On weekend mornings (Fridays being Saturday here, remember), I like to catch up with the newspapers, and especially with the enjoyably tawdry equivalents of the "Living and Arts" sections of newspapers back home (the section that Father Muscato still calls "The Women's Page," since that's what it was called back in our hometown daily back when All Was Right With The World).
Just as in the States, this is the time of year when the summer blockbusters appear. We get most of the Hollywood product, although inexplicably this week's major Western release is the 2010 Helen Mirren semi-stinker Love Ranch, which seems odd not just because of its randomness, but given that the subject matter is the life and adventures of a real-life madam.
Added to the fuss about The Avengers and Snow White and Men in Black XXVI, though, is even more hype about Subcontinental Cinema - that wonderful industry that has brought us such Café favorites as dear Mr. Abraham, Mr. Patel, and Mr. Mukesh. Like the Subcontinent itself, of course, its films are incredibly diverse - in scale, in theme, and, not least, in language. It's really several industries - Bollywood, which makes primarily Hindi films, being the best known, but also encompassing a dozen or more other production centers. In any case, this week marks the opening of a Tamil epic, Thadaiyara Thaakka, starring one Arun Vijay. Tamil films, I've learned, are mostly made in Chennai (known to you and me in our long-ago youth as Madras), in a neighborhood called Kodambakkam, which has given rise to calling the local version of the business Kollywood. The movie is described as an action-suspense thriller, with a love plot and a couple of musical numbers (Maybe Kollywood is closer to Bollywood than you might think). It reveals Mr. Patel's sensitive side, I've read, and required him to "flaunt his six pack," which is fine by me.
A cropped version of the above intriguing image appeared in the paper - Mr. Vijay appeared only down to the upper edge of what looked to be a most compelling décolletage. I said to myself, "Self," I said, "This calls for further research." And I hope you'll agree I was on the money.
A quick Google-review also demonstrated that he looks quite as well - and perhaps even more endearing - clothed. There's a sparkle in those eyes that's really quite something...
Rain shots, for whatever reason, are a staple of Indian movies, although mostly they're used to show off saris on leading ladies to better, more alluring advantage. I've rarely seen a movie hero in the wet, as it were, and while the above snap returns Mr. Vijay to the rather menacing mold of the first image, it also shows that he can work a sarong with almost DorothyLamourian ease. Actually, this picture made me laugh, as it reminds of nothing so much as that nano-second-long trend about 20 or so years ago for Chelsea boys to run around in mini-kilts (accessorized, invariably, with a skin-tight T-shirts, regrettable freedom-ring necklaces, and Doc Martens).
Thadaiyara Thaakka, it seems, means "Breaking All Barriers." I'd make a joke out of that, but I'm still trying to come up with something about Chennai, Madras, and that shirt.