Saturday, March 29, 2008

Memorable Turbulence

There's something sublime about an electric blue train cutting through the beige scenery of India. Darjeeling Limited may not be the most profound film you'll ever see, but then again, none of Wes Anderson's films (Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums) have ever had any form of deep philosophy - but what you can expect is one hell of a ride into his peculiarly funny world - a ride which you won't forget for quite a while.

Where Wes Anderson has sustained himself par excellence is in terms of creating his own characteristic visuals, cinematography and fashion, and as expected, D. Limited is like one long, gorgeous extension of Wes Anderson's "My Life My Card" American Express ad. Unlike most directors who shoot in exotic locales, Wes doesn't capitalize entirely on Indian scenery, but uses it as a mere backdrop and enhances upon it, with his comic book and almost-painted and animated visuals. Each character, no matter how inconsequential to the story (Bill Murray, Kumar Pallana), is sharply etched. His timely techniques grow on you after a while, as do the movie's color palette and the eclectic costumes and accessories (Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs).

Owen Wilson (and his pointless pout) and Adrien Brody perform well, although the script and story itself are adequate to bind your attention. Anjelica Huston is awesome in her short cameo.

The comedy is dry and wry, unique and situational, at the edge of being absolutely eccentric. Silence is a character of its own in this movie, as is the simple sarcasm. Its like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, with less acid and an Indian backdrop. While the movie pokes fun at the stereotypical American belief that one will find "salvation and spirituality" in India, it underscores brilliantly, especially through the usage of sub-characters like Sweet Lime, that at the end of the day, everyone has their own problems.

Note to Desis - do not watch this movie as someone who knows "India" - as its meant to be a visitation. Please don't go ga-ga over irreverent facts (Ooh! Look, its Irrfan Khan) as that is besides the point of the film. India and its lifestyle are both conveyed ever so gently in a movie that uses them as a foundation and builds upon them - a definite first, and its worth repeating.

But to truly love Darjeeling Limited is to love Wes Anderson's way of making movies, because I almost feel that one day we will find a way to link them all together. The way his camera roves. The way his scenes cut. The way he uses the same cliches in every film (the cigarette-smoking woman, drug/medicinal abuse, a constant color in every scene - blue in this case) and creates ironies. You can distinctly tell within a couple of frames that its him behind the wheel (like the BBDO/AT&T commercials which he created, where characters remain constant, and backdrops change).

I love the last scene that traverses different characters in each compartment of the train. Also creditable that he dedicated the film to his inspiration that led him to India in the first place, the legendary Satyajit Ray. While it may not be his best work, DL is a highly enjoyable film by a brilliant filmmaker.

Friday, March 28, 2008

.... apna apna?

Heard about this from one of our luxury sector IB analysts. Hyatt's been comparatively hush-hush about their new line, Hyatt Andaz. With one out in London, and the next batch expected for Midtown and Wall Street soon, and a few in Dubai by 2009, of course. Funky name! and their website's even more mysterious.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What a day!

India's Tata Motors buys Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford

First, the world's cheapest car and then, the other side of the spectrum as well. Is this the end of the British car industry, and the hyperlaunch of India's global appearance in this marketplace? Phenomenal.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Looking forward to this one.

After 2 trips to Vegas and several more to Atlantic City in the last year, I'm all Blackjacked out. But something about this movie looks cool - the whole MIT team mystique, Kevin Spacey, Lawrence Fishburne, the Oceans 11 glossy look, etc. - 21 better not suck!

In other news, beyond being a spam-magnet, what's the point of Names Database anyway?
3.2 Bedrock (Ambient Mix) by Humate

An awesome light electronica-ambient track from Cafe Del Mar. For fans of this genre, you'll notice the delicate build of pads and ensembles. Its a very patient track, which takes its time - very Jon Sa Trincha. This genre has seen its ups and downs - and been blended with techno and trance - but its nice to see it make a delicate comeback with tracks like these. Listen to this on full-on-surround - either home theater or headphones. Definitely not PC speakers, please.

In other news, encourage everyone to read Edward Luce's "In Spite of the Gods" - its an interesting take on India's resurgence.
Bhaag Daud

Oye Race Haters! I get your point. My two cents. Its ok to like a brain-dead movie once in a while cuz a whole lot depends on the timing and phase in which you watch a movie. I happened to watch Race after watching hard-core depressants like Ang Lee's Lust, Caution and re-watching There Will Be Blood, because I'm mentally masochistic like that. Hence, all the standard Abbas/Mustan schtick (a la Aitraaz, Ajnabee and Humraaz) and the lack of plot intensity coupled with lack of plot, seemed kinda breath-of-fresh-air-ish. Taking away my movie reviewing license? Now isn't that a bit much? :-( (Furthermore, who made you the authority anyway? Down with establishment!)

In other news, isn't Ramiele Malubay the cutest Filipino ever? Gotta admit that this year's American Idol crop is rather good looking, and talented. Without the Malakars and hoopla - its about serious performance, this time, making it fun to watch - when Family Guy's not on, of course. In Simon's words "more of a talent show, and less of a popularity contest".

Check it out! Check it out! David Cook's slowed-down blues/grunge performance of MJ's Billie Jean just blew me away (this rare arrangement was originally conceived and performed by Audioslave's Chris Cornell, last year). Its going to be the first video that I buy on ITunes because that performance was an absolute inspiration. Its evident. This dude has what it takes to be Idol.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well Shuffled

One of my favorite Sunday evening, end of weekend activities is leaving my Nano on shuffle, on my JBL On Stage II (shameless plug) while I read and detox with some OJ and YoPlait (yes I'm strange like that). And it does have the ability to surprise me with some tracks once in a while, which I haven't heard in a while.

One such overlooked track surprised me today, which caused me to stop and listen. A beautiful piano theme; really well phased with thought-provoking movements and chord progressions. I almost thought it was classical, until I noticed some trademark Indian notations, and just had to check to figure out which song it was.

It was Ishaan's Theme from Taare Zameen Par. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have traditionally been brilliant with musical themes (remember the ones in Dil Chahta Hai?) that set the mood of the film. This is one such gem.

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA
Teri Deewani

Wow, young Aamer Hameez took this song to the next level! A magical rendition of one of the most brilliant Kailash Kher songs out there. Especially the additional movements that Aamer added on his own (notice the way Sonu catches and responds to it)

And try and ignore the rather annoying Shashi Kapoor lookalike whom the camera guy apparently has a thing for.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I don't know how many of you caught it, but in the Sonu Nigam track, Deewane Hoke Hum Milne Lage Sanam, from his album, Jaan, there's this killer off-harmony that he does when the verse comes back into the chorus.

Its phenomenal because its so unexpected, both in terms of arrangement and placement. I finally figured out the notes that he used (check out the vocal sample below) and its challenging - both to compose and to sing.


The Economic Times review says it best - "Abbas-Mustaan" is past the "who-done-it" phase, and now make movies in the genre of "why-done-it". Such is Race - their latest stylish visual delight.

One thing that has to be said about Race. The movie has style. Dripping oozing sizzling p'zazz. This is the old school Abbas Mustaan going Dhoom II. The plot is over the top, just like every James Bond/Mission Impossible flick out there.
Now folks, every movie doesn't have to be a dramatic masterpiece. The thrill of going to the movies at times is about being "visually entertained". There is no suspension of disbelief in Race - but there are hot cars, hot babes and a sinewy plot that does keep you sufficiently hooked. And, that too, in classic A-M style. Now many could come out of the theater and do their whole "it-was-difficult-to-believe" dance. I say, daym n**ga, you got the best cars money can buy, awesome songs (esp. the title track and that new Raghav-like song, Sexy Lady), a 'fruity' comedy track by Anil Kapoor, funky stunts. a crazy twisted plot - Katrina AND Bipasha both looking smokin' - I'm entertained, buddy. Call me simple, I guess.

What I like best about the men-in-white's movies, is that every character and every dialogue has a purpose, which is revealed at a later time. If at any point in the movie, you hear something that may seem like it was a bit off, rest assured that it will soon come back to haunt.

But the cake was taken by the First Day First Show-watching, desi simpleton being interviewed on AVS on what he thought of Race ... he sincerely said, and i quote ... "it was funtastic movie. Movie had many suspences. Not one! It had three, four .. FIVE suspences".

Ah, Abbas-Mustaan. Jacks of many suspences.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pritam ... aan milo

This is just regretful. The guy's so talented and still has to resort to lifting tunes a la the Bappis and Anus of B'wood. This is the original of one of my favorite tracks of recent times, and its rather heartbreaking to see Pritam take the accolades for someone else's hardwork, and not share any of the credit.

Btw - this expose is courtesy Vishesh, who has a more detailed splash of Pritam's copycatting antics on his blog.
Slow Poison

That's what this track is. Grows on you, slowly and infectiously and surely. "Dheere Dheere" from the soundtrack of the new Rahul Bose/Minissha Lamba (hotness!) army flick, Shaurya.

The music's Adnan Sami. Its pretty much in the same house as every other Adnan Sami track, right from Kabhi to Nazar to Bheege Bheege - in terms of tune and raag. But its awesomely simple.

Although its a Sami/Chauhan duet, the song belongs to Sunidhi. The song features her calmer and sweeter voice, vis-a-vis the raunchy/naughty side. I've always pictured her to have a split personality. When you hear her sing Beedi from Omkara, and then Kehta hai mann kabhi from Chameli - back to back - its almost impossible to picture that its the same person. Brilliant stuff though!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Current Consumption on long rides

A few forgotten nice ones:

Sakhi Piya (OST - Khoya Khoya Chand)
Your Woman (White Town) - "blast from the past", no?
Is Pal (OST - Aaja Nachle)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mobile blogging is back!! And it is here to stay! Mind it.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, March 10, 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Seen in SFO

Pizza Orgasmica
The Original Sin
P.S. We never fake it!

In other news, its 70 degrees out here and I don't wanna go home.