My Top -5 – Underrated Tamil Films On The Theme Of Love Failure.


My Top -5 – Underrated Tamil Films On The Theme Of Love Failure.

Inspired by blogger Sylvianism’s post on top romance films of Tamil cinema, I wanted to write my own list. Here are a few gems which might not have made the mainstream blockbuster lists but still work in an understated way.

  • Paneer Pushpangal- this being the season of paneer, how could I resist starting off this post without paneer? Released in 1981 this was P.Vasu’s first directorial- much before china thambi and chandramukhi. The title paneer pusphangal refers to lotus flowers but the hidden meaning of the title is the early morning dew on the lotus flowers which evaporates with the full dawn as a metaphor for first love which disappears with the onslaught of reality. The story which deals with the budding of love in school kids of a boarding school in Ooty and is full of hilarious takes on hostel life in boarding schools and still resonates with those who have spent some part of their lives away from home eating terrible hostel food and pining for attention/affection even when surrounded all around by friends. The romance is such a natural expression of kids in that terrible teen years when your heart yearns for affection and gets a crush on whoever shows even the tiniest bit of affection. The lead actor suresh and his group of friends capture the slice of life of teen years in a poignant way. Not to forget the sketch of the wise and understanding teacher played, rather underplayed by pratap pothen in his trademark style. And true to style the movie ends in love failure as so often happens in real life. The songs are especial highlights of the movie- who can forget kodaikala katraey? Definitely this is one movie for the discerning types.

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  • Ninaivellam Nithya – again, an 80’s era film with love as the main theme and all the characters revolving around it. This again ends in a tragedy but is all the more sweeter for it as the entire movie seems geared up to play out the almost impossible happy ending when it comes to a pairing between two widely divergent individuals status wise. The hero is a rich kid, the heroine is a tribal and not only do they have the temerity to fall in love but they end up eloping and dying in the climax. A very young karthick and viji a debutante would have lived the roles of the star crossed lovers. Every casting choice was perfect and natural and the highlight of the movie are the songs which still make one get goosebumps. You can even consider this the breakout movie of singer SPB as the songs Pannivilum malarvanam and neethane endhan pon vasandham (yes, the original of the movie with the same title by Gautham menon) are still being played in many impromptu jam sessions and karaoke nights.

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  • Kadhal Kondein- I am partial to selvaraghhavan romances- I have no hesitation in accepting it. I thought long and hard about 7-g rainbow colony- another doomed romance with haunting songs before picking this one simply because with 7-g selva had perfected his craft and knew all the ways to tug at heartstrings but this one was raw romance with nary a thought of the box office acceptability. Danush burst on to the scene with this movie and gave us a glimpse of what he could do if left unfettered and in proper hands but sadly the image trap has consumed the actor in danush in recent times. The theme of unrequited love might be the same but the way that selva builds up danush’s character as the innocent friend who is used as a go-between of two lovers who naturally gets tempted and falls in love himself and the way that the heroine is the most matured character of all and handles the inappropriate love with parts compassion and parts exasperation makes beautiful watching. You can’t beat selvaraghavan when it comes to showing love from a feminine point of view.

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  • Parthiban Kanavu – this is a little gem for those who missed out when it was first released. The lead actor srikanth is in love with a woman but marries her lookalike who is totally opposite to his expectations. Rather than being disappointed, depressed or ending up in divorce the hero starts appreciating the new woman in his life. For a movie about post marital love it’s surprisingly subtle about the way in which the wife’s character starts growing up in her husband’s affection and ends up gaining his love even after he meets his original lover. Sneha literally owns this film in a dual role with both women affecting the hero in different ways. The movie which starts off with the love failure ends up showing marital success as the hero is mature enough to realize that what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts.

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  • Ullam Ketkumey – a movie about a group of friends all of whom have love failures? I see you shaking your head and saying no way José. But this movie is not just about love, it’s about friendship, it’s about ambition, it’s about making clear headed choices in life and about redemption after love failure. There are a lot of romances in the movie- arya’s, poojas, shyams, laila’s- everyone ends up falling for one another as so often happens in close knit college buddies groups. But the movie doesn’t stop with the usual romance scenes or love failure songs. It shows life beyond love failure when people have the guts to pick themselves up and go onto succeed in other spheres of life even when romance has failed them. The scene where pooja walks into aryas room on the eve of his wedding and the scene where shyam at last realizes Laila’s love after being oblivious to it throughout the entire movie are quite heart tugging. The songs are just so and so, but the story more than makes up for the music.

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The Other contenders –

Although there were many other contenders for the top 5 love failure movies, I didn’t want to go with the usual suspects like vinnaiy thandi varuvaya and premam which you would be hard pressed to find anyone in tamilnadu who has not watched or has an opinion on. Rather I wanted to showcase a few which no one would have seen or heard off before as my recommendations to watch. I give thanks to my friend sylvian Patrick for the blog prompt for this post and also to raj tv channel which by repeated telecast of all these movies has made me appreciate and become a fan of these little know gems. There is life after love and there is always another love failure movie to watch on Raj TV. Happy Valentine ’s Day folks.

That Sphinx factor


 That Sphinx factor

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You know what they say about men never “get”ing women?  Lately I am finding it’s the cent per cent truth- atleat wher I am concerned. I am finding it far more difficult to understand what women mean when they speak or send me a message on chat or even when they just stay silent than say that I am in understanding how the big bang theory is reconcoled with the unified string theory. The older I grow the more convinced I am that I just don’t get women- no not at all- even after knowing someone for ages. I keep making blunders in conversations and chats and the only way I realize I have tripped up is when I see that little ticked arrow which shows – last seen at but not replied thingie. Lately I I keep thinking all the time “What is this girl saying? Why doesn’t she come out- right out and say it in simple english?” and then I realize its probably lost in translation- maybe she is saying it out loud- but I am tone deaf to her voice and the fault is in me. Or maybe not. Its all quite confusing.

The thing is, I don’t mean that I want to decipher the secret language of women or anything like that – that would be far beyond my limited mental capacity. I simply want to understand what it’s like to BE her as a person- to get to know her likes and dislikes and maybe even her moods (over the longterm). The fact that women end up being so remote and mysterious from us humble men makes us forget that they too are fellow human beings and have the same set of problems we face too on a daily basis. Women are probably afraid, scared, anxious, worried, depressed and go through all those emotional turmoils from time to time just like we do and in the end all they desire is to find happiness and avoid pain like all human beings do. That I get. But what I cant get is why they cant just come out and tell this straight out- instead of leaving me to blunder about blindly and trying to second guess what they mean with all their silences and smileys and emoticons and hmmm, hmmm’s.

I understand that women have their own feelings, thoughts and opinions which they are disinclined to share to anyone but themsleves but it boils down to trust . Trusting someone and sharing your thoughts with them may make the average women uncomfortable because of their vulnerability but if you want us to get you- you should consider doing this. Accept it from me that men are short sighted and cant really think long term.  If you want us to understand you- do please come forward and spell it out to us in single syllables – anything else is beyond our EQ levels. So do take pity on us poor men and say it out loud- in 3 feet words. Please. Pretty please.

Relationship Status- Jump off the Precipice.


Relationship Status- Jump off the Precipice

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So, yesterday I got a forward message on Watsapp which I shared on my Facebook wall – it went something like this- My Relationship Status: In-between heartbreak. I felt it was funny then (still do) and thought sharing it on my wall would bring my friends a few laughs. But when a friend asked me do I really believe in that, my answer was “Hell No”.  Let me explain myself fully dear reader, so show some patience and read on to the end.

Every time we get into a new relationship, scratch that we, and let’s begin again. Every time I get into a new relationship I do it with the full hope that this is it- this person is going to be my soul mate, this girl is who I am going to get old with and share memories with and all kinds of crazy adventures. Never, ever would I go in with the dreadful doubt that “oh god, this is also going to end soon isn’t it?” If we really do think like that when entering into a new relationship we would never be able to open up to the other person simply because we know we cant trust them not to hurt us.  And we are not sure they are worthy of our trust.

Those two words – trust and worth are the major players in any relationship- at least at the beginning- so let me go into a wee bit of detailed explanation on my take of those two. Do we need to trust only the worthy? And how do we judge someone’s worth? Everyday we trust people whose worth we don’t know and can’t assess personally- your bus driver for instance – everyday we take a bit of chance with people we don’t know. And can someone earn our trust perfectly? I am not sure. We are all distracted, diverted and flawed persons who even if unintentionally, can still hurt those we love with all our heart. Simply said- we all hurt each other all the time and to expect someone to never hurt us all our lives is to expect an angel to come down from heaven and live with us- lovely in concept but not practical.

So it becomes a choice- a choice to see who we give our trust to, our loyalty to, in the clear and perfect knowledge that though it may not get us an equal response but at least that person will not willfully hurt us. If on the other hand we keep waiting for people to earn our trust by showing their loyalty to us first- then I guess we have to wait for a million years- all alone. If we accept that people are human we should also be ready to accept that they are apt to mess up at times and hurt us too.

And despite those hurts still give them our trust and respect their worth- because as a flawed human being myself I am graceful when accepting others flaws and despite being hurt by their actions and words- I still feel that they are worth my overcoming all my doubts, uncertainties and anxieties about giving away my entire trust on the hope that the other person would turn out to be the right one. For me trust is not earned but given first and if the other person chooses to squander my trust it proves that though my judgment was wrong my heart was in the right place and I am still open for miracles to occur in my life.

I realize this is easier said than done but it has to be done if we need to get into that one relationship which will end up truly rewarding for all our blind belief. In the end its better – in relationships – to close our eyes and take a leap rather than stand on the edge all our lives afraid to take that single step over the precipice.

So there you have it- I am ready to open my heart and trust someone new – even at the risk of being betrayed and made a fool of – in the hope that they prove they are worthy of my trust and will turn out to be the one who completes me. It’s a risk I am willing to take. Are you?

Never Say Never Again.


Never Say Never Again.

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So Vee texted me this afternoon that she is back in India for the next few days and can we meet up somewhere to catch up on the lost years?  I read that text and was in a cold flutter. I mean, after what happened the last time she was here, did she seriously expect me to reply to her texts? Let alone actually meet her in person? If you are still wondering what I am getting so worked up about, let me take you along in a flashback mode to a couple years ago when Vee was again on one of her vacation visits back home from her university course in the USA. We were texting each other ever since she landed here in Chennai and then we decided to meet up and chat at least once before she took the flight back to Boston. So there we were one evening at a chic resto bar and we started off by reminiscing about the good old days of blogging when we were both active bloggers with lots of readers and fans- me slightly more popular than her (considering the number of crazy female stalkers I had for my blog).

After a few drinks (not more than a couple for me- I am a very light/social drinker) we bid adieu to each other till the next time – if ever there was a next time as she was planning to settle down in the US of A permanently- we could meet each other maybe decades down in time. And I came home and went to bed with nary an inkling of what was to come next. Around midnight my phone woke me up and I switched it on to see the call was from Vee. I was quite anxious to see why she was calling me at that time- didn’t she get home safely earlier? Was she in some kind of fix? Should I go out and see if she needed any help? All this went through my mind even as I switched on the phone and said “Hello, hello, what happened Vee? Are you all right? Do you need any help?” And you know what she said? She said “Yes, yes, yes a thousand times yes. I agree. Let’s talk to our respective parents and tell them the good news”.

Now remember that this was in the middle of the night and I had just woken up in a disoriented mood half-asleep and was anxious about how my friend was and what kind of fix she was in and I was hit with this. So after a speechless couple of second’s time I mustered up the courage to ask “Huh, but yes to what?” And she said, coolly “To your proposal of course” and she hung up on me. If I had been anxious before you should have seen me then- I was no longer in a cold sweat- I was in a hot steamy sweat- buckets and buckets of it. Never in my wildest dreams had I even thought about the possibility of a girl accepting my proposal when in fact I had made none such. No. Not to the best of my knowledge. Hell, to the farthest reaches of my memory I had made no such proposal to her at all in my life, leave alone during last evenings meet and greet get-together. We had just chatted polite chitchat about other peoples lives. And here she was claiming, falsely, that I had proposed to her. Now what should I do next?

Not able to think straight- it was the middle of the night after all- I immediately called up Jo and Gopi- my two 3AM buddies- woke them up and spent the rest of the night jabbering to them- over analyzing and cross examining and generally cribbing over what had happened. I am sure they must have cursed me all next day for their lost sleep. Anyway I drifted off to a troubled sleep somewhere in the early morning, wondering how on earth I was going to break the truth to Vee the next day- to break up with her after her high hopes and sheer pleasure of being prospectively allied to me- for it never occurred to my friends to doubt her words- they steadfastly assured me that I must have, in some indefinable manner, communicated to her- verbally or non verbally my desire to get hitched with her. In the face of such overwhelming evidence and unanimous reasoning by those closest to me I had non choice except to accept that yeah I must have inadvertently let something slip out of my big mouth.

Anyway when I woke up the next morning to check my phone, you know the first thing I found? A text from Vee apologizing that she was drunk last night and must have drunk texted me.  I have rarely felt such relief – except on exam results day when I am not sure of passing and I immediately forwarded the apology text to my two unbelieving friends to prove that i had been telling them the whole truth last night. And then I proceeded to delete Vee’s details from my contact list- one such night was enough to age me at least twenty years and I didn’t want a repeat. And then comes this text out of the blue…should I run for the hills and hide myself till she goes back to the United States again to complete her still pending Phd? Or should I just ignore her text or calls, if any and just get on with my life? Or should I meet her one more time, one final time and ask her in person what the hell happened last time? What do you think?

P.S. I still don’t know whether she drunk texted only me or if it was meant for someone else.

The Desperate and The Doormat.


The Desperate and The Doormat.

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Love is a beautiful emotion and falling in love is one of the most exciting things which can happen in any person’s life. But. As you give love make sure that you recieve love too. If the love you are giving is being taken for granted and worse being completely unacknowledged and accepted as a matter of right, does that seem right to you? What do you do when the love you are sharing is not appreciated in the least and all you are left with is the feeling that you have been completely taken advantage of?

I would be the first one to argue that love is selfless and with true love you can keep on giving. But there is also the little matter of personal dignity and self pride (which is a far cry from ego). Everyone has a right to look into the mirror and feel proud of themselves for they alone know their own stories and struggles to reach where they are. But to have that struggle, that story, being sublimated to the wants of another person- all the time- and not just once or twice- then it becomes a matter for retrieving your persona from an uncaring recipient of all your love largesse.

Three things define such relationships-

  1. You are constantly playing second fiddle and putting your own happiness behind the other persons- merely because you have a big heart which is accommodating all their whims and fancies despite your personal dislikes,
  2. Secondly you tend to take the longer view of the picture and don’t mind any immediate sacrifices as you feel at some point or other this will not matter and they will reciprocate in turn with time
  3. And finally you spend all the time picking up their slack and making up credible excuses – to yourself – explaining the other persons unkind treatment of you- despite the longest rope you can possibly give them to realize their high handed dismissal of your legitimate concerns.

I agree that unconditional love is all about loving with all your heart unconditionally and without any expectations in return. But a relationship is not unconditional- it has its own set of rules and guides. Like every other human relationship, love too requires sympathy, empathy, respect and value for all the unconditional love you are pouring out there at the other person’s feet. If they don ‘give anything back then all your sacrifices are in vain as they prove themselves to be merely selfish in their pursuit of their own goals and it becomes crystal clear that they are in it for what they can get out of you and never ever change their behavior. Such parasitism is not love and clearly doesn’t deserve the unconditional love we are talking about. Receiving unconditional love is just as important as giving it otherwise that beautiful gesture turns into disappointment, doubts and anger and most often sounds the death knell of the relationship

The point about loving unconditionally is also doing the same for yourself- putting your needs and wants at par with your loved ones. If they deserve all the happiness they get from you- remember, you deserve no less. Your needs, wants and desires are as important as theirs and you can’t be used and abused for the sake of love. When you end up giving too much of yourself without the slightest reciprocity – you feel drained of everything important in your life and it’s as if you got the dementors kiss (the soul sucking one from harry potter?)

You can give and give and give but ultimately you have to stop somewhere and point out the obvious- that if you are a self respecting person- basic decency, courtesy and selfless are all required part of a relationship on both sides. You deserve to receive an equal part of the love and sacrifice you are putting out there for the other person- if they don’t reciprocate it shows their unkind nature and unsuitability for the kind of unconditional love we are talking about here.

I am not talking about keeping score here- it doesn’t matter a damn if they reciprocate equally or not, but they do have to show some way to prove that they are not egocentric. Its normal- you cant help but notice that you are giving more and more and the are giving back less and less and that you are trying too hard to just keep it going despite their uncaring. Does this imply that you are the desperate one who will do anything just anything to keep it going rather than face the truth, confront them and explain to them what you want them to do about the things that hurt you?

So it becomes desperately necessary to reevaluate such a relationship, to put yourself first and stop being such a doormat. Remember it’s the desperate people who get walked all over. Those who love themselves and are self confident and realize that their own happiness comes second to none will take no BS- even if it’s from a loved one. In the end it boils down to this if you have the slightest iota of self pride and confidence in yourself it becomes the wisest course to walk out of relationships which suck everything you give and give back nothing in return. You, we, I, can do definitely better than such people, right friends?

Marry a Girl


Marry a Girl

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After reading through a couple dozen blog posts on who to marry- they typically go like Marry a Writer, Marry a Reader, Marry a Doctor, Marry a Lawyer and many, many variations of these thereof, I decided to write my own version of who to marry.

So here are the top 5 reasons of why you should marry a – Girl

  • Marry a Girl- because she is a….. Well…. face it, of the opposite sex and made for, hmmm, uhhh, the, well…. the… you know, sex?
  • Marry a Girl- because we all (all men) need someone who can read fifty shades of expressions from our faces when we are capable of showing only one fixed expression for all situations.
  • Marry a Girl – because we need someone to make plans for us in our lives other than the standard pop onto the sofa with a bag of potato chips and watch the match, the post match commentary, highlights of the match and reruns of old matches- plans we have for our standard days.
  • Marry a Girl- because they are the only creatures capable of breaking through our manly reserves and emotional dryness and making us shed tears unabashedly….
  • Marry a Girl- because they are all sweet and cuddly and chocolaty and make our lives all bright and happy.

So, who needs any more labels than this?

May the Best Man Win


May the Best Man Win

challengeSo yesterday I was coming home in a bus from Tirupati (a city in South India) and I happened to get into a conversation with a girl on the seat next to me. after exchanging various pleasantries over the course of the next two hours we finally got to the meat of the matter in the final ten minutes when we were about to get down at Koyambedu bus stop.

As we were about to part soon, we exchanged facebook ids, twitter handles and mobile phone nos. and promised to stay in constant touch and catch up over a weekend soon. And then as a casual aside she told me

She : You know that i have a boyfriend, right?

Me: Yeah, i guessed as much from the constant way you were texting all through the time you were talking to me.

She: Oops, so you guessed from that?

Me: It doesn’t take a genius to guess that. Nowadays everyone has a boyfriend. No one is single anymore. Anyway it matters not.

She: What matters not?

Me : The fact that you have a boyfriend. I don’t mind if you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. It’s all the same to me and it won’t stop me from flirting with the right person if she comes along.

She : Really? Isn’t that wrong?

Me: Hell no, it isn’t wrong at all. No one knows the future. Who knows if your current boyfriend is your life partner or just a passing cloud? Fate can play strange tricks right? And it’s always better to have a crying shoulder all ready in advance.

She : You are strange.

Me: I am just practical. I don’t mind if a girl has a boyfriend or a girlfriend or even a husband or two tucked away somewhere. As long as i find her interesting and think i have a chance with her, i am ready to get into a contest with her guy to show her who is the better man for her. And may the best man win.

And she laughed and laughed and laughed at that till the whole bus was looking at us two trying to guess what the joke was.

And that’s my philosophy of life- if I am better and if destiny decides i will win. Who cares if there’s another guy already there? Not me. In my view he is just a bench warmer before I get into the ring. All I need is a fighting chance to show who I am. That’s all.

P.S. This post might sound incredibly arrogant to some of you. But those who know me/read me regularly will understand the sense in which I am writing this – my weird sense of humor and the oft-lamented fact that “nobody gets me”