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When dinosaurs made the Tamil Nadu weatherman fall in love with cinema

Tamil Nadu weatherman Pradeep John

Tamil Nadu weatherman Pradeep John   | Photo Credit: R Ravindran

Pradeep John discusses what it was like watching Steven Spielberg’s magic come alive on the big screen, and discovering the meaning of love as a teenager through a Murali film

I grew up in a conservative Christian family. Watching movies was not encouraged because my parents used to tell me that going to the theatre was wrong.

So, after much convincing, they took me to a Steven Spielberg film — Jurassic Park. It was during the annual holidays after I completed Class VI in 1994. It was the first movie I watched in a theatre, and it was at Sathyam. Watching it at Sathyam was special because I was experiencing a movie with Dolby sound effect for the first time. Back then, the only two options for the stereo sound was either Sathyam or Devi cinemas.

A still from Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’

A still from Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

I was mind blown by the visual effects used in the film. I had never seen that level of graphics in a film before. Until that point, I was used to seeing only light effects which Tamil films passed off as graphics. But Jurassic Park was graphics in perfection. It was then that I learnt what a dinosaur was, and how it’d have looked like. Because, you know, those days there was no Google!

I remember walking in a little late for the film, and the first visual I saw on the screen was that of the Brachiosaurus. I was thinking, ‘Wow, were there creatures like these?’ Another reason I liked the movie was because it was thrilling throughout. There are a few scenes that I can still recall... like when the family gets caught in the kitchen, the flashback sequence and that famous toilet scene, where the T-Rex eats the man.

A poster for ‘Kaalamellam Kadhal Vaazhga’

A poster for ‘Kaalamellam Kadhal Vaazhga’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Another film I love is Kaalamellam Kadhal Vaazhga (KKV). I watched it on its 175th day. It was my first Tamil movie at a theatre. I think I watched only three films before I completed school. These two movies apart, I remember watching Shankar’s Jeans. Only after I started college, did I start watching movies left, right and centre... (laughs)

But I have a soft spot for KKV because of the ‘Oru mani adithaal’ song. I was a teenager then and that song would remind me of my crush. I mean, everyone of us would have crossed that stage where we would wait for that one call from that person. Murali goes through the same emotions in the film. Even today, if that song is played by an FM channel, it will take me back to the feeling I experienced while watching the movie.

I connected with Murali’s character. He was that soft-spoken romantic, which I too am.

As told to Pradeep Kumar

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 4:28:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/when-dinosaurs-made-tamil-nadu-weatherman-fall-in-love-with-cinema/article28306153.ece

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