Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Man Madhan Ambu

In Man Madhan Ambu, Kamal Haasan proved once again that he can be a hell of a dialogue writer. That leaves fans of Kamal Haasan the actor cold because as a scriptwriter overall (in Tamizh films, dialogue writers are usually separate from screenplay writers), he wrote one of the dullest role for himself. This celluloid masochism takes a while to digest, especially for this writer who has been a fan for the last 27 years.

Anyway, the dialogue writer sure worked overtime, as the characters here, not unlike Woody Allen films, spend most of their waking hours talking. The dialogues can sometimes be awesome, and sometimes be done with simply because there are only two competent performers in this film, but more to that later.

Man Madhan Ambu is a baffling piece of filmmaking because when Kamal is in it, you expect magic. You expect stretching of boundaries, breaking of rules, and firm rooting in credibility and plausibility. In MMA, you get flimsy storyline wrapped in an almost three hour tourism promo video. Shot in France, Spain and Italy among others, as well as on a luxury cruise, this sure is one expensive brochure.

The story seemed to be related to that of There’s Something About Mary by Farelly brothers. But to credit the brothers for the private eye plot would be to credit Shakespeare for coming up with the assassination plot in Julius Caesar. But there is more just hiring of detective to spy on a lover, but there’s nothing new to it, and it includes easiest plot device that Tamizh films has been overusing for decades: coincidence.

Kamal plays an ex-commando turned detective, Mannar, who was hired by rich dude, Madhan (Madhavan) to spy on the latter’s lover film actress Ambujam@Nisha (Trisha), whereby the transaction involves paying for Mannar’s buddy/partner’s chemotherapy. Then, there are many other characters that comes in and complicates thing ala films Kamal wrote with Crazy Mohan in the past.

There are more misses than hits in the film which we see Kamal handling a role that can easily be done by any other decent hacks. True the hacks can’t do 25% of what Kamal contributed here, merely as an actor, but we have seen it all before. Trisha with her Buster Keaton demeanour rides on somewhat well-written role, and then there was Sangeetha, whose overwritten role made me want to get up and shout, “shut up, bitch!”.

One impressive moment involves a flashback sequence with song, shot in reverse. It was one of the best thing I had ever seen in films of recent times, but most of the best things I saw in recent times on film usually are quickly forgotten give or take couple of months.

But true saviour of this film is Madhavan. Descending from an uptight, possessive, arrogant affluent businessman to goofy alcoholic loser, Madhavan is a one man laugh fest all the way. I bet Kamal had already had Madhavan in his mind when writing the character, as I firmly believe; as of now, only Madhavan can justify it. Kudos to Kamal the writer and Madhavan the fabulous actor who, sadly, will not be recognised by most of the Tamizh film fans which are busy making stars out of low-graders and Kamal wannabes.

But there was something disturbing in my mind when I left the theatre. In one scene, there was a shot where the camera was positioned in front of Trisha’s stretched legs (she was wearing shorts), for a very long period of cinematic time. It reminded me of pork roast my wife did for Christmas. I don’t know why the shot exists. What was the director, K.S. Ravi Kumar (by the way) trying to tell us? What will the future generation of movie goers going to think, when they see this? In a Kamal film? And Trisha gets second billing during the credit scene, ahead of Madhavan. I give up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Age of Rock.

Tune in to MusicFM (95.3 for Malaysians) from lunch hour onwards on weekdays and you will encounter a barrage of hard rock songs, both English and Malay language. What’s so great, you might ask. Well, for one, you might know that I am a fan of rock music, mostly hard and metal variety. Not many know that. Once, when I played a heavy metal music on my desktop at my place, a colleague looked at me as if I was molesting a hamster.

Well, deep inside I am a rocker. Deeper inside I am also a slacker, but that’s besides the point. What I wanted to talk about today is the memory of the time Malay rock ruled Malaysia briefly in the 80s, despite the fact that 80s was mostly known for Synth pop, Michael Jackson, and an assortment of one hit wonders that sounds alike mostly. And MC Hammer. If you thought they were glorious days, you have not heard or met Boy George.

In Malaysia, funnily though, it was rock, not pop that made waves. I was living in a Felda-surrounded plantation where majority dwellers were of Malay extract, and the guys were furious rock fans. I mean seriously. Walk down the road and you see lots of pathetic Slash look alikes, piss-poor Dave Coverdale copycats and D-Grade Klaus Meine. They ain’t heavy, but they are rockers, or so they like to think despite the fact that all of us were consummate sambal belacan consumers.

But that is foreign influence. Thanks to the success of home bred bands like Search and Wings, suddenly there was a barrage of rock bands spurting out like frickin’ mushrooms after rain and cow dung. There were Lefthanded, Bumiputra Rockers (BPR), Iklim, Gersang, May, Xpidisi and many, many other bands with misspelled names

that ruled the airwaves, and thundered across the country holding concerts and indulging in Battle of the Band competitions after which conversations would go something like this:

A: Hey Mat.

B: Huh?

A: Hey Mat.

B: Huh?

A: Hey Mat

B: Huh?

These bands were just like their western counterparts, faithfully following the template laid by Led Zeppelin, though I recall an interview with the latter’s vocalist, Robert Plant, who did not take credit for the influence over, what he calls, “Screaming banshees in cod pieces”. The Malay rockers, consummate screamers they are, mostly dealt with slow or ballad rock. Usually they are much more radio friendly, compared to other fast metallic pieces usually found in the album. Actually, it’s the ballad rock which increasingly pointed out how much of a weenie the songwriter was, that killed the Rock era. Instead of singing about tying your mother down, or children of the graves, they sang about getting dumped by some chick. Instead of shouting about crushing the enemy, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women, they wrote songs about purity in ash (Suci Dalam Debu).

Above pix: Members of Superband Search and hair.

Anyway, what matters then was this: the influence. We were all aspiring rockers then, and that is why till today I am wearing pointy Cuban-heeled boots. Even for my wedding reception. But that’s me. My school mates were nuts about the then rock-influenced fashion. Hairs were long, and usually are voluntarily chopped off by the ever-helpful discipline teachers. Pants were so tight that you wonder they are hard core rockers or just came out of ballet rehearsal. Even the way one walks were influenced by rockers, but I suspect the swagger was from constantly attempting to reposition the crunched family jewels.

But one particular thing intrigued me now, when I look back. I have a very creative pal, Mohd Shah, who specialises in belt buckles. You know, those huge buckles with varied shapes, usually gigantically phallic so much so that they seemed to be making up for the shortcomings below the belt. So, this guy actually cuts these buckles off a metal plate and guess where these plates come from? Yes, he buys them from hardware store. Who am I kidding. He basically rips metal plates off, literally, from milestones by the main road. So, back in 80s if you don’t see the miles in the milestones from Kota Tinggi all the way to Desaru beach resort, you know who the culprit is.

Also intriguing was the rock speak of that time. Borrowing from Chinese, “I” became Gua (Chinese’ Wo that later sounded Wa) which is crazy because in Malay it means “cave”. The often used catchphrase was “Gua caya sama lu” which means I trust you, or literally cave trusts you. Often, the conversation is end with “sial” which is also strange, because it means, “curse”. “Gua caya sama lu, sial”. If it didn’t make sense, “sial” in a very short time, evolved into “siol”, which actually means “whistle”. Of course, I was not aware of the evolution, so once I asked a guy why he wanted to me to whistle after he said he trust me. He’s a crack addict now.

Okay, I was kidding. He is a good buddy, though I have lost touch with him, especially when I did attempt to whistle.

Speaking of which, there is also the joy of listening to the songs, very loud, over the walkman. Remember walkman? The box of a thing, where you “eject” the cover open so you can put the “tape” in it, and “press” “play” to play the songs until the spool gets stuck in the mechanism, which you have to “untangle” which means the only way to do it is to “cut” the tape and “stick” it back and play it again where the messed up part of the tape sound like the vocalist is gargling and singing at the same time, for which you should be very fortunate because the reel is not “stuck” again. Remember them walkmans? Where would we be without them.

Anyway, coming back to the radio show. By the looks of it, there seemed to be renewed interest in the rock bands of the past. Some of them are making comeback, one even claimed that they were wooed by fans through Facebook! That’s an awesome news. With lots of sappy syrupy pop stuff ruling the air waves now, it is a great breath of fresh air to see these rockers strutting their stuff. Of course, some of them may have to keep their pacemakers away from the huge speakers, but I welcome them with open arm. But I am not getting into those tight pants, I’m married.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

New MIC President: Of shoes, style and performance

A newspiece the other day intrigued me, because a politician was talking about shoe. You see the only time shoe and politics is mentioned in the same breath is when both meet, or should I say, when the shoe becomes projectile. There is a long history of shoe and politicians, most prominently in Taiwan, and the best in the recent memory should be when a Iraqi journalist decided his shoe would improve George W. Bush’s diction.

But here’s the excerpt from the Star newspaper, with regards to a press conference given by the new Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president, G. Palanivel who is replacing his predecessor S. Samy Velu. Samy who has been ruling the party with iron fist, transplanted hair and replaced hip, is finally moving on, leaving behind chair that contains three decades of dust and possible fart particles.

But before that, here’s what I have done. I have been a journalist before and covered many press conferences. For our stories, we would include usable quotes to support our lead (main angle) and leave out the rest of the junk (usually they are). Here’s me imagining what the rest of the quotes would be. The bold lines are actual quotes, followed by what I imagine he said:

“I cannot wear his shoes. He will always wear a different shoe. I will wear my own shoe. It’s not that Datuk Seri (Samy Velu) is stingy about lending his shoes, just that hygiene factor may contribute to foot diseases. My shoe is very different. In fact, it’s so different now I am not sure it’s even mine. Even the Disney logo looks fake, don’t you think?

“We have very different styles but we are both committed to doing what is best for the party. I mean look at our hairstyles for example. You know yourself what Datuk Seri’s hairstyle did to the party all this while (*wink-wink*), but my hair style is set to bring a lot more winds of peace, rays of serenity, and possible downpour in the afternoon.

“I have not given deep thought to being the eighth MIC president (since 1946) but I have been well-prepared. But the thing is, I know numerology a bit and 8 is not exactly a lucky number, so can I opt for 7 ¼th President or maybe One minus Ninth president? Please? Because I already got warning from my astrologer, who charges RM 500 per minute, which shows how authentic he is, who said I better not associate myself with number 8 or next year I might be selling Puttu Mayam.

“I may be low-profile but I have performed as a leader. If you won’t believe me ask the people in my former constituency, the last time they saw me President Nixon was making that visit in China. Nixon…is still…the president, right? As for leadership, I recently led a fraction and won many Teh Tarik championships. I am sure that all the MIC members will co-operate with me, put their heads together and come up with the decisions that I make.

“Samy Vellu has taught me how to handle the political ropes both directly and indirectly. Directly as in holding my hand and showing how to tie a knot, or how to build a rope bridge. Nothing sexual, okay? Indirectly as in through his various MMSes on him doing weird thing with ropes. I mean…next question?

“I have learnt a lot from him on how to handle various situations. About that rope thing, can you not quote me? Thank you. Now, there are many situations which I know how to handle. Being married with kids, I know situations. Yes, situations are like box of chocolates, you won’t know who finished it ahead of you. I watch CSI, and whoever stole my chocolates will pay with blood!!

“I do not have a personal or selfish agenda as I am not ambitious. You see when I was a kid I wanted to grow up and become a cardiologist for the lab mice. You call that ambitious? My school mate wanted to be President of Lithuania, now that is ambitious. Not as ambitious as my brother who wanted to assasinate Al Qaeda’s chef, but still?

“I do want to mobilise Indian votes, we must go down to the ground and meet the people. You know, like mobile library, mobile police station. I will have Mobile votes that we will drive to town to town, city to city, kampong to kampong and present use them for that extra votes. Wow, is that innovation or what?

“The Indian voters are coming back but more needs to be done, because we are not sure they are coming by boats or plane. Some say even flying saucer, and if so they cannot vote because they are technically Kaum Pendatang.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Dude, Where’s My Spage Age?

I have a scaled-down version of the Concorde aircraft on top of my car dashboard for sometimes now. Yesterday, that is after three years of driving with and one year of living with me, my wife asked what happened to the real aircraft of that model. At that moment, I wanted to turn to her and ask, “what’s my name again?”.

Explaining to her what had happened, I mentioned that the Concorde once represented the pinnacle of our technological achievements. Alright that was about the same time as bell-bottom, disco and pornstar moustaches, pinnacle of achievements in their respective departments. One step ahead of Concorde was to actually have passenger flight into the space. That’s how we saw future then. Also we thought we can travel through time, go on hyperdrive or do warp speed, get beamed from one place to another, but space exploration was the starting point.

Back then were in the midst of the dawn of Space Age. Space exploration was the in thing and was the future. Space themed films and TV shows were all over and every night, I imagine I was Hans Solo navigating through the asteroid fields with the Millenium Falcon, which I believe severely contributed to my now insomnia case.

I was so into space stuff that when I was 8 or nine years old, I memorised the names of all the planets, and I can recite them off the cuff. The proof is simple, when I was kid we wore no cuff. Lame joke aside, once even a teacher had to refer to me when she forgot the name of the planets (this was before google and wikipedia remember?). That enthusiastic we were about flights to space. I even do my own rocket flight thing by simulating a blastoff using my ballpoint pen and slowly removing the lower part of a ballpoint pen, the cap, the barrel, and anything else till it remains the tip that looked like a space capsule. All by doing the rocket sound with mouth, and I don’t have to say why many friends either stay away or reached for their hankie.

While parents wanted more boring profession like doctor, engineer and lawyer for their kids, us boys were thinking of becoming cowboy, spaceman (or astronaut) and in my case, cartoonist (really, even though back then I suck at drawing and colour blind and have the sense of humour of a butter cake, in fact there’s not much improvement thirty years later). But every kid I know admitted that becoming an astronaut and being in space was cool.

My assumption then was by now we were supposed to be so technologically advanced to the point that we should be surfing the space and unloading space cargoes, intead we are surfing cyber space and downloading internet porn. The spirit of exploration that got the world over gungho about going where no one would boldly go is now limited to writing blogs so bad that no sane publisher would publish.

Yes, somewhere along the way when we ascended from Industrial age to Space Age, slipped broke our crown, and fell into Information Age, where the need for attention and bad taste led directly into internet and the mobile phone . Instead of looking up at the space and stars, everyone is hunched over their mobile phone. Instead of dreaming of our own space exploration, we are dreaming about how much we can download at 4G. When we look at space stations, we think of how rain screws our satellite TV transmissions. When “thinking big” is preached, we think of blue-ray discs. And Big Losers. The Asian version.

Okay, to be perfectly honest it was through the same satellite TV I watched this excellent documentary called, The Black Sky: Race for Space about Burt Rutan, dubbed as “the man who reinvented airplane” and his team try to put a civilian austronaut into the space with the aircraft he designed called SpaceShipOne. This took place in 2004 actually, and the same aircraft was the basis for Virgin Galactic’s (yes, the same Branson’s outfit) first space tourism. A great endeavour from a private enterprise. Meanwhile, the governments, especially the US, is panicking over WikiLeaks. The Internet. Greatest invention of the 20th century. Spawning youtubes of people picking their noses, Facebook accounts of sexual predators, twits of obnoxious celebrities (redundant, I know) and thousands of idiotic weblog writers, this author included.

We are now in Information Age, or is it Knowledge Era? In this era, everyone becomes smart and famous. Everyone gets more than 15 minutes, and if you think of Facebook accounts, that would be frighteningly forever. Space age is thing of the past. If you dream of becoming an astronaut there will be many lashbacks calling you not to wast their tax money which they have been evading anyway. If you urge for space exploration, they say time is better spent in fighting corruption, which is like attempting to annihilate cockroach anyway.

Prorities have changed. I can only be bitter about it, and so could you, especially those from my generation. Go ahead and sulk, while I post this link in my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Go get her, Tiger.

Recently my wife and I embarked on mini-movie marathon; films with plot involving rescuing looking for missing or kidnapped family members. It’s not that we are plotting something similar in real life, considering we are still cracking our head on whether or not to kidnap a cute stray cat near our apartment (Risk: They scratch). No, it’s just that we stumbled upon the excellent action fare Taken, with Liam Neeson embarking on a mission to rescue his kidnapped daughter, leaving behind trails of dead bodies and crashed vehicle (recipe for rescuing loved ones). Intrigued, I dug up copies of some of films with similar theme and here they are with my revisit reviews.

Commando (1985)

Tagline: Somewhere... somehow... someone's going to pay

Above pix: That’s not free-range chicken, Arnie.

Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes I can spell his name) plays a hunk of steroid laden beef on boots with passion for cigar and carrying lumber over his shoulder and this was before you get slaughtered for deforestation. He has a daughter, a young one and before you can say wait, is that Molly….she gets kidnapped. Arnie whose name in this movie is Matrix, I kid you not, is blackmailed into working with the bad guys to get his daughter back. Arnie being Arnie says screw you and goes back to get his daughter using what see

ms to qualify as weapons of mass destructions, and he carried all of them on him in the climax and by the time it ended you may have grown extra biological extension due to excessive display of testosterone (doesn’t apply to female viewers).

Here’s the trivia I found in internet on that scene, “Matrix goes into battle with an Valmet M78 light machine gun, an Uzi submachine gun, a Remington Model 870 combat shotgun and a Desert Eagle automatic pistol. He also commandeers an M60E3 belt-fed machine gun and an M16A1 assault rifle.” Yes, I heard a geek’s orgasmic cry.

Frantic (1988).

Tagline: They've taken his wife. Now he's taking action

Above pix: Wife? What wife? You free for dinner?

Harrison Ford movie with Roman Polanski behind the camera shot in the streets of Paris. Throughout the entire film Ford looked like he has a broom stuck up his ass (actually I stole this from a quote by Connery in dud Meteor, “why don’t you shtick a broom up my arsh, I’ll shweep the room on my way out”). Here, Ford loses his wife, or should I say she goes missing right before his eyes . No vanishing trick. We see him (not her) in shower, you see the wife in the background. It’s a now you see, now you don’t scene, though the pain would be to watch Ford topless.

This being a Polanski film, relied less on firear ms and more on Ford’s scowl, who never rematerialised as Hans Solo or Indiana Jones half way. Too bad, it would have been awesome, but Polanski makes cerebrally intriguing film so instead of going “awesome” on firepower, we go, “what’s Freudian about this scene”, or think about Polanski’s statutory rape case. Slow film. Okay if not for Ford’s star power. And that scowl.

Breakdown (1977)

Tagline: It could happen to you.

Above pix: I am not coming back to Disney, got it?

My favourite action star, Kurt Russell, stars not as an action movie stud but a regular bloke who loses his wife in some rundown redneck town…to a trucker to be precise. It seemed, the writer and director of this movie Jonathan Mostow got the idea for the film while driving through Las Vegas with his wife. You can quite predict what the ending he would have liked, except in the film the wife is rescued.

The film works because the suspense comes from Russell is someone you can relate to, unless you have built like Schwarzenegger or have committed statutory rape like Polanski. Russell only has his wit to use, but the climax involving the truck did turn him to action hero mode, but hey, it’s from Hollywood.

Taken (2009)

Tagline: Time is Running Out

Above pix: Err…Liam, you don’t shoot the audience. We need them, you see.

As mentioned, Liam Neeson loses his daughter and he had to get her back from some Albanian criminals. Being an ex-CIA he has instant access to technology, knows who kidnapped his daughter and goes straight to the heart of the matter in Paris. After crunching bones, shooting heads, and cutting bunch of folks, Liam gets his daughter but not without a broken arm.

In most part, the film works because if Neeson is told not to just think about his pay cheque, can act his pants off. Apparently he was told to do so and you can’t take your eyes off him, even if you can’t quite place what he was doing during the fisticuffs until you hear grunts and bones breaking.

All the four films involve the member of the opposite sex missing, the fairer one, the softer one, or should I say gals. Two wives and two daughters. That revs up the scare factor, and draws concern from the audience. Male audience want to be Arnie/Kurt/Ford/Liam while female members wish their spouses or dads were. As if.

All the four films have happy ending. Of course, it happens that way unless the lead roles are not American.

Few things cropped up in my mind after watching those films.

  1. If you want Arnold to work for you, pay him shitload of money or give him a small country or something. Kidnap his daughter and now you pay lots of money for henchmen ‘s SOCSO, their widows’ compensation, and funerals don’t come cheap these days.
  2. No matter how ordinary a bloke are you, when someone you love is kidnapped, you would automatically become an action star like Kurt Russell. Which means something like you hanging onto a truck which is already hanging threadbare at the edge of a bridge.
  3. If you are former government agent or something, information comes to you in a jiffy, so that you can spend the rest of the time piling up dead bodies, and finally get your teenage daughter who is going to marry that boyfriend you hate anyway.
  4. Arnie’s daughter? Come on…

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tamil Films, Beards & Kamal

There is an incredible amount of beards found in Tamil film these days. From barely visible stubble, to Che Guevara-ish spacious growth to full blown facial mess, you just see them everywhere, whether it’s the films the fuzzy owners are acting in, or in off-screen functions where the number of beards compete directly with the number of cleavages. Comparatively, the latter is less disturbing.

Its not only stars on off-assignment mode that maintains these beards, but most of the on-screen characters these days comes with beard. It should be noted that films with rural background theme is making a wave now, not unlike early 80s when the likes of Bharathiraja popularised more local looking dudes with crown of curly going northwest and southeast and lots of facial hair. Character actors like Chandrasekhar, who owes his entire career to Karl Marx (unions) and director/writer/composer/editor/actor/janitor T. Rajendar, whose height disadvantage cost him the role of Chewbacca*, were immediately accepted by the mass who suddenly didn’t mind seeing facial hair emoting.

Then, it died out. Heroes were back to mustache and most popular look was blown-dry hair. As far as heroes are concerned, beard, usually reserved for after jail-sentence hero back for revenge, Ilayaraja tunes crooning sadcases who lost his sweetheart (thus rendering Ilayaraja more free time since he composed single tune for the late heroine and his bereaved lover), martyrs dying of disease (cancer’s the favourite), lads who are also master of disguises that a single goatee would dumbfound his own mother as we find her dumb, and for those wielding multiple roles, especially the beard is assigned to the dad (master performer, Sivaji Ganesan, succumbed to this trend in film like Trisoolam).

Of course, villains are given carte blanche to have what would range from goatee, to full blown above mentioned Marx-ish beards, they accessorised mind you. Beards was a must in mythical films for the bad guys as usual, the swamijis, extras playing wise-men, and the lead character in bio-pics, like Shri Ragavendra where Rajini goes from clean shaven handsome young men to Santa Claus in white.

But that was the 80s.

Decades earlier, beard was made infamous by MGR whose heroes usually used them and a thick mole for disguise. Though he still looked like MGR with beard and mole, in his universe nobody knows him except, maybe, Nagesh. Beards at that time too were relegated to bad guys, and sales of fake beards must have skyrocketed at the time when director A.P. Nagaran felt enough with contemporary social reform crap back in the 60s and on with mythologies. Of the cast of 100, 95 had beards, and none were clean shaven unless they are playing Krishna/Vishnu/Ramar or was NT RamaRao. Many mythological films appeared in the 70s, but most of them were with contemporary settings and beard went out of fashion in favour of wigs that look like black fist coming out of their forhead.

After brief resurgence in the 80s, beards went back to the closets they were kept and appeared briefly during the moments mentioned above. But then, nobody was as enthusiastic, nay, fanatic about beard than one of the best actors of his generation and perhaps the best looking man ever to grace the screen, Kamal Haasan.

Kamal flirted with beard at a very young age, nicely stubbled at 26 as unemployed poet in Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu, and adorned a fake one for the old man getup in Kadal Meenkal. When his character was stricken with cancer in Vazhve Mayam, he quickly bearded up and lost his girlfriend (no, not because of the beard though I’d like to think so). In Oru Kaithiyin Diary, he loses his loved one and comes out of jail with beard. I, at that time, suspected that movie prison encourages beard, like cops are encouraged to have mustache. There were scores of heroes who were jailed and later comes out to prove their innocence with the aid of wit, newly acquired martial arts skill and beard.

Back to Kamal. Death and love played a part again in Punnagai Mannan, when after failing in suicide and killing his girlfriend in the process (planned paired suicide went wrong), Kamal comes back to the society (from the jail, remember) as bearded dancing master and a regular pain in the ass moody grouch bag, which would have ruined the film if not for cheerfully funny uncle of his, also played by Kamal. The second Kamal had almost Chaplinesque mustach, goes to show that funny does not equal beard.

But all these were fake beards, you can spot them so far away. He said to hell with his dry-blown hair, cropped it short and grew actual 100% pure facial hair. The film, Sathya, had some of the best fight sequences in the history, and the beard only made Kamal more ferocious. Fake beard made a comeback in Michael Madhana Kamarajan when the evil Kamal (there was four of them with varying degrees of facial hair) had a goatie that couldn’t make its mind whether or not to join the sideburn.

And ferocity was the key of Hey Ram, self-directed masterpiece that sees him seriously experimenting with facial hair. You get to see a clean shaven Kamal, and then lightly bearded with ponytail, then heavily bushed, then with a black caterpillar above his lips, back to beard so much so that, though it was chronological, you feel like you are in a Tarantino movie.

In another self-directed brilliant film, Virumandi, Kamal sports what is known as “Franz-Josef beard”, though it looked more like he went, “Oh crap, what am I doing?” halfway shaving the bottom part of his full beard. It looked good nevertheless, as he did in Pammal K. Sambanthan where he sported lazy stubble and in Panchatanthiram looking good as a Pilot with a sharp goatee that did the acting on behalf of Simran. The goatee made a comeback in Mumbai Express to make up for Kamal’s deaf stunt man In Dasavatharam, he gave few of his characters (he played ten) different styles of facial hair, with two having beards. After that, he came out full fledged with nicely trimmed one in Unnaipol Oruvan, where his beard became evidence for his characters possible background. Was that a Muslim beard or a Hindu one?

Let’s face it, Kamal owns beard. It’s a copyright item belonging to Kamal Haasan that the other actors must pay royalty to. Kamal can sport a beard as and when he goddam pleases, in any which film whether or no he is in it. Kamal can have beard when he is in front of the camera, or behind the camera, or at his office or in your home doing plumbing. And he can still look awesome, no matter what style he chooses.

It is the assumption, that beard did the acting for Kamal, that the younger set of actors seemed to be bent on having beards or different style of facial hairs for each films. Wrong! To Kamal they were his prop, like Rajini and his fags or sunglass, like Sarath Kumar and his sombu. The rest is pure performance. If they have an award category for Most Awesome Facial Hair, Kamal is bound to win every year until they ban him.

*He was three feet shorter.

Friday, October 08, 2010

PKR Headlines and perceived report.

Oh man, the ruling party-linked press is having a field day with news surrounding Parti Keadilan Rakyat, seeing that it is going to have an election. I typed PKR in google news and boom! Many headlines with first few lines appeared. Too lazy to read the rest, I decided to come up with my own conclusion, as this is how reading news is done anyway these days. The lines in italics are those that appeared with the search result the rest is mine. Here we go:

Zaid riled by baseless allegations in PKR polls campaign

Malaysia Star -

PETALING JAYA: PKR deputy presidential contender Datuk Zaid Ibrahim says the party election campaign is turning dirty with various accusations being hurled him, including that he once dated a goat.

“It’s baseless I tell you,” said Zaid, who is a lifelong vegetarian and was once carrot-juice-holic. “It was an Australian sheep, by the way”.

The paper could not reach PKR’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is currently in South Pole to discuss his Commonwealth Games with leaders from polar bear community.

PKR to demand apology, retraction of statement from Rahimi

Malaysia Star

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR will send Rahimi Osman a letter of demand for an apology and retraction of statement and expect a reply within a few days, failing which, ...the party will attempt to build the biggest Durian cake ever to make it into the Malaysian Book of Record.

“What Rahimi has done is damaging enough for us to consider various ways to win the hearts and minds of the Rakyat,” said a spokesperson from the party, though he is mute.

The Durian cake will be as big as “a typical Umno politician’s bungalow” and the party’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will not be able to make it for the launch event as he will be in appearing in BBC to talk about the merits of “tempoyak”.

Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng Quits MCA

Bernama - ‎ ‎

There have been talks that Lee had joined PKR as early as June where he admitted that he had filled in an application form then, but did not sign it. his pen ran out of ink.

“I swear I didn’t know my pen got no ink,” said Lee, adding that the statement should be taken literally, and there was no sexual innuendo in it.

He added that it will be sometimes before he can refill the pen, noting that the incident signifies looming stationery problem in MCA. PKR’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim could not be reached for comment as he was using the restroom.

Kottapan Wants Probe Into Chaos At Kota Raja PKR Division Expedited

Bernama –

KLANG, Oct 6 (Bernama) -- One of the candidates for the division chief post in Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) Kota Raja division, who alleged that he was ...heckled at for having a comical name.

“In Tamizh Kottai means either seeds or testicles. Who are they to judge what my name means,” said Kottapan suffered injuries in one of his middle fingers which he raised in acknowledgement to the heckling during a recent division meet.

According to him, chaos broke up when someone announced that the division was out of Milo in the pantry. The party’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was available for comment but nobody bothered to ask him for comment as the division head declared emergency until the Milo supply arrived.

Chaos if PKR leads, says Umno man

Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno continues to gloat as PKR dismays opposition supporters with its uproarious election process. If PKR were to come to power ...Umno-Man will retaliate with his superpowers which include, basically, telling unconvincing lies.

Umno-Man, once declared that his superpowers are so super that even Superman admitted that no way he can match his brain, brawn and ability to be more stupid (wearing underwear outside).

“Watch out PKR, for Umno-Man is here,” said err…Umno-Man. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PKR’s de facto leader, wasn’t around for comment and was last seen in Justice League of America (JLA) office discussing possibility of JLA running the country with him at helm.

Sabak Bernam Fracas A Lesson To PKR - Khalid

Bernama - Oct 3, 2010

KUALA SELANGOR, Oct 3 (Bernama) -- The fracas at Sabak Bernam Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) divisional meeting on Saturday is a good lesson for the party in ...elevating the education level of politicians.

Selangor’s Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim admitted that none of the party members even know what “fracas” means.

“Some thought it was a coffee item and some even asked if it comes with chocolate and cream,” said the sad looking Menteri Besar. The party’s de facto leader, Anwar Ibrahim finally relented and commented, “Look, even I don’t know what de facto means. It sounds like “dating” in Chinese. Is it?”

The reporter was not available for comment.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Endhiran – A Very Long Semi-literate Review.

In a way Endhiran still works like a Rajini-fan list:

Rajini in multiple getups. Check.

Rajini in uptodate chic costume. Check.

Rajini in awesome fight sequence. Check.

Rajini in beautifully shot song sequences. Check.

Rajini with gorgeous, but actress half his age. Well…check.

Rajini in Baba (film) look. Check. Okay, this is my wish, so be it.

Rajini doing verbal spar with bad guy. Check.

Last and not the least of recent times….

Rajini as bad guy. Awesome check. But more to that later.

So, there you go. With one exeption. Some of wishes fulfilled are not don(e) by a human character.

Here’s a checklist not fulfilled at all

Rajini spitting out punch dialogues.

Rajini eulogised by supporting characters.

Rajini (human) doing extraordinarily superhuman feats.

And you still have most Rajini fans coming back for second round of helping, because there are lots and lots of Rajini in this film. Mind you, not the heavy duty Rajini that I am fond of, the Rajini of Mullum Malarum, Johnny, Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai, Dharmadurai or Talabathi, but much simpler but effective Rajini of Netrikann, Mundru Mugam, Muthu, and to an extend, to me, Baba. But more on him later.

The film picks up straight inside scientist Vaseegaran’s (Rajini) lab where we see him constructing a robot (refered to as Robo in Tamizh, maybe adhereing to silent “T’, those damned influential French). We see the robot turning out to be more refined version of Vaseegaran himself, a herculian efforts by no means because according to Shankar hardworking brilliant scientists not only neglects his family members and girlfriend but also neglects appointment with barber. By the time Vaseegaran is done building the robot, he looks like brunette Captain Caveman. Oh, the neglect girlfriend part and making the robot looking like him sort of points to the certain psychological complex, but Shankar is lot more simpler-minded than that. (Re: Anniyan and juvenile theory of split personality).

So, you have a Robot, a machine, which is later compelled to pick up human qualities, you know, to love, to cry, like many bleeding hearts of Hollywood computers and machines aspired to be since the time Kubrick introduced us to HAL, a red light thingy with irritiating voice. And so the robot acquires heart and immediately falls in love with the scientists girlfriend. I suppose he is basically getting back at his creator because the scientist’s mom gave him one of the silliest names in this side of hemisphere, Chitti…short for Chitti Babu. It’s like calling a Hollywood cyborg Chuck Smith.

And so begins unfortunate love triangle which is too weird to begin with because it’s the scientist, his lover, and his creation which is based on himself in the first place. It’s like love triangle between a single man, his girlfriend and his self-persuasive nocturnal habits. Oh well…anyway, all hell breaks loose when Vaseegaran had to get rid of Chitti by totally melting him in a extreme heat till everything is melted.

Who am I kidding.

He throws it in a dumpster. The one that get picked up by garbage men and thrown on mountainous pile screaming for assembly of dismantled parts joined by acidic garbage juice where the robot rises…hahaha. What a juvenile imagination this review has. Oh wait, that actually happens and the risen re-asssembled robot ends up in the bad guys’ car. The rest is good machine end up in bad guys’ hand and goes beserk formula that Hollywood has been enjoying and been ripping you guys off all these years.

But wait, does it mean the film sucks big time. Truth to be told the script is predictable as many Shankar films would remind you. You have seen these scenes in other films by Bay/West/Emmerich, but thanks to Shankars’ own association with writer Sujatha, there is something very south Indian about this film in terms of clash of culture, the need for the machines to understand this side of ethics, morals, question of spirituality vs science. All south Indian. This is chunky piece of juicy lamb chop served on banana leaf with Sambar and coconut chutney. Do your maths.

So, are there really crappy scenes as it is synonymous with Shankar films? Sure, this is science fiction and it’s okay to have idiotic scenes in a sci-fi flick, but usually they are done knowing well that fast forward they would not be laughed because it has been done already. But some scenes in Endhiran like the one involving mosquitoes and its immediate brethren, the monstrously moronic climax are insults to an otherwise what could have been an explosive start of the genre to the Tamizh film industry.

Is there a message that Shankar is trying to ram down our throats like his previous films? Well, maybe, but fortunately, in this film, Shankar is not condoning murdering corrupt file clerk or deep frying greedy caterer. He is basically saying that science, if not used responsibly, can ruin your breakfast, destroy your lunch and practically take you to the cleaners before your tea time. It’s one thing we can agree with having had dealt with faulty toasters, self deluding TV sets and of course, can you remember how many time you had to reboot your computer? The lesson learned is, keep on/off or reboot button nearby and deal with it in a jiffy. Unfortunately, this lesson, which Hollywood has not learned, is only begun to be unlearned by Shankar.

You maybe wondering why I keep bringing Hollywood here. Simple, Shankar has always been compared to the likes of Spielberg, and that would be an insult to the director of Jaws and Raiders Of The Last Ark. No. More appropriately, Shankar is Michael Bay with a little bit of heart, Simon West minus Steven Buscemi and Rolland Emmerich with lesser WMD. In Endhiran, Shankar may have done his best work since Mudhalvan and the job is easy because we have the one and only…

…Rajini….yes it’s Rajini’s show all the way, but more on him later.

How does the visual effects measure up since it’s the most hyped about thing after Shankar, Aiswarya Rai, A.R. Rahman and Rajini. Well, let’s say it ranged from really fantastic to Cartoon Network standard, right down to Mom & Pop store sketch book level. Choose your pick. Some parts look really effective like the scenes involving Rajini & Rajini, but that is because the actor knows his stuff. More to that later. Visual effects (VFX), though is part of Shankar’s bread and butter, is not exactly his forte. Indeed, I must admit, this is perhaps the most impressive in his resume, considering his past achievement as far as VFX or Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI) is concerned Shankar is always the kind of customer who would immediately want to chow down his cake before it is fully baked.

Another attraction to this film would certainly be Aishwarya Rai for those who don’t mind great looks and talents of a hamster on wheel. Grudges aside, I admit she did her part well, considering she has to look good, do lots of catwalk poses, dance and model for, borrowing my wife’s words, “gorgeous costumes”. Another thing that surprised me was her chemistry with Rajini. It was good, in fact. As a matter of fact (can you take more facts? Let me know) this is the best chemistry Rajini had with a pair since, maybe, Meena in Muthu.

ARR did a fine job as usual, though I suspect the songs here would not be as iconic as the ones in Muthu and Padaiyappa, but certainly more memorable than Sivaji the Boss. Don’t touch Baba, that’s my personal weakness. He is fine when dealing with small recurring sound, the only one who’s good at it after Ilayaraja and have certainly lived up to that reputation. If you call that a reputation.

Now, the man of the (3) hour, Rajinikanth.

It’s heartening to note that he actually put on lots of effort behind his roles here. His enthusiasm, if onscreen performance is an indicator, and they usually are, has been lesser and lesser since, maybe, after Baba. He looked tired in Chandramukhi, not helped by poor direction, and though seemed a bit chirpy in Sivaji the Boss, he was not giving his 60%, let alone 100%. Here, it may not be 100%, but certainly more than 60%. Oh man, how convincing he was whenever Vasee berates Chitti, losing his head the only way Rajini can being the only actor, next to Kamal, who can hit the rage-ometer as high as Sivaji Ganesan. When Chitti becomes evil, he totally leaves behind the subtle persona and you can see he is having a ball of a time, being such total badass that I think this is the best villain I had the pleasure enjoy watching since Amaithi Padai. Plus the funny scenes between Rajini and Rajini. Only Rajini can pull it off. In fact, the best chemistry in this film is actually between the scientist and the robot, so much so that the final scene actually would move you. Other actors except Kamal thinking of doing double or triple roles, think again. Rajini the actor is still around. Yes sir. He looks really good here, maybe a good 18 years younger than his actual age (60), and Chitti will be up there amongst the most memorable characters he played, next to Chakravarthi, Alex Pandiyan and slightly above Annamalai and Baasha.

This is the second grand visual spectacle I watched after Ravanan (as far as Tamizh films are concerned) that has more style than substance since as what you might expect from Shankar. But let’s face it, any film Rajini inhabits totally makes it his film. He still owns it even after all of us go six feet under. After this, without Rajini, Shankar will have lots of heavy thinking to do about his future as poor investment without Rajini is going to sink him. I am certain Rajini is leaving behind the superhero persona and will go back to his roots, as a fine character actor. In the meantime, I am revisiting Mullum Malarum tonight.

Note: Forgot to mention this, but Aishwarya Rai again proved that she's bullet proof.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Sivaji Ganesan can teach the current generation of actors.

(L to R) Standing:Jim Garner,Jack Lemmon, Charlton Heston. Sitting:George Chandler, Sivaji Ganesan, Walter Pidgeon.

Though not a fault of his, the late Tamizh film actor Sivaji Ganesan was born in India. Fate can play a cruel hand and in this instance, Sivaji, who has the distinction of being the greatest actor ever produced from that sub continent, fell into a fate that denied him the recognition as the greatest on screen actor in the world amongst the world population.

Half of us would agree with that recognition though, while the other half is too busy watching Miley Cyrus grow.

Forget about the world, even India never recognised his contribution whereby the National Award, often looked upon as the Oscar of India without the glamour and cleavages, did not honour him, giving him a best supporting actor award for walk in the park role he did with Kamal Haasan in Devar Magan during his twilight years.

There used to be saying among the Tamizh film fans, there is no role Sivaji has not done. Wrong. Sivaji himself has been on the record saying that he wished he had played rationalist Periyar in a biopic. The man was humble and realistic. To see that the role was taken by a hack recently shows the state the Tamizh film industry is in without the great Sivaji.

The thing is there is no way anyone can act as everyone. Even the great Sivaji knows his limitation. When asked about his talent, he just brushes it off, “I know a little bit of acting, that’s all”. Try listening to that when the younger generation of actors get overblown credit for merely shaving off his moustache in the next venture or gone completely more wooden than usual because it was ‘artistic’.

What made Sivaji a great actor was that he knows he has to do a role without the smugness that he was the best. He gave his best, he brought extra to the table and he pounded those wonderful array of roles into our cranium that those were the images that comes out of your mind when, say, someone mentions Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Karnan, Ranggan, Barrister Rajinikanth or Inspector Choudary.

That he had pushed himself needed no public relations. That he had strained to stretch himself needed no advertisements. Making difference to routinely written roles and gaining credit for it needed no propaganda machineries. Sivaji’s roles spoke louder than the modest actor who himself knows his own limitation and kept it out of the public’s eyes.

It is the humility, willingness to stretch without making loud announcement and moving along taking on challenging roles and at the same time challenging and inspiring his fellow actors and technicians (though this may not apply in the 80s) to bring forth a quality production in terms of great movies that makes him tower all the actors from that region. To borrow words from leadership guru, Stephen Covey, Sivaji, “found his voice and inspired others to find theirs”. Such was his unique power.

That, alas, is lacking in the current age with obsession for opening collection, with actors mistaking getup change for good acting, and heroines mistaking excessive makeup, less cloth and borrowed voice for great contribution. Humility, to have the power to overcome limitations and to inspire others is something that the current crop of actors can aspire for and need another lifetime of the same career to achieve. This is merely a single chapter from the humongous actors’ guide book called Sivaji Ganesan. No, make that a single page.

Written to celebrate Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Ganesan’s 83rd Birthday.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Timothy Dalton: He started it first….

In the era when gritty reboot was the order of the day for action/fantasy films, one actor took the most famous franchise in the world back to the pages of the author Ian Fleming…and was never appreciated for that.

If history has been unkind to any actor - well there are thousands but it will not sit well with the content that I am about to type – it will be Timothy Dalton and his performance as Ian Fleming’s secret agent, Agent OO7 James Bond.

A great hero to the fans of the brilliant, exciting, thrillers written by Fleming in the 50s and 60s, Dalton single handedly took the franchise to a new direction in 1987, taking over from geriatric (but affable) Roger Moore* whose Bond films were nothing more than self-parodied excuse for display of outrageous gadgets, stunts and cleavages. Not that we are complaining about the latter, the films descended into the pit of impossibilities ignoring the mood established by Fleming in his wonderful books.

Dalton was dealt with the shit end of the stick due to bad timing. The public was not ready for a gritty Bond reboot. They are ready now, so much so that your friendly neighbourhood pal, Spider-Man is not getting ready for a gritty reboot. Gritty reboot is the order of the day since Batman Begins brought back some respect to the franchise. Sure, Bruce Wayne looked like he had a pair of batwing stuck up his ass all the time, but being mistaken for elements of “grittiness” the performance was accepted.

Then, the Bond franchise did the same and this time, mistaking Fleming’s Bond for Terminator, they got a superb actor in form of Daniel Craig to play cyborg-ish Bond…it was only during the quieter moments when we actually saw Craig channelling Ian Fleming’s creation, as a wonderful actor of his calibre should. Unfortunately, the rest of the time the script treated the character the same way it would treat light sabre in the Star Wars films. Film fans worldwide lapped it up wholesale.

The audience of the 80s, unfortunately, was not really sure what it wants as far as action genre is concerned. It embraced Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, but turned its nose up to Dalton’s second outing, Licence to Kill which had equally, if not more, amount of gratuitous violence, and action sequences. Sure, Dalton took his characters more seriously than the goofy Mel Gibson and monologuous Bruce Willis, but alienated a massive potion of the audience who had been comfortable Roger Moore who played James Bond as if James Bond was playing Roger Moore. They couldn’t recognise what was essentially the man directly from the pages of Ian Fleming’s fantastic thrillers.

Trouble is, the entire world was never ready for a Flemingesque James Bond from day one when the spearheading Dr. No appeared on screen. Despite what most fans would think, agent OO7 as played by the magnificent Sean Connery was only mildly related to the James Bond of the book. Sure, Connery was good looking and a “tough customer” as per the superspy of the book, but Fleming’s creation was dark, never sure of his moral stand as far as his role as assassin is concerned. His womanising tendencies does not involve woman swooning after him after couple of groan inducing puns. He worked his way to know his lady friends, and actually have loved most of them passionately.

The James Bond of the books was a lonely man who appreciated friendships that he can’t have on the account of his job. He takes time to have lunch with his chief-of-staff when he’s around in the office and have good working and personal relationship with the American ally, Felix Leiter.

If you feel these qualities does not represent James Bond at all, then you have not read Fleming. Dalton did. That is why you see these elements in the two films he made. Beginning with The Living Daylights, which had the opening sequence taken directly from the short story of the same written by Fleming, Dalton showed the darker side of the assassin Bond, totally in control of the situation, and adhering to his own moral code of not killing a non-assasin (turned out to be a girl who “can’t tell one end of the rifle from another”). He then meets the bad guys girlfriend, and actually falls in love with her.

Yes, he actually does. His love affair with Kara offers perhaps the most tender and heart warming moments ever in the film franchise’s history (George Lazenby/Bond fans will disagree I am sure). Not only have that, in this and the next film, Bond also displayed a warm friendship with Q, the gadget-master, not dissimilar to the book character who’s close with this chief of staff.

But let me get back to the gritty reboot thing. Am I giving too much credit to the actor for the reboot, considering the producers were pretty powerful and has all the say? No. The actor who was suppose to take over in 1986 was Pierce Brosnan and he was doing a romantic comedy TV series remember? He would have kept the comedic angle on with his boyish good look and sense of humour. Luckily he was unavailable, and Dalton, trained by Royal Shakespearian Company, was anal about sticking to the original literature.

It was a desparate time for the producers and they bowed to demand and the scriptwriters had to tweak the script to his strength (dramatic portrayal, no-nonsense approach) and later, for the second film, the entire script was written with Dalton in mind. Licence To Kill was an opportunity for us to see the actual Fleming Bond in a Flemingesque story telling, where the bad guys are really evil and people bleed, and die horrible death. It was probably the first time we are seeing Bond looking tired, bruised, his shirt and suit torn and dusty at the end of an impressive bloody, fiery action sequence. And most of the audience stayed away, Dalton’s contract expired and he went on doing other interesting material. And in replacement we got an pretty man with lots of hair, stupid one-liners, and shit-loads of bullets in disposal.

For that, I say thank god for Daniel Craig. But let us thank Timothy Dalton first. Sean Connery may be the best Bond, but Dalton is the best Fleming Bond.

*whatever my complaints are about Moore films, I revisit them for one reason alone, Moore.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Sir Sean Connery

I would have liked to start this piece by saying, “His name is Connery, Sean Connery”, which I did, but it would be too clichéd. Lazy journalism, they say. Plus, his name is actually Thomas Sean Connery and he is referred to as Big Tam in his hometown, Edinburg, Scotland. Hardly a reference to the sophisticated, suave gentleman spy he would play in 1962.

Today is Connery’s 80th birthday and he has decided to retire from acting, citing, as one of the reasons, that Hollywood is run by “idiots”. Too bad, the farewell film was badly reviewed (though I liked it) A League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, unlike Eastwood who retired from acting symbolically killing off all the images he had created over the time in Gran Torino, a huge financial and critical success. Connery deserves something like that, but if at all there is a consolation, he will always be remembered as the best damn James Bond of them all.

But the downside to that acclamation though, is that he will not be remembered for some of the finest on-screen performances he had delivered as a serious actor. The caged animal in The Hill (1965), the conflicted cop in The Offence (1973), the man who would be king in The Man Who Would Be King (1975), ageing Robin Hood in Robin and Marion (1976), medieval Franciscan Sherlock Holmes in The Name of The Rose (1986), a publisher caught in an espionage conflict in The Russia House (1990), and an author coming out of self-imposed exile in Finding Forester (2000). Of course, he was awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his screen bursting performance in The Untouchables (1987) beating the magnificent Robert de Niro from the same pix. This despite of de Niro putting on weight and wearing same underwear Al Capone (role he played) wore.

Hopefully this post would help few visitors of this site to remember his contributions other than that damned James Bond*. So, here’s to you Sir Sean. Happy 80th Birthday!

*Yes, during a press conference he did say, “I’d love to kill that damned James Bond”.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

6 Reincarnation Nightmare for Heterosexual Male

Aside: This was something I worked on in order to have sold to, arguably one of the funniest online comedy site I’ve read. Initially I wrote it in their style, strong language and all, and realised that it didn’t look good. I mean, it had enough profanities to make Tarantino blush. Why trying to sound like someone else when already I sound bad. So, you guys get the torture as usual. Oh, you can click on the sub-heading for the pix and don't tell me you have never seen a honey bee, puh-leeze. End of aside.

After-life is a strange thing. It’s strange because you know zilch about it and the best knowledge you can get is from some religious figures, and they are usually not so pretty. Because you would have done at least a thing or two, no matter how pious you are, and this is minimum, get your ass burned slightly in hell.

But that is from the Abraham religions. As for me, one thing I heard about afterlife when growing up in the plantation worshipping cows, snakes and occasionally, dogs (no, really), is that Hindus believe in reincarnation. Of course, you need not necessarily get to be born again as the same person; you probably had enough of yourself already.

You might become greater like, say, a rock star, a sport superstar or the US President. Or you might get shittier life as a grave digger, sanitation engineer or Bhuddist monk. But the thing is, you don’t always get to be reborn as man, as the faith dictates, you can be anything.

I’ll cut to the chase. Let’s say you dig the reincarnation thing, have embraced Hinduism and if you are a healthy heterosexual male, be very afraid, because you can be one of these:

1. The Black Widow Spider.

Firstly, you will be relieved to know that you will not be called a Black Widower spider. But you will be, trust me. Why?

Here’s what a female black widow spider do after they have sex with the male. They eat the dudes. Yeah, ribs and all, if spider have back ribs that is. But wait a minute, that’s only if you are a smaller spider than the girl spider you are making out with. But there is such thing as order of the nature, doesn’t it?

That’s right, the dumb male spider which just survived being the female’s sheesh kebab, goes to another for another make out session, and pray to your spider god or Spider-Man or whatever, the next babe might be bigger than you, probably the size of Babe the pig, and is about ready to mate you, and excrete you out later.

So, you don’t want to be a spider the next birth? How about…

2 The Death Stalker Scorpion.

Apart from the fact that heavy metal band Scorpion totally forgot to use that as a title for an awesome album, how would you like to be one? That’s a bloody cool name to bandy about and brag to other creatures. A typical day in your life can go like this

You: Hi, I am The Death Stalker Scorpion.

Hippopotamus: Hi, I’m hipota..hippoto…something.

You: Hahaha, what a pussy name.

*crunching sound, hippo walks off*

So, in addition to badass name, you are also one of the deadliest animals if the Hippo has not stepped on you already. These scorpions are said to be able to “inject extremely toxic venom (a neurotoxin) that can cause extreme pain, fever, convulsions, paralysis, and often coma or death in humans”.

Remember, that happens to human, and think how that applies to fellow dude scorpions. Yeah, you start doing that ritual dance of yours, find a nice cozy place spot to get it on, and guess what happens? No, you are not going to sit there and wait for your woman to lay eggs and watch juniors hatch out. No, your juniors would soon find some remnants of what used to be you and learn what cannibalism is all about.

So, The Death Stalker Scorpion is out of your list. But…but if you are still thinking of the whole sting thing, why not become a …

3. Honey Bee

You heard that before, “fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Who needs butterfly, when you can fly and frickin’ sting like a bee. Now, how cool is that? Well, till you have sex of course.

That’s right. And are you sure you want to know about this? Ready? Here goes…

You see there is this queen just waiting to be mated by all you guys. Sad, but that’s the truth in bees world, you guys have to share the same babe chick is about ten times bigger than you on top of that. It’s like you are on the bed with female sumo wrestler, if such profession exists.

Here’s what happens when you do the gigantic babe bee; your vital biological instrument gets left inside. Yes, you don’t get to bring back your wedding tackle once the business is done. You leave it there, excuse yourself and let the other guy remove it. Yeah, it’s that pathetic. After that the next excitement would be how soon you can cut your bee wrist with bee blade.

So, you value your priceless attachment? In fact, want to be creature with enormous member, why not reborn as…

4. Banana Slug

If you are the kind of guy who is perhaps the only one replying to all those spam mails about elongating your reproductive tool, then you will love being Banana Slug. It’s latin name is “dolichyphallus” which means, “giant penis”, and yes “phallus” does not mean “brain”.

Sure they are about 6 to 8 inches long, so what, right? Well, it matters because their wiener also measure from 6 to frickin’ 8 inches long!!!

Excited? Imagine having one of your own which is about as long as your height is. Okay, here’s a bummer. Banana slugs are hermaphrodites, which means that if someone tells you, “go f*** yourself,” you can oblige happily. Well, maybe not so, because you have this whole hermaphrodites gay thingy going on here.

That’s right, and on top of that you will have to choose a mate of the same size, you know to make sure things go smoothly, because if the size does not correspond, your thing will get stuck inside the other slug. Big deal, it can be removed. How?

Remember the bee? It’s just a matter of detaching, like removing your contact lens or wig. What happens here is a tad different. The other slug will bite your ding dong off. It’s not cruelty, okay, scientist calls it “apophallation” which means its normal among the scientist community which they joke about it at the water cooler.

Alright, I can sense that you were already cringing and brought your thighs together tightly several paragraphs ago. You want to step beck from being an aggressive creature think of Dalai Lama and reborn as…

5. The Praying Mantis.

Hah! You probably want to be ahead of me and say, “waitaminute, Rakesh, it has been disproved, this whole praying mantis biting off its mate’s head thingy”. It’s right here .

Oh yeah, Mr. Smartypants. One hell of a mythbuster ain’t ya. Read again especially this part: “…male mantises will often offer themselves up as food to the female during mating process, and from a biological standpoint this action makes sense: There is no point to mating female who might die from a lack of food before she can lay her eggs and pass the father’s genes onto the next generation”.

Sure in human terms you might get to pay for the abortion for that anorexic supermodel you slept with on top of supplying her with grubs the rest of your natural frickin’ life. As an insect, it’s only natural that you become the grub for a pregnant woman.

So, it’s not a myth. Plus, the article also says that the whole frequency of such occurrence is still debated in the entomological world. While they are busy debating more male praying mantis are doing just that, praying.

So okay, we are done with insects and damned hermaphrodites. Why not a reptile? Why not be born as…

6. Whiptail Lizards.

Nice name, something like Indiana Jones of the reptile kingdom. Tell you what, forget it. There’s this whole Lesbian Island thing going on in there. Yeah they are all female. Unless you are thinking of being born again as different sex.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Two Wheel Menace.

The Star Online (newspaper) this morning screamed “Superman or just stupid men” while the linked news story blared the clichéd headline, “It’s a bird, it’s a, it’s Rempit-men” and the above pic was featured.

It is a sad statement indeed. For one, I always thought Superman is stupid, a safe judgement to someone who wears his undies outside and thinks he can hide his identify by wearing spectacles (actually the whole world is playing prank against Clark Kent by pretending to be fooled), and number two, mainstream newspapers, which already getting threats in terms of attention from other online news portals and blogs, are still writing clichéd headlines that clearly shows extreme laziness. Come on, even if you want to use the “bird, plane” headline, the subject matter should be in the sky, say renegade Mat Rempits parachuting upside down…which is not a disservice to those group anyway.

To the uninformed (ie. non-Malaysians) I’ll get you the wiki “we have info for everything but not exactly authentic” pedia, which says, that “A Mat Rempit is a Malaysian term for ‘an individual who participates in illegal street racing’, usually involving underbone motorcycles (colloquially known as Kapcai) or scooters”. It went on to say that some of them perform crazy stunts for fun, such as the wheelie, superman (lying flat on the seat), wikang, and scorpion (standing on the seat with one leg during a wheelie). Whether or not this contribute to the fall of the country’s Foreign Direct Investment or not is questionable, but there is something else more damaging.

You see, an underbone motorcycle in my own grouch-pedia means, “a kind of bike which made many scrap metal dealers’ millionaires”. No, really. In a statistic revealed by transport ministry recently noted that in 2009, out of 6,745 road accident related deaths, 4,067 involved the motorcyclists and the pillion rider. That’s like…let me get a calculator.

Yes, 60.3% of total number of folks in body bags last year constitutes death from motorbikes. Unbelievable right? I too cannot believe that, after almost two decades of adult life, I can still calculate percentages. But that’s another matter.

So, one of the major killer in Malaysia, apart from diseases, natural disaster, unnatural disasters (google “Malaysia Accidents” for more info) murders, rape, negligence, and politics (google “Malaysia By-Election” for more info), motorbikes are a serious threat to our dear lives. More so than anything horrific you can think of, including Miley Cirus.

The trouible is, the motorbikes are not only killing Mat Rempits, but decent law breaking citizens who threat their motorbikes the same way Michael J. Fox treats hover board in Back to the Future Pt II. Which means, they can ride the bike any way they want, and be any where they want through any possible means, to get where they want to get. They would ride between and swerve in and out of moving vehicles and if there is a way, probably ride over the hood of the car just because all moving vehicles bigger than bikes are treated like obstruction.

I have in many occasions seen motorbikes entering the main roads only to crash straight onto a bus or lorry, and the big vehicles may not even realise it. It’s hard to figure out where they are coming from because they feel traffic law does not apply to them, unless there are cops around. I am generalising, but all ye motorcyclist readers, think hard, don’t tell me you haven’t done any of the thing I mentioned. Plus, do you really buckle your helmets? Chuck it on your head because it’s law, not because it will help not to spill your noodles on the roadside. Cool.

Of course, I am being unfair. There are many motorcyclist who are going about their business when they are rammed into by other vehicles no thanks to the reckless drivers, be it cars, lorries or even other motorcyclist. Or cows!

I kid you not. Recently a motorcyclist and his girlfriend were rammed by not one, but three cows as reported here. The report noted that the 22-year-old electrician and his girlfriend were on their way to Paya Terubong when three cows charged at them. Said the electricion, "One of the cows rammed my motorcycle and all three of us fell. The cow got up and ran off.” The cow is a fugitive now.

Anyway, I don’t even know why I am writing this entry, maybe a reminder that as long as there are the underbone motorcycles are around, we can expect many meaningless death (as opposed to meaningful death [google “Malaysian By-Election” for more info) no thanks to this little two wheelers that could.

By the way, please tell me the words, “underbone motorcycle” doesn’t give you crazy ideas.