Monday, December 1, 2008

nfs undercover - an honest review

I am a pretty big fan of the need for speed series, right from nfs (the one
runs in DOS, 1995). I enjoyed nfs carbon a while back. I briefly tried
but felt that the nfs concept was dead in it. If this weren't a
failure, why would
EA go back to the illegal street-racing theme for
nfs undercover??

So how is nfs undercover?? It is a load of utter crap!!! If you are thinking
spending money on it, please don't. If you are thinking of pirating it,
don't. Save yourself the time and effort and play Burnout instead.

I have been trying to find something I like in this edition of nfs.. really
tough i say..
Lets start with the graphics. Undercover sports a new
graphics engine. Things look
like a pile of cow-dung with graffiti spray
paint on it. If you have never seen a car
racing game, it will blow your
socks off. For the rest of us, its an annoying game!!
It looks plastic!!
It looks fake!!
Its crammed with specular highlights, blurs and lotsa
gaudy crap!! Its so
bright that you can barely see your car, leave alone
the road in front.
It blows effects onto your face at a speed that even
an eagle can't catch up.
Why all this.. even the GPS map is shiny..
you cant see where you are
headed because the map also has a glare!!
Everything in the game seems
to be painted with the brightest,
obnoxious shade available within the
laws of physics.
Ramarajan getup e paravaa illai nu thonum!!

Despite all this shock n awe, the game is ugly. Buildings look like they ve
been built by a 5 year old using some lego kit. Everything looks plastic..
as if they ve all been downloaded from some free website with 3d studio
max models.

And now, about the physics and handling. There's none!! The very first
nfs had better sense of these. Cars are as responsive as bricks. The Lotus
Elise, which is a very nimble and aggressive car in reality, handles like a
Ford Mustang. It takes eons to accelerate, has an awful tendency to skid
and oversteer. I have seen wet soaps thrown in the shower that had better
handling than most cars. I guess the upside is that the Mustang handles
better in the game than real life. Now, I know that nfs had ditched the
concept of racing simulation long ago and had concentrated on arcade
racing instead, but why does that have to mean physics from an
90's arcade game?? Just let an opponent bang you from the back,
and he
will drag you wherever he goes.

Add to this, the fact that everything that isn't a car whizzes past you at a

million miles per hour. All the menus, transitions look like they ve been
drawn in EGA graphics!! Its ugly as hell.. The menu system is illogical.
You have to start a game before you can change even the basic setting as
resolution. This means, you have to sit through the crappy intro movie and
the stupid intro drive before you can change anything. The icing on top of
the cake is the fact that you cant change your name from 'player' to
anything else!!

This brings me neatly on to the story of the game. If you can imagine a
even dumber version of Fast and the Furious, which personally I cannot.
EA managed to pull it off. They paid a lot of money to maggie q to 'act'
make it even bigger n real. The full-motion cut scenes are amazingly
and add absolutely nothing to the story. Oh ya.. these scenes cant
skipped. Because they are sooo cool, you never wanna miss them.

It seemed as if there were 5-6 teams who developed different things in

the game and none of them communicated with each other. They just
their piece of the cake and some final team just slapped everything
and sent it for shipping. There's no style, no substance, no
coherence in
the game. Nothing holds the concepts together.
Enamo 'dasavatharam'
patha mari irunthuthu!!

Nfs Undercover.. this had better remained under the covers!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

thalaya picchukanam pola iruku!!

"Na sonna mari pannikalai na aathuku varathe!!" My mom screamed at me
before i left. I can imagine what you must be thinking now. That i
would have told my mother that i love a girl, and that i am going to
marry her. If that were the situation, my mother would have killed me,
not yelled at me!!!

Anyways, what i am about to tell is far away from that. Ever since i moved
into our new house about three years back, it has been a nightmare
trying to find a good barber for a haircut. Enna paavam pannineno
avaalukku, each time they spoil my already mediocre looks in a
different way. Since my younger days, i have been wanting to sport
sideburns and a 'mushroom' cut. Thanks to my genes, sideburns is not
a problem. In a typical mushroom cut, the crop is closer around the
sides than at the top. If the step is deep, the rear view of the head
seems like a mushroom.. ;);) Hence the name. A more coarse vesion
of it would be what i call the 'chatti cut' (chatti means earthen pot in tamil). Imagine inverting a pot over ones head and shaving off the
remaining portion. Thats it!! Anyways, i was crazy about the
refined version only.. ;);)

What i am going to narrate now is one of my first tragedies. :(:(
A couple of years ago, my family decided to go on a vacation, also
known as pilgrimage to the rest of the world, to an unending list
of temples, most of which people would'nt even have heard of.
My mother then yelled at me saying that i better cut my hair short.
That was when she spoke the first line of this blog..
Ennathan punyam theda ponalum, vaaliba vayasula pattai, naamam ellam
poda thonathu.. scene poda than thonum.. ;);)
I wanted to sport a neat, light mushroom cut. So i went to the barber
nearby and said "anna, mushroom cut pannunga.. step light a pothum."
As if he was Jawed Habib's assistant, he nodded his head. I went and
sat there as an unwitting subject. The clumsy manner in which he
handled the scissors raised some doubts about what was going to happen,
but still i kept mum. He sprayed a litre of water over my head!!
Appo confirm aaiduthu.. thanni thelichu vitutaan!! :(:(
He did what he called a nice n trim haircut and i ended up looking like
'red' ajith!!! Athuku apram 'varutham illa vaalibargal' sangathula irunthu,

Several such mishaps later, i was fed up and then decided to stop
going for haircuts and grow my hair instead. For those who have'nt seen
me, my hair is pretty wavy. I thought i could grow it upto chin length.
Maintaining long hair is'nt so easy, and i was too lazy to do it.
The last time i touched hair oil was years back, when i broke the bottle.
After a few months of scaring my hostel wing-mates, i decided that the
forest up above my head needed to be deforested. This, being a special
case, i decided not to goto a normal salon-wala and chose a hi-fi chain
of salons. The place itself gave me some courage and confidence that
it wont be a disastrous morning. The 'hair-stylist', as they call
themselves, arrived and greeted me. After i told him what had to be
done, he smiled and asked me to take the hot-seat. I was surprised
when he did not take a pair of scissors. Instead he took out a small
hand-held lawn-mower and ran it several times on my head. At the end of
playing around with some gadgets, he informed me that the job was done.
I was left with some hair on my head, if not none. He had managed to spoil
my coiffure even with hi-fi gizmos!! Someone i knew said that i looked
like an 'egghead'. That was it. I decided to be in thalai-maraivu for a
few days till i had enough hair to do some patch up atleast.. ;);)

I look at this as a drawback of urbanization. Villagers from the most
remote places that don't even exist on the map come to the city thinking
that they would prosper here. The beauty parlor and salon owners employ
them simply because they are cheap and they claim to know the job. Greedy
people!!! They don't even bother to train the new employees. One barber
asked me if i would like to have a 'pung'. I gave the same puzzled look
that you have on your face now. It was then that i realised, he was
referring to a funk!! Panchayath kitta aala maratthuku adila 'crop'
pannindu irunthavan ellam city salon la velai pannina ipdi than aagum!!!
En pozhappa sirippaa aakarthe, ivaa pozhappaa pochu!!!
Cha.. madras la ma%@u pudunga kuda theriyadha aatkal nareya irukanga!!!
Ithellam enga poi mudiya pogartho.. Luckily for me, i am leaving for the US
next month and so wont have to worry about bad barbers.. atleast hope so..

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

on infinite weight and gravity

Change is something we all see around us. Almost everything changes
over time. I was just thinking on the changes i have undergone in the
last few months. I have lost a bit of my 'Great Wall of Shyness', put
on some extra pounds by the tummy ... Loads of changes. But none
like one of my friends.He paid a visit last week and told me about his
experience a few years back. I wont say out his name because its
classified. I heard even aliens are out to hunt him down..

PS: This is a corrupted version of the story.
Please check out the
pure n sensible, abstract n
divine version
here. And don't complain if the
director of ATM copied his story from that place..
I suggest that
you read the 'original' before you
read this poisoned version below...

""Second death of Newton!!!""

Thus spake... the upcoming director Shankar..

"""Till very recently i never thought gravity existed. All this while,
people gave me so many examples to show the presence of gravity.
One example was about throwing a fruit upwards and watch it fall
downwards after a momentary stop. Since i have an extra kai, i don't
wait for the fruit to fly away upwards, i catch it midway itself and
gobble it UP. So finally it didn't fall DOWN. Thus i gave such
intelligent counter-arguments for every explanation people gave about
the existence of gravity.

But, certain events transpired in my life, as i tell you, which changed
my stand on the existence of gravity. Throughout my life, a happy,
full meal never happened for me. In functions i go to, i made sure i ate
at least two unlimited meals. But in this function i attended, they made
the meals limited. I was at the brink of sinking into a depression and
almost fainted because i didn't get my quota.

You see, whenever i am hungry and i am asleep, i ensure that i go and
buy food at least in my dreams. This was one such dream. I hate eating
at hotels because the table is usually small to eat on. So i get only parcels.
Since i wasnt very hungry, i took only a truck to get the food. I was
going at 12kph on ECR, because that was all the truck could go. Some
people said that the truck is overloaded, and hence due to the weight,
it isn't able to move fast. I took this as another case of people preaching
about gravity. Only i knew the real reason for the super speed of the
If i remember right, out of extreme hunger, once i had eaten
a tin of bananas. Pieces of the tin were stuck between my teeth and i
needed a toothpick badly. So i used the gear lever.

As i was driving, the road suddenly gave in and started sloping
downwards. It then became a tunnel and then turned left. I didn't
remember what happened after this. Anyways, when i told my brother
about the dream, he laughed out loud and said "Poda loosu. Unoda
weight thangama, road odanju tunnel aaiduthu. Thats why it
caved in."
His explanation supported the existence of gravity. At the peak of my
anger, i felt like eating him up, but sentiments made me settle with a
few kgs of sweets.

Anyways i forgot about the dream, till few weeks later,when my family
planned an outing to mayajaal. We took the same ECR that i took in
my dream. And then the road indeed had a tunnel which turned to the
left. At that instant, all the forgotten parts of the dream came back to
my mind. To my shock and surprise, the dream was
happening.. all of it!!

At the end of the tunnel, there was a barricade that i crashed into, in
my dream. I felt a small vibration but then neglected it as i thought it
was my stomach, rumbling in extreme hunger. It was then that i got a
phone call from my parents that a catastrophic tsunami
had caused
immense damage to coastal areas near chennai. Within a few days, people
were attributing all sorts of reasons for the tsunami. All of them revolved
around gravity, tectonic forces and other stuff. Yet again, till date,
only i know the real cause of the tsunami.

Now you must be wondering if that made me realize that gravity
indeed existed. You are wrong. It was January end when i had my
mid term exams. I had got zero in physics, because chapters involved
gravitation. Then the teacher slapped me hard and said " Dei madaya..
sadly, gravity surely exists. Otherwise, idiots like you who have
nothing inside their heads would have flown away long back and
the world would have been a better place!!" That was the turning
point in my life. From then on, i believed entirely in gravity. Because

i didn't want to end up floating somewhere in space. What would i
do for food there???

After this, i seemed to agree with the teacher. Of course, i knew
right from the start that gravity existed, but didn't know that there
would be so much to it. A song came to my mind then..
'Un kutthamaa, en kutthamaa...'
Ennathan sonnalum, there are some things that never change..
As long as it doesn't change, people can, and will have fun at its cost...
Its all in the game....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

dasavatharam - a movie review

pls do read the review below n do not watch the movie!!!

A never before attempt, in perhaps world cinema assayed by the very apt person, Dasavatharam seems to nullify all the expectations of even the hardcore kamal fan. Here is what i felt after seeing the movie with a bunch of friends, at satyam cineplex. It was a morning 730 show. Kaarthale enaku ezharai aarambichuduthu!!!!!

The movie starts off with a narration about scientific reasoning(chaos theoy), and immediately takes you back to the 12th century. The age, which kamal describes as one before jesus, allah or for that matter even hindu deities entered into politics. Being an iyengar himself, kamal speaks the bashai with ease. Authenticity, which was totally missing in Anniyan in portraying a vaishnavite, has been evinced to perfection. Right from the thirunaamam, to the dialect the vaishnavites speak, one could feel the legitimacy. Napoleon does not seem to be appropriate for his role, solely because of his pronunciation. He fails to be a potent king, often making mistakes in the tone of the dialogues and not so appropriate pronunciation. Other characters do not have much importance in this part of the movie, barring asin, who is kamal's wife, pleading for forgiveness on behalf of her husband. Computer graphics are bad, especially when kamal is being pierced. The men pierce through his flesh as though it is cloth!! The other scenes showing the boat and the statue are nice, if not becharming as in a hollywood movie. Even in later parts of the movie, namely the scenes involving the tsunami, visual effects suck!! A lot has been spent in making those scenes, but bad graphics spoils it all. Leaving the graphics part aside, the tsunami scenes are way too realistic.

Warping from the 12th century back to the future, the story introduces the hero, govind, a scientist involved in a multi billion dollar bio-weapons project. Out of love for the subject, kamal gives heart n soul for the project. Upon seeing the flagitious end to a lab monkey which consumes the serum, mistaking it for chocolate, he has some afterthought on the consequences of using bio-weapons. He then stalls the project, which is questioned by fellow scientists and objected by superiors. A corrupt boss, decides to eliminate govind, which is where we are introduced to another role donned by kamal, Fletcher ex CIA, the villain of the story. The rest of the movie is all about how govind tries to keep the vial containing the serum, from falling into Fletcher's hands. At this point, the story may set high hopes by making the viewer believe that its going to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Read on to find how this is totally untrue!!

His quest of saving the vial from reaching the wrong hands takes kamal into India as a stowaway in a cargo plane. The bgm when he lands onto indian soil sucks!! Would anyone use 'saare jahaan se accha' for such a situation??

From this point, one by one all the other roles played by kamal are brought into picture. The first one being Balram Naidu, a police official. I should say, one of the best performances by kamal in terms of mannerisms and language. Most of the other roles by kamal in dasavatharam, barring poovarahan, the social activist, fail to impress. The role of poovarahan reminds us of the role in Anbe Sivam, another superb performance.

The paati seems to be from some other planet.. She seems to be around 70-75 years of age, kudos to the makeup artistes, but has enough energy and briskness of a teenager!! She almost runs towards the door when someone informs her about a parcel. Ive seen my own kollu-paati move around at a snails pace but this female makes your heart skip a beat!! I expected a lot of comedy from this role, but it was a disappointment. Some of the other roles played by kamal seem not required in the movie at all!!!

Mallika Sherawat once again proves she fits nothing other than dancing for item numbers. Rightfully by the director, not knowing what to do with her role in the rest of the movie, she is killed after sometime. Asin succeeds in irritating the viewer by simply polambifying about her perumal idol, even in grave situations. She seems so immature and totally ignorant of the gravity of the problem they are dealing with. For what she had mentioned in interviews about her practicing hard to get the iyengar accent, she fails miserably. It seems more like malayalee accent than iyengar.

Some roles like the tall muslim guy, the karate master, and even president Bush are not even required in the movie. MS Bhaskar does a neat job in his role as the dumb side-kick to Fletcher. Few people who go almost unnoticed in the movie are Chitti Babu, Ramesh Kanna, Vayyapuri. They are all noted comedians, who have been simply used as cameos. Ramesh Kanna lets us realise his prescence thats all.

With regard to the plot, everything hangs on coincidence. Some of the stunts remind you of aalavanthan, another stupid movie by kamal. It seems to be cliched, that everytime someone uses a bike to escape, something explodes in the background!!! The number of vehicular accidents people survive with just bruises, is unbelievable. The chase sequences in the construction site are very bad. Fletcher seems to have strength and powers like spiderman and batman in them. Ironically, the vial which shouldnt be subjected to even mild jerk according to govind, is taken on a rollercoaster ride throughout the movie. Another point to be noted is the ease with which govind as well as Fletcher commute in a new land. They seem to be knowing maps n routes to precision, not to mention driving indian vehicles.

The final fight sequence that ensues between Fletcher and the karate master is very good. The moves are not all superhuman, and there is enough realism. Throughout the movie, the way Fletcher kills each person, reveals his character of a cold blooded villain. Somw of the camera angles are fantastic. Good job by Ravivarman.

It seems so odd that people refer to NaCl as sodium chloride throughout, not realising that it is simply common salt. Even Bush seems to be not aware of the fact, he asks a stupid question to the scientists over phone. Lol!!!!

Kamal seems to have delved too much into the 10 roles that he forgot all about the story. Of course, no other actor could have pulled it off doing 10 roles. But again, one wonders if 10 roles are really needed for a movie?? It is clear that you cant justify all of them within 3 or 3 n 1/2 hours, when a person like kamal fails to do so. Some people said 'kamal romba yosichu eduthurukan, athu than puriyalai..' I say 'kamal nareya edathula yosikkave illai!!!'

In short, the movie is a bunch of 15-20 loose ends, tied together by an extremely thin storyline. The star of the movie is lady luck, who never lets down the hero. Flaws nu solla nareya iruku..Kamal n KS are very generous...
It becomes very predictable towards the end. Oru thadava palla kadichundu paakalam. Watching it once more, is suicide.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

is kollywood still from kodambakkam ??

It is a well known fact that the name kollywood came up when someone felt that the tamil film industry was a combination of hollywood and kodambakkam. Of course, with regard to technology, we are moving closer to hollywood, but is the heritage of kodambakkam still retained??

Right from olden times, we have seen people being brought in from other regions, into tamil movies. But earlier, it used to be producers and to a minimum level, artistes too. At that point of time, society in tamil nadu was pretty conservative. Women were still restricted to households. It was indeed difficult to find heroines and so the import of heroines from other places was kind of justified.

In the past couple of decades, there have been several such imports. Simran, Jyotika, Nagma... Of course who can forget Kushboo, who literally ruled the industry during her peak. Most people do not even know their real names. How many of us know that the real name of Simran is Rishibala?? But here, i am not criticising them. They had the talent and got the opportunity to express it. There was a spot vacant in the tamil fiml industry.. the top notch heroine's, and these people got their chances.

But look at the scene today. Its difficult to even name a few heroines who can speak tamil, leave alone being of tamil origin. There are the few who can speak tamil, if not fluently, but more often their voice is dubbed by someone else. Like for example Trisha, in Aayitha Ezhuthu. The hi-society accent (konjam suzhichu suzhichu pesina) she had suited her role, but then this may not be ok for other movies.

No doubt, the number of new directors has increased a lot. But is there such a dearth of talent in our own state that each of these directors have to introduce a new face in their movies?? Scores of such 'heroines' have sprung up, especially in the last four or five years. Most of these females are models, who are picked up straight from the ramp. Some of them don't even know to portray basic emotions and have absolutely no idea of what dialogue they are 'enacting' for. As a result, there is very little, if not null, sync with the dubbing.

One reason that i attribute to this situation, is the fact that a new director has funding as a limitation during his first attempt at the big screen. With a new script in hand, he would not dare to approach an established heroine because she will demand a huge sum. So, he resorts to introducing a new face, but sadly as in most cases, it seems to be a big letdown. So to fill in this gap, some glam dolls are inserted into the movie in item numbers. Again these females are also scooped off the north simply because they are cheap, and are ready for some skin show. Whether item songs are necessary is not my argument presently, but they have become a standard ingredient in almost every movie.

Not only heroines, but over the past few years we have witnessed several popular singers from the north singing for tamil albums. Some of the good names are Sadhana Sargam, Udit Narayan. At least the former has learnt to pronounce lyrics properly over the years. Udit seriously has a long way to go. Mispronunciation spoils the beauty of a song even if it is sung by an enchanting voice (like the song from yaaradi nee mohini).

Seri.. ithayum mannichu vidalaam nu paathaa... now even music directors are being brought from elsewhere. Again, i am not criticising them, but i am very sure that we have enough musical geniuses in and around kollywood itself. Particularly, i was vexed by the arrival of Himesh to tamil music through Dasavatharam. With his hi-pitch, nasal tone, Himesh may be a sensation up in the north, but i feel his arrival may do more harm to the tamil industry than good. Indeed some of the songs are good in the album, but it is really important for a music director to feel the audience and to compose according to their liking. It is in that expanse that AR Rahman excels, and Himesh fails miserably.

Summing it up, if such a trend continues, then soon kollywood will lose its originality completely. The name will become an oxymoron one day. Sad.. isnt it?? A day will come, when the only thing tamil in the movie is the title, that too only for the rebate in tax..

Friday, June 13, 2008

the first one

Till sometime back i had been thinking blogs were just the voices of people polambifying about their problems.. Thanks to some of my friends, i have changed my opinion of them. Actually, the past two summers, i was busy with internships. This time i am totally jobless and am really bored of trying to find out new ways to kill time. So, here i am, stepping into blogging, as a new means to do timepass..