Saturday, July 23, 2016

Detailed Explanation of Kabali Movie

If you want to understand Kabali from a Malaysian Indian perspective, read this. I am a Malaysian Indian.
Note 1 If you are from India and don’t know anything about Malaysians, read this before you watch the movie. 2 If you know somewhat of Malaysian culture, read this after the movie and then go watch again. 3 If you are a Malaysian, watch the movie and then read this. Introduction First of all these last few generations of Malaysian Indians are not Indian migrants. We were born in Malaysia. We look Indian but we are Malaysians who identify with the Indian culture through religion and ancestral link. I am a 5th generation Malaysian, my family (from Tamilnadu) has been here since the 18th century. Kabali is our story. The story of indian Malaysians and not indian imigrants who now come to work in Malaysia or NRIs. We are not same. I realised a lot of reviews are being written based on indian cultural experience rather than the actual Malaysian culture and issues. Pa Ranjith has created a brilliant movie which is very much a gift to the people of Malaysia (which appears in the credits). The movie is a realistic fiction that takes into account historical issues as well as current issues and put so many things into one movie, while staying commercial, and politically safe. Yes the movie is very much politically safe as it mainly focuses on only one side of our problems – commercial side. This was a brilliant move as if he hadn’t the movie would have been banned in Malaysia. The movie spans different incidents and parts that took place in the last 70 years or so. Pa Ranjith has taken bits and pieces of actual history and incorporated them into his characters and story. I am going to try an explain how Pa Ranjith took 100 years of Indian Malaysian history and made it into a 152 minute movie. Language Our Tamil is different from whats spoken in Tamilnadu. The script in Kabali actually uses our Tamil slangs and words. Furthermore, we actually speak a more purer Tamil than in Chennai as our Tamil is stuck to about 100 years or so when the British brought Indians to work in Plantations as labourers. We say gaadi – you say carru for example (which means car). There are more English words in Tamilnadu Tamil than in Malaysian Tamil which has different categories. A very pure Tamil is spoken on Minnal FM(our local tamil radio station), basically no english words are used. Then there is the one that average indians speak and a very street one which the movie refers too. Kabali link – There is even a moment in the movie where Kabali lightly laughs off the confusion in the meaning of saruku in the movie. In Malaysia – saruku refers to women. In Tamilnadu it means alcohol. Kabali link – A lot of the language down to pronunciation is accurately Malaysian Indian. For once someone got the lah mostly right. Some other Malaysian Tamil slang words in the movie Saavadi – super Terukva – moosama Kosong kosong – zero zero (kabali’s gang name is 00) Gaadi – car katthai - gun Poona azhagu – very beautiful Semmai – awesome Nasi – rice Tea-tanni – tea/ caya Pasiyariyacha – have you eaten breakfast (this is an old tamil word) Kampong – village Teh tarik – tea that has been pulled Amava – is it Adala kozhikari – theres a treat today. Sadaiyan – chinese Paiykirathu – use panrathu (another old tamil word) Maathirai – drugs Kuuthali – friends KL town – Kuala lumpur city Ktown – kajang town Masuk – intro or enter into a moment scene. Caste Most Indian Malaysians are from south India – tamilnadu, Andhra, kerala, Punjab and a small community of north Indians. There are also Pakistanis, srilankan tamils. We are all categorised as Malaysian Indian. The movie refers to the south Indian Malaysians who all speak tamil regardless of their mother tongue. In Malaysia, not being able to speak in Tamil is considered a weakness. Also not all estate workers were lower caste (as historians like to write) but jobs were segregated by caste and village hieraki. The mandurs (head of estates) were usually head of villages or the rich in india. If you drive down to Kuala Selangor, most of the indian plantation workers there are kaunders. With families having moved as villages to Malaysia. Farmers in Cameron highlands till today are mostly kaunders as well. Caste inter marriages have been happening from as far as my great grandparents time though it was opposed then. Opposition often was of a tamil marrying a telugu, or even say a kaunder marrying a chettiar, and so forth even before reaching the lower caste part. By the 70s it was much more common though it was still opposed, and also saw fewer families asking for dowry and instead the culture of sharing the cost of weddings began. Today inter caste marriages, inter race marriages are common and is now practiced by most. Kabali link - For example in Kabali, there is no reference to what caste kabali is. Only that her family opposed as they were vereh jathi. So it could mean that kabalis wife was not from tamilnadu or a different caste in tamilnadu. And not necessarily means Kabali is a dalit. Another separate issue is that historically the Sri Lankan Tamil (Ceylonese) who were mostly brought in by british as clerks as opposed to most south indians (not all share the same story though) arriving as plantation labourers (estate workers), have a history of thinking they are a higher class than the south Indians due to social status (classism) and skin colour. However while caste is not openly discussed today, it is still held on to by some and is brought up during marriage or in arguments. Inter religion might be a bigger problem now than inter caste at this point. KABALI link - At the climax of Kabali, Veerasekaran insults kabali not only from a caste angle but also from a class angle (kabali was a poor estate worker before moving to KL Town). Earlier Tamilnesan’s (former 00 leader) son insults kabali (who was now 00 leader) as “unehlam vithuku ulla vithuruka kudathu.” In the olden days (50s), other castes mainly lower castes were not allowed into homes. Kabali flashback Kabali rises to fame for uprising a movement asking for equal wages for indian workers to be the same as chinese workers. History of Malaysians Indians before the 18th century Indian or to be exact Kalinga’s (Orissa, Andhra Pradesh) have been trading with South East Asians for centuries. You can see these details in Orissa Musuem. Some merchants remained and married with the locals. They were referred to as kalingans’s which eventually became the derogatory term for Malaysian Indians – Keling. Kabali link – Keling is mentioned and censored in the climax scene in Malaysia. History of Malaysian Indians (circa late 18th century, ww2) Historically the Indians who were brought here by the british to work in plantations in the early 19th century were given set wages and lived in homes that were not theirs. Later the British brought chinese labourers to work in the plantations who earned higher wages and were free to move around and build settlements. So the Indians continued to be contracted at low wages and faced eviction if they left. Durring ww2, the Japanese forced a high number of Malaysians (Indians and Malays) to work at the death railways in Thailand. They were the highest casualty of the death railway (42k out of estimated 90k). Interesting point while at one point there were 4 million Indians in Malaysia (prior to independence), death, war and mass return to india (happens a few times in our history), by 1957 (Malaysia’s year of independence) the Indian population numbered only 820, 270 of which 62.1% was local born. Also while the majority of south Indians arrived as labourers not all share the same history. At the height of British occupation and economic advancement in Malaysian in the 18th century, merchants began arriving on invites or tempted by news that reach back about – “pon villayum bumi, malainadu.” - the rich, mountainous land. They arrived in malaysia with families and built parts of kl, penang, perak there are big chetiar communities in different parts of the country. The main big temples in the city are historically linked to different castes but none of these is mentioned or portrayed in the movie. Indian muslims also arrived as traders, mostly starting food restaurants – nasi kandar. http://www.newmandala.org/aliens-in-the-land-indian-migrant-workers-in-malaysia/ http://www.newmandala.org/aliens-in-the-land-indian-migrant-workers-in-malaysia-part-2/ After ww2, the british returned to find more outspoken Indians (ignited by the INA led by Subhash Chandra Bose) began demanding for better rights, wages and nationality That’s when the All Malayan Rubber Workers Council (AMRWC) led by SVK Moorthi (the President of the Selangor Estate Workers Trade Union) who were fighting for higher wages for estate workers organised a nationwide strike on august 25, 1947. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2475&context=etd history of daily wages after 1968 http://www.indianmalaysian.com/plantation_workers.htm Another point – The 1968 Employment Restrictions Act, which required Malaysian employers to get work permits for non-citizen workers, resulted in thousands of Indian and Chinese plantation workers being forced to leave the country. What is not portrayed in the movie but theres a silent reference as Amir describes changes in kl to the prison returned Kabali – the fact that as commodity prices dropped, estates were sold and many bonded indian estate workers not only lost jobs but also homes. They eventually ended up in slums and lower cost flats in the city with very little education as education of estate children was not a british priority. Also nothing refers to MIC – the indian political party https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_Indian_Congress KABALI link - Nassers character and that gathering where he addresses a big crowd (at dataran merdeka) seems to pay homage to SVK Moorthi and the fight for higher wages. In the movie Kabali was inspired by Tamilnesan and organised the uprising in his own estate before joining him in the city and eventually taking over. Please note AMRWC were not gangsters but a union that fought for the rights of plantation workers. Also the fight for wages in the lowest income group continues till today under different ppl. Arul from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is one such leader today. Gangsters leading the change and fighting for rights which is the basis of kabali is a fictional element to create continuity in the story.
However timeline for this homage is not historical. As there is a photo of Malaysia’s first prime minister (Tunku) moment of independence declaration behind Nasser or Rajni (can’t remember who). So that dates that point in the movie to post independence. kabali link - Also in the movie Kabali says a line that is similar to a quote by then labour activist Y.K. Menon “We are Indians and slaves to nobody.” Jeeva’s mother references the historical mass return to India when she explains to kabali about Jeevas fathers whearebouts during the cemetery scene. Temple demolitions This is an ongoing issue faced by Malaysian Indians and is one of the few reference to the political issues the community has with the government that is slipped into the movie. Kabali link - In kabali flashback, theres a scene where kabali stops a temple demolition. Whats brilliant is Pa ranjith places it in the flashback part in order to not get the movie banned. Gangsterism, Drugs in Malaysia Drugs Opium has been recorded to have been smoked by chinese labourers from way back in the 19th century and was brought in by the british itself. Drugs were actually legal in the early 19 century. But during the Vietnam war, American soldiers used to rest and do drugs in Malaysia which influenced locals and led to Malaysia becoming a trafficking spot. This despite Malaysia having a death penalty for drug trafficking. http://www.adk.gov.my/html/pdf/jurnal/2007/1-1.pdf Gangsterism I cant give you an exact history of when it started. But it was chinese led at first before Indians joined in and they formed this various gangs, some taking over or starting their own. Each area has a gang that dominates it. But it is a serious problem amongst the indian youth especially as recruitment starts from school. 71% of gang members in Malaysia are Indians. http://cilisos.my/dei-why-are-so-many-malaysian-gang-members-indian/ Kabali link – in the movie Kabali’s gang is refered to as kosong kosong (00). This is actually referencing an actual indian gang in Malaysia – 08 or 04. While Tony lee’s 43 is similar to the 36 gang which has an elaborate logo. 08 and 36 have been around for decades, I can safely say since at least the 60s. both are historically rival gangs and often kill each other. In Kabali gangs are headed by one big don – ang lee. I don’t think this is true. I don’t know to be honest. But what I do know is the head of don’s now are educated and actually are well dressed, like any other professional like how kabala and tony lee dress up. But they are way up the gang hierarki and are not known by most in the gangs. Local area gangs are headed by dons that look like veerasekaran, sampath. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2013/08/30/police-reveal-gang-logos/ Kabali link – Are petshops façade for gangs? any business can be a façade for illegal business. I recently bumped into a grocery store being the façade for Myanmar gangsters while on a photowalk in KL. So there is a possibility. Gang meetings often happen at small chinese coffee shops restaurants. The term is – table talk variya (or lets talk over drinks at the coffee shop). Chinese coffee shops are choosen as they serve alcohol while indian restaurants and mamaks do not serve alcohol. Kabali link – this is shown in the scene where veerasekaran meets jeeva alone. There are only two of them talking but the moment Jeeva holds Tony lees collar, his men come out and chase after him and a gun fight ensues. When the director focuses on jeeva and veerasekaran, you will notice there are indian men sitting in a group at the background. That is no coincidence. Those were veerasekarans men. That is how actual table talks between gangs happen. And any gang fight happens outside the shop, rarely inside. Kabali link – There are no known gangsters that are doing good for the people like kabali. That is a FICTIONAL portrayal. And I believe Pa ranjith had to do that to create a commercial mass rajni movie while highlighting all the issues of the past and current segment of Malaysian Indians. However gangsters have always been linked to indian leaders in Malaysia and the political scene. Mostly to keep rival politicians controlled in the party itself. There are also cases of gangsters standing for elections in the recent election. They are evolving. Kabali link – When seeni dies, there is an elaborate funeral procession. That isn’t fiction. It actually does happen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzLADvoaj3I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE7Y9ann1Dk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sb7-K5WpZk Kabali link – the “poojai” kudukanum scene where veerasekaran goes to a temple to give sacrifice actually happens here with gang dons here being religious but practising the traditional sacrificial methods. This is also prevalent in small temples (not necessarily gang related) around the estates till today. None of the big temples in the urban area allow this traditional practice. Kabali link – the kali temple shown in the scene, there are many scattered around rawang, kuala Selangor. And bali kuduthal (animal sacrifice) still happens till today. Current Malaysian Indian issues After independence schools were built in estates and more Indians got education but not all did due to economical issues. Also higher education wasn’t that easy to achieve due to economic status. So most would work right after A levels or drop out of school even earlier to work to support the families. Jobs and earning capacity for these segment got lesser and lesser due to many reasons. Indians are a minority in Malaysia, we make up 7 % of the population but 71% of gang members in Malaysia are Indians. How did that happen? The poorer segment of the community continue to earn very little and there’s a reoccurring cycle that happens. Young men who started working by 15 some heading into gangsters but mostly low wage jobs, start having gfs by 17, may marry or leave the gfs once they are pregnant and have kids. Kids (are not taken away as shown in the movie) grow poor, if lucky get placed in orphanages, at 15 single mothers tend to take the kid back (legally parents have rights on the children according to Malaysian laws no matter if they can afford to look after them) to make the kids work for the family and the cycle continues. Most turn to becoming gangsters not just for more money (it’s a fallacy that lower rung gangsters earn well but that is the common perception.) but for respect. If you are labelled a gangster, you will earn respect more out of fear than you would as a poor person. (the Malaysian movie jagat portrays this story of the gang cycle). Kabali link: the girl meena’s (who calls kabali appa) story is this or the early part of the cycle. Jeeva and his mom is a perfect example of the later part of the cycle. She being a lower rung drug pusher despite having an education (after the husband leaves), he being drawn to the gangster life and refuses to study as he sees his mom having an education but not a good life. Their life conditions are portrayed through the glimpse of their home at her death scene. Small, dark, in a shoddy flats. These are the Indians mostly portrayed in the movie. But you also see characters like Amir, fathima, kumaran (tamilnesans grandson) who are professionals and live in better conditions. Compare Jeeva’s home to amirs beautiful white lit home. That is the perfect portrayal of two vastly different economical situations of Malaysian Indians. Kabali link - Maarkandayan represents the richer Malaysian indian who will do anything to earn money. These are the rich scammers who are not necessarily gang linked but are able to scam people for a lot of things, like houses and more. The indian vs chinese In the movie the Chinese are shown to be pulling down the Indians who try to rise above them and not under them like seeni, veerasekaran. Indians now (please note im trying to be detailed but not as detailed as this is getting too long) In the last two decades there is a growing problem that affects both the poorer and middle class segment of Malaysian Indians. Government wise – the National Economic Plan (NEP) led to less representation of Indians in the government sector. It is harder to become a cop, government servant, or work for a GLC if you are not Malay. Until the 1970s, a lot of government or government linked companies and the police sector had loads of Indians in them. That is why till today, KL Mariamman temple Navarathri festival is represented by different business and govt groups. TNB (electrical board) people, Railway people (railway employees) and more. All of these groups will be mentioned annually. https://www.facebook.com/Kortumalai-Ganesar-Temple-357848150965743/photos The chinese in the city were mostly merchants, business owners even from back then and not really known as government workers (I might be wrong on this one). However after 1970s, hiring of non Malays got very hard. So was getting a placement in the local universities. No matter how high your grades, coveted spots in the medical seats, engineering seats were very hard to get. You could still get in, but not to your choice of education course. That led to the rise of expensive private education that is not within the reach of everyone. So if you can’t get placed in the government, naturally people turned to the private sectors. Now there is where the other discrimination begins. There is actually a “we don’t hire Indians” practice amongst many businesses in the private sector which are mostly owned and led by the chinese companies. The funny thing is the majority of Malays are also affected by this. The NEP does not benefit all Malays. And it goes beyond just jobs, try renting a house in the city if you are indian. Regardless of your professional or financial background, this is a HUGE problem. I recently documented my own road blocks on this situation. Where I was rejected by 15 home owners (all chinese) before I finally got to rent my current place, despite putting in an advance booking fee, even before I got the house. And I am a professional, holding a managerial position. This extends to the financial sector as well. It is much harder for an indian to get a loan/ credit card in a bank. In shopping malls, credit card sales people practically ignore us when we walk pass and target mostly the chinese. In a way its good coz I don’t want to be hounded by sales rep but the racist profiling is very saddening. If you ask the banks they will tell you it is coz theres a higher rate of rejections, however they fail to mention that there are higher restrictions for application criterias for Indians as compared to the Chinese. So no matter if you have an education or not, it is harder for an Indian to get jobs in either the private or government sector. Also most professional Indians seem to earn a lower wage than their other race colleagues as compared even with the same experience, expertise and education. And this is a bigger problem for indian males. They also have to deal with social stigma. Walk into a lift in any building, and the occupants will start clutching their bags tighter and move away from them. Same thing happens if one drives by. Basically the social stereotype is that all male Indians are gangsters or thieves. Now all this doesn’t even take into account the current entitled, lazy, spoilt attitudes of gen y. this is a basic summary of growing issuesin the community. Kabali link – the private sector discrimination (and government discrimination in a way) is what the climax speech by kabali to Tony Lee is probably about but I can’t say for sure as the whole speech was censored in Malaysia. I need to find a copy of it to know more (someone send me the video pls) Kabali link – after the launch of the bakery at the end, a group of youngsters meet Rajni and talk about this issues very briefly. One guy says I don’t think ill pass, at least she will pass. She on the hand says, “pass panna mathum vehlai kadaichirumma” (its not as if I will get a job if I pass). She also says private education is expensive (reference to not getting placements in public univs). That is how brilliantly the director has mentioned all these issues into one moment, without touching further to ruffle political feathers or more so the movie doesn’t get banned. Gangsters and police So if theres so much gangsterism, why isn’t the police doing much? Well as in the movie, the police here have an interesting policy when dealing with gangs. Gangs here often have turf wars. Where like in the movie the kill each other. The police know this is happening and often sit in the background monitoring everything and sometimes taking the credit for the killing to control the message that goes to the public. Kabali link – opening scene, the top cop (the malay man) says we will handle him our way if needed. Same man then opens the bakery in the ending. Kabali link – the indian cop talks about how even he is often treated in suspicion of being a criminal. But do you notice he appears to know Kabali’s whereabouts, getting him out of the country quietly, escorting him up to the plane at the airport (while tony lees ppl attack the banglo in the palm oil forest?), meeting him at the airport. Basically Malaysian cops know the movements of the local gangs and mostly let them be as long as public is not physically harmed occasionally catching the smaller guys in drug and prostitution raids. Kabali link – in the climax, tony lees drugs are seized at the port by cops and vice dens are raided. Killed there are the lower dons and not the top dons who are partying at another event. Which is similar to the hieraki of gangs here. The bigger dons are rarely killed or at the raids as they don’t do the dirty job of running the business. In real life, a turf war between rival gangs often happens. You will suddenly here a news, man gunned down here, at this flat, at the traffic light. The news will last in the news for few weeks before it all quietens down. Basically the cops warn off the gangsters to stop or they kill them and this leads to all turf wars stopping for a while. 2013 ops cantas http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/08/19/five-shot-dead-in-penang/ Now the 2013 ops cantas (eradicate or shoot at sight) began after Malaysia abolished the ISA in 2012. The ISA not only put away political opponents but also gangsters that police knew of their activities but had no proof to arrest. Under ISA anyone can be arrested without a criminal proceedings if deemed to be a threat to national security. When these old dons came out to find their old turfs taken over, they launched their own turf war. After a few months, the cops launched ops cantas. Kabali link – Kabali was detained under ISA and released around that time after the abolishment of ISA. He comes out and immediately leads a turf war with gang 43. 2014 a cop was shot dead http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/police-officer-shot-dead 2015 ops cantas http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/03/07/infamous-gangster-meets-violent-end-murder-suspect-shot-dead-after-leading-cops-on-highspeed-car-cha/ the infamous bentong kali https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._Kalimuthu Gang killings on the rise in Klang over drug trade war http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/gang-killings-on-the-rise-in-klang-over-drug-trade-war About Malaysian cops capabilities in dealing with gangs – actual gang shoot outs http://cilisos.my/how-likely-are-you-to-survive-a-shootout-with-pdrm/ Kabali link – when kabali runs down the drug dealer with his car. The news report shows the cops taking credit for the death of loga. That is why everytime one don dies, there are tv reports shown and you see veerasekaran mumbling about the report by the journalist on kabali’s death as no body was found but cops reported Kabali was dead. Kabali link – by the way you can drive to Bangkok from Malaysia but it takes freaking 18 hours to get there. And pretty easy to cross the border. In some parts there are no border gates between both countries and you can easily walk across.
Kabali ending – the same indian cop who was helping kabali throughout the movie, arranges for Tiger to execute kabali. That is how the cops deal with gangs. Which refers back to “we will deal with him our way” (as said by the top cop in the opening scene). Basically no one ultimate power should remain, and the cops still are the ultimate powers. Kabali ending in Malaysia – shows a screen note that kabali surrenders to the police. This is the cops and censorship at its best showing what they want you to see. Sure do a movie about the gangs but remember the cops are in control at the end of the day. Which is actually the truth.
Who is tiger? Tiger represents the current generation of poor Malaysian Indians who no matter what re-education they go through, will opt for the gang life as they don’t see a hope of getting a job or respect by suffering like the rest who try to earn an honest living. He is a jolly angry youngster. Each of his appearance is similar to the story of the average poor indian who are stuck in this cycle. Tiger is there at the end during the gang fight on the rooftop but he is captured by the cops. Why did the cops capture him and not the rest? Coz he can be swayed and broken to do the cops bidding – which is to eliminate kabali.
Does this mean Indian Malaysians are suffering? Yes and no. yes there are a lot of problems and it is a struggle to not be another statistic. And it is kinda getting worse for all classes. To be honest if you are poor, an indian – you are like a third class citizen the worst position on the list. The poor malays fall into these category as well but they still can get government assistance in some ways. There are also poor chinese people but their percentage is very small and they aren’t treated as the scums of the society. There are also criminals, gangsters in all races in all states. http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/police-believes-gangsters-behind-damansara-perdana-homemade-bombs The professionals or employed middle class can be likened to a second class citizen. The rich are rich no matter where. So if you as a Malaysian indian has never gone through any of this or don’t see this happening – that makes you a privileged Malaysian indian. The most similar global reference to this situation is the blacks in America. The black lives matter campaign talks about similar issues as what the Malaysian Indians face. We are probably a decade or two away from cops shooting down any indian male for just being in an area or for putting their hands in their pockets. No it is not the end of the world here. We don’t live in hate of other races. Not all malays and chinese are racists and discriminatory. We actually live in harmony, mostly. I took a chinese friend to watch Kabali yesterday. Yes we watch each others movies, eat each others food, marry inter races, and have wonderful friends across the races. Most Malaysians share similar sentiments despite a growing number of stereotypes in the country. I also got lucky both at work and friends but even in a professional arena I have had indian stereotypes thrown at me, no matter how long my success and credibility list is. And if I were to go out and look for a job, despite my success it will take a long time for even me to get a job. I have indian friends who have been on a job hunt for the last year or so and have been rejected numerous times. And in the past I have felt the same rejection many times. Years ago circa 2009, a listed chinese property company called me for a telephone interview and she sent me an email with all the details of the interview date and time and requested for my photo for security clearance. So I sent her my photo. Right after I got an email that the interview was cancelled. Turns out I wasn’t the right coloured indian they were willing to hire despite their interest in my capabilities. Kabali link – the dark skin reference is mentioned when kabali says his wife loved his dark skin despite her being fair. That was not a random point. That’s an actual issue here. Do we hate being Malaysians? On contrary i love being a Malaysian despite everything and I only identify myself as a Malaysian. And to be honest similar issues happen worldwide to minorities anywhere. Do I want change? I want people to give chances to downtrodden people who are poor and caught in a vicious cycle. We can’t change politics that easily but we can change how we treat and perceive a fellow Malaysia. So stop stereotyping? Conclusion – what directorial brilliance! So if you made it to this point. You’ll realise how brilliantly Pa Ranjith has weaved actual issues, actual history into the fictional realistic commercial movie that is Kabali. I don’t know how long he took to research our story or how much reading he did. It took me half a day to write this as I wanted to get the history as exact as possible and provide supporting links for further reading. I would so love to ask him a gazillion questions and if someone could tag him on this. I would like to know if he knew all this references as I don’t think even Malaysians will get all the references in the movie as much as I did. I wrote this simply to show how brilliant his script was despite all the negative comments based simply on a lack of understanding. One day in the future this movie and its script will receive its acknowledgement. Most of all THANK YOU Pa Ranjith for writing this script for us Indian Malaysians. Note: if there are historical inaccuracies, apologies. I am making analytical gueses based on my knowledge of Malaysian history. if info is omitted or not explained enough, its coz im trying to keep this as short and detailed as possible. To my other race friends: I hold no grudge on anyone as many know, i am just stating actual issues as it is. Also I believe these challenges only make us stronger, more resilient. I am hoping this will also serve as an educational understanding of the Malaysian indian conundrum.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

I'm an organ donor? Are you?

#organdonor #ghkl #malaysia #kualalumpur

I became a registered organ donor in 2008. That wasn’t the first time I had heard of organ donation. You see my dad was a kidney transplant patient. Naturally I knew about the importance of organ donation from as early as 1992 when he was first diagnosed with kidney failure. And no it had nothing to do with alcohol but rather a childhood injury and blood pressure.

So why did it take me that long to register?

Somewhere in time someone had engraved into me that a person isn’t complete without all their parts. At some point that year I identified that this was what was stopping me.

I had realised that it’s silly to be obsessed by the completeness of the physical body, for isn’t death and birth about the soul?

Organ donation saves lives. Your contribution can make a difference to at least 5 people.

So what if your body is disfigured. You’re already dead. You don’t need a body anymore. Yet in your death you could have saved the life of 5 other people.

Funeral’s are for the living to grasp the lost of a loved one. You remember the memories you had with the person than the way they looked at their funeral.

All you have to do is google for Gift of Life Malaysia, fill up the form and mail it to the National Transplant Centre in GHKL. It took 2 months for my card to be sent to me but it eventually did arrive.

Do let your family and friends know that you are an organ donor. So that in the event of your death, drs are allowed to proceed as fast as possible. Every few years once I write on this so people will remember I am one, in the event I die in the near future.

Ps: don’t fret, I talk about death all the time. The moment you are born, it means you will die one day.


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Friday, November 27, 2015

To Yoda or not to Yoda

Few days ago there was a question on how should we recommend new viewers to watch the Star Wars saga.

you can go yoda on it - 4,5,6,1,2,3
or in sequence - 1,2,3,4,5,6

But let me tell you why you need to go Yoda on it.

You need to love and marvel at Darth Vader, the faceless awesomest villain the world has ever seen
You need to watch him force choke people and hear him say - I find your lack of faith disturbing.
You need to learn the Yoda lingo - talk you must backwards me like.
You need to watch the beautiful friendship between Han Solo and Chewbacca - wordless yet the thickest friends.
You need to hear - the force is strong in this one from the original series. its more significant there.
You shouldn't know that there are two siblings in the characters - the revelation is a significant part of the story.
You need to know that there was a strong female character who fought her own battles right up from the first movie.
You need to learn why we love the awesome team of R2-D2 and C3P0.
That in the non CGI era, these movies were able to thrill audience with an alien world so different from ours.
You need to learn about how not to underestimate the cute walking teddybears we call Ewoks. Those fellas can fight.
You need to go urghh at Jabba and the rest of the awesome evil alien monsters.
You need to hear the first time we heard that iconic sound of the lightsaber when it was first revealed and why we all want one.
You need to hear the amazing soundtracks of the movie that are an integral part of why we love Star Wars

You know I could go on and on.
So go the Yoda way, love it like how we did. Or maybe not but that's okay.

May the force be with you as you attempt to watch the previous movies.
#starwars

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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Thalaivaaaaaaaaaaa



My very bizarre morning.

Yesterday I went to temple to pray. And then I saw his caravan driving in. So I hung around hoping to see him. 

So at one point the caravan changed location. So I walked towards the direction and was standing at the side when a car stops next to me and the door opens and behold thalaiva is sitting inside and about to get dowñ.

Yes he was just there right in front of me. I blinked for a second and then I remembered I had a gift for him

The thing is its a photo of Batu Caves Murugan. Nambeh ooru nyavagarthama, nambu oooru murugan kuduhkanumnu nenechen. 

I wanted to give him Our Murugan in memory of Malaysia.
I never expected to give it to him in Batu Caves itself!

I quickly gave it to him and everything else is a blur. He took it said thank you. After that I froze for a bit and then I said can I get a photo he said, illahpa crowd vandhrum and the security came and took him. And only then I remembered to take out the camera and took some photos and a video. And then I just froze. again.

His car stopped right in front of me!!! Omg!!
This was the gift I gave Rajni sar. I still can't believe I gave it to him at Batu Caves itself. I've been taking it with me everywhere since 30th in case I met him.

Our Murugan is ever playful. Look what games he plays! I was supposed to go on Friday but couldn't. I went on Saturday to Melaka and couldn't find him. I found the crew in Brickfields but not him. 430 kms later I find him at the temple whose photo I wanted to gift to him.
Nee engeh vehnalum suthu but kadhisiyah ehn kovilku than varuhnumnu Murugan sohnar maari iruhku!

No matter where you go, you're only going to see him at my temple!

What games he plays. 
Nee naduthu pa Muruga. 

Murugaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa thank you. I love you Muruga. 

Here's a recap of the day - its still such a blur 



Dont ask me why we were thanking each other. We were just standing and staring while some of us remembered to take pictures and videos. it was so so calm and we were awestruck. Ive seen countless videos of his stay here, but this is one of the few calm moments we've had with him. it was so so surreal, calm yet we were all awestruck. 



He tried his best to wave at everyone and was ever smiling. But security has been tightened and they do have a movie to shoot. 


At this point he was telling us like a father, ingeh than pa shoot, nah ingeh than pa iruhpehn. The shoot is here only, I'm here only. So we finally let him go into the caravan and waited. 


At one point the crew told us if we wanted to hang around we can sit or walk around but must make sure we didnt look at him. So I might even be in the far background of the movie - lol. But look at Rajni sir, in between shoots, he would sit outside in the hot sun and refused umbrellas. Seriously even more amazed with the man. I was sitting quite far from him at this point but we moved closer at one point. At that point the director called for him and he rushed towards him. That man walks so fast and I went sir again and waved and he smiled back and waved again. We could learn the value of time from him. No airs whatsoever. And ever obliging to us fans.



By the last shoot session, throngs of people started heading to the temple. 

Ithu anbal serndha kootam. That's what I was reminded off everytime I saw pictures or videos of fans waiting for him at shoots or the hotel. Its crazy. 

And yet the sweet man stood on his car through the roof so he could wave to us. And he stood a good half a KM along paths filled with people. 




I still can't believe I saw him and all this happened. I saw him at three different times. I had a good 5 minutes just talking and staring at him in the most calmest situation. 

Omg omg I saw thalaivaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa 

Ps: no stealing the photos and no cropping the trademark out! 

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Monday, November 02, 2015

Urban Rain



Over the weekend I drove 430kms from Melaka to KL and more. 

I love long drives on the highway. Even better if the weather is beautiful. And it was! Blue skies and cotton candy clouds gradually turning into storm clouds.

Then the sky burst into a thousand drops and pelted the earth. Oh what beauty it was.

I drove back the very same night and the roads were clear yet foggy from the mist that forms when chilly drops of rain meets the musty heat of earth.

Oh what joy to drive fast, something I rarely do nowadays. You'd have to love driving to understand the joys of cruising down the highway with the radio blasting your favourite song.

Last night on the other hand I slowed down to a crawl as I drove back to the city from Klang. 

For the lights were dancing on the slightly wet tar road. And all I wanted was to cruise slowly and enjoy the sight of my city drenched in rain.

The urban rain series continues



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2nd attempt, half pass



#kabali 2nd attempt, half pass.
I found the crew! But not Rajni sar :( #huntforrajni #kabaliinmalaysia

They were shooting side actor scenes in #brickfields

The shoot was happening at Nu Sentral and involved a few actors. I shall not share anything else but it was a brief scene. I was talking to the crew for a bit and at one point became unofficial crowd chaser. I demand an opportunity to see Rajni for my selfless act! - lol

You can see director Pa Ranjith here with some of the camera crew.

I'm making a black and white series of my hunt for Rajni around Malaysia. Hopefully I will see him finally.

The only photos in colours will be photos of Rajni himself.

The hunt continues.

ps: no stealing and cropping the photo.

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The King has left the building


#rajnikanth has left Malacca.#huntforrajni #kabali

I missed him by a few hours :( he left for kl from the half day shooting spot. So skip Malacca, he's now in KL.

After we spent a few hours circling the supposed shooting spot, we ended up at #ramadaplaza hotel where we met Keseven.

He told us about the first time he met Rajni. He stood frozen (hey looks like I'm not the only one!), despite knowing he was meeting him. It was Rajni sir that spoke to him and took his hand. And he finally asked back, "sir nalla irukingehla?" (How are you sir?) And Thalaiva said "naan nalla irukhen. Paarungeh" (I'm good, see. ) "Ethavathu sapadhu kadaikumma" "Ehna vehnummnu sohlungeh sar"

#thosaiyum meen kaari?" And that was what he mostly ate at the hotel where Keseven had the privilege to serve him for breakfast and dinner. (So lucky!!) Despite that, the photo of them with him was the only one they got as the security team wouldn't let them spend more than 10 minutes. Even that photo, Rajni sir was the one who asked them to take the photo.
Thalaiva doesn't eat much, and most times his dinner consisted of fruits and ice cream.
How was he, I asked.

He confirmed he was the most humble, lovely man they have met. Watching Keseven gush about Rajni was kinda enough though I failed to meet thalaiva. He was one of us, a fan in love and besotted with our thalaiva.

What did he think of the crowd, I asked again.
He felt sad that he couldn't meet all his fans but for brief moments.

And that is why we love Rajni sar. Coz the humble man loves us back as much. Every photo or moment we've seen of him has been nothing short of magical. He stands on cars, he waves from moving vehicles, he stops for crying fans and forces his driver to slow down so the fans can see him. "Don't worry about not seeing him. You can still feel his positive energy here! He is so radiant with positivity, we all felt it!," he adds.

Indeed despite not seeing him, just hearing about him was enough. Thank you for looking after Thalaiva.

The hunt continues, hopefully I get to meet him soon

Ps: if you're posting an old photo, pls tag as old photo. Thanks.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Rajnikanth mania in Malaysia


If you are a Tamil movie fan there's no way you would have not heard of Rajnikanth. 

Now here's why we Tamil Malaysians are so excited, as far as i can remember the last time he shot a movie here was in 1978! Heck I wasn't even born then. 

The movie Priya, is a classic among Indian Malaysians as it was shot here and the songs even had Malay and a Malay actress in a heroine role - Aznah Hamid.





Its taken him 37 years to come back to Malaysia to shoot and that's why theres such a frenzy everywhere. Although he was here to launch Endhiran, he hasn't (as far as I can recall) shot a movie here. 

At some point I hope to be able to see his shoot and this time may i not freeze as i did when he passed me as he was leaving Endhiran launch in 2010. 

Rajni in Malaysia 











Now we know why they used a Hello Kitty Limo - that is one plush limo














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Monday, October 12, 2015

A culture of violence

Tomorrow is the first day of Navarathri where Hindus celebrate the goddess for 10 days.
In a religion that celebrates its female goddess in equal to the male divinity, it is quite sad to see how we treat women.

Last week a woman was brutally beaten up by her husband and his friend in Port Dickson and it was caught on video. She was in critical condition from the severity of her wounds. The police were quick to apprehend the suspects on the very day itself.

I spent the last week monitoring infamous Indian facebook pages that thrive on regularly putting down woman. Some didn’t even bother sharing the video, though these same pages have a habit of sharing videos of school kids swearing or fighting.

In less than 24 hours another video surfaced with a voiceover accusing the victim of cheating on her husband and hence why he acted as such. Now these pages sprang at sharing this video, even though there was no proof or evidence or even a face behind the voice that made the allegations. 

And the moment this 2nd video came to surface, a sizeable number of people started hero workshipping the husband, making statements such as – “she deserves it”, “no man will beat up if no reason”, “let this be a lesson to all the cheating women” and so forth. There were even vile comments suggesting she should be raped or gang raped with volunteers coming forward to join in the act. Yes such vile creatures exist.

On the grounds of her cheating allegations, do we know how long she has been separated from the husband? Do we know why she is separated from him? Do we know people can choose to separate from each other? Yes people can choose to have a divorce. Don’t men cheat? So should women too whack them up?

Let’s for a second just say those allegations of cheating are true. My question is – STILL what right or justification do you have to physically harm someone?

If someone cheated on you (male or female) – leave them, file for divorce on the grounds of cheating. The courts will easily give it to you. You don’t need to resort to violence or end up in jail for it.

When has violence against women been okay? When has it been okay to utter phrases like “she wants to be gangraped and that’s why looking for another man”???

685 domestic abuse cases were reported by Indians last year. This doesn’t count the women who do not report abuse due to no proof, family objections or mostly fear of shaming the family.

Where did we learn a culture of violence? When did it become okay to hit someone?

Pages are sprouting around Facebook to demean indian women. Who are the admins of these pages? Why are you posting such things? Women can’t take selfies? Women can’t dress up as they wish? If a women wears western clothes, you judge and put her down in posts and a gang of people from god knows where turn up to comment equally vile comments on these posts.

Women can’t complain about sexual harassment either. Coz the moment they do they are told its because of the way you dress, coz the selfies you take are too sexy. If you are okay with 1000 likes then you should be okay if men stare at you. What kind of response is that?

Pray tell me where in the vedas has it stated that this is how a woman should dress? Have you seen the sculptures of women in temples in india? Most do not have their upper torso covered because until the 10th century, the saree blouse hadn’t been created. Those sculptures are of devis and the everyday life of people in that era.

Did you know the culture of clothing and traditions we practice today is very much influenced by the invasion and restrictions imposed by Muslim and British invaders?

So what is it are you trying to uphold in a religion that has Shiva Shakti to equate that men and women are equal?

These pages are creating a breeding ground for contempt towards women. A means to justify violence against women, coz its okay shes a ‘bad’ girl.

Do you know what Hinduism’s core message is?

“Do good and have good thoughts always”
 “Do not hurt others, practise ahimsa (non-violense)”

What good do you get by putting down women?
What good do you do by judging someone by their clothes?
What ahimsa are you practicing by hero worshiping an abuser?
What ahimsa are you practising by justifying violence on a woman?

What use is it for you to go to the temple tomorrow and pray to the goddess when you justify violence against women? Ask yourself that.

Think, your actions, your words, reflects not only on you but the whole community and your comments are nothing short of barbarism.

Ps: this is not a male bashing post, this is for the sites and people that justify abuse or the demeaning of woman who do not fit their narrow minds.

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