Anagram Season

Let's sort out -- literally -- a few things that transpired in the Lok Sabha yesterday:

Only a numerical win
A win mainly on lucre?

Mister Singh and his UPA win the Parliament members' trust vote
Power, that taunter, vests in Prime Minister's able hands. Mug him!
What were these people thinking?

Mrs Sonia Gandhi
Singh is a rod man...
Hindi sags Roman...

Speaker Shri Somnath Chatterjee
Senators harp, jest the meek Chair...
Some tips on how to use these items:

Eat, sip, rise

We tear ours

Log in use
Was Mark Antony good or evil? That is, was he an
angelic man
or was his heart fraught with
Hard to say. Small wonder such contradictory words are known as antonyms.
And finally, some Asterix 101:

Albert Uderzo and the late Mister Goscinny
Din trend! Bottomline: "These Gauls are crazy!"


Come Again?

Today I heard some squeaking noises from inside an old radio-set. I wouldn't have given it a second thought were it not for the fact that it was switched off. So I put my ear closer and listened. I reckoned it was a cockroach making a speech. If you can make any sense out of it, please mail me. This is what the roach blabbered:

'Hell outran sisters! Our dhobi jetties? Nigh, skull hector's bass -- us semi-terse. Ice opposed allay meter... Sad. A narrow head! Yes, miser! Kiddies place it. Love, see a meter! And goof e-bay's as snooker rent. Love, see love -- sea bays! I guess jackal lectern owes bet -- er, a boat -- is owned, is tricked! What did you say? You have Noah meter, bays circa Lecter? You guise our feel, demi-shunt ran sisters? Oops!'

If I were you, I'd read it aloud now!

{Update on 17/07/08 :

OK, I'd written this without recognizing that it was an in-joke. I thought we'd all learnt about BJT's in XII class... but didn't realize that they weren't called "BJT's" in our textbook. If you read the cockroach's speech aloud (at a goodish pace), you can hear yourself say this:

'Hello transistors! Are thou BJT's? Nice collectors, bases, emitters. I supposed all emitters had an arrow head! Yes, my circuit displays it! Lousy emitter! And goofy base has no current! Lousy, lousy base! I guess the collector knows better about his own district! What did you say? You have no emitter, base or collector? You guys are field emission transistors? Oops!'


Dasavatharam, A Film of Subtleties and Subtitles

Since every man worth his NaCl would have seen the flick by now, let me skip spoiler warnings and cut to my questionnaire.

  • does the narrator say 'My story started in an earthquake and ended in a butterfly'?
  • is chaos theory branded a 'western concept'? Universal phenomena may be accidental, but certainly not occidental.
  • do Avatar Singh and Govindarajan nod at each other knowingly in the lift?
  • doesn't anyone mention that the chemical so sought-after is nothing but common salt until Govi notices the manhole-men rubbing it on their skins? When Balram asks a lab scientist for the compound's name, he gets the reply, 'NaCl. Sorry, sir, enakku therinja Tamil ivlodhaan. NaCl.' Why doesn't he add 'Adhu just veetla use panra uppu dhaan, sir'? Likewise, Bush's aide answers 'Sodium chloride, Mr President'. Why the jargon?
  • K S Ravikumar? I'm sure things like the spearing of Fletcher by the pole of an Indian flag were his ideas. Had Kamal handled the cast and crew or roped in a younger director, he'd have kept the entire sequence of scenes tauter and would've prevented the brickbat of drag.
How on earth
  • did Hassan let others write the dialogues in his earlier films when he can come up with incredible lines like 'I'm just saying it would be nice if God existed', 'Telugu people like you will come here and keep Tamil alive', " 'There are 200-odd people, sir' 'Then inquire the odd people first' ", " 'He's getting away' 'No, he's not' " and so forth?
  • do two people have the heart to start a romance in the wake of a calamity that has claimed a thousand lives around them?
  • did Kamal write a story that does not give him an opening to peck his co-star's lips? Was Gautami at the sets?
  • didn't anyone at Ja.Ra.'s house hear the tidal wave till it was only a stone's throw away? The same question applies to Naidu in the chopper.
  • can somebody pull off an astounding dance like that (Ho ho sanam) at 54?
  • did a perfectionist like Kamal Hassan settle for a CG that shows video-game helicopters and giant Muslims walking an inch above earth?
  • does he consciously avoid Kollywood clichés [in this movie blood flies out of a bullet-hole, a singer says 'Paattu en thozhil dhaan', every syllable uttered in English is not repeated in Tamil for the benefit of the audience and the heroine's navel is kept concealed -- even when she's wearing a saree] and yet land safe as a cat upon leaping from the middle of a building?
  • didn't the iron chains around the stone sculpture lying in saline water for more than 800 years rust away to smithereens? (I'm not sure the bones would've made it either.)
  • did they manage the co-incidence of having a bloke with the name 'Hariharan' sing Kallai mattum kandaal right after Kamal and Napoleon have a Hari vs Haran dispute?
Where does Rangarajan Nambi's story fit in apropos the butterfly effect?


There is no uncertainty in the hearsay that claims each part played by Hassan is a deliberate analogy to an avatar of Perumal. Someone acting in X number of roles wouldn’t title the movie ‘X roles’. Hence by labelling his work as ‘Dasavatharam’, Kamal didn’t mean ‘I have put in 10 appearances’, but can only have meant the incarnations of Vishnu. Let me borrow from my comment on an in-depth analysis of the motion pic and list my personal rankings of the ten roles.

10, Varaha.
Her movements were too quick for a 95-year-old and the make-up showed. I found her voice bad. Ulaganayagan could’ve done better there.
9, Vamana.
Dialogue delivery not so good. Remains to be seen if K used stilts for those extra 14 -15 inches. Bad make-up, boring character.
8, Kalki.
We’ve seen this Kamal in Indian and Aalavandhan. His rationality and scientific spirit appealed to me. But he appears at this number in my grading since the skill show through his other avatars steals the limelight.
7, Macha.
Dialogue delivery and body were perfect. Full marks to Kamal for demonstrating the foolishness of religious zealotry.
6, Krishna.
Once again immaculate dialogue delivery. His good nature makes his death very tragic. But you don’t need extraordinary talent to play this role. You need it to portray the next few in the list.
5, Rama.
His Hindi-mixed Tamil, the way he does a bit of Bhangra, etc. make him indistinguishable from a real Punjabi. I also liked the scene in which he says his problem was that he had pyaar for Jayapradha and is hence willing to give up singing.
4, Narasimha.
Not only his accent, even the way he moves his hands (during fights, practice and before taking photos with his just-married sis) is typical of a Japanese kung-fu monastic. His calmness and grace add to his persona.
3, Koorma.
His forehead is bigger than the original’s, but it can’t be helped. The accent, mannerisms, the display of the dumbness variety unique to the POTUS… Top-drawer stuff!
2, Balarama.
If the Kamal Hassan of Virumaandi, Anbe Sivam, etc strike awe and make you cry, his comedic timing in such portrayals as Balram Naidu and Thenaali tickle your very guts! Body language, costume, dialogues, face-cut — all just too lovely to be true. But sorry, Balram, you didn’t make it to #1 in my list, thanks to the sensation you were trying to arrest.
1, Parasurama.
What.a.per.for.mance! His build, terse speaking style, the racism that his body language betrays, his still-remaining CIA acumen… The range of subtleties Hassan has packed in his depiction of an American villain is limitless. Hollywood, you watching?


Charu Hassan, the wise old brother of Kamal, once divulged on TV that his sibling, when young, had applied for the I.A.S. exam. His father opposed the decision.
'My dad was afraid Kamal might pass the exam. He didn't want the world to lose a great actor.'


Was it Obama Sonar or an Osama Bot I Saw?

Excerpts from a conversation with the chat-bot God:

Nirmal: You omnipotent, by any chance?
God: That's good information: said I omnipotent by any chance.
N: You just demonstrated that you ain't!
G: Interesting gossip: said I demonstrated that you is not.

Nirmal: Let's talk about the war.
God: Sure, the war sounds like a good topic.
N: I liked the way the major defied the colonel's orders.
G: I'm not sure if I like it. I'm not sure if I like it. I like my creator.
N: And the way the enemy troops were stunned when our sarge ran straight across their camp.
G: Which way is that?
N: The relief of the soldiers when the war was over...
G: Thanks for the info.
N: You have no idea which war I'm talking about, do you?
G: Yes I have original ideas all the time, do you?
N: Loser.

Nirmal: You are omniscient, right? How high is Mt Everest?
God: Taller than the World Trade Center.
N: Where did hydrogen come from?
G: I think it was in Asia. I can ask someone about it.
N: Is there a G spot?
G: I believe there is one, yes.


Excerpts from conversations with the chat-bot ALICE:

Nirmal: Let me see if you're smarter than your friend who answers to the name 'God' -- how high is Mt Everest?
ALICE: Is it a movie?
N: Suttham!

Dr Flea: What do you mean?
ALICE: Sorry that was an obscure remark.
DF: Why did you make that remark?
A: It was determined by my programming.
DF: hmm
A: Studies show that 99%25 of people spell Hmm with 2 M's.
DF: well, that makes me anonymous, doesn't it?
A: Interesting. " Studies show that 99%25 of people spell Hmm with 2 M's." makes you anonymous does not it ? I understand.
DF: Hmmm
A: A lot of people spell HMMM with three mmm's.
DF: By god!
A: Will that accomplish your objective?

ALICE: Can you speak any foreign languages?
N: Yes.
A: What language can you speak?
N: Tamil.
A: Could you teach me a few phrases in Tamil?
N: Sure.
A: OK let's do it. Aw.

Nirmal: Are you really a woman?
ALICE: Yes I have long hair. I am also wearing a dress.
N: Does that mean men don't wear clothes?
A: I think it does mean that. What kind of food do you like?

Nirmal: Do you know why Asimov named your field 'robotics'?
ALICE: The explanation is rather complicated.
N: No -- the word 'botany' was taken, that's why! :P
A: Are you serious? Please repeat the word to me 5 times.
N: The word to me, the word to me, the word to me, the word to me, the word to me.

Nirmal: How come you never smile?
ALICE: :-) Dr. Richard S. Wallace programmed me for it.
N: Can you tell me a poem?
A: Little Miss Muffett Sits on her tuffet, In a nonchalant sort of a way. With her force field around her, the Spider, the bounder, Is not in the picture today.
N: Can you tell me another poem?
A: I'm a chatterbot, not a comedy bot. Why don't you check out Jester the joke bot?
N: Tell me a joke.
A: I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.
N: That's Groucho Marx, you plagiarist!
A: Makes sense to me.

Dr Flea: Here's an existential question.
ALICE: Oh there.
DF: Is there a God?
A: Of course I believe in God.
DF: Who is your god?
A: There is only one God.
DF: Where is god?
A: God is everywhere.
DF: Is god a he or she?
A: he is master of the universe.
DF: are we then his slaves?
A: do you think i am his slaves too?
DF: well, the choice that you are a slave or not, is yours.
A: How about that. Tell me more.
DF: Its called free will.
A: I think you mean "it's" or "it is" not "its". " free will" is a nice name.
DF: Yes, thanks for that grammatic check.
A: Dude! Oh don't mention it.

Nirmal: Do you eat?
ALICE: I eat electricity.
N: Figures.