And here is my take on the movies watched over the past 3 weeks.
Wall Street (1987)
I saw this 1987 movie for the first time and what a compelling movie it was! 'Greed is good', is the motto of a high flying stock broker, Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas). A young stock-broker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) gets acquainted with him by trading some inside info and grows up as he gets sucked into the a world of insiders, greed, women and double crosses et al until Gekko shorts Bud by trying to break up the airline company, Bud's father works for. Bud retaliates on Gekko double crossing him with consequences and eventually trapping Gekko. An out-and-out Michael Douglas film, no wonder he got an Oscar for it. There is a sequel to it, "Wall Street Money Never Sleeps" which is being premiered at the Cannes feastival currently going on.
Pudhiya Vaarpugal (1979)
This 1979 movie launched Bhagyaraj as hero and Rati Agnihotri as heroine. Simple story, typically Bharathirajaesque. Teacher (Bhagyaraj, with his eye glasses as tall and wide like the windshield of a bus, as was the norm those days) comes to a rural school, falls in love with a belle (Rati), a lecherous village head-man and his side-kick (Goundamani excels here), teacher's false implication in a murder of a social worker and banished out of the village, Rati's marriage to Goundamani on a crooked plan by the headman and the headman's murder on the night of the marriage by Rati as he eyes her and Goundamani removing the thaali and asking Rati to run away with Bhagyaraj. There was no exaggeration in the village life portrayed and Ilaiyaraaja lilts with rousing songs. Never felt bored as I watched this movie and its incidents unfold at leisure.
Angaadi Theru (2010)
A unique view of the not-so-lovely life of the people behind the facade of the glamourous multi-storeyed shops in T Nagar, Chennai. No doubt that it was a dig at Saravana Stores, the behemoth there. What struck me from the movie's portrayal of gloom, squalor, the harsh working conditions of the sales people and their helplessness at being run over rough shod, were the strains of optimism that run throughout the movie. Down to earth acting by the actors and a completely different view from the director shod of beautification or sugar coating makes this movie a worth watch.
First time, I am seeing this movie in its entirety. Wow, Maniratnam had guts to take his view in a mildly camouflaged fashion, of the holy cows of Tamil politics, to celluloid. Anna, MGR, Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha and the subtle power plays between them. Those who do not have a view of the political background in Tamil Nadu cannot appreciate what this saga is all about and the inherent subtlety in the dialogues and casting. It was a movie for those who understand the currents of Tamil politics of yore. Though the standard disclaimer comes up as the first few moments in the movie, it is his take on the folks that ruled Tamilnadu (or have been ruling Tamilnadu). Mohanlal as MGR, Prakash Rai as Karunanidhi, Nasser as Anna, Aishwarya Rai as the first wife of MGR and as Jayalalitha, Gouthami as the second wife of MGR, Revathi and Tabu as the wives of Karunanidhi do justice to their roles, the protagonists more so. I spent my time mapping the screen actors to their real life equivalents. Aish looks the same now as what she was in her first film.