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Last Diwali, en route to Cochin, BAR in the car (that’s Babu Annie Rohan). Somewhere near Mettur, we saw a panchayat board – POTTANERI. ‘Potta, looks like just the right place for you!’, I told my son. Boo haa haa. Next village – ERUMADU. Wow! this really is getting better, I asked my wife, ‘Maad, your hometown? And was that your cousin on the roadside’. I was feeling very heppy and high till I saw the next signboard – KUNJANDIYUR. Pondatti gave me a look, and I decided to concentrate on the road.

Check out a song from the new Malayalam movie Subhadram. Beautifully sung by Chitra, music: P Raghu Kumar, lyrics: Srilal Devaraj, the director.
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Song link

If you are a movie buff and a quizzer, chances are you are familiar with ‘Six Degrees of Bacon’. The game is very simple. You select a film star, and connect him to Kevin Bacon, in six links or less. The game’s name is a pun on the concept of Six Degress of Separation (“anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries” source).

Game Demo:
Clint Eastwood was in Space Cowboys (2000) with Marcia Harden
Marcia Harden was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon
(2 links)

Mammootty was in Kandukondain Kandukondain(2000) with Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai was in Singularity (2008) with Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser was in The Air I Breathe (2007) with Kevin Bacon
(3 links)

Clark Gable was in The Misfits (1961) with Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach was in Mystic River (2003) with Kevin Bacon
(2 links)

(Bacon is at the Centre of the Movie Universe. Not convinced? Check out University of Virginia’s Oracle of Bacon)

The game has helped me survive many seminars and training sessions over the years. And in the good old days before Google and imdb, the pleasure of finding a link, after racking the brain for hours, can only be described using a word that my firewall wouldn’t approve.

It was a colleague of Velan who introduced me to Six Degrees.

Let us call her Diya. When I called up Velan’s office one day, I happened to speak to her – she had this lovely voice, with a hint of mischief. She was a great conversationalist, and I had time to kill. Soon Diya became a daily habit, I was spending hours on the phone, and dying to meet her. Finally, D-day, her birthday. She said she would wait for me in front of Adyar Bakery. I rode my KB to the Bakery, I saw her standing there, took a U-turn and disappeared…well, almost. To cut a long story short, we became friends, very good friends.

Around that time, a girl working with Diya and her college sweet-heart decided to get married, against the wishes of both their families. Typical Hindi padam: Rich boy – poor girl, Vadakkan boy – TamBram girl, Anupam Kher – Amrish Puri. The boy was going abroad for his MS and wanted to tie the knot before he left. The kids were broke and their friends were scared to support them because of Amrish Puri. Diya decided to sponsor the wedding but asked me to front the operation.

After a week of hectic preparations…Inside Kapaleeshwar Temple. Almost muhurtham. Friends and colleagues hanging around. The lovely couple, he in a sherwani, she in kancheevaram, before getting on the stage, they dive for my feet, and I flee.

PS, posted a day later: I now realize that the last line was a subconscious tribute to one of my favourite books, Catch 22, which ends with “The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off“. Six Degrees of Separation again?

1987 – Right after Pattar’s victory at Ragam. On a Mullapanthal table he very proudly demonstrated the prize-winning bongos bit…and Rojobhai managed a near-perfect copy with one hand (the other hand, of course, was busy).

Another visit. Biju wanted ‘vedi irachi’ and was served ‘aama fry’, sparking off a session on the methodology of hunting tortises with guns.

Ormayundo?

(Thanks to Pattar for the images. Website)

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PS: No Frog Legs…

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“You probably don’t know John Alvin by name, but if you’ve stepped foot in the cinema anytime in the last 30 years you know his work. He was a poster artist that was responsible for some of the most iconic poster work of not only my generation, but the generation before mine, going back to some of Mel Brooks’ earlier movies.” (from Ain’t It Cool News. Also check out the NY Times tribute)

John Alvin designed the posters for 135 movies including Aladdin, Arachnophobia, Beauty & the Beast, Cocoon, Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, ET, Hook, Lion King and Blazing Saddles (his debut).

More Alvin posters available at the Internet Movie Poster Awards – worth a visit especially if you have had days when the posters in the lobby gave you more pleasure than the main feature.

Vaal kashnam – Balposh is Sangham-speak for Wall Poster

I stumbled upon some pics I had uploaded last April after a conference in Manali.

Now here is what you (yes, you) have to do. Post a story of less than 100 words build around the photos given below (please add pic reference) . All photos should be used, the photos can be used in any order, and the story must contain the phrase, “Klu klu, muttathoru mynah”.

No entries will be deleted and the worst wins an original Almost Famous DVD.

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Roy Scheider, Actor in ‘Jaws,’ Dies at 75 (NY Times article)

Star of classic late’70s – early’80s flicks Jaws, All that Jazz, Marathon Man and Blue Thunder passed away on Sunday.
Good bye Chief!

Most of us know each other for ages and have over the years heard all the different versions of all our stories. One only has to mention the opening line and the whole gang would burst out laughing, causing much anguish to new guys, and in turn providing more amusement for the Sangham. In fact, there was once a suggestion that we catalogue all the stories and give them numbers so that guys will just have to shout out the number and not waste time and energy by actually retelling the whole story.

Better late than never. I am planning to compile the Sangham Stories – a part of our shared heritage – before my memory is totally shot…

Contributions are welcome.

I saw a shop in Mylapore that had the R-Com and Vodafone boards, and on both the boards the store name was displayed in fonts that looked strikingly similar. Did R-Com copy the Vodafone font? Which are the fonts used? Does anybody care?

Googling revealed that Vodafone’s is an exclusive font based on the InterFace font, created by Dalton Maag, and R-Com’s is Precious Sans. (Bonus: Websites that mauled the ADAG branding – one, two).

Average Joe Test (Thanks Venky)
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(Vodafone in Black, Precious Sans in Blue)

The fonts are different, but viewed from a distance of 15 feet, both look pretty close.

Bonus Bonus: Stumbled upon during my investigations in Mylapore.
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Update – The Reliance Mobile Blog TVC jingle is inspired by the gospel song ‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands’.

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Fountainhead, Chennai

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