slumdog millionaire – should we celebrate the oscars??

Slumdog Millionaire has won the Oscars. And the country is celebrating. But do we have reasons to celebrate ???

The movie claims to depict passion and love and the courage to succeed in life despite all odds. But for a viewer, the more lasting impression out of the movie will be a disturbingly bad image of India. The movie shows the slums, unjust police, unethical reality show hosts, poverty, cruelty and miserable living conditions. Is that all India is all about?People believe what they see, even though it might be just a movie. What would a tourist, who has never visited India, think of this great country?

There is nothing to feel good about, in this movie... for an Indian

Movies are considered to be a platform to showcase the world about its diversity. And what has been shown in the movie is not the true India. This movie seems to have been aiming only at the awards, and not at people’s hearts. We must not fall for it.

Many Indian movies have scenes that are shot in foreign countries. How many of those Indian movies show the darker side of those countries? It is agreed that not all foreign countries have slums and not all countries suffer from poverty and unemployment in a very large scale. But every place has its darker side. The grass is never greener on the other side. And still we tend to seek the beauty in these foreign countries while we go there for a movie shoot. We probably should try something. Make a movie about the distasteful of the British, probably some huge national problem that their country is facing. And screen the movie in Britain theatres. And then expect it to be well received and sweep their box office. Will that happen?? This really is something to think about.

There is a difference between an Indian narrating the national problems in a movie and a foreigner doing the same. It would have been acceptable had these issues been depicted in a movie made by an Indian. This is because, only a true Indian can experience the spirit of India. Only a true Indian can share the suffering of a fellow citizen. Only a true Indian can live the life of an Indian and be proud of its varied culture. Any sensible Indian will agree that India is not what has been shown in the movie and it definitely is not a correct and complete picture of India.

Slumdog Millionaire claims to have extolled the ‘Spirit of Mumbai’. Has it really?? A British movie, made by a foreign director, with the lead role played by a person who has not visited India and who had had a tough time speaking with an Indian accent… I still am not able to comprehend how these foreigners claim to have experienced the Indian way of life in just a few months.

India has loyal policemen and soldiers who are ever willing to lay down their lives for the nation. India has really good talent and excellent reality shows. India has places with scenic beauty. India is trying hard to alleviate poverty. India has a comparatively good economy considering the fact that the rest of the world is feeling the heat. India has a varied culture and good people. But, will we get an opportunity again to tell the world, “Hey, this is what India is… ” ?…

naan kadavul – the effect on me

After I came out of the theatre, it took some time for me to get back to the real world…or the reel one ?? We are sitting in front of our computers, probably in an air conditioned room, typing swiftly on our keyboards. This virtual world is what we christen ourselves as reality. And we require movies like “Naan Kadavul” to show us what is real, what the world is facing and how humans suffer. And when the movie thrusts so much truth into our eyes in a short span of time, we just are not able to accept it.

Naan Kadavul
Naan Kadavul

Aghoris … Have never heard of them before. The whole sight of them, their voice and demeanor gives me a shudder, even though I am just watching them on a huge screen, in a cinema. Humans who consider themselves God. They decide who goes to hell and who goes to heaven… One should never ask a question whether these are true. We will just end up losing the meaning of truth. And the definition of God. Everyone has God within. We decide….Hmmm…No. I’ll probably stop trying to explain things to my own self. Probably the movie was shot to leave such thoughts lingering in our minds as loose threads.

The poor and handicapped beggars and their mafia leaders… Well, it is just another piece of reality. Next time we give beggars any money, we will be thinking twice about whom the money will be converging to. And it is more shocking than saddening to see money measured by weight. And humans being bought and sold. Has humanity completely disappeared from the face of the earth? The important point to be noted is that they too have love. The beggars live like a close-knit family. They show affection.

A mixed feeling is what has been created by the visuals in the movie. We sometimes feel it is better not to know the truth rather than lamenting after knowing it.

Now about the ‘movie’ part of ‘Naan Kadavul’. When most movies that are released nowadays spin the same yarn over and over again, the boldness of director Bala to come up with such an idea and to make a movie out of it must bbe appreciated. No commercial elements at all. There are some humorous dialogues scattered around, which only partially succeed in distracting the viewer and preventing him from receding into a state of shock or disbelief or fear or whatever he might be going through.

But then, the movie seems incomplete. One can feel a discontinuity in the screenplay. Something seems missing. The director has tried to have a story as a backbone. But we are often tempted to ask “Why?”. We dont ask “Why” when Vijay leaps 200 feet. We dont ask “Why” when Dhanush fells a bunch of thugs. We dont ask “Why” when science is defied. But we ask the question here. That probably is because, we can sense the director’s attempts to sprinkle fiction into facts, and not the other way round. The effort nevertheless, must be lauded.

The aghori character was brilliantly portrayed by Arya. I initially could not believe that Arya was capable of such acting. A real hard work from his part. And he seems to have mastered “Shirshasana”.

Pooja was exceptional. Her role was a tough one. She was asked to wear opaque lens. She was really blind when she was acting. And that probably is the reason why the emotions are perfect. She looks small and thin in the movie, which has suited her character. Our heart really goes out to her character.

Overall, the movie has touched so many emotions. It has made us to sit back and think. It has changed our perspective of the world.

We see so much suffering around us. Wild superstitions, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, exploitation…an endless list. Tears ? Probably. What else ?? We just return to our worlds. We know we can try to change these. But are we going to try??

JavaFX workshop @ Pragyan ’09

The JavaFX workshop was organized successfully as a part of Pragyan ’09, The International Techno-management Festival of NIT Trichy. . It was a day long workshop organized by Sun Microsystems. The workshop was aimed at teaching how to use JavaFX software for developing rich Internet applications. The engineers explained how to use the technology to create animations and effects, add multimedia to applications, and incorporate Java software into JavaFX applications.

The response was really overwhelming. More than 500 students had registered for the workshop, and many of them were students from various colleges across the state. 150 registrants were shortlisted to attend the workshop, out of which 50 were from outside colleges. The workshop was conducted in the annexe lab in the Octagon Computer Center.

The session started with Kumar Abhishek giving a talk on Open Source technologies. He explained about how the world is shifting from the ‘information age’ to the age of ‘participation’. He cited examples to explain why the computing world is slowly moving towards open source.

We had three engineers from Sun, Mr. Elancheran, Mr. Srinivas and M. Praveen. The next few sessions were handled by them. A basic introduction to the world of JavaFX was given initially to the students. Various features of the technology was explained. Brief demonstrations were given to show how JavaFX functions as an expressive rich client platform for creating and delivering rich Internet experiences across all the screens of our life.

The next session was regarding the JavaFX Script, the scripting language used in creating JavaFX applications. Sample programs were provided to explain how the language is an object oriented, integrating easily with Java with automatic data binding. The demo programs explored a wide range of features of the language.

The next session was the hands-on session where the students tried their own code and came up with really innovative applications.

Occasionally, questions were asked and prozes were awarded to the students who answered the questions. T shirts, pens and keychains were presented to the students. The best application received a Transcend Flash drive as an award.

Members of the Sun Club helped in organizing the workshop and ensuring that the things went on smoothly. The students feedback also was good. Certificates were given away to the students who attended the workshop.

Keeping in mind the success of this workshop, many more workshops on open source technologies are being planned in NIT Trichy. It is always a great experience to organize a huge event successfully.

slow down

slowdown

Pragyan ’09 – design, posters, pamphlets, brochures, invites, cards, banners, backdrops … Workshops, JavaFX, website management, registration, osum, software installation, hall arrangement, projector, screen, transport for guests, publicity, cd distribution, certificates, reports … Sun Club – formation, induction, question paper setting, evaluation, team, meetings, projects, Netbeans, Opensolaris, Java, website development, cms, svn, member certificates, workshops, Java ME, permission letters, posters, reports … Vortex – design, workshop, flash programming, logo … Music Troupe – Saarang, new songs, compose, notes, practice sessions … Academics – class notes, photocopies, CPCs, cycle tests, class tests, CAT classes, seminars, assignments … Entertainment – Movies, Serials, Boston Legal, Heroes, NFS, slumber, novels, newspapers, BusinessLine, blogging …

Oh God … I really need to slow down …

Sun Club of NITT

And finally, the Sun Club of NITT is formed with 20 enthusiastic students interested in learning and developing open source technologies. The club has been formed with the support of Sun Microsystems. I am presiding over the club as President with Aswin assisting me as Vice President. Prof. N. Ramasubramanian, HOD, Dept. Of CSE is the Faculty Advisor.

Sun Club of NIT Trichy

The Club Logo was designed by Sharadh. It has an ‘O’ in green and an ‘S’ in black. They represent ‘Open Source’. The empty block in the centre also denotes that it is really open, for the community to explore, innovate and develop.

Students were inducted into the club based on a written test. The question paper was set by me and Aswin. It had four sections – aptitude, basic computers, algorithms and java. Most questions were picked from good sources including CAT papers, SCJP sample papers, etc. The test duration was 90 minutes.

The inductions went on very well. Room CSE301 was arranged to conduct the test. 75 students registered for the written test –a very good number considering the fact that the club is a newly formed one.

And then came the huge task of paper evaluation. I learnt a lot of new ideas while evaluating the papers. Innovative ideas and ingenious solutions to questions which I had previously considered to be having only a single approach to a solution. The marks were tabulated and 18 students were selected.

The first formal meeting was held. The students were divided into 5 teams:

  • Core Java
  • Java ME
  • Netbeans and MySQL
  • Opensolaris
  • Web designing

Each team is now working on a separate project apart from assisting during workshops and other events.
It is great to see a new club emerging in NIT Trichy. A community of members interested in learning and developing open source technologies…

Human knowledge belongs to the world”