S. Vaikundarajan’s take on the 61st National Film Awards

The 61st National Film Awards were held on Wednesday, April 16. The National Awards are perhaps bigger than any other film awards in the country. It adds a golden star on the shoulders of the film makers, actors and everyone who wins it!

Much deserved Bhaag Milkha Bhaag won the most popular film and the best choreography award. I am not too sure about the choreography part, but it truly deserved the most popular film award. It was one of my favourite films of 2013. 

SHAHID! Many of you might not have seen this movie, but trust me on this, it is a masterpiece. I wasn’t surprised when it bagged two awards for best actor and best director. Rajkumar Rao is a brilliant actor and is here to stay!

Jolly LLB was always an underdog film but had great potential. I loved the film and especially Saurabh Shukla’s performance, which bagged the award for the best supporting actor. Here’s the surprise! It was also named the best Hindi film. WOW! 

Apart from these, other winners were Madras Cafe winning for best sound design; Nagraj Manjule's Fandry won the National Award for the best debut film of a director.

I, S. Vaikundarajan, congratulate all the winners of the National Film Award and hope that the coming year offers even better films and entertainment to all. 

IPL 2014

The biggest money spinner of the cricketing world is less than a week away. For almost two months, we’ll have empty cinema halls, restaurants etc. all because of this incredibly entertaining cricket format, T20. 

We saw some BIG buys in the auction at Bangalore. With over 150 players bought, the teams look stronger and better this year. But what people are really looking forward to watch is how Yuvraj Singh, the most expensive player of the season performs. With his poor performance in the recently held T20 world cup, he is definitely not going to be the favorite. 

There is sad news for the Indian fans who love watching the match from the stands, because UAE is going to host the first 3 weeks of the tournament. It is on 2nd May when the roaring Indian support is going to kick-in.  

Suddenly, for the next two months we all will become the Chennai Super Kings, the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders. As always, we’re hoping for an amazing IPL with a lot of fours and sixes, hits and misses, upsets and surprises! 

I hope all the people in Tamil Nadu are with me in to cheer Dhoni and co. to win the IPL 2014! *Whistle Podu*

Beaches of Tamil Nadu

One of the major tourist attractions of Tamil Nadu are the blue beaches and clear skies. These long stretches of sun-kissed beaches are perfect for relaxing, bathing and refreshing. One of the most prominent beaches is Covelong beach. The calm blue sea and the long sandy beach is the ideal tourist destination.  Its located 40 kilometres away from Chennai, and is a popular weekend getaway for localities.

Another exotic and enchanting beach lies in Kannyakumari. The breathtaking merge of Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean creates a picturesque view of the perfect sunset and sunrise. The next must visit beach in Tamil Nadu is Rameshwaram. Considered to be holy land, Rameshwaram is located at the end of the south east corner of Indian peninsula. It is a popular pilgrimage site. 

Pulicat beach of Tamil Nadu is a divine beach where the charming landscape and salt lakes provide a serene feeling. The Pulicat Lake is India's largest salt water lake. 

Lastly, Marina beach is the Asia’s second longest beach. Located on the eastern side of Chennai, it is full of various entertainment and food stalls. With its natural sandy beauty and spacious promenade and beautiful gardens, the beach is a major attraction for tourists visiting Chennai. 

Delicacies of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is a true vegetarian state and is the home to world famous dishes like idli, wada, masala dosa and sambar. A common tamilian’s staple diet includes a large bowl of steamed rice and grains, lentils and vegetables. The distinctive taste comes from various spices that they use. Almost all dishes have coconut, tamarind and asafetida. And desserts include payasam and different types of burfi’s.  

The three prominent delicacies of Tamil Nadu are Chettinadu, Nanjil Nadu and Kongu Nadu. While Chettinadu food is known for its subtle use of spices, Nanjil Nadu is identified for its abundant use of coconut and coconut oil. Some dishes of chettinadu cuisine include dishes like paal paniyaaram, idiyaapam. Chettinadu food is not really known for its non vegetarian dishes, however, there are a few dishes like kozhi varuval (chicken fry), melagu perattal (pepper chicken) that are still popular. 

Nanjil Nadu food is very similar to the cuisine of Kerala. This kind of cuisine is common in the coastal parts of Tamil Nadu, therefore include many fish dishes. Some well known Nanjil Nadu dishes are erriserry, ulundhanchoru (a dish made of black gram lentils, rice and coconut), kappa (also called kelungu) and meen curry (fish curry).

Lastly, traditional Kongu Nadu food includes vegetarian dishes like oppittu, kambu koozhu, and vazhai poo vadai.

Preferred Public Transport Mode in Chennai

Chennai is the first city where railways were introduced by the British Government in our nation. It was also the first city to have electric trams in India. Since the end of 19th Century, Trams have been existent in the city for over 67 years. The local transport scenario today is also very impressive. Chennai has buses, taxis, auto rickshaws and the suburban railway network around the city as chief modes of transport.

Out of all, buses seem to be the most preferred mode of transport in Chennai. Because of its well distributed network and feasible rates it is ideal for everyone. However, the buses are most often over crowded. The bus service in Chennai is managed by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation.

After bus, a layman from Chennai, would probably opt for auto rickshaws, they are cheap for short distances and are present everywhere. The sharing autos prove to be a very convenient and cheaper mode to travel small distances. But, for a larger distance auto rickshaw deems to be a little expensive.

For long distances, however, the suburban railway network is the best option. The network is not convenient for all the places in Chennai, but provided access between Chennai Beach and Tambaram. 
In some parts of North Chennai cycle rickshaws are also a very prevalent mode of transport.

Rajinikanth's Upcoming Movie: Kochadaiiyaan

This is really exciting, a movie starring the great Rajinikanth directed by his own daughter taking the greatness to a different level. This movie is definitely going to change the dimensions of Tamil movies. From what I have heard, this movie has made all great men work hard to finally complete it. 

Kochadaiiyaan is an upcoming 3D computer animated Tamil film starring Rajinikanth. It is directed by Soundarya R. Ashwin and written by K.S. Ravi Kumar. The wonderful music is provided by the world famous music director, A. R. Rehman.

This is the directorial debut of Soundarya who is Rajinikanth’s daughter. Recently at a curtain raising event in Mumbai, the film fraternity, got the first peek of the movie, and most had wonderful things to say. Celebrities who attended this event include, Amithabh Bachchan, Kajol, Anupam Kher, Ramesh Sippy, Subash Ghai, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and many others. The movie is set to release this November by the 21st.