Just stuff.

I saw True Romance last night, the Uncut Director’s Cut. I have to admit that except for the Quentin Tarantino association, I knew virtually nothing about the movie. Was taken aback by the Sonny Chiba references. Too many monologues abound – but hey, what’s a Tarantino-scripted movie without monologues? Dennis Hopper waxes forth on Sicilians, Christopher Walken makes a chilling guest appearance, Christian Slater talks about Oscar movies, Sonny Chiba, Elvis Presley, James Gandolfini gets poetic about killing, and Tom Sizemore and Chris Penn get into detail about the how prison life contributes to a happy marriage. Probably the best Doctor Zhivago reference in any movie I’ve seen. What also struck me was the uncanny resemblence to some of the plot points in Preacher ( the comic book) – the “Mentor” appearances in the restrooms ( Val Kilmer played that? Wow! ), the way the characters Alabama Worley and Tulip O’Hare have this inherent ass-kicking ability inside themselves that manifests in odd, scary ways.

My DVD ( bought for 20 Rs in Kathmandu ) appears to have three commentary tracks, the deleted scenes and the alternate ending. Heard the first fifteen minutes of the Tarantino commentary today morning – yum!

Awesome music find of the week: Balligomingo. Luscious female vocals over soaring, lush electronic soundscapes.


Mickey Spillane died. Damn. I used to love the guy’s work, ever since Max Allan Collins mentioned him in the letters pages of an issue of Batman and I happened to chance upon I, The Jury – incidentally the man’s first novel – in one of Guwahati’s second-hand bookshops. True to the way my life has always been, I couldn’t find any other Mickey Spillane novel anywhere until after graduation. A Sunday trip to Abids gave me 20 Mickey Spillane novels, which were being sold at the very competitive price of 10 Rs each. Some collector must have sold off his entire Spillane set at a go, because there is no human way for me to explain that haul. Went on a Spillane binge for about a month, finished 17 books one after the other, and I remember quite vividly that in my thoughts, I constructed Mike Hammer-ish sentences. Probably the only other character I can compare to Mike would be Andrew Vachss’s Burke.

Did you know that there was a Mike Hammer comic strip in the 1950’s? Ironic, considering that Spillane had originally concieved of Mike Hammer as a comicbook character named Mike Danger and was turned down by quite a few companies. After the success of the novels, the comicbookization was easier.

Spillane managed to do something no other writer has ever done – he played his the role of Mike Hammer in a 1963 movie. ( No, Stephen King as Jordy Verrill does not count) This bit of information, unfortunately, came to me after a rather gripping prelim round in the A/V quiz of an instalment of IIT Madras’s cul-fest Saarang. We missed out qualification by half points, bah. There was also a comic called Mickey Spillane’s Mike Danger published by Tekno comics ( the short-lived company that did the excellent – ah, well, in my opinion anyways – Mr Hero The Newmatic Man.) written by Max Allan Collins and featuring Mike Danger in the future. Haven’t read it, though I have seen house ads in the pages of Mr Hero.

* * *

I saw this excellent Telugu movie this weekend. Anukokunda Oka Roju, which translates to Suddenly…One Day. Rather neat concept, and nearly flawless execution. A friend brought it up first to me, during a long walk. The premise was this – this girl, at the insistence of a close friend, goes to a party during a weekend. Someone drugs her drink, to the strains of Sunidhi Chauhan and Dominique’s I Wanna Sing ( I will talk about the music, hold on a bit), and the next morning she wakes up in her bed and finds out that she’s late for her college. Only, when she gets to classes, she finds out that there’s no one around, and the lone clerk on duty asks her why she’s come there on a Sunday. Yes. There’s a day missing from her life, and she cannot remember anything about what happened to her between the night of the party and the time she woke up in her bed.

Which is rather bad, because there are random people trying to kill her. A guy accosting her for money she owes him. A scary recording that gives an ominous portent of what might have transpired that night. And a couple of disturbing dreams.

Throw in a juice-swigging police officer who has a crush on the lady, a confused taxi driver, a gentle giant with a penchant for theatre of the mythological variety, a rather cryptic old man who stays in the same apartment complex as the lady, and a series of odd incidents that are more connected than you could ever imagine. To that, add a hilarious bunch of dialogues that are subtitled really well ( now that’s an issue I have with watching Tamil DVDs, the subtitles suck. This one had pretty good subs in comparison), MM Kreem’s peppy music, and completely down-to-earth performances by everyone concerned. You have a movie that makes me want to go and buy everything Chandrashekhar Yeleti has ever made and watch them back to back. The guy shot into prominence with his first film Aithe, which Sasi raved about for quite some time. Erm, actually, I’ve already gone and bought Aithe – the original DVD is available for a measly 99 Rs. I am eager to see it, but I doubt if I can, before the weekend. Ah well.

A note about the music. There are not too many songs, this is a thriller after all, but all of them are potential earworms. In particular, ‘Righto Lefto’ by Shreya Ghoshal – the combination of the melody and Charmy’s expressions in the film are just TOO much. The party song ‘I wanna sing’ is like a stripped-down item number, if that makes sense to you. Excellent.

Stop smirking, vrikodhara.

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I had a couple of book coupons for Walden, and redeemed them for a book called Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb by Jerry Pinto. No, this is not a modern retelling of the Illiad or anything – it’s about our favourite dancing lady of the fifties, sixties and the seventies, and it’s somewhat disappointing because the writer could not really involve the lady herself in his enterprise. I am halfway into the book, and there are no remarkable insights into Helen’s career other than the ones we already know courtesy stray Filmfare articles. What the book managed to do was to get me to listen to old cabaret numbers early in the morning, ensuring that I spend quite some time at the keyboard plonking away ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo”.

And I finally got my hands on the Omkara CD last night, heard the first song, and I decided I needed some quality time to listen to the album. Fun awaits, yeehah.

* * *

And an OS crash ensured a reformat of the primary drive, followed by a Windows reinstallation. Stuff lost: saved game files, stray images, all installed programs, and, worst of all, the FL Studio files from last year, some of which I was rather proud of. Ouch.


The Adventures of Rakesh and Vimmi Trivedi

otherwise known as Bunty Aur Babli.

Caught a show on Sunday morning with Mons. Enjoyed every moment, really. The film walks the line between fun and outright goofy. There has been this continuous comparison with Catch Me If You Can and Bonnie and Clyde – very unwarranted, because Bunty Aur Babli is not about the mechanics of conning people or violent gunplay, it’s about, duh, Bunty AND Babli, two small-town crooks people who get a kick out of working together and have fun all the way. The dialogues are awesome, and I will say that Abhishek Bachhan and Rani Mukherjee fill out their roles with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek. The movie is chockful of references to Hindi movies, from Sholay (Bunty and Babli recreate the famous motorcycle scene) to Devdas (think candles and Aishwarya Rai )

Guest appearances by Prem Chopra, Ranjeet, Ravi Vasvani, Kiran Juneja, Puneet Issar ( trivia: What’s the significance of the last film in which Puneet Issar and Amitabh Bachhan acted together?), Rajesh Vivek and Raj Babbar.

Truth be told, I did NOT go to see it for the music, but it was just a coincidence that the songs “Dhadak Dhadak” and “Kajra Rey” were stuck in my head all of last week. Loved the way the percussion in the chorus of “Dhadak Dhadak” was synchronised to the sound of a train. “Kajra Rey” was wasted, in a way. The song is a funk-qawwali, the kind of energetic stuff that had Rishi Kapoor tearing curtains onstage and ladies clapping to the beat of glittering lightbulbs on their blouses way back in the seventies. This being the post-nineties, any song that has item-number potential has to happen in a bar with the same generic wiggling of assorted body-parts. The song had potential, man, and they screwed it up onscreen.

And yeah, as Mons pointed out, the choreography of Chupke Se had a Mani Ratnam influence lingering throughout, influenced by the collage of the songs in Dil Se.

Thankfully, the Blaaze song did not turn up anywhere, even in the end credits. Amitabh Bachhan lip-syncing to Blaaze? *Shudder*



Movies watched so far this year: 112.

Not counting repeat viewings of new movies and re-viewing of old ones, complete or incomplete.

The First Movie watched this year: The Polar Express, on IMAX 3D.
The Last Movie watched before this post: Man Bites Dog.
Movies Watched Most Number of Times This Year:

  • Sin City (7)
  • Kill Bill Vol 1(5)
  • Kung Fu Hustle, House of Flying Daggers(4)
  • Honorary Mentions: Noises Off (3), Ghost In The Shell(3).

Total number of days in this year so far: 146.

Not bad, eh?


Sin City, Studio Ghibli,

Woo Hoo! Everybody loves Sin City.

Can’t wait. Though it’s going to be some time before it releases in India. I am still undecided about whether to go the Kill Bill way and shed picture quality in favour of an early peek ( courtesy The Market ), or wait for the theatrical release in India. Probably it will be the former, because I can’t imagine it being screened uncut. Humph.

For non-comic-book readers who have no clue about what on earth Sin City is, here’s the primer.

Prices of the Sin City comics, the original 32-page floppies that were released between 1991 and ’98, have soared on eBay. I remember seeing complete lots of the Sin City comics going for 80$ a year ago ( I bought the individual issues at below cover-price, my first 2fargon-assisted eBay purchases. Did I tell you about the Frank Miller-autographed issue of Sin City: To Hell And Back #1he got for me? ). Last I looked, complete lots are selling at about 300$. Man.

Oh, and porcorosso, I finally watched Porco Rosso last night. I have a vague feeling that the Great Ghibli Gig has just begun.

Before I go to sleep in the middle of the night, I put on the computer, and enqueue all the music files on the hard disk (the playlist time comes to about 312 days) on Winamp, put it on low volume. It’s an awesome feeling waking up in the middle of the night ( for a glass of water, or to pee, or just like that) and listening to the song that’s playing at the moment and trying to figure out who it is by. I put Winamp in shuffle mode, so when I go back to sleep – it’s fun guessing what the next song would be.

It might sound funny, but I can’t sleep with the sound of running water, or a clock ticking louder than normal – but heavy metal playing loud is no problem at all.