Roasts and Toasts

The Roast of Iru Mugan

 

Iru Mugan roughly translates to “two-faced”. This is useless trivia, much like the entire script of this film. Chiyaan Vikram proves once again that he is the Johnny Depp of Kollywood, by donning makeup for roles that don’t really require it. This results in his thespian acting talents getting smothered beneath the layers of said makeup. If the role doesn’t require makeup, Vikram will grow a beard just so he can shave it off and look completely different in the next shot and get through security. Because, facial hair is enough to throw off facial recognition software.

The plot is about a drug called Speed. Which is exactly what the movie lacks. Then, they make references to Hitler – because the story doesn’t have enough juice. This drug is packed into inhalers that makes junkies out of asthma patients. Iru Mugan also puts the junk in junkie. Once inhaled, the drug works by exploiting the adrenaline rush triggered by extreme fear and paranoia, and renders the user capable of superhuman strength and invincibility. Or something like that. The effects and purposes of this drug are specifically ambiguous. But, the effects last only five minutes. Which is also how long Akilan Vinod lasts in bed.

Chiyaan plays a RAW agent, and therefore oozes RAW masculinity, among other things. His name is Akilan Vinod. Not just Akilan. Not just Vinod. Kollywood has graduated to a whole new level where we have started giving fucks about the full names of the characters. Akilan Vinod is what happens when Jason Bourne goes to Mars and realizes Dindigul Thalappakatti has opened a branch there. His beard and hair are inspired by pre-2010 Abhishek Bachchan. When he is clean-shaven, he can also sing, dance, and look like a buff Jim Carrey. He also gives advice to an Indian born Malaysian cop: “Be Indian police. Break rules for a good cause” Indeed, because when it’s for a good cause, rules shmules!

Harris Jayaraj has earned a special mention here, with songs based on names such as Halena, Gazana, and Maya – girls Harris wishes he had dated. That is the only explanation, especially when none of the characters in the movie are named Halena, Gazana, or Maya. The background scores work as auditory cues. Just in case you go blind halfway through the movie, you’ll know what’s happening based on the sounds. Thumping fast paced music stolen from your nearest gym is indicative of action and violence. DOO-BA-DOO, DOO-BI-DA or similar sounding nonsense means the villain’s name is being mentioned. Yes, every single time the bad guy’s name is mentioned. The villain’s theme is basically a Twitter notification.

Nithya Menen is planted in this movie simply so the villain can injure her and crack a pun – “Are you okay, Kanmani?” BOOM! MIC DROP! PEACE OUT! OHHHH! I mean, you’ve got to give it to him, guys. Otherwise she just exists in the background. Other than that one time she goes undercover as a hooker who ran out of a Flamenco concert.

Nayantara plays Meera, another RAW agent. Her role consist of marrying Akilan, getting shot in the head, falling off a cliff, a case of bad memory, and wearing black leather. We all know the rules of Kollywood: If you want to take Nayantara seriously, she needs to be wearing black leather. Meera can also hack into any computer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F3. This also works on touchpads mounted on BMW dashboards.

Now, we come to the main attraction – Love (DOO-BA-DOO, DOO-BI-DA). Also played by Chiyaan Vikram, Love is what you get when you take a gay Joker minus the face paint, and give him a Scar voice. He is admittedly not into women, but nobody really knows who he’s into. His name serves only one purpose, to flip every love related cliché. These are some of the lines from the movie:

  • Love never dies
  • Everyone falls in love, but today Love is going to fall
  • Everyone chases after love, but you have made Love chase after you

If you went Love-dekabaal at this point, it is totally understandable.

He is also a tattoo enthusiast. All his employees – literally every single one of them – has a black heart with a cupid’s arrow inked into their napes. Right under the tattoo is a chip which will send out an EMP and kill said employees if they don’t do their job. This is directly lifted from Kingsman: The Secret Service. But, the censor board had a problem with exploding heads. They strictly prohibit any kind of blowjobs being administered on screen. Love has a special handheld device with an app that has all his employees listed. Fastest Finger First is Love’s version of letting someone go.

But, when a freelancer fucks up, Love applies face powder that burns their skin upon contact. Moral of the story: When a freelancer fucks up, the boss has to make up for it.

The movie ends with Akilan and his wife on a boat. They’ve been apart for four years, and he’s got a severe case of indigo balls. He wants a baby. She says it’ll take too long. He says he’ll get her pregnant in less than 24 hours. How?

You guessed it. Speed. He takes a pump from the inhaler so he can pump the missus. NOT EVEN KIDDING. Take Speed, have baby in 24 hours. Because, fear makes you want to fuck your wife.

Here’s what IMDB has to say about Iru Mugan:

Genre: Fantasy/Mystery; 7.8/10

“Set in Malaysia, this action-packed story follows a dude with dual personalities, as he duels with his various personalities.”

Dude, dual, duel. DOO-BA-DOO, DOO-BI-DA…

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Offensive Personal Opinions

I Hate Kids

Disclaimer: I’m going to say some things here that might offend you if you a) are a kid, b) have a kid, c) are planning to have kids; while this post is not intended to offend you specifically, it would be great if you understood the world is not all fine and dandy, and everything doesn’t revolve around you. Unless you’re fat. Even then, the world doesn’t revolve around you. See? Now, that’s offensive. Almost. Maybe not. Unless you’re fat, which you have all the right to be. Since nothing is left on your plate. Have you had enough examples of offensive material yet? Don’t worry, this is just the beginning. Literally.

I’m a storyteller. Long story short, I work in schools. On a regular basis, I spend roughly six hours surrounded by kids. Out of which, I spend exactly 300 minutes in direct conversation with kids aged 9-13. Obviously, it takes a lot of patience. But, I’m what you might call patiently retarded. It takes me a lot of patience to have a lot of patience. I go from “Well, aren’t you just the cutest” to “Fuck you! No, wait. I don’t really give a fuck, so go fuck yourself!” in 5.3 seconds. But, I don’t discriminate. I’m uniformly furious across all age groups. I hate all of them equally. Therefore, I have no favorites. Therefore, I don’t feel as bad as I should when I yell at them. They fucking deserve it, is what I tell myself and anyone else who asks. “Yes, they deserve it. But, they’re kids. Kids are assholes. But, they are still kids” is what I’ve heard from my peers. Peers, thou art speaketh the truth. But, thou art also being a hypocrite. Nobody ever goes, “Yes. They deserve it. You’re human after all. You are an asshole. But, you are still human.”

I’m not a sadist. I don’t believe in bullying. I’ve been a victim of bullying, and I don’t want to put anyone through the receiving end. In all honesty, I do better with older kids – aged 11 and above. These kids understand cause and effect. They can be taught to behave, or face the consequences. But, they keep relapsing. Two classes of good behavior means they’re buffering and preparing for three classes of rowdiness. And, that’s what I have a problem with. They do not understand that kindness and good vibes are earned. They feel the teacher is obliged to be nice to them, bend to their wishes, or look the other way. Why? Because that’s their idea of a cool teacher.

This is where the dynamics change for me. I’m not a teacher. I’m not a direct member of staff. I get one class with every section, once a week. During the storytelling session, they do not receive assignments, they don’t have to note down anything, they don’t have to be too smart either. All they have to do, is pay attention. But, apparently, that’s too much to ask.

Let’s do some quick math. Five days, five classes each day. That’s twenty five forty minutes per week. At the end of each two hundred minute day, I end up feeling like an asshole. I’m not blaming it on the kids; not entirely. But, who else is there to blame?

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Poetry

Rhythm and Poetry

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Poetry

Namecalling

She’s a slut?
But, not when she’s sleeping with you
She’s cheap?
Not when you want to show her off
She’s easy?
Don’t forget you looked at her first
She’s a whore?
She didn’t make you pay for it

She pays for it
Every time you label her
She pays for it
Every time she gets something for free
She pays for it
Every time you run out of money

Does she deserve it?
Yes or no, there’s no maybe
Do you deserve it?
You’re thinking, yeah probably
Did she go looking for it?
Nobody knows, honestly
Did you go looking for?
Like you didn’t need it desperately

If you think you know how it feels,
To pick up yourself after falling
If you think you know how it feels,
To pretend like nobody is watching
If you think you know how it feels,
To not look back when you’re walking

Then you’re gravely mistaken, I fear

Before you call her names again, look in the mirror

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Uncategorized

Happyness

You didn’t ask for it. You didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t have predicted it. There was no way to know. But, what happens next might be up to you. You’re not alone anymore.

Caught In The Cogs

They may seem like the most ideal person in society. They will always say they love you. They say it’s for your own good. It’s not. It’s not your fault. It’s not your responsibility. And there’s nothing you can do to fix it. A change in your behaviour will not and cannot change their’s. Do not be silent about it. Tell someone, tell anyone. I urge you to do this. For until you ask for help, the abuser is systematically destroying you. Breaking off pieces of you until you have nothing left. Stop pretending you are happy. You deserve better. If you are being physically or mentally abused and forced to stay in a relationship, you can drop an anonymous comment and I will get back to you. I promise you are not in this alone.

Remember how beautiful it was
The torn pieces falling to the ground
Hours of…

View original post 188 more words

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Stand-up Comedy

Besant Nagar to Bay 146

August 31, 2014: I signed up for a Comedy Writing Workshop at Ashvita Nirvana, Besant Nagar. I didn’t know it was about standup comedy. The writer and the insufferable humorist in me thought this would be something I could try my hand at. The other reason I was here was, I had paid 300 bucks as registration fee. While I was walking into the venue, I saw two gentlemen getting out of a car across the road. One was a lean, lanky lad who looked like he was born to rock the T-shirt and Chino ensemble. The other was a respectable looking elderly. He reminded me of that one relative we all have – he keeps to himself, but when given the opportunity, would drop a pun and watch everyone take the Lord’s name in vain (ranging from Ayyo (said to be wife of Yama) to Eeshvara, Bahavaane, Narayana, and anyone else available on call). He had the perfect balding head to match with the masculine moustache that rendered him incapable of any evil. Until, of course, the puns came out.

I went into Ashvita Nirvana, and the guys at the desk directed me upstairs. I walked into a space that could inhabit a nuclear family in Mumbai, and a joint family in Kolkata. A Chennai resident would call it a furnished kitchenette. There, I saw a shorter dude with shiny shoes and half bleached hair. I began to wonder if he was Toni or Guy. I later found out he was neither.

There were a few others with me. They had also signed up for the workshop, and looked almost as clueless as me. Cluelessness is always a good way to start any workshop, or any work for that matter.

In walked the lean and lanky lad, and pun uncle. They introduced themselves as Deepu and Praveen Kumar, respectively. My confusion with Toni or Guy was also cleared. His name was Ash. He had neither cap, nor Pikachu.

The workshop started with some awkward silence. Each of us began delivering brief, concise, short, introductions of ourselves. Yes, I know I used three words that mean the same thing in place of just one. That was exactly how our introductions were – verbose, and sometimes so roundabout that the Kathipara flyover would have taken offense. We were all seated in a somewhat circular pattern, and Deepu took the opportunity to break the ice with “It’s like we’re having an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, man! Yeah? Yeah?”

In my later interactions with Deepu, I would learn that “Yeah? Yeah?” was his own patented punctuation. If you wanted to wait until he was done talking because you don’t want to interrupt him, listen for the double yeahs.

The moment Ash said his first words, it was a culture shock. Imagine a shorter, thinner version of Sanjay Dutt, with the voice and poise of Salman Khan (minus the road rage, of course), speaking with a British-American accent. If you could racially profile this guy, you could work for the United Nations; because, here’s the catch, he’s from MRC Nagar.

Deepu, Ash, and a couple of others by the name of Aamer and Suraj formed the Burma Bazaar Conspiracy – BBC for short. I’m sure the guys thought this name out knowing such questions like “What? BBC is doing stand-up comedy ah?” would be thrown around. BBC was running open mics at the Ashvita Bistro in Alwarpet every second Tuesday of the month at the time. The workshop was not only to introduce people to stand-up comedy, but also to get them to come and try their jokes at the open mics.

Once the workshop started, there was a PowerPoint presentation on the basics of comedy, or joke writing, if you will. This is when I realized something as abstract as stand-up comedy could be approached from a scientific angle. I was quick to take pictures and notes which are still with me to this day, thanks to Google Keep. About a half hour later, another figure walked in and grabbed a seat. As soon as he walked in, Deepu and Ash showed signs of recognition in the form of “Eyy, Baggy!” If you haven’t met Bhargav Ramakrishnan, you may wonder why his name is Baggy. If you have met him, you will notice he does not have any bags on him. In his introduction, he also mentioned he works for Evam, and manages comedians.

The last session of the workshop involved each of us writing a short set and performing it in front of the others. Let’s just say all of us were doing it for the first time, and you don’t really want to know how it went. Deepu made an announcement that Praveen Kumar’s solo “The Tickle Minded” was happening that night and he had two couple passes for whoever was interested. Just before shuffling out of the kitchenette, I met Lakshman Balaji – a fast talking dentist in the making, who would later become my first open mic buddy. He would also go on to become a great sketch artist, and once in a while incorporate my humble puns in his cartoons.

After the workshop, I began visiting the open mics. The first time I was at Ashvita Bistro, I was merely scoping out the audience, and didn’t really go up and grab the mic. The second time, I signed up and hence began my journey as a comedian. I would regularly run into a few of the people I met at the workshop, and even had the chance to have a few words with Praveen Kumar when he visited the open mic once (right after finishing a Ted Talk and before getting on a night bus back to Bangalore). Deepu has always been a ready mentor, and the one time I won a stand-up comedy contest, Ash was there to present me with the prize.

April 16, 2016: 1 year, 7 months, and 16 days later, I’m going to be sharing the stage with Praveen Kumar and Baggy at Bay 146 on April 17, 2016 (Sunday) as part of Praveen Kumar’s second special Kancheepuram to Koramangala (BookMyShow link here: http://bit.ly/1SIrsu4)

Looking back, I constantly remind myself how I went from inadvertently stumbling onto stand-up comedy, to being an open mic whore, to managing the open mics themselves. Somewhere in the middle, Sudarsan Ramamurthy became Soda. This journey has been Soda-mn great (come on, you really thought I wouldn’t go for it?) and there’s only more to experience, accomplish, and most importantly – learn.

This was totally not meant as a plug-in for the show tomorrow. On a completely unrelated note, open mics happen in Chennai every week. Follow Chennai Comedy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on the scene.

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Roasts and Toasts

The Inaugural Roast of IPL 2015

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IPL T20 – the premature ejaculator’s One Day International – was inaugurated with heavy, roaring, pouring rains. Perhaps this was actually part of the plan, so they could blame all the slips on the ground being wet. As a result, the cheerleaders, drummer, anchor, and Shoaib Akhtar had to deal with Sidhu for that much longer (Thoko thaali!).

Cheerleaders, because ten guys running after one ball isn’t sexy enough.

Shoaib Akhtar, because you need someone strong enough to pull Sidhu out of the frame from time to time.

Sidhu is that insufferable elderly person in every family: used to be great back in the day, but all he can do now is yap about it. The only reason everyone tolerates him is because he is a sharp dresser who makes illiterates laugh. His cricketing career spanned sixteen years, and you know this only because of Wikipedia. Sheri Paaji’s Shaayari is what happens when you open Pandora’s Box. But, turbans off to the maestro, for only he can provide entertainment that can’t offend. The kind everyone takes for granted, and never gives a fuck about.

The rain had reduced Salt Lake City to a used maxi pad at the end of a heavy flow day. But of course, that is no reason to postpone the inaugural ceremony. Heavy rains stop play? Not today! After the soulful rendition of a Bengali song penned by the only Bengali writer everyone outside Bengal knows, things shifted to the center. For the first time in history, things starters going downhill on a flat surface. Enter Saif, the host for the odd evening. Like the on-location correspondent of a poorly funded news channel, every third word the Nawab uttered went unheard because the sound systems gave up on him, before anyone else could.

Saif: “Come on, Kolkata! Make some noise!” (Because I clearly can’t. Bad mic, you see?)

Kolkata: Ki?

Saif: “Come on, you can do better than that!” <Insert TWSS joke here>

Kolkata: *cue awkward silence*

When the mic wasn’t at fault, Saif faltered. With all his might, he yelled “Shikhar Dhawan!” and out popped Rohit Sharma, who spent the first few seconds sniffing around Saif like a lost puppy, before walking right onto his team’s banner; where he would mistake a light stage for his podium. Then, it was Ravi Shastri’s turn to turn up the heat and, not to mention, the volume. He first tried being polite with the mic, but when it started being a bad boy, Shastri began spanking it, hard, with his voice. If he had been handed a mic, he wouldn’t just drop it; he’d trample it and sell its remains on OLX. He began his speech with “Cricket must be played hard” and concluded it by urging the captains to “Come together around the trophy”. Haww, Shastriji! Now we know what you mean by “That’s a big one!”

And then, it was Shahid Kapoor who set things in inertia of motion, by riding a superbike in super slo-mo and banging into lights and fixtures. If texting and driving is dangerous, braying “AYAMA DISCO DANCER” to a Bengali audience slowly losing its patience is fatal. You can’t really blame him – he was talking to the crowd that was sitting miles away. A crowd that could see him clearly on big TV screens. A crowd he clearly missed through his dark glasses. Once he was done completely insulting his bike by not shifting any higher than first gear, he took his time looking for the side-stand. Once the side-stand was deployed, he stumbled once more as he sidestepped onto the podium before going on to deliver what can only be called a footloose performance. Saree Ke FALL Sa? Ooh, we see what you did there, Shahid!

By now, Saif had realized that this was a one-take thing. This is new territory for him, no retakes and all. But, thinking on his feet (since he wasn’t offered a seat), he came up with two foolproof tactics to gain the crowd’s trust.

Tactic #1: Mention Dada every ten minutes, because he’s sitting there watching the whole thing go down (literally). But, being the Prince, of course the Bangla Bandhus will cheer for him. Well done, Saif!

Tactic #2: If the crowd starts sinking into awkward silence, say some random shit and end the sentence with KOLKATA!!! Bade aaraam se.

After Shahid was done stumbling through his routine, Saif went “Give it up for Mithun Da, everybody!”, because AYAMA DISCO DANCER. Such reference. Much wow.

Now it’s time for Anushka to take the stage. Saif announces her arrival, but she and her stiff upper lip take their own sweet time getting there. So, thinking fast, the Nawab squeezes in a joke “Ladies takes some time”. Quick, go HAHAHAHA before a feminist can go “Aha! I knew Saif was a sexist!”

Anushka shows up wrapped in black and white looking like the fifth penguin who didn’t make it to Madagascar. Half of her routine comprised of smiling and waving at the crowd, who in turn smiled and waved at Virat. The cameramen took the opportunity to focus on him whilst Anushka lost herself in song and dance. It wouldn’t be surprising if tomorrow’s TOI read “Anushka performs in IPL 2015, just in case Virat doesn’t” The other half of her routine consisted of her being lifted up and down by the able-bodied backup dancers, as Kohli stood watching helplessly from the stands.

After that, Farhan Akhtar emerged and went on to spend the next fifteen minutes trying to clear his throat. He cleverly slowed down the tempo of his songs, enunciating every syllable; just in case the mics failed. Right before his last song, Farhan shrugged off his leather jacket. He didn’t take his shirt off, because that’s Dada’s territory. Such presence of mind, no? When he was not busy singing, he could be spotted doing lunges and squats – showing the audience the warmup exercises he had to learn for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

By the end of this performance, the common man had learnt a few things about Rock music.

  1. It’s not Rock if the performers don’t rock side to side.
  2. The guys playing the guitars should have long, curly hair, or no hair at all.
  3. Everyone should wear T-shirts with random graffiti, Jack&Jones, or some unintelligible shit like that written across the front and back.
  4. There should be at least two guitarists running around like headless chickens in the background, with the third guitarist pointing in some random direction.
  5. Head bobbing is a must.
  6. There has to be at least one extremely skinny or moderately voluptuous backup singer. Purely for sex appeal, glamour quotient, and gender equality purposes.
  7. Screaming. Lots of it. Like a cat is scratching at your eyeballs.

Post the Rock concert, it was time for the trophy campaign. The audience would be treated to a few minutes of fuckall bullshit that would explain what is so special about the trophy. After all, everyone knows that IPL is never about the money. It’s always been about who wins the trophy.

Suddenly, unannounced, Mr. Hrithik Roshan starts busting his moves on stage, leaving aunties climaxing in his wake. He performs a montage of his best dance moves, which can be found on YouTube for free. He is the true showstopper – you already know the show will stop once he concludes. Hrithik brings the show to an end with a Bang Bang. Ohh snap, Mr. Roshan! We see what you did there.

By now, Saif has learnt his lesson and hands Hrithik a mic.

Hrithik: “Kemon acho, Kolkata?!” (Because saying two words in Bengali is the easiest way to get accepted in Bengal)

Kolkata: *ROAR*

Hrithik: “I’ve always got the maximum love from my friends here.” (Unverified fact. Who gives a fuck anyway?)

Kolkata: *Roar*

By now, Saif has had enough. He hugs Hrithik, retrieves the mic with masterful sleight of hand, and invites all the performers to the stage to say Goodnight to the audience. Yes, because a Goodnight compensates for all the shit that ruined what would have been a good night.

Saif: Can we have the performers on stage, please? Shahid, Anushka, Farhan, Pritam Da. Come on, guys.

Hrithik: (whispers) Dude, you forgot to mention the dance company guys!

Saif: Yeah, the dance people also.

All in Unison: Goodnight, and thank you, Kolkata!

*Fireworks*

Epilogue

The fun didn’t end there. After the show, Archana – the filler girl who would tell those watching from home when they can take potty breaks between performances – caught up with Anushka and Hrithik to talk about nothing in particular. With Anushka, she discussed NH10. The inauguration wasn’t so good anyway, so let’s talk about movies. When asked about her different roles in movies, Anushka responded that she wants the audience to completely forget who she is. That would’ve been possible before that lip job. Not anymore.

With Hrithik, Archana was too busy creaming her panties to hold a real conversation. Now that he is officially single, she didn’t have any problems stuttering and stumbling and making up filler words in the two minutes she spent with him.

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