Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Paa - Music review

Music – Ilayaraja
Lyrics – Swanand Kirkire

1. Mudi Mudi kahan mein – Quite an unconventional way to start the song with electric guitar, faint piano and drums lead us to Shilpa Rao who is wondering which way she has turned who she has met why? There are a lot of positive emotions which are each described in one word in the song. The song has a very continuous tone to it with moments of electric guitar in bass and shrill notes. A 2:58 minute song does no harm to the listener and that’s just what it is. No real stanza but then…it’s, in my view meant to convey a girl who is just pleased (not overly ecstatic) and is just humming along as she walks about.

2. Gumm Sum Gumm – One repetitive note on the keyboard is soon followed by Kids who go by the name K. Bavatharini (Ilayaraja’s daughter) & Shravan who are singing along wondering why one of their ‘friends’ is sad and is crying? The urge their ‘friend’ not to act like a ‘kid’ and share his problem with them. While the kids mingle with high notes on the electric guitar and a continuous melody, the chorus has helped put a pace in to the song which doesn’t let the listener feel bored. In between there are some notes of Piano which seem to be injecting a bit of ‘stillness’ into the song as the song reaches it’s end. Beautiful lyrics (although you do get a feel that Swanand kirkire has put in a bit of extra effort to ‘accommodate’ words in the tune)

3. Udi Udi Ittefaq se – If Shilpa Rao is wondering in the first song about the turns she has taken, in this one (keeping the tune exactly the same), she wonders where is she flying by chance? (Mudi – means turn in and Udi – means fly in Hindi). The song continues where ‘Mudi Mudi’ left itself. The song has more lyrics and totally ‘bindaas’ lyrics about the girl who is now ‘flying’. This song is no ‘Aaj main uppar’ (from Khamoshi) which has a punch in it, instead this song has a very ‘niche’ feel with uniform beats and no sudden verbal histrionics.

4. Hichki HichkiSunidhi Chauhan (O where have you been by the way?), starts the song with a quasi-whisper and the Ilayaraja trademark beats accompany her. Quite a brave message of not getting dissolved in the crowd is delivered with a sweet punch. The tone, I don’t know why has a southern touch to it. I am looking forward to the situation in which this song will be used because from the sound of it, this does look like a song which can be easily murdered by putting it in the background as the main characters go through with their chores in the main story line (although the lyrics are quite suggestive and has a lyrical undertone which should not be abused by the film-maker). Not one of Sunidhi Chauhan’s best.

5. Gali Mudi Ittefaq se – While Shilpa Rao was wondering which road is she taking carelessly in the first and third song above, Shaan comes with a symphony arrangement and reminisces (with very soothing electric guitar in the back ground accompanied with violins), why did he fight and not fly. The song has a negative feel to it but is the most soulful piece I have heard from Shaan since quite sometime.

6. Halke Se BoleKiddy chorus starts this prayer-song with a soothing message of embracing the tomorrow. The melody which accompanies urges you to see the world of tomorrow. Quite a short song (1:41 minutes). I must say somewhere this song has the ‘So gaye hain saare afsaane’ (slow version from the movie zubeida) feel.

7. Mere Paa – Step aside ladies and gentlemen, here comes AMITABH BACHCHAN (AB). You can’t believe that it is AB when the song starts. I had to consult the CD because I felt it is sung by Shankar Mahadevan. Yes, this is AB!! I so want to tell you more about this song, but I would just make one request – please hear this song with particular attention to the following words and the way they are pronounced by AB. The words are – ‘Darpok’ (one who gets scared quickly), ‘full light on’, ‘ha ha’, and lastly, don’t miss AB humming along this lovely violin which will give you goose bumps (even if you swear you wont let yourself get carried away by the haunting violin!)

8. Paa theme – The theme starts with a distinct pa pa pa pa chanting with intermittent (and broken) violin notes, and within 30 seconds the vocals of pa pa pa pa ‘marry’ the violin notes and take you to one of the most memorable violin which you would have heard in a hindi movie. Suddenly you hear someone calling ‘Auro’ (which is AB’s name in the movie) and Viola! Electric guitar joins in!! Oh! The carelessness of melody! If you are the one to compare, I would put this piece as Ilayaraja’s way of making you dance (in a way ‘The Corrs’ did when they performed ‘Joy Of Life (trout in the bath)’ in their Dublin Concert.

Finally – With Ilayaraja, melody can be taken for granted. The cynics and ‘Pritam’ loving junta wont like this album even a wee bit, but then, if Pritam (and the likes) can survive, Ilaraja has to be given a million acre Villa to live and rule the world of music. The tunes are simple with a bit of retro-feel. I rate this 4 out of 5 because this one is an OST and not a music album, and with a story-line as peculiar as of ‘Paa’, I am sure the songs will be an integral part of the movie and wont act as a disconnect (how else can you explain that the average length of the songs is not even 3 minutes!)

Special word for AB. I am no fan of his, but after hearing the song he has sung, I am forced to believe that very soon he will have no work to do in movies. The reason – There won’t be any ‘new’ things for him to try! Take a bow, Auro!

Peace and equanimity

3 idiots (Music review) - Nov 11, 2009 11:31 AM

Music - Shantanu Moitra
Lyrics - Swanand kirkire

1. All Izz well - A 'subah ho gayi Mamu' siren wakes up the listener with Sonu nigam going 'na na re na' and almost lazily pulls you to the soothing guitar notes with a chorus which will faintly remind you of mere mehboob mere sanam from the movie duplicate. Bang! comes Sonu nigam telling you what to do when life goes out of control (and you can hear Swanand kirkire shouting 'all izz well' in a rural tone in the background!). A song tailor made for Aamir Khan and you can almost feel it when Sonu dives into 'shivering' and other similar verbal effects to endorse the feel of the lyrics. Awesome 'student-like' whistle adds to the 'boy' feel of the song. A hilarious reference to the incense sticks is thrown in for good measure...Pure fun! that's what the song is. Must admit I was expecting a bit of 'ten teden' effect but then I wasn't disappointed with what the song is. (Do hear Shaan making a brief appearance exactly after 3.53 minutes in the song)

2. Zoobi Doobi - A cute and harmless Shreya Ghoshal describes the romantic weather when almost immediately (but lazily) Sonu nigam picks up the tempo of the song and with the 'pal pal pal pal har pal' (from lage raho munna bhai) beat takes you to an immensely romantic-fun filled song. The beat is quite similar to the song i have mentioned from Lage raho but the tune is just so adorable that you will fall for it (if you like the music and are not hell bent on doing a 'critique' of it, by the way). The simplicity of the lyrics and the Caribbean pronunciation of the word ‘Mann’ by our own Sonu the God Nigam will take you by surprise and you shall dance..dance with a couple who is ‘in the moment’ and is enamored by the feel that they are feeling exactly as it is shown in ‘films’. Hear it to know what I mean!

3. Behti Hawa sa tha Wo – Shaan starts the song reminiscing about a guy who was as carefree as a summer breeze or a kite but has suddenly disappeared. Melody of the song is bound to caste a spell on you but thankfully it doesn’t overpower the vocals since this song wants more emphasis on the words and not the accompaniments. You can’t help but feel that at times Shaan has produced a ‘child reciting poem’ effect. Again simple lyrics with a heart piercing flute will hijack your senses. Has to be a defining song and without going too much into the details of the song, I urge you to give this song a patient hearing because the story of this film is embedded wonderfully well in the lyrics. The song ends with faint notes of Piano leaving you quiet. Just quiet.

4. Give me some sunshine – Sharman Joshi realizes that he (and lots of people like him) have wasted their lives and ask for a moment where they can ‘live’ and not ‘survive’. Suraj Jagan (yes the same singer who rocked ‘Zehreelay’ from rock on and sung the theme song of ‘hijack’) comes soothing to the ears with guitar in background. The chorus comes out singing ‘na na na na na’ (will remind you of any live version of cuts like a knife from bryan adams though). I will refrain from what Sharman Joshi says in between the song because I don’t want to spoil your fun. All I can say is that this would surely become an ‘anthem’ for a lot of students in the days to come. Aha! Did I miss the lovely electric guitar and soothing piano as well? Check out this song people to know how soothing group singing can be.

5. Jaane nahin dengey hum – Sonu nigam slowly whispers that he won’t let his friend leave. Yes quite ably telling us a turn in the story of this film. The tune of the song is one that will pump the adrenaline and the lyrics will make you teary eyed. Just hear the magical use of the word ‘Saaley’ (which guys use in friendly banter off and on). You are bound to smile when Sonu nigam uses this slang. I can bet. I can’t help but feel this song will deal with a suicidal student not scoring well in the exams which will be somewhere in between. I say this because a lot of Raju Hirani films’ story lines are pregnant with sub-plots (Jimmy shergill in MBBS and the son deserting his father in Lage raho Munna bhai)…but then I won’t mind being wrong.

6 and 7 – Remixes of Zoobi Doobi and All Izz well – Totally hearable with loads of DJ effects. My pick between the 2 is all izz well remix since it has the perfect ‘guy’ feel.


We all know that Raju Hirani’s films have a good soundtrack which matures and peaks by the time we see them on the big screen. 3 Idiots has a similar soundtrack, but I dare say couple of songs like ‘All izz well’ and ‘Zoobi doobi’ are bound to make a considerable splash before the movie releases. Shantanu Moitra is fast becoming synonymous with melody and thankfully this custom continues here as well. A special word for Swanand Kirkire - You rock dude!!

Pick this album for simple and honest listening, because simplicity never goes out of fashion, thankfully

Peace and equanimity

Kaminey (Music review) - Jul 10, 2009 10:33 AM

Here comes another music review courtesy heavy traffic snarls! This time I am stuck in Bangalore!

Gulzar saab teams up with Vishal Bharadwaj to give us the music of ‘Kaminey’ and how! A pleasant surprise was to hear Suresh Wadkar after Omkara. Let me get down to the business straight away then..

6. Go Charlie Go – from the sound of it since the beginning of the track you get to know that it would definitely be a climax sort of music. A slow linear sort of keyboard and mild brass band mix build up an ‘anticipatory tone’ to the track and just when you think you have heard it all bang comes Vishal Dadlani singing ‘Ten teden’. What’s commendable is that towards the end of this 2 minute track, Vishal and all the instruments go ‘ten teden’ and rather than sounding chaotic it sounds like a 1970s Hindi flick climax music that used to be donned with car chases, crashes and lots of running around.

5. Pehli Baar Mohabbat (Mohit Chauhan) - A very soothing almost sleepy Piano suddenly gives way to a whispering electronic piano sound and Mohit Chauhan takes the microphone and begins to weave a magic which only he can. Unlike other songs that Mohit has sung off late, this song has a ‘Stop and Go’ feel to it. It starts as a soothing lullaby if you like and takes the shape of a ballad before you know. The lyrical genius of Gulzar cannot be described in a ‘mouthshut review’ so I will refrain from looking stupid. Although I must point out that he comes up with some new words like – teepna (affectionate way of gentle slapping), Meechna (affectionate pinching). The song takes you to the careless wanderings in the woods with your loved one and before you know the slow jazz guitar along with drums gets you back to the present tense…smiling all the way!

4. Raat ke barah baje (Sunidhi chauhan, Rekha Bharadwaj, Suresh wadkar and Kunal Ganjawala) – Rekha starts – tana na na na and is accompanied by a shrill shehnai. Before you know there is a rapper with Sunidhi and Rekha and the song goes on to describe that it’s the first time and the last time these girls have fallen in love. Vishal’s genius is on display as this song shares a lot of traits with the song number 5 above. While the Mohit chauhan version is very soothing and has an evening feel to it, this one is an out and out ‘night and naughty’. This film features Shahid Kapoor is playing a double role (one is a lisp and the other stammers). You don’t have to be a genius that Suresh wadkar is singing for the stammering shahid because at one point Suresh Wadkar stops (trying to complete a sentence), when suddenly Kunal ganjawala swoops in and does the needful. It goes something like

Suresh Wadkar – Pehli baar mohabbat..(and the anticipation goes up…)
Kunal ganjawala – (with a bang) – Ki hai….!!

Do hear this one to see that ‘ten teden’ is not the only experimental word used by Gulzar saab in this soundtrack!!

3. Fatak – Kailash Kher and Sukhwinder – The moment kailash kher starts singing you feel like you are listening to ‘dil hara re’ of Tashan but within 3 seconds thankfully that feeling goes away..because you hear the crowd (chorus) going – ‘Zataaaaaak….Fataaaak’ – Ooof! Is Gulzar going the ‘Benjamin Button’ way?? . A song describing a pimp who is not afraid to sell his friend if he gets some money! I am sure the readers know that in this film, there is a small message about ‘preventing aids’ and this song gets to play it’s part for the cause. Hear it out, it’s not ugly or vulgar. I am sure this will be a treat to watch because you won’t like to press the ‘repeat’ button to hear it again, and I trust Vishal to cast a spell on screen with this one!

2. Kaminey – Vishal Bharadwaj – oh! Don’t for a moment let the title of this song fool you. This remains one of the most soulful and romantic song I have heard since some time. I remember that in the film ‘U me aur Hum’ there was a version of the title song sung by Vishal that wasn’t publicized, although it was very nicely sung. I am sure this one has a better fate and will feature in the film. Gulzar oh! Gulzar how can you come up with something like

Kabhi zindagi se maangapinjrey mein chaand laa do
Kabhi laalten dekar, kaha aasman pe taango!

Just when you think it’s an all out romantic song, you get the feel of deeper message and probably the storyline of this film. I am sorry, I can’t share that with you here…listen to this yourself…you probably won’t regret. 10 on 10 for this one to all involved!

1. Dhan teden! – Vishal dadlani – Sukhwinder – O yea! O yea!! You know what you are getting the moment this song begins. Goosebumps is purely a side effect. Not because there is that ‘ten teden’ effect. You actually experience the singers having a party and complimenting themselves like they know its their last song and they wont get a chance to sing ever again!! The Verve, the energy…MINDBLOWING!!! Jazz, Dholak, glass breaking…everything takes you to hit the accelerator and go for the ‘repeat’ button!! There is point in the song just before ends when Vishal and sukhwinder take turns in stopping and passing the baton to the other one..you have got to here it..I guess it begins around 3 minute 51 seconds in the song…You must hear (if you like new sound of music once and while) the way Sukhwinder gives out a ‘nearly Sufi’ call saying – Aaaaja aaja…and then Vushal gets the attitude and takes a really long shot at ‘ten teden…tene teden’. The only thing I disliked about this song is that it just ends very quickly. Ah! Just hear how the brass band comes once in a while and adds a touch desi yet rocky feel!!

I bought this album only because of Ten teden! And I was compensated very well with all the songs. I recommend this to anyone who wants to hear a good album with lots of innovation thrown in terms of innovative words and attitude.

Thank God for his little mercies (in the form of people like Gulzar and Vishal bharadwaj) who give us a flash of brilliance in the otherwise dull, suffocating and ‘inspired’ world of Hindi film music!

Peace and equanimity

Window seat (Jahnvi Acharekar) - Jul 03, 2009 11:02 AM

Being one who can never read a book that is as thick as the biceps of Vidya Balan, I always long for short stories. I have no idea what heights Indian fiction has reached nor I want to know it. Was lucky to attend the launching of this book recently and what caught my fancy was the presentation.

About the presentation

The tagline/description of the book is - 30 rush hour stories. Not short, but rush hour stories. This is what Mumbai is, things happen quickly, instant gratification is the name of the game and the book (not to mention its lovely cover) clicks with you immediately. The reason - the book places itself as a 'tales from Mumbai' handbook.

About the book/stories

Their are 30 stories...all offering a slice of life in Mumbai.Enticing, shocking, erotic, flat...the compilation has got it all. There is a bit of Mumbai everywhere in the book, even if:

1. it is a story about the son of a junior forest officer whose little son dreams of going to Mumbai and does something very dangerous as a result of this 'ambition'.

2. It is a story of a kiss between forbidden relationships

3. It is a story of a storyteller who loves mixing real life stories with fiction and vice versa!!

4. It is about a female named 'china'!!

5. It is about a chance encounter with a 'lesbian' who was a senior in one's college.

6. It is about 'office romance' that goes kaput in the most humrous way you can imagine..

7. It is about riots and how some riots are good! (My personal favorite this one!)

8. It is about a worrying mother who is waiting for her son to return in the middle of the night (having lost one son to a road accident)

9. It is about the meteoric rise and the fall from grace of a tactical 'adman'

10. It is about having a 'live-in' with the boyfriend without parent's knowledge

I am very inclined to give out my favorites but I wont (I know I am running a risk of getting NU as a rating and oh man!! I am scared.!!..) The only reason for not giving my favorites is for you to approach the book as a blank slate and let the book paint it in the colors of Mumbai. Trust me you will like it.

Inspite of a very repititive mention of Mumbai in my review, this book will appeal to those who have never lived here because (like it or not) Mumbai is etched in the minds of everyone in India...for good or for bad? Well depends upon the image you have made of it.

About the Author

Jahnvi is a natural storyteller (not like the main character of the short story with the same name in this book), and you can actually feel it while you flip the pages. A perfect portrayl of men (how they would be busy in either charging the battery of their camcorders before an important family function or how they will 'disable' the rear view mirror of their cars so that their drivers don't see the 'special office colleague' they have with them on the back seat), a spot on sense of relationships and blending all this with a true blue Mumbai-flavor is what makes her stories immensely readable.
I remember a journalist passing a remark on Jahnvi's writing style in this book as not to be dismissed in haste or clubbed as literature in a hurry!! - And man I agree!
Pick this book if you wish to read something 'on the go' or if you want to experience the life on the 'go'. I am very sure (with my limited power of comprehension) that short stories as a genre will witness a meteoric rise in the days to come and if 'window seat' is anything to go by, I am rubbing my hands with glee as I pen off this review

Peace and equanimity

Inteha (Jagjit singh) - review Apr 22, 2009 01:25 PM

Inteha – A warm sitar with the laziness of a sunny morning opens up the first ghazal of this album. This composition is ‘typically Jagjit singh’ from the word go. A healthy embrace of the tabla with gentle miracle (the one that gets treble in a song). The lyrics are very romantic and the treatment is very song-like, but it all makes up for a wonderful ghazal to start the album. Penned by Payyam Sayeedi, this ghazal will bowl you over…with romance

Aapke dil ne – Keyboard whistle welcomes you with some semi-heavy violins and just when you are about to lose yourself in the orchestrisation, Jagjit singh holds your hand to paint the picture of a lover who can come anywhere, anytime if ‘someone’ calls him/her from the heart. I can’t help but feel that the treatment here is also very song-like. Jagjit singh sounds very romantic yet again and this is quite a good sign because a doofas like me enjoys the ghazals of pain more than the romantic ones….not in this case though! The sheer attitude and fearlessness of someone in love is put across in a subtle manner with an ‘oh-so-romantic’ Jagjit singh. This one will make you reach out to the ‘repeat’ button for sure. The manner in which Jagjit singh ends just goes on to highlight the romantic helplessness of a lover who cannot stop herself/himself to meet the love of his life. This one will go well with red wine and dim lights!

Khoob Nidhegi hum dono mein - Faragh Ruhavi has penned this one. With a pinch of sadness and helplessness, this one is special. Why special? For it remarkably points out the times when one finds solace in someone else because they have both suffered the same things in life and have been reduced to what they are. Jagjit singh sounds positively mature in this ghazal. Watch how he sings ‘Main bhi hoon toota toota sa, bikhra bikhra tub hi hai, Khoob nibhegi hum dono mein, mere jaisa tub hi hai’. A bit of tabla, some flute, sautĂ©ed with sitar and light electronic drums is a perfect recipe for a soulful ghazal like this. You won’t be able to resist the ‘oof! This has happened with me’ smile when you hear this one…for sure

Aaina Saamne Rakhogey to – Oh! That’s more like the Jagjit singh we know! A somewhat sad and soulful piece penned by Rajinder Rahuvar takes us back to ‘lover in pain’ era. A sad lover is reminiscing the days of joys and the times when he was celebrating with her lady love and is reminding her that she would be missing him in the days (and long nights) to come…even when she sits in front of the mirror. No wonder Jagjit singh chose an insightful Sarod with a violin to start this ghazal with a well complimenting tabla and sitar to maintain the same slowness throughout. Again hear out when Jagjit singh goes ‘Ab ki barsaat mein bheegogey to yaad aaunga’! Oh it hurts…and hurts well!

Kuch Khona Kuch Paana chalta rehta hai – Life, it goes on. That’s it! This is the idea communicated with this ghazal and HOW! Heavy violins (pausing in between), accompanied with electronic drums create a perfect ‘story telling’ effect as Jagjit singh takes us through this journey. The poet (Sanjay Masoom) takes the instances like communal harmony, death, failure. I can’t help but make a special mention about the antra that goes like this

Hindu muslim aatey jaatey rehtey hain
Nukkad ka Maikhana chalta rehta hai

Wow! Just hear it to see what simple lyrics can do when they are sung by Jagjit singh!

Manzliein kya hai raasta kya hai – The poet Aalok Shrivastava comes up with a ghazal full of ‘can walk, will run’ attitude. Jagjit singh has touched this kind of Ghazal after a long time. The last I heard him singing something like this was ‘Phir aaj mujhe tumko bas itna batana hai, hansna hi jeevan hai, hanstey hi jaana hai’ from the film AAJ. With consummate ease, Jagjit singh leaves you high spirited with a bit of romance poured on you. How about the entire Mukhda of the Ghazal that goes like this:

‘Manzilein kya hai, raasta kya hai
Hausla ho to raasta kya hai’

Heck! Let me put this as well (one of the stanza)

Tum hamarey paas baithe ho
Ab dawa kaisi, aur dua kya hai??

True, with love it is possible what is not otherwise

Door talak Veerana hai – A truly ‘nomadic’ soul is what this composition is blessed. ‘Dafli and sarod’ give a perfect ‘banjara’ feel to this ghazal wherein the poet Amjad Islam gets philosophical and reflects on a journey which has to be continued…even if what surrounds you is deserted pathways and darkness. An almost haunting violin takes it away from Jagjit singh occasionally only to come back to you with more impact. Life goes on and the only way to get over it is to get through it. Simple Ghazal…very nicely done!

Din dooba tum yaad aaye – Lyrics Naseem ajmeri. A slow ghazal sung in very low notes by Jagjit singh touches you immediately. If you have heard ‘Khamoshi Khud apni sadaa ho’ from Insearch, you will connect more with this Ghazal. You cannot help but feel this Ghazal conveys a deep sense of loss (the one you feel when your loved ones leave you forever). Skeptics might argue that this one is a mood dampener in the whole album, but then that’s what life is…sudden and unpredictable. The last time I heard Jagjit singh in this tone was ‘Chitthi na koi sandes’ from Dushman. This ghazal is different because it’s slower than the Dushman song. A very slow guitar starts this Ghazal and ends it..closing the doors and with it the people who will forever be with us….

I can never imagine ‘reviewing’ Jagjit singh. The album is a ‘must have’ just like all the other original albums by Ghazaljeet singh. After this write up, if you feel there is anything wrong with this album, the fault is entirely mine

Peace and equanimity

Sehar - movie review - Apr 06, 2009 12:56 PM

This is a tribute to those film makers who subtract flamboyancy from the narrative of the film based on real life incidents. One of them is Kabeer Kaushik who has directed this film (and very recently – chamku). Sehar means - Morning and the movie revolves around some torch bearers who continue to search for this morning...

The story

Heavily inspired by the real events in and around Uttar Pradesh, the story revolves around a new SSP who has been posted to Lucknow (and he has his roots in the city as well) and how he picks up a handful of loyal officers to try and erase the corruption deeply rooted in awarding railway contracts, contract killing, gangster-builder nexus, political vengeance and drugs. In doing all this, the challenges in tracking the criminals is beautifully and realistically portrayed (read - challenges in technology)

The actors

Without a doubt the film revolves around the SSP, played by Arshad warsi and a handful of his men to chase and hunt down Gajraj singh, played brilliantly by Sushant Singh. In the process we are introduced to the brilliant Suhasini Mulay who plays Arshad Warsi’s mother, Mahima chaudhry who plays Arshad warsi’s fiancĂ©. There are other good actors whom we have seen on TV and they make up for a wonderful team in the movie. Without any Circuit histrionics, Arshad Warsi zooms over all but is only bettered by Pankaj Kapoor (I wont tell you what is the character he plays in the film)

There are a lot of comical incidents in the film that wont bowl you out of your seat but can aptly be said that they do it well to provide 'comic relief' and thats just about it. Watch how UP police steals the punch line of Delhi police!!! :)

The music

I have posted the music review today at mouthshut and you can see it here


The music of the film doesn’t come in between the viewer and the narrative. Extremely adaptive and wonderfully composed. Kudos!

The direction, editing, screenplay and all the other technicalities which I don’t understand but feel I am wise enough to comment upon:

The editing of the movie is crisp, the screenplay dips a bit in between but when you see the movie, sometimes the build up or the part where the situations are established (that lead to the build up) can take sometime. All the fighting scenes and sad scenes are dealt with maturely minus any flamboyance, and that is a big feat. The movie did not work because it did not glorify gangsters like RGV does. The entire Mahima Chaudhry angel could have ended better one can argue but then, in real life things seldom go according to a perfect screenplay. Kabeer Kaushik might not thrill you with his camera moves but he surely knows how to leave an impact with lesser known technicians at work!

The manner in which the characters converse and draw reference to some incidents goes on to show how thoroughly the film and the surroundings were researched. Kudos again!

To conclude

There was a criminal who was maintained by politicians of Uttar Pradesh. His name was Shri Prakash Shukla. The film is based on how some dedicated policemen gave their lives away in trying to crackdown this guy. Having grown up in Uttar Pradesh at the time when Shri Prakash shukla stole regional headlines, I was able to relate to the film totally. Some situations (like an attempt by the SSP to work freely across the state without informing the local police) speak volumes about the level of involvement of our politicians with those who are hell bent on destroying our society. Also watch the threat which the mobile phones gave to the state police because there was no monitoring system for tracking the mobile telephony (isn’t it the responsibility of the government to establish a monitoring mechanism before they allow ‘breakthrough communication technology’ to be launched??)

I have deliberately kept myself away from telling what Pankaj Kapoor has done in the movie but all I can tell you is the film narrated by him in the flashback and even if you aren’t from UP, your eyes will well up in the end.

I continue to wait for the day when my Lucknow would be a safe place for one and all..

Peace and equanimity

Sehar - Music review - Apr 06, 2009 12:46 PM

The album that I review here is out of my love for the city I was born in - Lucknow.

1. Sapnon ka shehar ho – a metallic flute welcomes you accompanied by humming children. Slowly the music stops to give way to Alika Yagnik who prays for an ideal city with no fears and only joys floating around. She hands over the baton to the flute again only to pick up the note again…all the while slowly accompanied by the flute in background. Sehar means – Morning and Shehar means a city. The subtle comparison between the these two touches all the right chord, and the kids in the background, as if humming a school prayer make you ponder what has come out of a paradise where people wait for a morning with no bad news in the papers…

2. Force – An instrumental piece dominated by Saxophone and violin. If you have seen the film you will understand why the flute comes in aggressively and leaves you shaken and stirred the moment it ends…along with a saxophone reeling in pain. Someone said ‘what is in a name?’ well if you hear this piece without knowing the name, you would not be able to think a better title than - FORCE.

3. Prayer – A voice long lost – Shobha Joshi comes behind the microphone to recite the ‘namamai shamishan’ mantra. The treatment to this musical piece will tell you how much the director got involved even in the music score of this film. The piece is almost haunting and leaves you long after it ends. Hear how it ends.

4. Palkein Jhukao na (part 1) – The song starts with a sound that can only come from brand new guitar…and then gradually lets itself loose in the arms of Adnan sami who sings as if the words will break if he emphasizes more on them…delicate rendition at its best! A saxophone gently peeps in gives way to violins occasionally. Towards the end of the song comes Alika Yagnik as if she is flying with the wings of love, although you will feel that her rendition is somewhat typical of her but then she is a pro and it reflects. Lovely lyrics…check it out yourself!

5. Palkein Jhukao na (Instrumental) – Totally dominated by saxophone and guitar with gentle thaap of bongo. This is a perfect piece to play late night on the terrace with wine and your beloved…you won’t remember when you took her in your arms and started doing a slow salsa (even if you don’t know how the damn thing is done in the first place!). There is a small moment when a lovely female voice comes and goes without saying a word….she is meenal jain…more of her below

6. Nakhredar Banno – There is a genre of wedding folk songs in Rajasthan and it is called Banna-Banni. This one is a Banni song (i.e.) a song wherein the bride is praised. Her words are compared to the clink of bangles…so on and so forth. Shubha Mudgal is way too experienced to sing all this in her sleep and she comes out brilliantly here with a very supportive chorus.

7. Palkein jhukao na (Part 2) – Gentle notes on piano are accompanied by the beautiful voice of Meenal Jain. Her tone is submissive, yet aggressive…ah! The ironies music can draw! She is soon joined by Swananad Kirkire who has sung so many of different songs (be it the title song of Khoya khoya chand or the recent Shehar song in Gulaal). A special version of the lyrics here. I wish I could tell more but would leave it to those who actually experiment with this song. It conveys the same feeling which you get when you hear the song ‘thehra hai ye sama’ from Auzaar. The difference being – there is absolutely no music in this song as compared to the one in Auzaar. A bloody romantic song!!!

8. Sacrifice – A slow, almost pale flute gently ruffles up your soul with the quiet display of a sacrifice that an army of utmost dedicated law personnel has made in order to safeguard their territory from corruption and greed. If you have seen this film, you will like it more.

9. Faiz – Swanand kirkire calls out in pain as Pankaj kapoor goes behind the microphone to accept that this is not the morning for whom everyone was waiting for. He just says the first line of the poem and the piece ends. The original poem belongs to the legendary poet Faiz. I must put this on the record that Naseer ud din shah has recited the entire poem (as against just one line by Pankal kapoor in this case) in the soundtrack of Firaaq and if you hear both, you will like the version of Pankaj kapoor much much better than Naseer saab! The pain in Kapoor saab’s voice and the insightful tone will keep you thinking for long!

Composed by Daniel B George (the same guy who has contributed a lot in the music track of Johnny gaddar and some ad gingles), this album should have been lauded a bit more than it was. Ah! Gems and where they are hidden!

Keep this album with you to experience the pain of a city (Lucknow) caused by the long wait for redemption from crime.

Peace and equanimity

Spiders web (Agatha Christie) - Mar 31, 2009 10:56 AM

Spider’s web (Agatha Christie) review

What if this woman is prone to ‘imagining’ things, thanks to her background in theater acting?

What if this woman is so good at narrating imaginary stories that everyone believes and acts (only to discover it later that it was a lie!)?

What if this woman imagines ‘what if I find a dead body in my library?’

What happens if she actually finds a dead body in the library?

While trying to gain control of her seeing the body and trying hard to convince everyone, what if the police were to arrive?

Adapted by Charles Osborne from one of Agatha Christies play is this novel titled spider’s web

Let me not try to spoil the fun, but give you a teaser of the novel

1. A woman who is prone to day dreaming and telling stories which are totally believable
2. Her Uncle who loves her a lot
3. Her uncle’s friend
4. A flirtatious young man, known to this woman who still insists that she shouldn’t have married someone who is much older than her and has already divorced his wife and has a kid
5. This woman’s husband
6. This woman’s little daughter (her name is pippa!)
7. Butlers of the house
8. A somewhat nose poking gardener of the house who keeps an eye on this woman
9. May be some other characters I don’t want you to find out

A bit more about the novel and the writer…

Absolutely spot on narrative and I say so because the book is a little over 200 pages and I couldn’t stop reading it and had to finish it in one go. The tiny nuances of characters, their hidden agendas, their quirks etc. have been handled and narrated so well that you almost feel you are present in the house, where the murder took place.

The entire part where the plot is unfolded might look a bit tedious because of so many layers in the subject, but then it can happen when one adapts a play as a novel (normally it is the other way round isn’t it? I am not an ardent reader, hence wont give any smart comments about the writer but he surely has stitched something which will get you entangled for a while and that’s not a mean feat at all!

The star of the novel is no doubt this woman whose character is very well penned. There are some incidents that the other characters share about this woman and those are going to have you in splits!
But then, is she the real star?? Well I shall leave that on those who actually pick this one up to read!

Pick this one up for a lazy Saturday afternoon and after you finish it, you would come to know the genius of Agatha Christie whose books have been outsold only by Bible!

Please rate and leave comments on my somewhat teaser of a write up here

Peace and equanimity

Firaq - movie review (Mar 23, 2009 12:32 PM)

Much has been said, shouted and yelled about the riots every where. Gujarat riots aren’t different. Although ‘Parzania’ did speak a lot about what happened in Gujarat, Firaaq is an attempt one feels like standing up and applauding. I have not revealed much in the review

The story

Set against a month after the Gujarat riots, the film revolves neatly around a set of characters, a musician/singer and his faithful servant, a Hindu wife and her Muslim husband, a poor Muslim couple, a Gujarati Hindu family, an absolutely adorable Muslim kid and a set of Muslim friends who are hell bent on taking revenge against the atrocities they have faced. The emphasis is not on discovering what happens. Rather, the story emphasizes on experiencing the aftermath of what happened.

The actors

Everyone has given exemplary performance. Naseer saab, Raghuvir Yadav, Shahana Goswami, Sanjay Suri, Tisca Chopra, Paresh Rawal, Deepti Nawal, Mohammad Samad (the little boy) and all the character artistes. Special mention of Deepti Nawal and Shahana here. I really wish I could tell you more but I cannot, because I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone. The kid is amazing to say the least. You will try to reach out to him even when you know it is just a movie (but then again, the movie says it’s based on a thousand real stories…)

The music

Haunting background music at times is very hard to recognise because the narrative is so captivating that the viewer is bound to think there is no background music at all! Try to catch the small Raga rendition (in the voice of Jagjit singh) by the musician/singer (Okay I give that away, this part is enacted superbly by Naseer saab!). I will buy the music of this movie for sure by the way.

The direction and screenplay and all the other technicalities which I don’t understand but I feel I am wise enough to comment upon:

You almost jump out of your seat when you are shown a hindu housewife checking her door again and again to see if the same Muslim lady is knocking her door who came during the riots and begged to be saved. The ‘punishment’ which is self inflicted (for not opening the door and saving the Muslim lady) almost makes you bite your lips and feel for the poor woman who is tied in a meaningless marriage with a true blue anti-muslim husband.

You are bound to become uncomfortable when you see a ‘family man’ asking his relative whether he enjoyed gang-raping a Muslim lady?

The narrative is quite slick albeit it gives way for creating impact by slowing down at times. But then that is what the reality is. In real life, an innocent human being, when chased by a police man with malicious intent has to run for his life in by lanes and you have to see it to believe it even if the chase is long and it is shown that way (also see what happens to the innocent guy at the end of the chase). One has to go through the trauma at times simply because of her/his sect, thanks to the amazing political leaders we have in our country.

The manner in which a Muslim husband to a hindu girl (played by Sanjay Suri) tries to come to terms with his fears could give you a sense of Deja-Vu but it has been done superbly and presented well.

The entire part of Sahana goswami’s story I felt was handled brilliantly. Best of the best friends tend to doubt each other in circumstances that are far beyond their own control. I loved the way this part ended.

To conclude

Showing a truck full of dead bodies as a first shot of her movie, Nandita das conveyed that this movie isn’t for the faint hearted, pink loving junta. No words are minced and the message is delivered in all its originality. Thumbs up to everyone involved!

Watch it if films mean more than just another form of entertainment for you…

Please rate and leave comments on my review

Peace and equanimity (much needed)

Barah Aana - Movie review (posted on Mar 23, 2009 11:31 AM)

Watching Barah Aana by Rajiv Menon made me smile for it is a nice try to offer us all a ‘slice of life’ film that is not set in a backdrop of well to do people thinking what to do with their lives! The painful thing although remains that it is still ‘early days’ for this kind of cinema (thanks to lack of finance available to people who want to pursue this genre), and that’s why the execution of the story (one might argue) could have been better.

The story

Set in the backdrop of the not so well to do Mumbai revolving around the lives of 3 room-mates (in a chawl that is), BA kicks off with Naseer saab running for his life being chased by some goons in his village. The viewer is smartly transported to the present day lives of Vijay Raaz, Arjun Mathur and Naseer saab. I cant tell you why was he being chased and what happens next because I really want you to see it yourself but what seems as a bizarre beginning makes sense once the lights come back on and you leave the auditorium (or in some cases, stop the DVD). The story moves along showing the 3 characters and various challenges they face in trying to earn a living in Mumbai. Saddened by the sudden family emergency, one of the characters (don’t ask me who!) gets embroiled in a ‘situation’ that alters the entire path of all the characters.

Frankly, the story had a great potential to be an exciting and comedy filled movie. Somewhat meaningless romance angel of one of Arjun Mathur could have been dealt better, because one immediately sniffs what is ultimately going to happen of that story.

The music

Non existent and you don’t feel the pinch of it. An occasional phatt here and dhatt there comes and goes without leaving much effect. Great to see makers not trying to ‘accommodate’ a song just for the heck of it though.

The actors

Nasser saab remains silent for around 70% of the movie but when he speaks he surprises everyone. He can sleep walk through these kind of roles and yet come out a thumping winner and the same happens here.

Vijay Raaz – From monsoon wedding, to raghu romeo, to delhi 6, to Mumbai express to this one, Vijay Raaz has shown that he doesn’t need to prove himself further. He is quite comfortable in his role and you can’t help but like him here as well. Notice the difference in his tone in this dialogue ‘Aap ke paas koi aur raasta hai (do you know some other way to work this out?)’ before and after the ‘transformation by accident’!!

Arjun Mathur – Frankly, he seemed supremely unfit for the role. He was so good in luck by chance that one cannot digest the fact that he would come up with broken English and villager hindi accent! I guess he wasn’t presented well and he has royally messed it up further with this role.
The direction and screenplay and all the other technicalities which I don’t understand but I feel I am wise enough to comment upon:

The film could have been shorter, definitely. One might be surprised to note that the running time is just 1 hr and 50 minutes! The occasional dip in the screenplay and lose pace of the movie towards the end of the movie is a put off momentarily and that can work against the film given that there isn’t much to choose from apart from the 3 main characters here. Having said that, the film is definitely worth a watch for the sheer honesty of attempt and narration. I know I am repetitive but the whole Arjun Mathur love story angel wasn’t called for. We have seen way too much already to decode how a love story of that kind is going to end!

To conclude

One can complain that these days there is way too much experimentation offered in hindi cinema. I am definitely not complaining! After coming out of auditorium, I can still relate with the characters I saw and the story line as well. What else can I ask for? Of course there are loop holes but at the end, it’s the cinema that wins and leaves you smiling!

Watch it to see what people can do for money, woman they love and respect (strictly in this order!!) and how law can be a victim of its own actions…

3.5 Out of 5

Please rate and leave comments on the review

Peace and equanimity