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Jan 29, 2008

Travelogue - Bangkok in pics

Its a bit late, but here goes.

I'm posting some pictures from the week in Bangkok, Thailand. A picture speaks a thousand words (...and i'm presently running short of time and words) so "i hope... u.. will.. co-operate..." (chummified look) ;)

The jackfruit seller! I luv jackfruit aka chakka... and it was a while since I had chakka and karikku... That week was probably the most I've eaten of chakka and karikku.. Paradise it was.

Karikku deshelled and ready to consume... Aaaahhh!!

The sign outside the airport...

The statue of the angry warrior (or war God) inside the airport. The expressions of the God was quite... expressive. I was hoping to get a t-shirt with the face, but fellow tourists beat me to it. Che!

The streets of the Chatuchang (not spelt correctly) market - one of the biggest flea markets in the Far East. This market is MASSIVE! We spent a whole morning and bit of the afternoon there. Good fun this place - the bargaining, the stuff to buy, the she-men...

The tuk-tuk. The prime mode of transport in Bangkok (apart from the pink taxis)... The coolest part of the trip to Bangkok was the wheelie our driver did on the way back to the hotel... Most awesome experience ever.

These shop boats are out there to tout tourists. The stuff they are selling is quite expensive by Bangkok standards and its a pre-arrangement between the shop owner and the tour boat operator.
The canal boats that take tourists into the river that runs through Bangkok. From the cruise we could take in sights of the various temples that line the banks of the river.

The view from atop of Watt Po temple. Over the river (from where we came from) is the roofs of the Temple Palace. We had to take the ferry across the river for a small fee.

The Watt Po temple in the night. Pity the picture doesn't really convey the beauty of this majestic temple in the evening.

One of the gold plated idols at the Palace.

The beautiful Palace where the King & Queen reside. It also includes artifacts and weapons museum.

The famous Thai massages. I had 2 sessions of this, a half hr and an hr session. Its not possible to sleep through this (well I can't, but one of my colleagues did) as they keep moving you around and pressing on tension points on the body. The result is a supple and rejuvenated body.

The golden temple area near the Wat Arun temple. Large garden / temple type area with paintings, statues, idols, tourists etc. A great feast for the eyes - esp the different architecture.

The golden temple area again... I did mention its quite big.

Another section of the golden temple area. The gold plated corridors with two dimensional paintings depicting life during the times. The paintings showed activities such as harvests, wars between fellow tribes, prayers to the Gods.

Soo... do pictures say a thousand words...? Debatable.

Jan 15, 2008

Movie review - Vettaiyadu Vilayadu

Vetta-wot!? :)

My first reaction when coming across the DVD lying on top of my uncle's computer desk. Never heard of the movie before. But it had Kamal Haasan on it, and one of Kollywood's top music directors. And the director - Gautham Menon - impressed earlier in Madhavan's Minnale & the cop film, Kaaka Kaaka. And, he's an engineer... :)

Kaaka Kaaka especially stood out for its technical aspects like its slick editing, cinematography and its fast pace and characterisations. I was really impressed with the style of the movie. Its was refreshingly different to the movies churning out of the Indian sub-continent. It was one of my favourite Tamil movies before Anniyan came out. I had reviewed Anniyan in a previous post ages ago.

Take the time to go through Gautham Menon's biography. Its quite impressive, and is a real role model for those aspiring to check out the film making industry. His interviews portray a very down-to-earth sort of person who picked the opportunity to enter the industry and succeeded through getting a smart team (editor, music direcor, artists) to work with him (remnants of Rich Dad, Poor Dad coming out there...)

Soo.. the movie. Rather than rehash earlier reviews of 'stand out' movies, I decided to take a different approach in this blog. A Gautham Menon perspective. How the director would get the movie to look the way it is. I've absolutely no experience in the film industry, so please bear with me.

The best way to make the film you want will probably be to script the story and dialogues the way you would want. As is the case here. Script is ready - probably made in 'super' style to match the main actor's star status. Due to the success of the previous venture, the pressure's on to stick to a story with a winning formula (a bit of a let down, i have to add). The opening fight sequence bears no relevance to the film's theme or hints at any aspect of our hero's character. He is supposed to battle brawn with brain in the rest of the movie. I guess, these are the sacrifices one has to make to cash in on star power and keep a masala movie financially viable.

Ok so now we are into the movie. Some realistic and graphic scenes in the beginning to get the shock factor going. At the same time, an introduction to the hero and a few slick edits to keep the story as racy as possible. Some creative camera-work to complement the editing.

The shock factor gets spread thickly throughout the film to keep the tension going. A love angle to get the audience to feel the hero's trauma when the villain strikes. Excellent music by the master director, Harris Jayaraj, especially the theme song. Harris Jayaraj is the tamil movie industry's answer to Malluwood's Deepak Dev (I believe).

Eventually, after some 'artsy' dialogue delivery and dubbing, the final product is released amidst yellow newspaper gossip and red carpet premieres throughout the world where a high density of South Indians exist like Malaysia or South Africa.

Aaaaahhh.... the life cycle of a movie. Each one must have a different story to tell.

One question... who plays the abducted daughter in the film? She's quite pretty n has a good screen presence.