Movie Review: Madrasapattinam (2010)

A fine mix of old times and the contemporary with the perfect blend of Patriotism and Love gives the delicious meal of the day and that’s what Madrasapattinam is all about!

The story is set in a present day and pre-independence era of India where Amy Wilkinson (Amy Jackson) comes to Chennai during the British rule. Parithi (Arya) who is brought up in a washer man family who is also a professional wrestler happens to meet Amy. Amy gets impressed with his looks and his demeanor. Amy carries with her an age old camera of British times and clicks away everything she sees in her way. She requests Parithi, to tour around Chennai accompanied by Cochin Haneefa, a Brahmin British stooge. She falls in love with Parithi deeply and thus the story is set to revolve around these characters 60 years back to the present.

The movie would have been just another historic documentary if it had followed the normal story line starting from the pre independence to the current time. But the director has brought out the storyline in an interesting fashion by shifting the storyline between the past and the present. The simple concept of flashback was handled with more subtlety. The scene shifts to the pre independence era in a swish of time and shifts back to the current one with due continuation. This makes the movie drift more logically and sticks to the flow.

After watching the movie, I fell in love so much with Chennai more than Amy Jackson. Chennai cannot be depicted more captivating than this. The mount road, Spencers and everything steals the hearts of every Chennaivaasi or Chennaite. The classical look of Chennai is something which we have seen only in the forward mails and in the websites. But to bring those looks to the city in the movie and the efforts behind it is more appreciable. It takes a real effort and talent to depict the city in its old form and to bring back the reality to the audience. The streets and roads of the old Chennai or Madras is well portrayed with the men protesting against the British with Indian flag. The mention of Subash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Kamarajar, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Jinnah brings the memories of our old History text books. But to make the audience perceive the existence of those people in the movie is real challenge. It was really pathetic to see how Chennai has been polluted and the resources were wasted in the long run post independence. The Coovam River which was used as a medium of transport using coracles is now a polluted stinking water body. This movie really brought in the aspects which people have to look back and try to preserve the city’s dignity.

The performances by the actors were really laudable. Nazer speaking about Subash Chandra Bose and people waiting for Kamarajar in the railway station were something which I was finding it difficult to imagine. But still it made a good effect on all of us. Arya has done his part well. A normal Dhobi and a wrestler who is silent, illiterate captivates not only Amy’s heart but all our hearts too. Amy Jackson who is cute and the daughter of Governor General of India pre Independence cherishes her stay in Chennai to every extent. When she thinks of her days spent in Chennai during pre independence, the view of Madras changes from new to old and then back to new. When we see the movie in her view, it really creates more belongingness to the City than the movie.

The “Mingu Mingu Mingu…Tingu Tingu Tingu” humor sequence in the movie reminds of the age old “Atharibacha” story told by my father.  Cochin Haneefa gives his piece of Humor as well. His irrelevant translation brings in giggles and laughter at appropriate times.

After irritating requests “Ayyaa oru uthavi, nandri sollanum, English la” from the Arya and the group of his friends, the school teacher abides and teaches them the word “Thank you”, and after a struggled attempt to remember the word, even after repeated murmuring of the word “Thank You Thank You Thank You”, a simple jerk on the road created by shallow pit makes them forget the original word and the word takes up the form “Mingu Mingu Mingu”. These were some of the subtle comedy sequences which may go unnoticed if the audience were not so inclined towards the language. Since the teacher tells Arya and the group of his friends that “A B C D” is similar to Tamil “A Aa E Ee..”, Arya corrects him saying it must not be taught as  A B C D”, it must be “A Aae B Bee C Cee…”. The humor quotient was well maintained with Arya similar to that of his sequence in the movie “Sarvam”

Romance and the urge to get independence strikes volatility in Arya’s mind. When the independence was announced he feels happy and when he comes to know that the English people have to leave the country, the only thought that hits his mind is Amy. Love is something which happens in between two hearts and not in between the people. The war of independence and the war of love storms his heart and the lull prevails when he wins both. The romance was well portrayed in spite of it is being in-between the two, who belong to different nationalities. Since the language was the only barrier, Amy succeeds in learning Tamil which was his only language in which he can express and convey his love. Though Parithi couldn’t successfully live with Amy in his life time post independence, he lives peacefully in Amy heart towards the end.

When Amy says, “Maranduttiya…”(Did you forget?) for the first time, when Arya tries to recall the English words to say “What is your name”, it brings in a sheer joy and excitement not only to Arya but to the audience as well. Amy speaks in Tamil after that.

I felt the song sequences were not that much impressive except the “pookkal pookkum tharunam” number. It was more story oriented with patriotism, independence than a music oriented one. This shifts the interest of the audience towards the movie than the songs.

Last but not least, though this movie seemed to be unique and impressive, it had little inheritance of the story and the sequences from the movies Titanic and Lagaan – The patriotic quotient from the movie Lagaan and the Love quotient from the movie Titanic. This was the general observation from the crowd. But as said, no story can be unique and it has to gain inspiration from the stories from the past, this movie stands no deviation to this rule. But, no one can be blamed for this. This story stood unique in its own aspects of cinematography.

Madrasapattinam has a perfect mix of Story, Humor, Love, Patriotism and Chennai. A unique attempt in the Tamil industry which will definitely applauded and will be profoundly honored. A must watch for all Tamil people and those who love Chennai much like me 🙂

A big applause for the director and all those who made this movie a real entertainer! Do watch it in theatres.

Madrasapattinam – A love in Madras and for Madras!!

Love You Chennai!!!!!!

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Short Story: Yours Lovingly (Madras Day)

I was alone in an isolated, dark and dim lit room.

I opened my laptop and placed my finger in the fingerprint sensor of my Sony VAIO, to login to Windows. My eyes were drooping and were heavily loaded with tiredness. I opened GMail and started typing …

Dear Mom,

How are you? I know it’s been long time since I wrote to you. I hardly get any time to sit and write and today I’m writing to you to show that I miss you all & Chennai a lot. I would like to tell you something which will soothe your mind. We are coming back to India this month end with Akash. He is turning 5 this month.

I still remember how you used to teach me Thiruppavai in the terrace early morning. The image of the flock of pigeons, dispersing from the Gopuram (Tower) of Kabaleeswarar Temple, when the Bell tolls ting tong is still fresh in my memories. I’m finding it a herculean task to teach him a line of Thirukkural now-a-days. Akshara is taking care of imparting spirituality to Akash. I’m happy that he is learning it fast.

He eats only French toasts. Yesterday, I suddenly remembered how thatha used to get Idli-Sambar from the Saravana Bhavan nearby when you get up late and pack my lunch bag for school. I started hating pizzas and burgers. I wish to taste the Pongal, hot with dripping ghee, the day we reach there. The Narasus Coffee shop which will be opened near our house with those conical containers grinding the Coffee Beans always excites my olfactory senses. Filter Coffee was nectar than the Cappuccino and Latte.

We have GYM at home and I used to walk for an hour in the treadmill, but the joy of breathing fresh air early in the morning, strolling in the pathway of Marina beach was an eternal bliss. I can enjoy those from next month onwards.

How’s our rickshaw mama, who used to ask me, “Naastha Thunniaa” (Had Breakfast?), in his Madras Slang whenever I leave for school in his Rickshaw. I still wonder his flamboyant vocabulary of Tamil words which he uses eloquently. I’ll get him a pair of shoes which he wanted from me when I go to US.

I rem’ it’s the Music season & I promise we’ll go for the Kutchery (Concert) in Music Academy this time.

Yours Lovingly,

Vijayaraghavan

***

Tears rolled down when Kumararaghavan read this mail in his Computer. He is receiving this email for the 30th time in this month from his son, who has been admitted in the National Centre for Mental Health Rejuvenation. He was the only one who survived the plane crash which happened last month. His cranium has been ruthlessly damaged and he has recovered with only memory of returning back to Chennai with temporary conscious!

***

I could feel my head spinning, heavy with pain. I lay back on the bed in the hospital room slowly losing my consciousness….


P:S –There was a Madras Day Celebration @ Office. As a part of the events, there was a Short Story writing contest and this story won the First Place !! 🙂 The Theme given for the story writing is “Madras to me”

Nostalgia !

I donno why now-a-days I become so nostalgic!

There are lots of factors which are governing me these days. One of them being longing for olden days again. The childhood ecstasy is lost. What have I become today? A 23 year old male, who can earn a decent 5 digit salary, by being himself busy all time from Monday to Friday. The possibility of taking some time off, from the hectic work schedule is only a weekend happening. So, what is that we have gained by being an adult? I get very less time for my family. I find less time to go out. I do not get any time to splurge in the non digital thing out of my cubicle.

Well, lots of things are in list that I cherished the most. The train travelling, for instance, is one of the most lovable one in my list. I’ve not been to railway station for quite a long time. It is obviously my work schedule that imprisoned my freedom. From the dusk to dawn, I keep fidgeting with the chunk of code that governs the so called Mainframes. I reach home at night and then have something for my tummy and then sleep. During college days, I used to frequent to Chennai for holidays. Those platforms, announcements, Higginbotham book stall, the trip charts are few things that kindles the past memories even today.

We used to get lots of holidays during school days and college. When we leave for our relatives’ place, I love those platforms were you see swarm of people ranging from a small 1 year infant, 18 year girls who are more concerned about the few inches of cosmetic that encroaches their face, those romeos who would show off their styles in front of a group of girls, those strict fathers who are more worried about their son’s/daughter’s marks in the coming semester examination, a sick old lady who expects from a newly married son, to see her grandson to play with her soon after they come back from honeymoon. And there are more in this list too. I always loved to practically feel the Doppler Effect whenever the super fast express approaches and leaves the station.

“The Doppler effect (or Doppler shift), named after Austrian physicist Christian Doppler who proposed it in 1842, is the change in frequency of a wave for an observer moving relative to the source of the waves. It is commonly heard when a vehicle sounding a siren approaches, passes and recedes from an observer. The received frequency is increased (compared to the emitted frequency) during the approach, it is identical at the instant of passing by, and it is decreased during the recession.”

It’s like I have lost something in life. I donno something keeps pricking me. Corporate life has given me glass doors, Air conditioned work place, and ergonomically designed cushion chairs, free coffee, large food courts where you get thing you wanted, Smart card based Identity Card with which you will be able to enter areas only into which you have been given access, security and most importantly Money. But what it is that I’m losing? Sleep, Rest, Peace and friends and something more

Those days were like you had lots of time and lot more friends. Now it is totally different. We have lot more time for work but very less friends. You should appoint a weekend for meeting up. You leave home by the time people are yet to wake up and reach home by the time all would have dozed off. The next day again the same routine and it goes on and on and on. Why all this?

I hated exams but now, it was something tolerable. I wanted to get back to those times which were spent with someone who you do not know before – the times, when you expect a new roommate in your hostel, the time when you pass a sheet of you exam paper, during the internal examination and both of you pass, the times when you go for dinner together with friends and share the happening of the class, the times when you do group studies for the next day exam, the times when four or five spend together in one’s room during a weekend, chatting all day and sleeping all over the floor with 4 to five alarms set.

Is it the life’s play to the human beings, which makes us long for the past, than to live in the present?

We always say that, those good old days were memorable, cherishable and all those adjectives which makes them long for the past. We listen to jungle book song and say, “wow..that was a good old song,..”. We have it as the caller tune and boast about it. We listen to old songs and say, “those were oldies melodies”. We still keep those old clocks with pendulum and hesitate to buy a new one. We still keep the old model mobile with keypad in its very bad state, with all those numberings scrubbed and display scratched and we say, “It’s the first mobile, I got”. We still say “Madras” instead of “Chennai”. I do understand that it gives a sense of belongingness, but why is it that the present is so uninterested at times?

Why don’t we like the present? Is it because, it is bitter at times? I certainly do not have answers for these questions. But one thing is sure. Unless, you feel comfortable yourselves in the present with your surroundings, you won’t be able to love the present as it is. Only when you get peace and happiness, you will be able to appreciate the present. Only when you get time for everything, you may pat the present and say, “Good Boy”.

I’m trying to make myself comfortable with the present. Hope, I’ll get peace and happiness in whatever I do. I do not hold grudges to accept this. But the Nostalgia is always there.

There are also people who always think about the future and they forget to live in the present. We study hard in 10th standard to get into good school for 11th and 12th. We study hard in 12th to get good marks in the board examination. Once we get into a good college, we are asked to study hard to get into good company. Once we get into good company, we struggle hard to save money for the future. We struggle hard to get a good bride to our Home. We get things in loan; build houses in loan, irrespective of our inadequate earning; we pay the dues in EMI, so that something big will be left behind for us in the future. We get married, have children, then we need to save things for their education, and then we need to worry about their education, college, and…

Excuse ME. Gimme a Break. Pleeeeeeeeeese !! Life is a vicious circle

But what is the ultimate requirement? Are we living in the present? We forget that, we are attaining the future every second and we should be able to live in the present and think about the future, without subjecting ourselves to agony in the present. But people are so afraid of seeing themselves in the near future with nothing in hand, so they always strive hard to preserve things for the future in spite of their tormenting life in the present.

Well, in this way, few minds longs for the past and forget about the present. Few minds which always think about the future and forgets to live in the present.

Let me make few things clear….

  1. Always live in the present.
  2. Do think about the future, but do not take actions that will put you in restriction in the present
  3. Always, olden days may look beautiful, but it has nothing to contribute for the present. So don’t waste time thinking about the past all time.
  4. Live your life truthfully and peacefully in the present. Do think about future occasionally
  5. Cherish each and every moment of your life. After all, you don’t know what next!

One SMS I received long back, which tells about life….

“Life is a strict than a teacher.

A teacher teaches the lesson and

then keeps the exam. But Life

Keeps the exam first and

then teaches the lesson !!!!”

Really True !…..