Prime Time Viewing

We got the Amazon Prime Free Trial and watched two movies. The first one was the Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 which I was so apprehensive about and the other one was No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last movie as James Bond.

Ponniyin Selvan Part 1

Translating a 5 book story into two movies is no small feat. Especially when it is historical fiction with loads of characters spanning two or three generations and loads and loads of plot twists. I knew that Vikram would do justice as Aadhitha Karikalan and he has. He made it look easy, maybe because he has done similar roles in the past with shades of grey. He does get a mention because he is one of my favourite actors 🙂 Jeyam Ravi as Ponniyin Selvan has done a decent job, which surprised me as I have seen him mostly in romance movies. Karthi is apt for Vandhiyathevan oozing trouble and charm and so is Jayaram as Aazhvaarkadiyaan. I don’t know why in my mind, Aazhvaarkadiyaan was someone shorter and fatter as described by Kalki but Jayaram fits too. Aishwarya Rai Bachhan as Nandhini and Trisha as Kundhavai has got the meaty role as the whole story revolves around them and with the surprise about Nandhini at the end of Part 1, we know Aishwarya landed a hefty one. They have all done their jobs very well. The songs are already popular and are good. But, I am not sure I want to hear so many of them while watching the movie. I wonder if there were fewer songs would there have been time for a bit more of the background story in its place? Mr M found the movie alright and interesting without knowing anything about the story (not for a lack of trying, mind).

Now to the story part. I am not entirely sure if I liked how the story is cut from many places and stitched in other places to get the essence in place. It works and they have done a good job but as a person who loves the books more than their movie adaptations, I think I preferred the elaborate thinking process that is involved in such a complicated drama. What was going on in Karikalan’s mind when he decided not to heed Nandini when she begged for the Pandya King’s life? What was the reason for Kundhavai’s move to bring back PS home? I also missed the romance between Vandhiyathevan and Kundhavai which in the book is very subtle, humourous, and cute. Vanathi’s role is reduced to a couple of scenes, sadly. It is hard to switch your inner critic while watching the movie especially when you love the book so much! I really really tried very hard but in the end, I decided to see it as another good movie and not bother to look at it as a translation of the book into its screen version. That is the only way I will be able to convince myself to watch Part 2 now. There is no pleasing some people I tell you 😀 Mr M thought I was being very harsh and I was or rather I am, but it is what it is. Over time I might forget it and be happy with my book. When I read it again though, I wouldn’t mind having Karthi take over as my Vandhiyanathan and Vikram as my Karikalan but I will replace others with my own representation.

No Time To Die

Daniel Craig’s last movie as Bond not necessarily 007. Now that was interesting. Here is a woman as 007. What does that mean for the next movie? Will there be one? Will be a Bond movie anymore given how this one ends? It was slightly bittersweet. I might have missed a lot of clues that they have used throughout the movie as a homage to Bond (like the song at the end, the one-liner that Bond says about having all the time etc.) if not for Mr M who remembers those old ones. This post is more about what I felt when I watched the movie rather than about the movie. While watching it, I realized how much the Bond movie changed when Daniel Craig became Bond. I got introduced to Bond movies when Pierce Brosnan was Bond and he is like our Rajnikanth, all style and full-on Hollywood masala and such, which called to me and I absolutely loved him as Bond. Over the past couple of years, I have watched the rest of the Bond movie and have got to notice each one’s style (I think Pierce Brosnan imitates Roger Moore a lot). But Daniel Craig’s style is unique and so is his Bond. They have more depth to them, more emotional, and have some continuity in their stories (not all, but some). There is still those small pieces of Bond charisma and the blowing up of places when they so please but beyond that there is something more human. May be it is the passage of time, the change in culture, the emphasis on diversity, equality etc. Honestly, I wasn’t too happy with Daniel Craig in his first Bond movie because I was having withdrawal symptoms from Pierce Brosnan, but as an actor I have come to appreciate him in Bond. It’s not an easy role to fill with so much expectations already set by his predecessors. I think if I ignore the fact that his movies are Bond movies I will enjoy them and with this one I thought I kind of miss the silliness of the story line, the blowing up of stuff, the fancy gadgets and Bond just taking those for granted, the mindless way Bond shrugs off the dust after the whole place is demolished and not just that he emerges without a single scrap on his self etc. It is like reading a romance novel because I know how it ends, I know that there will be a set formula and I don’t have to invest my brain power to think too much and I need that in between my intense murder mysteries and thrillers, which render me sleepless most of the times. I do miss the old Bond formula. But the ending was somewhat unexpected (I have managed to not read about it so far) and that left me with “what are they gonna do now? what were they thinking? why then were there so many news articles about a new bond?” etc. etc. Can’t wait to know more about what’s gonna come next.

Now that I have got my free trial, Amazon Prime has started bombarding me that I am missing out by not listening to their music, not watching their recommended shows etc. etc. I hate that part. Can you not just leave me alone. I will watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it. If I got Amazon Prime only to watch two movies, that is my perogative isn’t it? Every single commerce site is now doing that. I just wish there is a way to turn them off (unless I unsubscribe which most of the times don’t really work) . If there is an option to turn off recommendations, kindly let me know. I will also have a nose around their website.

That’s it. Rant and opinion sharing time over 😉 It feels nice to let it all out rather than just whinging about it to all the time to Mr M. I missed writing about my whinging and sharing my unwanted and unwarranted opinions. I hope this year I will be able to do it at regular intervals.

Portable Magic – Introduction to the World of Fiction

Reading for fun or story books were never part of our growing up agenda. It was a luxury we couldn’t afford and we had our hands full with the books that we need to study for our classes. The education here is at times too taxing. When I completed my under graduation, before joining my post graduation there was enough time to spend. That is when I took to reading. I joined the local library and started getting books. But even before I did that I first took upon my mom’s advice to start on a historical fiction. My mom has a very huge collection of books (Tamil) of all genres. She used to collect the stories that come’s weekly in the magazines and bind them to make a book out of it. She used to say that she will use them when she is old and when she wanted to relax and enjoy her sort of retired time reading them. She is 62 ,yes, she is old, but she is yet to relax and have time of her own. She is more busy with her grand children. The book she suggested was Ponniyin Selvan ( பொன்னியின் செல்வன் ). She said that this is a book that I have to read no matter what, at least once in my life time and that she has read it innumerable times. This is one series that gets reprinted almost every 5 years owing to the popularity and she reads it every single time. I wondered what the big deal about it was. It was an historical fiction where you have Kings and Queens and all that stuff. So I picked up the first bound volume.

In Harry Potter, there is a thing called PortKey, that helps you transport to a specific location. This book did it for me. Instantly I was transported to the age of Chola Dynasty, which was very vast and spreading. Since this novel uses existing historical figures and existing places which I have seen a little, it was very easy to relate. But still very magical. I was instantly and for ever hooked. I used to have this book in my hand all the time not wasting a single waking moment. My mom later regretted suggesting this book to me 🙂 She would call me for some house hold work and there I would be, huddled near the bed with the book, lost to the world, travelling among the horsemen and playing in the pool with those princess and their friends, biting my nails on the sudden turn of events, seething with rage on the treason and sighing myself on all those non-cheesy romantic moments. Life was never the same after that. It had action, adventure, romance, love, espionage, treason – every single thing that a human encounters and spread across 5 volumes and not to mention some strong characters (yes, Kundhavai  is from this book and she plays a very important role in the whole story) Ponniyin Selvan means ‘The son of Ponni’ and the river Cauvery was called Ponni at that time. The title suggests that it is about the then Prince Raja Raja Chola (a real King of Chola Dynasty).  It spans across two generations. I am not going to go into the novel, that is not the intention of this post anyway. I don’t remember how long it took me to complete all the 5 volumes. But I decided then and there that I will own this book no matter what. When I started earning, I did buy this book (but lost the first part somewhere during the troubled times). IMG_7016During my stint in the working women’s hostel, I have read it so many times again. Once in an hostel, seeing the way I was buried in this book, my room mates, Telugu was the mother tongue of one and even though Tamil was the mother tongue of the other she was brought up in Dubai so she can speak but not read or write Tamil, asked me to relate the story to them as and when I read it. It was no simple feat. 5 volumes and so many complicated characters, situations. But I took it upon myself to enlighten them with this beautiful world. When they left the hostel, they gave me a good bye card with a special thanks for involving them in that story and making them a part of it, something they said they will never forget.

That was my first dip into the world of fiction and books. And soon after that I started taking up small books from the library for the benefit of my mother too so that we both can exchange and read them (we were allowed 3 books for a fortnight). That world got lost when I joined my post graduation and studies, projects, and job interviews became more important. But never did I believe that the break was temporary and that I will be introduced to a whole lot more later.






What’s in a name?

I am glad that this prompt came up. I never found an opportunity to post about why I chose my name (KG) as my screen name. As for my original name, we come from a family where we use the names of their grandparents for their sons/daughters. So yes, part of my name is that of my paternal grandmother. And that goes for my other siblings too, except that my father refused strictly to use my maternal grandmother’s name for my sister and I hope it is because it sounded very old fashioned. I just can’t imagine calling her by that name without snickering. So I don’t think they thought too much while naming us. But there is a reason to follow that tradition. It is basically to trace the history of family tree , at the maximum you will end up a list of 10-15 names based on the size of the family, and so easy to remember naa 🙂

KG – short form for Kundhavai Granger. Kundhavai is the first name of my favorite character Kundhavai Pirattiyaar from my all time favorite novel Ponniyin Selvan (in Tamil language). And Granger is from the last name of my other favorite character Hermione Granger from my other favorite series Harry Potter. I love both these women characters from all of the books I have read so far. They resemble me in more than one ways. Strong willed, fiercely loyal, opinionated but subtle, at times bull headed, very passionate, smart (though I am not sure if that applies much to me, but I will take it 🙂 ), well you get the idea. I wish I had a Polyjuice potion where I can mix both their hair pieces and create a real Me :). That would be too cool. It also represents the culmination of two different cultures, but represented in a single person (narcissistic huh ? sorry about that ). But I really love this name I created,

“Must a name mean something?” Alice asked doubtfully.
Of course it must,” Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh; “my name means the shape I am – and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.” 
― Lewis Carroll