Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  Sakalakala Vallavar on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:27 pm

There are some instances where he shows brahmins in good light too. Dasavatharam Paatti is an example, "போடா போடா ஜாதிப்பிசாசே"

And most of us believe in the common notion that if he shows a muslim villain, he, suddenly, withut wasting a minute, shows another good muslim paralally. But in Hey raam, the tailor Aarif was for most time shown as a bad guy and kamal even murders him. Only in the mid of the 2nd part comes Amjad who changes Saketh Ram's mind.

So if we really do good research in his films, we can find he is actually somewhat balanced etc. But in real life, rarely he kinda falters like, "அண்டா நிறைய பிரியாணி போட்டா தான் உங்க சகோதரன் நான் சமாதானமாவேன்" Same time, if u ask him, he may say, "அவங்க என் படம் வரும் முன்னாடியே தடுக்க பாக்குறாங்க, பேரலலா இன்னொரு சென்சார் போர்ட் போல நடந்துக்க பாக்குறாங்க, இது ஒரு அபாயகரமான ட் ரெண்ட், இதை இப்படிப்பேசித்தான் ஆஃப் பண்ணனும்"

Reg Christianity, i don't think if there is a big plot he cud sketch, except the பாதிரியார்கள் involving in women affairs and rapes, and the conversion et all. But he does show bad christians, Fletcher, Bussu etc. And wait for VR too!

One shud not forget that UPO actually irritated muslims such that Director amir took few muslim bloggers to kamal, to discuss abt the issue.

http://adiraipost.blogspot.in/2009/10/2_20.html
http://adiraipost.blogspot.in/2009/10/blog-post_15.html
http://adiraipost.blogspot.in/2009/10/blog-post_18.html
http://dondu.blogspot.in/2009/10/blog-post_19.html
http://dondu.blogspot.in/2009/10/2.html

But with all this, i could not find the exact color of this guy. I know it is surely neither Black nor white but gray. But again there are many shades of grey too, right?!

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  Bala (Karthik) on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:32 pm

My Christian friend's sentiments were hurt after he watched MMKR, - Why does the baddie have to be a Christian? True to Tamil film tradition - Christians are smugglers and easy women

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  Bala (Karthik) on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:34 pm

Nala Damayanti broke many a Christian Australian heart

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  Sakalakala Vallavar on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:36 pm

LOL LOL LOL!

whaat to do yaa! that level thinking only! (ennachonnen)

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  Bala (Karthik) on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:38 pm

Ismail, the only Muslim character in Guna - this, on the other hand made my orthodox relative very happy

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  jaiganesh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:59 pm

Bala (Karthik) wrote:My Christian friend's sentiments were hurt after he watched MMKR, - Why does the baddie have to be a Christian? True to Tamil film tradition - Christians are smugglers and easy women
avinga dhaan thirundhidraangaLe. aana avinga protestantaa catholicaa namakku theriyaadhuppa..

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  jaiganesh on Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:05 pm

B(K) post Hey Raam - oru trendu irukku (pesaradhu, characterisation) . adhula naan solra vagueness irukku. plus he joined DK after that.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  equanimus on Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:02 am

My problem here is with the very framework in which this debate is posited. Is Kamal really "anti-Hindu" or "anti-brahmin" i.e. has he really been radically critical of Hinduism or specifically the brahmin caste in ways others haven't been? I think the answer is not a simple 'yes' as it is made out to be. Sure, if it's a debate between all brahmins and no one else, they may exaggerate the most elementary of criticisms as extraordinary affronts on their religion/caste. Here's a simple question to ponder. Even if you go by simple anecdotal reactions to Kamal's films from various people, eththanai Muslims or Christians vandhu Kamal-aip pArAttirukkAnga?! So on what basis is all offended Hindus/brahmins ranting off about his soft corners for other religions. If he has genuinely had more affectionate portrayals of people from other religions/castes, surely, they must also be talking about it?!

eththanai padaththula Muslim or Christian characters irundhirukkAnga? iyaRkai-nnu oru padam, ippa nIrppaRavai. idhulallAm irukkuRa mAdhiri oru Christian community-yai portray paNNirukkARa? Any significant portrayal of Muslims, their problems and so on? dasAvathAram padaththula varRa oru caricature-ai paththiyE pEsittu irukkap pORIngaLA? Any significant portrayal of Dalits in his films?!

When it comes to Kamal, idhu mAdhiri sila pEsapporutkaL irundhuttE irukku. He's supposed to be an unambiguous Periyarist but what then is with the pan-Indian ambition that's been on for decades? (I'm not saying there's an inherent contradiction, but the way these offended folks box him as a Periyarist, DK-sympathiser and so on, one'd expect him to not so much as touch Hindi cinema with a bargepole?!)

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  equanimus on Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:15 am

And most important of all, oru entire history-yE inga thavirkkappadudhu. (I wouldn't be this reductive here had the debate been more grounded in reality.) To put it bluntly, right from the beginning, Kamal has been (and still is to a large extent) the darling of the brahmins! So what are we even talking about? To this day, his stories revolve around upper caste Hindus and are entangled in Hindu mythology and so on. idhai eppadi purinjukkaRadhu? What exactly is radical about him then? America-la racism/middle-east politics paththip pEsaRa Hollywood padangaL ellAm anti-American-nu solla mudiyumA? adhu mAdhiri dhAn irukku idhu.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  plum on Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:20 am

Equar - very perceptive posts. Very happy to even read such a debate. Thanks to grouch and V_S for creating this forum and making intelligent discussions possible!

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  equanimus on Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:42 am

Here I'm not criticising Kamal per se. On some counts, I am, but this is not an 'appraisal' of his body of work from my side. My intention here is to put things in perspective cut the debate down to size. I think he's made some films which are quite (to an extent) radical departures in terms of their politics but it must be said even that is within the context/framework of the framework of (Tamil) mainstream cinema i.e. it is done in some broad strokes that is characteristic of mainstream cinema and never so specific in terms of identity politics and so on as this debate seems to suggest.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  equanimus on Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:37 pm

Bala (Karthik) wrote:Comparable situation la (solla vendiyirundhaalum) Christian-a eduthukitta paravalla nu solluvaara therila. Kandippa Indhu-va eduthukka vida maattaar
Sure, but the key here is comparable situation. andha mAdhiri oru comparable situation (Hindu/brahmin identity oru problem-A irukkuRa mAdhiri social spaces) is only hypothetical illaingaLA?
Bala (Karthik) wrote:
equanimus wrote:
Bala (Karthik) wrote:Why does he bother to explain and reach out so much otherwise?
I believe that's because he respects some of these concerns that are expressed.
அதத்தாங்க நானும் சொல்றேன். ஏன் இந்து/பார்பன concerns-a (இந்த அளவு) கண்டுக்கறது இல்ல? Like i said, oru velai naan affinity-nu sonnadhunaala 'blind' a (Islam-a) support panraaru nu imply panna maadhiri irukko....
Oh I see where you're coming from. I meant, he thinks these concerns about his work are relevant and need to be addressed with respect. As you said earlier, concerns from various Hindu groups are trivial in comparison, so he doesn't pay heed to them. And I didn't interpret affinity as blind support, but more like some especial personal affection/concern -- which, as I've tried to elaborate in the previous posts, he doesn't exhibit in his films.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  plum on Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:17 pm

Interesting set of posts on Hey Ram by Geno and P_R there. geno tends to be paranoid and ironically, while making a valid point that the Ramar khaiber kanavai dialogue is a point about "who is not an outsider", he interpretes it as Kamal means Dravidians only insiders rest all outsiders, which kind of is clearly against what Hey Ram says as P_R eloquently pointed out.

ingE joe illai irundhA interestingA discuss paNNalAM.
- I do see Tamil nationalists evoking the bogey of muslims and aryans are all outsiders only we are true sons of soil. This is particularly so from the SL Tamil side, where, interestingly, tamil nationalism doesnt seem to be inclusive of muslims. An interesting dynamic, that.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  equanimus on Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:27 am

Yes, interesting stuff. I was also following that exchange (and have read some of their earlier exchanges too) and subsequently chipped in as well.

My posts:
http://www.mayyam.com/talk/showthread.php?10099-**-UlagaNaayagan-UlagaiyE-Kalakka-Varum-Viswaroopam-**&p=990967&viewfull=1#post990967
http://www.mayyam.com/talk/showthread.php?10099-**-UlagaNaayagan-UlagaiyE-Kalakka-Varum-Viswaroopam-**&p=991185&viewfull=1#post991185

Actually this also sort of ties into the argument I was making here a couple of days ago. I was simultaneously reading that thread and I guess my reaction had a bit of that as well. Smile

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  kid_glove on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:41 pm

Geno might have argued it's more than a footnote, in stead of getting defensive, which is of course the natural recourse of Dravidian politics in Social media, a little paranoid of where the opposition is going to come from.

I don't think significance and level of extent to which someone dwells on something, as the absolute qualifier of ideology & politics. Sometimes, the absence is more potent, a singular gesture or framing is evocative enough. Of course, the film isn't about who the truly indigenous people are, but Saket-Amjad (and their respective sides) are not. We begin with both already framed to be in "trenches", with pair of skeletons, always caught up on opposition sides in the sands of time, only that the "homeland", the meaning & the very veracity of it, is different. The film could be about so many different things, it's not like both would have to be mutually exclusive. After having gone through that discussion, I find there's an agreement that the film is informed by the Dravidian politics, but I'm kind of confused why fight over 'central concerns', centrality is overrated anyway. And it's not like Online Obscurantists like Satyamshots haven't based a lot of their thoughts on peripheral artefacts, which isn't wrong in my eyes, Geno isn't alone in extrapolation, We all do it. Geno, in particular, plays Agent Provocateur of that forum, it's his role to affront and pique a discussion.


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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  equanimus on Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:56 pm

k-g,
Well, the actual debate was about central concerns. Or at least so it seemed to me. Geno's disagreement with P_R was about how he's missing the "Bigger Picture" of the film and so on. I felt, on the contrary, it was Geno who was missing the big picture. At least, between the two, PR's assessment, I think, is more about the film. Otherwise I also don't see (as I've stated there) what the debate is.

And I was not/am not arguing it is necessarily about the extent to which the film dwells on something. That's why I put all these as questions to Geno, not definitive statements. If Geno clarifies how these are more than footnotes, I'd be glad to update my views on the film. And that I call these "footnotes" does not at all mean it is not an essential part of the film or even somewhat insignificant. These undercurrents are key to the film (thoughtfully done as I've repeatedly insisted), as are many other moments, and its overall politics/perspective is constructed based on such elements.

I've tried to delineate in the last post how I think the film views the whole rise of religious fundamentalism from the vantage point of Dravidian politics. It is a bit different from some of the things Geno implies (as I understand them) about the film.

And again, my responses to Geno ties into my argument here about overstating (sometimes in a way that narrows down) Kamal's politics. If one of Kamal's primary concern was to make this sort of a polemic ("you dont even belong here!"), isn't it important to represent all sorts of other people who also constitute and complete India? Where are the Dalits, for instance? These are important questions in an overarching sense for that sort of a polemic. In this context, let me highlight a couple of points Qalandar has made in the post I linked to:
Qalandar wrote:The ‘conversation’ in this film takes place within the Hindu ideological matrix (not every Hindu is on the right in this film) much as Munich concerns itself with the Jewish side of the equation. At the same time there is a small echo of that conversation on the Muslim side (if more hurried and therefore a bit more superficial) of the equation at the end when Kamal is saved by SRK.
Qalandar wrote:I don’t see Hey Ram as the “both did it” sort of film at all. Rather, I see Kamal as having given us one of the most ethically challenging Indian movies in years. In his film, no Hindu kills a character the audience cares about the way Rani Mukherjee is raped and murdered by her Muslim tailor — i.e. adding betrayal to the list of sins. The film is framed in this way PRECISELY to drive home the message that the “point” is not calculation (”everyone did it”, and hence x = y or x is as bad as y) but ETHICS (”recognizing that my wife has been raped and murdered by her tailor, what is to be done?”). I read Dev as making a similar sort of inquiry, although Hey Raam is cinematically far beyond it (indeed, on the evidence of Hey Ram and Virumaandi, I think Kamal is one of our finer directors, and I wish he would make more films).
This is an important distinction to make to even access the film in precise terms IMO. But it's exactly this sort of thing that remains left unsaid when it comes to Kamal and we never go beyond some elementary assessments (true but rather platitudinous) of the film.

I'd extend this argument to some of Kamal's other films as well, where again Kamal's accomplishment in terms of the films' politics is often overstated thus also at times off the mark.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  kid_glove on Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:16 pm

Geno's militant insistence that P_R's reading to have missed the 'bigger picture', very symptomatic of him, I'm not surprised. I'd not take the effrontery seriously.

I didn't find Geno's argument to be that elementary, or platitudinous. KH's politics could be daunting to read for whole lot of folks. Geno genuinely attempts to read KH's position on certain matters (in film and in write-ups, interviews, etc) that aligns with his own preferred ideological position. Which is still something of an achievement. It didn't go down a more simplistic route, as is the case with the binary reaction these days.

Ultimately, Geno has served the purpose of opening up the film to be viewed in a slightly different light.

Could you explain why you think 'THE ONES WHO BELONG HERE' to be important to dwell on "YOU(WE) DON'T BELONG HERE!'? I feel it's still as legitimate and valid in absence of, uh, let's say, Dalits.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  equanimus on Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:43 pm

Oh I was referring to the usual generic write-ups that one gets to see on the film when I said "elementary assessments (true but rather platitudinous) of the film." The ones that don't go beyond the basic assessment that the film is a cry against religious fundamentalism and so on. Things get complicated when you take a closer look at the film. Like for instance Qalandar's point about "[the ‘conversation’ in the film taking place] within the Hindu ideological matrix." This is quite evident in the film (at least I've always sensed this) but it's primarily been discussed only in dense academic articles (like Ravi Vasudevan's) as far as I've seen. At least, I saw it being mentioned in a film review the first time only when I read Qalandar's review. Not sure about you, I find Qalandar's argument very compelling.

Geno's viewpoint is of course on the other end of the spectrum where he/she reads the film in too narrow/specific a sense. I'm not even sure I fully understand how he/she means to elaborate his point about "you dont even belong here!" I mean, assume the film make this point (according to his/her reading) but to what end?

And as an aside, like I've noted already, Geno's views are also odd here in the sense that he/she reads the film from a very specific ideological position (nothing at all wrong with it) and comes out actually praising the film (nothing at all wrong with this either)! Most other reviews I've read of strict ideologues have been thoroughly critical of the film.

kid_glove wrote:Could you explain why you think 'THE ONES WHO BELONG HERE' to be important to dwell on "YOU(WE) DON'T BELONG HERE!'? I feel it's still as legitimate and valid in absence of, uh, let's say, Dalits.
I bring up the question of Dalits not because they're 'THE ONES WHO BELONG HERE.' I'm not interested in positing such a binary in the first place. (I can't say for sure but, going by Geno's posts, it looks like he/she is interested in it even if mildly.) Actually I am not making a theoretical point here ("oh but why does the film not show everyone else?") just to negate the reading! I brought it up because Dalits (and other oppressed castes) were part of the massive human population exchange that happened during partition. The partition was obviously not an event where the powerful upper caste Hindus and the powerful Muslims killed only each other. So if a film is specifically concerned about the oppressed lot who were silent but suffering witnesses to both these groups, I'd expect it to include them too in its sprawling narrative. Again let's not make this a theoretical exercise. I'm not saying "something has to literally be there in a film for it to be effectively evoked in the viewer's mind" or anything like that. Mine is just a spontaneous response to the reading that the film specifically implicates both the upper caste Hindus and Muslims as "Outsiders" who "have completely razed down any Space for Indigenous cultures in India" and whose "Organized Religion has killed the Tribal Spirit/Spiritualism and Space for ethnic cultural ethos to root and nurture." My question is, how exactly is this substantiated in the film?

If you look around, serious works on the partition like Nihalani's (Bhisham Sahni's) Tamas or Manto's stories are set in specific milieus and give a far more specific picture, and do dwell on sufferers who had no voices of their own that could be heard. Actually, this (the comparison point) is primarily where I am coming from. In this sense, Hey! Ram is the oddball piece of work whose epic canvas and (relatively) broad strokes (that's more a characteristic of mainstream cinema) accommodates only archetypes of crucial figures in the then "big" picture of India at large. Which is why, I'd argue, the film is also largely populated with characters hailing from various elite backgrounds.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  Bala (Karthik) on Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:14 am

equanimus wrote:My problem here is with the very framework in which this debate is posited. Is Kamal really "anti-Hindu" or "anti-brahmin" i.e. has he really been radically critical of Hinduism or specifically the brahmin caste in ways others haven't been? I think the answer is not a simple 'yes' as it is made out to be. Sure, if it's a debate between all brahmins and no one else, they may exaggerate the most elementary of criticisms as extraordinary affronts on their religion/caste. Here's a simple question to ponder. Even if you go by simple anecdotal reactions to Kamal's films from various people, eththanai Muslims or Christians vandhu Kamal-aip pArAttirukkAnga?! So on what basis is all offended Hindus/brahmins ranting off about his soft corners for other religions. If he has genuinely had more affectionate portrayals of people from other religions/castes, surely, they must also be talking about it?!
I'm speaking for others but i think the framework of their debate is specifically restricted to their specific questions. They are just not interested in these bigger questions or patterns. "எங்கள/நம்மள கேட்ட மாதிரி அவங்களையும்/அவாளையும் கேக்கணும்"

equanimus wrote:
eththanai padaththula Muslim or Christian characters irundhirukkAnga? iyaRkai-nnu oru padam, ippa nIrppaRavai. idhulallAm irukkuRa mAdhiri oru Christian community-yai portray paNNirukkARa? Any significant portrayal of Muslims, their problems and so on? dasAvathAram padaththula varRa oru caricature-ai paththiyE pEsittu irukkap pORIngaLA? Any significant portrayal of Dalits in his films?!

When it comes to Kamal, idhu mAdhiri sila pEsapporutkaL irundhuttE irukku. He's supposed to be an unambiguous Periyarist but what then is with the pan-Indian ambition that's been on for decades? (I'm not saying there's an inherent contradiction, but the way these offended folks box him as a Periyarist, DK-sympathiser and so on, one'd expect him to not so much as touch Hindi cinema with a bargepole?!)
Fair points!

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  Bala (Karthik) on Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:16 am

^ their debate -> 'our' debate Laughing

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  kid_glove on Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:40 am

equanimus wrote:Geno's views are also odd here in the sense that he/she reads the film from a very specific ideological position (nothing at all wrong with it) and comes out actually praising the film (nothing at all wrong with this either)! Most other reviews I've read of strict ideologues have been thoroughly critical of the film.

But isn't it more refreshing than the other ideo-centric reviews that buttress it to a paranoiac, 'Oh MY GOD, HE is AGAINST US!!'.

kid_glove wrote:Could you explain why you think 'THE ONES WHO BELONG HERE' to be important to dwell on "YOU(WE) DON'T BELONG HERE!'? I feel it's still as legitimate and valid in absence of, uh, let's say, Dalits.
I bring up the question of Dalits not because they're 'THE ONES WHO BELONG HERE.' I'm not interested in positing such a binary in the first place. (I can't say for sure but, going by Geno's posts, it looks like he/she is interested in it even if mildly.) Actually I am not making a theoretical point here ("oh but why does the film not show everyone else?") just to negate the reading! I brought it up because Dalits (and other oppressed castes) were part of the massive human population exchange that happened during partition. The partition was obviously not an event where the powerful upper caste Hindus and the powerful Muslims killed only each other. So if a film is specifically concerned about the oppressed lot who were silent but suffering witnesses to both these groups, I'd expect it to include them too in its sprawling narrative. Again let's not make this a theoretical exercise. I'm not saying "something has to literally be there in a film for it to be effectively evoked in the viewer's mind" or anything like that. Mine is just a spontaneous response to the reading that the film specifically implicates both the upper caste Hindus and Muslims as "Outsiders" who "have completely razed down any Space for Indigenous cultures in India" and whose "Organized Religion has killed the Tribal Spirit/Spiritualism and Space for ethnic cultural ethos to root and nurture." My question is, how exactly is this substantiated in the film?

If you look around, serious works on the partition like Nihalani's (Bhisham Sahni's) Tamas or Manto's stories are set in specific milieus and give a far more specific picture, and do dwell on sufferers who had no voices of their own that could be heard. Actually, this (the comparison point) is primarily where I am coming from. In this sense, Hey! Ram is the oddball piece of work whose epic canvas and (relatively) broad strokes (that's more a characteristic of mainstream cinema) accommodates only archetypes of crucial figures in the then "big" picture of India at large. Which is why, I'd argue, the film is also largely populated with characters hailing from various elite backgrounds.

You questioned and answered it yourself.

Your last line of the last paragraph is what he is, as a filmmaker. He is self-critical, without having to invoke the other, without having to substantiate. The key here is "What's the brouhaha.. WE(from vantage point of Saket) DON'T BELONG HERE" (without having to make that the key strand of the film, but still quite essential). I'm not quite comfortable with 'don't belong here', it is little more complex about 'WHERE WE BELONG TO' (and what is Homeland), but I wouldn't quibble over semantics much here. I think KH specifically maps it to the 'trenches' (resembling a war), and the pair of skeletons (from another war), 'this is where we come from'. But as students of archaeology and history, after evolution of so many thousand years, Saket-Amjad, good as friends, one would have to thrust a spear (never mind Mauser C96) to another's head. It's also quite troubling and pessimistic that the film smears Madras with communal riots in its present.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  kid_glove on Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:57 am

Why there's a shortage of Dalits in his films. Although he is very aware and concerned, he isn't comfortable taking it up and then fucking up. Dasa's caricature being a case in point. Besides of course, there are other communities and sects that he could claim to have known. And certain representations he could fuck up.

It's a bit like Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter, you'd rather not have Vietnamese be a meaningful presence than having them be and fuck it up. In fact, AN's *unknown* zone is mangled when there's an attempt to "know" (like Brando explaining the dehumanization in fictionalized act of Vietcong) and the film turns more problematic.

But I'm sympathetic towards offence taken at the former to be demeaning and disingenuous, almost denying their primal existence.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  Michael AF on Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:38 pm

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Very Happy

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  app_engine on Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:51 pm

Brilliant article by BRangan on Rajinikanth


Rajinikanth, then, is the last superstar.

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Re: Rajini and Kamal appreciation thread.

Post  groucho070 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:54 am

Excellent piece. Makes you sad though...not that there will never be another Superstar, I have always maintained that there is only one Kamal and Rajini, there won't be another. But the sadness that we are at the twilight of an era.

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