Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mad Thematics!

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

Soo Che, Mukeshbhai?

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?

Hot Damn!

as if, in abeyance.

for a sign.
for a moment of repentance.
for salvation.
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.
for Godot.
for ever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Teri Deewani - Kailash Kher
Beyond those powerhouse vocals, the other element that really makes this a monumental song, are the octave harmonies on the "Tune kya kar daala, mar gayee main" and "Teri Deewani" lines.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Its time for a "sexy party"...

And Starbucks will call them "large" and "small"
Instead of pretentious crap like "grande" and "tall"

Ooh, classic!

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.
Now that's what I call...

... a power ad. Love the part where Kenneth tells J'Simp, "you have to pull it, Jess".

Way to shop.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The only significant political stance that this blog will take, ever!

In other news, if you are creative and slick in your channel surfing abilities, you can watch Family Guy, every half-hour, for the rest .. of .. your .. life!
Aaja Nachle

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.

Emphasis: slightly

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.

Final Verdict

Buy the Album (or) Selectively Download: Selectively Download

Umm, the pay-to-download variety, of course .. (nervous laughter a la Peter Griffin)
Cans or Cannes?

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

Thanks to StatCounter..

.. second to "deepika padukone picture", the search keywords that lead to hits on my blog the most are .. "manish malhotra gay".

this is disturbing.

it is also saddening to note how much people dwell on the obvious.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Simple. We want to be number 1"

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

RevEv turns Two! + Eid Mubarak

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 Audiation of Melancholy

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

Imma Rock-It-Man

Stewie Griffin's version of William Shatner's most embarrassing rendition of Elton John's classic.

Whoever conceptualized a matricidal, intellectual baby with a deep British accent is an absolute genius.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

" and the fifteen fifty.."

(sharpening my axe)

That Verizon FiOS kid. What an annoying little pain-in-the-a$$! And Verizon's ridiculously invasive marketing strategy isn't helping. Can someone please eliminate him now!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

WTF Mate?

Early Political education for children. Also, look for "Why My Mommy is a Democrat". Ah what brilliant marketing, America. Start the brainwashing early.

This is ridiculous! At least leave the children alone. Is that Ted Kennedy? Blast!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

khulte hi tere gesu, udne hai lagi khushboo,
yeh raaz hawaaon ko, phoolon se chhupaana hai
yeh ishq nahin aasaan, humne to yeh jaana hai,
kaajal ki laqeeron ko, aankhon se churaana hai
Only in New York

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

Sequences like this....

... make me miss the infinite creativity and bold power of the world of advertising.

Do watch it all the way through. Beyond campaign messaging, its also symbolic of our myopic perspectives, sometimes.


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!!
Gaana Bajaana

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.
Look out for this shuttlecock!

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.
Apne jazbaat mein naghmaat rachaane ke liye,
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)