Sunday, August 21, 2011

How You Must Celebrate Madras Day!

Did you know that Francis Day is the reason why Madras Day is celebrated? So when is Francis Day celebrated? Do not Google. Read this to know the answer. In case you know the answer, read this anyway.

For most of us, Madras Day is about celebrating the rich history of the city by cleaning and white-washing the heritage sites for the occasion, eating traditional Madras meals and speaking Tamil in the coveted Madras slang. I am not sure about the last part though. For a few geeks, it is about indulging themselves in crazy trivia about Madras and boasting about the same. For others, it’s about watching a Tamil movie and saying Tamil movies are the best. Chennai (Madras),the capital of Tamil Nadu, is also the capital for Tamil movies aka Kollywood. So, for this Madras Day I shall try my best to convince people how Tamil Cinema is on par with Hollywood, if not better.

The youth of today always come out exasperated after watching a Tamil Cinema. They compare Tamil Cinema with Hollywood and complain it isn’t up to the mark. First of all, we must understand the fact that the directors here are not given the freedom that is given to the Hollywood directors. Let me elucidate. Ever seen a Quentin Tarantino movie without the word “fuck” used in it? If I ask Tarantino to make a movie without “fuck”, he would probably quit making films and work in a Tea Kadai. Yes my friends, this one word is what gives Tarantino movies the cult status.. How much better would Tamil Cinema be if the word “Otha” was used as much as “fuck” is used? It would certainly be phenomenal. But sadly to our dismay, the cult word is replaced by annoying beeps. 

We also take pride in ridiculing our Tamil movies or songs by claiming that they have been copied from a foreign source. The basic assumption we are making here is that we believe Hollywood movies are original. But the underlying truth is that they are far from original. Be it Nolan's Batman trilogy or Jackson's LOTR trilogy, we could say the movies were copied from an awesome comic and a splendid book respectively. But instead, we use euphemisms such as ' the comic served as an inspiration for the Nolan brothers' or 'the movie was well adapted from the novel'. If a movie has a scene similar to a scene in another movie, we label it as 'Pop-culture reference' ,or worse, we call it as a tribute to some Tom, Dick and Harry. But when it comes to Tamil Cinema, we mercilessly slaughter our own people for being a third rated thief. Music directors are at the receiving end of most of this barrage of abuse. The latest in the accusation list is Mankatha's title song, which has an uncanny resemblance to Shakthi Masala's ad jingle. It is plain ridiculous. However, we shamelessly praise Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor for their Oscar for Best Original Score even though they copied (remixed is the euphemism here) Edvard Greig's 150 year old song. Edvard Greig must be a proud man, while I am a disappointed man pitying the mentality of our folks.

Another popular topic of discussion for the nitpickers is about the exaggerated action sequences in our Tamil Movies. We are such hypocrites. We exalt Indiana Jones to epic levels but put down our own Captain by complaining that he is trash. Both perform the same gravity defying stunts and emerge unscathed despite the odds stacked against them. We watch a light-saber fight between a father and a son with so much involvement but ridicule a sword fight between our own Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan in Allaudhinum Arpudha Vilakkum. We fall for the light-saber fight just because the swords have some fancy lights and one of the persons fighting dons a cool black costume and has a strange voice. We are major victims of such pretentious things. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is high time we appreciate the beauty of Tamil Cinema. If we can't back our own cinema, then who will? We should take inspiration from legends like Arindam Chaudhuri and promote our cinema as the best in the world. Tamil Cinema is true cinema. It caters to the needs of all people. It is made for the greater good. It is God’s own cinema. So this Madras day, wherever you are, I want you to watch a Tamil movie and then go, open your window, stick your head out and yell “"I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!" Huh? Sounds inappropriate, right? Well, just shout something. Something appropriate. About Tamil Cinema. And do us all proud.

If you are still reading this gibberish hoping to find the answer for the question at the beginning, then here it is. Francis Day was the person who purchased Madras from a local chief called Damarla Venkatappa Nayak. You will never forget this funda right? After all, I put you through so much pain to learn this. Your inquisitiveness is appreciated.
Happy Madras Day!

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