India is one of the world’s oldest living civilizations – many great leaders, philosophers, saints, scientists, mathematicians (Aryabatta gave zero to the world) have been helping the world (beyond India) and making it a better place to live for all of us. While there are many movies across India depicting the life stories of many, what came to mind as a first movie (I believe that probably is the best movie in my view) is the life story of a Hindu saint Sri Raghavendra who lived in late 1500 and early 1600. While he is a hindu religious saint, he is also a philosopher (like most of the religious saints across the world) and supported the humanity at large with his supernatural powers – people believed that he was the reason behind many miracles which helped them!
While Sri Raghavendra was a well known saint across the south of India, this 1985 regional movie Sri Raghavendra definitely made its mark – when Rajnikanth played the main role, people were stumped! He had been an action hero till then and in his 100th movie, he played the saint which was a surprise to many of his fans – apparently, he did well and even today, when I think of Raghavendra, this movie and his good acting fills my memory.
While it is a lot to talk about any saint across the world among various religions, the common factor tying all of them is their extreme devotion in making this society and world a better place to live for many generations to come! They did it through religion, god, philosophy, music, literature, etc. I salute all those saints across the world – reminds me of the song Endaro Mahanubhavulu from Indian Carnatic music written by saint Thiyagaraja – which means “salutations to all those great men of the world!!”
ps-I was humbled that tossing it out author Arlee Bird http://www.blogger.com/profile/11663942782929929334 feels that my postings are counter to his posts and likes the regional flavor. Thank you, Arlee.
Across regional movies, to my limited span of knowledge, i hardly remember any movie which has knowledge has the key element of the movie – while there are few movies which I can think of, the theme is either around family drama or around some supernatural forces.
Eeeram(2009) is one such movie. The hero is a police, who is investigating the unnatural death of his ex-girlfriend. During that process, he gets the knowledge about the unnatural death through the supernatural force (his ex-girlfriend’s spirit if you believe in life after death!) – which comes in the form of water – while it was a fresh breath for the Tamil cinema, it had its regular mix of romance and family drama. It is one of those brilliant plots from a new comer director Arivazhagan and Shankar (the famous director of Rajnikanth’s Robot movie) is the producer.
Tossing it out gave a reason on choosing such a strange topic for letter J in A to Z April Challenge. In the regional movies, the circus movies will qualify straight for juggling movies. In addition to ezham arivu (2011) which was featured already under circus movies, there were two additional circus movies – apoorva sagotharargal (1989) and mera naam joker (1970).
While Ezham Arivu had a positive drama as theme, both the other two movies were the hero is part of circus and good at juggling had a sad theme – a drama which was in line with my expectation . Nevertheless, both the movies did very well in box office and also got enormous accolades for all quarters (forget this one soul who only likes romcoms!).
Beyond movies, Juggling immediately brought me the thought of theses “so-called” multi tasking career focussed mothers!! Sometimes, they are so very much into multiple things, it looks like they are the best jugglers in the world around. What was so surprizing for me is the fact that whether it is the most advanced Western culture or the most conservative Eastern culture, women all over the world juggle things efficiently – finances, health, family, career, friends, hobbies, social contributions, etc… they amaze me!! Starting from the iron lady Margaret Thatcher from East to that many tribal women in the remote villages of African forests, there are lot of efficient jugglers who ensures the world is as beautiful as it can be to many folks around them (ofcourse, there are some exceptions, but those are aberrations to the natural law!!)
While every time management tip ask us to avoid multitasking to be more efficient, I doubt if any women will subscribe to that fact and lose any time by sequencing activities !! We see women on the move and checking their make-ups, we have women in the kitchen and taking those conference calls for work, we have women working on the fields and singing to keep their crying babies soothed, etc. Can you add into this list??
Tossing it Out has used Indians to refer to the micro genre of cowboys and Indian, and I am using it to highlight the freedom struggle India went through with the British monopoly for years together – this is letter “I” for the A to Z April Challenge.
Anyone tracing Indian freedom struggle will also be equally surprised on the number of Indian kings and queens who joined the struggle – as kids, while we learnt more about what our country went through in the past, there are few leaders who stand out – While M.K.Gandhi led the freedom struggle, I am sure at each regional levels there were those unsung heroes across Indian states who played a major role in influencing the people of that area.
Veerapandia Katta Bomman is one such hero from the southern region of Tamilnadu who lived in 18th century – every kid who grew up in the Tamil nadu was influenced by these inspiring stories of him. While the Government of India recognized him (there was even a postal stamp released by them), I felt the regional movie by his name really brought in the impact on many – I still remember the dialogues of this movie Veerapandiya Kattabomman, a movie from 1959 – this movie had Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan playing the lead role. Sivaji did such a great job on this that for me, it is still his face which comes across when I think of Kattabomman. This movie was also notable for being the second Tamil film to be shot in Technicolor and which was printed in London. This movie ran 100 days in 28 theatres in those days, which is a record breaker.
ps-I never knew it was a 1959 movie, this essentially means i have watched this movie almost 20+ years after its release ; and I still continue to think this is one movie which brought in more patriotic feeling into me than the stories of many leaders who worked for Indian freedom struggle! wow!!
When i think of helicopter in movies, what comes to me was the awe I went through when I saw the helicopter ride in a song in one of the Tamil movies – Guru (1980). While the theme was more of robinhood styled hero and drama, that one song (very regional!) in that movie where a hero gets on to a glider and tries to stop the bad guy in the helicopter was something which stuck to my head and popped up when i saw the helicopter movies title today.
Guru is a 1980 movie which had the leading pair of tamil cinema – Kamalhassan and Sridevi and the right ingredients for the drama – rich father, principled son, lost grandson, hero acting like a robinhood, beautiful heroine who mistakes the bad guy as the good guy (Films always had heroines who were naive and innocent and the smart hero was always there at the right time to save them from evil!! ), etc.
In real life, the first time when i saw the helicopter, I was indeed thrilled – that big noise, the dry red sand dust which were thrown around and the security guards asking us to stay behind the white security line, it is still vivid in my memory (including the secret discussion among the little girls about the wind when helicopter lands – we all feared that it will be strong enough to fly our skirts and we all wore long skirts instead of our regular short ones – trousers were something which boys wore in those days!).
We hardly had any airport near our campus – they built a temporary helipad to accommodate the need for our then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to fly into our district to campaign for the upcoming elections. Infact, from the time they selected a place, the entire gang of children from the campus made it a routine to visit that site and check on how the helipad is coming up and when the D-day arrived, we were at that place hours earlier to witness the helicopter touching down. Apparently, the moment the helicopter touched down and the doors opened for the primer minster, I was STUNNED. I still remember that white saree with a red border which covered her head with a powerful smile and a very upright posture and a waving hand…….she indeed has the charisma and i remember that saying in those days “the only man in the parliament”. Till date, I think Indira is a role model for many and she had the charisma which impressed even the small girls in the remote villages across India much more than a powerful flying machine like helicopter can!! This is what I blogged years ago – https://ireach.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/indira/. I still feel the same about her!!
If you grew up in south of India in the 80s, you obviously are aware of the rise of the new culture of having heroes who are just your next-door-guy looks – Rajnikanth was one such phenomenon and while he rose to the fame doing negative roles, the most important messaging in all his movies were EVIL PERISHES and GOOD PERSISTS. Rajnikanth was also intelligent enough to convey his own self-image among his fans as the most humble, hardworking soul – intelligent because it takes a lot of effort to project yourself as your are in the movie industry – with all the paparazzi around you trying to project you so that everything about you is sensational news for the many readers and movie goers out there!! I believe he is one
Baasha (2009) movie was one of his best Gangster movies – where again EVIL PERISHES and GOOD PERSISTS. It had the required mix for a box-office hit – action, family drama, music and dance and those punch dialogues – “Naa oru tharava sonna Nooru thara sonna madhiri” (If I tell once, it is equal to telling it 100 times).
ps- This post reminds me that I have never done a review of Rajnikanth movie though I had many posts on Rajnikanth himself – https://ireach.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/%e2%96%b6-rajnikanth-birthday-121212/
Also, it is time I put in the reviews for the book about his punch dialogues “Rajini’s Punchtantra: Business and Life Management the Rajinikanth Way”
Lot to go when it comes to Rajnikanth!! 🙂 🙂
Letter E for the A to Z April Challenge.
The most devastating earthquake which happened in the Indian subcontinent is the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. It very ironically coincided with the 51st Republic Day of India – 26th January 2001 – life changed in a minute for the friends and families of around 20,000 people who were killed !!
Many regional movies had the Gujarat earthquake as the theme and spun lot of family drama around this happening – the recent “Kai Po Che” was one of those movies which used the earthquake in its theme.
While the south Indian films rarely had earthquake has the core plot, earthquake is frequently associated as an “act of God” in many mythological movies – the movies based on the great Indian epic Ramayana has the final scenes of mother earth opening up to take her daughter Sita back with her. While earthquake itself is closely associated in many movies, there hardly is any movie which i know in Indian regional languages with earthquake as the core plot – if anyone knows one of them, do let me know!
The mention of Circus for many of my generation (yeah, that generation who are still ‘young at heart!’) evokes nostalgia – the days where the circus troupe arrives at our small towns in huge caravans and colorful people – stories on when they will start the circus – interesting days of observing them bringing up their circus tents – listening in to rumours about how many wild animals they have inside their caravans………wow! as I now strong believe that JOURNEY IS DESTINATION, it indeed was the EXPECTATION ABOUT THE CIRCUS ITSELF WAS THE EXPERIENCE!!
Nevertheless, my children had seen circus only in the TV shows and movies and I am hoping one day I could make them witness what I did when i was a kid – coming to the movies, the latest one was Ezham Arivu (2011). While the movie itself had the hero working for a circus company, what made it special for me was the history – the story of Buddhist monk Bodhidharma – who lived in 5th/6th century. While I still have lot to learn about Buddhist theories, whatever little i know makes me think it is something worthwhile to learn more about – Bodhidharma’s story evokes lot of awe about human determination and the understanding of the world from a different perspective – see this snippet of a conversation (courtesy Wikipedia) as a sample.
Emperor Wu: “How much karmic merit have I earned for ordaining Buddhist monks, building monasteries, having sutras copied, and commissioning Buddha images?”
Bodhidharma: “None. Good deeds done with worldly intent bring good karma, but no merit.”
Emperor Wu: “So what is the highest meaning of noble truth?”
Bodhidharma: “There is no noble truth, there is only void.”
Emperor Wu: “Then, who is standing before me?”
Bodhidharma: “I know not, Your Majesty.”
Bollywood is just not an industry for many, but it is life and culture!! For me, it is the real life story of evolving human spirit – I get awed by the business acumen (amazing amount of money turns over), showmanship (wow, you can keep looking at those mega movie sets and costumes), resilience (the story of Amitabh is good enough to cover it all!), the energy (all the super Khans are pushing 50s??), the youth (does the youngest heroine fall under child labour category??!! :)…….my list can go on and on……..to sum it up, Bollywood is a culture!!
While many movies get produced and released consistently in Bollywood, if someone asks me about one single Bollywood movie I would love to watch any time, it is “Chak De India” – It is a 2007 movie, ironically did not have any Bollywood standard song and dance sequence, and show-cased patriotism, upliftment of girl child, the grit and determination of a sports coach . It was a movie beyond the heroes and had a strong message!
When I write this, it crosses my mind that there indeed is a real life analogy of a hero – I had the opportunity to listen to Franz Gastler presentation and pretty much impressed on his focus on empowering the girl child of India through sports (foot ball specifically) – While I will remember to write a separate article on him, you can read more about him and his NGO at Yuwa-India at http://www.yuwa-india.org/ . Excellent contribution to Mother India from an Indian at heart – Franz Gastler
I was bit intrigued by this blog entry…when one of the links took me into this challenge….so, i signed up for this under the most easy category – films (FM).
Making it even more easier, I decided to just use the same category, and get the regional films listed – so here is the first one for the alphabet – Automobile – http://tossingitout.blogspot.in/2013/04/automobile-accidents.html
The immediate movie which comes into my memory is Engeyum Eppothum (2011)
Category – Romantic Drama ; Rating – 4 ; Comment – Great messages and decent movie (ignore the accident scene)!
While the plot is around the automobile accident, the movie very nicely depicts the romance of two different couples – each one in very different flow. While I enjoyed the movie, the last few scenes depicting the accident was extremely gruesome to watch
What made the movie unique was – the two important messages – 1. Speed thrills but kills 2. Organ donation is the best donation each one of us can think of