Sunday, April 25, 2010

Short Takes

Movies since my last movie post in the order of watching.

Tamizh Padam - One can make short parody of movies, but this full length movie parody stretched it slightly far to end up tiresome. Have to agree with chennaigirl's review sometime back. It was fun for the first hour, the second hour dragged on and on. And I loved the "meaningless words" song 'Oh! Mahaziya", which had a attractive tune. Seems to have had a good run!

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya - A slow movie, but I liked it for its crawl. I think I liked the uncomfortable undecidedness of Trisha's character. Silambarasan has tried hard not to use his usual irritating mannerisms, expressions, jingo and sexist dialogues and he has succeeded pretty well. Except for a very few instances where a few of his mannerisms peek out slightly, he is subdued and has done a good job. I am forgetting, what else... The classy Rahman peeks out at times. High time, Gautam Menon stops those rap-dancer sequences. The movie is fading away from my memory, but well, that happens to almost all the movies I see. :-)

The Hurt Locker - What a movie! Deserved its Oscar accolades. "...war is a drug", the movie starts with this statement. A gripping movie on an US army bomb defusal squad involved in Iraq. Death stares from all directions, no guessing from where and how, which comes near and goes away and sometimes snatching people away, nobody being a friend and the scorching weather making wrecks out of them. Gruesome in sections, but that builds the movie's character. The film's name is interesting. It is a war slang for a place where you don't want to be, where pain (hurt) is aplenty and suffering inevitable. The movie makes you feel as if you are a part of that squad and thereby lies its success. A high-five to Kathryn Bigelow!

One movie which I have been trying to see completely from start to end is the late 70s Tamil movie "Udhiri Pookkal". I am seeing it in portions on the TV channels whenever the movie is being aired, unfortunately I landup seeing the same portions. This movie is considered a landmark movie in Tamil moviedom for its realism of village life in those times and the unassuming villain. The movie's off-beat climax and a beautifully haunting song, "Azhagiya Kannē, Uravugal Neeyē", sung by S Janaki are etched in my memory.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Adsworth-Tata DoCoMo My Song

The new Tata-DoCoMo ad rocks. Hats off to their creative agency (DraftFCB Ulka).

The ad is for their My Song "Hear your tune when you call" service. It is different, simple, humorous, contemporary and non-jingoistic.

A hesitant young girl stands before her mother who is cutting veggies and says "Amma, I want to show you something". The mother looks at her in anticipation and the girl turns around, pulls her shirt up showing a tattoo on her lower back. The mom after two seconds of trepidation, gives a brief smile and says "Very nice". The girl gives a surprised smile and the tag line comes up for My Song (to hear what you want to hear) The two actors have done a wonderful job with their body language and expressions defining the unsaid.

Lovely ad! Made me really smile. Tata-DoCoMo seems to be carving a niche for different services and their different ads too. (The Hutch Zoozoos didn't impress me much this time, though there were a couple of good storyboards, probably because of over-exposure)

And here is the ad

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yada yada yada ...

Running a tad tight (weekdays on work and work on weekends) and hence no activity over the past 3 weeks. Have at last caught up reading my blog tracking list. Shunting a ramble post off, before I hibernate again.

The random summer evening showers are making our scorching days at Bengaluru a tad cooler. Two days back, it poured for around 45 minutes with hail. Señora was driving out, got stuck in the rain and she said she had never seen so much of a pounding rain and the hail/rain drops on the sheets of water on the road looked like a sea of pearl drops splashing on water. And interestingly, these cloudbursts were local and confined. In a place just 10 minutes away, there was only a mild rain and 2-3 kms away, no rain. Hope we get some more rain like this to keep the summer tolerable in Bengaluru and recharge our ground water. God save the Chennaiites, if it is so in Bengaluru. :-) The 'washed look' streets with puddles here and there after the rain is a coolant to the eyes.

Two violations in two weeks and counting ...
Got fined for traffic code violation, twice, one for entering a one-way in the wrong direction and the other for taking a wrong turn at a signal. The Bengaluru police are all BlackBerry savvy now and with an attached dock which has a micro-printer, bang went Rs.100 for each violation.

I think of myself being a relatively safe driver (not so, according to Señora), but these violations are making me re-think. At least I felt that both were traps for people who drive in areas alien to them. Whoever can think of a one-way in the reverse direction on a service road, of all things, on a 2+2 lane road? Well, I was foxed in one. I missed the No-Entry sign hidden amongst ten small ad boards at the same eye level. :-( The second one was at a right turn at a signaled intersection even when oncoming traffic is blocked by a signal. I do not remember seeing a sign prohibiting a right turn and argued with the policeman who gave me a lecture on the signal having no arrow marks for me to turn right and said that the 'No Right Turn' wording is on a bin in the road and not on a sign post. :-(

I was reminded of the 'Saar, As I am suffering from ...' episode from Vivek in the movie 'Parthiban Kanavu' where he is caught by a traffic cop. One policeman flagged me down and another (the inspector), standing near his vaahanam (a bike with cheetah spots) and a BlackBerry in hand charged me. :-)

BS (a)N(d) (yel)L
I am on an unlimited data plan on my home Internet connection from our national provider BSNL. I don't what quirk is there in their subscriber management system, but I get a redirected web page whenever I cross a total of 1GB of total download/uploads in a month. I've to confirm to a 'I Agree' button to accept charging beyond this free limit which then asks me to restart the browser session. This message is like a காலை சுத்தின பாம்பு (snake encircled on your legs). Once the message comes, there is no redemption until you agree.

I get into conference calls from home (using Skype) and landed this message one morning. There was no response on clicking the 'I Agree' button. Called up BSNL broadband customer service. I have no clue what their working times are (supposedly 8 AM to 8 PM) and nobody picked up the phone at the end of navigating the interactive voice response system. Went to the landline customer service and a lady asked me to click the 'I agree' button and then restart the PC. Tried reasoning with her that clicking the 'I agree' button itself was not working, but the she persisted on 'restart'ing the PC after clicking the button. Hung up (no way that she'll understand that the servlet at the BSNL server needs to be restarted) and another half an hour of trying to get the broadband helpline, called up the landline helpline again to be told the same 'restart PC' mantra and I had to yell prompting them to take a complaint. Another half and hour wasted in clicking the 'I agree' button at regular intervals to see if the page responds and then at last it worked. I got a call from their Customer Care after 5 hours(!) asking if my Internet is working fine. Thank goodness, for small mercies.

I don't know why there should be any bandwidth accounting in my case and next, why there couldn't there be a proper troubleshooting from their end. No wonder, people exposed to a better service, run away from BSNL to other private providers. (not to mention they also have their own problems. See zeno's travails)

Pull up your socks BSNL, before it gets too late!

(P.S. I have no issues with the phone/Net service that BSNL provides, they are more nimble now than from a decade ago, but they still have miles to go)