Maanagaram: This metro’s gonna knock you down

This is quiet a delayed viewer’s note (No, not because of the request of Vishal) I’m penning for a movie which had released about a month back but still has been running successfully (by this, I mean the real meaning of the phrase ‘running successfully’). My friend and I had been searching for a movie to watch and were surfing through all online booking platforms. As we had watched almost all movies (of our interest) from Tamil and English that were released in the past fortnight, we had no option than to watch a movie again. For this my immediate and only option was ‘Maanagaram’ which we had already watched on the first day of its release. Despite a very handful of screens showing the movie, we could find a best time to watch without affecting my office hours.

The main reason I chose this movie was the apt time of its release which was just a couple of weeks after I moved to Chennai. I am very sure that this movie will stay close to my heart forever just for reflecting my initial experiences with this metro on and off its culture, people and of course the traffic. Once we entered the screen, I was really surprised to see that almost 80 per cent of the seats were full except for the first three rows. Having crossed over 30 days from its released, this movie still has huge turnout even on a weekday. That was the moment I truly realised that how this movie had influenced the public by capturing and screening the ground reality of this peculiar metro.

Ideological aspect:

The movie revolves around several characters who are not named at all till the end. And you can identify these characters anywhere on the road you travel. A newbie in town, an innocent who is not clear with routes, a bad cop, a good cop, a contemporary youth who loves both the city and his girl to the core and above all a wannabe gangster. With these characters the movie delivers the idea it actually wants to propose about the city and its denizens. The highlight of all this is that the movie does not compromise itself in terms of commercialism too. As far as I have read, these lead roles of the movie were not named because they could be fitted on to any X or Y individual in Chennai. That is the USP of Maanagaram as the movie could push everyone (at least who hail/hailed from Chennai) who watch that into a point where they can relate it personally.

There are some sequences and dialogues that reflect the true colours of the city and the peak of all of them is the conversation between the character of Charlie who is an innocent cab driver and Shri who is a one day old Chennaiite. The dialogues they share for and against the city are written with a serious depth that every dialogue of both the character gets an applause from the spectators. Especially the question raised by Shri, ‘Nadu roadla orurthana potu adikkiranga aana kekka oruthan varala’ followed by the response of Charlie, ‘Neenga kepingala sir. Nama ketaa thana namaku nadakkum pothu kepaanga’ and that’s Chennai. The whole movie is based on these two lines and the director himself refers the same response of Charlie later in the movie.

Similarly, the dialogue of Shri defining ‘Othaa’ is another significant scene of the movie. Earlier, my reviewer friend Gilbert had referred that the Censor Board has acted sensibly this time by not muting that word as it would have spoilt the emotion conveyed if beeped.

Cinematic aspect:

Maanagaram is one of the very few movies which has the ideology reflecting in all grounds. Even the commercial elements of the movie carries the shades of Chennai throughout. Starting from the very beginning, the movie’s title cards are made with different scenes of Chennai that includes even a small mouse running through the underground drainage lines. The name card of the movie is written in a sky scrapper look alike font depicting the nature of the city. A couple of songs from previous movies like ‘Enga ooru Madrasu’ have been used as a reference in the movie to keep in the mood of the movie.

As the entire story happens in one day, the director has chosen Madras day for that. Reflecting the scenes of the city with rushing roads, the day opens with the voice of a hustle-bustle RJ of a radio channel about Madras day and closes with a soft spoken RJ with a melodramatic when the roads are empty late in the night.

Script aspect and director’s cut:

It is completely the director Lokesh Kanagaraj’s show throughout the movie and all is because of the strong and a contented script he has dealt with. This plot of the movie could have been said in any kind of a screenplay. But, to keep the spectators engaged and entertained for the whole run time, he has filmed it an action thriller with a lot of comical and romantic elements too. The screenplay of the movie is so coincidental that the director could successfully restrict the script within those five characters alone but has not at any point slipped off his logical path. The movie does not require a separate character for humour elements as most of the characters have been given dialogues that could be serious for them but resemble a dark comedy and bursts the screen out of laughter. The sequence where the two gangsters stand in front of the car and yell at the villain character PKP is one example for this dark comedy. Apart from the story line and the screenplay, the dialogues of the script stands out and carries the complete mood of the movie to next level.

Casting aspect:

As the movie deals with common people with no names, the director has played a very conscious game in picking out the cast with both tremendous performing skills and with faces of a next-door person. Be it Shri, Sundeep Kishan, Regina and Charlie, all of them look like they are ones who were born to do the role. Above all, it is Ramadoss (Munees Khan) who is the show stealer. Every dialogue he speaks in serious situations is just like ‘Who the hell is he?’. What a performance has delivered, and that’s really mind blowing. Sundeep has played the role of a typical Chennai boy who raises against odds. His facial expressions are so ferocious in serious scene while romantic in love scenes which has helped him show his versatility. On the other hand, Shri has come out with yet another plot which will help him go places. Yet I feel that he is still being under rated. Meanwhile, the character of Charlie and his emotions shows he is no less in experience. Despite being an artist playing very comical roles in the past like painter Gopal (Govaalu) in Friends, Charlie has easily faded out those shades to play a very serious and innocent role in Maanagaram. Similarly, the roles in negative shades including the three gangsters, the bad cop and PKP, I should say that all of them have well fitted into the character.


Technical aspect:

The technical aspect of the movie is the one which would justify that Maangaram is ‘picture-perfect’. Because all three major technicians, editor Philomin Raj, music director Javed Riaz and cinematographer Selvakumar, have stood as the other three pillars along with the director. As the second half of the movie completely takes place in the night, the cinematographer has worked really hard to show the dark colours of the city. The scissors of Philomin has worked out well without spoiling the mood especially in the scenes where the story runs in different directions for different characters. While, the songs and original score of Riaz are like a treat to the spectators as they act an equilibrium to the eye catching visuals of Maanagaram.

Overall view:

There is a dialogue for Charlie’s character that says, ‘Intha ooruku pozhaikka vantha yellarum intha oora romba kora solluvaan. Aana yevanum intha oora gaali pannitu pogamaatan’. Justifying this, the newbie to the city says at the end, ‘Intha ooru thaan enaku 25,000 roova sambalam kuduthu nammala vaazha veikka poguthu. Manushanga panra thappukaga oora yen kora sollanum’ and concludes with a song carrying the lyrics, ‘This metro’s gonna knock you down’. And that’s Maanagaram is all about. Simply real and perfect!!!

-Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, April 12, 2017.

The above viewer’s note is completely the perception of Santhosh Mathevan alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only.

When funding is denied, everything is denied

I am really struck at the end of this article since I could not land in a conclusion about the education system. I leave it to the readers.

When equality is denied, everything is denied.‘ This was the words in the last Facebook post of Jawaharlal Nehru University research scholar Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham before his alleged suicide. It has left behind a lot of questions in the minds of educationalists and academicians on the current situation of research scholars being discriminated inside campuses, facing obstacles and delay in getting fellowship for their projects.

When I recently interacted with several research scholars hailing from various parts of Tamil Nadu in some of the premier State-run institutions, including Madras University, Bharathidasan University and Anna University, I could see that the researchers face many hurdles.

Muthukrishnan Jeevanantham

Last year, when Rohith Vemula , a research scholar from the University of Hyderabad, committed suicide, in his suicide note, he had mentioned, ‘I have to get seven months of my fellowship, one lakh and seventy five thousand rupees. Please see to it that my family is paid that.‘ This triggered a larger debate among educationalists at that time and now in the case of Muthukrishnan too the same debate has been occurring again as he mentions in his Facebook posts regarding the delay in scholarship being sanctioned. Leaving the actual reasons of his death, be it suicide of personal reasons or of an induced background, it is all about the delay in funding of their fellowship.

From my interactions with scholars and academicians, I studied that the same hurdle is being faced by scholars across the country, which in turn reflect in their Ph.D deadline.

Rohith Vemula

Firstly, the project guides and the principal investigators say that the UGC, which is the funding agency for many junior research fellowships, does not maintain transparency in the funding process.

An Assistant Professor from the Economics Department of Madras University, who has guided many Ph.D scholars, said on condition of anonymity, “I was guiding a student who was admitted to the university to do Ph.D with a fellowship of Rs 14,000 per month, excluding HRA and additional expenses like travel allowance, books purchase and stationery expenses. She was sanctioned with Rs 3.17 lakh as fellowship to complete her Ph.D. This has to be provided by the UGC under two installments. She received the first installment when she commenced her project in 2012. We claimed the second installment and it was sanctioned on 22 November 2013, but she has not received the fellowship amount till date.”

Further, the professor said that around four academic years have passed since the first sanctioning date. But, as the amount was not handed over to the scholar, the research work has paused. This is because the fellowship was the only source of support for the scholar to complete the research.

Same is in the case of another research scholar from the Department of Marine Science, Bharathidasan University, Trichy. He told me, ‘I have completed almost 90 per cent part of my research project and have only to do the final stages of lab testing with the samples collected for which equipment is available only in Pune. The testing would cost around Rs 2.5 lakh. As my fellowship is getting delayed, my research has been put on hold.’

He also said his family was completely dependent on him and as his project gets delayed, his family was going through a tough financial phase. ‘More than this, being a male, I have to only tackle financial and deadline problems. I have seen some female scholars face harassment that they cannot even speak out about,’ he added.

As far as Bharathidasan University is concerned, at present, a total of 119 research projects are being carried out by scholars with funds allocated by various funding agencies, including UGC, DST, CSIR and DRDO.

Another Assistant Professor who has guided Ph.D scholars from the same campus, said, ‘We have sent a couple of reminders to the UGC and have even contacted them through phone and in person. Every time we ask them, their stock reply would be: “Yeah, it is our fault. We will soon pay the fellowship amount.” But, there would not be any response after that, he said sadly.

Further I took this to the notice of Prince Gajendra Babu , a senior educationist from Chennai, who said, “The main reason for the delay in paying the stipend and fellowship to the graduates in the country is the lack of allocation for education by the Central government in its budgets.”

According to him, a government should allocate 6 per cent of the GDP of a country for education every year as per the Kothari Commission of 1962. But, no government has so far allocated this amount in any of the annual budgets and they restrict it to 2.5 to 3.5 per cent. The maximum amount reached was 4 per cent till this year.

He also said if such a situation persists in the allocation of funds for education in the country, then how could an institute pay a scholar. When asked about campus discrimination and harassment of scholars on the campus, he said, ‘Unless the government comes forward to accept that there is campus discrimination, it would not take efforts to identify the forms and persons involved. If we fail to address the issue even now it shows that we are not a developed society.’

Apparently, a senior faculty member from Anna University – College of Engineering, Guindy, explained the anomalies in the methodology of UGC’s funding. He said, “The UGC does not maintain transparency in funding for research scholars but expects the scholars and the principal investigators to submit detailed accounts of utilisation of the fund – even if they bought stationery items like white papers, it must be accounted for.” He said that the UGC does not even have a proper acknowledgement system for the same.

– Santhosh Mathevan
Chennai, March 18, 2017

பெண்களைக் கொண்டாடுங்கள்… தினங்களை விடுங்கள்

பெண்ணே
உன்னைக் கொண்டாட ஒரு தினம் போதுமா
களைப்பே உன் உழைப்பின் மீதமா

பெண் பிறப்பைச் சாபமென்றான் சாத்திரம் பேசியவன்
தன் பிறப்பின் மூலமே பெண்ணென்று மறந்தான்
உன் உறுப்பை மட்டுமே தேவையென்றறிந்தான்
பெண் சிறப்பு என்னென்று அறியாமல் திரிந்தான்

பெண்ணே
உன்னைக் கொண்டாட ஒரு தினம் போதுமா
களைப்பே உன் உழைப்பின் மீதமா

ஆதிக்கம் சூழ்ந்திருக்க பல தடைகள் உனக்கு
சாதிக்கும் பெண்ணுக்கு பயமிங்கு எதற்கு
நீதிக்கு காலமில்லை பெண்ணே நீ வெளியே வா
சோதிக்கும் ஆளையெல்லாம் அழித்து உன் வழியே வா

பெண்ணே
உன்னைக் கொண்டாட ஒரு தினம் போதுமா
களைப்பே உன் உழைப்பின் மீதமா

கற்பென்பார் இழப்பென்பார் காவல் செய்ய மறந்தார்
அற்ப மனிதர் அவர் புறம் பேசவே பிறந்தார்
சொற்ப காலமே வாழ வந்தாய் நீ வெளியே வா
கற்க நினைப்பதெல்லாம் கற்க உன் வழியே வா

பெண்ணே
உன்னைக் கொண்டாட ஒரு தினம் போதுமா
களைப்பே உன் உழைப்பின் மீதமா

மழலையாய்ப் பிறந்து வஞ்சியாய் வளர்ந்து இல்லக்கிழத்தியாய் இறுதிவரை வாழும் உனை
தினந்தினம் கொண்டாட வேண்டாவா
பெண்ணே
உன்னைக் கொண்டாட ஒரு தினம் போதுமா
களைப்பே உன் உழைப்பின் மீதமா
தினங்களை விடுவோம் பெண்களைக் கொண்டாடுவோம்

– சந்தோஷ் மாதேவன்,
திருச்சி, மார்ச் 8, 2017.

Kanavu Variyam: A dream that needs more reception

It all started with Tamil Thai Vaazhthu right after the censor certificate by putting a hidden question to the spectators, that if you are ready to stand up for national anthem, why not for your mother tongue’s anthem? And this is that one reason, I feel that Kanavu Variyam (U) should be watched in theaters just to respect their attempt to propose this in their agenda. After watching this movie, I felt that I should really pen a viewer’s note (which I write usually on rare occasions) for the movie which I had told my friend Ram too who came with me to watch the movie out of my compulsion.

I was having no expectations over the movie except for the hype created for it in its promotions quoting the international awards it has already been conferred with. But to my disappointment, the theater was with only a handful of viewers. That too in a huge audience capacity screen like Devi, the number seemed to be almost negligible.

However, I should say that the entire disappointment faded out just after watching a couple of scenes of the movie and I just returned with a fulfilled heart after watching the movie. It is all because of the content delivered in the movie despite few technical glitches.


Ideological aspect:

The movie scatters over several ideologies including the importance of organic farming, acquisition of knowledge through experience, importance of a library and above all, the central context ‘what actually is leading a self sustained and self sufficient life style’. The theme of knowledge through experience is justified on screen in a couple of scenes. For an instance, the school days sequence of the protagonist Ezhil, where he witnesses the instant treatment to his classmate when he faints down out of gastric complexities and in another scene where he learns how does a radio works from a technician who explains it well even in a better way than his teacher who suffers from the protagonist’s array of questions.

The importance of traditional farming methods too is said in the movie with an another protagonist who comes from a completely different field to agriculture and how he succeeds to reach that. The solution he finds for getting the proper yield is also delivered in a technical way thus by insisting the importance of an integrated farming method (ஒருங்கிணைந்த பண்ணை முறை விவசாயம்) justifying it by highlighting on the significance of cow dung (means importance of cow).

Ever since the first frame, both these ideologies are connected with a coincidental point which is said  before title that, all discoveries are made only after a ‘sudden spark’. And this spark works out well in both the cases. Until you get the spark, you will be getting through a lot of hurdles like the people in town quoting you as ‘moron’ and a ‘loser’.

Script aspect:

With a parallel running screenplay, the writer Arun Chidambaram who as well plays one of the two protagonists has dealt both in a right pace. The only place where I felt as hitch is love sequence and the songs followed after that. Otherwise, the entire movie runs in a normal pace. Despite having two protagonists, the screenplay does not affect each other and is in a simple run which will even entertain C-center and that would be the movie’s success.

Similarly, the attempts of both the protagonists to attain their ultimate goals are portrayed in a perfect pace throughout the movie. Their obstacles in their path are shown down to earth instead of singing a five minute song to grow up all of sudden. Be it using various materials of belt for coupling the motor of his device or changing the methods of cultivation, efforts of both the protagonists are portrayed well.

Of all three, it was the dialogues part of the script which I feel that is the strength of the movie. The one liners of the hero’s mom, his friend, a passer by villager and the retired head master turned librarian comes one after the other throughout the movie. With this it was so difficult to recall most of those one liners. Apart from one liners, there are some serious in depth dialogues too like the one referring the protagonists with Thomas Edison.

Technical aspect:

It is Selvakumar’s (a newbie, I think) camera work of the movie that runs along with the screenplay. One frame I can never forget is the scene where the protagonist enters the library and picks out his first book during which the sunlight shines over him from a window behind the rack which gives the gesture that he is getting enlightened.

On the other hand, the imagination of Ezhil shown on his house’s ceiling and also in a scrap dump yard in a completely animated world. In both these sequences animation experts have worked really hard to bring up perfection.

Next to these, it is the lyrics, be it a village childhood number, a love number or the other one tagging the hero as kirukkan (moron), lyrics are completely in an simple but in a deep note. It is Arun Chidambaram who again gets the credit since he has penned the lyrics for all those numbers.

There were some technical glitches too in the movie like coloruing hairs of characters in white to show ageing. It was looking little odd. Similarly, there could be some edits in love sequences and long conversations of the movie.

Casting:

With a star cast having actors like Ilavarasu, Gnanasambanthan, Black Pandi and Yog Japee where each of them is a pro of their style, the director has given them enough space to establish their performance. Especially in one scene in the midst of the row of one liners, Ilavarasu gets a place to act without any dialogue after getting cured from the injures of an accident where he leaves his son to resume following his dreams. In the case of Balck Pandi, he travels throughout the movie as a Watson for Sherlock in a comical character without boring the audience.

Overall view:

For me, Kanavu Variyam is a complete director’s movie which has no major commercial interruption. As most of the major crew works are taken by himself expect for the cinematography and the music, a pure ownership of Arun Chidambaram could be witnessed throughout the movie. For a perfect movie like this, which speaks of social causes a reception from the same society is what I feel as the right recognition than any number of international awards. It is the people, who have to judge the rest, as a good movie sans adult content, alcohol scenes (the movie does not even have the statutory warning message) and extreme violence is hard to get nowadays.

Santhosh Mathevan
Chennai, February 25, 2017.

Calm After Storm: Capital city gets back to normal life

Be it Vardah, Tsunami, floods, a Chief Minister’s death or AIADMK’s faction fight, Chennai that witnesses chaos at its peak in every of these events, easily gets back to normal routine just a day after the hubbub comes to an end. The city that was experiencing various kinds of turmoil including traffic rush, media attention and security hikes across it for the past fortnight due to the faction fight in the ruling party AIADMK has turned back to it regular life immediately after the swearing in ceremony of the new council of minister led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

When I came across the residence of former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam that is located along the Greenways road and was with media attention in its peak till last weekend has now completely faded out of the spotlight, posing like an ordinary government quarters with normal security force. To be noted, the name board that was carrying Panneerselvam’s portfolio including finance and public works department has a major make over.

Portfolio possessed by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam covered with tape. Photo: Santhosh Mathevan

His portfolios have been covered with strips of cellophane tapes thus by showing only his name. Above all, the name board has been removed from his residence ‘Thenpennai’ and has been placed as one among the other name boards at the gateway of Kanchi government guest houses premises where Thenpennai is situated. The Greenways road, that was filled with an array of OB vans and vehicles of various visual and print media houses is all silent since Sunday (February 19, 2017) morning.

On the other hand, the number of security forces at the entrance of newly sworn in Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has become a hub of various AIADMK cadre vehicles. Located right next to Kanchi’s premises along the Greenways road in Raja Annamalaipuram, the whole scene has been showing off a changeover within several feet in the same road stretch.

Leaving the residences of the former and the present Chief Ministers, the other hot spots in the city during the past fortnight too show a dimmed pose. Poes Garden, where AIADMK’s general secretary VK Sasikala was residing until she was imprisoned in Parapana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru was the next location to expose an emptiness. Until Friday (February 17, 2017) when Palaniswami sworn in as Chief Minister, the narrow roads of Poes Garden had a rushing traffic with tight security.

Entrance of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s residence in RA Puram. Photo: Santhosh Mathevan

But, the traffic had almost cut to half when Sasikala was imprisoned last week while the left out crowd too disappeared since the new cabinet’s swearing in ceremony. However, the four levels of security remains in stand by position in the garden roads. General public and media persons are allowed only till the third level while the residents of Poes Garden only are allowed after security check through the last level. “We have been instructed to maintain the security by our higher officials. They have told us not to revoke any personnel until further notice. So, we are going to stay here only till then”, said a security personnel on the conditions of anonymity.

Similarly, the party head quarters of the AIADMK located along the Avvai Shanmugam salai in the city too is under tight security sans party cadre crowd. “It is a normal crowd that visits the office on any day of a year. It seems to be the party office has come back to a normal state after a two week chaos”, says a tea shop owner at Avvai Shanmugam salai.

Vacant road of Poes Garden in Chennai. Photo: Santhosh Mathevan

Finally, the most happening spot of last week, the Secretariat that was with full fledged security too has come back to normal page. The high security at the secretariat complex has been pulled down to the ideal level. Usual petitioners and visitors are being allowed inside the premises through normal screening by security personnel.

Apart from these, the tombs of former Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and MG Ramachandran that became frequent visiting places (and meditation spot) of both the present and former Chief Ministers, cabinet ministers, party men and AIADMK’s general secretary VK Sasikala have been opened to general public with normal levels security posing as if nothing had happened there in the recent past. Surprisingly, Chennai that was in hustle bustle till last weekend due to the faction fight has totally came out of it and is continuing with its routine as it was in the post-Vardah and post-Jayalalithaa demise in past three months.

Stalin does an MK – Tries out the Kalaignar way?

Breaking cacophony in the party that was existing among the ground level cadres, DMK’s working president MK Stalin is now all set to fill the vacuum that was created after the party’s president Karunanidhi’s hospitalisation and bed rest. Stalin has commenced to write a new chapter in the party in which he is trying to emerge out in the shades of his father Karunanidhi.

Recently, when addressing the scribes at the party head quarters, Anna Arivalayam in Teynampet, I could easily notice that Stalin was gently exposing himself with the mannerisms of Karunanidhi with utter confidence and boldness in his speech.

MK Stalin and M Karunanidhi sharing a stage at a DMK’s event couple of years back, Source: Times of India

Replying to the questions in the same satire tone of Karunanidhi, the DMK’s working president Stalin was also commenting on present political situation persisting in Tamilnadu. He said, “The State government went dysfunctional for the past nine months ever since former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was admitted to hospital. It has now become a very serious and immediate need for the State to get through the turmoil”. He claimed that, every scheme and plan that were proposed by all three Chief Ministers in past nine months are still in papers and are not put to action yet.

Stalin, who has never responded to the press in such an ease and comfort level, firmly objected that the former caretaker chief minister O Paneerselvam is not real opponent of the Sasikala faction but, it is the DMK that is carrying out the entire counter force against the events that are being staged by the ruling party in the State and the assembly. Adding fuel to his own confidence level, Stalin addressed the press from the default chamber in Arivalayam from where Karunanidhi usually meets the reporters.

Further he said that the DMK is making attempts to meet the President of India Pranab Mukherjee in order to elaborate on the situation of politics in the State. “We will point out the confusions made in the no-confidence motion held recently in the State assembly and will push for a transparent and genuine no-confidence motion in the assembly right in the immediate next session”.

Party sources said that Stalin will be travelling to New Delhi on Wednesday evening after completing a hunger strike in Trichy against the recent no-confidence motion brought out by the Council of Ministers.

During the meeting, Stalin denoted that it is against the laws of the assembly to evict a party’s MLAs during no-confidence motion and also denied the allegations made by the AIADMK that the DMK members led to violence in the house. “We are inviting the youth and the students of the State to come out to the streets to participate in the State-wide hunger strike on Wednesday as this protest is not only for the DMK but for the welfare of entire Tamil community”, Stalin said.

Stalin with his shirt ripped off after the recent no-confidence motion at the State assembly, Source: Hindustan Times

From all these inferences and the recent events (be it political stunts like the ripped shirt incident after no-confidence motion) in which Stalin has been exhibiting himself in front of the public and the media, all I can sense is the attempts of Stalin to replace himself in the minds of all his party cadres especially of those who have Karunanidhi close to heart. Leaving all these, I feel that Stalin strongly believes that a large emptiness is about to be created in Tamil Nadu politics in the near future for which he is heading to fill by harvesting a next level face value for his name.

There are advantageous factors that could boost himself into the vacuum right now is the absence of strong opponent. As Sasikala is imprisoned in one side, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is a newbie to the CM chair, O Panneerselvam has almost faded out from spotlight and the BJP is not yet ready to establish itself in the State. Similarly, unlike other familiar faces in the K-family, like Alagiri, Kanimozhi or Dayanidhi Maran, it is hard to point fingers at Stalin with a bigger allegations or scams.

So, all I feel is Stalin has some sufficient chances in this opponent less pitch to score and fill the run board. In the absence of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi, Stalin really needs to act fast which hopefully he does at least to fulfill his long time CM dream.

Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, February 21, 2017.