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New Drawing: Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu

Monday · 24 Sep 07 · 03:22 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

I've been wanting to do a drawing based on Gautham Menon's movie Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu for a while now, and I finally got around to it today.  I ended up doing two drawings, because one came out badly and I had to redo the picture.

Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu — Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

Anyway, the finished drawing has been added to my gallery, and on that page you will also be able to see the drawing that came out badly.  The movie itself, starring Kamal Haasan and Jyothika, is one of my favourite Tamil movies, as it's a very nicely made thriller, and the songs by Harris Jayaraj are the icing on the cake.  Have a look at the drawing here, and let me know what you think.

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This is the way the World Ends

Sunday · 23 Sep 07 · 01:09 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Movies

I try to keep track of publicity (mostly, posters and trailers) for upcoming movies that I am interested in, as closely as possible, and recently, there's been some remarkable stuff released concerning two such movies —

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem and Southland Tales

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem

AVP-R, directed by The Brothers Strause (Colin & Greg), is a sequel to 2004's AVP: Alien vs Predator.  In this one, the title creatures battle it out in a town on Earth, and apparently we will even see the Yautja homeworld in this movie.  The release date (Christmas) is approaching soon, and I recently saw these items from the movie —

  • The Red-Band Trailer, which was released a few weeks ago is absolutely amazing, seems very Aliens in feel!  It also managed to pack in a good amount of gore and violence in two and a half minutes.
  • A few days back a new "Population" trailer was also released, which has a nice idea running through it.
  • JoBlo/Arrow also obtained an exclusive look at the poster for the film (seen above, go to the linked article for large size image), which is really very impressive!

Southland Tales

Southland Tales is writer-director Richard Kelly's follow-up to the excellent Donnie Darko, and is an apocalyptic story set during the Fourth of July Celebrations in 2008.  Some time back, we saw the final poster for the movie being released (you can see the large version accompanying the Wikipedia article for the movie), but yesterday, the official theatrical trailer for the movie was released!  Oh man, what a trailer!  It's the first footage from the film that I am seeing and I can't wait to see the full movie now (November is the release).  Of course, the trailer doesn't make a lot of sense, but given the complex and weird story of the movie (the Wikipedia article has a short write-up on that, very impressive), I guess it's the best way to promote it (the Fight Club trailer comes to mind, as another example of how to create an interesting montage of clips from a complex movie in under three minutes).

Oh, and speaking of movies I watched Chak De! India last night at Sangeet Theatre, and really enjoyed it.  So I wrote a review for it.  It's been a long time since I added a review here, so have a look.

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No Comment! (Now Fixed!)

Friday · 21 Sep 07 · 09:37 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Tech

UPDATE [22 Sep / 18:58]: Thanks to Varun's experimentation, the problem is fixed.  Go ahead, post as many comments as you want now...  For some reason, whenever a http:// specifier was present in any of the text boxes in the form, it wouldn't get passed.  So Varun wrote a small script to take out the characters even if they were present.  So that fixed the problem, and the upside is that there is no difference in the way users interact with the site.

There's been a weird problem the past few days on the site — that is, the inability to post comments!  This really is an irritating situation, more so, because I am not sure where exactly the problem is (going to have to try debugging tonight).

Any comment on this site is captured in a form which sends the data to a PHP script via the POST method.  For the past few days, any attempt to do this results in a HTTP 403 error, and the form doesn't get submitted.  This is strange because the same script has been working fine for over a year now (and works on the local computer just fine).  I thought it was a permissions problem, and changed permissions on the script, but that didn't work either.  On raising a helpdesk ticket on my host's site, I got a response saying that it is a scripting error, as the script was accessible through the browser.  And yes, if you try that, it does work, which leads me to think that there is some problem with submitting POST data.

After coming home from work tonight I am going to try to handle the form via GET and see if that works (most likely, it will — but it's not a good way of doing things).  I'll also try uploading some dummy forms and try to find out what exactly is causing the problem.  It seems like such a simple thing, but as of now I can't figure out what is wrong (the installation of phpMyAdmin on the site, which also submits POST data to PHP scripts works fine).  If anyone reading this can help me out on this, it would be greatly appreciated!  In the mean time, please bear with this bug.

Oh, and the response I got on helpdesk ticket advised me to "contact the programmer of the site", which is funny considering that I am the programmer...

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"Saw IV" Drawing — Initial Version

Saturday · 15 Sep 07 · 10:11 PM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: Art

In an earlier post of mine, I mentioned Saw IV as one of the movies I'm looking forward to seeing.  There's just a little over a month to go for the movie to be released (Oct 26), and an initial clip and teaser trailer were released some time back.

But a couple of days back, I got to see this video, which is a combination clip and trailer, advertising the movie!  Be warned though, it is pretty graphic stuff, as it begins with an autopsy of Jigsaw's body, where a tape is found by the coroner inside the stomach.  The chilling voice on the tape announces that Jigsaw's games are far from over, and the caption "What the fuck is on the tape?" appears on screen.

"Are you there, detective?
I promised that my work will continue.
You think it is over, but you are wrong.
The games have just begun."

One thing to be noted about the caption that I mentioned — it appears in almost exactly the same way that the words "How fucked up is that?" appeared in one of the original Saw trailers from three years ago.  And in fact, in the current trailer too, you can notice this same text appear a little more faintly, behind the main caption!  There could be more hidden elements in this trailer, as the montage of scenes is edited together very tightly.

Saw IV Drawing — by Karthik Abhiram

Anyway, this trailer inspired me a lot, and I ended up doing a Saw IV drawing the next morning at office.  I did this on notebook paper with ballpoint pen, and used the US One-sheet as reference.  You can see the image above (click for a larger version) — but please note that this just has minimal post-processing (I just desaturated it and boosted contrast a little), and I plan to improve it further before adding it to my gallery.  Still, feel free to leave your comments below!

2 comment(s) for this post. Five Years!  Plus Movies and a Reanimated Review

Tuesday · 11 Sep 07 · 10:29 AM IST | Posted by Karthik | Category: General

I can't believe it has been five whole years since I made this post, announcing the launch of!  But believe it or not, it has been that long that this site has existed, and there have been roughly 100,000 hits since then.  So yes, thanks to everyone who keeps visiting the site, keep coming, I'll also keep adding stuff to it whenever I can.

Work has been going on as usual over the last couple of weeks and has been occupying most of my time.  Fortunately though, I got a break from it all this weekend, as I went to Chennai to attend Nisha's wedding reception on Saturday.  Got to meet relatives and friends, and it was a short but good visit.  A few other things of interest —

  • I bought the Telugu remake of Kaakha Kaakha, titled Gharshana on DVD.  The movie was actually quite a disappointment.  Whatever happened during production I really don't know, but from the finished film it looks like the remake was shot quickly and on a lower budget, possibly with interference from producers (think about it, if you were writer-director Gautham Menon remaking your own movie, you'd try and improve on scenes you were dissatisfied with the first time around, and certainly wouldn't tamper with scenes that worked perfectly well the first time).  It's nowhere near as good as the original, and the acting from Venkatesh as the lead character, doesn't help either.  If you haven't seen either movie, I would suggest you don't spoil the experience by watching the remake, and if you've seen Kaakha Kaakha, the only reason you'd want to see this would be to compare the two, and see how ill-informed additions and changes (however small) can ruin perfectly good scenes.  I will try to write a more detailed comparison of the two movies (I've taken some screenshots to illustrate my points), I just wish I had a little more time to do this.  Taken by itself, I guess Gharshana isn't a completely bad movie, I was simply disappointed comparing this with the far superior Kaakha Kaakha (the terms local and global maximum come to mind!).
  • I watched the black comedy Ek Chalis Ki Last Local on VCD last week, and it was a pretty enjoyable movie.  The movie is about a man (Abhay Deol) who misses the 1:40 AM train to Vikhroli, and is forced to walk along with a woman he meets (Neha Dhupia) near the station, who has also missed her train.  The two soon stop at a bar where they meet a lot of shady characters, and things only become weirder after that.  First-time writer-director Sanjay Khanduri should be commended for this effort, as he makes you feel like you're watching a Tarantino, Coen Brothers and Guy Ritchie movie all rolled into one, while still retaining originality.
  • I re-watched a couple of classic John Carpenter movies recently — The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China, great stuff.

Reanimated — for Doom II, by Karthik and Varun Abhiram

Pablo Dictter wrote a detailed review for Reanimated, the Doom II WAD which my brother Varun and myself collaborated on.  This one was posted on his private journal, hence I copy-pasted the review here.  Go to the Reanimated page and have a look.  Thanks man!

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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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