Never Let Me Go

never let me go

Sometimes we have the habit of volunteering for sadness. That’s how I watched this movie.

This is not the kind of movie you’d watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon with the best tasting food on one side and some bitter beer on the other. It’s far from a romantic comedy that would help you relax and probably fall into a deep sleep.

It’s not the kind of movie you’d watch in the theatre, or on a chilly Friday night, with friends looking for adventure.

This is one of those good movies that tug at your heartstrings and make you feel bad about yourself.

It makes you hate yourself — it’s one of those movies people say would change the way you see the world.

True that; it does. But it also makes you realize how evil we are as humans.

The story is of three friends who are a part of the National Donor Program. A program that raises children in isolation, monitors everything from their food intake to their life choices, and ensures they are healthy enough — until they are old enough to fulfill their purpose. Their purpose: to donate vital organs to save the lives of people they’d never meet.

Every donor goes through multiple donations until they complete — or die, in simple terms. Some complete after four donations, but most do sooner than that.

‘Never let me go’ is the story of Tommy, Kathy and Ruth – three youngsters who fall in love with themselves and then into life’s greedy hands.

This movie will leave you miserable. The music – the violin solo – will painfully clench your heart and will render you speechless.

It did for me.

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The Dhabba Experience

Dhabba

I hadn’t heard of this restaurant before my team mates told me we were going here for a team treat.

A bit of digging told me there were 10 of the same restaurants and that they serve good seafood. A lover of prawns, I set my mind.

Even as we got in to the cab, I could feel my insides expanding with excitement. I was a little ashamed too, it was just food after all. But again, it’s food!

I was all ready; my phone was fully charged and so was I. As we got down from the cab, I started clicking pictures of the surrounding. I was going to write an impressive review- complete with photos and all.

It was a large extravagant area – for a restaurant. Felt like walking into a huge holiday resort in the making. There was a big play area for kids and even a separate section of the restaurant for pure vegetarians. Sadly though, it was too hot for a soul to enjoy the slides and rides.

We walked inside and my excitement settled a little – we were finally there. It was now all about food.

We took our seats – three tables of it and I began looking around. It is a Punjabi restaurant and to reinforce the mood were paintings of Punjabis – beautiful work by the way. The ambiance within the restaurant was perfect – almost empty. Which is unsurprising considering it’s somewhere in the middle of nowhere – on the highway. There were a couple of small groups, and they were quiet too. The lighting was mild – not that it needed much, it was in the middle of the day. And being so, it was so hot outside but so cool inside. The tables were of stone and with the air-conditioning set at 18 degrees, the atmosphere was welcoming.

The service people were a little less welcoming though. Can’t blame them too, they were probably shocked to see a group of 15 people thronging into their restaurant with no regard for, well, anything.

Anyway, without much ado, we ordered.

We began with hot and sour soup. I’m not much of a soup person, but I loved it.

They didn’t have many of what we hoped to have – like the tandoori momos for instance. I was looking too forward to tasting that. We ordered prawns salt and pepper, fish fingers, mutton something and a couple of chicken somethings for starters.

chicken

The starters

None of them was spicy enough for me, but the taste was good. Prawns salt and pepper was a bit too salty with too little pepper, but I’d surely recommend this place anytime.

Moving on to main course, the biriyani was dry, I heard. I didn’t try the biriyani but the taste was good – judging from the way my team mates devoured. Another friend mentioned that the fried rice was great too, but I’d vouch for something else. My love for the greens tempted me to order pudhina (mint) paratha, and it surprised me, as always. But thankfully, it did not disappoint. It didn’t look too appealing; my team mates’ eyes widened at the sight of it – not to mention that my jaw dropped. I recovered soon enough though.

pudhina paratha

Pudhina paratha

It tasted good – the pudhina powder added a little bitterness, just the way I like it. To accompany the paratha, I had ordered prawns chettinad masala and a chicken dish – I forgot the exact name.

The menu was so extensive and the names of the dishes were difficult to remember. The best thing though was that the taste was worth remembering.

At the end of it all, I decided to top it up with lime soda. Because I suddenly remembered that I had been suffering from an upset stomach for a couple of days. Just the day before I survived on liquid salts.

Coming back to the lime soda, it was too salty for me – pungent. But it did do its duty; I digested it all without much trouble.

Anyway, my colleagues ordered a variety of ice cream, gulab jamun, milk shakes and funnily enough – carrot halwa.

Ha, that carrot halwa! Not to taste; reminded me of sweet paan.

With an unmistakable burp, our treat ended and we walked out, satisfied and satiated.

After a few minutes of idling and selfie taking, we re-boarded our cab and came back to office – only to look forward to going home.

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P.S: My very first restaurant review. Any thoughts, folks?

Experiencing Indo Soul

The previous piece I wrote about Indo music, was about Karthick Iyer’s single. After all the mixed feelings that song had on me, I got hold of the rest of the album. My first impression wasn’t at all that great. Which is a great sign. I’m not easily impressed; it took me over three months to fall in love with my favourite musician’s latest album (now though, I can’t get enough.)

Boundless
Boundless is a boundless musical blend of the miruthangam and some devilish strings. It’s a small song; just two and a half minutes. But throughout, you’ll experience so many emotions go back and forth. I didn’t hate this song, but it didn’t awe me either. In fact, with the strange beginning, I thought my audio was faulty; it didn’t seem appropriate to begin a song with a music that painfully reminds you of this.

TV_noiseAfter the initial shock however, the music gradually pulls you into the song. Not to mention the artsy crescendo. Out of the blue, the miruthangam rises and suddenly from nowhere come the strings to blend in so well that you can actually feel the pull. And the repetitive beat that starts at 1.50, and lasts for a few seconds — wow. I don’t like lengthy musicals — except in extremely rare circumstances. And I’m certain that I wouldn’t have liked this song one bit if it had lasted any longer. This song just proves that you don’t need much time if you know how exactly you want your audience to feel.

Clown Junket
I can’t say it enough, but I am a string lover. The guitar and the violin are one thing, but the bass adds another dimension altogether. Though it’s a part of the violin family, both the cello and the bass are much deeper than the violin and viola. And that’s the magic of this song. It’s a beautiful song, but the first two minutes were too slow. You’re left to wondering what exactly is happening. It might put you off, unless of course, you decide to listen through. Once you wait for the second half, you wouldn’t regret it, I’m sure.

The introducing of the violin into a well set tune was beautiful. The violin just waltzed into the mass that was bass, and fit right in. And the touches of miruthangam here and there – perfect accompaniment to the classical tune. Every time I hear it, it feels a little odd that the violin should blend classical and western, but I’m getting used to the idea — and I’m starting to like it too.

Mid air
No beating around the bush — this song just gets right into business. And I like that. Perhaps to make up for the slow songs in the album — nevertheless, it’s gets off to high start and maintains the energy throughout. Just listening to this song, I can picture it bringing modernity to our traditional society. I love the fact that the bass and the miruthangam get a lot to say along with the violin and guitar. The guitar interlude – brilliantly brings in a little western touch to the classicism.

This is a great song with an amazing blend of both worlds. It’s a bit long though — it would’ve been more powerful had it been a little shorter. This song reminds me of old television advertisements — can’t pinpoint which exactly though. Weirdly though, this song made me nostalgic.

A Saranga Convergence
Love the beginning — great slow start of the violin. The first 30 seconds were awesome, but then he let it slide a bit. He brought it back at 1.40 though – with powerful strings and strong miruthangam. Loved the transition at around 2.40 where the drums take and hand it over to the guitar, and then coming back to the bass. And then the vocal just blooms out of nowhere. It was such an unexpected surprise  — though it lasted a bit longer than I expected. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed the equal distribution of instruments in this song. Maybe because it’s a lengthy piece, but it wasn’t tiring — just a lot of smoothness, one or two glitches here and there, but overall, nice to listen.

Loved the ending as well — smooth. Gave me the mental picture of a cherry sliding off a melting ice-cream cone. 😉

Rejoicing in Raguvamsa
First 50 seconds – pure classical treat, and an incredible transition to the percussion — loved every bit of this song. Beautiful bass solo at 2.40, and nice takeover of the miruthangam assisted by some classy percussion. And yet another beautiful ending. Karthick has found himself a versatile team; three strings, a classic miruthangam and a totally western electric guitar.

Combined, these instruments do such a great job to captivate the listener. And the team’s done it so well. There’s so much room to experiment, to succeed and to make mistakes as well. This is a great album to listen and to keep. It’s not the perfect collection of songs; there are some parts I could live without, and some I couldn’t. Team Karthick Iyer Live knows their audience, and they’re not trying to please everyone. And that’s the way to go.
Oxygen

கும்கி

I know I am a bit late in watching the movie. The internet is probably scattered with reviews about the movie. But I really had to write about it.

I watched the movie, with my family (minus my brother).

Half an hour into the movie, I had planned to pen down my views. From that second, I began analyzing every scene, every move and every word. And I can only say: WOW!

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen beauty in a movie. Beauty in the sense, natural scenery. As the movie continued, I mentally made note of what I wanted to write.

But be warned!

You won’t find a clear review here. I am not going to be neutral. What you’ll find here is a sheerly biased views. You are free to disagree.

About the movie. Yes. I saw Raavanan years ago. I was stunned by the landscapes. Kumki and Prabu Solomon have given the Raavanan crew a heavy run for their money’s worth.

There aren’t many breathtaking clearings in Kumki’s woods in comparison to Raavanan’s. Still, the trees, trees and more dense trees give the viewer such a feeling of longing. Sometimes it even made me wonder if there are any such forests left. Such was the greenery.

There was one remarkable waterfall in the movie. (Jog falls in Karnataka) The real effect was brought in front of the eye because of the angle and height in which it was pictured. Just brilliant. Every where throughout the movie, the cameraman’s eye has been purely extravagant. I’m blown away and am surely not the only one.

When has a Tamil movie survived without music? Seriously, wonderful music. Good and captivating lyrics, nice picturisation and soothing music all over.

Another highly significant factor, in my opinion, is the use of words. We could hear some rarely used Tamil terms which were good to the ear.

Well, that’s about it, I think.

No. Wait, I forgot – Vikram Prabhu.

I thought I heard someone say that this was his first movie. Hard to believe. He appeared to be easily comfortable in his role. His acting was natural, and he made me feel that no one else would have best suited the role. He just perfectly fitted in, like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle.

It was also good to see some decent costumes in Tamil cinema. At long last! The story demanded it, of course, yet, I liked the fact that even the songs were well covered.

From the positive side, this movie is a must have in every collection.

Now, moving on to the undesirable features of the movie. There’s not much I can say, considering that I liked the movie.

First thing that struck me as quite odd was the elephant (hero’s உடன்பிறப்பு). Nothing wrong with the elephant, but I was a bit worried that the hero didn’t speak much to his so-called brother. Unlike a conventional movie, the hero had only a limited number of people and his elephant around him. There were no friends. Naturally, I expected the elephant to be the hero’s best companion.

The lack of intimacy between the elephant and the hero was unusual. I mean, usually, when a hero is madly in love with a girl, he bores his friends. Our hero too did that, but I felt the elephant was left out of the story for some time.

Another thing I wasn’t crazy about, was Thambi Raamaiya’s comedy. Yes, there were some parts where he did well, but the not-too-great comments actually subdued the good parts.

Finally, the graphics at the beginning scenes of the wild elephant. It was a bit too obviously artificial.

Those are the negatives, from my point of view.

Well, after reading all this, if you ask me if this movie conveys a social message, the answer is , yes. It does have a message, though I am not sure if it was intentional.

~Never place others’ lives (especially the ones you love) in peril for your own pleasure. The outcome may be devastating.~ 

Haven’t seen the movie yet? Come back after you do and share your views.

Enough said.