Aye Figaro !

So it was a hectic day and i decided to take off to my friend’s place to watch a light-hearted movie and have my favorite pizza from the nearby cafe. So after reaching, we ordered for a Spanish Fiesta pizza, Three Cheese sandwich and a Cheesecake to go with the movie. After watching the first 5 minutes of 2 – 3 so-called comedy movies, we decided to watch Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) played excellently by Robin Williams as you all are aware off! (Indian readers – you would know this as our very own Kamal Haasan’s Avvai Shanmugi or Chachi 420!)

Having never really seen the beginning of the film, i was pleasantly surprised to see that the movie opens with a familiar song, which i recall seeing in one of my favorite cartoon shows – Tom & Jerry! (The Cat Above and the Mouse Below) What i really loved about the episode was Tom singing a single word, “Figaro” repeatedly in his baritone voice and then WHAP! Jerry shoots a suction cup at Tom’s face!! Till this day, i crack up every single time i watch that scene! sigh, they don’t make cartoons like T&J anymore.

Coming back, the movie opens with Robin Williams dubbing for a cartoon, singing the “Figaro” song i was so fascinated with! Though the movie got over (including the yummy-licious food!), the song was stuck in my head, playing in auto loop. So,  I headed home and Googled the song on the internet, and lo! a hundred relevant results, showing how popular this song was!

So here’s what i learnt – this song is called “Largo al Factotum”, an aria from the most famous comic opera “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” (The Barber of Seville) by Giaochino Rossini, an Italian composer from the late 18th century. The opera is described as a masterpiece and Rossini’s version is being played by several opera houses even today. The opera aside, the song is about a handyman/general servant called Figaro, who is happy and cheerful that the whole town comes to him for their needs. Largo al factotum literally means ‘Make way for the Handyman’ . After this, i started watching famous renditions of the song by Baritones from the last 15 – 20 years. Out of the many versions, my favorite was the one performed by John Rawnsley, my my what an amazing baritone! His stout frame and the 18th century costume suited him perfectly! I was instantly hooked and kept replaying for the next 2 hours determined to learn at least some of the tongue twisting lyrics! (i managed to learn the closing segment of the song!) See John’s fantastic performance below –

Awesome right? What is beautiful is the many times this song has been parodied by so many cartoons in the past! (Woody Woodpecker, Bugs Bunny, T&J) which makes me enjoy this even more, perhaps i would not have ever come across the song if not for Tom & Jerry 🙂

If you too are addicted to our “Figaro”, just go to Youtube to see/listen to other great renditions out there! (Even a Korean baritone has sung this Italian song!) You go do that, while i sing this to myself –

“Ah Bravo, Figaro, Bravo, Bravisimmo, a te fortuna a te fortuna a te fortuna, nan manchera! La la la la la la la la la!” 🙂

Until next time, cheers!

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Hans Zimmer’s Score for Rush !

They say music transcends all conventions of language, and when such music has been composed by the fantastic Hans Zimmer, how can one not instantly want to listen to the master’s work!

Empire Online has shared the full soundtrack of Rush, i must say that i am loving it!!

I hope the movie is high octane as well! Can’t wait to listen to the soundtrack booming in the theatre 🙂

Hans Zimmer’s Score for Rush ! (Click Link for the soundtrack)

Nolan’s John Hancock !!

Nolan's John Hancock !!

The day my friend texted me on Facebook saying the unthinkable had happened, i did not know what to imagine! I dropped off my chair when my “friend” said that he/she had managed to get CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S autograph for me! I mean, what the fish? Chris Nolan?! Signing my name?! Impossible! I severely thought this was a prank to make me look stupid! But as soon as i saw a snapshot of it, i recognized the handwriting from the his posters i saw online! it WAS HIM!  I have been ranting on and on and on about how awesome Nolan and his movies are, this made me really happy! An amazing souvenir for a die-hard Nolan fan !!

This made be believe that one can get anything one wants, however impossible it might seem! All one has to do is, BELIEVE.

So what do you guys think? 🙂

Hello WordPress!!

I have to admit, after using WordPress for my photo blog (576mp.wordpress.com) i just knew that this platform was much simpler and had a large instant reach than Blogger.

So i decided to shift my primary blog to WordPress, and i am pleased with the new look and feel of the blog 🙂 I hope i can post my ramblings regularly from now on!

Come on in, read a couple of my old posts, lets keep traditional text blogs alive and kicking!

Hachiko : A Story to be shared!

 http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-TmWcCkYErY/TNfowxfs-XI/AAAAAAAAI7Q/B5ObCBU5nV0/s1600/Hachiko+poster.jpg

What can i say? I just finished watching a very beautiful and heart wrenching movie  about a dog’s unwavering faithfulness to its master and a master’s unconditional love for his dog. It is one of those rarest of rare movies that makes one shed some (actually a lot!) of tears.

I’m talking about the 2009 Hollywood adaptation of the 1987 Japanese movie of the same name – Hachiko – A Dog’s Tale. So what is the story about you ask? An Akita pup (Japanese breed i think) is sent from Japan to America and on reaching a train station in America, its cage falls from the trolley. After squeezing its way through the broken wooden cage, it scampers here and there until IT FINDS its master for the years to come. Parker Wilson (Richard Gere). I tell you, if there is a man who brings so much complexity and soul to a character, it has to be him. (He is 63 for god’s sake! yet as dashing as a handsome youth can be) Coming back, from there on, Parker and Hachi (the Akita pup) form a bond so strong that they become inseparable (The dog is extremely cute by the way!)

I’m not exactly reviewing the movie, but i would definitely leave the movie experience to you folks. To give away the central plot would probably ruin the emotional moments, which are best savored when one watches without a clue about what is to happen next.

I robustly recommend all you dog lovers/owners (i have never owned a dog, but I’ve recently taken great affection to a beagle named “Google”) to see this movie without fail. It will move you. It will inspire you. Just as it inspired and touched me. Eternal love is not restricted to humans only, you know.

If you saw the movie after reading this, or if you have already seen it, leave your thoughts below!



(P.S The 1987 Japanese movie was based on a true story. Just type Hachiko, Shibuya AFTER you see the movie)

I’ll Be There For You!

Ok ok, so i’am a day late! So what? One doesn’t need an occasion to express one’s gratitude towards one’s greatest gift of all !

F.R.I.E.N.D.S (No not the Sitcom)
 
And so facebook, twitter and other socnet sites were flooded with friendship day cards, sentimental quotes, nostalgia, and other bla! Looking at all those status updates made one thing very clear. Of all the relationships that man has (excluding parents), friends make the most impact on that person’s life.
 
When we attended school, we spent 40%, No. Scratch that. 60% of our daily awake-time with these soon-to-be best friends. Some stick together right until their under graduation and some even beyond that. Nevertheless, the time spent with them extends far more than the time spent with anyone else. That’s pretty amazing isn’t it??
 
You guys rock!!
As you grew, so did they. With you. Beside you. Caring and supporting and providing a great sense of camaraderie. Just pause for a moment and think about it. The revelation is overwhelming. We are born at different places, at different times and at different situations. Yet, when you start to enjoy the simplest of conversations with the stranger you just met, you know for sure that you are meant to be best buddies!
 
Ofcourse, not everyone stays. Some leave. Some enter. Some change our lives forever. And there my friend, lies its beauty. Unrelated by blood, unrelated by religion and unrelated by caste or other forms of discrimination, the bond is secular.
 
So what i wish to say is this! You, my friend !! I’m truly blessed and grateful to have you as my friend because there is none like you!
 
I’ll be there for you! 🙂

The Hero We Needed !

M. I . N. D. B. L. O. W. I. N. G
 
Nothing Less. Nothing More. An excruciatingly painful wait post the insanely awesome performance by Joker in The Dark Knight has finally borne fruit – The Dark Knight Rises!
 
Every single Batman fanatic and every single functioning press in the world have already put out rave reviews and in-depth analyses of this masterpiece of a movie. With very few  IMAX theaters in my country, it was either travel 390 miles by train to Prasads IMAX, Hyderabad or settle for our local favorite Sathyam Cinemas with its powerful yet smaller screen. Nope. Nada. Never. A movie of such scale and grandeur needs to be seen on the format for which it was exclusively made. And my god!! What an experience it was!
 
There are many scenes when one feels like one is Bruce Wayne and feels the need to take the tumbler and save the distressed citizens! That’s the power of IMAX! With 72 minutes of IMAX footage, i dare you to say “Nah that wasn’t impressive” I DARE YOU ! 🙂
 
Yes, we all know that this is Batman’s return to a bleaker and more gloomy Gotham City and that Batman has finally met his match – aka Bane (Tom Hardy i salute you!). But is that all is this about? No! Christopher Nolan’s movies always have a human connect, the emotional strings tugging your heart and exquisite moments that leave a satisfying taste and keep you pondering about them many days after the movie!
 
The Dark Knight Rises does all that and more! Batman Begins was revolutionary cinema in its own right. Nolan had done something unheard of. He took a superhero franchise that was treated as a cheesy and twisted plot with no real meaning or purpose, and made it into something more entirely. He made it a Legend. And How !!
 
Batman Begins was about Bruce Wayne, coming to terms with his fears and violent emotions and discovering that his purpose in Gotham City was much more than providing resources to the poor. The death of his parents consuming him with anger ultimately makes him be a part of the very underworld responsible for his parents death. With the help of Ras-Al-Ghul and the League of Shadows, he understands that he has to become a symbol. A symbol that strikes fear in the heart of the villains and that inspires the poor and the weak. At its core, the movie offered so much insight to the origins of Batman and immediately made us empathize with his fear and pain. Batman Begins was all about the transformation from a seething and stormy young man to a symbol that evokes awe and fear.
 
Epic Cave Scene (Batman Begins)
3 years later, the world met the likes of a dastardly Joker never before portrayed with such intensity and madness as Heath Ledger did (you are sorely missed!). The Dark Knight brought alive the age-old clash between Batman and his most deadly arch nemesis – The Joker. Taking cinema and the Batman franchise to new heights, The Dark Knight blew us all away! Nolan with his trademark subtle touches to key characters (Two face) ensured that we understood that there are some people in this world who just want to watch the World burn. Brrrrrrrrrrr ! Freaky! But TDK wasn’t about the Batman, it was about the Joker. The influence of “Batman – The Killing Joke” is visible throughout! A convincing plot, bullet proof screenplay, intense dialogues, spectacular live action, and a lifting sound score easily made this one of the best movies of the 21st Century. Period.

Oscar worthy scene! Brrrrrr

And when a third instalment was announced, speculations arose like never before! Who could be the next villain? How can anyone top the unmatched and unparalleled onscreen intensity portrayed by Heath Ledger? What could the plot be? Bla bla bla bla. That was the day the world lost its mind. Christopher Nolan is a household name now. Critics rose and took notice of this brilliant mind (Memento, Prestige and Inception) and acknowledged the fact that he had a herculean task in hand. But as we Nolan fans say, “In Nolan we trust!” He just can’t go wrong! Never!

And so it was announced that the villain would be Bane played by Tom Hardy (see Warrior) and that Catwoman would be played by Anne Hatheway (Critics can eat their old shoes now). It was also announced that this would the epic conclusion of The Dark Knight Trilogy. But no! How could this be? Fans wanted him to keep churning Batman movies. But it was made clear that it had to end with one last hurrah!
 
Dey Shay Bah Sah Rah!
As said earlier, The Dark Knight Rises is sheer brilliance. With a hulking villain who not only matches Batman mentally but also puts the strength of the Bat to the task. All those toe to toe fight sequences between Batman and Bane is pure adrenaline rush! And to finish it, Nolan neatly wraps up the loose ends and creates a sense of euphoria and nostalgia that made me wish the series would never end. The Dark Knight Rises is about Batman once again and more importantly about Bruce Wayne, his struggle to overcome his demons and his steel will to save the very people who have outlawed him.

Not Everything. Not Yet.

All in all, TDKR is an experience not to be missed! Put aside the minor flaws and you won’t be disappointed! The Joker and Bane are two completely different kinds of villain. One is an insane, yet cunning mastermind. The other is a harbinger of doom and terror.

The climax alone would show why Nolan is a great film maker and screen play writer! (I’m not saying anything more!) Thank you Nolan brothers! Through you, we have seen and experienced depthful characters immortalized on the big screen! And thank you for showing this world that there is no audience for brain-dead and cheesy cinema!
 
Christopher Nolan, you’re not the hero we deserved, but the one we needed!
 
(Screen fades to black. Hans Zimmer’s music booms)

Nolan Makes His Mark !

I cannot do justice to the ‘Christopher Nolan’s Die Hard Fan’ tag if i don’t talk about Nolan can i? And with great pleasure, I’m happy to share with you all that Christopher Nolan has been honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles! (see below)

 
(L – R) Anne Hathaway, Sir Michael Caine, Christopher Nolan and Joseph Gordon Lewitt – Huffington Post
This officially makes Nolan part of the other legends of Hollywood right from the 1920s who made their handprints here!! So cool right?? What with The Dark Knight Rises around the corner and the anxious nail-biting wait until then, this is truly a moment to rejoice for us Nolan fans!
 
Christian Bale (Batman), Morgan Freeman and the awesome Gary Oldman (See Leon the Professional) – Huffington Post
Frankly I’ve not seen any more than the first two official trailers of TDKR. I went in to see The Dark Knight with ZERO knowledge about the film’s plot and characters, and man o man what a ride it was! Heath Ledger should have lived to see the impact he made through that film! Rumors are rife about a Batman Reboot in 2015, but wait. Seriously? After the awesome makeover by Nolan, can anyone else live up to the challenge? I don’t think so.
 
Thank you Nolan for all the wonderful movies you have given us! Sans the typical mindless action and aimless plots (if any) that some (not all) of today’s English movies have. It would have been awesome if you had opted to do a fourth batman movie just to amp the excitement quotient and for the sake of good cinema!
 
As a Batman fan, i really hope TDKR kicks ass !
 
And you who is reading this, Do NOT miss this movie for anything!!

When Shit Happens

Minding their business

It was God’s creation. An abundant species. With a jet black body, eyes like white marbles and coupled with an incessant sound, it circles the high skies…watching…waiting…and preparing to strike at the opportune moment. Yes, you would have figured out by now that i’m referring to that nasty and vile creature: (No offence!)

THE CROW (caaw caaw, no not that horror movie)
 
Why so much angst you ask? Well, i’l have to rewind the clocks by 2 years to narrate this gooey story. (Alert! Do not read further if you do not like gross stuff and if you’re the Lord Labaku Das type!)

<<GOING BACK IN TIME>>

<<<March 2012..Zkkk Zkkk Zkkk.. -> November 2011..Zkkk Zkkk..-> January 2011..Zkkk Zkkk.. March 2010>>>

 
3 months into my first job, i was happy with the way things were turning out..And of course, being a lover of long distance biking, the journey from my home to my workplace was initially blissful. Why? Because i have a machine that loves me back as much as i love ‘her’. The Yam R15. The bike and i are one you know.
 
Anyway, so as always i park my bike outside the office (duh) and go to work (duh). This was the routine for the last 3 months. And then it happened..straight out of a Night Shyamalan Movie. There is a huge bla-bla tree outside the office that spans across half the street with its terrifying bark and branches..it sways and creaks to the winds and gives a terrifying effect when it gets dark in the evening..BUT. Among those branches and leaves, i could feel a 100 eyes watching me, the electric tension making the strands of hair on my head stand up. And there it was. Or should i say, there they were. Perched on the branches in perfect battle formation, they blessed me with a holy darshan of their bottoms..Shock. Realisation. The enormity of it all !
 
They were getting ready to drop the BIG GUNS! The adrenaline rush was incredible, time slowed down, just as how the environment is blurred while aiming down a target, all i could see were the sinister beaks and ready-to-drop behinds of these crows. The scrawny one 20 feet above me drew first blood, and that was the moment that changed my entire life..!
 
In Slow-Mo, i saw the white/yellow/brown gooey substance making its way down – to me. Reflexes numbed, and with zero reaction time, SPLAT!!!! and LO, i was anointed in holy kaka pee (crow shit in Tamil). I swear i heard that sonofagun say “You want a piece of me punk?!”
 
Shaken by the attack, i prayed that the madness would stop. But no..the Others. They wanted to relieve some of the pent-up frustration too. And suddenly, 6 crows made a coordinated strike by trying to box me in a turtle formation and another 3 swooped down like B2 Bombers..! After all the chaos and after the poop splattering spree, i was shocked to see that my bike was completely bathed in fresh golden poop! and i was left with minimal damage to my shoulders and feet! AAARGHH!
The Black Beast (the bike) was now a dalmation dog!
Everyday, like clockwork the battalion of crows would do “Poop Visarjan/Pee Abhishegam” on my bike and i’l have to get down and dirty and clean the mess up! EVERY SINGLE DAY.

So what is the deal with these crows huh? Why is that they get such sadistic pleasures in defacing innocent humans, inanimate vehicles or those poor freedom fighters (the statues ofc)? And why is that these creatures sit on high altitude places and poop? Is it because they want to make an ‘impact’ ?! Would it hurt if they just sat on some wall or something and attended to their business?? Ah…alas i do not know the answers to these questions.


But i do know the reason why crows poop so much. That’s because they eat like pigs! So this is what i presume is there on their daily menu: 


6.00 AM : Wake Up. Crow for some time.

7.00 AM : Meet up with some of my homies. Group crowing sessions begin. (Need the exercise)
8.00 AM : Fly to the nearest temple. Grab a bite of the holy offerings.
9.30 AM : Fly to Brahmin Household with homies. Eat into the carb rich ghee + pappu mammam (rice) left for us. (We crows are your ancestors you see)
10.45 AM : Fly to the nearest butcher shop. Dig into those delicious leftovers. Caaw Caaw (Yum Yum)
1.30 PM : Ah! is that a dead rat i see? Scavenging Time! Caaw Caaw (Double Yum)
3.30 PM : Fly to Corporation Dumpyard with more buddies. Ah this is the mother lode! Eat eat eat!
5.30 PM : Hmm, stomach rumbling, must loosen up bowels. Must find comfortable tree.
6.00 PM : <<Perched atop THE tree>>
6.15 PM : All homies get excited! Caaw Caaw Caaw (Look look! Jayanth’s shiny bike! Lets have some fun boys!) Instructions from Group Leader <> <> <> <<let ’em=”” have=”” it=””>> SWooooooosshh!! SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT!!
6.30 PM : Ahhh..whate relief. Lets scram boys.
6.45 PM : Jayanth leaves from work. Looks outside. Bile outburst. End of Story.

Yep, this is exactly what must be happening on a daily basis. Bottomline: Crows love to poop on unsuspecting people and objects.


And me? I have been diagnosed with severe Aerial Avian Coprophobia ! 


<<In the background, a dropping sound is heard..too late.SPLAT!>>


Damn you crow!!
P.S – Once again, a super-duper ultra thanks to Sandhya Prabhat for the extremely awesome cartoon! This post is definitely incomplete without the pictorial support from her. (She will soon teach the existing gurus a thing or two in the future)If you liked this post, just share or e-mail it to your friends!

To read my other post with Sandhya’s cartoon, see A Place to Be Naked.


About Sandhya:

Sandhya Prabhat is from Chennai, India. She is a freelance illustrator and animator, and has finished her MFA in Animation and Digital Arts in NYU Tisch Asia School of the Arts, Singapore. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Stella Maris College, Chennai. She also enjoys reading, writing and appreciates good vegetarian food. She is currently utilising 100% of her brain for multiple projects for several clients. 

No, she does not have a blog yet but hopes to have one soon. 


She can be reached at sandhya.22@gmail.com