Saturday, August 30, 2008

China has every reason to feel proud

Photo courtesy of

All good things have to come to an end eventually. It is sad that the Olympics came to an end so soon. But truly what a magnificient event for China and the world. What a show of strength, unity and volunteerism. Every Chinese who whole-heartedly worked for this event from sportsperson to the volunteer, from their President to the person who wiped floors of the sports fields, the cheerleaders and most importantly the BOGOC the Beijing Organising Committe for the Olympics games deserved credit. A lot of this success has come with foreign technology but credit has to be given to the Chinese to have pulled off such a wonderful event. The technology, artistic dances, acrobatics, the incredible firework, the unforgettable Bird's nest stadium and the water cube swimming complex.

It was only befitting that China themselves topped the medals tally for the maximum number of Golds won. BOCOG President Liu Qi was presented with the Olympic Order in Gold by IOC President Jacques Rogge in recognition of all the work and effort over the past seven years that made possible this exceptional edition of the Games. I wished Anotonio Samaranch was alive to see how Beijing had defied what he said of the Olympics in Australia. Fourteen other BOCOG officials, including Executive Vice-Presidents Liu Yandong and Chen Zhili and Executive President Deng Pufang, received the Olympic Order in Silver, and Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong accepted on behalf of Beijing citizens the Olympic Cup from the hands of President Rogge.

I was also reminded of what the ousted Romanian Nicolae Ceau┼čescu of Romania saw when he came to visit China. Unfortunately for him trying to imitate the Chinese might (he saw the army parade) in Romania failed.

It was also nice to see Kenya's gold medal in the marathon and to hear their national anthem play in the Bird's Nest just before the Grand Finale events. This Olympics is going to be remembered for Michael Phelps and Umain Bolt.

Is there a lesson for India, its neighbour? One individual performance Gold in the history of the Olympics?

Sebastian Coe has already said London Olympics will not be on such a grand scale as it was in China. It was nice to see Jimmy Page and the familiar London Bus transforming itself like a Transformer Toy so well in the handing over celebrations. Will I make it for the 2012 Olympics to London? Dream on Subash. How many of you are there with me on this?

Following the Summer Olympics, China is all set to host the Paralympics which is due in 5 days (Sept 6- 17). Check the official site at

Friday, August 29, 2008

Latest update on Roopa

I had a talk with Roopa a few days ago and from her voice she sounded very tired. She told me she was just recovering from a bout of fever. She also told me she was in Abudhabi for a concert and that is why her phone was ringing when I tried to contact her for her birthday. How lame of me to have thought otherwise.

Meanwhile her songs from "Ramanan" continue to comfort my soul like a the greatest soothing balm there ever is, like medicine for your mind. Just don't miss "Kanana Chayayil" and others from the album.

Roopa also told me that her program for Onam is scheduled for the 13'th or 14'th on Amritha channel where she will be celebrating Onam with veteran singer Sujatha, Sujatha's daughter Shwetha and Vijay Yesudas.

Roopa is going to go places. I am sure you join me in whishing her all the very best.

Monday, August 25, 2008

No, I wasn't wrong about Roopa

After being such a fan of her fine performances how could I be so wrong?

Roopa delivers a treat in her work on the concept album "Ramanan". All the sweetness of her voice that I missed in "Enter Sarike" is there on songs on this album. Roopa sounds soothing, lovely amd most important "clear" and un-modulated. Though a bit nasal now and then, this recording has truly brought her mellifluous voice out clearly, something that we all love her for.

The guys who made "Ente Saarike" must listen to this album and then find out how this sweetness and melody of her voice has been brough out by this recording and how they missed it or messed it in theirs.

Check out Roopa's songs at

"Kanana Chayalil" must be your first song. Beautifully rendered, the male voice also deserves credit. The poetic lyrics are beautiful. I will not be surprised if it is selected by a director of taste for his or her movie. Roopa singing as the character Chandrika in the poem, adds strength to the character of Chandrika that you almost fall for Chandrika.

Other good numbers are "Aarenthum Paranjotte" (male voice commendable here too and song sounds very much like "Theertha karayinile.." from K Balachander's "Varumayin Niram Sivappu", probably based on the same raaga), "Anyonyam", the duet with Gayathri, "Enthu Nee Cholkilum" and "Nirthaye lokame". In "Kandittila Njaan" listen to Roopa speak at the end of the song.

Roopa's voice is on 6 songs of the albums and for Rs.100 the album is a steal deal.
You can buy the album from Manorama's site.

Meanwhile Najeem Arshad who won Asianet's Idea Star Singer 2007 competition has his own big hit in "Ente Pranayathin" from the movie Chembada. You can listen to it on

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shame on Tata Sky's sports channels

Not one of the sports channels that normally people rave about on Tata Sky could show even a few minutes of live coverage of the Beijing Olympics and we had to watch all the action on good old Doordharshan. True we could watch NBA as if you were in the U.S but it is a shame none of the Beijing Olympics could be covered. Is it because the rights to telecast the Olympics were given to only Doordharshan? Or did DD outbid the other channels for coverage?

Doordharshan meanwhile hasn't changed one bit. Old people are sent to Beijing to cover the events. I am not against old people but isn't the event about youth and energy and competition? The most ridiculous of them all, showing ads in between the prime time live coverages. The Suzuki update would show a screen with information typed on it (silly stuff like who won Gold, Silver and Bronze or the medal standings etc) and the hosts would simply read them. Have you ever seen anything as ridiculous as that?

Although my initial intention of getting Tata Sky wasn't sports coverage of Beijing 2008 was sure a let down.

I save two more birds

This post actually should have gone before the "Kakka Pudichen" post. Had I saved or kept the young crow chick it would have been three weeks in a row of saving one bird.

The security guy who killed, cooked and ate a Koel chick I think was frightened that I would report him to "some" animal activist authorities that he promptly brought me an adult female Koel. This one was pretty tough to handle. The crows were incidentally chasing it and it seemed so desperate that it was trying to peck its own wings while I was trying to hold it. Blue Cross was kind enough to come and take it away. I took a snap of it on my film SLR and will post a pic when I process the film.

The very next day after Blue Cross took away the Koel I was handed over a Mynah chick, this time it fell into the motor room of our colony's water treatment room and it was unable to fly. I kept in the box for two days before Blue cross was able to come and take it away. By then it had eaten well, gathered enough strength and was also able to fly quite well. Here is a pic of the mynah chick.

But a most amazing thing happened when I put the chick into the box I have made for these rescued birds. I noticed a pebble inside. I picked it up and even dropped it back into the box. I first thought Chaithanya, my son would have dropped a pebble into the box but why? Instantly it hit me like a shot out of the blue. It was an egg! An egg the female Koel had laid when I had put in the box two days ago. Here is a poor pic I took of the egg. Unfortunately the focus on the photograph has been shifted to another spot in the image and the egg looks fuzzy.

I am trying to incubate it but I don't think the embryo has survived. It was probably dead in the first or the second day of laying the egg. Will let you all know if the chick hatches.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Will the Singaporean Indians be happy?

While working in Singapore in the mid-nineties a question that I heard more than once from the Singapore born Indians (who were obviously frustrated with India or Indians or India's performance in International Sport) was this - "How come you guys have the second biggest population on Earth and cannot even win one Olympic Gold medal?". I used to shrug and give answers but more of them excuses. In return I could have asked them this question instead then but it would have hurt them. How come you have a sizable Indian population, particularly Tamilians and Malayalees and yet cannot make a decent song, or movie and have to resort to entertainment from India. Certainly that isn't more difficult than winning a medal at the Olympics yet these guys simply cannot do them. I remember watching one such serial in Singapore and it was pathetic.

Now that Abhinav Bhandra has won a Gold medal for us I am not saying we have the perfect answer for the Singaporean Indian but we also need to analyze various things behind this victory. Most important of all, will we make a repeat performance because our Athens medallist in the same sport did dismally this time.

I am not trying to let him or India down but this guy is going to be talked about for the next 4 years like no other sportsman in India, a credit that will not and was not given to several other discerning sports personalities that kept India's name shining bright in the yesteryears for several years. In fact very few of us have even heard of Bhindra till he won the medal. Already 5 lakhs has been promised by the Chief Minister, Mr. Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu and other states have followed suit with their prizes. His total prize money from India stands over 5 crores now and growing. After the states it will then be the turn of the Central Government to give him prizes. Imagine if a lot more Indians had won Gold medals what would happen to our treasury. I can understand the appreciation but has our state and central governments gone over the limit. I think about the Singaporean Indian's question and wonder if we really have to shower so much praise. In China athletes have been winning Golds by the cart load and yet how many of them get even the smallest of praise that one Gold medallist in India does. Most of them are lost and forgotten after the Olympics. It only shows how medal starved we are. And if we are so desperate then what are we doing for it and where are we doing wrong at winning Olympic medals?

In the current political, social and economical setup for most Indians taking sport as a career is a big decision to make and a big no-no. This is probably one of the fundamental reasons why we are so backwards in sport. This is the prime issue we need to address and trying to solve this issue or find an answer will go a long way in helping us understand or solve why India can excel in sport. On the other hand in countries opting for a career in sport is a preferable choice for aspiring sportsmen. The amazing thing is that several countries who are behind India in terms of economy, political stability, funds and coaching have fared better at the Olympics.

This is the first Olympics where we didn't even qualify for Hockey. Its such a shame having been World Champions and having won the maximum number of Golds in Hockey in Olympics we couldn't qualify. So over the years we have been going backwards in the sport that we were best at and finally we have failed to qualify.

I am sure some or many of you may be even want to quote Lincoln - Ask not what the country did for you but ask what you did for the country". For the country I am only trying to throw more light on this incident. Should we shower prizes and prize money or provide better and coaching after employing impartial methods and unbiased selection? Why waste so much of our time on cricket? There are many among the new generation that do not know that Hockey is our national sport. We need to do research and find out how we can improve our sporting scene instead. We also need to investigate sports medicine and see how the usage of the same can improve the condition of our athletes. The dismal performance at the Olympics continously reveals to us the state of our health systems, the cleanliness of our air, our spiritual, emotional and phycial well being, quality of food, discipline and control of our regimens, our overall vision and the general nature of our beings.

Among our current athletes at Beijing Saina Nehal did a good job on the Badminton courts in Beijing. She was leading 11-3 in the decider before giving the game away to an unseeded Indonesian. The pugilists also did well though Akhil Kumar was carried away by some hype and I wasn't surprised when he lost the quarter finals. Vijayendra Kumar was the best of the boxers and it was good he was able to get a bronze. His attempt is certainly commendable. Anju Bobby George was certainly a disappointment. It is difficult to say if she will be able to get a medal after another four years.

And writing of questions from Singaporeans another interesting question but one that got me into a tight corner that I had to confront from a Singaporean-Chinese lady was, "I have always wondered how Indian women wearing the sari go to the toilet?" I kind-of managed to answer this one. Luckily Jaya was around to help.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Kakka Pudichen" literally

What another strange experience. I trailed the young bird that was hardly able to fly a few feet on the main road. Some passers-by were enjoying the scene. I was able to catch it but soon the sky was filled with adult crows. I tried asking some people who were looking at me with utter disbelief if they could hold the bird sitting on my scooter so that I could take it home to the box I have saved for rescuing these birds but none of them seemed to volunteer. Without much choice I placed him on an abandoned vehicle near a bushy area. Soon adult crows surrounded the little one. I feel guilty that I left him there. Maybe I can still go and search for it even now. But this time I will let his adult friends help him instead of calling Blue Cross.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Holy Crap called "Dasavatharam"

"Ulaga Nayagan" (i.e Actor of the World), Kamal Haasan?

With this movie Kamal Hassan has literally let himself down in the minds of so many of his fans. Hope they don't start calling him "Ulaga Fancy Dress competition artiste" because that is what he has done in this film. I still haven't recovered from the shock of this movie that I watched two days ago. Either it was some silly joke or maybe even some conspiracy to ruin the talented actor's career.

If you are planning to watch this film let me warn you not to waste your precious time unless you wish to change that good image of the veteran actor in your minds. I cannot imagine what Jackie Chan, Amitabh Bachan, Mammooty and the rest of the special invitees had in mind after seeing this blockbuster piece of holy crap at a special showing. I say holy crap because there is a small debate of God vs atheism in this movie. Kamal Haasan being an atheist has tried to offer his views of what happened in TamilNadu on the day the Tsunami struck. He simply asks what God or spirituality did to save TamilNadu from the Tsunami. Spiritually speaking this question cannot be answered in a simple sentence. But that discussion later.

Dasavatharam has even the Chief Minister of TamilNadu, Mr. Karunanidhi, the Indian PM Manmohan Singh and the U.S President George Bush being played out by actors, Bush played by Kamal Haasan himself. The entire movie is being played out as a flash-back but narrated in front of a huge simulated stadium audience (with the three big political heads just mentioned) as guests. It was a stupid way to tell this story and this movie. I like Kama's tamil but even that sucked during these parts of narration.

With "Vettaiyadu Vilayaadu", 2007's no.1 film in TamilNadu still fresh in our minds I cannot believe Kamal's next would be the absurd "Dasavatharam" which had such a huge hype for its launch at a ceremony attended by the Chief Minister, Mr.Karunanidhi.

So why am I so disgusted with this movie?

1. Watching "Indian" I was already sick of the make-up done to Kamal and Sukanya but since it was a novel idea I could somehow accept it though it was beginning to get disgusting after a point. Both Kamal and Sukanya's old-age make-up looked as though they were suffering from sort of skin disease. What you now get in "Dasavatharam" is a super overdose of this make-up. Multiply the "Indian" make-up ten times and that is what you get here in Dasavatharam. A couple of the made-up characters were impressive but the rest of the disgusting characters over-shadowed anything or all the good that was being done by other characters or in the movie itself. The old Paati looks frightening and would easily qualify for a horror movie, another character the tall muslim guy was a perfect Frankenstein look-alike. I still feel Sivaji Ganesan with his 9 roles in "Navarathiri" made decades earlier did a much better job without the make-up and the technology of today.

2. Hero Worship - Sometimes I wonder why there is so much Hero worship that we have in this country. The Heroes of course are benefiting from this. Like Ted Nugent, the self-proclaiming greatest guitarist of the world these heroes either give themselves titles or like being given titles that they proudly self-proclaim or display in their own movies. Many such titles including "Ulaga Nayagan" seem to me that way. I can understand love of fans for their idol but by using titles certainly doesn't make a movie any better. Overuse of these titles in a crap movie only makes the movie more horrible.

3. Superstition - Remember the movie Avvai Shanmugi where in the introductory scenes you are shown a close-up of Kamal's eyes and he winks one of them. You see that in the opening credits of this movie too. I am told that astrologers and numerologists play a huge role in movies particularly when it comes to deciding names (start the name of the title with this syllable etc), names of characters, choosing numbers and dates for the movie, opening and concluding scenes and for several other infinite and infinitesimal things. How can an artiste such as Kamal agree to such things (given that he is atheist, Oh but can atheists be superstitious) and also think such things will go on to make the movie a hit?

4. Kamal either wants to become a white man or he is in complete awe of them. Kamal dons the make-up to resemble an ex-CIA agent and worst of all President Bush. Honestly President Bush looks more like one of those monkey characters from Ramanand Sagar's "Ramayan". In the final credits Mr. Bush is seen dancing to Ravikumar's (yes the director in the song too) eulogy in the song "Ulaga Nayagane" supported by dance and dancers.

Every move made and dialog spoken from the CIA agent made me cringe. Advertisements in "The Hindu" like "Fletcher rivals Hollywood..." (I haven't reproduced the advertisement everything verbatim) make a total mockery of this film. Remember the lines in "Vettayadu Vilayaadu" for Kamal. It was so natural. The English spoken by the CIA guy, Mr.Bush and in his role as the NRI guy is unbearable too. Then there is the Japanese lady trying to speak "fluent Tamil", most of which is hardly understandable.

5. Add to the mess Asin's painful acting. She and her "Perumal". All she does is run after the idol yelling, "En Perumal" and it looked plain silly reminding you of the silly conditions she had in Gajini before she could marry Surya in the movie. I have certainly more of Asin's bore-you-to-the-death acting skills but that will be in another post.

There is enough blood and gore too. There is one torture session in the opening scenes that is difficult to watch too. This scene has no correlation to the movie and I think it was inserted to add an additional character in the movie. Unnecessary Saiva-Vaishnava rivalry shown in these scenes also could have been avoided. The scene where Kamal introduces himself after levitating himself from some underground crevice in the temple sounded so very funny too.

Why rope in K R Vijaya, and Nagesh to do some silly roles when they can be left alone peacefully in their retirement.

Little jokes and funny dialogues are there in good measure but they have become stale.

So isn't there any saving grace? Yes - Mallika Sherawat. She actually proves that she can be more than just a glamour doll.

Just forget this movie and look forward to Kamal's next offering, Marmayogi which is about Kalari Payattu, the ancient martial arts system of Kerala. You will have to put up with Asin's unbearable acting once again unless she does something new (that which I doubt).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Remember that song from The Beegees album "Living Eyes"? It keeps ringing in my ears everytime I see this blooming shrub that grows in front of the compound wall to my house. I don't water it. It just grows wild and I am hesitant to have it removed. The flowers fully open at around 11.00 A.M during the day and during the night the flowers have completely shrunk themselves into small tube like things. Can anyone tell me what plant this is?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Heavy engineering

I am amazed at some of the nests that the crows build during their nesting season. I found two near our colony who have built them on power line posts. One of them on a high tension one as this. I wonder how the crow placed its first sticks to lay the foundation and that too with just a beak and two legs. Incredible!

And here's another one I found located on another electric post. Inside this one the mother was sitting on her eggs.

Now here's some trivia. I also believe the nests are a natural turn on for the Asiatic Koels and as evolution or survival of the species would have it they court, mate and the females go depositing their eggs in these crow nests. How perfect nature is.

A little of Heaven On Earth

Legend has it that it was brought to the Earth from the Heavens. Here is the "Parijaatham" flower in bloom in my house. This is the first flower that bloomed after I got the plant from Amma's place. It is called "Gandharajan" (king of fragrance) in Kerala. It is also the favorite of Lord Shiva. Its fragrance can be summed up in just one word - "Heavenly".

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Can India do it?

After watching the superb opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics 2008 I ask myself this question if India can pull off something like this and host their Olympics. China is celebrating an event that is historical. What a show of lights, dances, special effects, acrobatics and fireworks. The entire nation is taking part in some little way or the other. Wish I could be there. Sadly most of the teams were outside the statium. Maybe they had Televisions to watch.

In 2000, Antonio Samaranch in his closing speech said that the Sydney Olympics was the best ever. The Chinese I am sure are going to take it further and even surpass what was done in Sydney and in Athens. Of course the Sydney show was 8 years ago and the one at Athens 4 years ago.

It was a shame to see the Indian team walk with all kinds of footwear and no uniformity. Some of the ladies were in track suits. Has the Indian woman forgotten how to wear the Sari. If we cannot even be united in wearing clothes and parading in a stadium how are we going to be united and conduct an Olympics. It is going to be a very distant dream. Better not to conduct one than make a fool of ourselves hosting one.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

"Wherever you go, our Network will always follow you."

Here's a picture that I received in an e-mail that I received showing the government's clever use of an ad used by a phone services provider in the country. The advertisement calls to attention the hazards of using your mobile phone while driving. I am not sure if this was done by some prankster for the Govt. too.

The ad is titled "Our Network will always follow you", the caption also taken from the phone company's ad campaign.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The fat cartoonist creates his English blog

My good friend, Sajjive has just started his own English blog. Sajjive already has a Malayalam blog and I was only expecting him to start one in English. The prayer has been answered. Way to go Fatso! All the best.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My chipmunk adopted by another chipmunk family

Jaya tells me that she saw a squirrel jump out from the hole in the Electricity meter box. Actually this chipmunk nest she discovered, was the fourth in our home. This one was inside the electric meter box. Looks like it is clearly the breeding season. I checked it out the day I came to know of it and I was surprised to find the tail of the mommy chipmunk protruding out of the nest. I silently closed the door of the box. The box has two compartments and one window of the second compartment is never opened. I really feared for my wiring and the safety of the chipmunk (and its babies if there were any).

The next day I decided to check the nest. Meanwhile the chipmunk at my sister's place had been transferred to my home. I even tried to acclimatise it to the other abandoned nest I found earlier. So in the morning I made sure mommy chipmunk has left the nest. I opened the second door of the electricity meter box and I was not surprised to find the nest inside. I tried disturbing the nest a bit and the noise from inside confirmed there were babies inside. I took out the nest and tried searching for the babies and as survival would have it the two of them were trying to hide inside the darker areas now that I was trying to open it and let more light inside. What a survival technique I thought to myself, even with their eyes not fully open. The two babies seemed much younger to the chipmunk I already had as their bodies were still pink though the three familiar line marks were already visible on their bodies. I was careful not to touch them lest they mommy should abandon them too.

It was now I had a flash of an idea. Why not insert our chipmunk baby into this nest. So I took the little one along with a little portion of his nest and attached the next to the new one. He seemed to immediately like the new nest and started exploring and then moving deeper into it like his new siblings. Soon only his tail was visible. I took a pic of the little one and his new found siblings before I left the nest back inside the box where I took it from.

Now all I had to do was wait. There were only three possibilities. The new one would be 1. accepted, 2. rejected and the worst 3. killed? I was sure no.3 would not take place.

I had to leave my home for a short while and by the time I rushed back I saw mommy chipmunk already peeping from the hole in the box. I instantly knew she was back for her little ones. Now that the nest had been disheveled I knew she would take her kids away to another place. I closed the door of my home and kept looking at the box from the peep-hole of the door. After a long wait (patience is the key) the mother was back. The lens in the peep-hole was not big enough to reveal what was in its mouth but the mother was already carrying away a little one. But which one, I couldn't make that out. I waited again. This time I decided to open my door a bit and see a bigger picture. It came again and this time I could see it carry another little one in its mouth. As it ran around my house I followed it and with all the speed it could muster carried its little one into a bush outside the rear compound wall of my home. It was aware of me following it. I went inside and waited again. After a short while it came again. This time however it left alone. Then after a long time it didn't show up. I knew then that it would never come back.

It was now time for the acid test. I decided to check the nest. I was only praying that my chipmunk was rescued and my prayer was answered. All three babies had been carried away to a safe place. Thank God Squirrels cannot count or is it that mothers always care for abandoned little ones.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Was I wrong about Roopa's voice and will we ever hear more from her?

It was Roopa's birthday on the 31'st of July. She had told me that the birthday mentioned in the show was wrong. Unfortunately I gave up calling her as her phone was switched off and her second number kept ringing without any response. I didn't care to send an SMS either. Am I being rude? I don't think so. Roopa has been very difficult to contact ever since she won SSG.

Not as a fallout of this but I have been constantly thinking of her voice ever since her song "Ente Sarike" from the Mohanlal starrer "Maadambi" was released and I am beginning to wonder if she would make it big in the movie-singing business. Already she had been telling me that she preferred classical singing to singing in the movies. One thing is clear. Her recording hasn't brought out the best in her. Roopa is awesome in her live performances. I tried listening instead of seeing her videos and some songs do have a nasal quality to them but the song for the movie could have been much better. Roopa did admit that she didn't feel fine in the recording studio as much as she felt on stage. Even Unni Menon had remarked that the song hadn't brought the real Roopa in the recording. If voice is a problem then I doubt if Roopa will ever make it big like I had predicted earlier. Shwetha's song from Madambi sounds way too pleasant.

I still pray good things for her because she is such a great singer. Let us wait and see.

ISS, what a mess

I have almost stopped watching Idea Star Singer 2008. ISS is loaded with crap this season.

The list of lousy things you are getting this year -

1. The show has become some kind of a soap opera or the typical Malayalam serial that millions in Kerala or all over the world watch. It has crying and lots of it and most of it for no reason. Judges cry, the audience cries, Ranjini cries and the participants also cry. One of the poorest duet performances was for the song "Enthinu Veroru Suryodhayam". The original is one my favorite songs and it was butchered on ISS. On the show one of the participants who is visually impaired (female) was on a wheelchair and the male doing favors for her as though she were his lover as implied by and play-acted upon by the song. The audience and judges were wooed by the shit the two were doing on stage that left everyone crying. I ran away from the T.V.

2. Organizers of the show can convert the show into a match making business. Participants in duet songs are made to show chemistry, emote and what not. So hapless participants have to look into each others eyes frequently, one of the most embarrassing thing someone can do, play-act or pretend perfect love and such. Judges frequently and unabashedly comment on how a participant looks. So where's the music?

3. Judges seem to be awarding marks either too lavishly or too poorly.

4. The clapping is edited and inserted and perfectly phony. Every clapping scene from 2007 is the same in volume, duration and probably no. of claps too.

5. Guests like Suraaj (I have great respect for his mimicry) and Kalabhavan Mani (i have respect for his humility) are not actually entertaining on such shows. Suraaj was taking the participants for a ride and Mani was taking the judges for a ride. Sharath was sportive to react jokingly when Mani indirectly called him a "Chekuthaan".

6. Finally Ranjini adds unnecessary laughing to her list of painful activities on stage. More guessing and mathematical games abound.

Not that there is no talent but they are all overshadowed by the hype and melodrama that is going on.

Somadas is emerging a likely hero in the footsteps of Sunny in the last year competitions but he is better than the sympathetic vote winner of ISS 2007. Vivekanandan and Prashob could be hot favorites. Parvathi among the girls has originality but something magical and original needs to be in ISS 2008 for me to become a loyal viewer. It was nice to see 2007 winners and participants but ISS need to rescue itself before the viewing audience starts dumping the show.