For the heck of it

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Korean Movies are Awesome!

I watched two Korean movies last week. No, I don't understand Korean - I used English subtitles. I liked both the movies - they were brilliant.

Old Boy (2003)

This one's as movie critics say "A true masterpiece". Remember the forgettable Hindi movie "Zinda". Well, the Hindi movie starring Sanjay Dutt and Mahesh Manjrekar was inspired by Old Boy, a Korean blockbuster. Right to the infamous tooth "plucking" scene! And believe me, some of the torture scenes in Old Boy are scary. They will scare the shit out of you. The plot of the story revolves around a guy named "Ho Dae-su", who after being kidnapped and locked in a shabby cell for 15 years, without any reason, is suddenly released for no reason. He is equipped with a cell phone, new clothes and money. Now, he has only five days to figure out why such a thing happened to him - otherwise he will die.

Salinui Chueok or Memories of Murder (2003)

Another Korean blockbuster, which deals with two detectives investigating a serial killing event. Some people say the movie is inspired by true events which occurred in 1986, when South Korea was under military dictatorship. The movie is quite dark and scary - some of the scenes will send a chill down your spine!
At the start of the film, in October 1986, a young woman is found raped and murdered in a ditch near a field. Soon after, another woman is found raped and murdered in a field. Local detective Park Doo-man, not having dealt with such a serious case before, is overwhelmed; key evidence is improperly collected, their investigative methods are suspect, and their forensic technology seems close to non-existent. Detective Seo Tae-yoon is sent from Seoul to assist them; their methods clash and he is unable to convince them they are dealing with a serial killer until his predictions of another murder come true. He realizes that the killer waits until a rainy night, and only kills women wearing red. A female police officer realizes that a local radio station is always requested to play a particular song during the nights the murders are committed.
Images ©

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Harris Jeyaraj Chruns Out Good Music... Again!

Harris Jeyaraj seems to have done it again. Following the resounding success of Vettaiyadu Villaiyadu, he has rendered songs for two more movies - Pachai Kili Muthucharam and Unnale Unnale. While Pachai Kili... is Director Gautham's next movie after the blockbuster VV, and Jyothika's first movie to be released after her marriage with Surya, Unnale Unnale seems like a mushy love story - with new faces. I have heard music from both the movies and it's brilliant.

Pachai Kili... is inspired from the Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston starer "Derailed", which was released in 2005. Pachai Kili... stars Sarath Kumar, Jyothika, Andrea Jeremiah and Milind Soman. The story is about Sarath Kumar who is married to a Andrea, but has an affair outside his marriage, with Jyothika. Milind Soman starts blackmailing Sarath Kumar, when he comes to know about the affair. The rest of the story is how Sarath Kumar tries to put everything back in place. Songs worth listening to include Kadhal Konjam, Karu Karu, Unnakul Naan, and Unn Siripinil.

Unnale Unnale meanwhile seems like a candy floss mushy love story, that stars a Bangalore-based model turned actor newcomer Vinay, Sadha and Tanisha Mukherjee. Some of the songs that are worth listening to include June Pona (which has an uncanny resemblance to "One Love" by Blue), and Vygasi Nilave. There's one more song called Hello Miss Imsaiye - but I got bored after listening to it a couple of times.

Images ©

Friday, February 23, 2007

Andhra Pradesh Government Order on Media Lifted

Finally... a ray of hope. Or should we rather say, the Andhra Pradesh government has finally come to its senses. On February 20, 2007, the AP government had issued a government order against the media, saying that special permission has been granted to the Special Commissioner, Information and Public Relations, to initiate legal action against publishers and editors of newspapers / TV channels which have published / telecast reports defamatory to the Government.

Then, last night, the government mysteriously withdrew the order. Read about it here...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Please Help This Boy Live

Kiruba, one of the most influential bloggers in India has started an initiative to help Prabhu, a college student, who fell off a building and critically injured himself. The boy and his friends were on their hostel terrace, three floors high. While playing around, one of his friends tripped over the side wall, and while trying to hold on to anything to keep him from falling, he unfortunatley grabbed his friend's shirt. So, both the boys crashed to the ground below. Luckily, both the guys survived but with terrible consquences.

Half of Prabhu's ribs are broken, heavy internal bleeding, hands and legs fractured and he's become limp waist down. Kiruba also says that though the other kid is also serious, we right now have no information about his status. Right now, Prabhu has been admitted to the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, since an operation needs to be performed on Prabhu. The total estimated cost of the operation works out to Rs. 8.5 Lakhs. Thus, Kiruba has set up a PayPal account to collect funds from the Blogger community or from anyone who visits his Blog.

You can too help Prabhu and his parents by contributing some amount towards his operation, even if the amount is too little, it will be of much help to them. Please visit Kiruba's Blog and help Prabhu live. Or you can use the widget below to make the payments. Your help will be highly appreciated.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Sweet Little Journey

Kabul Express is an amazing trip into Afghanistan post 9-11 and the American "war on terrorism". The film takes place after the events of 9/11, when America has invaded Afghanistan, which was then under the control of the Taliban. The survivors of the old regime are trying to escape the wrath of the Afghans. At great risk Suhel Khan (John Abraham) and Jai Kapoor (Arshad Warsi), two Indian television reporters, enter Afghanistan with a dangerous aim: to film a documentary on the condition of Afghanistan.

They attempt to get an interview with a Taliban soldier captured by the Afghans. Helping them is their Afghan guide, translator and driver, Khyber (Hanif Hum Ghum), with his Toyota jeep called Kabul Express. They soon come across Jessica Beckham (Linda Arsenio) who is a photo journalist.

Their road trip becomes hell when the group are kidnapped at gunpoint by a Pakistani soldier who was once part of the Taliban regime. The soldier, called Imran (Salman Shahid), orders them to drive him to the Pakistani-Afghan border. Jessica is soon captured by Imran after she follows the Indians thinking they have found a huge story. The film follows the next 48 hours of the five individuals.

As the film unfolds, a special relationship develops between the Afghan, the Pakistani, the two Indians and the American.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts

Saw Black Friday over the weekend. An awesome movie - good performances by the actors, great direction, nice execution of the plot and good background score. Black Friday, which is India's only entry this year at the Locarno Film Festival, is the story of the 1993 bomb blasts that took place in Mumbai.

Based on a book by S. Hussain Zaidi, this docu-drama tries to recreate those events and the intense feelings that followed them. The film has Kay Kay Menon (as the Commissioner of Police), Aditya Shrivastava as Badshah Khan, and Pawan Malhotra (as Tiger Memon), among the star cast.

On March 9, 1993 Gul Mohammed turns himself in at Nav Pada police station, Bombay. His statement: there is a conspiracy underway to bomb major locations around the city. The police dismiss his confession. Three days later Bombay city is torn apart by a series of explosions. The death toll is close to 300.

Investigators discover that the bombs were made using a high-powered explosive, RDX. It could only have been obtained through the collusion of a foreign power. And a large amount of illegal money.

The first arrest
An abandoned vehicle is found -- filled with explosives and weapons. Registration papers in the name of 'Rubina Memon', sister-in-law to one 'Tiger Memon', resident of Mahim, Bombay. Tiger has a criminal record for smuggling.

On March 14, 1993, Asgar Muqadam, Tiger Memon's secretary, is picked up for interrogation. He is beaten till he confesses what he knows about the bomb blasts, and the police begin their search.

Arrests and Interrogation

Inspector Rakesh Maria is put in charge of the investigations. Between March and April his men tear Bombay apart in search of suspects. The lock ups are filled with detainees, including Mushtaq Tarani, Parvez Shaikh, Abdul Ghani Turk, Imtiaz Ghavate, and Shoaib Ghansare.

Still missing are Badshah Khan, Javed Chikna, Anwar Theba, Bashir Khan, Iqbal, Farooq Pawle, Irfan, Tainur, Shahnawaz, Babloo, Moin, Naseem, Zakir, Firoze, Mehmood.

On the run
Following the blasts Badshah Khan had left Bombay and gone into hiding. He shuffles around the country waiting for word from Tiger but it never arrives.

Badshah tires and finally halts at his village in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, North India, where the police catch up with him. It is May 10, 1993.

He is brought back to Bombay and to Rakesh Maria for questioning. He admits being a part of the conspiracy, but continues to justify his actions. For the first time there is a glimpse of motive: the blasts were revenge for the atrocities suffered by the Muslim minority community during the December 1992 and January 1993 Bombay riots.

There is still a large amount of unused RDX (Research Department Explosive) explosive stashed in the city. A man called Yeda Yaqub Khan is responsible for keeping it hidden. But when his brother and sister-in-law are picked up for questioning by the police, Yeda panics and hurriedly moves it to other locations.

On March 30, 1993, just eighteen days after the blasts, local youths stumble upon part of it while fishing at Nagla Bunder Creek, Bombay. A stroke of good fortune for investigators.

And Yeda, still rattled by the arrest of his family, turns informer. He offers up information on the whereabouts of the rest of the RDX in exchange for his family's release. The point of origin of the explosives is determined as Pakistan.

The Conspiracy

Badshah Khan realizes that there is no justification for his acts, and decides to become a police witness. He completes for Maria the story behind the blasts - starting with smuggling in the explosives, going to Pakistan for training, and his first meeting with Tiger Memon. On November 4, 1993, the police file a charge sheet against 189 accused. The Central Bureau of Intelligence takes over the case.

Then on August 5, 1994, Tiger's brother, Yaqub Memon, willingly turns himself in to the authorities. In a candid Newstrack interview on national television Yaqub states that it was Tiger and his underworld associates who orchestrated the conspiracy. And Tiger Memon has now disappeared.

What is past is prologue
Before the blasts there were the Bombay Riots, bloody warring between the Hindu and Muslim communities between December 1992 and January 1993. It was an unprecedented outburst of violence and abuse, resulting in emotional trauma and property loss. Tiger Memon's office was burnt to cinders.

The suffering of the Muslim minority community in the riots incited a meeting of underworld leaders in Dubai, who then took it on themselves to seek retaliation. Tiger was also looking for his own revenge, and suggested an attack on Bombay as the strongest message.

Leading to Friday, March 12, 1993. Twelve explosions at key points around the city. 300 people dead. 800 injured. And a trial that awaits verdict. A must see!!