February 12, 2013

ABCD Movie Review

So what do you do when a "Dance Company" you own fails to do well in the finals of a Dance Competition? You play the dirty politics card and get them to keep the Champions' title.
Next, you throw your Choreographer out. He, who has put in more than 10 years of mehanat into the dance company simply walks out, because you proclaim that the ghar and gaaDi are what you have given him. Hello, no salary concept here?
And well, our man, the choreographer is by a stroke of massive luck, in the right place at the right time. His buddy convinces him to cancel a ticket to his ooru- Chennai and asks him to stay back with him. Luck also chances him upon a bunch of young almost jobless folks, all of whom , again by massiveluck, are acrobatics capable dancers.
He sees potential, they start dancing in his mind and thus a dance group is recruited.
After this is a series of lessons of life (boring), some gyan about chasing one's dream (boring), lots of dance (expected) and some more dance.
At the end of the movie, you can almost get "So the moral of the story is..." kind of feeling.

Acting wise, they do a decent job - nothing that needs heavy duty acting skills. The screenplay seems strained at times, trying to fill in dull parts with unnecessary side tracks.

But what it paisa vasool is the final 20 minutes of the movie. Amazing energy, a nice twist in the plot and the participants of DID living up to the dance superstars image. Prabhu Deva is a treat in the scenes that he shows off his style and dance moves.  They do indeed make you want to dance to celebrate life itself! Kay Kay Menon as the baddie is well cast. Again, I have a problem with the transformation of the bad to good in the end. Nothing is ever that Black or white.

That the audience in the cinema hall stood up and did more than shaking a leg was proof enough that Anybody *can* dance! If only real life had that kind of background music!

On the whole, a one time watch. Maybe re-run it to see the dance bits. If you are watching it on a low cost ticket price day, definitely worth your money!

February 9, 2013

Of Temple Towns and unspoken prayers

I am not really a temple person. I believe in God and pray everyday. But I don't really think that going to a temple is necessary in order to pray. However,on a recent visit to Tamil Nadu, I tagged along with the elders on temple visits.
I was surprised to see how they knew names of all the temples, the God that each temple was dedicated to, the location of the temple and most importantly, what famous prasadam was available in each of the temples.
It was perhaps the best time to visit Tamil Nadu. Pleasant breeze during the day, temperate afternoons, the lush green Cauvery basin were all a part of a Tamil Nadu unknown to me. I tried imagining the sticky and humid Chennai but in vain - it was that cold in Kumabakonam early in the morning!
This post has been a long time coming. I did not really know how to go about writing it. Story about one temple would be a post in itself. Hence an easy way out and a glimpse of the temples that i visited during my trip last month. Warning- a really long post below.
The first morning at the Thyagaraja Temple in Tiruvarur was an eye opener about how big the temples in Tamil Nadu can be - so much so that the two entrances of the temple are a good ten minute walk from each other!

Like most other temples i would subsequently see, this temple had a HUGE koLam (theppa koLam/temple tank) adjoining it.

And not to forget, a really hi-fi vadhiyar!

The paintings inside the temple walls, the heavy woodwork, the musty smell of the oil from the lamps were a fixture in all the temples.
The elephant at the entrance of the Uppliappan kovil in Kumbakonam blessed me soon as i gave it a coin. And once i turned, the koLam there made me stop and stare.

There was such a symmetry in the multiple dwarams, that i forgot for a moment that we were queuing up to the see the God.

Next stop was the Rahu-Ketu temple next door. Again, brilliant colors on the walls and roof. A hall way that seemed to never end. Lots of open space, sand and a lovely koLam that i could not photograph due to want of light.

Day two saw us visiting the Vaidheeshwaran Temple that is thousands of years old and is known to hold a cure for all kinds of ailments. Lovely light streams into the temple near the entrance, but it is spread over such a vast area that by the time you reach the garbhagriham, it is really dark.

Once again, a huge tank in the enclosure whose holy waters are said to be therapeutic.

And well, in keeping with the theory that it is faith and not really the idol that is important, we did drop in into the dargah at Nagur, where the person with the peacock feather jhadoo asked me if i was there in order to pray for a wedding asap. I retorted saying its not an asap wedding i need, thanks much. He seemed baffled and wanted to know what is it otherwise that i was wishing for. I said my prayers in my mind and got the jhaDoo beaten on my head.

Next in line was the Velankanni Church. A pristine white washed building by the blue sea, people of all faiths culminating to pray, a Tirupathi-like tonsure center out of which came people by the hoards with chandan paste on their newly shaved heads were all sights to behold.

One thing i was convinced of. People have tremendous amount of faith that God holds all the answers. And  people throng the religious places to re install that faith. And irrespective of which religion you belong to, the faith you see in the pilgrims can move you. You also start believing that *This* particular God is waiting above to say tathasthu to you. So you pray- be it at the temple, or the church or the mosque, and hope you are the lucky one!

The wrap to the visit was at a place that i have forever wanted to see - The Brihadeeshwaran Temple at Tanjavur, my native place. The temple is an architectural marvel. It is surprising, that in times as old, people built such a wonder without any machinery. Period. I have nothing more to say.

The sheer size of the temple is something i perhaps can't put into words.

It was a fitting end to the journey.

Oh, and yes, where ever i went, along with God, there was another omnipresent element. There was certainly no escaping her!

On that note, it is a wrap on the piligrimage diary. I came back after visiting many shrines, a lot of prayers said in the heart and maybe with a blessing or two that God bestowed upon me.