Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jhootha Hi Sahi

Music: A.R.Rahman

There is talk that, post-Lagaan that Rahman, excels only in experimental music. As a follower of his music I sincerely believe Rahman’s output depends more on the director’s ability to create the picture for him than the milieu. After all he is not a magician to produce something out of thin air. Jhoota Hi Sahi is another example of that. The outline of the songs may sound very familiar and could even remind you of the director & composer’s previous collaboration. For instance ‘cry cry’ could very well stand in for ‘kabhi kabhi aditi', ‘call me dil’ for ‘kahin to’, ‘I’ll be waiting’ for ‘tu bole’; there is an offbeat dancer number here too which goes like ‘maiya yashoda’, apparently having a remix version too. But the similarity ends there for the novel factor to take control; and how it controls! It creates a time wrap where we are constantly subjected to pleasant surprises; and goose bumps too. Is it the soothing melody that these songs provides on the whole?

Jhoota Hi Sahi is the breeziest album of Rahman in recent time surpassing the melodic Vinnaithandi Varuvaya. It acts like Italian wine which goes in smooth and engulfs us like a slow poison. Take ‘cry cry’ for instance; when was the last time you heard African beats in a melody? The superior re-recording never lets you feel the hard hitting sound. Instead you hear the swift flow of violin and cello accompanied by the rustle of guitar. This being engaging at one level the attitude that Shreya brings to the song taking off from the sweet Rashid Ali elevates the songs to another level. ‘Maiya yashoda’ is not short of surprise either. The élan with which Chinmayi attains and shifts between different octaves keeps us hooked to the song which itself marches forward gradually to rapid pace as it heads towards the coda.

While ‘Maiya yashoda’ is a mixture of bajan and dhandhiya music, ‘hello hello’ is techo blue in its true sense. The swaying notes of violin which acts like an extension to the pleading tone of Karthick brings the songs alive, aided by the eerie telephonic sound that places itself aptly. The cadency of violin shifts to super flowing piano for ‘do nishaniyan’. Sonu Nigam at helm here guides this bitter sweet song through various levels of crescendos in both versions of the song.

True to its name, Shreya pops into the scene with ‘pam pam para’ in all gusto drawing inspiration from her ‘Latoo’. Her girlish energy is such overpowering that at times it feels like is she that good or the tune is such so? Guess this is what they mean by true singing. But why have they spoiled this wonderful song with poor sound output balancing of the chorus? Thankfully such mistakes don’t occur in ‘I’ll be waiting’, the best song of the album which is an ensemble of crème de la crème. Vijay Yesudas using the old charm of classic jazz, scores as high as the reach of moon and lands us in utopia. The paced down rendering of the motif which circumvents the pulsating notes of piano backed by trumpet is one of the high moments of this song. If ‘I’ll be waiting’ was romantic, ‘call me dil’ is a heart wrenching number. Rashid Ali like a pro, travels through the mood of this indie pop number and renders a gem of a song.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tolerant India

//This blogpost is my entry for a contest in blogadda by the name Mera Bharath Mahan in partnership with PringOO //

I have always refrained from national building topics. It doesn’t imply that I am anti-national, but I have my reservations because I never experienced a sea-change or at least a spark when these so called patriotism inducing movies play out in theatres. Sure we might have got a small inclination to be a better person till the next day after witnessing an awe-inspiring speech/book/movie. But have we carried it forward in the longer run? (Lok Paritran? Where are you?) The next week we wholeheartedly succumb to the pressure around us. There is a nation-wide disease called tolerance. We tolerate our politicians, our neighbors, our boss, our colleague, our peers and even our worst enemies. When we want to do something for ourselves we go all the way to pacify these people because we want to achieve our goal. Our attitude to succeed is so powerful that, we just don’t bother to adhere to what we ourselves feel is right and just go by those people’s words. But when hell breaks loose, we blame it on the government/others that they are corrupt, they are the black-moles of this society, and what not. Mark my word if either you or I were to be in their place we might do even more damage to the society than what they are doing. We join forces to voice our disapproval/concern over adulterating issues, like the recent CWG fiasco. We keep shouting that, ‘look into China and see how well they had organized Olympics’. But do we really want to be treated like how the Chinese government treated their downtrodden? Do we know about the fact that the corruption charges were more severe there than what is alleged to be, here?  I am not asking you to tolerate what atrocities happen in the name of organization. What I am concerned is at the base – grass root level.

How many times have you thrown trash just because you are angry at someone?
How many times have you stopped moving ahead because you see hindrance from external/internal forces?
How many times have you decided against doing a social cause when you felt people around you will feel its waste of time?
How many times have you asked about the caste/religion of your acquaintance you have befriended recently?

Didn’t get what I am pointing at? Let me be more direct:

How many times have you stood up for what you feel is right without thinking what others might think about you?
How many times have you patiently briefed the authorities who are laying road for your street about the water stagnant areas of the road?
How many times have you called the city corporation to inform about the uncollected garbage that has been piling up by your street side?

I can go on and on about this. But what will that do? I will just end up ranting about my society and people around me (including me). We as a group are so tolerant to change and novel approach, why not use our tolerance level for better use?

Start by tolerating the banters of your family and not just your girl friend. Tolerate the urge to litter. Tolerate the constant disapproval chant that you hear when you are heading towards your goal and just move ahead from that place. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss. Tolerate the remarks that some immature people give for the good deeds you think you are doing. Tolerate the urge to ask about caste/religious details of your friend and castigate him/her. Tolerate the urge to succumb to others words and stand up for your wish. Tolerate the disdain look some government SERVANTS give and just convey your needs to them. Tolerate his slander and make sure the point it set across. Tolerate the anger that comes from not being responded to and continue doing your duty.

So what will happen if we try this? We will just end up being laughed at for our putting up act. Mind you this is not putting up and doing nothing – it is putting up to do something: the stubborn character to undergo anything, so that at the end the aim is achieved. You maybe a businessman, a director, a lecturer, an engineer, you all put with so many things in the day to day course of your life. But lets start putting up: viz tolerating the chant of evil so that what we think is better for us will be achieved. If every individual has this patience to endure pain we will have a good future and in the longer run a nation we can truly be proud of.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Aadi sales

Of the month of Aadi, discount sales, Women & anything worth to be nonsense.

It is the month of Aadi. A very (in)auspicious month for women in this part of the world. Since women are the world to us (guys) minions it is therefore deemed inauspicious for us too. Gone are the decades when men were admonished for even saying the term wife in this month of the year. Hiccups there might have been, but even the ‘male’ chauvinists dreaded to enter the black hole fearing to be sucked to death by their own masculine posterity that might birth later. It took us a lot of persuasion (even from the government) to find a safer alternative for this issue 

Aadi is also infamous for the ban on anything relatively new. Brushing aside the point that it's all plain nonsense; in an orthogonal point of view it's a big money saver indeed. But how can that be even remotely plausible when the power of authority is vested on the most guile sect that had & will ever walk on the earth. When they noticed our heavy pockets & bright smile, they invented the end of season sale that transformed itself to month throughout sale becoming the worst nightmare for all present and prospective servants.  

Month before the start of activity, the board of household affairs (which will always house only one member - the wife) arranges for a ‘minutes of meeting’ with its subordinate, explaining the salient features of project and its merits. It casually drops words like “makes me hot”, “sexy”, “you are so cute” et all to keep the worker in trance. Sometimes when magic don’t seem to work, a direct list of items sneaks in when the subordinate is at its weakest-best state, just after the team did arduous work for the night.

On the arrival of the month, they head off for the business trip with great planning sans any idea. As one might expect of that paradoxical situation, they globe trot seeking for the cheapest amongst the lot only to buy stuffs at a price higher than what they used to be during normal sale. Seeing the money racked in by consumer commodities retailers other entrepreneurs are rethinking their strategy to attack the market. Interestingly there are new players too.

The foremost to jump the bandwagon is non-other than TASMAC. It has come up with a novel enticing scheme where consumers will get discount according to the percentage of alcohol available in their goods. Close behind TASMAC is another government agency – The Ration shop. They are opening up a new brand under their chain which will function only in this month. It will be named – The antique shop. It will sell all the antiqued rice that the enterprise has been stacking for eons together. An emotional Mayor who recently mazed the rice remarked that this will bring to light the long lost old flavour to the present generation. Needless to say everyone is queuing up at the entrance of The Antique shops thanks to severe marketing through televisions & print media about the price tag which even a beggar won’t bother to receive. A visibly insulted beggar association had called for a press conference and said it will henceforth receive only pizza & burger as minimum food item. Utilizing the press conference, the beggars association unveiled its own scheme for the Aadi month. It will sell all of it utensils for a mere two crore Indian rupee. Industry sources reveal that Mr.Kalmadi has already booked all those utensils for the large banquette he is planning for the opening ceremony of CWG. Not withstanding the heat of its own suns, the SUN family going to give away free Vettaikaran & Sura dvds for people who watch Deal-a No Deal-a. An interesting bait of a deal indeed. 

Monday, August 2, 2010


Music: A.R.Rahman

Endhiran though being a sci-fi movie is a love story of a robot at the core. Just like the name of the film the music or rather the sound of the album is robotic and techno. Rahman here plays by the cards handed over by Shankar and we can clearly imagine the magnitude of visual that the song will carry. More than magnificence the audio of Endhiran is all about experience. So I stopped stripping the songs and started enjoying it thanks to the lyrics. We can go on and on about the lyrics itself as they are surprisingly the highlight of most of the numbers – a feat in itself for a Rahman number. This doesn’t mean Rahman has been pushed to the backstage. It is more of him pushing the lyrics to the front. Take for example “Arima Arima” song. Even though every other song of Rahman has wonderful layers aiding the lyrics or mood, the way the beats and arrangement of instruments in this song aids the powerful lines, reverberates throughout our soul: especially through the line “un pachai thennai ootru” which comes after the humungous line “naan atlantickai otri parthen agni koraiya villai”. The beats aren’t new to ears or for that matter the song. We have heard the likes of it as “mudhalvane”, “kapal yeri poyachi” to name a few. But the whole package makes all the minute basic details stand out. This approach is carried over to “irumbile irudhayam” song too. It is more of a Barbie meets techo-pop song which gets a facelift thanks to Rahman’s impeccable variations at every phrase overcoming the harsh electronic synthesizing of his voice, making the song sound fresh to ears. Lyrics here too astonish us with lines like “google kaanada thedal ennodu” credits to Karki. Krish n Krishy play the perfect partners increasing the peppy quotient especially at the end when parallel tracks of her’s & Rahman’s play to us. Tested, often heard, or even clichéd method you might say but the song is nothing of that.

The race between lyrics and music touches newer heights with “Pudhiya manida” song. Rahman cleverly borrows the tune that is used as a chant while performing mantras to evoke this enthiran. The complements from the metallic voice of enthiran SPB and carnatic based human SPB in the style of a prayer connects humans, robots and this music to God. A love story of a robot need to have a romantic number and there comes “kadhal annukal” songs where again Vairamuthu creates robotic-romantic lines sung by the rustic Vijay Prakash and the ethereal Shreya Goshal; perfect choices indeed. The way the pair sings “kaadhal annukal” pallavi in typical western style brings life to the metallic heart. But shouldn’t there be a song for the gallery when Rajini is the star? How will the song be if he turns into a robot? “Boom Boom robo” answers that with the line “auto auto karan, automatic karan”. Reminiscing “thigu thigu” song, this Yogi B and Swetha Menon number is laced with synthesized trumpet sounds and vocals akin to the “boom boom” song by the same team, clearly meant for the fun visuals like “boom boom” song. The “boom boom robo” hanger over continues to “Chiti dance showcase” track, which from the mix we hear, can outdo the brilliance that Shankar showcased in “kannodu kanbadellam” song. Interestingly the song shifts mood only to reveal that is would be used as bgm throughout the movie. The grinding sounds of motors and the eery-techo feel fuses well and doesn’t make us feel they are individual set pieces that will be used for different scenes mainly due to the fusion of rap & carnatic, that loops as the background layer. Unlike all these numbers that fits the theme of the movie, “Kilimanjaro” which will feature the human Rajini takes a different path; that of tribal sound. The paced rendering by Chinmaye & Javed Ali which stresses out at unexpected places and goes for sharp falls often, keeps us entertaining.

Within the framework of songs for great visuals and situations that are larger than life, Rahman has created entertaining tunes which might sound simplistic now but from what the lyrics promises, the visuals could bring out hidden layers of the song complimenting the charisma of Rajni for which the songs were created in the first place.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Friendship day?

“So why do you celebrate friendship day?” I asked my friend peeved over the poetic soulless words I had been receiving the whole of today. “Just to tell you that I respect our friendship” she replied patiently knowing I have got into the instant depression mode I get into often (always) when it comes to PR (Personal Relationship). But do we really need that. I know what you mean to me and so do you.” I reasoned out realizing that she is trying to cope with my errant mood. “Didn’t you like it when I told you? That is all this is about.” – She said flat. With that tone I know at least now I should stop being obsessive about my problems and be more considerate. Yet I replied “but … think this way, you tell me this year and the next year too. But the year after that you forget to. Won’t I feel sad that you didn’t wish me?” She stood silent …

It is not the concept of friendship day that am against at; but the way it is being handled. It’s been putting across a lot of negativity for an event which was created to eradicate that. It is said that the concept of friendship day was created to reduce the tension after WWI and also among individuals. Are we really extending our hand here? (And by that I am not questioning charity here.) A friend of mine published a list of best friends in one of the social networking sites only to hurt a close friend of that person in discussion. It seems that person is sad over not featuring in the list. Doesn’t that itself make up for true friendship: a person sad over not being loved. Poor souls people like them are. They are the ones who cling to words. As a matter of fact, who doesn’t? We get pissed off by few strayed words that the person really didn’t mean. If a person stands up for him/herself at the expense of hurting the other person; will that point to the fact that the friend didn’t understand the character of the hurt inflicting person and made that person to do such an act; or that it shows how intangible people are. In the wave of complete openness of thoughts thanks to the social networking sites, the impact of numbering out people who are truly close to a person has explicit side effects. But why blame the tool when we as a person speak ‘love you guys’ to people who we don’t really care about; while not to the person who means a lot. We classify people into categories like best friend, friend, acquaintance and bill board them. We tie bands in hands or even write all (?) the friends (really?) name is shirts and hands; displaying it to the world? Is it for others to know who means a lot to you? If so why not name everyone who you think are in the list? And there are the poor souls again coming in to the picture. They might have thought they were close friends and when this event comes up; their opinion takes a beating, creating an impression that they are gullible. What could have become a strong friendship will remain an acquaintance here on. Why should people close the doors so harshly? Some defend that they send forward message to all in their contacts, spreading the warmth; that in itself is a back stab. It is like saying you are not worthy to get words out of my heart so I am forwarding you fabricated ones.

“but … think this way, you tell me this year and the next year too. But the year after that you forget to. Won’t I feel sad that you didn’t wish me?” She stood silent … In her silence I realized if that happens then that would be the perfect time for telling her how much she means to me. When we start valuing recognition than the pleasure of being friends we lose out all the happiness in life.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dawn to dusk; Plead to demand

“Wait coming!”
“I am leaving for extortion. See you in the evening.”
“Pray to the God for a good catch” Sarala pronounced as she met him.

“Where to Sir?”
“The main road. Be quick on it. Have to catch my bus.”
“You don’t worry Sir.”
“Slow down, slow down. The bus is waiting in the signal. I will get down here, itself.”
“That will be fifty rupees.”
“What? … shit the bus is leaving. Here you go!”
“Thank you lord, for giving me the skill to take advantage of people in a hurry.”

 “Sir? Madam? Want a ride?”
“Yah. This is my girl friend. I don’t want her to be cramped inside an empty bus that went just now. Since I don’t have a bike to show off this is the least I can afford.”

“Madam? Today also auto?
“Yah. Take me to my home. Who wants to walk home which is so far that it takes me five whole minutes to reach!”

“Sir, hundred rupees is normal. Petrol rate is high sir. City centre to beach itself will take all the petrol”
“Yes. Here you go. Being an automobile engineer I agree with you. Besides I like charity. It gives you great feeling of satisfaction.”

“Hey guys lets take an auto to the theatre.”
“How much?”
“Sir. 200 rupees. Four people. So only.”
“That’s okay. You see that is just 4 dollars. Besides it’s just 80rs more than the movie ticket. Very cheap. Next time I will tip you too.”

Maybe they aren’t playing the role of thieves as made out to be. Who wouldn’t want perks when you can get it easily.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Komaram Puli

It’s been a long time since Rahman played to the gallery. He tried it in Blue and other recent ventures of his only to be caught between experimentation and cacophony. With S.J. Suryah, Rahman did get back to the balance that he used to maintain in his hay days of commercial cinema where the songs regardless of the experimentation were always foot tapping and catchy, pleasing everyone. Though the audacity of the director to don the grease pant was frustrating, it was sheer pleasure to witness them on silver screen with all the gloss and not the mellowed down situational ones where the songs were pushed to the background. But with Komaram Puli we will get to see Pawan Kalyan so the visual segment of the song will surely be entertaining. And the songs? Lets get to them one at a time.

Power star (Vijay Prakash, Tanvi Shah)

Techno songs are always not easy on ears. With Rahman at fore we know with the kind of experimentation (ring tones, car crash et all) it is bound to be bizarre. It starts with the drums beating to the well known police theme in Arabic influence fused with synthesized sounds creating and eery feel whispering ‘power star’. It’s a cocktail of sorts after that, when the ream of lyrics patronizing the ‘Yuva star’ moves from the electronic feel to folkish style, backed by the genre trademark ‘organ’. Any hero worship song from Rahman is not complete with the “hai hai” sound and here it is combined with “blue blue” cry, reminiscing us of the blue theme. The beauty of this cocktail is that after getting the grasp and when the familiarity sinks in, the peppy adulating lyrics and the intricate modulations especially whenever Vijay intensifies the mood as he acclimates to the top scale, grabs our attention.

Amma thale (Naresh Iyer, Swetha Mohan)

There is the celerity and then the melody. It seems to be repeating in loops. So what is this song? Doesn’t it sound like it was poorly tacked together? If you stop right there, then you are going to miss something special. As we take that notion away, the celerity becomes a breathless travel into the nooks in whips, pacing our heart only to be soothed by the melody. But the melody now doesn’t remain only that; it becomes more of a funny retaliation to the rambling antecedent and the fun increases with the curt notes of the violin & trumpet. So what if the celerity is borrowed by “thee kurugiya” song from Kangalal Kaithu Sei with heavy accent from “markandeya” of New; when each complete note of that saranam layered using different instruments, attention turns to the variation that Swetha brings to the note joined later by Naresh. Though Naresh intensifies the tune to a great level, the “na nana na” hampers the flow, only to be saved by the faithful trumpet with which Naresh swiftly transforms the song into a classical one at the coda.

Maaralante (A.R.Rahman & KMMC Choir)

Maaralante is a double treat in that it will become the anthem of Andhravalas and as a song that will become the identity of Power star for the rest of his life. What is with Rahman and patriotic songs? When he sings them, even the average tune raises goosebumps and with lyrics which highlight the importance of change, the impact is even higher acclimating to greater heights when he touches the top note for rendering “maa telugu thali” backed by the cherubic choir; reminding us the “mannipaya” of VTV effect. Rahman takes the song to the next level when he increases the tension using carefully arranged instrument in the other half of the song, which when we thought was the best it could get to, knocks us out with the superb placement of Chandrabose’s punch line as the finale.

Maham Mahamaye (Javed Ali, Suchitra)

Sometimes we just have to hand it over to the guys behind the microphone and let them enthrall us. Even though Maham Mahamaye seems to be Shankar Mahadevanish, Javed Ali gets into the groove and comes up with a rendering that is packed with passion and gusto. The consistently flat Suchitra is beautified with disciplined singing that falls between zeal and childish joy. The alternation between staccato and the melodic note of the pallavi that the singers perform in the later part of the saranams, the majestic symphony in violin and the confluence of these two towards the finale ends the song in a content note.

Dochy (Shreya Ghoshal, Lady Kash 'N' Krissy)

Gangster blues seems to have become police blues for this club number. The rustic & erotic mood initiated by Krissy carries over to Shreya Goshal which she blends well with the wiggling setup of the notes leaving us in trance. The way she renders lowering notes of “aashalatho anveshanatho aapai aapai adigai” and then climbs higher only to touch down safely into our heart, makes us forget that this is just an item number. The Arabic orchestration with organ sneaking in between at equal intervals under the aegis of synthesizers takes us to an elevated state; not to mention the firing sounds and the prickling guitar that fills the entirety of the song.

Namakame (Chitra, Madhushree, Harini)

Should there be only one tune, when a lady is praying to the God? Why does Rahman repeat the same tune be it in Lagaan, Swades, Jodha Akbar (interestingly all Ashutosh Gowarikar films), Connections and now in Komram Puli? Lack of novelty apart, the choice of different voice whenever there is a change in the notes and different combinations of them makes the age old song intriguing and when Chitra takes over with an alaap backed by mouth organ like sounding trumpet we are sent back to the Duet days.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Iru Ennangal

M: Sitirame sindhanai yen?

Idhazl sentha velai manam seravillaya?

F: Manam sentha pothum ennam seravillai

M: Oviyame thayakam yen?

Karam sentha velai kadhal unaravillaya?

F: Kadhal unarndha pozhuthu kaalam kaivasam illai

M: Kavidhaye, koobam yen?

Kaaviyam ezhutha naan ulla pothum, ithihasam aavathu yeno?


M: Pennilave ithanai dooram yen?

Anda dooram unnai pakam azhaikavillaya?

Kanmun olithukonde maraigirai, unnai suriyan kondu theda eyalumo?

F: Theda thadai vidithu tholaigiren, olitha suvadindri maraigiren.

M: Kaalathai vendra vinbam, malai kadanthal mattum maraiyuma?

F: Kanam tholaintha piragu kaalathin velai ena?

Vidai illa kaadhalin payan enna?

Neerum yennayum senthal adhan porul ena?

M: Puruvam sentha penne, iru manam servathin pizhai yena?

F: Manam noringiya kanam, pirivai naadi sellgirathu paadam.

M: Idhayathai tholaithadarka ennai ne pirigirai?

F: Marugira idhayathirku uyir ootra villagiren.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oru Pithanin Kadharal


Yennangal orr-aayiram, porkaalathil;

Unnal, yennangal pala aayiram ikalathil;

Anaal, Velal orr yennam irulai vatiyathu ikanathil;

Veethikul nuzhainden, irul kumindana,

Yennam balam anathu;

Mayil vaaganam kanden, idhayam thudithadu,

nizhal nijam anathu;

Mangayai kanden, tamizh vandathu;

Nilaiyai kanden, dhukam nuzhaidanthu;

Iyalaamai-yai kanden, thuyaram vaatiyathu;

Nimirnthu parten, moondrum kalanthathu;

Kanmoodi parten, neer kasindathu;

Kadara ninaithen, uyir katru oodavillai,

Yen vaalai piditen, uyir varthaigalal vadivu-adaindadhu;


poo pootra kangal; por thodukiren,

padha paduthapaduveno thanimayil?

Naadi selgiren vyugathilul;

Velven: yen manadaal kar sollai;

Tedi varuven, saran adaiven,

nizhal kodupaya?

Yen yakai uyir meetpaya?

Sitham ne;

Nitham ne;

Nithyam ne;

Ennai mannipaya?

Illamaiyile vaazha eyalum,

Irundal vazhvo inbam;

Ne(er) illamal nano kal;

Neeraga varuvaya?

Vazhi vaasalil nirkiren, pessa penne,

Vizhi asaipaya?

Nilai - Kelvi

Naatkal kazhindana yugangalai;

Vazhkayin nilai enna?

Sitham kathariyathu satham endri;

Yen kalangarai manathin nilai enna?

Variyal vidhi vedaitha vasagi, en kelvi-in vidai enna?

Credit: Eternal Sunshine, Vairamuthu

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Switching OFF in time, Saves more than 9!

As the hero refrains from fury and controls his anger, he flexes his arms and wroom goes the engine bursting all his pent up anger through the smoke that comes out of the muffler. The wroom sound is often shown used as a gesturing sound as a beautiful girl crosses the signal. While the movies set such poor examples using their Demi Gods, we in real life wait in the signal for that special girl to cross over so that our newly tuned engine can conduct a symphony. Do we for once realize how much of our resources go waste while idling? Heck we don’t even switch off the engine while waiting for a long time in the traffic signal. As I was crossing through a pile of engines all emitting dangerous gases in a signal I noticed few MTC buses doing something radical. Curious, I then started noticing every time at longer signals the MTC buses switching off their engines religiously. I first thought it was driver initiated and went up to a driver to congratulate him. Then did I come to know about the other side of MTC which has till now been shown drenching the air with black smoke in our movies. The MTC for sometime have been giving incentives and awards to driver/conductor whose bus have the highest fuel economy and give pointers as to how to achieve them: switching off the engine is one such. While the organization is very particular in maintaining the 5 kmpL mark there by bringing a standard, it penalizes people who come below the threshold. The driver tells me the fuel economy is calculated every night and the awards are distributed on Independence Day or republic day. When people driving BSIII engines can do such a deed and be socially responsible it’s high time people driving BSIV engines using their cars stop worrying about starting problems and reduce their carbon foot print.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Years before when I heard the album “Kannathil Muthamital” by A.R.Rahman and Mani Rathnam, my only reaction was – this album has only two hummable songs. The other songs did have mastery craftsmanship in that the individual parts of a song were engaging but as a song there was something amiss. After seeing the movie I realized how wrong I was. Because that album belonged to a very rare case in Indian music industry in that it was a soundtrack rather than an album. The rawness of “Sundari” and the repetitiveness of “vidai kudu engal naade” became jubilant (thanks to the guitar) and haunting respectively. Incidently Rahman received his fourth National award for that film. Today after hearing “Raavan” by the same duo I get the feeling of hearing a soundtrack again. I am not the fourteen year old boy anymore to not appreciate a soundtrack and that is why Raavan excites me, but was it satisfying?

The first song, “Beera Beera” starts like “Maiya Maiya” (here its Urdu? Instead of Arabic) after which Rahman chips in to hum a peppy version of the tune from which Vijay takes off only to be interrupted by weird & enjoyable tribal sounds. When Vijay continues afterwards, it all turns comical of sorts with the listing of the traits of Beera what with the tune that seems to be bent towards portraying the joyous side of the alleged fearsome Raavan. It may well pass of as a title song for “Bheema – the kid warrior” for the tiny tots in Pogo.

The second song, “Behene de” starts with the ostinato that was played in the theme of Couple Retreat followed by the mellowed down - straight forward rendering by Karthick. Starting off slowly he steadily acclimates the scale while the tempo too shifts to higher gear with every set of notes aided by the violin and then settles for a crying melody. This format is looped continuously to form the mukdha. What pulls me into this age old style is the musical layers that form the background every time a variation shows its presence. The cluster of electrifying guitar, the swift violin and the sharp drums fits into the mood. If that doesn’t interest you wait till the end when the pizzicato played using keyboard slowly takes prominence. The staccato that follows the keyboard cue, created by alternating use of drum & the bow of the violin is really worth the wait.

“Tok de Gilli”, the next track is a folkish/punjabi rap that provides the rustic Sukwinder to unwind like a callow youth. Being a Punjabi number there is no dearth for the “hai hai” chorus though here the tongo of “hai” & shehnai and at a later stage with the cadenza of violin set to motion for an exciting later half. The short vibrato with which Sukwinder starts the 2nd mukdha and quickly changing to different articulation for the entirety is what makes the song special.

What follows next is “Ranja Ranja”. A special mention should be given for utilizing the negative aspect in singing of Anuradha Sriram to appropriate use, as the befitting alley to Rekha. It maybe a very ordinary/used up tune with simple lyrics (lyricist down south write song like this for every movie that comes out) but what sets apart this song is the haunting/sharp voice of Rekha and the crazy pronunciation by Javed. When he sings “bina tere, Raadhe …” and goes on we just have to submit to the shear grandeur and texture of this song. The keyboard that was playing the part of ostinato clubs with Sitar for the interlude and then when Anuradha joins them backed by the guitar we know this song is surely the song of the album.

After all the eccentricity that was “Ranja Ranja” comes “Killi Re” playing from a familiar turf. The song concentrates mainly on the intricacy that Reena brings to this classical number which gushes with romance in the form of melody, similar to its inspirations - "Pookodiyil poonagai" & "Saawariya Saawariya" . As she stretches each syllabi in different ways invoking a range of emotions from lust to lullaby, the violin and then backed heavily by the flute gives us a divine experience.

Can a Shehnai be played like this? In the last song of the album, “Kata Kata”, Shehnai first plays the part of the war horn followed up by the jubilant folk rock start to the song by the singers. Reminding of “Rukumani” & “Yaaro yarodi” both by this director-composer duo, “Kata Kata” is painted with lush colours invoking the local flavour. Slipping into typical marriage mode using the Shehnai again, the song shifts to the first mukdha where the quivers of the fretless oud plays at the front while the shehnai is pushed to the back. While the tune and even the articulation remains the same in the second mukdha, the shehnai is replaced by the backing vocals to support the intoxicating voice of Sapna, setting the tempo for the coda where Shehnai, oud and off course drums along with the seductive vocals combine to enthrall. Let the fun and frolic stay for eternity.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shreya "Nightingale" Ghoshal

Leaves could sing, bees could sing, you could sing, people from nether could sing, but when she sings “Jaisi Koyal gaathi hai vasa hi Vo gaathi hai”. If she sings even the vengeful lover will melt. With a voice that sounded surrealistic, Shreya Ghoshal entered filmdom with the haunting “bairi Piya” that keeps lingering in my ears, Shreya has transcended into the Goddess of playback singers (of this generation) not only for her unquestionable talent and command over singing, but mainly for her expressions and the feel she is able to bring out with every song. She is being a perfect example in justifying the emotions required for a song (be it in almost any genre). The way she acclimates to the peak with her sugary yet commanding voice and renders “Aavaz hun main!” in the song “tu mera dost hain”, she proclaims her throne as the Nightingale of India (Yes let us all accept Lata Ji is very old to sing “Teere Oor” now). Similarly in the song “kaise mujhe” where the same pair feature, even as we were engrossed at the technical expertise of Benny, the way Shreya enters the scene with serenity and poise singing pitch-perfect as a matter of factually and she enthralls us with her expressive intonations that flows with the intricate variations that the tune contains, which Benny had earlier very forcibly projected. More than the tune, the way she pleas is what sets her apart from others; a perfect example being the way she confesses “tuj mein rab diktha hai” for Rab Ne banadi Jodi and we helplessly listen to it again and again to be sanctified. If that is one side of her, then the way she renders “paar vale kinnare” in the song “Barso re” from Guru speaks volumes of her balance over classical singing, pronunciation and intonating the lyrics according to the tunes. With so much said and yet it seems to me I have said very less for “Taaref yeh bhi tho, saach hai kuch bhi nahin”.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meeting Nayanthara: through the eyes of a pervert

Everything needs to have a start; unless you believe in the system called God. This story (the author of this article believes this has 1) also has one, but apparently I forgot the beginning. So let’s cut short to the time I got the call. Like any other day, I was doing what my colleagues call “working dedicatedly”. Well I was kinda “involved” weighing the viabilities of few options I had come up with earlier to install new robots in my line. The phone buzzed at that time;
The voice said, “Am I speaking to Mr. Harish? Am calling from Sify.com …”
“Okay? Harish here”
“Its my pleasure to inform you that you have won *$&#*%…”
Hey Harish I have a doubt in your Verna proposal … oh sorry” – my colleague as always without you know what.
“I will get back with you in a moment: on a call!” I stressed
“Sorry for the distraction …”
“Its ok Harish, can you make it to the Sify office at 10:30am 18th this Thursday? I hope you come sharp: Nayanthara can’t wait for you right?”
“Yah okay …” I smirked which kinda passed off as a laugh I guess.

On the eventful day, I asked a friend the shortest route to Tidel Park; he told me to board M70 which will take me there in just 1 hour! I was like is this the age of dry comedy?? Anyways using my 4yrs of conditioned brain deduced I should start by 9:30; but then I figured I don’t need Engineering for this too. I checked the time was 9am then.

Let me tell you about a small conversation (figuratively with no intentional pun – ppl am not referring to my friend’s height here ok?) I had with a friend of mine who was telling about how girls go about the “getting ready” ritual before meeting some1 ;). With this in my mind and urgency in action, I peered into my wardrobe and after finalizing my dress checked out the time to be 9:45. So I rushed to the bus stop where a bus was leaving; got in, in a run and sat. I sat and sat and after like half n hour of listening to Rahman I looked out to find I was only at a place which is just 15 mins farther by walk from the place I got in. After the traffic got cleared I or to be more precise; the bus zoomed to the destination. It was 11:20am and I had received 2 phone calls by then, pleading that I come sooner. I was like ha ha so she is waiting for me … lol. But I did have a slight jitter that what if she leaves?

Coming back to the story (see, he still feels there is one), I ran to the escalator only to find that it doesn’t lead me to the desired floor. So came down and took the lift. I reached the reception and was told to wait till the guy who had been contacting me comes. I was wondering whether Sify was an all out media concern or it had some ancillary business too. From the crowd inside I figured the backend is huge; and so were the ladies!

The guy came to the reception and took me inside. My eyes rested on girls scattered over the area trying to see if anyone had striking looks; none. He walked with me to a cabin at the end of the corridor. As he opened the door, a room which was filled with a lot of people bustling with different activities came to my view. It took me no time to realise that all the activities were focused on one person. There were two still photographers flooding the room with flashes and a video camera person waiting for his turn. What seemed like technical people were working on something at the corner, while two ladies were doing something with a laptop. Nayanthara was at the epicenter of all these activities discussing with those ladies. Having liked what I saw from behind I eagerly moved forward to a seat that was drawn out for me in front of her. One eye on the path ahead and one on her I moved inch by inch inching closer to get a closer look. I was now able to see a long drawn out nose protruding from what should be a face. Without losing hope I moved further to the seat and sat. I slowly looked at the face that was stationed in front of me. She looked like the fair version of this!

Okay I am not exaggerating here. Straightened hair done in a style; the only style she knows. The eyebrows looked like the moustache of Vadivelu in Vaseegara; and the face! OMG it was a mix of pink, white, yellow coloring which I hope looks okay in camera. Not to strain my eyes further I looked down a bit (not that area!) and her hands caught my attention. Did she wax her hand or applied a layer of wax over her hand?? I could see reflections through the non-stop flash lights there. Is this her way of lighting up the room?

I decided to concentrate on things more attractive; like say a dust bin that was lying on the corner? Jokes apart, a guy next to me was constantly trying to speak something to me. So I turned to his side and said: “hi”
“Hi am $(&@%R (like I care who u are!) … We are the winners of this contest I guess. So what do you do? I work at %#%(%*&; what is your name?”
“Am Harish working in Hyundai.”
“Are you in production?”
“No; I am in a department which handles new projects and all the improvement activities of the company.”
“Okay … my company is a dealer to your vendor companies.”

I was like oh great!!! I gave a smile and turned towards Nayanthara itself. She was busy answering questions that were being asked online. It seems since I was late they preponed the online chat session. It should have been a chat session but she was just monitoring the answers while those two ladies were the one involved in the chat process. Someone had apparently asked a funny question I guess for the three ladies started laughing hard; and then it happened! Nayanthara opened her mouth and laughed! Her 32 sharp teeth that could bite vampire’s ass off came in plain view scaring me to hell. I remember having a sudden shiver down the spine on seeing it. Thankfully there were far interesting things to notice in the room; like how the photographers were using their tools (no double meaning here too!); how the staff of sify were trying to get into the cabin to have a peek at the actress, etc. And there was this guy who I mentioned earlier. He kept asking me; does my French beard look good? Does my shirt look presentable? And so on.

Finally the chat session came to an end and customary personal photos were taken of the staff with the actress. I should confess bad face or not she has a sculptured structure (liposuction or not); she looked like an erected rod (no double meaning here too) fixed with 2 footballs. She would have looked like a darling had even an ounce of flesh from THE area been diverted to her cheeks; too much exercise or sign of aging? The guy next to me couldn’t hide his perverseness and with half swallowed words mixed with chuckles told me hope we too would get to take such close pictures with her. Okay Mr. Despo!

Anyways we were called one by one to get our “goodies” from her. When my turn came I went ahead; we shook hand: wow what soft hands! And top it, it was very cool. It was like she hand kept her hand in freezer. Her smile has this attractiveness which I noticed then only standing close to her. Maybe that’s what make these actors sell (not in literal sense; oh well they do too right?). Coming back; she gave me a gift box (which I found later to contain Ferrero Rocher) & rose and we posed for few shots. Immediately after that the staff in their dignified way shooed us away. As we were going to move from the place; what the photographers had been trying to capture; what the staff had been peeping at; what we as an audience expect from a heroine (not an actress or a female protagonist); the twin moons came in display, but I regretted immediately for they looked old sans make up. Nayanthara should apply better make up to her assets I think. After that I came out of the cabin into the real world and realized all the girls in the office looked like an angel.

Having wasted whole afternoon to realize Chennai girls do look great, I set forward to my home from Tidel Park when the guy I met in Sify followed me. It seems his home is in Nungambakkam! Damn; the whole journey with him was beyond words for me and full of words from his side. He was asking me how to save the webpage when our pictures come online; he wanted me to inform him when they come online and what not. As I was feeling relieved when Nungambakkam was coming to view from the train, he gave the final blow; he will contact me next week it seems so that we can finalize on the date we could go for Vinnaithandi Varuvaya! OMG!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sensationalizing the trivialities!

Let’s leave aside the fact that Shahrukh made a statement only after the IPL – Pakistani players issue went out of hand. Late or not, he didn’t say anything that needs to be censored or not allowed to be spoken in this democratic country. Could it be because SRK spoke in English rather than Marathi that the Shiv Sena happily misinterpreted? Questions does rise that it was just a political / business move, but that doesn’t deter the fact that a person can’t speak his mind and walk away easily in this country. Wish these people protest for more pressing issues.

Monday, February 1, 2010

2 Grammies

It’s not like Oscars isn’t a great achievement, but Grammies; who would have thought of that? Okay, am kidding we all were waiting for the nominations to be announced so that we can say “Jai ho” with the same energy as Sukwinder Singh if not chant like A.R.Rahman. Like Jamal Malik rising from shit to get the coveted thing, the album crossing all the criticism has achieved like everything now. What is it about the album anyway? Is it shear marketing tactic that spells success; the money that the studio has that makes sure every judge acquainted with any award to know all the positives that is to know of the film?

Allegations apart it is the appreciation for the man at the helm, his learning, his immense exposure, his grasp and what not. It is not like this album was envisaged and created in a span of 2 months. It takes a person who got the A,B,C,Ds correct to create things in celerity. The vision didn’t start 2 months before the album was created, but way behind in time. It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t he created an exquisite library for cues (to be used as layers in his songs) the largest in Asia, so that now when he needed to do a quickie he only needs to search his Apple. It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Sivamani been with him right from the beginning creating background templates for THE SOUND (O ... Saya) he wanted so that his engineers could work on it. It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Shankar and Mani encouraged him to create the unique sound for their “Chiku bukku” and “thaaya thaaya” respectively. It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Illayaraaja created a strom; a riot with his bgm raising the standards for the same. It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Vanessa Mae collaborated with him for Raaga’s dance helping him to create an effervescent "escape" music. It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Subash Ghai wasn’t at the epitome of perversion (choli ke peche) back then. It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Balanchander roped his find to set tunes, for the "dancing" legs, for the former’s century. It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Barathiraaja pushed the envelope; the capabilities of this maestro to think simple (Dreams on fire). It wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Mudalvan been about a media person who may not become a "millionaire" but surely the CM. It wouldn’t have been possible had he listened to people and stopped using Blaze (gangster blues). And finally for the song that surprising will become the song of the century (jai ho); it wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Sukwinder injected the flavour of Punjabi music into Rahman’s blood; it wouldn’t have been possible had “paisa” experiment in Guru worked well; it wouldn’t have been possible had we rejected every time Rahman breaks into a chant calling the almighty with what ever the lyrics be.

Like the dutiful invoking of God through “O… Saya”; the Messiah of Music called the “Musical thunder” because of his music which is quiet a “riot”; who swept us with the “mausam…” and “…escaped” to various “themes” through his songs that “rings” in our ears making us “dance”; though becoming a “millionaire” thanks to his love for “blue” and jazz; and yet not losing the “fire…” in his “…dreams”; he sings “Jai ho” bringing laurels to one and all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya

Music: A.R.Rahman

Omana penne (Benny Dayal, Kalyani Menon)

A tremolo through vocal followed by a vibrato which kicks starts the same note through nadaswaram in the background, as Benny travels through complicated variations to declare that this MJ style pop song “Omana penne” is here to stay. This status is then cemented well through the breezy enchanting Malayalam lines that follow it. The continuum that captivated us in “Rehna tu” combines with nadaswaram to amuse us once again.

Anbil avan (Devan, Chinmayi)

The nadaswaram starts the ceremonial song, fusing with the organ, as the couple takes the wedding oath, akin to a wedding gospel, declaring the bond through “Anbil avan” in andante mode, with few strains here and there. As the wedding march music play, which is fast forwarded to play the “anandam anandam” song in nadaswaram, they jump to celebration mode. Interspersed with the tabla and the hazardous electronic feel running to loop throughout, “Anbil avan” is purely an energetic situational; turn into dream; turn into celebration number, sung faithfully but the vocalists.

Vinnaithandi Varuvaya (Karthick)

Karthick renders a melancholic blue number which pretends to be a calando, mainly due to the adagio movement of strings played around the vocal; the pretension suites the lyrics amicably, in that it raises questions. But as it steps into the casual pace, the rendering becomes dream-like setting the mood for a fitting theme music.

Hosanna (Vijay Prakash, Blaaze, Suzanne)

As people shouted in excitement, praising God on his entry to Jerusalem, the guy here in adoration of the angel, who entered his world (as the lyrics indicate), sings Hosanna when she takes his heart as she walks past him. From the heavenly state it shifts to brisk pace as Blaaze enters with the pop/rap unleashing the now cult “heloo” at the coda. Suzaane adds grace to the song with her cappella.

Kannukul Kannai (Naresh)

Bass violin initiates an allegro of sorts staccato, with a bellicose like electronic sound as filler to the belligerent tune, is used here to corner the girl that its love and not friendship in typical MJ style which ends in a pleading mode after becoming a legato. The bass violin phase in the middle of the track takes this pop song to a whole new level.

Mannipaya (A.R.Rahman, Shreya Ghoshal)

“Mannipaaya” starts off as girl’s plea to condone her decision in the voice of the nightingale backed by strained notes of flute, keyboard and guitar, surfacing one at a time to complement Shreya. The lover who unable to take it, breaks into a hurried cry reaching farther distance as the lyric goes “tholai thoorathil” and acclimates to greater height of desperation, as the line goes “melum melum”, in turn melting our heart. From what was elaborated above, it would be evident that, it’s a lyric based song and yet the way Shreya brings out different forms of “mannipaaya” all beseeching & the chant of the cherubic choir sanctifying love through thirukural make “mannipaaya” special, even when the overused tune threatens to bore you.

Aaromale (Alphonse)

Pink Floyd lands in God’s own place to enthrall us with this uber cool country rock song, as Alphonse squalls “Aaromale” in different tempos and pitch making us wonder if he will get award for best Tamil song or Malayalam song. The direness of rock concatenated with the intense pain required for a sad song, is backed beautifully by the violin; beautiful not for playing trivial notes that we have been accustomed to sadness, but for making it sound so trendy. And as the song breaks into blue feel with the Malayalam lyrics, “Aaromale” followed soberly by electric violin, intersperse with the enhanced “summangali bhava” line to create an aura that wants to be heard again and again.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

As i feel - an imaginative conversation by A.R.Rahman with his Inner self

* A figment of imagination - Getting into the mind of A.R.Rahman on the day of his 44th birthday as he tells us what he is going through lately. An imaginative conversation by A.R.Rahman with his inner self

Is it 12 already? Insha Allah – Ella Pugazhum Iraivanuke! But where am I? AM? Panchanthan? Mumbai? Is it Los angles or UK? I did it again! People tell me not to sleep on studio floor ... but what can I do? I sleep better around the instruments on floor than in the bed ... he he ... my infectious infamous sleeping hours! After all these years, should I think about changing this? hmm ... strange so many years have gone by and I still am anxious as to how my album will fair. Am I satisfied by success alone? Have I become a person who wants more money too? Is that why I accepted Azhagiya Tamizh Magan? I keep telling myself am doing things to satisfy the hunger in me, the listener in me and most importantly what comes to me from beyond. Still I want it to reach the way I want it to. A week to go right? Aargh ... the anxiousness! Did I actually raise the bar? Seriously? I have told myself: the international exposure through the ticket called Oscar is, and will remain only a ticket. Let people laugh at me for choosing Couples Retreat and Blue after all this. I have always chosen movies based on the scope of freedom to do what i feel. I do need to be gratified ain't I? Yah! ... My freedom is not stopping me from experimenting; like I played around the theme of ocean in the most unexpected manner on both these films. Did it work? Did it reach the audience? Did it suit the movie? These questions always scare me. Am I choosing movies for me to do what I want to do regardless of what the director asked? Did I fail in Blue? I know I have gone to the extremes of experimentation with Blue – not the one which I do with Rakesh or Mani Sir. Ah my guts to try a south flavoured song in Blue. And they are saying its an ode to the 70s!! ha ha ...The telugu audience did accept my Ne Manasu Naaku Telusu ... but Naani? hmmm. What about Endhiran? Shankar didn’t want to start the fight again so he was quiet about Sivaji background score. Not this time around. I know the continuum will sound very eerie and futuristic like he requested me. It’s after all a thriller in Rajini’s style. I hope his daughter keeps up with her schedule. Why am I using all my ideas which were meant for my albums in films? ... let me think ... did it start with Chaiya Chaiya? What about Chiku buku? Shouldn’t directors come up with these kinds of ideas? ... what am i saying! They have come to me expecting me to create these new horizons for them to work on. Now we have a paradox here! Do I want people to let me do what ever I feel? or I want them to give unusual concepts to work on? But sometimes I feel am going back to sufi and kawali too often if they let me free. Isn't that too a director's job? to chanelise my thoughts to the direction they desire? Whats that song? ... yah Hosanna. I could pitch it with Rajeev’s idea for Anbendra mazhaille. Isn't it nice to ask a cross cultural song between a hindi boy and a Christian girl. I hope people realise the real beauty of this song after they see the film. hmmm he he ... Mani Sir! Who ever may come, how can Mani Sir still be so unique in his request? Like he always says, "as we can’t avoid escapism in cinema using music (which we both hate) lets beautify the escapism and use it as a tool rather than a gimmick". Isn’t it strange to work with him and also with the master of gimmicks with his grand scheme which only he can think and commission in this grand scale! I guess it's natural that I get confused with an Indian-Japanese project, a English-Chinese project, a tamil - malyalam project, a lot of hindi and tamil projects. But I feel working on one spectrum will help me bring a new dimension when I do music for another spectrum. Purist may tell am adulterating. If I don’t adulterate Munnbe Vaa would have remained just another song. Aren’t we in a global village now? Or it is because of my background? Does this marriage of culture come because of that? Am I a person who was lucky to be born when everything that I believe in, is believed to be great? Insha Allah – Ella Pugazhum Iraivanuke!

The Messiah of Music - my previous article on A.R.Rahman - click here
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