Filmy Trees

Up in the mountains. In Kodai.

Tall they are. Nestling against each other. Seeming to stretch to the sky. Standing so close to each other. You wonder how they grew so tall despite how close they are to each other.

But there they are. Close. Tall. In a seemingly endless mosaic of green and brown. And proving to be such a spectacle. To city dwellers who are tourists today. Armed with cameras, ice creams, plastics, chatter & such else.

‘Shooting spot’. says the taxi driver. ‘We had a film crew here yesterday’, says a vendor. And there is more attention from the crowd. Some with gaping mouths, as though with reasonable prompting the trees would recount dialogues or retrace dance steps from yesterdays filming!

They stand in majestic splendour. The new found interest in them, after all the tit-bits about the most recent film crew, do no damage to them. The sun’s rays still struggle to reach earth as the trees, stand their ground!

There however, is a small pathway in between. In between those random arrays of trees. And that pathway tells a story. A story of empty space. Which once belonged to the trees.

What the mighty sun couldnt do, man has been adept at. Of course, for ‘worthwhile reasons’: Felling tree for wood. For paper to write on. For fuel to power our factories and light our homes. For door frames. For swanky chairs and designer tables.

The peace in the fresh air disturbed only by the tourist hurling a stone and an expletive at an adept monkey. Both of which don’t reach the monkey and neither does he care.

The majestic beauty casually appeals for a riveting attention. By the sheer nature of being there. There is wonderment. There is awe. There is peace. You wonder how long man will let these trees be.

And then you overhear. That there is a film shoot coming up next week. ‘The trees are safe’ you tell yourself.

At least until next week !

Sivaji. The Boss. The Movie. Point # 1. Point # 2

I watched Sivaji. (The Tamil film. The most expensive film in recent times. The first tamil film to be part of UK top 10. The first tamil film with 600 prints. Yes..the Rajinikant starrer. that one).

Had to write about Siva
ji. Looked like this space would have missed an important part of history ! So. A post.

Before you proceed further, here are two important points that would hold throughout this post, that i will frequently comeback to.

Point # 1: This is not a film review about Sivaji. Competent people have filled blogsphere with reviews. ( to be read as “I-will-consciously-stay-away-from- reviewing the film)

Point # 2: I am a fan of Rajini !.

Ok. Here we go. Refer Point #1.

This post is about the everything else. Ok ? Kamal (my brother. before you allude to the other Kamal) wrung in some tickets. Blessed be the soul who got us the tickets. The neighbours & friends were subtly told. “We wont be available Sunday morning” looking forward to the question, “where are you going?”.

If no question came, subtly was thrown to the winds with an added statement was, ” It isn’t everyday that we get to watch Sivaji”. The close circle in all parts of India, US and Europe were informed. The last time, such scale of information went around, was when we bought a home ! Whew !

Ok. Refer Point #1. This post is about the everything else. Ok ?

The posters were in Kannada ! For a moment we didnt know if it was a Kannada print that we were to watch. A merciful clarification came. There was the odd black marketeer. The masses of Rajini fans ( Refer Point # 2). Benagalis. Punjabis. Malayalees. Kannadigas. Man ! This was like national integration.

All coming in to watch a tamil movie. This was AVM’s 100th year. And then of course, the Star was launched on screen amidst catcalls, whistles, hoots ! I can well imagine what the first day must have been ! So we watched and watched and watched. Stop. Refer Point # 1

As i laughed, squirmed, squirmed more, laughed more, relished and more, (in no particular order / intensity), i realised that Rajini’s skills lay in reaching out to a mass and doing things that THEY would like to do. Root out black money. Subjugate villains. Knife in a minister etc ! And oh, by the way, dance with damsels in exotic settings ! Kind of satisfying a deeper need. SOME deeper need. And boy, he oozes style. (Disclaimer. Refer Point # 2)

It was break time. I overheard two non-tamils in the mens room. While keeping other conversation under wraps, respecting the unstated ‘non-disclosure pact’ of the mens room, i am compelled to quote these lines. Profound Lines !

Man 1: “What is vaaji?”
Man 2: What Vaaji ?
Man 1: “Vaaji, Vaaji, in the song..”

Man 2: “Oh..! that..Sounded like Bhaaji…i guess they must have the expression wah-ji..”
Man 1: “Oh ! Wah-Ji as in Hindi. Maybe they included it to get in audiences in other places”

Cut. Cut. Movie Starts again.

We watched and watched and watched and watched. I squirmed less. Laughed more. And had a good time. (Refer Point #2). What costed the 100 crore bombshell, i thought. All the glass sets. The glasses, the solar panels, the second hand cars etc that were broken ? Rajini’s hairdo. Shankar’s marketing. Money paid to all news channels. The prints. What ?

They did seem to have been cost conscious! Sample this. The scene opens to a Rs. 25 lac Honda CRV. Rajini plus heroine are inside. Other cars pull up. Lights are dimmed. Battering starts. Rajini is still in the car. Supposed to be same car. And begins to fight back. The car takes a battering. But, Only this time the car is a Rs. 6 lac Mahindra Scorpio!
Ok ok. Stop. Refer Point # 1

Oh yes. Finally, the MMS clippings were put to good use. After all the negative publicity that MMS clippings got, this is a good break. The film must surely affect the fortunes of chewing gum, fair & lovely, mahindra scorpio..!

Movie over. We walk out. There are smiles all around. I notice some combinations. As we queue up to the exit, holding the steering wheel, i look around at the cars queueing up. Young. Old. Men. Women. Children. Oh the tribe ! Software Engineers.

I am told that Cognizant Technology Services has booked shows for all its employees. Must be employee-engagement..( as in You- Come – back – from US and – start – something – you – better – learn – martial -arts) or that type of thing. How cynical of me !

We drove to Kadambam (supposed to be an Iyengar joint) where they serve you pure vegetarian fare. I ordered for the family. Sakkarai Pongal ( Roughly-Translates-To ‘sweet rice’). Puliyodharai (RTT ‘Tamarind Rice’). Laddoos. Polis. Rice. Pooris. Bhajis.

All rich. All in pure ghee. The cashier lumps in the money, and my wife looks at me with a “isnt this a delicious BUT too much, too rich, too fattening, too diverse…” look.

Hey, she was talking food. Nothing to do with movie ! Please Refer point # 1.

Professional Ethics !

Cool !