Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Avan Ivan Movie Review

Starring: Arya, Vishal, Madhu Shalini, Janani Iyer
Direction: Bala
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Production: Kalpathi S Agoram, Kalpathi S Ganesh, Kalpathi S S

Bala’s highbrow emotional dramas have gained critical acclaims from all ends and actors being a part of such films have felt it as a blissful opportunity that takes them at a jet-speed progression in their career graph. Of course, Sethu, Nanda, Pithamaghan and Naan Kadavul have been the ample evidences that gave a major break for the actors Vikram, Suriya and Arya. Naturally, the surprising look of Vishal as a squint-eyed lad made it clear that the actor is one to go through the process this time and so is Arya, who has already experienced the Midas-touch of Bala with Naan Kadavul.

In Avan Ivan, Bala does not go far from his usual paradigm as he sticks ardently to the formulas of his previous movies. However at the same time, the filmmaker seems to have opted for a slightly different climax from his previous movies.

Set in backdrops of Theni, Avan Ivan is about the relationship between two boisterously playful half-brothers Walter (Vishal) and Kumbudren Saamy (Arya) who are like poles apart constantly involved in nagging but are still fond of each other, and a Zamindar (GM Kumar).

Although we have the signature as ‘A Film By Bala’ during final credits, it’s worth mentioning that the film completely belongs to Vishal. His power-packed performance leaves us astonished. Thanks to Bala for travelling into unknown territories of Vishal’s panorama. The actor is in stark contrast from his previous films and if you’re curiously looking out for his best shots, it starts right from his introduction song, where he shakes his legs dressed up like a woman. But the ultimate master-stroke is where he exhibits Navarasas on the podium as he walks away carrying great appreciations for nine different facial expressions. Not to miss his breathtaking action sequences, it is much evident that he must have gone through toilsome moments for these sequences.

Unlike Vishal, Arya doesn’t have much scope over performance, but manages to remain under spotlights with his rib-tickling comedy tracks and dialogue delivery. His rollicking behaviorism throughout the film and reaction to an unbearable shock during climax are clap-worthy moments. The versatile filmmaker-actor G.M. Kumar as the world-weary Zamindar steals the show with his effortless performance. The scene where he expresses his anger towards Vishal and Arya is a sample. G.M Kumar also joins the list of very few actors who dared to go bare in films.

It’s too ludicrous to see smart girls falling for the unrespectable guys and is so disappointing to have an intellectual filmmaker delineating such characters. Janani Iyer and Madhu Shalini do not have much to do and yesteryear actress Ambika exerts her proficient act as a mom, who smokes beedi and demands her son to save up some liquor for night.

The writing, which lets down the movie big time, turns out to be erroneous, as the screenplay remains vague and directionless. One could literally become puzzled and impatient over the proceeding of the story until a twist that appears only during last 30minutes of the movie.

On the technical front, Arthur Wilson’s cinematography carries rich flavors, and the exotic locations of Theni are a visual treat. Disappointing to see few promising tracks - ‘Avanpathi’ and ‘Oru Malayoram’ missing in the movie. Yuvan’s background score does influence the visuals with violin, veena and strings being well orchestrated.

Overall, Avan Ivan remains as a package of brilliant performances by actors, but stumbles halfway down with its writing.

Verdict: Power packed performance, let down by loose screenplay.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

School bus in U.S. to run on recycled cooking oil

First hydraulic hybrid school bus in U.S. to run on recycled cooking oil

The first-ever school bus in the United States successfully converted into a green vehicle running on recycled biofuel is all set to drive on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. 

The Ford Motor Company-funded project was carried out by a collaboration of Atlanta schools. Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the U.S.’ top ten public universities, developed the bus, while Atlanta district public schools donated the 16-passenger bus for the project. 

The “Green Eco School Bus” is a traditional school bus converted into a hydraulic hybrid vehicle that consumes recycled fuel, such as used cooking oil. 

A hydraulic hybrid vehicle uses pressurized fluid as an alternative source of power. It uses a pump or motor that draws energy while braking. The pressurized fluid from this process provides the energy to the vehicle’s pump or motor.

Description: http://ecoseed.org/articleImages/First-hydraulic-hybrid-school-bus-in-US-to-run-on-recycled-cooking-oil_295x220.jpg

The “Green Eco School Bus” is a traditional school bus converted into a hydraulic hybrid vehicle that consumes recycled fuel, such as used cooking oil. Photo by the Georgia Institute of Technology

The bus’ designers and developers, Georgia Tech assistant professor Michael Leamy and his students, are looking into converting other school buses as hydraulic hybrids, to help lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce transportation costs for schools.

The team is also conducting a cost-benefit analysis of a large-scale conversion of a school bus fleet to hydraulic hybrid powertrains designed to recover lost braking energy. 

“We expect our research will lead to cleaner, more efficient school buses that will help school districts like Atlanta public schools significantly reduce fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Professor Leamy. 

But the main beneficiaries of the project, Atlanta’s public elementary schools, prefer not to stand idle and just wait for their eco-buses. Students at Mary Lin Elementary School are organizing a drive to collect used cooking oil for processing into biodiesel to fuel the bus. They gave the bus its finishing touches by painting it green, too. 

"Our students are eager to learn about new ways to care for the environment. The Green Eco School Bus turns a theoretical concept into a fun and exciting reality that stimulates their learning," said the principal of Mary Lin, Brian Mitchell. 

Meanwhile, the $50,000 Ford financing for the project was awarded under the Ford College Community Challenge Grant, or the Ford C3. The program invites 32 partner universities and colleges to create student-led projects that address a specific social problem. 

Five projects are chosen every year and given $50,000 each. Recent Ford C3 winners include an energy efficiency project called Generation Energy in 2009 by Michigan Technological University students. The project winter-proofed low-income senior citizen homes and won alongside other energy efficiency projects such as a bike-sharing and residential energy efficiency improvement using information technology.

Ford is working on energy efficiency projects with other universities. It partnered with the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise to develop financial models that will help Michigan’s poorest cities upgrade facilities and reduce energy consumption and costs. 

The Cities of Promise project will use a revolving energy fund of $50,000 from the Ford Motor Co. Fund, which distributes the Ford C3 grants.