Category Archives: Movies

The Longest Indian Feature Film



By T. V. Antony Raj


Did you ever wonder what the longest film that was ever produced in India?

It is the Gangs of Wasseypur, a 2012 film based on criminal activities, co-written, produced and directed by Anurag Kashyap. Centred around the coal mafia of Dhanbad, Jharkhand, and the underlying power struggles, politics and vengeance between three families well steeped in crime, the story spans from the early 1940s to the mid-1990s.

Poster – Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1

Though the movie ran for 319 minutes,  Directors Fortnight, a non-competitive section at the Cannes Film Festival, selected Gangs of Wasseypur for screening at the 2012 Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.

However, in India, no Indian theatre was willing to screen the five hours 19-minute movie.  So, the film was edited into two parts of 160 and 159 minutes for screening in India.


Poster of Thavamai Thavamirundhu, a 2005 Tamil movie directed by Cheran
Poster of Thavamai Thavamirundhu, a 2005 Tamil movie directed by Cheran


So, the credit for the longest Indian feature film screened in India as a whole until now is probably Thavamai Thavamirundhu (தவமாய் தவமிருந்து), a 2005 Tamil movie depicting the familial bond, directed by Cheran.

At the box office, the film Thavamai Thavamirundhuwas was moderately received compared to the director’s earlier work, Autograph. However, the film won the National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare.

Here is a list of the longest films produced in India, sorted by running time:

Title Running Time Language Year Released
Gangs of Wasseypur 319 mins. (Part 1 and Part 2 combined) Hindi 2012
Thavamai Thavamirundhu 275 mins. Tamil 2005
Tamas 274 mins. Hindi 1987
Mera Naam Joker 255 mins. Hindi 1970
LOC Kargil 255 mins. Hindi 2003
Sangam 238 mins. Hindi 1964
Daana Veera Soora Karna 233 mins. Telugu 1977
Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United 228 mins. Hindi 1999
Lagaan 224 mins. Hindi 2001
Khatarnak 223 mins. Hindi 1990
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero 222 mins. Hindi 2005
Parthiban Kanavu 219 mins. Tamil 1960
Aayiram Thalaivaangi Apoorva Chintamani 216 mins. Tamil 1947
Mohabbatein 216 mins. Hindi 2000
Salaam-E-Ishq 216 mins. Hindi 2007
Narasimha 214 mins. Hindi 1991
Saudagar 213 mins. Hindi 1991
Jodhaa Akbar 213 mins. Hindi 2008
Indrasabha 211 mins. Hindi 1932
Khoon Pasina 210 mins. Hindi 1976
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham 210 mins. Hindi 2001

What Do American and Indian Movies Teach Us?


Myself By T.V. Antony Raj .


Most of us are fools, for having nothing better to do than watch movies and soap operas, glued to the ‘idiot-box’. Here are a few things that I learned watching movies especially the American and Indian varieties.


American movies teach us:

01. More than 50% of the US population work for the US government and are invariably FBI or CIA agents.

02. The people belonging to communist or Islāmic countries are morbidly insane. Their sole purpose in life is to spy on US and kill god fearing innocent Americans.

03. The main purpose of the school system of US is to promote American Football, Basketball and Baseball.

04. All Chinese, Japanese and Koreans have nothing better to do than teach or practice Judo, Karate, or Kung Fu.

05. The Aliens from outer space either look like Steven Spielberg’s lovable serene ET or have a face with tentacles as in Schwarzenegger’s Predator and drool and salivate like mad dogs. Their blood is never red.

06. Aliens from outer space show special interest in US than any other country in the world. The UFOs always attack the Empire State Building first and then the White House. The US president will immediately board the Air Force One to escape the wrath of the aliens.

07. It is dangerous to travel to sparsely inhabited townships in the US even during day time because they might be inhabited by zombies.

08. Never wander on lonely roads and woods in US at night because they harbor werewolves and vampires.

09. The DNA information of each US citizens is available in the National DNA database of the DNA Profile Databank.

10. All Americans are anti-racists.

Indian Tri-Colour flag
Indian movies teach us:

01. The hero will have at least one main sidekick who is always given the role of a comedian.

02. If the heroine too has a sidekick then our hero’s sidekick will invariably tie the wedding knot on this woman in the last scene.

03. All heroes and heroines in Indian cinema know to sing and dance gracefully. When they decide to dance, the scene will shift to a foreign country and a group of
local or foreign guys and girls in uniform will appear from nowhere, and dance along with them, with everyone knowing the steps. After the song is over, the dancers will vanish into thin air.

04. One of the identical twins is always ill-natured.

05. In most cases if the hero is a police inspector than he is sure to arrest a college girl, pickpocket or a club dancer. He then tames the shrew, falls in love with her and
marries her with the blessing of his single mother.

06. Initially, all Indian heroes will get thrashed and flipped about like stuffed toys by the main villain, but our hero will never feel or show pain or sustain any fracture even when beaten with iron rods. The hero will profusely bleed from his mouth but will have all his teeth intact. However, he will wince when the heroine tenderly touches or cleans the clotted blood on his mouth.

07. The main villain is ever surrounded by at least a dozen thugs who clench their fists and grimace trying to look villainous.

08. The hero will single-handedly beat dozens of thugs and finally the main antagonist. Not even his best friend, the sidekick, will come to his aid to fight the villains.

09. While defusing a bomb, the hero or the heroine or the sidekick comedian will always cut the correct wire just one second before the scheduled explosion of the bomb.

10. A detective or a police officer can solve cases only when suspended from duty.

An item common to both American and Indian cinema:

While the hero kills and mauls hundreds of villains on the home front or in battlefields, bullets only graze him.



Some Mothers Still Do Have ‘Em!


Myself . 

By T.V. Antony Raj


Senthil: Tamil Cinema comedian, Tamilnadu, India.
Senthil: Tamil Cinema comedian, Tamilnadu, India.


Actor Senthil, a popular cine comedian in the South Indian cine field particularly in Kollywood, Tamilnadu, India has acted in many popular movies with several leading actaors and comedians.

Senthil was born on March 23, 1951, in Ilanjambore, a small village near Mudukulathur, Ramanathapuram District, Tamilnadu. Since he was an unruly boy, he was constantly scolded by his father. At the age of 12, he ran away from home. He first worked in the shop of a cooking oil vendor. Later he worked as a bar attendant in a private wine shop. Interested in acting, he joined a drama troupe where he developed his acting skills. He received small roles in the Tamil film industry in Chennai.

The movie Malayoor Mambattiyan gave him the required exposure to propel him to stardom. He has about 185 Tamil movies to his credit. He has also acted in movies in Hindi, Malayalam etc.

He is notable for his comedy roles pairing with actor Goundamani in the vein of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy who were popular during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s

Senthil is one of the most-loved comedians in the South Indian film industry. His appearance on the screen enlivened the audience replete with claps and whistles; and, when he paired up with Goundamani, the cheering doubled.

Goundamani and Senthil ruled the comedy world of Tamil cinema for over two decades. They established a place for themselves in the heart of their audience by entertaining them with their perfectly timed dialogue delivery and unsurpassed body language, and witty, rib-tickling comedy.

Senthil opted to act in movies irrespective of their budget. Once he said: “I don’t believe in movies with small budgets are large budgets. There are only two types of movies – good and bad.”



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“Rags to Pads” – a Documentary Film by Chithra Jeyaram


By T.V. Antony Raj



Chithra Jeyaram the award-winning documentary filmmaker feels obligated to communicate the realities of everyday life as it unfolds, focusing on the nuances that can never be dwelt upon or deliberated via mass media. She hopes her films would help to break the barriers that exist in India. She writes:

Fiction films are make believe, there is no doubt about that. But documentaries, what are they? Are they real, artistic depiction of reality (fiction films do that) or is it an interpretation of reality. Documentaries have existed from the beginning of cinema – the first things captured in film was life as it happens – people walking, laughing, talking, dancing etc. For me, When life is full of unpredictable possibilities and wonderful characters, why cook up stories. I see the world of documentaries as a magical realm of discussing the real through a manipulated sequence of visuals and sound bytes. This blog is a journey about documentary films that I come across and how they intersect with life. This intersection will feature a variety of subjects including current affairs, special events, significant dates, memories, film festivals, rendezvous with people of significance, etc. (sic)

Chithra’s first exposure to filmmaking began in 2004 with financing an unsuccessful documentary film about an explosive water-sharing dispute between two South Indian states. Profoundly stricken by that sour experience, she quit a decade-long career as a Physical Therapist and acquired a Master of Fine Arts degree in film production from the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Currently, she is the founder and creative director of Real Talkies, a boutique production house in the Washington DC metro area. “Real Talkies” produces meaningful films that inform, inspire, and educate people on issues that shape people’s lives and their contemporary culture.

    • In 2009, she received the Dina Sherzer Award for Social Awareness (2009) for her film “Refugee Musings”.
    • In 2011, her film “Foreign Puzzle” received the post production grant from Dance Films Association.
    • In 2012, her short film Mijo (My Son), an evocative portrayal of a mother and a child’s intimate relationship in the midst of life altering medical events received the CBA Your World View Documentary grant and won countless awards. (See the list at the bottom)



This summer Chithra Jeyaram produced a 3 minutes 10 seconds long documentary film “Rags to Pads” about an extraordinary inventor/entrepreneur, Arunachalam Muruganantham, a school dropout, and his remarkable innovation – the inexpensive sanitary pad.

Muruganantham nauseated on finding his wife using rags during her menstrual cycle, dirtier than the rags he uses at his mechanic workshop, realized that most Indian women shun sanitary napkins because they could not afford to pay the price. From his research, he found that out of India’s 355 million menstruating women only a small segment use sanitary napkins. Pathetically, about 81% of women in India use dirty rags, newspapers, dried leaves and even ashes during their periods. Finding the need for an affordable, low-cost sanitary napkin, Muruganantham set himself on the task of fulfilling the need.

This 3 minutes 10 seconds long film, “Rags to Pads” now a semifinalist in the Focus Forward Filmmaker Competition among 93 other incredible films is poised to win the $100,000 Grand Prize.

I have embedded this film in this post. If you like it, vote for it (vote button is on the top right corner), and of course, you may share it.


A note on Mijo (My Son): An evocative portrayal of a mother and child’s intimate relationship in the midst of life altering medical events.

1. Seond place Best Documentary Award at the Moving Media Student Film Festival, Detroit, Michigan 2012
2. Winner Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival, Las Vegas, 2012
3. Best Short Documentary Award at the 21st Arizona International Film Festival, Tucson, Arizona 2012
4. Audience Award at the 4th Wallabout Film Festival, Brooklyn, New York, 2012
5. Best Documentary Award at the 45th Humboldt Film Festival, Arcata, California, 2012
6. Best Student Documentary Award at the 4th Sene Film and Music Film Festival, Providence Rhode Island, 2012
7. Best Student Documentary Award at the 17th International Family Film Festival, Burbank, California, March 2012
8. Best Student Film at Pennine Film Festival, Lancashire, UK, March 2012
9. Best Documentary Award at Watersprite: The Cambridge International Student Film Festival, Cambridge, UK, February 2012
10. 3rd Place Short Documentary Award at Winnipeg Film Festival, Manitoba, Canada February 2012
11. Best of Show Award at 21st Rose Bud Film Festival, Arlington, VA. November 2011
12. 2nd Place Best Short Film Award at James River Shorts, Richmond, VA. November 2011

Nominated Best Documentary at Long Island International Film Expo, June 2012
Honorable Mention Rochester International Film Festival, April 2012
Finalist at 4th Breast Fest Film Festival Online Contest, Toronto, CA. September 2011
Nominated Best Documentary @ 9th Super Shorts International Film Festival, London, UK Dec 2011

1.Doc Utah, St. George, Utah, September 2012
2.7th Docufest, Atlanta, September 2012
3.Vegas Cine Fest, Las Vegas, September 2012
4. Fear No Film at the Utah Arts Festival, June 2012
5. 2nd Outbox International Short Film Festival, Beirut, Lebanon, June 2012
6. Rainer Independent Film Festival, Ashord, WA, June 2012.
7. Mexico International Film Festival, Mexico, May 2012
8. 13th Lake Arrowhead Film Festival, May 2012
9. UT LongHron Showcase, Austin, Texas, May 2012
10. 12th Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, Wilmington, North Carolina, April 2012
11. 13th Newport Beach International FIlm Festival, Newport, California, April 2012
12. River Side Film Festival, April 2012
13. 7th Sunscreen Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Florida, April 2012
14. 13th Barebones International Film Festival, Muskogee, Oklahoma, April 2012
15. 39th Athens International Film and Video Festival, Athens, Ohio, April 2012
16. 11th Annual River Bend Film Festival, Edwardsburg, Michigan, April 2012
17. 16th Annual Kansas City FIlm Fest, Kansas, Missouri, April 2012
18. 11th Reality Bytes Independent Student Film Festival, Dekalb, Illnois, April 2012
19. 7th European Independent Film Festival, Paris, France, March 2012
20. 2nd Green Bay Film Festival, Green Bay, Wisconsin, March 2012
21. AFS Showcase at SXSW, Austin, Texas, March 2012
22. 4th Talking Pictures Film Festival, Evanston, Illinois, March 2012
23. 15th Aunual George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, Florence, Alabama, Feb 2012
24. 1st Mix International Short Film Festival, Richmond, Virginia Feb 2012
25. 15th Magnolia Independent Film Festival, Starkville, Mississippi, Feb 2012
26. 5th Annual Thin Line Film Festival, Denton, Texas, Feb 2012
27. On the edge film festival, International Falls, Minnesota, Jan 2012
28. Weyauwega International Film, Weyauwega, WI November 2011


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The ARKOFF Formula and the Peter Pan Syndrome

Myself .

By T. V. Antony Raj



In 1954, James H. Nicholson, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer founded American Releasing Corporation (ARC). They released their first film “The Fast and the Furious” starring John Ireland and Dorothy Malone in 1955.

From ARC, Nicholson and Arkoff launched a film production company, American International Pictures (AIP) in April 1954. Perceiving that other filmmakers were overlooking the lucrative teenage drive-in sector, AIP focused on producing several low-budget, youth-oriented movies. They exploited the up and coming juvenile delinquent genre with movies like Daddy-O, High School Hellcats, Female Jungle, Reform School Girl, Runaway Daughters, and Girls in Prison. Additionally, they distributed independently produced low-budget films bundled as double features, particularly appealing to the teenagers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

In a 1980s talk show, Samuel Z. Arkoff spelt out his tried-and-true “ARKOFF formula” for producing a successful low-budget movie.

Action (exciting, entertaining drama)
Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)
Killing (a modicum of violence)
Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)
Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)
Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

Soon after, the AIP promotion division envisaged a strategy known as “The Peter Pan Syndrome”:

a) A younger child will watch anything an older child will watch.
b) An older child will not watch anything a younger child will watch.
c) A girl will watch anything a boy will watch.
d) A boy will not watch anything a girl will watch.

Consequently, to capture the largest audience they zeroed in on the 19-year old male.



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Snow Tubing at Boulder Ridge, Liberty Mountain Resort, Carroll Valley, PA.


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj


On February 18, our son Subas and his friends took my wife and me to Boulder Ridge, Liberty Mountain Resort, Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania.

The advertisement said “Head straight to Boulder Ridge Snow Tubing for good old fashioned wintertime fun. Snow Tubing is such a blast for all members of the family – and best of all, no experience is necessary!

The beautiful two level log lodge with a wrap around observation deck provided a superb view of the snow tubers sliding down the icy slope.

You don’t have to be an expert skier or a snow boarder to have fun as a snow tuber. Anyone can tube, even if you’ve never so much as set foot on snow before like me. But a signed release is required for all tubing participants. Participants under 18 require parental signature.

There were 15 expertly carved lanes. A covered moving carpet lift took the snow tubers and their tubes to the top of the hill. It banished the drudgery of walking up to the top and helped the tubers relax on the moving carpet as it conveyed them and thier tube back to the top.

Tubing is sold in one or two hour sessions that begin at the top of each hour. Boots were available at $5 rentals for both kids and adults.

The youngsters can tube in the Pebble Ridge kiddie tubing area especially made for children ages 2-4. With a $9 unlimited tubing lift ticket, the kids can tube all they want during their visit! Parents can also join in on the fun helping their kids with their tubes, give them a push and watch their smiles glow as they ride down the hillock.

It was fun 100% fun zooming down the perfectly carved lanes with zero effort on our part.

Boulder Ridge Snow Tubing is Now Closed for the Season and will open in December 2012 for another winter of snow tubing fun!

Video: A Letter from Your Heavenly Father



By T.V. Antony Raj


I created the video A Letter from Your Heavenly Father” based on the text of “Father’s Love Letter” by Barry Adams of Father Heart Communications © 1999-2011.

Father’s Love Letter” is a compilation of Bible verses from both the Old & New Testaments that are presented in the form of a love letter from God to us.

Each line of the Father’s Love Letter message is paraphrased, which means that Barry Adams has taken each Scripture’s overall message and summarized it as a single phrase to best express its meaning.


Barry Adams author of Father's Love Letter (Source:
Barry Adams author of Father’s Love Letter (Source:


… I can remember the day that I asked God to help me to better comprehend His love in light of all of the scripture that I was now seeing throughout the Bible. In my heart, I immediately heard a still small voice say… ‘If you put the scriptures in the right order, they will form a love letter’. That was December 1998 and by January 1999 I had compiled a series of paraphrased scriptures into a PowerPoint presentation accompanied by Brian Doerksen’s song ‘Faithful Father’ that I played as a sermon illustration in my home church,” says Barry Adams

Click on this line to read the story behind “Father’s Love Letter” of Barry Adams.

I am a fan of Late Arthur C. Clarke and an avid reader of his works. In 1970, I met him in person in Sri Lanka and shook hands with him.


Arthur C. Clarke


In 1948, Clarke wrote a short story “The Sentinel” for a BBC competition. Though the story was rejected, it changed the course of Clarke’s career. “The Sentinel” introduced a more cosmic element to Clarke’s work. It was the basis for Stanley Kubrick‘s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” which I have viewed countless number of times.

The docking of the space shuttle from earth with the space station hovering between the earth and the moon, with “The Blue Danube” of Strauss lilting in the background, was the best cinematic scene that has ever impressed and inspired me.


André Rieu (Source:
André Rieu (Source:


So, I created this video “A Letter from Your Heavenly Father” using the docking clip from Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the musical movement in the background is “An Der Schonen Blauen Donau Opus 314” (German: “On the Beautiful Blue Danube“), a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, composed in 1866 and rendered here by André Rieu and His Johann Strauss Orchestra.

I hope this video presentation of mine will inspire you with the verses created by Barry Adams.

Your comments are welcome.

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