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Sep 282014

After wearily trudging through the endless Sahara of trashy Tamil movies, I serendipitously discovered a welcome oasis in Madras (Karthi, Kalaiarasan Harikrishnan, Catherine Tresa, Rama, Ritwika et al).

Pa Ranjith directed the film based on his script (a claim that so far has not been disproved).

Like so many good films, Madras defies easy categorization and is impossible to pigeonhole.

Sure, Madras is a romance. Doubtless, it’s violent. Yes, it’s set within the political context of a sliver of Madras (the northern part of the city).

But this remarkable film is also so much more than the sum of its many pleasing parts.

Above all, Madras is a class act in realism seldom seen in a Kollywood populated mostly by thieves, butchers, pimps, sluts and halfwits.

Theft to Glory

Madras director Pa Ranjith started his climb to cinematic glory as a scatophagous Lavadai Kabal (asshole), who pocketed a good bit of money by acting as an accomplice to theft. Continue reading »

Sep 272014

In a nation known for countless bizarre creatures, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalitha stands out.

Obnoxiously arrogant, shamelessly corrupt and a living goddess for millions of idiots, Jayalalitha got her comeuppance today when the Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) was convicted in a 18-year-old Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets (corruption) case and sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The disproportionate assets amassed by Jayalalitha included gold jewelry, real estate, bank deposits and cash.

Besides the prison term, judge John Michael D’Cunha also imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore, failure to pay which will add an extra year behind bars.

Puratchi Thirudi (revolutionary thief), who was present in court when the verdict was announced, developed chest pain upon hearing the verdict.

Jaya’s conviction means she will be forced to quit as Chief Minister and be taken to jail.

One can only hope that the verdict will send shivers down the spines of other Indian politicians, most of whom are no different from Jayalalitha in their lust for illegal pelf, power and privilege.

Jayalalith’s associates K.Sasikalaa and two others were also convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.

Conviction – A Miracle

Jayalalitha’s conviction today is one of those rare Indian miracles as the nation’s politicians rarely ever pay a price for their wrongdoings.

Recent Indian political history is rife with corruption scandals – Bofors, 2G Case, Coalgate, AgustaWestland Defence Scam, Stamp Paper Scam, Bihar Fodder Scam,  ad nauseam.

In 99% of the cases, injustice prevails and the corrupt politicians go scot-free.

That the Jayalalitha case has dragged on for 18-years is a testament to the behind-the-scene maneuvers by vested interests to derail the case.

Orgy of Violence

A big time thief’s conviction would be a moment of joy anywhere else but in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu it was cause for an orgy of violence.

Across Tamil Nadu, tens of thousands protested the conviction of Jayalalithaa.

It’s a strange world we live in when the conviction of a thief triggers mayhem and a wave of violence.

Sep 262014

Hollywood A-lister Denzel Washington has often whined that Indian cabbies don’t stop for him in New York City.

After sitting through Denzel’s new movie Equalizer in quiet fury this evening, I decided the whiner was not going to win any sympathy from me.

Folks, Equalizer works very hard to match the Bollywood junk that Indian directors shovel our way ad nauseam.

Based on a three-decade-old TV series, Equalizer is the dreadful handiwork of director Antoine Fuqua (of Training Day fame, the movie that got Denzel his Best Actor Oscar).

Not Worth It

Equalizer is a one-man show – Denzel, Denzel and more Denzel.

Denzel as a middle-aged employee of a large home improvement store (think Home Depot), Denzel reading Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea late night at a 24-hour diner, Denzel motivating his co-worker to get a job as security guard, Denzel making small talk with a young Russian hooker Yelena (Chloë Grace Moretz) at the diner, Denzel making mincement of the Russian Mafia in Boston and Denzel bringing down a dreaded criminal oligarch in Moscow.

All of it tiresome! Totally. Continue reading »

Sep 232014

Begging pays handsome dividends. And Indian crook Dinesh D’Souza is perfect evidence of that. Despite pleading guilty to the felony crime of violating U.S. federal campaign election laws, Dinesh has managed to escape a prison term. Instead, he was sentenced today to five years of probation, with eight months during the first year to be [...]

Sep 212014

Impeccably written, beautifully enacted, frequently funny and charmingly photographed, Le Week-End (2013) is an absolute treat. British director Roger Michell directed this delightful film based on the story by Hanif Kureshi (of My Beautiful Laundrette and the Buddha of Suburbia fame). How I stumbled upon this gem I can’t recollect now but I’m glad I [...]