Monday, February 11, 2008

The Wongs watch Sivaji, The Star, 27 Dec 2007

Original article

I enjoyed reading your Sivaji experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching it- watched it twice actually.

What I enjoy so much about Tamil movie going experience is actually what you have captured.

The merry of being with family, the background cheers, claps, whistles (all in controlled and not rowdy manner).

I was in Adelaide not long ago.

Got a chance to watch Ghajini (If you have not seen it-I will highly recommend it-fantastic Surya & Asin combo-another boxoffice).

Thinking that moving going experience will be subdued here-I was prepared for a quiet & tame affair.

But what I saw was totally opposite.

The theatre was full-with Indians-wonder where they all came from-because you don't see that many Indians in the streets of Adelaide

As the movie started, the youthful group in the front row started to dance; the whole theatre was a riot of cheers & claps & whistles.

The whole experience was great & more vibrant from one I felt in any Malaysian cinema.

At interval-there was 15 min break.

Every one left the hall.

Outside you could buy hot tea, coffee, Indian snacks-vadai etc and even cold beer.

The movie resumed after the break and the excitement never went down.

And I was told the actual experience in Tamil Nadu is far greater with fire crackers outside the cinema, prayers, coconuts being broken, huge gigantic cut outs of super stars.

Dr Sekar Shanmugam


Dear Ms. Wong

When I read your article on Saturday morning, I was beaming with smile from ear to ear, from the first word till the last. It is very heart warming to know and realise chinese and malays do watch indian movies. What you did, as to boldly venture into TGV to watch Sivaji, The Boss was an act that showed a truly Malaysian culture. Kudos to you and your family.

With kind regards, Alison Banu


I read with amusement your article on the 'Wong watch Sivaji' and it was definitely an amusing read in an otherwise 'quite boring' Saturday Star paper.

Nothing like some good humour to keep me up on my toes on a very demanding day ahead!

Keep it up and it's good to note that there are still people who value family outings!



I came across your article in The Star days ago. I realized that I am not the only chinese guy in the cinema for a Hindi movie, namely the Sivaji...

I did my watching in Ipoh Parade out of plain curiosity. The movie claimed to be of the highest budget and gross in indian movie history and I
wish to know how and where they spent the money on. The other reason to encourage such an odd choice is so that I stay awake for the night and I will be drowsy and
easily fall asleep the next day when I got onto a ten over hours flight.

The ticket cashier for that night was an indian girl of mid twenties. I can still remember her expression when I made my choice for the movie. Her first reaction was: Hey are you sure you are watching this?

I replied spontaneously: Is there any reason why I shoulden be watching this? The indians watch HwangFeiHong and Jackie Chan too. I jokingly added: This is Malaysia, the goverment is always promoting muhibah and now I am practicing it. Upon hearing that, the malay colleague next to her giggles and she told me she was proud of me watching movies of her race. Both of them burst into laughter when I walked away and that confirmed me as the very few chinese who have watched Sivaji. After the first few minutes of screening, I was dismayed learning that I need to live through long hours without any subtitles. I was all alone, trying hard to guess myself through the movie. The stages are flashy, beautiful girls compliment the scenes; the music is everything opposite of the chinese's. I came to realize that the majority of the budget was spent on the psychedelic dreams of Sivaji.

It was a pure experience, both of the exotic visual art and the hardship of trying to understand someone's language that is illiterate to you. It also broke my perceptions of the reoccuring props and scenes usually seen in Hindi movies: the snake pit, the hide and seekin the bushes whenever a song is played, heroe being tied with the the dynamites on his body and just in time to do the rescue in the very moment. On other hand, I do notice that some elements were passed down.

At least the smash and knocking sound effects of the fighting scene still remain to this generation.

Kersing, Ipoh


Dear Alexandra,
I just read yr column in Star today. U r really Malaysian in depth! If only all Malaysians could do the same and watch movies of diffirent hues and languages. I for one watch many language type movies even though my mother tongue is Tamil. May the gods follow u always in all that u do.

Raajan Ahnantha

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