!
Ok, Time Travel for T is a simple guess for every Holly wood watcher - Just the Back to the Future series will cover it all……..Tossing in Out got a long list!! But then, i again realized that the entire Indian cinema thrives on family drama ……… and how will I get the time travel movie for A to Z challenge!!
Is it very rare for a pure sci-fi movie in Indian cinema? While Wiki lists many Indian science fiction movies here - many are on aliens, next life, etc. I did one loner Indian movie under the time travel in the list of Bollywood movies, which I am yet to watch
So, I went to the next nearest - where the characters travel from one life to another life - it nicely aligns with the Indian mythology - the soul is all persistent and moves from one body to another and never perishes. What is left behind when a person dies is only the physical body. With that as a background, the recent movie I enjoyed is Naan Ee. Naan Ee is a 2012 drama and released in many Indian languages including Tamil and Hindi. What made it unique was the live action animation and visual effects. The storyline is simple - The hero gets killed by the bad guy as the bad guy wants the hero’s girlfriend. The hero is born again as a house fly (yes, that little small insect!) and the house fly takes revenge on the villain and protects his girl friend! Fun movie - there was actually a song sequence where the house fly dances!! Kids will love it!!
Though there are many school regional movies, I had to mention this movie for a reason! - just a look-alike reason which my school buddies know!. Panneer Pushpangal - is a 1981 tamil regional School movie which was a big box-office hit.
Twenty years later, there is another movie – Sattai. Sattai (2012) is compleletly set in the school environment and conveyed good social messages loud and clear - while at times the hero went into a preaching and sentiment mode, it was still a good watch considering the messages it supported. It was one of those movies which proved that the audience will support movies with good messages if delivered well.
The theme of this movie was very similar to Paneer Pushpangal movie in some way - the challenges of teachers handling the kids in a matured way, the teenage love (mostly infatuation!) coming on the way of the students future, etc. It still hurts to know that as a society we still are handling basic challenges on child education across the country for the past twenty years.
School is a necessary part of any child’s growing years. At the same time, I feel the education a child gets outside the class room in the society is the one which shapes up the child - life skills is the most important part of education and I wish more schools focus on the holistic development of children.
While there were many movies with rain, the one movie with the name Mazhai (meaning RAIN) has to be mentioned for name sake! Mazhai is 2005 regional Tamil movie, which had rains almost through every scene of the movie. Whenever the hero and heroine meets, there is rain in the background which makes them think it is a divine direction. Then follows the regular Indian mix masala (song and dance sequence included!)- villain falling in love with the same girl, enticing the girl’s father to give his girl to him, creating a rift between hero and heroine and finally a big huge stunt sequence between villain and hero and then the hero and heroine are happily married every after - EVIL PERISHES, GOOD PREVAILS.
Rain brings in lot of lovely memories (ok - i am ignoring the fact about bad roads after rain, sudden storms from the Bay of Bengal, and sometimes even loss of lives, which is very sad). Who can resist the piping hot ginger tea along with the Bajji and Pakoras (Indian spicy snack) when it is raining. Also, all of us have those memories of the childhood days in the rain - where we were out on the rains with our friends - playing, laughing and running around and finally getting those scoldings from parents and sometimes even falling sick with cold and flu!
What is unique for a country like India is that the HOPE rains bring in - hope that we will have enough water for a good harvest in the coming season, hope the dry interior villages will have enough water to sustain their livelihood. It has been a long dream for the Indian farmers that the Ganga-Cauvery river plans really take off - that will enable the entire country - use the excess waters from the norther plains to feed the dry seasonal rivers in the south - it is still a vision and lot of work need to go in to make it a reality. Hope it happens in the coming days.
This song from the famous Lagaan (2001 Hindi movie) shows how much the rain mean for us in Indian villages.
The theme of Thanneer Thanneer (1981 Tamil movie) highlights the challenges faced by villages - this is another song in that movie which again reinforces about what rain means for us in India - a single drop of water and look at how much joy it brings to the village folks! http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xlfoku_megam-thiraluthadi-thaneer-thaneer_music
Rain is GOD!!
In general, Indian movies have lot of dance sequences,stunt scenes and loud arguments and lots of dialogues (are Indians the most expressive community among the world !!). It was in the late seventies and early eighties, there were new experiments in the movie making industry - one of them is using lesser dialogues.
Uthiripookal is one of the movies which made an impact on me - It is a 1979 movie, directed by Mahendran, who is considered as one of the pioneering directors of south Indian cinema. I like more of easy romcoms - so, i will not add this movie into my favorite movies. This movie left me disturbed, left me thinking on the need for a society which acknowledges that mental state of balance is equally important as physical health and to be treated. Many of the folks who influx terror on others, hurt others are those who need that support.
The hero of uthiripookal is a sadist who gives a hard time to his immediate family (wife & Children) and also to his colleagues. AFter losing his wife and going through a traumatic experience by himself, he realizes his faults - by the time the damage is done and his children are orphaned. This movie had minimal dialogues and left people with lot of introspections! Maniratnam, one of the successful regional directors always has less dialogues in his movies. He considers Mahendran as a role model and a
Being Quiet is a virtue - While I am in general a quiet person, there are aberrations in my style when I have that right company (aliens under cover) at the right place.!