Tamil Movies

Neethaanea En Ponvasantham – 3

Please read the first and second parts here and here

So Varun meets Nithya who is now a caretaker/teacher for children who had been affected by the 2004 Tsunami. Varun is on a mission to apologize profusely about the breakup that happened 3-4 years back. He claims that he had drafted a number of emails that he hadn’t come around to posting. He stalks her (See Note 1).

But really, how much should you sulk before accepting an olive leaf? Nithya seems to know why she was dumped a few years back with some clarity. She asks him if he has come to tick the next checkbox after fulfilling his other ambitions. That is a neat way of putting what he was doing at that point. She has obviously mulled over it at some length. Personally I feel it is wrong to waltz in and out of people’s lives expecting them to not ask why you are leaving and why you are back. I can see that he is wrong. But did Nithya spend any time at all worrying his dreams and ambitions? Does she ever worry about her not being sensitive enough of his fears, doubts? Is she able to put herself in his shoes and see what it will be like to be him? In short, was Nithya ever empathetic? Can you truly be in love when you know a problem but refuse to empathize with the problem?

And does Varun ever consider that he is pushing Nithya into an abyss of self-doubt and confusion and possibly depression? Does he stop to think that rich people are humans who can get vulnerable and hurt too? Would honesty have been too difficult? Come to think of it, honesty would have been too difficult. Imagine what he would have told her, had he vocalized what was inside his head. “Nithya, I can’t marry you without at least above-average money and job prospects. I am not very confident right now. I hope to take a break from our relationship to become a full-on studious and workaholic big bore for a few years. Please find yourself in the meantime. You need that too. If I do make as much money as I hope to, then I will come back to your life. Accept me after a decent 2 hour sulk. If that does not work, I will marry a middle class girl and you marry a upper class guy”

Yes. I can see that honesty would have been terribly difficult for a guy at his position.
I have a huge dislike for Romance movies that waste a huge chunk of their running time on that problem called ego. In my opinion, If you can’t approach an individual and openly say that he/she means a lot to you, then you aren’t really in love. That is why I hated that trash called Kushi. But here, the ego seems believable. She did shower him with so much attention and feeling hurt when dumped like that rings true and his reason rings true too.

Here he says one more thing that sounds completely alright on his side and atrociously low in her side. It is “look you have grown as a person only because I jilted you”. Is this true or untrue? Is this fair or unfair? It is undoubtedly complicated. Would Nithya have gone so far in helping Tsunami victims if she had just continued to be who she was and just obsessed with what she can buy for Varun’s birthday? Did he really do her a favor by withdrawing affection? Did she owe Varun any thankfulness for having dumped her at the time when she was beginning to waste away as a person? Did she need a shock treatment to get her ass out of the supersoft comfort that she was used to?

I was vaguely reminded of the song “A boy named Sue” by Johnny Cash in which a father abandons his son at early childhood and claims that this tough son is as tough as he is because he gave his son such a girly name. That maybe a different POV. Some people grow in spite of you acting like a jackass. Some people may, in fact, grow because you acted like a jackass. But that is no reason why you should act like a jackass and then act mighty proud of it.

What would have happened if Nithya and Varun had had more clear talks about their financial disparity? What would have happened if they actually cared to forgive? There is a sweet speech that Nithya gives at the elocution competition that forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself.

Perhaps we should actually take to the heart the things we mention in elocution speeches and essay writing competitions. Perhaps we already know what is to be done.

Note 1: There is a school of thought that says following your ex around is very different from stalking a stranger and so it should not be called stalking. Personally I don’t feel so. Nithya is not intimidated or scared about Varun’s presence and merely slighted about have been dumped in favor of another priority. But this is different from saying that it is not stalking at all. How an ex-GF reacts to being stalked by an ex-BF may well depend on whether she perceived him as impulsive and vengeful or otherwise during the course of their relationship. A complete hand-wave seems a bit unfair (to me).

Note 2: I absolutely hated the entire jilting the bride at the altar. And I am not the only one. Most people I know consider it a deal breaker. I pretend that the segment did not exist in the movie. Works well for me.


Contrarian Thoughts on the Lion King (and the Jungle Book)

Is there anyone else in the whole world who liked the motion capture version of the Jungle Book more than they liked the motion capture version of the Lion King? Just me? Ok then.

There is nothing inherently doing a scene-by-scene remake of a beloved classic. None at all. But this is what happened in the immutable chaos of my brain.

The Jungle Book (animated) is a sweet, cute story that you can identify with at any stage. It is reminiscent of the Tom and Jerry era when the cutesiness of the characters makes you suspend disbelief so thoroughly that anything goes. You want it light, happy and fluffy. It delivers.

The Jungle Book (Motion Capture) is a very different beast and rightly so. Those who wondered why the Motion Capture version wasn’t being faithful to the ‘original’ movie didn’t seem to know that the animated version took great liberties with Kipling’s book too. I did not go past chapter 2 of Kipling’s book (bored) but I could see that the movie was only interested in the basic skeleton of the story and the characters.

The motion capture version of the Jungle Book is very ambiguous about who is right and who is wrong. Sher Khan is of the opinion that Men will be Men and Raksha (the SheWolf) is of the opinion that the man-cub is her pup and thereby a member of the wolf pack. Events do prove that Sher Khan has a good point when Mowgli uses fire without realizing exactly how powerful and unwieldy fire can get. While not exactly a morality tale, the story asks us humans to take a good look at how easily we corrupt nature because we don’t know what the hell we are doing.

Conversely, there is also the part that the wolves keep forbidding Mowgli from using the human part of his brain and it is his association with Baloo the bear that makes him realize that it completely ok to use his human creativity to find ingenuous answers to his everyday problems. These are his problems. The wolves don’t seem to realize that he does not have wolf-like tongue and can’t quench his thirst by lapping up water with a very human tongue and needs a cup instead which he fashioned with his human tool-making skills.

It was a story that borrowed sufficiently from the original version and kept reinventing itself and found a soul of its own. And nobody seemed to like it.

All the reviewers seem to see and say the same thing about the new Lion King. That it is technically competent but the expressiveness of the animated animals is lost in the motion capture as lions don’t have expressive faces. Ok. Yes. But is that all people saw in that movie?

I did not have a problem with the original Lion King. It was a simple tale of a son who wants to rise to his father’s eminence. First he doesn’t. Then he does. Simple enough.

I have seen the Broadway version and was enthralled with the whole stage and set up and creativity and musical expertise to be bothered about the actual core of the movie.

I suppose growing up does a certain something to you. After plenty of discussions around Nepotism and why sons should (or should not) automatically inherit their fathers’ territory in politics (or even the arts), I looked askance at the whole “A Prince is born and so it is his destiny” thing. I was never a fan of lines of successions. So Sarabi and Nala being unable to do anything other than sulk at Scar’s reign felt off. Even in real Lion Prides the males do throw their weight about and the lionesses can do nothing to stop that. But Nala who proudly claims that she is not a cub anymore and not afraid of Shenzi does not attempt attacking Shenzi until Simba himself turns up and declares himself king. All she originally did is sneak out of Pride Rock.

Also after so many discussions around caste, it is difficult to not see the hyenas as the oppressed caste and lions as the oppressive caste. The king is keen to keep his son out of trouble. But what about the hungry hyenas who live in the place that is not touched by the sun’s light? Is it not Mufasa’s territory at all? Why are they so hungry? Is it because the lions were forbidding the hyenas from hunting fertile areas? Is it ok to fault someone for being hungry when you are the reason they are hungry?

By the way, the Lion King redeemed itself with Timon and Pumbaa. The darlings. I love them.

Tamil Songs

Guess the Song – Set 80

Yeah! We have reached 400 songs in the game. I don’t mind confessing that I feel a tad proud of reaching this number.

Thank you, Participants.

You are a marvel, Nithya. Is there any song you don’t know?

I am going to concentrate on the List of movies that pass the Betchel Test for now.

I will get back to the game in a couple of months.

I compiled the following PDFs to help me browse through all the images with ease. I feel some of you like it too.