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Jessie could have well been Jesse. Karthik could have been Karthika. They could have both been Hindus. A father’s dogma could have even been traded with mere clash of ideals perhaps. Yet one would have still been that fish in the sea, which came across the banks for love, only to find that it struggled to cope on the shores. And the fish returned to the seas, where it felt belonged.

Let’s be practical. How many people you know have eloped? How many people you know ended up with their first or most intense love? And it isn’t always a bad thing if they didn’t. It just so happened that way.

Inconsistency in a person’s behavior is a process of discovery for them. Say you jilted your fiancé at the altar. That must have been out of character, right? Especially since your family has been coaching you for this since they saw you play with Barbie and Ken. Now could you not hold your horses till your knight in shining armor cleaned up his act? After all, you humiliated your entire family for this strange ‘love’. So then when you discover that you have to get your act together, you don’t step up. That moment of conviction was gone and you simply couldn’t bear the uncertainly. There was clarity in the ocean you came from but not in matters of your flippant heart. Perhaps it was more beautiful and everlasting as something that could have been, but wasn’t. Time to let go?

But what happens to me now? You stood up to me in front of your entire community. The fire is flaming and I can’t turn it off now! I said I’d die for your right? And then when I need you most, you leave. Again.

I have immortalized you in art. Not you as you were, but you as you could have been. My art will spring of music of ceaseless spirit, portraits of the finest nature and storytelling so sincere, it will polarize the audience.

There were so many women in the world but I fell in love with you. You screwed me.

And the show must go on. It did. And what a great show that was.

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Do not watch this movie if you do not like Tarantino-esque savagery and Paruthiveeran crassness. Do not watch this movie if you are not watching it with a friend who understands more Tamil than you. If you take your kids to this movie, then you deserve the shame of the experience. If you take your parents to this movie, it would be more awkward than watching a Eyes Wide Shut with them. All this assuming the director maintains his integrity and does not ever chop the scenes and dialogues that make this film a classic of its own kind.

I loved Ayirathil Oruvan till the post-war portion in the second half. I am please that the film has churned out a work of pathbreaking visual effects, graphics and cinematography. I am pleased that there are is a producers willing to face the risk of this project. I am pleased that there is an audience progressive enough to receive and at times appreciate this script and killer dialogues. All based off a fantasy storytelling from historic Tamil empires.

Now that the niceties are covered, I can safely resort to the biggest takeaways from this magnum opus. The first half of the movie was a work of genius, the second was the work of a perverted one. The execution and delivery of such a large and technologically-demanding project required balls and balls. Describing it more will only give it all away for my less enthusiastic/accessible friends who continue to wait to watch the film. So I will resort to declare some quotes and comments on the film that I will take credit for. Here it goes,

– Ayirathil Oruvan is a lingadarisanam to Selvaraghavan

– Even without all the sex jokes and peeing, Ayirathil Oruvan is a visual treat.

– The kid with the magic urine is the Ayirathil Oruvan

– Halfway through the making of the film, there was marijuana shortage in India. This explains why the movies second half tanked.

– Ayirathil Oruvan is the first Tamil film to have Tamil sub-titles for the Tamil audience

– Ayirathil Oruvan requires that you understand modern English for the first half, 13th Century Tamil for the second. Therefore, only one in a million can actually understand the entire film.

– The story may be about an archaeologist’s quest for the lost dad she left for the boyfriend she ended up leaving for her archaeology practice that will eventually be used for the quest for the lost dad who may or may not play an key role in the story.

– The Censor Board passed this film because nobody on the board could understand 13th Century Tamil double-entendres nor modern English/Tanglish ones.

– People have been making tandem connections of the story line with Gitmo, LTTE and all. LOL.

– When the director ran out of ideas, he would add a sex scene or joke (‘Shadow-sex’ is now being discussed by pundits as potentially the missing verse 1251 of Kamasutra)

– When the director ran out of even more ideas, he would add a decapitation

–  When he ran out of even more ideas, he would film his actors peeing and use when absolutely irrelevant.

– ‘Raja Please!’ goes down as dialogue of the decade

Film was produced, according to Wikipedia, for Rs.32 crores. If this was true, then the producer of Dasavatharam can feel like an even bigger loser.

Andrea is hot. Reema Sen has punch. Karthi R-O-C-K-S. That’s what counts. And a the cool twist in the plot.

My Aetna Open Access plan is automatically moved to UNC Network plan this year, unless I change to another plan. Now I’ve always had a problem with multiple names for the same plan that ends up confusing me and my interaction with both my Health Insurance company and Doctor’s office. For example, last year I was enrolled in Aetna Open Access plan. However when I pull it up with Aetna, I have to use “Elect Choice Epo Open Access”. In Aetna’s listings, there are atleast 5 variations of each of the words in the plan name. If you go to my doctor’s website, you’ll find them using “Aetna Aexcel Choice” which maps to my plan.

Likewise “CIGNA Choice FundSM Health Reimbursement Arrangement-Open Access Plus plan” has alternative names like “CIGNA Choice CDHP”. “CIGNA Preferred Access Plan” is “CIGNA Care Network Open Access Plus plan”. What my company calls  “UNC Network Plan” refers to “UNC Choice Plan” used by both my doctor and UNC.  If our government wants to fix the nation’s HealthCare problem, let’s start with the plan names!

I liked UNC’s plan coverage, in comparison to Cigna’s. Price of the plan was considerably cheaper, with no deductible and lesser copay. However UNC couldn’t find my podiatrist listed on their database and my doctor’s office was vague about their UNC coverage. Secondly, UNC appears to have a much smaller network and requires referal. Cigna’s plan being considerably more expensive, includes all the doctors I currently go to and includes out-of-network coverage.

But, UNC’s website is so hard to use, my HDL will shoot up by simply navingating through it! So I called UHC Customer Service and asked them for a PDF file of some sort that gives me a breakdown of all the costs (I can currently find that info only when I navigate through my company intranet site, when I compare plans). She does not have the info and she directed me to, check this out, TECHNICAL SUPPORT, who can help me navigate a website. This is the first time I’ve needed to reach out to Tech Support to figure out how to use a website! Now this guy tells me the website doesn’t have the information and that I have to contact my company HR! Okay- so much effort for such simple information on breakdown of copayment and coverage details!

So I’m going ahead with Cigna Open Access Plus. It covers both in and out of network (preference for in network). Insurance price has shot up by over 100% since last year 😦

I was talking to some folks who were concerned that ‘godless’ individuals could turn into perverse, villanous miscreants or overlords. I then discovered this list that indicates cause for a bigger fear: most self-identified atheists don’t turn into ruthless dictators, it’s worse! They become esoteric, badly dressed,  unattractive, socially-awkward geeks!

http://brainz.org/50-most-brilliant-atheists-all-time/

On the plus side, they make too much money to relinquish all dreams of omnipotence!

Surprising exclusions: Isaac Asimov, Lance Armstrong, Bill Gates… Of course the Nontheist list is pretty endless- Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Confucius, Abraham Lincoln, Shelly  and so on…

India Tulaikatshigalil Muthal Murayaaga, Sun, Jaya and Kalaignar TV air sirappu nighazhchi for 3 very different reasons….*

It’s Tamizh New Year on April 14th. It’s that time of the year when arch rivals Vijay and Ajith release competing films, a Mumbai-imported Tamil actress gives her not so Tamil interview and Solomon Pappayya settles contemporary India’s debate on whether love or arranged marriage is better. These special programs require a special occasion to boost holiday TRPs and now that Tamil New Year is officially moved to Pongal (until Dr.J comes back to power of course, in which case Pongal may be moved to Tamil New Year day ), what are Tamil TV channels going to do?

The clever Marans decided to air special programs in honor of Sun TV’s 16th Anniversary. Yes, in 1993, DMK had no idelogical dispute whatsoever with Tamil New Year falling on a faith-inspired date. Dr.J, consistent with her inability to agree with anything DMK proposes, directs Jaya TV to go ahead with Tamil New Year like nothing has changed (Just like it is still called Dr.JJFilm City). Now the most curious of the lot was Kalaignar TV, the channel that stemmed from an incestuous lovers’ spat between two cousins. It’s apparently Dr.Ambedkar’s Birthday and Sun TV decided to do a round of special programs to celebrate the occasion. Respectful intentions of course, but how did Kalaignar TV fare in honoring the once untouchable, Dalitfreedom fighter who architected the Indian Constitution?  Well there was the interview with Tamanna Bhatia on her recent performance in the film Ayan (which described African struggles far more artistically than a Dalit’s), Aishwarya Rajnikanth on being not as hot as her sizzling sister, 3 Blockbuster movies and one special Blockbuster movie. While I am in the process of identifying names and illegal video streams of those movies, there is a chance those movies could well be a special documentary film of pre-independence Dalit struggles, quite like the ones we used to watch in the theater, right before the one we actually paid to watch. Until then I’ll give Dr.MK, savior of all that is minority in vote bank, the benefit of the doubt

*- For the first time in Indian television History…. air special programs” (Pioneered by Sun TV, this sentence expressed with copyrighten shocking sensationalism effect, is used everytime the channels air flop films sold by producers at inflationary prices)

 

 

Thanks Manali for getting me started on this!

Many have asked me about the meaning of the title “Varanam Aayiram”, a 2008 Tamil movie starring Surya. The movie is the director’s tribute to his father*, and has some of the best film songs of all time.

Recommend Movie? Yes, but be prepared shell out a good 3 hours to watch it. Some of you may get bored watching it.

 

What does “Varanam Aayiram” mean?

Pronounced “Vaa-ra-num Aa-yii-rum”, it is translated from Tamil as “One thousand elephants”

 

What is the root of the meaning?

Varanam Aayiram is the title of a verse rendered in Nachiyar Thirumozhi [naa-chi-yaar thi-roo-mo-zhi]. The verses are delivered by Aandaal, a Vaishnavite saint of 10th century CE. This verse describes with colorful imagery, her dream wedding with Lord Vishnu. Aandaal’s solitary goal was to unite physically and spiritually with her Lord. Through her poetry (Thirupaavai and Nachiyar Thirumozhi), she articulates autobiographically her divine love and longing, with narratives influences by Vedas and Puranas. Many hold her work to be unparalleled in literary style and rendition.

 

What is the significance of the words “Varanam Aayiram”?

Varanam Aayiram verse is sung regularly in Tamil Hindu weddings. Several choreographies, film songs and song lyrics have been inspired by Andaal’s verses. The words “Varanam Aayiram” resound the striking majesty of Lord Vishnu’s entrance into Andaal’s village and subsequently, her wedding ceremony.

 

Original Verse

vAraNam Ayiram SUzha valam Seidu

nAraNan nambi naDakkinRAn enRedir

pUraNa poRkuDam vaittup puRam e’ngum

tOraNam nATTak kanAk kaNDEN tOzhi Nan

 

Literal Translation

Empowered with the strength of one thousand elephants

The Lord, I’m trusting is walking in front of me

Abundant golden pots around

Entrances ornate with flower streamers, I saw with my eyes, my friend, I did.

 

Literary Interpretation based on context of the verse:

Aandaal narrates to her friend, “Oh my dear sakhi! I had this wonderful dream; I ‘saw’ Narayanan, surrounded by thousands of elephants, going around the village of Srivilliputhur. My father, Periyazhvar, and the citizens of the village are ready to extend a grand welcome to Him with Purhana Kumbaham placed on their heads. The whole village is decorated with streamers to mark the festive occasion.” more

 

Why is the movie called “Varanam Aayiram”?

One of the leading ladies of the film- Simran quotes the first two lines of the verse in the last scenes of the movie. She recalls Aandaal’s dream and likens her husband’s prowess to that of Lord Vishnu. She also indirectly analogizes that every loving wife is Aandaal and her husband is Lord Vishnu.

 

If you liked VR, you may like-

Thavamai Thavamirundhu (5 Stars!),

Pursuit of Happiness

If you liked VR Music, you may like-

Harris Jeyraj music

Further reading-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andal,

http://www.tamilnation.org/literature/index.htm,

http://pm.tamil.net/pub/pm0153/trkrlpop.html

 

If you have any thoughts or comments, feel free to share them!

Dvy Kmr has shifted from www.blogspot.com to www.wordpress.com since Dvy does not want her blog to be linked to Dvy’s www.Gmail.com accounts.

Conglomeration of Indians News channels today made official what we have not been witnessing for months- their election coverage will not involve scrutiny of core issues such as unemployement, poverty, farmer suicides, crumbling infrastructure, pollution and continued domination of North Eastern states in Indian Idol. “Quite like the ruling party, we have demonstrated in the last five years, our ability to bring out issues to the table, by means of expert panel discussions, biased debates,boot licking preferred leaders, reality shows and cookery programmes,”, said a senior producer for an English news channel (The name shall remain anonymous since we in the media brotherhood won’t tell on each other.)

“According to our Defense Minister, there has been growth even when the world is facing recession; inflation is close to 0%. Furthermore, strong public reaction against Western portrayal of poverty in Slumdog Millionaire proves that poverty is over. And as farmer loans have been waived, they no longer have a reason to commit suicide.

Therefore we have nothing left to report expect for mathematically derived seat-sharing agreements and alliances made outside of shaadi.com. We are mixing Web 2.0 technologies, modern soap opera idioms and reality show drama. Why even the Third Front is waiting for our audience SMS poll results to decide the PM Candidate!”

In other news, pundits in Itchalkaranji district of Maharashtra are praying for Barack Obama to solve the World Economic crisis and stop the channels from endlessly airing the same Varun Gandhi speech from different camera angles.

In a follow-up to a report on a threat to assassinate Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi (because he refused to increase the minimum age requirement for TN police force from 24 to 29), this Blog has uncovered more information about the plot and its uncanny implication on Tamil Cinema. Al-Umma is often considered a terrorist organization. It has been reported on many occassions that members were involved in bomb-blasts in Coimbatore, murders in Tirunalveli and more recently accused of plotting to assassinate octogenarian Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

But in a year long investigation we discovered that the supposedly terrorizing Jehadist outfit, is in fact a very liberal, new-age Tamil music troupe that performs in South Indian weddings and on request, private New Year parties. “I cannot believe this nonsense that the media is reporting”, says the troupe lead singer who wished to remain anonymous. “Al-Umma started when my sister’s husband Allaudin left her ‘talak, talak, talak’ for another woman. You see ‘Umma’, comes from ‘Ummah’ that has been numerological-ly corrected by Gurnanda Swami Swami Swami. Al-Umma is ‘Allaudin Ummah’, the last words my sister told her husband.” On interviewing the sister, who also wished to remain anonymous, we discovered that the music troupe began with the intention of singing in weddings hoping to find Allaudin who is a congenital polygamist. The sister is in fact, Allaudin’s third wife.

“We were inspired by a women’s rights NGO”, she says. “They always say if a man can do it why not a woman? Then I saw this film in which the hero stops the heroine’s wedding by singing their song. Why can a woman not do the same thing for one she loves, I thought”.

Meanwhile on persuasion, Michael Edwily, a Professor of Sociology from University of Sussex (on sabbatical), said that this is not the first time that obvious expressions of love have been misused or misinterpreted for names of terror institutions. However, he refused to mention the first time such an misnomer has occured.

For the Tamil Film industry, where storylines depend heavily on existing police recruitment norms, the impact of Kalaignar’s refusal to increase the recruitment age requirement, is pretty strong. ChiyaanVikram, who has played a youngster waiting to join the police force in several movies said, “It is always harder to play 24 than 29. The heroines will have to be in high-school and there have already been two movies made with that concept.” But another director-cum-screenplay-writer-cum-choreographer, said that it will actually be harder to write screen-play to cover the years since the hero left college until her joined the force. “What will I tell the audience who want to know what the hero did for 8 years?”, he says in frustration. “Earlier he will finish M.Com and join police force. Now what? Should the script become illogical?”.

Police commissioner as well as the Chief Minister’s office has remain silent on this. An AIADMK MLA mentioned in passing that since the octogenarian will die of natural causes anyway shortly, the effort to organize an assassination plot is pretty unnecessary. He concluded saying that he will die for his ‘Amma’. Closely related to this story, AIADMK had filed a defamation and copyright infringement suit against God-woman Amritanandamayi for misusing her title ‘Amma’.

Coming back to the threat against the CM, spokesperson from another media-friendly terror outfit said that is very corny and in fact silly to make a treat to kill on 29th of a month when you want the age requirement to become 29. “That is so filmi”, he said.

Visit this blog for no updates.

“The person you will spend most of the rest of your life with is yourself. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to become as interesting as possible. Think Princeton.”

– written on the cover of Princeton University application form.

Princeton was exactly what I expected it to be. Pretty and green, just the way I love any campus (S.V.C.E inclusive). But what my imagination failed to deliver was just how vivid the place would be. The intelligentsia saunter down the stoned pavements argufy over how a fellow professor was unworthy of the Nobel Prize. Tobacco-smoking, nose-pierced sophomore consumed by the tenets of Darwinian theory takes notes in his Republican father’s old letterpad. I observe a John Kerry badge stuck on his shoulder. His other hand was caressing his girlfriend’s skin. Another group of girls

sophomores clad in poplin skirts window shop as they sip skim-decaf white chocolate mocha grande. I was told it was a low end store and although there was a “sale” sticker on the door, not too many people actually went inside. It was GAP. As I walked down the road there were more stores selling shoes, clothes, perfumes, even lingere, galore. This was the stuff Fifth Avenue was made of. Hell I couldn’t afford a nail polish remover here even if it were on sale!

Then there were the buildings. The courtyards. The dorms. Inside of these, people were making decisions. Serious decisions. Who would be the President of the Liberal Society? How many Nobel prizes were expected this year? How many prodigies would take courses in this neighbourhood? And most importantly, who would be setting my GRE questions?!

The architecture was Victorian. The stone walls of the buildings are as intricately carved as chapels. Some are as small as a shed. Some are as big a fortress. The roofs were Gothic in style. There were curious statues, some contemporary, some dated and some even ugly! Ivies climb over the windows of dorm rooms. Squirrels and Chinese graduate students scurry down the sidewalks into their respective homes: treetops and laboratories. Some trees are as old as Princeton. The lab buildings might be primeval, the books even. But that’s when time halts for technology to pass over.

The popular car on road is the mini-cooper, as fashionable as a Beemer. Wild parties, wilder scandals and eccentric geniuses, live in the same era. Duty during the day and a druggie in the night. After all they have to “discover themselves”.

Princeton is a beautiful campus. Less intimidating than Harvard and more retro in its Gothic style. But like everything else in life, this is all just the screen saver. Princeton has an exclusive feel to it. This is not just regard to the stores and the cars that people drive around here. It has been told that this is a place which has an over-population of White American Anglo-Saxon Protestant (derogatorily termed as WASP) New England blue-bloods. But that is the same for all Ivy Leagues. And like any other University in America, it stretches its admissions to several cultures and races to add what is called “campus diversity”. And why should they? It’s private campus in the heart of an area whose zipcode people pay millions to get in their address. And people will continue to want to come here for as long as the quality of education is consistent. But “education” here, unlike in India is determine by how broad your outlook is and how liberal you have been in your course of study. Taking a course in exotic Egyptian dance and in Power Engineering Analysis during the same semester is not mutually exclusive. Making friends with a South American student in the class is as demanding an exercise as reading Thoreau or listening to Mahler. There are no course credits for that. And whether it broadens one’s panorama is debatable. What is also debatable is whether campus diversity is offered because of a University’s ethical policy or if the funds from private sources are political in nature.