Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mahesh Music and "The Bucket List"

Ever since my friend Mahesh succumbed to Cancer , I have not had the inclination or should i say courage to watch a movie that has cancer as its central theme.....even Philadelphia kind of got me all soppy - that was not because of Tom hanks or Denzel.

I had the chance to facilitate and train in Ahmedabad yesterday and we passed the campus of the famed Indian Institute of Management , my memories went back to my interview for admission and the manner in which a Prof Meenakshi Mallya ( i think i have the name right? ) cornered me and of course thankfully refused me an admission. Thankfully because it gave me my life's loveliest two years .... listening to mahesh play and of course my friend T.T.Srinath sending me up on Stage for the first time ( I did get on stage in my school days though) to play a small sketch based on "the tea house of the August Moon".

I was also remembering how I cycled to Mahesh's house, in the lane next to ACM Rakeswari Kalyana Mandapam, when in my 8th standard with my new BSA Aristocrat bicycle , the coverage of the article in a Tamil magazine on Mahesh and his group "Versatiles" - called Kalyanaththil Come September ( Come September in a Marriage), the practice sessions in that house behind Nageswara Rao Park - they were trying to get Solitary Man going.....and friend ramaswami Subbiah was also going...his own way. Much to mahesh's chagrin. Great times.

Well we had even greater times in those wonderful musical evenings at my place and the memories as years rolled on and alcohol clouded were a bit dimmer than the school/college day memories.

In the seminar i had been exhorting people to unblock their minds, remove bias and prejudice, overcome irrational fears and face life square on. Hence, when I got back home past midnight - terribly long hopping flight from there to chennai - I decided to watch - "The Bucket List ".....

Boy what a film and what performance. That settled , self assured , dignified performance from Morgan freeman and that flamboyant , leery , devil may care one from jack Nicholson. No , I did not cry for I was just so enthralled at this display of histrionic brilliance that I did not feel anything else but a deep desire to applaud genius.

My friend mahesh too had a Bucket list of sorts...only this was to his friends after he kicked the proverbial do 'something' for the Cancer Hospital in Adayar. I am so proud that his friends have all done him proud - The Mahesh Memorial Paediatric Ward was inaugurated and is doing well - Kudos to Chithra and the other Trustees of the Mahesh memorial trust.........

For those who want to listen to what the Big B had to say about the Trust I give the link to my you tube posting of the "kaun banega Crorepathi" episode that Mani Ratnam , another friend , was able to get going for us to raise funds.

I have posted a few snaps we took during those great music sessions.........check out PICASA

Well mahesh....your Bucket is nicely full my friend...... while many of us dont seem to realise that we have to get our respective bucket list ready....and pray that we are able to inspire our friends the way you did with aplomb and ease.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kishorekumar -Chandrababu

I had the pleasure of speaking to the members of the Madras Gymkhana Club on the life and work of two of Cinema's most eccentric geniuses - Kishore Kumar from Hindi Cinema and J.P.Chandrababu from tamil.
I called it 'A Tale of two eccentricities"....
This talk was so well received that although i say so myself by popular demand i delivered a second part , the next month, thus it became a 4 hour lecture. That is when they asked me to work on Nagesh as the next topic.....unfortunate that he passed away and it had to become a sort of eulogy.

PARASAKTHI - Special day Cover

Before I am asked how a film classic like Parasakthi was not honoured, while Veerapandiya Kattabomman was , I thought it wise to post what was done in the year 2002.

To mark the golden jubilee of the release of this cult classic we , again the Soviet Cultural centre and the Sivaji parabhu charities trust came together and brought out this special day cover.

Parasakthi not only launched the career of south, nay, Indian film's greatest actor but also sowed the seeds for the firm entrenchment of "dravidian" socio politico thought in Cinema and thereby paved the way for the DMK making steady in roads into the Politics of the State. It was around this time that the snap of my dad with MK etc was shot( please see my earlier blog).

P.A.Perumal , of National Pictures , one of the producers, the other being AVM, was a die hard follower of Periyar and indeed later went on to make Raththa Kaneer.......

Sivaji started working in the movie in 1950 - approximately July/August and was in the process of making the film for over 2 years.The film was released in October 1952. Sivaji had the highest regards for Mr.Krishnan ( of Krishnan-Panju) , the director , Mr.P.A.Perumal and Mrs.Rajeswari A.V.Meyyappan as they were the 3 people who stood by him steadfast on him doing this role while all others wanted to remove him and bring in M.K.Radha ( not M.R) for the role.

In fact he suffered so many humiliations and insults during the making of this film from all concerned that he once asked me......

If the trees in between the Floors were still there in AVM , I said yes.....his reply was they have all grown to this size not because of Tamil.....Chettiar Vitta Thanneer illa da Mohan , indha ganesan vitta Kanneer da....(not the water that Chettiar poured but by my tears.......).

I must here mention the honour the studio has given him....Please see my earlier Blog on the Memorial they have erected to mark the spot where he began his career in AVM. A first if not only time that such an honour has been given to an actor.

My Talk on Nagesh

I had the pleasure of making a multimedia presentation on the genius of nagesh. This was at the Madras gymkhana Club and am happy to say that it was well received.The club magazine carried a report on the talk, that is shown above.
AS PART OF THE MADRAS WEEK CELEBRATIONS ...I am speaking again on Nagesh , with a slightly different twist , called MADRAS NALLA MADRAS. The material from his films remains the same, so too the stories and anecdotes but the slant is also towards the Madras that Nagesh saw.
This will be at THE PARK HOTEL , on the 20th of August , 7 PM.

Nagesh the genius

Here is an article I wrote for a Paper called madras musings on that wonderful person and brilliant actor called "Nagesh".
This was written more like an Obituary and came a few days after he passed away. I have been wanting to post it but the sudden attack of laziness kept me away.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I have been remiss in not blogging for a while now, lest you think it is because of a tremendous amount of work let me correct you, it was just laziness.....

We had a lovely function to mark the 50th anniversary of the film Veerapandiya Kattabomman. This was jointly organised by the Soviet Cultural Centre and the Sivaji Family. I compered the event in addition to designing and bringing out the special day postal cover.

I am reproducing a small report made by Mr.Raghavendra , a die hard Sivaji Fan in an internet forum discussion.I stronglu urge anyone who is interested in the Cinema of Sivaji Ganesan to view the threads in this forum. In fact this thread on Nadigar Thilakam is the oldest and longest continuous one....The address for this page is -

Needless to say you can go to the beginning, the index and navigate your way through the forum. I quote -

As you said, in spite of the odd nature of the Day ( The election results had just come out), there was substantially good crowd at the function. Mr. Marudu Mohan, who is doing research on Nadigar Thilagam, spoke in detail of the chronology of the legacy of Veerapandiya Kattabomman. Mr. Veeramani of Gem Granites, Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan of Russian Cultural Centre, Mr. Thangappan of Indo-Russian Chamber of Commerce were among the dignitaries who spoke. Mr. Thangappan presented the clipping of Nadigar Thilagam's speech during the Golden Jubilee of Indian Independence celebrated there in 1997. Mr. Parthiban (the actor who played JACKSON Durai) was very staunch in lauding Nadigar Thilagam and clearly underlined it was Nadigar Thilagam, who was the only actor who did not act in PUBLIC LIFE and POLITICS. Avar cinemavil mattum than nadippar, nija vazhkkaiyil nadikka theriyadu. The Post Master General released the Special Day cover received by the Director of Russian Cultural Centre. The event was preceded by an exhibition on Memorabilia of the film Veerapandiya Kattabomman. The exhibition contained display of paper cuttings, award certificates, etc. Ms. B.R. Vijayalakshmi (The daughter of the producer and director Mr.B.R.Panthulu)has also presented for display, the shields, the certificates, the sword and the soccer, and the photo album taken during the shooting of the film. Besides, the display contained among other cuttings, the achievements of the film at the Box Office as wrote here by our Murali Sir, and Telugu paper cuttings sent by another fellow hubber, A. Balakrishnan, 50-th Day, 100th Day, 25th week ads, NT's writing on his experiences at Cairo. -


Also honoured was Mrs.S.Ve Shekhar , who is also the grand daughter of the music director, G.Ramanathan. It is pertinent to point out that at the Afro Asian Film festival held in Cairo three awards were won by this film - Best Actor - Sivaji ganesan , Best Picture Kattabomman and Best Music - G.Ramanathan. Hence it was nice that all these three great film personalities were represented by members of their family. The surprise was the veteran actor Mr.Parthiban , an erudite Gentleman , who came for the function and requested that he be permitted to speak. His speech really came from the heart.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.