Poltergeist

Horror movies are mostly messy affairs with loads of screaming,swearing and gore but Poltergeist is one of a kind in the sense that it is a family friendly horror flick. Even though this movie is older than me, this is one flick i have come to love.

A happy family moves into a new house that is almost picture perfect, hte reality however is something else. The house is built above an ancient tribal burial ground, the spirits are playful at first and those are scenes that even children would enjoy. The tables are turned quickly and the movie takes off from there. Steven Spielberg was the executive producer for the movie and the signature spielberg touch could be seen at places. What couldhave been a run-of-the-mill horror flick is made a throughly enjoyable 2 hours. Heather’o Rourke as Carol Anne steals the show alnog with Jobeth Williams who plays her mother. The tagline “they’re here..” is a real spine tingler even at this time and to add to it the special effects are real grand for a movie of the 1980’s.

A really enjoyable horror movie….

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The colors of Onam

Another Onam day draws to a close as i type in words for this post. The evening brought a rather colorful close to this onam, we ( read friends and me) went to see the indigeneous Pookkalams at Poojapura. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me, imagine me living for quite a long time in trivandrum and never getting a chance to see this wondrous sight. Here’s a glimpse of how big and colorful one of the Pookkalams was :

The day had its share of lighter moments, the car in which we travelled was stopped every 100 metres by young volunteers who requested ( the best word to use here would be.. ordered ) for donations for the upliftment of their arts and sports clubs. By the looks of them, the upliftment as in my previous post will most probably be “spiritual”…

Onam : Festivities & Atrocities

For every malayali, the only “national” festival apart from a hartal ( read strike ) is Onam. For the unitiated, Onam is a festival of harvest here in Kerala. The legend that lead to the creation of Onam is a rather odd one, story goes that there lived once a demon king Bali who was a polar opposite to all things demonic. Kind,big hearted and he never ate anyone (really…he did not ) the land of Kerala that he ruled out from was picture perfect with no malice and evil whatsoever and a perfect haven for humanity. Now this puzzled the gods for if this guy’s popularity went on increasing then the entire pantheon of gods would have to look for jobs elsewhere. Off they went appealing to the lord Vishnu, who took an incarnation in the form of a dwarf (named Vamana) and went to Bali’s kingdom ( read kerala). Kings of those ages went to any extent to fulfill the wishes of sages and/or priests, Vamana asked for three steps worth of land and Bali agreed. What happened next might have caused Bali’s jaw to drop, for Vamana drew himself upto mega size and in two steps covered the entire universe and the heavens above.There was no place for the third step and Bali being the man of his word asked the lord to place the foot on his head and he was banished to the underworld ever since. The lord was not entirely merciless, for he granted a wish to Bali that he could come visit his subjects once in an year. That day falls on the month of Chingam and on the day of Thiruvonam, it is this day that is celebrated as Onam (Quite a story ain’t it ??)

Now back to the reality, Kerala of the present day is millions of miles away from Bali’s Kingdom of happiness. The eve of Onam and the day of Thiruvonam are exhibitions of how “Spiritual” malayalis are. Bars are stock full and the beverages corporation outlets have crowds waiting that would put even Thrissur Pooram to shame. I had a chance to experience this first hand yesterday when i went for a bus ride through the city of Thiruvananthapuram. A ride in a KSRTC bus is an exercise in acrobatics when you do not get a seat, with one hand you hang on to the hand rest above as the bus veers in and out of traffic and brakes and accelerates with the manical whims of the drivers…The first spiritual fellas for yesterday were two young guys, probably just out of school and into college.One of them seemed quite incapable of holding what he might just have taken in ( with or without water ) however he was determined to let everyone in the bus have a good time and switched on the music player with loud music blaring out. Feigning deafness i stood near them as they decided on which song to put on next and tried in vain to photograph every thing that remotely resembled a member of the fairer sex. While i was enjoying their antics, there came a push at my ribs from behind and i moved back and there stood another of the spiritual brotherhood, swaying from side to side. This was an even worse case, with glazed eyes and swaying walk he could barely stand. He moved over to the side and sat down near the gearbox with a tranquil face and immediately went to sleep. The juniors of the clan accepted their elder with a look of respect and admiration. After about 2 Kms of travel the guy jolts out of sleep and asks the driver “Anna Kanjirampaara Colony Kazhinja ?? ” ( Loosely translates into : Dude, did we pass Kanjirampaara Colony¬† ?? “). The driver smiles at the guy with a look that says “I know the feeling brother”, our protagonist then sits back with a look of resignation and loss muttering something, i was not close enough to hear if it was profanity !!!. The funny part was that this character had gotten on board from the point where he wanted to get down ( I wonder who put him on the bus in the first place…)

After all these i reach my destination and it is so crowded that walking on the road is a safer option. Roaming around in the city is both a pain and a pleasure in such times for we get to meet so many characters that never see the light of day ( or night ) otherwise. I came across a guy with his shirt buttons open and grinning like an idiot at everyone being escorted out of a shop by two policemen.I saw one of the most comic sights yesterday, a young guy with gaudy clothes on him was standing by the side of the road with a polo cap and sunglasses closely observing¬† girls passing by, what is so comic about this you might ask…well the only funny thing was that it was 9’o clock at night.Rain appeared as a top it all off and i was almost thoroughly drenched, even then it was a fun time yesterday.

To all who chance upon this post I wish you all a very (S)Happy (P)Onam….

The Interpreter

Had high hopes for this movie before it began.Nicole Kidman,Sean Penn & Sydney Pollack…a combination to look forward to, the story was a bit cliche-ridden but otherwise it is a very enjoyable movie.

Tells the story of an interpreter ( played by Kidman) with the UN who overhears snatches of conversation concerning an assassination plot involving a tyrant from an African nation. In comes the secret service in the form of Sean Penn. Kidman’s character has a shady past that puts her high on the radar for the investigators.The story then goes over twists and turns and finally ends up with an comparitively satisfactory climax. Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman are wonderful in their roles, but at times it almost feels that the story line and the script lets them down at places. What could have been a crackling political thriller often becomes an exercise in lethargy as the viewer gets the feel that the story does not know which way to take.The film has its good moments, but most of the scenes have the been-there-seen-that kind of looks.

One thing that stayed with me even after the movie was a remark that Kidman’s character makes that Vengeance is but a lazy form of grief ( something to think about ???)

The Departed

Gritty,graphic & extremely indulging is The Departed, Martin Scorsese’s masterful take on Boston. The basic theme is from Mou Gaan Dou, which in itself is a personal favourite. Even though the chinese film was well knit and bursting with suspense, there were many a loose end. Scorsese binds up all the loose ends and does develop the characters and their backdrops exceptionally well.

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me”, the opening lines of the movie as dictated by Jack Nicholson’s character. The story about two men on opposing sides of the law and with contradicting loyalties drive the movie forward. Mark Wahlberg’s character is indeed one to watch out for, constant mouthing of profanities and the occasional warmth in his voice is not to be missed. The person who stole the thunder throughout the entire run of the movie was Jack Nicholson, Frank Costello is a monster of a character ( as a de niro fan i can’t help adding here…how would de niro have done this role ??…sigh !!!).

I hate to add that watching Mou Gaan Dou before this movie was indeed a handicap for it took the suspense part away, it was as if i could almost see the chinese film in parallel, but the acting and the dialogues are top notch and the chinese movie will not match up to it.