It's one of the funniest movies in Tamil. Even as a kid I laughed so hard when I first saw the movie, probably around 1990. I found the movie online and started watching it again. Among a lot of new surprises from my first time viewing, I picked up some ridiculously funny expressions. It's not just the comic timing, but the use of language, acting etc from a historical perspective. The movie is over half century old, you can see that a lot of things have changed since then. But some of the 'changes' catch you off guard. One of the parts that totally cracked me up was this (In case you don't have the time to watch it yourself):

There are two Sabapathys: the young 'master' and his slightly older servant. The servant is a bit of crackpot -- a bit more than the 'master'. Sabapathy and his mother visit the 'would be' bride's place with the servant accompanying them. They reach the place and as they get down from the car they hear someone dancing upstairs (bharathnatiyam it would seem). At this point the exchange goes:

Servant: amma, edho thevudiya kacheri nadakudhu
mother: edho vishesham pola irukku, nalla sagunam dhan

The word thevudiya--which is now more than derogatory and often bleeped--is used again, rather casually, in another scene that follows immediately. If you want to watch just this part, click on this link and slide it to 35 minutes. You can watch the entire movie from here.

Aside: The link between the word thevudiya and bharathnatiyam may be understood from this interesting post on the movie Arangetram.


Based on some superficial research and a lot of painful experience, I want to say that maida and 'all purpose flour' are not the same. Maida has some minor percentage (I don't know exactly what %) of tapioca flour mixed in it, making it more elastic when made into a dough. Maida is also quite finer and whiter than 'all purpose flour'. Although the difference may seem insignificant, you'll feel the difference in the outcome of many dishes; especially when you try to make South-Indian style parottas. So all you cooking enthusiasts please start making this distinction in your recipes. Please don't continue with your dubious ingredients list and give others a hard time.

What prompted this post? The Patel guy who owns the Indian store where I buy my stuff, sold me a bag of 'all purpose flour' crudely labeled as maida. This is not the same pack I usually buy, so I ask if it's actually maida? He first argues that they are both the same. I almost refuse to buy this new bag because I get a strong feeling that, with the increase in wheat price and everything, they no longer export maida from India. And this guy just made his own little bags out of the regular 'all purpose flour'. Anyway, I bought it, got it home and got screwed up 'ceylon parottas'; disappointing my Sri Lankan friends and embarrassing myself.

PS. Both 'all purpose flour' and maida aren't the best food products for "healthy" eating.

Jodhaa Akbar

I tried to download the movie a day after its release and much to my annoyance it turned to be a fake torrent. Well, there was another movie in its place -- Super Star. I did, however, get the actual movie yesterday. After watching it, I so wished that the second download was a fake too.

The fact that this movie has been lauded as one of the greatest in recent times just shows the perversion in the mainstream consumption of mainstream art forms, especially movies[1]. It happened among Tamil cinema viewers in the last decade. When the dearth of 'good' movies and pseudo-critiques in TV created an illusion of differentiating the 'good' from the 'bad'. Of course, the need to put down the Other -- non-Tamil movies, especially Hindi -- effectively blurred the viewers possible 'objective' assessment of a movie further. Veyyil and Paruthi Veeran are lauded ubiquitously, almost (Paruthi Veeran is also "going places")[2].

I wonder if the same phenomenon has caught up with the Hindi movie viewers as well. The need to "have something on par with Hollywood". I'm not as surprised by a few "critics" on TV because they are known to be cronies of one faction or the other. After all, they need someone for their 'Grope a star' kind of shows. But the mainstream viewer's enthusiasm to suck up, in this context, is slightly disturbing. They are either gleefully buying into the false binaries created by the TV hosts (Hrithik can act, Sunil Shetty cannot. Aishwarya Rai looks like a feathered turkey, but she looks stunning etc.) or they are caught in some kind of self imposed binary. To choose between national pride, supposedly represented by this "great Indian movie", and being an American boot-licker.

The reason one likes this movie cannot probably oversimplified like above, but who cares? When one likes an oversimplication like Jodhaa Akbar, he/she better be prepared undergo the same treatment.

1. To quote from one of my previous posts: the perversion is not in the consumption per se, but how it's perceived. Ex: when a health expert appears on TV and starts explaining the benefits of consuming 500ml Pepsi everyday.
2. Read this interesting column by Sudhir Mishra


Dhoni is probably the worst batsman the Indian team has had in the last 5, 6 years. Whenever I talk about Sachin I say, "he brings in so much life and flavour to the game" at one point or the other. I think the opposite can be said about Dhoni. Everything becomes ugly and embarrassing. His unwieldy stroke-play, lack of technique -- ewww, this kind of cricket is probably fun to play; like in under-arm cricket at your 600x800 ft terrace, but it's so painful to watch. That's the way it has been since the day he stepped into the team (well, those days it was also his kuruvi koodu hair). But there was some hope that he'll be in and out, if not thrown out for good. No. What happened was the opposite -- he became the bloody captain. What's worse? Nobody in the media seemed to have a problem with that. Some even wanted him to be made the test captain. adhu seri.

A lot of people compare Afridi with Dhoni. There cannot be a bigger travesty. Afridi, as much as I hate him when he plays against India, is actually quite capable of playing decent cricket shots. This guy Dhoni, on the other hand, gives new meaning to the expressions "kaatan maadhiri", "kaatu adi" etc., (even that only when manages to send the ball to the boundary).

It's not so much his batting or the fact that he's been made the captain that irritates me, it's the unbelievable silence from the cricket commentators. Harsha came close to commenting on it, but chose to play it safe by asking Slater what the Australian cricketers thought about Dhoni's batting? The best that Slater could come up with was, "he's not the most orthodox player, but that's what is unique about him. The raw approach to the game." What?

Gavaskar to Shastri, none of them have a problem with the way he bats? Is this the big elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about? To top all this he has the nerve to assume self righteous authority when he talks. Who the hell said this moron is "humble"? "I could have a completed that run with my cramped leg"? Can you be a bigger asshole than this?

Disclaimer: some quotes may not be exact.

Found this

I spend no less than an hour on youtube, everyday. I thought I'll share this video here. These guys are awesome (of course, only if you like random humour).

The solution

I was running through a few comments for an article in a news website and an annoying exchange caught my attention for a brief moment. Because this is a common phenomenon, the site or the article is not really important. This is the pattern:
person 1: As long as we have blah blah blah, India will never improve (or something like that)
person 2: (in reply to person 1) It's easy to point fingers/criticize, but what's your solution?

I hate person 2, just as much as person 2 hates person 1. Maybe I hate person 2 a little more. As I've been asked this question several times and I've answered it a few times myself elsewhere, I'll mention it here. (It's often two stupid men, so let's go with that gender.) Why is he so obsessed with a solution? As if "solution" is the only problem. Except for a number of "purely" scientific questions, almost all other economic, political, sociological issues have been reasonably analyzed and 'answered' one way or the other. Only that the said answer, or "solution", if you will, would often exist as a moot point. So the "solution" is simply pushed aside and the queries are "analyzed" again with false teleologies; meanwhile funding certain brown men to upload cooking videos in youtube.

Applied, mutated versions of Marx's socialism to unapplied, much romanticized versions of anarcho-syndicalism, none of them can be a "solution" to anything. For the very notion of "solution" is inherently flawed, at least in the socio-political context. It can only exist and operate from within a continuum that transfigures the status-quo with respect to the new entry -- "solution" -- into the hitherto itself. And status-quo can't be anything but a problem, can it?

Anyway, you might want to ask, "so why is person 1 more agreeable than person 2?"
Well, person 1 is pissed off, and he wants to put his testosterone into an activity that will stop him from breaking his neighbor's wind pipe -- like, playing football, basketball or simply "whacking off" to porn (or "point fingers" in a blog). Person 2, wants to be the neighbor who wants to incriminate an innocent civilian to feed his masochism. Who would you rather?

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