Thursday, December 27, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Abhijeet Sawant's Junoon. Not too phenomenal or pathbreaking in terms of singing/lyrics - but a real nice loungey feel, with a Tanha Dil-esque video shot in Ladakh. Love the beats, the guitar solo and the stop/start interludes (especially the one at around 3:40).
The "Junoon"-repeat chorus line sounds mysteriously like "hello hello, how low" from Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
"So far from reality", "I mean this kind of stuff doesn't happen in real life". "Yeah right, like that's going to ever happen".
That's precisely why we go to watch a motion picture in the first place, doofus. These kind of comments get to me, because I think that people watch movies as an escape from reality. Good movies actually achieve suspension of disbelief. But there are some of those nay-sayers who sit through the entire movie going "Tch, that's not realistic, uff".
Furthermore, don't ever come to watch an Anees Bazmee or David Dhawan flick and expect freaking reality. You want reality, go watch a Shyam Benegal movie.
Friday, December 21, 2007
You've got yours, and I've got mine.
Friend of mine pointed out this song to me. You all may know it as the theme track to the new "Old Navy" commercials.
Its Stars by The Weepies, a Cali pop-acoustic group. Very cozy sound, takes a little bit to grow on you. Reminds me of that London group, 'White Town', that came out with Your Woman back in the '90s, and then disappeared. Listen to "Gotta Have You" as while. Tight!
And for those who haven't caught it, the Blue House is Chagall. Heavenly.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Despite the PT-style choreography and Sunil Shetty, this song is nothing less than badass, even after all these years.
As the guy who posted the video said it best, "the exact moment" in time when Karisma Kapoor got pretty all of a sudden. Especially in the yellow dress, the chick got a makeover and a half in this movie. Certainly came a long way from her purple dress/red lipsmudge days in Prem Qaidi.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Gonna change my last name to Khan or Kapoor
My signing price will start at a few crores
100% advance, half cash, half check, you see
Gonna wear magenta over my white jeans
Surrounded by a posse of Bollywood has-beens
Black tinted windows on my new Class E
18 bedroom bungalow up on Pali Hill
Every morning, I'll wave from my windowsill
Whose the king of Bollywood? Me! That's right.
Be it cops or censors, I will have no fear,
whether I'm shooting movies, or shootin' deer.
Trashy magazines will talk about who and what I did last night.
Will need a big apartment just for my fanmail
Hush-hush encounters at a farmhouse in Panvel
Hoping that paparazzi didn't see the item girl come in
Six Pack Abs that could make Rambo weep
Steroids and Botox don't come cheap
Will start a designer label called "Its Rockin'"
For college girls needing a break, i will vouch
As soon as they get comfy on my casting couch
Hey, hey I wanna be a film ishtar
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Testing, testing. Mini-rant is being conducted in this blogspace.
I've finally found something that 'grinds my gears' more than Sarah Jessica Parker's pretentious pout (Oh God, how I wish I could legally eliminate that woman from ever existing. Why men would actually want that twisted waif traipsing around Manhattan as their arm candy is beyond me).
And that is .... standardized test questions set by menopausal spinster nuns. Especially those "none of the above", "all of the above", and my arch nemesis - (a) I only (b) I and II (c) I, II and III, but not IV (c) None of the above. Jesus! Can't we just tell you what we know and get on with life? Does there have to be this hare-brained pretzel-knotted way of assessing our thinkability?
Sorry, a little too furious for a snowy Sunday afternoon.
In other news, highly recommended Indie flick of the week - "Sex and Lucia". Playing at a few decrepit screens in Chelsea, but available over Netflix. To contrast the adorableness of Paz Vega (who is a far, far better actress than her many-considered doppelganger Penelope Cruz, as this film clearly justifies) , SNL falls between the domains of explicit and obscure, rather comfortably. A visual artistic delight as Julio Medem captures starry nights in dark cities and bright days on the island. A startling follow-up to his earlier "Lovers of the Arctic Circle", which was AWESOME. In conclusion, SNL is engaging yet shocking. Its "Y Tu Mama Tambien" meets "Motorcycle Diaries", with Gael Garcia Bernal replaced by Vega, peppered with a smidgen of David Lynch influence (you'll see touches of Mulholland Drive, especially in the silent beach walks with the sounds of surf).
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Snippets from many Love Letters to a Deceitful Blackberry
How I love thee? How I am consumed by thy greatness? Let me count the ways.
The minute I held you in my palm, and set my location and local time, I knew that our relationship would be a different one. I knew that I would hold you, grinding your trackwheel with reckless abandon, as you rambled on about all that work-related b.s. that I still don’t get. Regardless, I’m a good listener, ‘berry, and I’m just so thankful to have you, that I don’t care what information you bring to me. From that day, I knew that I would be compelled to pull you out of the recesses of my pockets, at random times of day. While eating, while driving, while peeing. At bars, parties, lunches, dinners. Even when you may not have chimed or vibrated, to indicate that ‘I’ve got mail’, I still can’t help but check. Maybe you missed something out. Nobody's perfect. Can I help that I just want to look at you? Can I help it that I’m concerned that your miniscule battery life may have gone out again? Can I help that I just want to show the world that I’m a busy, busy tycoon who is ... connected? That people in various timezones require my electronic opinion on some ridiculously crucial issue at this instant point in time, and if I don’t respond, there will be much famine, drought and needless homicide? Even the people that I email will raise their eyebrows with appreciation because of my autosignature that tells them that you are my device of choice (Although, I’m sorry that I get rid of that very signature when I CC e-mails to my boss during the day, so that he thinks that I’m at work). Its not because I’m ashamed of you, dearest. I’m a proud man, because I have you, O fair, fair Blackberry. The ultimate status symbol of importance in today’s world. The beacon of success. The icon of a man’s true arrival into the world of corporate crappitude.
You’re my ‘wingman’, Blackberry. When I’m at a bar, and that hot chick totally blows me off in front of everybody, who do I turn to? I turn to you, with deep attention. You, in turn, engage your backlight and shine on me. I have resurrected my manhood. You have restored my integrity. Each noisy grind of your trackwheel fuels my pride. And I’m ready to be rejected again. As long as I have you. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not my backup. You’re my best friend. So what if your mailbox limit gets reached every hour, I still love you.
Did you know that you were a negotiating point for me, when I took this job? I was ok with no stock options, medical insurance or retirement plan. I was ok with the deep, incisive pay cut and lowly designation. I was perfectly ok with the dusty cubicle in between the restrooms and the janitor’s closet, that nobody wanted. As long as they gave me you, in my hand (Although that medical plan would've helped out with my Carpal Tunnel).
I will always believe that there are two kinds of people in this world. People with Blackberries. And people without Blackberries. When I got you, babe, I graduated to the former. I was honored. I felt powerful. I felt superior to the Neanderthals who weren’t able to play Brickbreaker at their cousin’s third wedding, with knotted eyebrows, pretending to type mails with ground-shattering consequences to their CFO’s team in
I accept you as you are. The day I got you, I proceeded to load high bandwidth sites on your browser, because I was thrilled that I could browse the internet from the palm of my hand. The information superhighway was at my fingertips. Then, you crashed. I have since learnt to stick to lo-fi Google Maps, when it comes to you. I usually use it to find an internet café where I can browse high bandwidth sites. Ayo technology!
Its 3 AM. And I hear your gentle vibrations. Brrrrrrrr. . Brrrrrrr. I love the way you pause between them. You’re such a tease. Its probably SPAM, but who cares. Its 3 AM and I’m being communicated with. Do you know what that feels like? My landline hasn’t rung in 6 years. Your vibrations make me feel like a social magnet! You keep me going,
I have to tell you this much, honey. The day I leave work, or am made to do so, I will sneak you out with me.
Don’t blink that red light at me, sweetie - I know, I know, I know what you’re thinking. Its against the policy, I’m supposed to return you to Technology Services, I’m aware of that. But no policy in this world can draw us apart. I will sneak you out those steel doors, past the security guards, and then run! Run like a free man! Just you and me. To a world where you will always hit the tallest bar. To a world where you will never switch away from GPRS mode. Back to that outdated GSM realm, or worse! No Network! Argh, ghastly! Never! Don’t keep me from being plugged in to the rest of the world, which I incidentally have no time for, because of you, but I digress! Ahem, to a world where your backlight will never timeout, and you will never cease to shine on me. Shine on me.
Fine. Be that way! I’ll just have you know this much, you ungrateful fiend! Qs, Treos and even, Iphones came about. They were sleeker, they were younger. Oh, they were so much sexier (you’ve gotta admit, you’ve put on a few grams). Fine, they were high maintenance, but I could’ve been tempted. I could’ve swayed the wrong way. But I didn’t. I was loyal. And this is what I get? I got you all the accessories that you could imagine, or that RIM could conceive! Even that ridiculous Bluetooth earpiece that made me look like a flickering blue pansy!
After all I did for you, today you lie in silence, warranty-less with zero resale value. And my world comes crashing down. Every once in a while, I still turn you on. Hoping beyond hope that that a little orange envelope will show up with a number next to it, in your top left corner. But alas, it isn’t so.
But I thank the Gods for our time together. Oh How I thank the team at Research in Motion that created a digital diva like you.
And how I thank my stars that I don’t own RIMM stock.
Miss you, baby.
PS: I will always be loyal.
Sent from my Iphone
Foreign tourists to many of India’s most famous landmarks will no longer be able to pay the entrance fee in dollars, the government says. The ruling is aimed at safeguarding tourism revenues following the recent falls in the dollar. Until now, foreign tourists to sites such at the Taj Mahal have had the option of paying in dollars or rupees. The ruling will affect nearly 120 sites of interest run by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Just in case any of you others have been daunted by this one. Its a Farsi line that found its way into the song, "Deewangi" from OSO. And it means, "No one has any wits left".
And before you ask, the next-to-next line is "Na koi rehsang, naa rehbar" (There's no guide or leader)
Why? Why would a lyricist incorporate random Farsi words in the midst of a Hindi song picturized on one of the largest Bollywood party sequences in history, with very little to do with Ahmedinejad's world?
I guess Monsieur J. Akhtar was pulling a Gulzar on us.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Love the direction of this sequence. Watch out for how lengthy this single shot is - and the seamless camera movements throughout (O Saathi Re - Omkara).
Its always brilliant when directors are capable of personifying the camera as an extended eye - almost like an additional character - making us forget that it even exists - creating a parallel viewpoint.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Bin Tum - KK, OST Dus Kahaaniyaan
The Thin Line Between Love and Hate - Iron Maiden, Brave New World
Saiyyaan - Richa Sharma, OST Zubeidaa
In other news, caught the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the leggy Rockettes, which is extra-special 'cuz of its 75th anniversary celebrations last week. Highly, highly recommended!
One of my favorite dessert places in Manhattan, and the home of one of the most expensive desserts in the world (the edible-gold-coated $25,000 Frozen Haute Chocolate) shut down :-(
Manhattan: Serendipity 3 Is Closed
Serendipity 3, a popular East Side restaurant, has been closed after failing its second health inspection in a month. Health department officials said that they closed the restaurant, known for its extravagant and expensive desserts, on Wednesday night. “Both inspections revealed rodent and fly infestation and conditions conducive to pest infestation, including stagnant water in the basement,” the department said in a statement. An inspector spotted a live mouse and mouse droppings, flies and more than 100 live cockroaches, the department said.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Attended a limited release screening of this film, starring Josh Hamilton and Ayesha Dharker - and it was a pleasant surprise.
It was nice to watch a movie that provided a fresh American take on India and Desis, beyond the Apu and 7/11 jokes, the cracks on the accent, the oscillation of the head, the bad dancing and of course, call centers. Outsourced did feature most of these idiosyncracies, but it took the movie to the next level - highlighting not just the cliches that Americans are used to, but showcasing some nuances that they are not used to - resulting in understanding India better, and perhaps falling in love with it. Its nice to see a movie that's well-researched for a change - in terms of India and call centers. Ayesha, who was in attendance at the screening, spoke about how this film took only 1 month to make - a true shocker!
All in all, the film is a bittersweet tale about a guy finding himself in India, coated with delicate hues of love and emotion, sinewed with the central storyline of a call-center and its 'operations'. I liked the ability that the sidetracks had, of creating visuals of themselves without requiring too much effort and screentime - like Josh's ex-girlfriend angle, Ayesha's arranged marriage angle. Sequences like the call center employees acting out their favorite Hollywood dialogues are brilliantly handled and edited. Hard to believe that this is the director's first film.
I feel that most of the social and comedic aspects that are dealt with in Outsourced have received so much awareness in the last few years, that it gives this film the ability to build upon it, without having to explain them in entirety. Overall, well scripted and a well-written and executed screenplay, with crisp dialogues and editing.
Forget about the Brides and Prejudices that have plagued this specific genre, and watch Outsourced as soon as you get a chance.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The Blackberry Pearl - It has the intelligence you require, with the beauty you desire.
In other news, ever had that moment when you want know what song was used in that ad? Its playing in your head, but you just can't nail who sang it, what its called, or where to download it from. Here's a site that comes to your rescue.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Forgive the repost, but I really felt like bringing back my first post, primarily because of the fact that although its 2 years old, nothing has really changed.
This is no ordinary love.
Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Unpredictability. All leads me to suggest, nay, believe one thing - the environment is fighting back. This love-hate relationship that we share with the world around us, is far from ordinary. Once in a pale blue moon, when we choose to sit back and appreciate the magic of nature's surroundings, we do so to no extent. We run off to a lakeside paradise, or a mountainous adventure, and gorge on nature's beauty. But once we have sated our appetite, we retire to the characteristics of our dominating split personality. Taking our world, our lives, our surroundings, our thoughts, our processes, our people ... all for granted. Industries plunder the skyspheres with murderous substance. Corporations steal land from the sea, with a refusal to curb their enthusiasm. Trees are uprooted. Land is mined. Its in our nature to plunder nature. We love her to death when she catches our fancy, but will in fact be, the primary cause of her soon and sudden demise.
Today she fights back, with a veracity reminiscent of Mangal Pandey single-handedly attempting to battle the Rangoon regiment. She fights back with every ounce of dignity that kept her going, and every memory of the joyful and shy pride which was inspired by the extensive appreciation or artists and poets and writers for centuries. She fights back with anger and animosity at a human race that has cheated on her with a fairer maiden named technology. But she fights back with the firm knowledge that she is larger than life itself - a certainty that she can end this wicked game that she was forced into. When will this madness end? This relationship has turned into a vicious chess game, where the earth has turned into a massacre board where we are victimized pawns - as we face the wrath of the elements, that have been wreaked by the wrongdoings of a few misled souls. We continue to build castles in the air, develop technologies, build better, bigger and more pollutive objects of mass destruction .. and expect Her to quietly suffer in silence, cry in the corner and never speak out in her defence. Why? Because of Her cradling love for humanity?
Think again, nature-lover. This is no ordinary love.
Monday, November 12, 2007
1. Deepika Padukone
2. The soundtrack - both background and score. Each interlude has theory behind it. While listening to "Daastaan-E-Om Shaanti Om" (OSO's answer to "Ek Haseena Thi, Ek Deewana Tha") at the end of the film, as it leads up to a Karz-esque climax, what blew me away was the usage of the "Veeraani si veeraani hai" line from 'Jag Soona Soona Laage', in an operatic crescendo. Intricate instrumentalization of choruses and verses throughout this song, truly create a "theme".
3. Deepika Padukone
4. The inside jokes - subtle and well-timed. The Best Actor Award nominees and the Sooraj Barjatya sequence was epic! Even the quick ones like "Govinda" changing his name.
5. Being spoof-ish in nature, Shah Rukh actually gets to ham for good reason :-) Jokes apart, the man's legendary. Reinventing oneself, building killer abs while pushing 40 and carrying off this kind of a performance requires the kind of undying talent and hardcore dedication that only SRK is capable of.
6. Deepika Padukone
7. The opening sequence of Subhash Ghai/Rishi Kapoor and the ending credits in typical Farah Khan style.
8. The picturization of "Dhoom Tana" and "Deewangi"
9. Deepika Padukone
10. My favorite: The Rajnikant sequence. Rascala, mind it!
11. A solid support cast - in order, Shreyas Talpade, Kiran Kher and Arjun Rampal.
12. Did I mention Deepika Padukone? God, she has got to be the most refreshing face ever. At the risk of sounding mystic-philosophical like Gulzar, she's like a visualization of the taste of chilled water after years of desert heat. Wow! The girl can act, can dance and can emote!
For those who haven't yet seen OSO, don't go expecting a movie to move mountains. Its a tongue-in-cheek, parody of Bollywood's trademarks, and at the same time, a tribute to the golden age of the industry - the roaring seventies - what one could clearly identify as Bollywood's Renaissance movement. Therefore, it has a smidgen of several films.
Does it seem a little mish-mashed? Yes. Did it seem like Farah had too much to convey in 2.5 hours? Hell yes!
Quite like Main Hoon Na, it does seem that Farah wants to take no chances to miss out any of the standard hit elements that film-making has defined over the years. She's like that careful and meticulous witchdoctor who adds a bit of everything to the dose, hoping that one of them will work as a remedy. She isn't a quack. She doesn't have a formula, she has twenty. And she doesn't know which one will work. Will it be the mad comedy, the buffet of stars, the reincarnation story, the Austin-Powers-type-parody-angle, the love story, the Bollywood cliches, the SRK, the SRK abs? Therefore, she plugs them all in, and edits them crisply with finesse, and color, costumes and a crew to die for. The result? Om Shaanti Om.
When she saw the rushes, I bet Farah had no doubt that she had a money-spinning blockbuster here. But, instead of playing safe like she did with MHN and OSO, it would be nice to see Farah take a specific genre and create excellence within it.
Verdict? OSO's a fun ride. Get in line.
The first instant thought that comes to mind as the energetic “Deewangi” – a colorful mélange of stars at a choreographed Bollywood party – draws to a close. The picturization of this song, quite like the entire film, encapsulates nearly a century of people, dialogues, movies, songs and dance moves that have captured the imagination of so many generations. It can’t help but fill one with awe and appreciation for the magical realm of Indian movies, without which our lives would be ever so plaid. As the song ends, one can’t help but wonder if OSO was meant to pay homage to the entire film fraternity. It also makes one truly understand why they rightfully call it - the film “industry”, as it has enhanced by orders of magnitude, grown exponentially, and become more and more world class as time proceeds, forging ahead with technological advancements and international collaborations.
Today’s Bollywood has adapted to the world around it, evolving into something more global and more aware than any of its founding fathers ever imagined. Today’s Bollywood is fearless of social stigmas, and portrays reality like it is. Today’s Bollywood is bold, and willing to experiment with new genres - we now have songless thrillers, dark comedies, adaptations of Shakespeare, and each one is drawing an audience of its own. Today’s Bollywood not only seeks inspiration from world cinema, but has also evolved into a source of inspiration for the cinematic world.
We may know it as a brightly colored, overtly emotional, musical-obsessed melodrama – but the entire world today has come to love, enjoy and appreciate the eternal Bollywood movie. Kudos to an ‘industry’ that hasn’t run out of steam, and undoubtedly, never will.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
A Q&A with Craig Venter - the first man to publish the complete multi-billion word genome sequence of a human being, himself.
Scientists believe that in a few years, people would be able to procure their own gene codes for as little as $10,000. How far are we from questioning divinity? Redefining humanity? Scary, terrifying, revolutionary but true.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
If the Van Gogh wasn't sufficient enough of a clue, today one is reviewing Aamir Khan's directorial venture, Taare Zameen Par, with music by the trio, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
No doubt, its a "No B.S." album. None of the gimmickry that is usually associated with a Bollywood album. This one is straight-up good, multi-genre music, served fresh. And its the return of classic S-E-L music. And mind you, not the Jhoom-Barabar S-E-L or even the Bunty Aur Babli S-E-L.
This is the stuff that belongs on the shelf with albums like Dil Chahta Hai and Rockford (Remember "Aasmaan ke paar shaayad aur koi aasmaan hoga" ?). And even Iqbal.
The title track, Taare Zameen Par which you see in the promos, is dreamy. Brilliantly rendered by Shankar, its somehow reminiscent of the "verse" of Roja's title track, with delicate instrumentation and tinkles. To contrast this tangentially, comes the second track, Kholo Kholo, which has a rock/blues feel. Very Parikrama meets Lucky Ali. Both these songs set the pace for what is truly a roller coaster of a soundtrack.
My favorite track in the set - Shankar's rendition of the uncomplicated ballad, Maa. Historically, Bollywood has given us very few "Mother's Day" songs, where we get to laud that one special lady in our lives. One of my favorites used to be a song in Sagarika's private album, but it was still missing a significant element.
This song fills that long-standing void. Sadly, the lyrics of the verse aren't generic enough that everyone can relate to it, as they are rather specific to situations in the movie. However, the overall song is heart-rendered, and strikes a perfect resonance with the listener.
Its been forever since I've heard a light ballad that could carry a ton of emotions. Brilliant stuff.
Main kabhi batlaata nahin,
Par andhere se darta hoon main, maa
Yun to main, dikhlaata nahin,
Teri parwaah karta hoon main, maa
Tujhe sab hai pataa, hai na, maa?
Tujhe sab hai pataa, meri maa
Simple words. You only have to be able to portray your flow of thought and emotion, lucidly, and in a way that's pleasing to the ear, in order to be a good lyricist. The simplicity of the lyrics of this song go to prove that one does not have to be purposefully obfuscatory and complex and distorted in order to win the hearts of your audience. Are you listening, Gulzar Sahab?
Monday, November 05, 2007
Thought that struck me, post-writing the review - wish this film had been the comeback vehicle of Kajol, with Aamir Khan, instead of Fanaa. Kajol would have fit the bill of the talkative Geet, perfectly, and Aamir would've done the brooding role of Aditya, to a T.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
When I first heard it, I knew that this song had all the requisites of being a phenomenal acoustic track. This version just brings it all together - the melody, the feel - minus Rihanna's nasality. Would love to hear Moore's take on Unfaithful.
In other news, seems that Junoon's shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize concert in December in Oslo, along with the likes of Alicia Keys, Annie Lennox, KT Tunstall and Earth, Wind & Fire. Wow!
Agree with the Xinugeist (a.k.a. India's female answer to Roger Ebert) on this one. Jab We Met was substantially beyond expectations. Under the overall guise of a typical Bollywood DDLJ-type movie, this "It-Happened-One-Night"-esque caper transitioned away from many stereotypes, supported by capable performances by Shahid and Kareena.
With an interesting "teacher-becomes-student" formula (My Fair Lady, Black), the film did turn out to be rather "with it", emerging to be quite mature and "today", successfully bridging the constant timegap between Indian society and its Bollywood on-screen interpretation. Snappy screenplay, simple yet cute dialogues and a catchy music score by Pritam, with songs that don't digress from the movie track. Shahid's moves are awesome. Kareena starts off suicidally annoying, gets progressively bearable rather quickly in her first 10 minutes on-screen itself, and settles into a truly adorable character.
Cons? Ultra disappointing supporting cast. Kareena's sister and her almost-husband (you'll understand when you see it) are awful! Almost felt as if they were sluggishly cast to throw more emphasis on the main two protagonists. Second half does tend to drag a tad bit (especially with the whole "waiting-to-tell-Mom/Dad-the-truth" bit).
It does have its unbelievabilities. And its "oh-c'mon" moments. But that's Bollywood. I think we've all come to differentiate Bollywood and its trademark elements and idiosyncracies, from all other forms of foreign cinema. Its nice to see movies like this that keep those elements intact, and yet highlight their own degree of uniqueness.
Last word? A breath of fresh air.
In terms of the soundtrack, I think I've been more than vocal about my thoughts on "Aaoge Jab Tum" in an earlier post. "Mauja" is the quintessential peppy punjabi number. "Yeh Ishq Haye" is aight.
But my true favorite on this OST, is quite the underdog - the first song in the movie, "Aao Milo Chalo" featuring Shaan and Ustad Sultan "Piya Basanti Re" Khan (finally being utilized exactly and optimally how his paan/tobacco-coated phlegmatic vocals ought to be - i.e. in the background! God, don't let me get started on 'Ustad and the Divas'!)
But this track is really fresh, well-sung and quite reminiscent of a lot of Shaan's traveler-type songs from Tanha Dil. And quite like the movie - its appeal is in its simplicity.
The look of this movie reminds me so much of the Instant Karma "Saamne Yeh Kaun Aaya" video.
Listened to this entire soundtrack, end-to-end, and have got to admit - this flick's got the makings of the big hit that '07 has been waiting for. A sizzling stunning newcomer, a revamped and worked-out superstar, a killer complete musical score, oodles of anticipation - and hype-generation tactics that dreams are made of. Its the whole enchilada.
Granted - its not going to be legendary, classic cinema. But it seems geared for blockbuster success - an enthusiastic theme (a fun look at 70's Bollywood), clean 'n' crisp entertainment, a well-cut comedy track, glitzy stars, a lot of hoopla, colorful visuals and sets, peppered with Bollywood masala a la Farah. Looking forward to this one!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Here's a list to close for the weekend on.
Movies that will never get old, which one can watch, again and again and again.
1. Notting Hill
2. The Girl Next Door
3. Andaz Apna Apna
4. Hot Shots (both)/the Naked Gun series
5. When Harry Met Sally + Sleepless in Seattle
6. Every Austin Powers movie
7. Oceans Eleven (and only Eleven)
8. Mission Impossible (and only the first one)
9. The Godfather / Scarface
10. Fools Rush In
11. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
Friday, November 02, 2007
The BMW Hydrogen 7
Nice! I love the closing line - "ready for the world, when the world is ready". European-based ads always have crisper graphics and slicker voice-overs.
In other news, am currently consuming the music of "Dus Kahaaniyan". Will revert with review, shortly.
And remember, there is no such thing as the theory of evolution. Only a list of animals that Chuck Norris allows to live.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Neither is it a movie that lauds the underdog, nor is it a rags-to-riches tale. Man Push Cart is the unresolved, bittertrue story of a man trying to make a living, pushing a coffee/bagel cart, on the streets of New York City.
For those who haven't caught them first-hand, let me tell you that these carts are a veritable sub-economy that survive below-the-line, on tiny profit margins, predominantly eaten into by leasing agents and taxes. The guys who run the vendy are usually Indian/Pakistani/Middle Eastern, and in most cases, pleasant and chirpy with curious greetings that put a smile on your face, regardless of the struggle that they face commuting from the bronx or brooklyn every morning, in order to get their carts on to their pre-prescribed locations before the morning rush-hour begins. My usual guy has a brilliant memory for regular customers and their orders, a way with words that is sure to brighten everyone's day along with their morning coffee, and speed and efficiency better than a six-sigma certified supply chain system. Everyone who works in the city has their favorite coffee vendy.
MPC talks about one such guy, and his cart, and effortlessly outlines his struggle and life to create a moving and non-Moral-Science-ish experience. The unexplored twist lies in the fact that he is actually a rock star back in Pakistan, whose career didn't quite sustain at its peak, post which he came to America for the woman he loved. What I liked is that the intricacies of how he ended up working a cart, are never outlined - thereby avoiding all unnecessary plot diversions. As Ebert put it best, "free from contrived melodrama and phony suspense". The film cracked an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes - the only movie site I have come to trust these days.
The camera is an off-center spectator in this film. It doesn't sparkle with any technical brilliance, nor does it require to. It doesn't even boast of a brilliant screenplay or script, being neo-realistic in its approach.
Ahmad Rizvi is sublime and underplayed - just what his character demands - his sincere expression makes him lovable, and very easy to empathize with. The plot (or lack thereof) is fluid, and has one captured with rapt attention as they traverse his life.
If you plan to watch only 1 indie flick before the year goes out, let this be it.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Creating a musical theme within a film which is lilting, haunting and memorable, and using it carefully, tastefully and usefully, across your movie is a true and rare art form.
Just realized that the opening instrumental notes of "Main Agar Kahoon" are the same as the piece that Richa Sharma sings to open "Jag Soona Soona Laage" (i.e. the "dil jude bina hi" sequence)
Of course, once you've listened to the Om Shanti Om soundtrack as much as I have, several of these aspects tend to stand out and stare at you. Like if you listen to Dard-E-Disco backwards, you hear the strain, "Shah Rukh's six packs are stick-ons". But maybe that's all the grass.
Background themes with adequate sustaining power in recent years:
(1) The "Ya Maula" sequence in Fanaa: Full marks to Salim-Suleiman for this one.
(2) The "Saathiya" harmony piece by Sonu, in Saathiya. Although, I much prefer its southie counterpart, "Sakhiya Cheliya" by Clinton.
(3) "Ganga, kaahe tu jaaye pardes, chod ke apna des" from Pardes - does anyone remember this? It was really haunting, albeit the opening to that devastatingly annoying "London Dekha Paris Dekha..." song.
(4) The flute theme of Hero - brilliantly reinvented by Nasha.
(5) One word. Karz.
(6) The piano ballad of Kal Ho Naa Ho.
(7) Sukhwinder's "Sitaaron se aage jahaan bhi hai", from Dil Se, gave me chills.
And my absolute favorite, the Bombay theme. A song that made me feel that it was composed in another dimension, altogether. Truly makes you wonder what goes on inside the head of a genius like Rahman, to bring the notes and musical elements together to create such magic. Epic!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
At $63.2 billion, Ambani Sr. has reportedly elbowed out Slim and Gates, just hours ago, to make him the "richest man in the world". Sounds ominous, as the market cap of the Mukesh Ambani Group crossed Rs. 5 trillion.
*UPDATED* Guess not, as Reliance came back with this quicky update to negate all such talk. Mr. Ambani is reportedly still pauperish in the region of ... (cough) ... $50 billion. Bah! Peasants. And I was thinking of flying him up to to my retreat at the Hamptons for a soiree, as my way of saying "welcome to the club".
But, with the Sensex kissing the 20K landmark, and the economy rise steady as a rock - its still worth asking, folks - What can brown do for you?
as if, in abeyance.
for a sign.
for a moment of repentance.
for the markets to prop back up.
for crisis to be a memory.
for the perfect bass-riff.
for the soothing strains of a violin.
for a vacation.
for a President with morals.
for fat-free Toblerone that tastes like Toblerone.
for an effortless book
for a meaningful film.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
WTG Bobby Jindal!
Many cheers for the first desi Governor in US history, and the youngest current Governor of a US state. That's awesome, even though he's a republican! And his success CANNOT be owed to the South Asian vote, as Louisiana barely has any Indians. Creditable.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Ooh cool! Houston, we have a graphic (made it out to look like an old Hindi movie poster). Ah, the pressing demands on bloggers, as the blogosphere becomes more and more competitive. We need to commercialize our act, you see. But we all have our limits. Loyal Evolutionists, you will not see RevEv going to vicious lows to stay afloat. Never!!
Btw, this post is brought to you in part by Neneh Cherry's comeback brigade.
Talking of comebacks, Ms Dixit and her F'american accent are back with Aaja Nachle. The most interesting part about this movie, at least to me, is that the music is by devilish-duo Salim-Suleiman, barring the fact that the two have been extremely 'hit and miss' over the last few years. The magical formula that they mixed in Dor and Kaal, was balanced off by the lackluster trash that was "Neal 'n' Nikki".
But right from the "Jaago Zara" (remember Viva? My Gaad, the yindian Spicy Gerrils!) days, these dudes have been capable of coming out with an alternative spin on traditional tunes. And that claim to fame trickles over, slightly, into Aaja Nachle.
While most of the album comes across as a little contorted at first listen, one may be tempted to give it the "situational" verdict (i.e. you may start to like the soundtrack after you watch the movie). In the case of Aaja Nachle, the likelihood of such an occurrence is extremely feeble.
Two songs that do stand out are the ever-so-deeply-titled romantic ballads, "Ishq Hua" and "Is Pal". Although the latter does come across to be too heavy on electronica-based gimmickery, with a little too many and unnecessary instruments pitching in with interludes, both songs are rather solid in terms of overall composition and singing (Sonu and Shreya). Prefer the former. Koi paththar se naa maare is plain, very reminiscent-by-raag of B. Sagoo's Tum Bin Jiya. Lesser said about the rest of the tracks, the better (especially when they have titles like 'Show me your Jalwa').
One interesting thing that stands out noticeably in the album is the solid vocal performances across the album. One of the few times that one notices that the singing is better than the composition, pretty uniformly across the album. However, there is one stark exception.
Coup De Grace: Without doubt, and as I continue to build towering respect for the phenomenal Rahat Fateh Ali Khan who has yet to prove me wrong with a less-than-brilliant song in his entire Bollywood stint, the musical star of this soundtrack for me is (not the peppy dance tracks - as those are short-lived for the club-night-highs) O Re Piya.
Clocking in at 6 minutes 19 seconds, the song is patiently long, but it has one of the most unique flows I have ever heard. That of a light-Qawwali love-ballad, like never before.
This musical piece blatantly eliminates the earlier proposed excuse. It is a completely situational track, but yet, one can still appreciate every single aspect of it. In terms of composition, the highlights are: (1) Rahat's vocal movements - an inspiration to every singer out there (2) The pure Qawwali tangent that the song digresses on (with vocals, percussion and sarangi) (3) The string ensemble that kicks in at 5:37. Wow!
To truly, truly appreciate this song, and its consummate composition and each intricate element - recommend you listen to it, first thing in the morning, on a pair of bass-enhanced Koss or B&O headphones, over a cup of strong coffee. Ah, bliss.
Buy the Album (or) Selectively Download: Selectively Download
Umm, the pay-to-download variety, of course .. (nervous laughter a la Peter Griffin)
The NYT Review says: "This retarded chick-flick making it past opening week would be nothing short of a miracle".
The movie preview says: "The New York Times calls it, 'nothing short of a miracle'"
Ah, marketing. The viciously creative truthiness of it all!
In other news, props to me for recalling and executing quick comeback on subway ride home from work:
Sudden subway motion causes cute girl to bump into me.
Cute girl: Oh, I'm so sorry about that!
Me: It's quite ok, considering that's all the sex I'm going to have, this weekend.
(Laughs all around)
Ah, pat on the back for that. Wag of the finger for not getting her number. Blast!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Sheikh Mohd's ultra-simple response to 60 Minutes when asked "All this fast-paced development in Dubai. What do you really want?".
60M did a really neat segment on the shape of things to come in Dubai, but more of a mini-biopic on the Man himself.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It makes you wonder as to where a generation is going, musically, when the sounds of distortion become a norm, i.e. when a studio producer tells me that a certain element of a song will sound good if I add a "hiss", or some "background noise", or "distorted radio static", or some "guitar feedback, or "slickety-slip CD skipping/scratching sounds". Damn, when did all this become musical? Wasn't this, till recently, the kind of stuff that used to make us dispose of our music players/instruments. Strange things be happening now.
Prime supporters of my morning commute:
Athiradee & Sahara (OST - Sivaji)
Aight, I have to admit that I am obsessing over these two Tamil tracks. Rahman has spun pure magic with "Athiradee". Once you get rid of the mental Rajnikant visual, (or keep it around. heck. whatever makes you happy), this song is catchy to the core. Sung by Rahman himself, and a goodbye girl, aptly named Sayonara. The other track, Sahara, is a love ballad, residing in a realm that Rahman has proven his command over. It has an amazing chord progression, especially in the return from verse to chorus.
I Sogni (Jidka) by Saba
Heard this at a lounge in New York, loved the sound, and hunted down the DJ, afterwards, to ask him what it was. Saba is a Mogadishu-born, half-Somalian, half-Italian singer. The album's title "Jidka" means line, and its supposed to define the line between her Somalian and Italian roots, especially I Sogni. Brilliant track - a little reminiscent of Khaled's Ya Rayi, but has an adamant and persistent identity of its own.
Standing testament that fusion rocks! The limitlessness of global musical collaboration never ceases to baffle me.
Sample it in the world section of ITunes. This track blew me away, particularly because of its composition and percussion. Not brutally blown away by the singer, she kinda sounds like the high-pitched third leg of TLC, who comes in during verse 3 of Waterfalls, when you're left gasping for the chorus to return, 'cuz her voice is pin-piercing your eardrums. Well .. Saba isn't that bad, but takes a little while to get used to.
Feel (Thievery Corporation Remix) - Bombay Dub Orchestra
Ah, the Gods of Groove, and the music providers of many of my home-lounge-parties - Thievery Corporation - return for this delectable remix of a "khayaal"-format Bombay Dub Orchestra track. Phenomenal stuff! Funk, touches of Electronica and Hindustani classical come together to create a beautiful sound. You can literally fantasize a music video to this, in your head. Don't miss the delicate piano riffs.
Aaoge Jab Tum (OST - Jab We Met)
Ok now. You know that kind of song which is on the brink of perfection, and you feel that if people would have worked on it .. just a little more ... if could've been ridiculous! Well, this track is one of those.
Overall, the song has a really noble "return to roots" concept and feel. Has the feel of an old times Gulzar/R D Burman number. They have Ustad Rashid Khan, starting off brilliantly. A touching piano and strings initiation, with him doing an alaap. It has the making of a legendary track, at this point. Starts in a minor key, goes major. The flute interlude is sweet, almost Rahman/Illayaraja-ish. Goes into an uncomplicated, romantic ballad, with a really, nice composition. Amazing chorus.
Again, it takes a little while to get used to. Because you have Khan singing a geet, when you are more used to him doing ghazals and classical pieces (btw, he's the guy who sang the "Tore Bina Mohe Chain" piece from Kisna). Kinda like when Kailash Kher sang in a lower key for "Ya Rabba" (OST - Salaam-E-Ishq).
Now the verse is where this song destroys itself. Its badly placed, Rashid Khan goes guttural and off-key, and worst of all, it ends abruptly, sinking back into the chorus without establishing itself in any way. An extremely half-baked and disappointing verse. The keen listener will lose interest and zone out at this point. The rest of the song doesn't even have the ability to gain momentum back to the hopes that the opening had established.
This is most unfortunate; Music, as an art form, essentially cannot be appreciated with a "rewind/fast-forward to the good parts" approach. Music is based on the format of "flow". Many songs have a sinusoidal flow, while other pieces peak at the end with a crescendo. Therefore, composers have to keep in mind that the verse is KEY to, at the very least, keeping the listener's attention through the song. Sometimes the composer gets so enrapt by an awesome hook or a killer chorus, that you half-ass your way through the verse and interludes to wrap up the song. And unfortunately, you kill it, in the process.
In other news, when did words like "ridiculous", "sick" and "ill" become positive? When did being "the sh**" turn out not to be an insult, but rather an elevation of status? And since when does everyone want to be a "pimp"? Spare me, I didn't wake up and start questioning vocabulary, this morning. I'm just shocked that all of this slipped into our world like an oil slick, and I find it difficult to identify the point in time when this crusade began.
Oops, I said crusade. Will they nuke my pad?
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Do Saal! Feels longer though. Celebrated with a home screening of stoner-flick "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (haunting visuals of a mescaline, etc.-induced psychojourney of a couple of freaks, one of whom is Johnny Depp, in a complex, but awesome performance).
History Lesson: The first "return to blogging" post to kick-off Revolution Evolution (or to evolute the revolute, if you will) hit netizens on October 13th, 2005.
The musical backdrop of a mellow Saturday twilight-hour (mostly instrumental) -
Cancion Triste - Jesse Cook (Vertigo)
part of "New Age Flamenco", an emerging musical style which I'm just about getting used to.
Lovers and Friends - Chris Spheeris
Weather Storm - Massive Attack's version of Craig Armstrong's Piano Works
Iridian - Dhol Foundation (Big Drum Small World)
Sweet Pain - Michael Brook and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Night Song)
Home - Michael Buble (It's Time)
Friday, October 12, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
That's what I love most about this city. You never know what you might come across. Like this bike decked up with Metrocards (for the rest of the world, New York Subway access cards). Super cool!
Also, must admit that Thiru Kumar's vendy at Washington Square Park, which has earned him the sobriquet, "New York's Dosa Man", has gotten unbelievably popular (and unbelievably better!). If you do check out his Pondicherry Dosa, do make sure you get him to "crank up the spice, da"!
In other news, of the dozens of divas whom sizzler, Deepika Padukone, resembles, I conclude that she is an extremely hottified version of Richa Pallod. Now before you DP-fans throw projectiles at me, think about it a little! I'm working on an edition of "Switched at Birth" to visually exemplify this, but I'm trying to identify that one expression that merges them.
Btw, a "Switched at Birth" special automobile edition ... a "Switched at Ignition", if you will (silence!) ... the new Hyundai Sonata and the Jaguar X-series (the frontal and rear views). Vroom!
Monday, October 01, 2007
This track from Om Shanti Om is absurdly hilarious! Not to be taken seriously, its more satirical of the Dard-E-Dil, Dard-E-Jigar-type '70s era, blended well with a Middle Eastern hook. Sukhwinder is loud, powerful and awesome!
I would've loved to have seen the creative process to this track. How blitzed must've people got while coming up with this shyte?
Now especially since you have a hook that ends with the words, "Dard-E-Disco", you need to find words that rhyme with it, right? Well .. Kisko ... that was simple .... So we'll go ...
Main bechaara hoon, awaara hoon, samjhaoon main yeh ab kis kisko
Dil mein mere hai dard-e-disco.
Now what do you do about the verse?
Observe the actual lyrical endings of both verses:
Ab phirta hoon mein London, Paris, New York, L.A., San Francisco...
Dil mein mere hai dard-e-disco....
Dil tod gaya, mujhe chod gaya, woh pichchle maheeney ke chhabbis ko,
Dil mein mere hai dard-e-disco...
I haven't LOL-ed this much in a while!!
Saathiya (OST - Darling)
You want a song which you can listen to, on constant repeat, for a long countryside drive. A song that will make you recall every intense, romantic moment of your life. Pritam has really cracked a great feel with this loungey number, and Adnan Sami's vocals are phenomenal (especially the way he comes back into the song at the end of the first verse, with his inimitable vocal twinge). However, a bone to pick in terms of composition - the "Beqaraari se mar hi naa jaoon" line in the chorus is a straight port from Punjabi MC's Mirza.
Also, check out Hasaaye Bhi Rulaaye Bhi from the same soundtrack. Nice!
Main Agar Kahoon (OST - Om Shanti Om)
Sonu Nigam spins a magical web of sensuality with his voice, once again. Its been ages since good melody and a simple waltz came together (the last two in recent times which were noteworthy were Ek Din Aap Yun from PBDHH and the legendary, Kuchh Naa Kaho from 1942). This song is brilliant and addictive.
Special Mention: "Daras Bina Nahin Chain" from Saawariya. That one unpredictable-format theme track in every SLB soundtrack (Theme of Devdas, Love theme from Hum Dil....). This one is really haunting.
Please act well! Please be a brilliant actress, with a knock-your-socks-off performance in Om Shanti Om!
The industry needs more like this. We neither want more airhead item girls nor nerdy butterfaces. We need the evolution of the blazing hot chick who can A.C.T.
But seriously! Wow! God is an artist.
Maine dhadkan ki tarah, dil mein basaaya hai tujhe,
Main tasavvur bhi judaai ka bhala kaise karoon?
Maine qismat ki laqeeron se churaaya hai tujhe
Pyaar ka banke nigehbaan tujhe chaahunga,
Main to mar kar bhi, meri jaan, tujhe chaahunga.
- Qateel Shifai (lyrics brought to life and immortality by Mehdi Hassan)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
If Muhammed can't get to Agra, they bring Agra to Muhammed. As part of the ongoing India@60 celebrations, which is successfully bringing desi culture, music, art and celebrities to the street of the big, bad City.
One of the many displays, which includes performances by Sivamani and Remo Fernandes in Bryant Park, and keynotes by Ambani, Kamal Nath, Azim Premji and many, many others, there was this sand statue, a replica of the Taj Mahal, in the middle of Port Authority, one of New York City's mass transit hubs. Painstakingly recreated by famous sand artist, Sudharshan Patnaik. Now I wanna go to a beach party with this guy. Sudy Pat would be a veritable chick magnet, is it not?
In other news, to experience the "Shakira-ization of Bollywood" (complete with Middle Eastern 'string' rolls and percussion loops), please listen to Pritam's "Yeh Ishq Haaye", from the OST of (shudder) Jab We Met, rendered by Shreya Ghoshal. Its Dil Dooba meets Slave for You (with an O Rama, thrown in there for good measure).
Sunday, September 23, 2007
The Nigerian e-mail fraud is something that almost all of us would've come across, but through the power of mass communication, are mostly aware of it being a hoax. To a large number of us, it seems so automated, that we forget that there are actually people out there who conceptualize, and actively position and target people using a carefully devised and time-improved strategy.
There are a substantial number of people who have fallen prey to this e-demon, with sometimes devastating and fatal results.
This has got to be one of the most chilling pieces I've read. Its scarier 'cause its true.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Those who know me, know that I'm not one for 'positive thinking' non-fiction crap. I'm more the kind who would secretly stalk the Dianetics "Stress Test" philosophers into the dead of the night, before running them over in a rental Hummer.
But Rhonda Byrne's The Secret is, for lack of a better word, nice! Not preachy, not faking it, not unnecessarily endorphins-induced.
A very lucid 2/3-day read, which speaks of a very simple, scientific approach to better your thought process.
Highly recommended to pathological pessimists, like myself! If you DO read it without the typical cynicism associated with this kind of literature, rest assured that this book will neither make you a debt-free millionaire nor help you get terrifyingly well-endowed.
But, it could definitely improve your approach to life. A lot to ask for.
... "This new Louis Vuitton bag is eco-friendly, as it is made from recycled material. Yes it is made of patchwork featuring earlier-designs of Louis Vuitton bags. It costs $45,000, but it comes with a complete theft protection mechanism...
... it looks like a piece of crap"
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Readers in Dubai - these links will probably not work because of the archaic and near-Nazi policies of the dominatrix internet provider. My apologies.
Grapeshisha directed me to this link that blew the cover off of Dubai-based nightclub, Cyclone, as the "United Nations of Prostitution". The video expose is a shocker as to what probably began as a clandestine occurrence in various parts of the city, but today has resulted in a full-blown epidemic, because the government chooses to let the virus spread, without any controls. Probably because anything that even minutely negatively impacts the booming tourism of the emirate, isn't worth the trouble, is it?
The flip side? Watch this Frontline World video-documentary called Dubai: Night Secrets. I stared into blankness for over a minute after watching this. What has it all come to?
In other news, can't wait to watch The Kingdom.
.. those trailer messages at the end of e-mails sent by WAP phones, which indicate the type of device that the e-mail was sent from, annoying? I mean, I understand the pseudo-coolness associated with being able to wirelessly mail, but that's a thing of the past, my friend. I saw a counter guy at the 7/11 with a blackberry. Kids have IPhones (especially with the price drop. Gah, Jobs!)
The wonder years are over, minions. Eliminate the trailer message!
Posted wirelessly from my new, obscenely-expensive, ultra-chic, futuristic toy
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Jag Soona Soona Lage - OST Om Shanti Om (Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Richa Sharma) - this song really grows on you after the 2nd/3rd listen.
Woh Bheege Pal - OST Manorama Six Feet Under (the Zubeen Garg version) - brilliant composition, and really well sung!
O Yaara Dhol Bajake - OST Dhol (the Soham Chakraborty version) - heard it at a party, last weekend, hummed it at work all of last week.
Now, The Johnny Gaddaar soundtrack.
This is some seriously, new stuff. Well, a new take on retro-Bollywood, rather. The title track and its infectious opening Pulp-Fiction-ish guitar sequence, which loops through the track, really made me sit up and listen. You can tell that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have really worked on this one. Its not an auto-pilot soundtrack like the last few they have been churning out. May take a few rounds of listening, but I think they've got something going here.