A.K.Lohithadas: Writer par excellence  

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I hate writing tribute posts because those are the posts which I write after the death of men whom I admire. I never thought I'll have to write another tribute post in the gap of just 2 days. One of malayalam moviedom's most brilliant scriptwriters A.K.Lohithadas breathed his last, on Sunday at a private hospital in Cochin. A simple man, he revolutionised malayalam cinema after the era of stalwarts like Bharathan and Padmarajan.

There was a time when all it mattered to me was the actor on screen and a good story. Its only later when I started looking for the names of men behind the scenes, I came to know about many brilliant guys. And one of them was Lohithadas. The first film that comes to my mind is 'kireedom'. The character of Sethumadhavan played by Mohanlal is one which made all Malayalis cry. Its a very complex character depicting a myriad emotions and that one character is testimony to the class of the writer behind it. Or take 'balan maash' from 'Thaniyaavarthanam', one of his first screenplays. A normal person who ends up as a reflection of the society around him, which has gone mad beyond repair. It was also a story which ends in an unusual way, rewriting the normal trajectory of the 'climax' in malayalam cinema.

Then there are malayali's favourite musicals-'Bharatham' and 'His highness Abdullah'. He wrote 2 near perfect stories with a musical background. With the great Ravindran maash in full form, these movies created history. Mohanlal and Mammooty got some of their best roles in their life through the pen of Lohi. His partnership with director Sibi Malayil has yielded some of the best films ever in malayalam. A hallmark of his stories are that they don't have many trappings of a normal masala potboiler. There are no flashy characters in his stories. All of them have a heart and are characters that we see in everyday life caught in unusual situations. Mammooty's character in Valsalyam is one of those. A family man who has given everything to his family members ending up as an 'unwanted' element for the same people whom he helped. Movies like those were lessons in family values. Another brilliant one from Lohi is 'Veendum chila veettukaaryangal' where he showed the unusual friendship between a dad and son. The twist in the story is an absolute master class that it will make you smile and cry at the same time.

Another lesser mentioned quality in him is the eye for talent. He was one who introduced two of the most beautiful and gifted actresses in malayalam cinema- Manju Warrier and Meera Jasmine. These two went on to conquer malayalam cinema as well as other language films. His tryst at direction was not as fruitful as his writing career. But, there was brillaince there too in the form of 'Bhoothakkannaadi' and 'Kanmadam'. These films were noted for their powerful characterisations and unusual storylines. Then there were some absolute duds like 'chakkaramuthu', which doesn't deserve any mention at all. But that doesn't take away anything from the gifted writer that this man was. He has also played cameo roles in movies like 'Udayanaanu thaaram' and 'Veendum chila veettukaaryangal'. In those too, he used up his screentime to convey some important messages on life and film making. This is a man who lived and breathed cinema till the very end. For malayalam cinema already hurtling down the peaks due to the dearth of good writers, this untimely death comes as a shocking blow. Promising writers are few and far between. And there are not many who can fit into the shoes left behind by this great man.

your crusader Praveen

Michael Jackson: King Of Hearts  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

You' re not alone!

A word before I start the post- Those who are expecting to read the minute details about the bad side of MJ, the media hyped molestations, the plastic surgery rumours and all that, please stay away from this post. Because, this won't fit your taste which is tuned to 'page 3 rumour' frequency. This also won't fit the taste of certain posers who think listening to MJ is a kind of debasement for their rocker sensibilities and image. (All Offense Meant to someone)
Frozen in history

Friday morning. I woke up to few messages waiting for me in my mobile, most of them from old school friends whom I haven't contacted in a while. The contents of all those were the same. I don't know what I felt, it maybe shock, it maybe unmentionable sadness or simply, it may be a void. Whatever it was, I was sure another part of my 'growing up' memory is gonna change into ash in the next few days. The freeze framed tip toe stand in the 'Billie Jean' video has been freezed forever. The moonwalk has been stopped while it was on the last step of revival. Those familiar high pitched screams has died out, with only echoes left from the throats of the fans the world over and from the millions of albums sold. A life custom-made by God to entertain human beings has ended prematurely. Michael Joseph Jackson, the 'crowned' king of pop has bid adieu to the biggest stage of them all- Life.

My introduction to MJ happened somewhere around the time I joined 2nd standard. There was a college guy in the neighbouring house behind mine, in Trivandrum. I used to hear all kind of music from there. Its from there that I heard music as varied as Rahman's Roja and Khaled's Didi. And its where I discovered one of the biggest music legends of all time-MJ. I still remember it was the song 'Beat it' that I heard standing at the door of our kitchen. I could recall it because he was playing it in a loop, rewinding that single song non-stop. I went to him after sometime(he was still playing the song) and asked whose song is that. He pointed to the wall. There he was, with a menacing pose, clad in an all black in a white background with the word 'Bad' and the name 'Michael Jackson' written on it. I hadn't seen that poster before there. Maybe, that was the time he also discovered MJ. Anyway, the poster left me confused, "Why would anyone add 'Bad' to their own name?' It took me some more years to realise that its the name of one of his iconic albums.
This is how I saw MJ for the 1st time..The BAD cover

Anyway, from that day, the name Michael Jackson carried with it some enigmatic power. I had to wait some more years to get hold of my own MJ cassettes and CDs which were too expensive unlike my other favourite, A.R.Rahman(which my parents were happy to buy me). Still, I grew up with his music I heard from elder friends. Some months after getting hooked to that non stop 'beat it' from the neighbourhood, the same guy told me that he has a surprise for me. It was a VHS cassette of some of his videos. That was the day I was completely mesmerised by the phenomenon that was Jackson. It was untold joy as video after video of some of those familiar songs reeled in. I had a doubt whether a human being can dance like this. The ones which got all my adrenaline overflowing where the live concerts in which he unleashed all his creative powers. The scenes of the fans crying on catching their first glimpse of him, of them falling unconscious all contributed to the aura around him. The moonwalk had me standing up in awe. From that day, he was there on a pedestal alongwith all my music Gods.
When MJ came to India in 1996(Pics courtesy-clubmj)
Michael Jackson came on the world music scene as a kid singing such sweet melodies as 'I'll be there', alongwith his brothers. Even in those videos, you can see the developing shades of a legendary performer who can arrest the attention of his audience. It was the time when rock music was ruled by the 'glam rockers', who were musically inferior compared to their classic rock predecessors. The MTV was just starting to spread out. And when MJ came in with his pop outburst, he could grab the attention of all music lovers, notwithstanding genre. It was this single quality that made him a household name, whom even the Grandmother could identify (remember your grandma's dialogue- "why are you growing your hair like Michael Jackson?"). And its one status, no other musician in the world can ever dream of getting. Not even legends like Cobain, Hendrix or Mustaine can match that popularity. I have seen some autos in Trivandrum with MJ staring at you from the inside walls. Then there's the army of imitators. Every small town all over the world has a bunch of Jackson imitators, the die hard fans who dress like him, grow hair like him and try to dance like him. Its still a staple item in school and college festivals. And most of us have our history of trying out his steps secretly and failing badly at it. I caught hold of almost all his works and live shows thanks to a bunch of friends and the birth of the internet age. I remember how even my parents who were never fans of western music were completely blown away by the MJ Live videos I showed them.
The best selling album of all-time and one of the greatest music videos ever- Thriller

One of my favourite MJ poses. Worthy of a KING!

In school, we had a bunch of Jackson maniacs who used to discuss every detail of him. Years later, after a journey through boy bands and many crappy pop hits, I dived full length into rock and heavy metal. But MJ's music stayed on just like Rahman's. Many posers who call themselves as die hard rockers dismiss MJ as uncool. But the truth is, every rock fan my age had a period in their life when they worshipped Jackson as music God. Some of these posers still do, but are scared to admit fearing a 'loss of image'. The later years of MJ were a pain to his fans with bad news constantly streaming in. But fans like me found it hard to believe. His was a complex life of unprecedented stardom, controversies, big money, fall from grace, big debts and more. Its as if he lived the life of many men in one single life. He was a child who refused to grow up, the finest example of it being his mammoth neverland mansion. He had a mini amusement park inside that and also housed pets like chimpanzee. Maybe, he was trying to recapture the childhood that he lost when his father terrorised him and his siblings to practice non-stop and perform on stage. At the same time, he was also a man who was concerned about social issues. Songs like 'Heal the world', 'Earth song' and projects like 'USA-Africa(We are the world) show the socially conscious side of him. He also donated heavily to charity, having the record of supporting more charities than any other artist.
Performing with the legendary Slash- He always hired the best guitarists

If the definition of a 'well-lived life' means to entertain people and making them happy, then there can be no better synonym for that than Michael Jackson. But, there were those big failings which are hard to ignore. Even so, there's hardly anyone who has given so much hope and so much joy to millions in every nook and corner of the world. There are those who live through their lives as unknowns. There are others who gain wide popularity all over the world. Then there's Michael Jackson, a man who was once voted as the most recognised human being on the planet. MJ, Thank you for the music and for the days of joy that you gifted to all of us. You're gone a little too soon. Then, as George Harrison told, 'All good things must pass'. You were not simply good. You were simply the best and the greatest.

Like A Comet
Blazing 'Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon

Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

-Gone too soon by Michael Jackson(written in memory of Ryan White)

your crusader Praveen

The Story of Anvil  

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We all have heard the stories of metal bands which make it big. Those make for compelling viewing. We love to see their God-like lifestyle, their constant touring, petty fights. There were many documentaries made on the rich and the famous bands, the Metallicas, Maidens, Megadeths. Amidst all this is a great metal band which most of us never ever heard of. A band which inspired iconic bands like Metallica and Motorhead. A band which used to play along with Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and the like at the start of the 80s. A band which faded out 2 years before Metallica and Slayer made their big impact. The band is Anvil.

The movie directed by a long time 'Anvil' fan Sacha Gervasi, is more of a human story than a rock documentary. It starts off with that super rock concert in Japan in 1984 where Anvil played along with Scorpions, ACDC and a host of other big bands to some big crowds. From there, it cuts back to present day Canada, the home of the band. The band's frontman Steve 'Lips' Kudlow is working for a catering service and drummer Robb Reiner is hard at work in breaking concrete. Hardly the kind of work rock stars are expected to do. Alas, they never made it to rock stardom. Somewhere along the way, they started a downward spiral with bad management(They didn't even have a manager) and cheating by record labels. But Lips and Reiner stuck it together as buddies and kept their hopes alive. They still played at small shows along with the 2 new band members who joined 10 years back. And, as a ray of hope, they receive a mail from a fan who has fixed up concerts for them in Europe. But, the hope soon dies down as they end up playing in
small pubs with 5 to 10 people. They travel in buses, trains. They wait on empty roadsides. Its nothing like the typical world tour that you associate with a band. Many of the pub owners refuse to pay them. The fan(now also the manager) doesn't help things with her inability to communicate properly in english. Its back to the same old boring dayjob for Lips and Reiner again.

Even after so much of disappointments and rejections, they never lose hope. As Lips says after returning from that bad European tour, 'I enjoyed every bit of it although things didn't go well'. Its their passion to make it big atleast once before they die that make them carry on even at that old age. Their families stand by them all through. They decide to record their 13th album 'This is 13' and contact music producer Chris Tsangarides who has worked with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and also on one of Anvil's previous albums. He agrees to do it for them but money becomes a problem. Lips tries a job as a telemarketeer at one of his fan's firms. But he couldn't adjust to it. Atlast, the family man gets rewarded for being loyal to his family all through. His elder sister pays for the recording. After stormy recording sessions which included fights between Lips and Reiner, they make the record. But the record companies refuse to take it. And in the end, they themselves release it.

And then it comes. History repeating itself after almost 30 years. An invitation to play in a big rockfest in Japan. They are upbeat as they come out of Tokyo airport. As a last twist of fate, they find their concert time to be 11.30 AM. They are shattered thinking that no one's gonna turn up at that time. As they walk from their room to the venue, you also will start praying for the venue to have atleast a 1000 people. Much to the band's surprise, they see a full house waiting in anticipation for Anvil's return. They give it their best. Their hardwork and the long wait for 30 years has found its results. Though they may never reach the league of Metallica or Slayer, their touching story of determination amidst a hell lot of failures will forever inspire us.

Its not about how many records you sell. Its about doing what makes you happy even if it doesn't pay you the dividends that you expect. Its about sticking on with your buddy and with your family even when the times are not that good. Its about giving it your best even if you are playing to a one man audience. Its about the love for Rock N Roll.

your crusader Praveen

Idols- Built up and smashed  

Posted by Praveen

India-the best and worst place to be a celebrity. Its the land where even a not-so-great fat actress like Khushboo got temples in her name and used to get milk abhishekhas. Its also the land where the very same actress was attacked for making some simple statements on sex. The same people who poured milk over her idols hounded her, baying for her blood. We like the extremes. Either we worship or we hate to the core. We just don't like to tread the middle path. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian Cricket team captain is the latest victim of this 'God one day, enemy next day' affair which is becoming common in India.

Some years back, around the time when Dhoni arrived on the scene with his explosive batsmanship, many Indians were busy making a public enemy out of its greatest cricket captain till then, Sourav Ganguly. From the heights of adulation that he received after conquering Aussies at home and almost winning the world cup, he fell down suddenly to be demonised by the media and blasted by the masses. The fact that his replacement Dravid also didn't do much to speak about made it a team that sorely missed a great leader. The captaincy was thrust on Dhoni, not because the bosses at BCCI had some foresight but simply because there was no other option. But, he along with the young team built up by the Sourav and mentored ably by Sachin, went on to conquer previously unreachable frontiers. In between, the underdog team won the inaugural T20 world cup too. Suddenly, Dhoni was the toast of the nation. Every critic worth his salt made epic comments on his coolness, his composure, his tactics and even his style. Awards like Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna were presented to him a little prematurely. Youth all over the country copied his hairstyle. When he cut his hair, it became front page news. He took it all in his typical professional and cool manner.

And then the inevitable happened- The media's U turn, a phenomenon not even the peerless Sachin Tendulkar has managed to escape from. They cooked up stories of rift inside the team and they asked such irritating questions to him that he was forced to shed his coolness and talk harsh. And to top it all was his bad form and the team's early exit from the tournament. The daggers were out. Sports journalists like Boria Mujumdar, who once sang such high praises for him blamed him as the one and only reason for India's exit. The reason they offer for this highly personal attack is that he took credit for all the victories, so he has to take responsibility for the loss too. My question to these 'responsible' media houses is this- 'Weren't you the ones who showered on him all the credit for the wins? Did he ever make a statement that he was the one who won it all singlehandedly?' The same guys who once proudly flaunted their Dhoni style haircut were burning his effigies yesterday. Am not in any way supporting some of the 'blunder' decisions that he took yesterday or the incompetent way in which he batted all through the tournament. Am just asking- 'Why we are overdoing it?'

I am not surprised because this comes from a set of so-called die hard fans who won't show even an iota of shame in asking Sachin to prove himself all over again, even now. The media and the fans have got their new victim now in the form of Dhoni. They've just replaced the bouqets with heavy crosses and have already started crucifying him. Yes, its tough being a celebrity in India. Only very few have managed to enjoy the good side of celebritydom all through their life in India. Many of us forget that the high expectations this time around from the team was only because they won the cup last time when we didn't have any hope in them. How can we call ourselves true fans if we ditch our team when they are down? We all are playing the roles of those friends who keep their friendship with somebody only when he/she's having a good life. I really do hope these meek fans grow up one fine day. Its not just about cricket, its a malady that has affected the common man's psyche. A kind of thought process governed by extremes. To put this disturbing trend in simpler words, 'Either I die for you or I kill you'.

image courtesy-kirkbytimes.co.uk

PS- Net was down for past 3-4 days. So give me some time to drop into your latest blogs.

your crusader Praveen

Cleaning up: A Nostalgic Trip  

Posted by Praveen in

The posters..torn from the walls :(

One of the best ways to relive your old days in school and college is to clean up your old room. Thats what I learned last week. As we were planning to rent the top floor of our home in Trivandrum, we had to do a clean up operation. More precisely, I had to do it because almost the entire floor was filled with my own stuffs. The so called stuffs include things ranging from the LKG alphabet book to the engineering data books. Considering the possibility of classified and 'secret' documents being present in those heaps, I told my mother not to touch any of those. I planned last weekend's trip home just for this cleaning up purpose. And yeah, it was worth it.
a part of the wall..before removing the posters

The minute I opened the big wall shelf, I could sense that dusty old smell. The shelf was full to the brim in 3 compartments. I had to decide what all things to throw and what to keep. Considering the fact that one of my hobbies happens to be 'collection', I was sure the things to throw away won't be much to speak about. The first things I laid my hands on were the notebooks. There were those crazy 4 line english copy books, 2 line malayalam and hindi copy books, homework books, notebooks just to write impositions and rough books. I made it a point to check for hidden pieces of paper. No, I was not looking for any loveletters from my school sweethearts. I was keeping an eye on any crazy notes we used to pass each other in school. I did get some. Also the back pages of notebooks were a treat. Anything from poorly done sketches of the girl in the next bench to nicknames of teachers were seen there. A 7th standard notebook's
backpage was filled with the old 'FLAMES'game, using which you could easily find out whether a particular girl will be your friend, lover, wife, enemy or a partner in bed. And the funniest thing is that most of the girl's name whom I tried out in those pages never even became an acquaintance. Some other notebooks had chocolaty lyrics of boy bands written at the back like "you are my fire(:P)...". The one which takes the cake is a special notebook with pictures from 'titanic' movie pasted in many pages. I was on the point of banging my head on the wall at this 'heights of chocolatiness', when I stumbled on the prize catch- a diary of poems written in school. I started it in 8th standard by writing malayalam poems. There was a poem called 'Ente premam(my love)', reading which made me cry with shame. It was written to impress our
beautiful class magazine editor. All the lines were filled with elaborate descriptions of her beauty, her eyes, her hair, her hands and even her legs(GOD!). Arranging the college notebooks was the easiest part-there were only less than 10 of them for all the 4 years. And most of them filled with heavy metal lyrics, crazy drawings and sometimes the highest of expletives.

Once I got over with notebooks, I proceeded to my precious collection of paper cuttings. It was a hobby which I started way back in school. Amma always told me never to do that because most of the papers couldn't be used for wrapping things once I started my operation. Rifling through those paper cuttings were like reading a mini history text book. There were entire collections of papers during world cups and other important events. Most of Sachin's centuries and Schumi's wins were carefully cut and kept. All the separate categories were kept in separate covers like music, movies, sports, politics. There were crappy cuttings of movie stars which went staright to the dust bin.
All over the wall...

The last part of the cleaning up operation was the painful part-Removing the heavy metal posters in our band's practise room. A collection acquired from years of buying and stealing rock magazines from friends. I carefully cut the cello taped parts so as to use the posters later. At the end of it all, amma was happy. What started with a single poster in the corner of the room, hijacked the whole room and turned it into four black walls of heavy metal Gods in just a few months time. After I removed everything, she was saying, "Ippozhaanu ivide kaattum velichavum vanu thudangiyathu"(Its only now that light and air has started to come into this room). Still, for me, to see that room without the posters, the guitars, the DVDs and that old desktop was a pain. I could easily say that the times spent inside this room were some of the best of my life. Those four walls and that little space in between means a lot to me. Anyway, the whole exercise was an enjoyable one.

your crusader Praveen

I wish: An appeal to Racists  

Posted by Praveen in , , , ,

Racism is the buzzword everywhere these days. An ugly centuries old practice which died and got revitalised a thousand times has reared its ugly head again. For every Hitler, there was a Jesse Owens or Rosa Parks who stood up(or sat down) for their own self respect. Times changed, the Berlin wall fell, terms like reverse racism began to be heard. Neo Nazis were also seen in many mean streets around the world. Then came President Obama and the world believed that racism died its least death. But, let me tell you, this guy called 'racist' is a tough nut who lives inside each one of us. Some among us carry so much love that the racist in them dies an early death, drowning in that love poison. Many among us take our time to cultivate love and kill him. And, a handful among us cultivate hate and thus making him grow into a monster and take them over. He makes them do all kinds of nasty things like the ones we see in Australia these days, where Indians are finding it hard to just walk on the streets. And while we look and point fingers at those monsters, we shouldn't forget the monsters living within us and among us. Am sure no one needs lessons on India's ugly caste structure and the unhealthy reservations, which are supposedly magic potions which can wash away years of caste oppression.
Wherever it happens, lets just stand together and boot out racism. Hate of the highest order, the one set on blind and high principles, can be broken down only with love of the highest order. Lets make use of the ultimate weapon in this war which needs to end atleast in this century. Lets all kill the racist within us before we demand the execution of the racist under trial. Below is a poem which I wrote yesterday night regarding this subject. Its the story of 2 brothers. One is the son of a black man and the other, of a white man. But, they same out of the same womb, whose colour they didn't notice. The poem is an appeal from the black brother to his white brother....

*********I wish......... ********
I wish you saw your own eyes better
And looked inside your narrow heart.
Your black and white eyes know better,
than your white skinhead brain.

I wish these were physical boundaries,
instead of the thorny hate thoughts.
I can endure a torn bloody flesh,
But I fail before those invisible slurs.

I wish God was not such an artist,
Or somebody just stole his colour palette.
He should've coloured us all the same
Or just made us all colour blind.

I wish you gave a pat on my back,
than that shattering slap on my face.
O brother, I can take a million more of those,
Only if you could shower a drop of love.

I wish you saw beyond all those clouds,
I wish you saw the futility of hate,
I wish we all could live and help live,
I wish the world opened its eyes, atleast for once..

Pics courtesy- from the net.

your crusader Praveen

Sam Anderson: The Phenomenon  

Posted by Praveen in ,

If you know malayalam, better read the Malayalam version of this post HERE.

It was some months back that we all heard about the brilliant actor called Sam Anderson. His dance sequences and breathtaking dialogue delivery has been floating around as popular forwards for quite sometime. Some months back I got the full DVD of Sam's one and only movie. Though I been planning to watch it for a longtime, I never got the courage to sit and watch it alone. Its in this scenario that I got an opportunity to watch it this saturday. Some of our old collegemates were here for a get together this past weekend. About 10 of them, who had arrived from places like Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Mumbai, had reached our flat o Friday itself. Thats when we had the idea of using them as guinea pigs for the Sam movie experience.

As decided by me, Raja and Praveen, we made an announcement on Saturday morning- "We are gonna play for you a superb new 'adult' movie. On hearing this, all the guys who were half asleep and lazing around, jumped up and shouted in unison- "Play it right now". So, we played for them the DVD of that classic Tamil movie then itself. Movie's name "Yaarkku yaaro Stepney" (who's whose stepney). Don't laugh at that crazy title. Its only towards then climax that you will realise the hidden inner meanings of this title (Provided you are alive at the time of the climax). The movie started with a song sequence featuring a heroine whose face can give nightmares to draculas. As the song gets over, her gold chain is robbed by some filthy looking robbers. Thats when our great hero Sam bhai makes his grand entry. He zooms in on a scooty and shattering with it all accepted norms of the looks of a hero. The robbers escaped. He rescues the heroine and starts with his superb dialogue delivery. The guys who were waiting to see an 'adult' stared impatiently at us. Some of them, who realised that this was our plan to fool them started making plans to beat us up. One guy who still hadn't given up his hope began fast forwarding in search of that elusive 'adult scene'. Anyway, in the end, we all decided to watch the whole movie.

The next 2 hours we all sat with wide open mouths watching Sam's adventures on screen. His acting is beyond the capabilities of a normal human being. There's no such thing that can be called an 'expression', on his face. There's only a constant 'rare' expression on his face. He's the only actor on the face of the earth who can deliver dialogues like "I love you", "She left me" and "I will kill you" with not a single change in facial expressions. When he delivers his dialogues, his eyes will be focussed mostly on the floor or the walls. He also has the habit of putting out his tongue occasionally. Also, his seals his mouth the moment he finishes his dialogue. In almost all the scenes, he appears by proudly projecting his big belly. He also has the habit of frequently staring at the camera. Sam's highlights are the song sequences. He has the ability to carry a whole song with his shoulders alone. This awesome dance step is known as "shoulder shake".

Now, talking about the movie, its even better. A guy called Joe stanley has handled the story, screenplay, direction, music, lyrics etc of the movie. When we did a search on him on the net, it didn't yield much results. My suspicion is that our Sam himself is Joe. Anyway, the whole movie is filled with moments which are brilliantly directed. I think the director just hung the camera somewhere and asked some random people to do whatever they like. The locations of the song sequences are praiseworthy. Its a ploughed up waste land which normal humans will think twice before using even as a toilet. In one of those scenes, you can even see a stray dog walking in the background. And the songs are even better. The song starting with "raasathi enn aasai raasathi" is on all our lips now. Sam's 'action song like' steps, the shocking smile and that stylish walk showing off the big belly adds to the beauty of the songs. Sam's character named David is an automobile engineer. He has hung several car designs all around his office, with most of the designs looking even worse than a nursery kid's crayon work. One of the 2 heroines always comes to his office and all these scenes start with the girl saying 'Hi David'. There are atleast 5 scenes like this. Sam's aim is to build a car costing Rs.70,000. Its being said that Ratan Tata came out with Nano after being inspired by Sam's movie.

In this movie, you will laugh at all scenes except those deliberately intended for comedy. The highlight of the movie is the climax. A girl whom Sam used to flirt with and later fooled, arrives with a stepney tyre. After rolling it towards Sam and his girlfriend, she says-"Stop seeing me as a stepney". Pat comes Sam's explanation-"You are the step which helped me to scale up the heights. Step nee(step you), step nee, step nee. I have never seen you as a stepney". God! we all really cried at that scene. After this, Sam and his girlfriend starts walking around his car imagining it to be the holy fire. After this, they head straight to Canada. By the time the movie ended, we all had become Sam Anderson fans. Most of them copied this movie to a DVD before they went back so that they could share it with their friends. I also joined in his orkut fan club. This film is a must watch for all movie buffs. If anyone has any doubts regarding whats acting, show them this movie. That will be the last time they will have that doubt.

PS-If anybody wants the DVD of this classic movie, contact me.

Don't miss these awesome clippings from the movie.

your crusader Praveen

Junkyard Groove: Live in Bangalore  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

There's no other perfect way to start a weekend than with a rocking concert. And, for the second week running, me and some of my metalhead friends here had just that perfect start. This week it was Junkyard Groove, the popular band from Chennai. This band which came into the limelight 3 years back by sweeping almost all awards at the popular rock fests around the country, been on the list of my favourite Indian bands for a pretty long time. This concert was part of the tour promoting the release of their debut album 11:11[bootleg].

Me and Nikhil headed home from office to get the bike and cam. And to our utter shock, my bike was missing. My roomie Praveen and some of our collegemates who came from Trivandrum had taken it to Forum. So, it was an impatient wait for half and hour, as the concert was scheduled to start at 7 PM. The Kyra theatre in Indiranagar which opened recently has already hosted many concerts. But, this was our first time there as we had to miss the earlier ones due to clash of dates with bigger concerts elsewhere. As we reached there, Navi was waiting and we came to know that Junkyard show is scheduled to start at 9Pm only. A band called 'crosswindz' from Kolkata were playing. They concentrated mainly on playing covers. They did good work in some of the songs. But, after a point it became kinda monotonous and also their original song was also not that exciting. The guitarist Tuki was doing a good job. The drummer was a grand old man who looked almost 60. The female singer looked like she was getting bored on stage. Pappu came in late as usual. The pricey menu made us opt for pure water. Then, we spotted the guys from Junkyard groove trooping in and settling at the back. We met them, bought their CDs, got in autographed and clicked some pics with them. They were all approachable and friendly. After that, it was another long wait for them to start. The 'crosswindz' show was going bad towards the end with some horrible toned down covers of songs like 'Enter sandman' and 'Wasted years'. 'Junkyard Groove' took quite sometime in setting up it all. Ameeth, the vocalist took a 2 minute 'pee break' before the show, with the permission of the audience. Siddarth, the guitarist took a 'drinks break'. During the extra long sound check, they played riffs from songs like 'Enter Sandman'. And, atlast it started and then it was a blast..
Sid, in a pose so reminiscent of SLASH
Craig, the bassie
Ameeth on vocals

Maynard on drums

Belting out all those crowd favourites from the album, they had the crowd singing with them from the word go. Fans were crying for their imaginatively named song 'Folk you', right from the start. Its a superb blend of English and Tamil lyrics and the main chorus inspired from an old Malayalam folk song. My 2nd favourite of the evening was 'Its ok'. With the simplest of lyrics and a catchy guitar hook, this is easily one of their most recognised songs. Part of the lyrics goes like this

"This is a story of a girl
Who falls in love with a boy
A story not meant to be

But she could never see

She lived a life to be free

Believed in what would set her free
Knew no cast knew no creed

Only what she believed

In him she believed

In him she wanted

In him she needed

Something she could never find
And all they found

Was a little bit of misery

And nothing at all

It's ok
It's alright

We are the same

And there is no need to cry"

Craig's going crazy!
Ameeth is in a mood to smile!

Infact, what makes this band so lovable is the simplicity and hummable nature of their songs. Ameeth, a vocalist of immense talent brings in that warm feeling to their songs. Siddarth with his long curly locks was looking almost like Slash on stage. His leads has a tinge of nostalgia. The feel-good factor in almost all their songs is the result of his leads and those simple hummable choruses. Craig, the lean guy handling the bass is another great artist who adds value to the band. His funkish bass lines gives the JYG songs that extra punch. I also love the way he jumps on stage. Maynard, the man behind the drums is unlike the rest of the members in demeanour and in his mature ways. He is like a dignified contrast of the mad asses that the rest of the band are on stage. Its a perfect combo. Of the new songs I heard at the concert, I loved 'Hold' and 'Twinkle'. 'Hold' especially was notable for its slightly carnatic style guitar at the start. They did an encore of 'folk you' by audience request, at the end. The one song I missed at the show was 'Imagine'. On the whole, it was a great start to a great weekend.
Me, Navi & Izafeer with Junkyard Groove
Nikhil, Navi and Izafeer with JYG

Had awesome fun on Saturday and Sunday, with 10 of our old collegemates landing up at our flat. 3 days of pure unadultered fun. And should I add that this is one of those mondays I wished never existed? I would better say one of all those mondays...

PS- Those who still haven't had a taste of this wonderful band, please listen to some samples at any of these sites..


Also checkout the music video of their popular song 'Its Ok', which was released last week. According to Ameeth, this fun video was shot at a shoestring budget of Rs.3500, including the charge for booze. Mind you, these guys are some of the heaviest drinkers on the circuit. So you can very well imagine the budget of the video, which may be even a single digit number. Still, its one hell of a video. Don't miss it.

All the pics from the concert are uploaded @ my flickr page

your crusader Praveen