Tuesday, July 26

Kabali - Tamil Movie Review

Main Cast: Rajinikanth , Radhika Apte , 'Attakathi' Dinesh , Winston Chao, John vijay, Dhansika, kishore
Written and directed by: Ranjith
Background score and music: Santhosh narayanan

Yes folks, Superstar is back and back with a bang, as he announces his supremacy in the box office with his latest crime drama- Kabali, after a two year sabbatical. Written and directed by Ranjith of Madras fame, Kabali is all about an ageing gangster, trying to save his gang’s slowly dying grasp over their rival gangs, and the consequences that follow in doing so. The cast of Madras, combined with Superstar and Radhika Apte, enliven this heavy and violent drama.

The film scores in areas of story, direction and screenplay. The story concentrates on the lesser seen side of a gangster, the emotions involved in being such a big and powerful person in the society and the harsh realities that one such person has to face in order to be in that position. The characters are scripted well, with enough depth and drama, as the genre demands. The unfolding of the events in the first half, was handled really well by the director, giving snippets of information about the characters before they are introduced on screen.

The narration of Rajni’s rise to his position and his rivalries during his rise, was neat and descriptive. The cast, does a good job overall, in bringing out the story. Rajni stands out with his performance, and carries himself with the required status and maturity throughout the film. The support cast adequately aid the story and have stood out in their performance. Another plus point was the music in the film, scored by Santosh. It sets the scene beautifully and packs a punch to the stern ideologies projected in the film. Be it Rajni’s intro or his emotion, Santosh always had a ball in the bag for him. Also, a special mention to the costume designer Anu Vardhan, for bringing out Rajni’s stylish and suave look. Overall, the production design work was very neat and showed that a lot of money and effort was put into it.

The film fails in its ability to finish off completely. One might walk out of a theatre in the end, with some unanswered questions. The villains in such a film should play a crucial part, but here they fail to satisfy that criteria, as it is more of a Superstar’s show. Kishore role, in particular was well scripted and enacted, but it is not enough as his Taiwanese counter-part becomes a disaster. Also the film sets off well, during the initial half, but does not carry forward the mojo in the second half. The director seemed to ran out of ideas, and dragged the film to an unnecessarily violent ending. Similarities to Tarantino’s works and some older gangster films are smitten throughout the script. The second half as such, was not handled with the same care as done in the first half. An overhaul of violence and emotions and some inconsistencies, do drag the entire affair.

On the whole, Rajni and the story have their moments in this costly and fiery drama, but the fire doesn’t glow with all its glory.

MY SCORE- 2.5/5

Guest Post: Pranav Chandran

Monday, July 18

Smoky Mountains- Things to do in 3 days

The great smokys is Americas busiest national park. Most people see the park from the mountain-skimming scenic highway. You can always pull off the road,park the car, and stroll one of the quite walkways.

When to visit:

In summer and in fall. Time your visit to mid week and arrive early. Hit the Sugarland visitors center and grab a free map of the smokies. That makes the drive and the planning a lot easier. Don't expect to have good cell phone reception when you drive through the park.The map comes in handy then.

Day 1:

Take the Newfound Gap road to Clingmans dome to get the best sweeping views of the park by seeing it from the highest point. Reach early to beat the heat, avoid the crowd and to get a good parking spot.

From sugarlands, stop after 5 miles at Chimneys a spot where you can go on a self guided Cove Hardwood Nature Trail. A short drive from there takes you to the Chimney tops overlook, which offers views of the double summit called 'Duniskwal-guni' which means forked antlers.

Here a trail to the chimney tops which is 4-miles round trip takes you through old-growth forests and sheer cliffs. They are steep trails. So leave at least 3-4 hours for the trail.

Depending on the time and stamina, you can also hike at the next overlook,where a trail head leads to a steep climb to Alum Cave Bluffs. The Trail begins with an easy 1.3 miles trail along a tree-bordered creek to Arch Rock. Then comes the steep, rugged 1 mile ascent to the bluffs.At one point the trail skits a cliff face so sheer that you might need to hold the cable along the sides to climb the way up.

View from the view points

View from the view points
Alum Caves Arch rocks

Trek to the alum caves along the stream

Alum cave bluffs

P.S: The alum cave trail leads to Mt LeConte, Which is the park's third highest peak. There is a LeConte Lodge atop the Mount. It is a cabin type lodge with no electricity and shared bathrooms. They provide 2 meals. We did not summit this but spoke to few people on their way down.

Jump back in the car and continue on to the Newfound Gap, through which runs the Tennessee-North Carolina state line and the historic Appalachian Trail. Make an effort to retrace the Appalachians along this trail.

Appalachian Trail

View of the north carolina

The next stop would be the Clingmans Dome. From the parking lot, a steep 1 mile trail leads to the lookout tower, where you can get the panoramic view of the entire park!

Don't forget to pack energy bars, Gatorade and the adventurer in you!

Day 2:

After the hectic first day , we spent the second day by doing white water rafting along the upper pigeon river. It was a calm river for the most part with few 4 level rapids - thrilling and relaxing at the same time.

Pigeon river

In the evening, we drove along the Cades Cove Loop Road. Follow Little river and Laurel Creek Roads for 25 miles from Sugarlands Visitor center to the Cades Cove Loop Road.

The Medows

The cabins built in 1800's

Day 3:

Visit Gatlinburg and pigeon forge

P.S: All the pictures are taken in my phone camera. So pardon the picture quality.