Seval Movie Review

October 29, 2008

Director Hari is known for narrating race tales with right commercial mix. Much was expected from Hari’s ‘Seval’, which was touted to be a crusade against the sufferings of widows in an Indian society. Unfortunately the movie has belied all expectations as it provides a feel of deja vu and it is clichéd and very predictable.

Hari’s treatment to the screenplay reminds us of several films made some four decades ago. A sense of watching a mega serial prevails at many places. Murugesan (Bharath), a village vagabond spends most of his time with his uncle Thapal Thangavel (Vadivel), the village postman. One day Murugesan meets Parijatham (Poonam Bajwa) a Brahmin girl and falls for her.

Parijatham’s sister Gayathri (Simran) dies after leaving her infant in her sibling’s hand. At a time when her family members compel Parijatham to marry her brother-in-law, there are two others in the village lusting for the young girl.

A series of events make Murugesan to take a tough decision and sends him to prison. What’s next is the climax of this tearjerker, which becomes a damp squib by the time the film comes to an end.

Bharath manages to deliver his best. Seems to be improving movie after movie, he gets his act right. He plays a happy-go-lucky-youngster in the first half and his transformation as an angry young man for a cause in the latter half deserves a special mention.

Poonam Bajwa does her job well, while Simran manages to leave an impact in her comeback. She oozes with right energy in the movie.

Vadivelu has a major screen space as he comes almost all through the film. He is a major relief in the movie evoking laughter at several places where the screenplay starts to lag.

G V Prakash’s songs don’t strike any magic on screen. Produced by M A Jinnah, ‘Seval’ can be enjoyed in parts.

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Aegan Movie Review

October 25, 2008

Starring: Ajith, Nayantara, Navadeep, Suhasini Mani ratnam, Jayaram, Suman, Nasser, M.S.Bhaskar, Sriman

Direction: Raju Sundaram

Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja

Production: Ayngaran International

We don’t really know if Raju Sundaram intended his directorial debut to be funny, but it seriously is. I mean if you can’t laugh at a villain with a funny-as-hell-wig uttering claptraps with the seriousness of a chemistry professor to firangs and the chemistry professor who dresses with the élan of a stripper and sheds her clothes at the drop of a hat, you probably are born without any sense of humor. And it’s not all that. Despite the self-realization of his flourishing paunch, Ajith quashes the beefy looking bad-men and handles mean machines single handedly, matrix style – all to earn the repute of a tough-police officer who is notorious for his bad-temper.
Aegan is inspired from Main Hoon Na and the Malayalam flick Olympian Antony Aadam and doesn’t definitely derive anything from the Hollywood flick Back to School, as claimed.

Ajith is Raju Sundaram’s version of an encounter specialist, whose prowess is demonstrated with a shoot-and-deliver-a-punch-before-you-kill scene in Hong Kong. He’s called back by his superior, who is also his father, to trace a criminal’s aide (Devan) who turned into a police approver and later went into hiding fearing for his life after experiencing the cops’ inability to protect him. Now when the police intelligence discovers that Devan’s daughter studies in a college in Ooty, they come up with a clever idea of sending Ajith to the college as a student to find the whereabouts of Devan from his daughter. Clever, indeed!

With that saggy little plot and actors who try to flaunt their acting skills with whatever little they can, Aegan proves to be a mind-numbing fare with the only sigh of relief coming between the intervals – the songs, of course.
Nayanthara pouts sexily throughout, is exposed liberally albeit wrapped in a sari and an excuse for a blouse, and wears dangerously revealing tank tops and tiger print minis during songs. Well, after all, she is (over)paid for it but she seems to be in need of some serious career advice if she chooses to survive here.

What makes an actor like Jeyaram to take up a disgraceful role, as that of a college principal, who plots with his attendant to abet Ajith in his noble mission and thinks the explosive chemistry teacher is born to please the protagonist, is a mystery. Same applies to Nasser and Suhasini. Piya shows some potential, but then what is the point?
Yuvan’s background score ebbs and flows, but the songs are largely passé. Ajith has indeed tried the best of his dancing skills in the Freedom song. His charm is also irresistible, but sadly lost in the dud effort.

If the movie made you feel like you were watching Raju Sundaram’s goofed-up performance in the movie Jeans, it’s not entirely your fault. He is after all the director and has influenced the entire cast’s dialogue delivery and body language reducing them to laughing-stocks.

And if that’s not enough, the end credit states ‘Aegan’s mission continues’. Now, we only wish Raju is not planning for a sequel or some such thing.

You must thank the cinematographer Vijay Milton and the costume designer for maintaining the subtle tone of the movie without which you would come out of the movie hall with a splitting headache.

Verdict – A futile mission

Silambattam Music Review

October 24, 2008

Produced by Lakshmi Movie Makers. Directed by cinematographer Saravanan, with Mathi handling the camera. Starring Simbhu( Silambarasan), Sneha, Sana Khan (debut) Nirosha, Prabhu Ganesan ,Santhanam and others.

Silambarasan is supposed to be essaying two roles-that of an innocent priest and a perky youngster. Yuvan Shankar Raja has done the honors as far as music is concerned, tuning 5 songs for the movie. Coming soon after Aegan, Yuvan fans are eagerly waiting to see what he has served up this time. A couple of songs are being shot in Kandy, Sri Lanka- probably duets.

Machan Machan—
Vocals: Ilayaraja, Bela Shende

A sweet ditty set probably in Kiravani scale, it has a nice flowing rhythm to it. Very fine use of strings right through. There is a nice lilt to ‘vecchu—’. Ilayaraja surprisingly sounds a trifle flat. Bela is good. The final flourish where the keys, violin, and guitar blend, is so airy.

Nalamdhaana
Vocals: Silambarasan, Earl, Suzie Q

Ho,ho, we have a dizzy cocktail of western stuff with heavy, raucous native drums mixing with an L.R.Easwari type of song!! A truly creative piece from Yuvan, never mind the nonsensical lyrics and the bad articulation. Violin and nagaswaram literally play second fiddle to the rhythms. And the last one minute of native drums is a real hoot!

Thamizh Enral Naan
Vocals: Shankar Mahadevan

Looks like the ‘entry’ song of Silambarasan. It is a song tailor-made for Shankar Mahadevan and he revels! Look how well the voice and nagaswaram blend in the beginning! A robust use of complex native beats marks this song, especially the beats behind the female chorus’ ‘olavai’ singing. Not an original tune, sadly! And isn’t this type of song already beaten to death, still to be heard?

Vecchukkavaa—
Vocals: Silambarasan, Suchitra

Supposed to be a remix of an old Ilayaraja number,( Nallavanukku Nallavan) this song is racy and breathless! But the ‘saving grace comes from fine sax and guitar inputs. Especially when the guitar flutters ‘pa ma pa ma pa ma’. Silambarasan needs urgent training in Tamil pronunciation. Appears to be based on Kalyani raga.

Where is the Party—
Vocals: Mukesh, Priyadarshini

You have got to hand it to Yuvan! This very funny song has been put together in a highly original way by him. Of course the tune reminds one of an old Pushpavanam Kuppuswamy number. Plenty of synthesized sounds. The trumpet –like sounds and the strident beats add a mischievous ‘military march’ like feel to this very youth-oriented number. And isn’t that keyboard that just glides in a big swoop from the top to the bottom most note three minutes into the song? Mukesh adds a lot of color to the rendition. Could be a rage.

Verdict:

This album, right from the beats to the lyrics, seems to be a Silambarasan-centric one, so to speak. When you hear it for the first time, you do get a little disappointed. Then you take heart and relish the fun aspects scattered around. One only wishes the choreographer does not bury them under jerky epileptic( read vulgar) movements

The hotel heiress – who is seen wearing a tiny boob-tube bikini top and short skirt in the advertising campaign for her new fragrance Fairy Dust – was reportedly thrown into a panic when she found out what bosses had chosen for her to wear in the shoot.

A source close to Paris told Fox News: “Paris didn’t want to be airbrushed so as soon as she found out what she had to wear she went overboard with Pilates classes and exercise – she went totally crazy toning up.”

The 27-year-old beauty also came up with the idea for the shoot – which shows her waving a magic wand and wearing fairy wings complete with the tag line, “Do you believe in fairy tales?” – because she wanted to “bring some fantasy to her fans during these tough economic times.”

A shoot insider said: “Paris wanted to look ethereal, but also wanted her perfume to inspire people.”

“She hopes she has done that with the new campaign.”

With barely 24 hours to go for India’s maiden lunar mission, it is the most nerve raking period for people behind this Herculean task. The modified PSLV is all set to lift of from Sriharikota early tomorrow morning. If all goes according to plan, India will become the third Asian country to have put a satellite into a lunar orbit after Japan and China — which managed the feat just last year.

India has big future plans as well; cabinet has given the green signal for the Chandrayaan 2 mission in 2011, just three years from now. If that was not enough, current plan indicates a manned space mission in 2014 followed by a manned lunar mission in 2020 – which happens to be four years before China’s 2024 deadline. India also seems to be better placed than China as far as the moolah spent on these missions is concerned. The Chandrayaan -1 mission for example, with a budget of $86 million cost only half as much as China’s Chang’e 1 mission.

A space mission and that too a lunar mission is not just about sending a satellite across to the moon and the scientific intent it has. It is also a matter of national pride for most Indians who sit glued to their television screens during these launches. It is expected to be no different tomorrow.

However, experts point out that India’s mission is not just about chest-thumping or an egoistic attempt to increase its clout in the India dominated sub continent. India has as many as 11 communication satellites of its own, which the country has used to its benefit. The INSAT series of satellites have been instrumental in bringing quality education to remote villages in the heart of rural India. This is apart from the IRS, which has helped farmers indirectly for crop yield modeling.

Four decades ago, when the US and Russia were embroiled in a bitter space-race for reaching the moon , sleeping giants India and China were barely a blip on the radar. No one could have envisaged that these countries will in just 40 years start to dramatically shift the highly polarized world economy eastwards.

While the US still is the indisputable superpower, India and especially China has been seeing dramatic growth over the past few decades. While India has not ruffled half as many feathers as China has, it has had its share of limelight — with the Chandrayaan mission being one of the highly decorated feathers on the proverbial cap.

Coming back to the Chandrayaan -1 mission, while most have lauded the efforts by the scientists and engineers behind this mission, there are some others who have voiced their resentment against a mission of this nature; mainly questioning the rationale behind spending colossal amounts of money when the country can spend this amount on “better” things. These include ensuring basic necessities for the country’s poverty stricken masses and other humanitarian needs. While many see a possible “space race” with China in harnessing the lunar mineral wealth, others point towards an arms race claiming that rockets used for firing satellites can also be used for nuclear warheads.

Whatever the results, tomorrow will be a red-letter day for the Indian space program. When the PSLV lifts off from Siharikota with the Chandrayaan -1 on-board, it also carries with it the aspirations of a billion plus population, the hard work of thousands of scientists who managed to finish the project well within the deadline and not to mention, the voice of an emerging economy which is raring to go places.

Zaheer Khan wreaked havoc as India punctured Australia’s aura of invincibility by inflicting a crushing 320-run defeat on the visitors with more than two sessions to spare in the second cricket Test in Mohali on Tuesday.

With Zaheer breathing fire, India took just one-and-half hours and 18.4 overs to complete the formality and Australia, thoroughly bruised and battered, were subjected to one of their worst defeats in recent past as India went 1-0 up in the four-match series.

Australia needed well nigh a miracle to chase down the monumental 516-run target for an improbable win and with the top order blown away cheaply, their pursuit looked doomed right at the outset.

It was too much to expect the lower middle order batsmen and tail-enders to do what their front-line willow-wielders could not and Australia eventually folded for 195.

Zaheer’s triple strikes in the first hour maimed Australia and since then, their collapse was just a matter of time and formality, which was completed in due course.

This was India’s biggest win against the Aussies, eclipsing the 222-run victory that came in Melbourne in 1977. Michael Clarke (69) was the only face of Australian resistance in the face of some inspiring Indian bowling but his knock didn’t go beyond boosting his personal tally.

Clarke’s 152-ball knock included nine hits to the fence. With five wickets separating India from a win at the end of the fourth day, the dice was indeed loaded too heavily against Australia and whatever hopes they had of saving the Test went up in smoke when Zaheer crashed through Brad Haddin’s (37) defence in the first over of the day.

Zaheer has been tormenting Australia since they landed in India and the persecution was far from over as the left-arm seamer came to singe them with a superlative show of fast bowling in his second over.

Cameron White (1) had barely survived the first ball he faced from Zaheer which angled across to beat his tentative blade but his luck ran out soon and the Australian edged the next delivery for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to pouch a smart catch diving to his right.

Brett Lee was next in the line of fire and he could only grope in thin air as Zaheer landed one just short of length and pegged back his off-stump, putting himself on a hat-trick.

Four fielders were soon manning the slip cordon and a few more hung around the blade but Mitchell Johnson’s (26) straight bat denied Zaheer his hat-trick even if the left-arm seamer’s spell was no less spectacular.

Johnson showed the grit that some of his illustrious batting colleagues lacked and the left-hander decided to lend a helping hand to Clarke who was waging a grim battle at the other end.

They put together a 50-run stand for the ninth wicket to thwart the Indians for a while but that was just an effort to delay the inevitable till Amit Mishra struck.

Johnson could not read Mishra’s flighted delivery and the leading edge resulted into a simple caught-and-bowled dismissal giving the bowler his sixth wicket of the match.

Running out of partners and patience wearing thin, Clarke pulled Amit Mishra in the leggie’s next over and Virender Sehwag took a smart catch at mid-off to drop curtains on Australia’s second innings.

The West Indies will host the World Twenty20 Championship in 2010, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced in Mohali on Saturday.

The event will be held in place of the Champions Trophy that was to be hosted by West Indies in 2010, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said at a press conference.

“With the Champions Trophy set to be hosted by Pakistan in 2009 after its cancellation this year, we decided to have a Twenty20 World Championship instead in April-May 2010 in West Indies,” he said.

“Although World Twenty20 is to be held every second year, we decided to hold it on the trot to set the calendar right and ensure a better spread of tournaments.”

The event, slated to be held from April 23 to May 9, will be staged at three venues to be chosen by the ICC Board in January 2009 following nominations from the West Indies Cricket Board.

“With the ICC Champions Trophy being the final major ICC event of 2009, and the ICC Cricket World Cup being the 50 over event in 2011, it makes perfect sense to have a tournament of a different format in between,” Lorgat said.

“It means we will avoid staging the ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Cricket World Cup close together, as happened in 2002-03 and 2006-07.

“We will aim to make both those events special to ensure we have a great blend of the ICC’s three majors, with two ICC World Twenty20s (2009 in England and 2010 in the West Indies) as well as an the ICC Champions Trophy (in 2009) and an ICC Cricket World Cup (in 2011) over the next three years.”

India won the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship in South Africa in 2007.