Wednesday, 18 June, 2008

Success

At the end of the day,
Success in life is not defined by how much you earn..
But by how much others yearn for you...

~ Arun KK

Tuesday, 17 June, 2008

Dasavatharam - Storyline Demystified with Chaos Theory

[ This is an email forward ]

FAQs on Dasavatharam
Some guys have claimed they haven't understood chaos theory which plays such an important part in the film. As a physics student, I've decided to explain it a bit so that people can appreciate the brilliance of the film.
What is Chaos?
Basically a chaotic system is one wherein long term predictions are impossible. Like for example, if I push a car, I know that it is going to move and it will continue to do so if I go on pushing it on and on. However, in a chaotic system, this situation cannot be predicted over a long period of time. Weather, for example, is a chaotic system. No matter how good your instruments are, you simply cannot predict the weather with 100 per cent accuracy over a long term basis and forecast it.
What is the Butterfly Effect?
It is the most important component of a chaotic system. Basically, small perturbations results in amplifications which completely destroys the original nature of the system and makes prediction impossible. If a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa, it could result in a cyclone in USA.(Mark the word COULD.) A highly dumbed down explanation of the butterfly effect is in the film Anniyan, where Vikram's sister dies because a liquor shop owner sells liquor on a dry day.
OK, how does Dasa incorporate it?
In essence, Dasa talks about eight characters who are inconsequential as such, but are integrated in a larger picture. Without Bush, the plane would have been called back. Without Shinghen, Govind would be dead. Without the tsunami, the world would have been destroyed. Even Krishnaveni (the old woman) plays a very important role. If she had not put the vial in the idol, maybe Govind would have recovered it then and there and a powerful weapon would have been unleashed. The very fact that it went into the idol meant that it was being accelerated to its destiny. Without Kaifulllah Khan, Govind would have never escaped... the list simply goes on.
OK, so does the film talk about theism or atheism?
Neither. It talks about how humans drive the destiny of the world.
The idol that is drowned in the sea along with Rangarajan in 12th century by Chozha king results in a fault being developed at the bottom of the ocean and creates tremors more than 800 years later. These tremors result in the Tsunami. This again is a classic case of Butterfly Effect wherein a seemingly inconsequential event (the drowning of the idol) saves Tamil Nadu from being wiped off the face of the earth.
Now tell me, does THIS movie lack a story? This movie has the most beautiful story ever attempted in Indian cinema. Unfortunately, Indian viewers and critics are obsessed with the "boy meets girl" and "revenge" themes, so they fail to see the story in this master piece.
-- Chaos Theory

Sunday, 15 June, 2008

Dasavatharam


Movie Review

So, here i pen down my views about the magnum opus of Thamizh Cinema - DASAVATHARAM. There has been a lot of hype and hoopla through the years this movie had been in production. Did the movie meet the expectations?

The answer is a resounding YES.

Here's my comment on Kamal's avatars and the various departments of the movie.

1. Kamal

Kamal rocks in all his avatars - this movie is yet another showcase of his talent and what he is capable of. Kamal has given a new definition for 'Versatility' - the way in which he portrayed the various roles with due diligence. Each of the characters (Rangarajan Iyengar, scientist, villian, RAW chief, Singer, Dalit leader, old lady, Afghan, Japanese fight master and George Bush) are etched out well and twined into the script perfectly. Kamal was identifiable in 5 of the roles - the rest, you wouldn't have identified him unless you were told it was he. The perfectionist he is, Kamal has worked hard on all the aspects of each character - voice, accent, body language, emotions, etc. My faves are Bush and the villian. Though Bush comes only for a short time, Kamal's ingenuity is in display as he perfectly imitates Bush's mannerism and his tradement gaffes. And the villain is a perfect cool guy, who chases the scientist all the way to India to possess the bio-weapon. The means and techniques (Agreed! Those soaked in Hollywood CIA flicks won't find this much impressive) he uses to go after the chip makes up for a perfect edge-of-the-seat thriller through the entire 3 hours.

The other roles are equally good, however we have seen Kamal don them in some of his previous movies. If there is any role that could have been avoided, it's the Afghan role that could have been trimmed off to make the plot more crisper.

2. Story, Screenplay, Dialogue

That's Kamal's 11th avatar - and, i would rate it higher than any of his other avatars (Kamal himself says so). The story has a near-perfect plot - hero tries to prevent a bio-medical weapon from falling into the wrong hands. Kamal has evidently put in all his experience and knowledge to pen down this - the story is a blend of science, religion and meta-physics. The crux of the story revolves around 'Chaos theory' of Henry Poincare. And Kamal has spiced up the story with action, thrill, comedy - however, no romance here :) Also, Kamal has tried to bring in some social issues like sand smuggling and caste divide into the plot. The dialogues are too good - however some of them are too hi-fi and intellectual for first-bencher viewers. You would need to at least watch the movie a couple of times to understand the dialogues better (and their inner meanings). The director KS Ravi Kumar should be complimented for making the story gripping and entertaining throughout.

3. Other characters
Asin comes in two characters - one as wife of Rangarajan and another as Andal who along with Govind(scientist Kamal) goes after Venkatesa Perumal's idol (and the bio-weapon tucked inside it). The first role - she does with perfection. The other was a nuisance. Her shrill screaming voice and constant innocent banters makes for an irritating character. The director could have mellowed her down a bit.

Mallika Sherawat gets a meaty role and does it well - she doesn't bother the censors much this time. Other characters in the movie - Jayapradha (Singer's wife), Nagesh, KR Vijaya (Afghan's parents), P Vasu, Santhana Bharathy (sand smugglers), Napolean (Chola King) all have done their roles aptly.


4. Music, BGM
The songs look good on the movie. 'Kallai mattum kandal''s depiction was excellent. It reverberates around the 12th century temples and the turbulent days between Shaivites and Vainavites. Background music was in sync with the pace of the movie - however, felt it could have been more gripping.

5. Graphics
CG was stupendous. What else can you expect when Brian Jennings (of 'Exorcist' fame) from Hollywood heads the CG team. The depiction of tsunami was amazing - the waves crashing into the buildings and the shore - it brought back memories of the 2004 tsunami.

On the whole

On the whole, this is yet another master piece from 'Ulaga Nayagan'. The producer of the movie, Aascar V. Ravichandran should be appreciated for supporting Kamal and the director in this mega-budget flick. Kamal has not let us down after all this long wait.

PS:
Some controversies (i pray they don't) are likely to creep up for the heavy agnostic essence that Kamal spruces up in the movie. The saffron cordon is all likely to raise the red flag against this.
However, the movie is good food for intellectual thought.


~ Arun KK

Friday, 6 June, 2008

Rich Dad Poor Dad

From the Book Shelf...

It's been over 2 years since i first came to know of this book. Since then, it's been a long wait to get a chance to get hold of a copy of it - however, it was worth the wait. I completed the book this morning and here goes my view on it.

'Rich Dad Poor Dad' is a must-read for those yearning to make it big financially in life [now, who doesn't want to ;-)]. The book shatters the basic principle - 'To Earn More, Work More'. The author Robert T. Kiyosaki, using his narrative style walks us through how we can make 'money work for us' rather than 'we working for money'. Though the methodologies they put forth aren't totally path-breaking [stocks, bonds, real estates], his approach on how to make the right use of the assets leaves us spell-bound with the tactical application of ideas and presence of mind or rather common sense.

The book talks a great deal about assets, liabilities, income and expense and how one impacts the other[what else will a finance book deal about?]. It also brings to light the advantages corporates enjoy over individuals in cutting down on taxes [corporates pay for expenses before taxing and hence are less taxed than individuals] and how individuals can emulate the same by starting their own businesses. The authors are strictly against [and i am not 100% OK with this] toiling out in a company; rather they fiddle with us the idea of running our own corporation - both to beat the tax men and also to have more ownership of the effort we put in ["I work for me"].

Throughout, the book is interspersed with a lot of real-life examples that help us correlate ideas better. The author has used the examples as an excellent means of talking about various perspectives of say, an idea. Hats off to the narrative style that Robert has incorporated!

To talk about the other side of the picture, most of the examples used especially the ones related to tax structures are more related to Uncle Sam and may not be applicable across countries. However, the message conveyed here is the reader should develop out-of-the-box thinking to combat their financial challenges. Also, some where down the line, i felt there was too much emphasis on saving money by "not so good means". If i am not wrong, during the course of the book, there were some narrations that roughly would mean we could go to any length to cut down on expense even if that would mean taking measures unappreciative of your employee union or in some cases the law itself! Though, Robert confesses that these are not by any means recommended, i felt there was an undercurrent through out the book that one who wanna be a millionaire shouldn't contemplate social responsibilities, at least early in their career.

Towards the end of the book, 10 steps to become successful [earn money or make money work for you] are enlisted. I have put down my "decoded" version of the same below:

1. Be optimistic and maintain high spirit towards your goal.
2. Invest in Education - that lays the foundation for any career that you aspire for.
3. Choose your friends - choose those who have a positive outlook on the world or the career you look forward to.
4. Learn things one at a time - Master one formula/idea. Then, move to the next.
5. Control your expenses - Don't spend unless until unavoidable [Be frugal, not miserly].
6. Pay well for those who work for you and are smart.
7. When you assist/help someone, look for the ROI[return on investment] on the same.
8. Invest in assets rather than luxuries. Assets will churn out luxuries in the long-term.
9. Have good role-models who can always be looked upon.
10. Teach others your skills - you learn more while you teach. Teach and you shall receive.

Main Management skills needed

1) Management of cash flow
2) Management of system (yourself and the environment you work with)
3) Management of people

Interesting quotes from the book

"What holds us back is not lack of technical information but lack of self confidence"

"Fear is the greatest distracter of personal genius"

"Fear and self-doubt is what holds us back"

"Sometimes You win, Sometimes You Learn"

"The poor and middle class work for money. The rich have money work for them."





Happy Reading!

~ Arun KK

All views presented above are of the blogger and hence reflect the blogger's view of the topic rather than what was intended by the author(s). Readers are advised to exercise their discretion and thereby treat the post as mere pointers!


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