Thupparivaalan Movie Review

Thupparivalan is a Tamil movie directed by the popular director Mysskin. I have seen two other movies made by him – Onayum Aattukuttiyum & Pisasu and liked both. So I wanted to see this movie too.

One thing that sets Mysskin apart from other directors is his gripping narrative style. You cannot think of taking your eyes off the screen even for a moment, although the story is average, the plot has a lot of holes and inconsistencies, there are no songs, the fights are artificial and,

For the first time, there is so much gore and violence. Pisasu and Onayum Aattukuttiyum, in contrast, were movies that had the potential to be gory but the director chose to make them emotional affairs. Hmm…

This movie did not need all that violence. I suggest not taking kids with you to the movie hall!

There were a number of places where we think why did the character had to do this, but the director skillfully compensates all these flaws using his inimitable style of narration. I really missed his emotional touch, which was predominant in his two previous movies.

But I liked this movie as well. There was not a single frame where I was bored. If you like horror movies, I guess you’ll like this movie even more. I don’t think this movie belongs to the detective/mystery genre – it’s more of a thriller. Although the movie is quite long, it didn’t feel long. There are no songs in the movie and they weren’t required.

A good & different movie featuring a private detective. Do watch the movie in a theater – Tamil cinema is trying to move closer to Hollywood quality while still keeping the commercial elements intact!

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BTW, I forgot to mention that Vishal and Prasanna are the leading actors. Maybe that’s because the movie belongs to Mysskin right from the first frame 🙂 That said, I should mention here that the main antagonist (Vinay Rai) did one hell of a job. His action gave the jitters to all 🙂

Reduce Air Pollution at Home by Reducing Formaldehyde Exposure

You thought air inside your house is clean and free from air-pollution?

Think again.

Formaldehyde, a dangerous air pollutant – carcinogen and sensitizer, is found ten times more inside homes than outside.

Which materials are responsible for formaldehyde release at homes? 

  • Air fresheners/fragrances/perfumes
  • Wallpaper
  • Cleaning products containing tarpenes
  • Adhesives, Carpets
  • Cigarrates/e-cigarattes
  • Wood/Coal and even Gas Stoves
  • Combustion Exhausts from automobiles
  • Paper napkins
  • Easy care, Anti-wrinkle/shrink clothes and curtains treated with formaldehyde
  • Polyester clothing and pillow foam
  • Skincare products using formaldehyde as preservative
  • Cosmetics like nail polish and hair smootheners
  • Manufactured wood furniture products & furniture preservatives/coatings (Especially when these are brand new)

How does continuous exposure to formaldehyde affect one’s health?

Exposure to formaldehyde increases the risk of developing any of the following ailments depending on the exposure and body resistance of individuals.

  • Headaches, vomiting
  • Irritation/burning eyes and nose
  • Allergic reaction, fatigue, nausea
  • Wheezing, asthma
  • Skin rashes, allergy
  • Even cancer

How to reduce exposure to formaldehyde at homes?

  • Don’t allow smoking inside homes
  • Ventilate garages well enough that vehicular exhausts are released directly to the atmosphere
  • Ventilate homes with sufficient open windows, fans and exhaust fans so that any formaldehyde and other pollutants leave quickly
  • Don’t use chemical-based perfumes or air fresheners. Opt for natural/organic sources like agarbathi, camphor, sambarani, etc.
  • Have exhaust fans directly over cooking stoves
  • Buy and use natural/organic cotton-based clothing materials and handcrafted textiles that use natural dyes
  • Reduce humidity and temperature by using an Air Conditioner
  • Use denser filters with ACs.
  • Use indoor/outdoor plants that are known to reduce air pollutants in and around homes. A list of few such plants and trees is available here and here
  • Use natural and organic products as far as possible for cleaning and personal care
  • Try to avoid finished wood products like MDF, hardwood plywood, particleboard, etc.
  • Give preference to formaldehyde-free building materials like stainless steel, plastic, gypsum, etc. instead of wood
  • Prefer other (safer) coating materials instead of formaldehyde coating for furniture and other materials
  • Buy antique wooden furniture which mostly does not emit formaldehyde or have at least exhausted their capacity and no longer release this dangerous chemical
  • Develop a healthy lifestyle – keep switching between indoors and outdoor frequently to avoid continuous exposure. Encourage kids to play more outdoors

Use Royale Atmos paint from Asian Paints

Asian Paints has come up with Royale Atmos paints which, the company claims, reacts with formaldehyde and breaks it into harmless molecules. They also say that this paint also absorbs other air irritants like nicotine, ammonia, etc.

All you need to do is paint your house/office with Royale Atmos wall paint to protect your home for up to two years from air pollutants, as mentioned on their website.

Asian Paints says that Royale Atmos also absorbs malodours/foul smell and releases a good fragrance. It gives a smooth matte finish that gives a nice look to your walls and is equipped with Teflon surface protector to protect your walls against stains – which makes cleaning the walls easier.  It also comes with green assure seal.

More Information: Asian Paints Royale Atmos website.

Have a look at their TV Commercial featuring Deepika Padukone,

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For more exhaustive information on formaldehyde pollutant and how you can protect your family against it, check here and here

Leave me a Message through Sarahah!!

OK, finally I have also jumped on the bandwagon 🙂 Sarahah is a service/app that allows anyone to send anonymous messages to others without disclosing their (sender’s) identity. Of course, the recipient needs to first register in Sarahah to get a unique link for themselves which they can share on blogs, FB, etc., like how I have done here. They can later login on Sarahah to view the received messages. All messages through this app are anonymous.

I request you all to send me some constructive (or otherwise – it’s OK) feedback regarding my blogging activities, FB activities, etc. so that I can improve myself and create better content in the future.

Here is my Sarahah link –

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PS: I am purposefully closing comments on this post. Kindly use the above link to send me your views, whatever they may be 🙂 Of course, I won’t disclose/reply to your views even if I am able to guess the sender 🙂

Business Opportunities for Indians in South Africa

Doing Business with South Africa - SICCI Session, Chennai.

Today I went to an interactive session on “Doing Business with South Africa” organized by SICCI – The Southern India Chamber of Commerce & Industry and South African High Commission @ Taj Coromandel, Chennai. Here are some important pointers I gathered from that event, for people interested in engaging with South Africa economically –

  • No. of Indians in South Africa: 1.5 Million, 3% of the population.
  • South Africa accounts for 25% of the GDP of the entire African continent. Besides, the dignitaries claimed that SA is a good base for people wishing to do business with other African countries.
  • They mentioned that companies investing in South Africa can take back 100% of the profits generated. There maybe some T&Cs, do check…
  • Indian companies investing in SEZs in SA have lower corporate tax (15%) and are allowed duty-free imports of components used in production/assembly over there. Govt. also contributes a share of local training expenses.
  • People who wish to know which sectors would attract upcoming investments could refer to Industrial Policy Action Plan and National Development Plan released by Govt. of SA.
  • Tax incentives (12 i) are available for manufacturing investments; Incentives are also available for film/TV productions and a no. of other sectors.
  • South Africa, it seems, has a lot of ore deposits like platinum, iron, etc. They have 80% of the manganese ores of the world. They are looking for companies/ partners who could help them “beneficate” (probably they mean process or convert into a product) these ores in South Africa itself.
  • Opportunities are available to supply pharmaceuticals, especially generic medicines, and other medical equipment/devices.
  • Most MNCs in South Africa (including major car industries) are 100% owned by the parent companies in the respective countries. The No. 1 automobile component they export is Catalytic Converter.
  • SA has already invested more than $10 billion USD for renewable energy. Scope for RE industry in South Africa is good, going forward.
  • Govt. plans to spend close to $2 billion USD over the next few years for developing sea ports. Opportunites for foreign investments abound in this sector also.

Have a look at South Africa at a Glance to know about the country.

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Obsession with Marks Now = Obsession with Money Later?

I find human beings an interesting species because,

  1. They want to be obsessed about something always
  2. They are never satisfied with anything anytime

Let’s take any animal or bird. They go out and get food when they feel hungry. Only when they feel hungry.

Of course, there are exceptions like ants, honeybees, etc. that have been created with hoarding traits similar to humans. But even ants and honey bees don’t feel so inadequate that they start competing with each other to build the biggest mountain of a nest or the flashiest of honeycombs.

Human beings, ostensibly the most intelligent of all species on earth, seem to be driven by a single agenda: Make More Money. For that, what do you need? Get More Marks. That’s it. That’s life. That’s the purpose and meaning of one’s life – Of course, you wouldn’t know that if you have been living on Mars lately.

And you know who is the most intelligent person on earth? The person who gets the most marks, consequently makes the most money, deposits most of them in Swiss Banks (hey – they’re tax-free, aren’t they?) and then dies a wealthy person.

I wish life was that simple. I really wish.

So, for a change, instead of fattening the pockets of educationalists (who are already suffering from the weight of fat pockets) and their more marks = more money = more happiness agenda, why not stop and think? Outside the box, of course.

Unless we do that, we as a society are going to fail more and more youngsters like this.

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Proceeds go to Charity. Like, Really?

Overpriced shows and events nowadays seem to have this line by default in their ads – “Proceeds from this show go to charity.”

Now, I don’t have any issue with such publicity stunts as long as even a fraction of the money they collect actually goes to a charity and is helpful to someone in need, some way.

But I seriously doubt if that happens.

I am not skeptical about all event organizers. Some of them announce the name of their charity partner in their ads and they even invite people from the charity organization to participate in their events. I am sure some good is happening somewhere. I have not (yet) lost confidence in humanity.

But some ads I saw recently more than irked me. These organizers think that by just including one line on charity people will instantly take their credit cards and buy the tickets. They don’t mention anything about the cause they are supporting or mention something vague.

If they are serious about the cause they would support, why can’t event organizers put up the actual data on ticket collection, expenditure, and proceeds that were actually given to charity, post-event, at least on their website?

I have never seen any such declaration. Have you?

Don’t you think a declaration like that will enhance your credibility and enable you to be transparent? Don’t you realize that it will also encourage people to donate more and bring in future donors?

Consider how movie tickets are cost-competitive in spite of huge production budgets. They have figured out how to provide economy on scale, and give the entertainment people want without over-charging.

I feel event organizers should utilize newer distribution mediums like the Internet to reach more customers and reduce individual ticket prices. Esp. considering that there is so much competition from books, movies, TV shows, etc., all of them at a fraction of the cost, none of whom are ashamed to declare that they are professional business people who provide value to earn money.

If event organizers focus on ‘donations’ as the main selling point of their offering, and not the content/experience, then they are in a different business altogether. At least if we donate directly to causes, we can be (somewhat) sure that (some of) our money will actually be used towards that cause.

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Our hassles of watching Vivegam FDFS

FDFS = First Day First Show.

This post is not the movie review for Vivegam. Click on the prev. link if you wanna read that.

This post is about the hassles we faced while trying to watch Vivegam FDFS. Actually, I didn’t watch it FDFS – I’ll come to that part later.

Around four days before the launch of the Tamil movie starring Ultimate Star Ajith Kumar, I and Ramya decided that we want to see Vivegam FDFS. So I checked for tickets online, but most of the theaters were houseful for the first three days.

Amazingly, we found a few tickets only in one theater. The show was at 11:59. So I immediately grabbed the opportunity and booked two tickets.

But only after I booked I saw two crucial words after 11:59 – P.M.

Before booking, I seriously thought they meant 11:59 Noon. But now I realized my oversight!! The issue is, tickets cannot be canceled once booked. I even emailed the website support team to confirm if the movie was indeed being screened at 12:00 midnight and they replied on the affirmative. I thought OK, it’s been a long time since I watched a night show, so let’s go…

On the day of the movie, I got an SMS and email from the movie ticket booking website that the show has been preponed postponed by 45 minutes!! So the new starting time was 12:44 A.M., to be precise. We still decided to go.

At 12 A.M. the area around the theater was choked with traffic because no one was let inside the theater and all five screens were about to show the same movie at the same time. Since it was clear that it would be a hassle to even get in, and since the next day was Vinayaka Chathurthi – preparations were due from early in the morning, Ramya wanted to go home.

I dropped her home and was back to the theater at around 12:30 A.M. You thought I’ll leave so easily? No way 😛

At 12:45 A.M I was still waiting outside the theater. Wasn’t the show supposed to have started by then? Ya, but… At last the gatekeepers decide to open the gates at 12.50 or so… The fans who surprised me by maintaining silence and decorum on the road went berserk once inside!

The movie finally started playing at 1:20 A.M.!! So I watched it SDFS – Second Day First Show 🙂

Here is a small recap of the fans’ excitement:

At 4 A.M. in the morning, I was finally outside the theater after having watched the movie. I was not feeling even a bit sleepy. Do I look sleepy in the below selfie with AK? 😀

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PS: One movie-watching experience, that 😀 🙂

Live Art Museum – VGP Snow Kingdom, Chennai

The Live Art Museum contains life-like 3D replicas/models of a few famous personalities in Silicone (instead of wax, which is generally used to make replicas). You can not only see the replicas of famous people, but you can also take a selfie with all of them 🙂

Some of the replicas/models we found when we visited include Amitabh Bachchan, Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwazzanegar, MS Dhoni, Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Chan, Mona Lisa, Sai Baba, Mother Teresa, etc.

This museum has been put up by Mr. AP Sreethar who also put up the neighboring Click Art Museum and Vintage Camera Gallery. The organizers say that this is the world’s first exhibition of silicone replica models, and they claim that silicone is a better material than wax to make models looks more lifelike.

We went to the VGP Snow Kingdom, located one floor below, before visiting the Live Art Museum. Since we bought the Snow Kingdom tickets, we were able to buy tickets for Live Art Museum at Rs. 100/- each (combo). Otherwise, I think each ticket costs Rs. 150/-. Ticket pricing keeps changing, please refer to their website for the firm pricing when you visit.

So who wants to visit the Madame Tussauds of Chennai?? 😉

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Timing is same as the VGP Snow Kingdom, 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. Here is the exact Google Maps location.

Independence Day Celebrations @ Vasantham Special School, Chennai

Today, we went to Vasantham – Special School for the Differently Abled @ Mogappair East, Chennai for the Independence Day celebrations. They had assembled an impressive array of cultural programs. You can have a glimpse into some of those moments in the above-embedded video.

Considering how difficult it might have been to train kids to perform on stage, their efforts ought to be appreciated. The children danced, sang, acted in skits, and even put up fancy dress avatars as Bharathiyar, Vivekananda, Modi, among others!

It seems this school was initially started with six kids in 1989. Now the school has 143 children, 60 of them residential.

They provide vocational training to the children to make products like bags, shawls, files, paintings, greeting cards, etc. which they sell to anyone interested. We bought a nice white jute bag which you see at the end of the above video.

They also arranged to distribute seed bombs during today’s function to increase the green cover. It seems they also have a terrace garden on their premises, which we would love to see someday.

Website for further Information:

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PS: Wishing you a Happy Independence Day 🙂