Saturday, August 03, 2013

A layman’s review of Maryan


Heroines in Indian movies have usually nothing to do except run around trees or provide the glamour element. When was it the last time when you saw a heroine provide a memorable performance? Parvathy Menon is a surprise package in Maryan. Bharat Bala has tried to extract the most from her and she has not disappointed him. Parvathy performs like a seasoned actress, providing a scintillating performance, leaving everyone else, except of course Dhanush, far behind.

Once you see Maryan, it is difficult to believe Dhanush debuted in what was almost a semi-porn film. Again, the credit goes to Bharat Bala. Dhanush manages to up his performance level in every film. We can rest assured that we have a brilliant actor to replace Kamal Hassan. It was not surprising that there were people in the audience who felt Dhanush could be the next Kamal Hassan after his performance in Maryan.

I had a feeling that A.R. Rahman, was losing his touch and was increasingly churning out garbage. Were the producers and directors responsible for the decline of the genius? Maryan proves it – the other way round. ARR is in full flow in the movie. ‘Innum Koncham Neram’ and ‘Nenje Ezhu’ are sure to be chartbusters.

The breathtaking cinematography by Marc Koninckx takes the film to a higher level. This is one reason why you must watch the movie in big screen.

If this is a movie review, why is there nothing much about the movie itself? It is just because Bharat Bala seems to lose his way after the interval. Dhanush’s ‘escape’ from the kidnappers is so long drawn that you desperately feel like having a fast-forward button. It doesn’t mean the movie is brilliant before the interval. You don’t know whether the guy who murmurs something to Maryan and longs for Panimalar (Parvathy) is really ‘The Villain’. He unceremoniously disappears after a blow from Panimalar’s at the end of an aborted rape attempt.

There is also the pointless death of Dhanush’s friend Appu that doesn’t help the narrative in any way. Bharat Bala also appears clueless about Dhanush’s mother, who is dead against the love affair. The director shocks everyone, including Parvathy, by a sudden inexplicable change of heart.

The director compensates Dhanush’s listless escape with the emotional reunion scene. There is nothing of the dramatic mad rush towards each other. Parvathy gradually realises Dhanush’s presence near her. There are hardly any words exchanged. This is the Bharat Bala Maryan misses through the most part of the movie.

Friday, July 12, 2013

When ‘personal’ becomes public


CCTV and Delhi Metro are trending on Twitter as I write this. There was shock and surprise that the videos had managed to find their way to porn sites. I wasn’t. There is a dispute whether the clips are from CCTVs or mobiles. Whatever may be the source, the clips are available online.

I wasn’t surprised because it is not difficult to find Indian porn clips on the net. It is not confirmed who uploaded the Delhi Metro clips. May be it was the security guys or Delhi Metro employees, but what it shows is how lax we are with our data, especially…(Read more)

Monday, June 03, 2013

Atul Chitnis: Losing a friend, virtually


The week began with a bad news. I lost one of my friends - Atul Chitnis - to cancer. He is my friend, but I have never talked to him; or even met him. But I have ‘conversed’ with him.

My ‘conversations’ were in Twitter. He was an Apple fanboy. Once we had a small conversation about how he was almost abused by other Android fanboys. I felt guilty, because I am an Android guy, but I was helpless. I apologised on behalf of those who abused him, but he did not respond to my tweet. Click here to read more in my blog post in The Hindu Business Line

Atul Chitnis: Losing a friend, virtually


The week began with a bad news. I lost one of my friends - Atul Chitnis - to cancer. He is my friend, but I have never talked to him; or even met him. But I have ‘conversed’ with him.

My ‘conversations’ were in Twitter. He was an Apple fanboy. Once we had a small conversation about how he was almost abused by other Android fanboys. I felt guilty, because I am an Android guy, but I was helpless. I apologised on behalf of those who abused him, but he did not respond to my tweet. Click here to read more in my blog post in The Hindu Business Line

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meet capella star Alaa Wardi

(This was published in The Hindu Business Line Blogs on Monday, April 22, 2013)

Alaa Wardi.

The singer from Iran, who resides in Saudi Arabia is a rage now, thanks to YouTube. He is a rage now in India too, because of the two Hindi (Bollywood) songs -- Pehla Nasha from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and Jiya Re from Jab Tak Hai Jaan .

He was ecstatic when A.R. Rahman shared his video on Facebook and Twitter. "Woohoo!! A.R. Rahman shared my video on both his Facebook and Twitter :D," he tweeted. What's so special about him that made Rahman tweet the video?

What makes Alaa Wardi different? It is this: He does not use instruments much. He uses his mouth and body to generate sounds of instruments. In Pehla Nashaa, which is a classic example, Alaa Wardi uses ONLY his mouth and body to generate all the sounds. The effort he must have put in to record the song must be painstaking. Obviously, he has recorded the voice, other vocals, drums, strings, a pop sound he calls 'fish' (there are multiple fish) and more - separately and put them together. The effort is truely mind-boggling. As on Saturday, the video had generated 8,83,662 views and the Jab Tak Hai Jaan video has generated 4,17,761 views. Alaa Wardi's YouTube page can be accessed here.

In 'Risala Ela...' there are some 11 Wardis in a single frame.

Alaa Wardi became a YouTube star by chance. In an interview, he said he posted a video for his friends to see, but people started sharing it. So was born the idea of creating videos and uploading it to Youtube.
Alaa Wardi started with the A Capella version (A Capella is vocal music without instruments) of Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram's Fi Hagat in 2011, which became a rage in West Asia. The rest is history.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

TouchDown - Exchange Server sync for Android, iOS


Do you want to connect to your office’s Exchange Server through your phone or tablet? Then TouchDown is for you.

The app can sync your office calendar, contacts and email in real time.

The app is available for Android (phones and tablets), iOS, Kindle Fire and Nook. And one for Windows is in the offing.

This is the description of TouchDown from their site:

TouchDown provides comprehensive support for all Exchange, Information Rights Management (IRM) and Data Loss Protection policies. The solution uses AES-256 encryption, which adds an extra layer of security, and offers more than 80% of Outlook functionality. A robust stand-alone solution, TouchDown also provides seamless integration to a wide array of leading Mobile Device Management solutions.

Here are just a few benefits of TouchDown:

Comprehensive support for BYOD programs
AES-256 Encryption for an added layer of security
Full support of Exchange ActiveSync Policies
Seamless integration with leading MDM solutions
Information Rights Management and DLP policy support
Email features users need and want
User friendly interface speeds adoption rates
Cost-effective, streamlined architecture provides almost immediate ROI

TouchDown lets you access your corporate Email, Contacts and Calendar right from your Android-powered phone. Works with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 and with most online Exchange hosting providers. With TouchDown, your office email, calendar and contacts are available right at your fingertips. You can choose how long to retain your email on your phone.

You can choose to download ALL your exchange contacts to TouchDown any time you want, but get all changes automatically every time you check your email. You get quick access to your day's agenda, optimized for viewing on your phone. You can choose to dismiss past events to simplify the view. You dont just get a read-only view of your information, you can also - Compose and send Email Reply to, Reply All and Forward your email Delete Email messages Add, Delete or Edit existing contacts when you are on the move.

The changes to your contacts will be automatically updated to your Exchange account. TouchDown uses the same level of security as your other email access tools , so there is no need to worry about your confidential information being compromised. You dont have to forward your email to another service just to get them on your Android powered phone. TouchDown does not require you to run a separate program on your computer to forward your data to the phone. Simply install the product, configure it on the phone and get going in a couple of minutes.

For Android, it is available both at the Google Play Store and Amazon App Market. For Android, it is also available in a HD version for tablets.

TouchDown costs $20 (over Rs 1,000), but has a 30-day trial version. Be sure to try out the trial version before opening your wallet – because TouchDown offers NO REFUNDS.


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

After Vishwaroopam, Maniratnam’s Kadal faces the heat


by R. Dinakaran

Emboldened by the Tamil Nadu Government’s caving in before Islamic fundamentalists, Christian fundamental organisations have now called for a ban on Maniratnam’s Kadal.

According to reports, several Christian organisations, including the Indian Christian Democratic Party (Christhuva Jananayaga Katchi), have said the film had objectionable scenes referring to Christianity and depicted Christians in bad light. They have reportedly met the Chennai City Police Commissioner.

They have warned that the protests would be intensified if “necessary action” (translated into deleting scenes) is not taken.

It remains to be seen if the Jayalalithaa Government uses the same “not enough police” argument to ban Kadal.

But Maniratnam is likely to be happy about the controversy. The movie has been ripped apart by critics and is doing badly. A round of controversy can only do good for the film.

Update: According to The Hindu, Mr Christumurthy, the founder of the party, the references to Jesus Christ implied that Satan had won.

He also said references to the blood of Jesus Christ were unacceptable and wanted the scene in which Christ’s photo is thrown down and smashed to be deleted.

According to The New Indian Express, the group met Police Commissioner S. George and pointed out six scenes that were “offensive to Christians”.

The group said if these scenes were not removed and the film allowed to continue in theatres, they would call on Christians across the State and create a mas stir — which could threaten the law and order situation.

Prominent Church and Christian leaders, however have remained silent and have not supported this claim.

Christudoss has asked that cases be registered against Maniratnam and the Censor Board.

Twitter: @dinakaran

Carbon for Android out, at last

by R. Dinakaran

After a huge delay after the announcement, Carbon, a Twitter client for Android, has finally been launched.


The description in the Google Play page for the app says:

Carbon experience for Android Smartphones. No Tablet support yet.

Simple, Dark, and a dash of elegance for your Twitter day-to-day pleasure.

Carbon is a Twitter client, but unlike other Twitter clients. All of your Twitter content on one screen. A screen that doesn’t get you drilling down to many other screens to reach to what you want. Timelines, Lists, Favourites, Searches, Trends, Profiles, all there.

- Tilt Timeline to Refresh
- Power Scroll: Scroll/Swipe up or down using Two fingers to jump to top or bottom of Timelines
- Tap+Hold on Tweets to make everything clickable right on the Timeline
- QuickTimeline, home screen quick Timeline for Lists, Searches, Trends, etc…
- Rich Timelines with full inline images and videos
- Rich and HD style for User Profiles
- Rich and fun Conversation View
- Threaded Direct Messages
- Background updates with quick actions for Jelly Bean, per account
- Username Autocomplete
- Filters for Hashtags, Users, and Keywords

Between the time Carbon was announced and it was finally launched, another Twitter client, Falcon, has taken Android users by storm. It remains to be seen whether Carbon will be able to outdo or at least match Falcon.

Twitter: @dinakaran

Did Tamil Nadu’s Advocate General go overboard to please Amma?

by R. Dinakaran


Mr Soli Sorabjee in The New Indian Express ‘There are limits to an advocate’s licence too’, says:

“(Another) disquieting feature is the Advocate General Navaneetha Krishnan’s statement in the course of his oral arguments before the court that the “certification process is a scam”. Advocate Sankarasubbu appearing for the groups supporting the ban stated that “the board members are purchasable commodities”. These statements, unless they are based on cogent material placed before the court, are grossly defamatory and reprehensible.



"There are limits to an advocate’s licence pleading his case before the court even though the advocate may be the advocate general of the state, in which case there is a greater obligation to refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations against a statutory body headed by a distinguished chairperson. Mr Advocate General, please remember, noblesse oblige.”

Twitter: @dinakaran