Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Charlie Kaufman (voice-over):The only thing I'm actually qualified to write about is myself and my own self - Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation)

In his essay sixty three words, Milan Kundera speaks about the process of "dizzying reduction that reduces lives to our social functions". He argues that the novel's raison d'etre is to exist resisting this reduction and champion the spirit of complexity saying things aren't simple.

But with the quote above I have attempted to do exactly that kind of reduction and with limited success. Times demand you reduce and not do justice to your reading experience. Quite possible when you it is impressive stuff but not quite possible when it is flooring. You throw the pencil away because every line is underlinable and the experience of reading is just that. No occasion to be quote happy or express well enough why it is magical. That's how I feel about Adaptation.

Revisited and floored again. If you want to write well, you should perhaps not intensely like what you write about. I shouldn't care about making this look interesting. But how can I not. To write about a flower, to dramatize a flower...I have to show the flower's arc.


After the success of his offbeat debut, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is commissioned by a studio to adapt Susan Orlean's novel: 'The Orchid Thief'. Susan had based her book on an interesting personality: John Laroche and her own joint quest with him for a rare orchid flower. Laroche moves through interests and relationships in his life with a phenomenal capacity for ‘adaptation’.
Charlie aims to be faithful to the spirit of Susan’s book without yielding to Hollywood clichés like "sex, drugs, guns and car chases" or “characters undergoing profound realizations”. The task proves to be difficult as he worries he will not do justice to the book. Charlie's twin brother Donald -who is also a screenwriting aspirant- swears by apopular screenwriting course, whose trite prescriptions meet with Charlie’s scorn.Donald’s clichéd debut script is on its way to success, while Charlie struggles to finishhis script. Swallowing his pride, Charlie seeks the advice of Donald's teacher andeventually of Donald himself. The twins track Susan and Laroche and discover a trail ofdrugs and sex leading to a dramatic end involving alligators, car chases and gunshots.

Charlie finally dares to be clichéd in life as well as in his craft.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Affect us, we ask

Farmer suicides, state sponsored genocides, cross-border terrorism, corporate frauds and such yawn. Then they get all high and moral about why we don't exercise franchise. As if there is a new opinion out there to side with. All barks soaked in the same puddle.

But try touching our mp3s and we will smite thee with political philosophy and unified action.

“We young people have a whole platform on the internet, where we have all our social contacts - it is there that we live,” said Malin Littorin-Ferm of the party’s Ung Pirat youth league to the crowd in Stockholm. “The state is trying to control the internet and, by extension, our private lives.”

Must check if these guys are contesting in Central Chennai. We have no 4% limit , ours is an organized free-for all.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


A caterpillar
this deep in autumn
still not a butterfly

-Matsuo Basho

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All I can do

Modern Stupidity means not ignorance but the nonthought of received ideas - Milan Kundera

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's Hecuba to Me ?

I am all for incest and tortured souls in moderation, but a good laugh from time to time never hurt anybody - PG Wodehouse

It is for things like that that the man is arguably one of the most loved in the history of the world. People - like this author- wear his badge and profess their admiration. After a critical mass it also becomes one of those signs of 'culture'

SathyaRaj: pEr ennanga
GoundaMaNi: mArimuthu Gounder 'nga....
SR: ........
GM: siva gOthram , kiruthikai natchathram... archanaiyai aarambikkalaamE

I watched this last night before shutting down and retiring with a hearty laugh. But it got me thinking. Apparently this is how it should be. Humorists are supposed to make you think and thus justify their existence in this weighty world. But this one was not that kind of thinking. It was about the man who made me laugh.

This man will be lost in history. He suffers from multiple handicaps..

Film heros, writers, musicians, sportspersons and poets will all find people who can wax eloquent about their aesthetic appreciation. They themselves can talk at length about their techniques to supplement their genius.

There are some notions about universal likeability and piety that make some icons attractive. The magazines won't stop talking about Nagesh. I certainly don't grudge that. But I am dead certain GM wouldn't be afforded the same when his time comes. A small column with a photo and blurb of a bio to print and forget. 16 VayathinilE, Senthil, banana, veerappan, paired well with many heros, slapstick end of story. Nearly every single word indicating we have, as a population, quite nearly missed the point.

Yes, he was widely successful but what exactly was his position in history ? What is his 'revolution' ? Do we need to fit him into even the traditional framework of a revolutionary just so it is easy to explain to the world ? He poses his own challenges of exposition.

One feels he exists without the slightest care that he is a phenomenon without precedent. And seems frighteningly content about vanishing as a mere 'mentionable talent' in history.Has he left his traces, in some ways yes but I wouldn't say there is a strong legacy simply because I only see a huge void.

Someone said about Bergman, that it would not suffice to say that he is the reatest filmmaker ever, but that he seems to complete the purpose for which the medium was invented. I don't know how to make that equivalent for GM but let it be considered that a similar sentiment is expressed here