Wednesday, December 31, 2008

~*~Childhood Dreams~*~

Analyze this
Morning 6.30, December 10, 1995
My mom shaking me up “Rinku, juss get up beta, you are getting late for school? Jaldi Utho nahin to der ho jayegi!!” And some how I was not in mood of going school, so I started making excuses “Amma, Tabiyat theek nahin lag rahi hai, pet me dard hai”. Mom: “Arre kya ho gaya?? Kya khaya tha raat ko??? Lagta hai Thand lag gai hai, koi baat nahin, aaram kar lo” and I was more than happy, reason being I have to go for a cricket match that day and I might have missed it if I have gone to school. At 7.45 I get out of the bed and said “Amma, now I am feeling good, but ab to school nahin ja paunga, Poora din kya karunga ghar pe” and finally got the permission to go for the match after all this drama…

Did this ever happen to you?
Did you ever escape from your school to enjoy and to roam around or to play?
Did you ever tried to explore the world around you and try to understand it?

Oh confused, now let me ask you what was your wildest fantasies in childhood?? Let me try, to become Superman, a Doctor, an inspector or to be a Chor, a rickshaw-wala or a train driver..
Till age of 8, I always wanted to be a train driver, who can run the train at fastest speed possible and can roam anywhere, then I wanted to be Richard Hadley (My cricket love came in pic), then I wished to be Amitabh (yeah it was influence of his movies) and then Aamir (after watching QSQT, I planned for dying for love) but then the reality hit me hard and now I am sitting in front of the computer writing my random thoughts.
But did we ever try to visualize our journey through all these phases??

No, we don’t have time now cos we are busy in earning bread and butter for us. But yesterday I got my hand on VCD of movie KITAAB and all those things just came in front of my eyes when I was watching this movie.

The movie: Kitaab was released in 1977 and was directed by Sampooran Singh Gulzar (known as Gulzar). This movie tells us ominous and dark story of a boy’s journey, who is budding and trying to understand the world around him.

The Plot: Kitaab is story of a kid Babla, who lives in a village with her mother. His mother don’t want to destroy his future so she sends him to his sister’s place in a city so that he can go to some good school and can make a future... For first few days he liked his school and found a good in form of Pappu, with whom he started to explore the world around him to learn how to make sweets, how magician do their tricks.
In the mean time he started making fun of his teachers at school and enjoyed these things thoroughly. But, when the reports of his apathy towards studies and objections from the teachers concerning his careless activities (as making mockery of teachers, singing in the classroom), reaches to his sister and brother-in-law’s year, they started scolding him. He tried to make them understand about his feelings but then realized that that nobody appreciate what kids think nor they realize their virtue and their perspective for life. He tried to get accustomed to the expectations which his sister and his brother-in-law expects from him but one day he decided to leave off to his village to live with his mother and ran all alone on a train without having any ticket or money.
Ticket-master catches him without a ticket and makes him get off on the next station, where he meets lots of uneducated people who are living in destitution and adversity. In night, he slept under the blanket of old woman beggar and found her dead in the morning. Then he realized that existence is indeed not that uncomplicated for those who are deprived.

What happened to Babla after that??
Was he able to reach home??
What he learned from his venture??

Acting: Master Raju Shrestha as Babla has given a impressive performance as a child who is living in his own dreams and thinks that no one realizes the dreams of kids, their virtuousness and their perceptions. Raju has shown his worth in the movies like Woh 7 Din, Nastik, Khuddaar, Khoon Aur Paani, Khatta Meetha, Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein, Chitchor, Faraar, Deewaar, Abhimaan, Daag: A Poem of Love, Bawarchi and a lot more, as a child artists for various hot-shots of industry. But in this film for the first time he came as a hero around whom the whole movie was build up and he didn’t fail. He beautifully portrayed not only the role of a naughty school boy who has it own fantasies but also as a learner who learn through his experiences. You can just read his eyes to know what is going in his mind, especially when he realized that the old lady with whom he had been sleeping in that cold night was dead. A splendid performance...

Master Tito as Pappu, Babla’s best friend and mate in all mischievous activities. Previously, he appeared in movies as Amar Akbar Anthony (as Young Akbar), Dream Girl, Parvarish, Laila Majnu (as Young Majnu) and Aa Gale Lag Jaa. His mischievousness will make you laugh like anything and I am sure he goona remind you of your good old days.

Vidya Sinha as Mrs. Komal Gupta or Babla’s sister and a model working in an Ad agency had given a nice performance as a sincere sister who thinks of his brother future and scold him for so. Dina Patahk as Babla’s mother, Uttam Kumar as Babla’s brother-in-law Nikhil Gupta, Shreeram Lagoo as Baijuraam, Lucky Ali (yeah i am talking about singer Lucky Ali aka Master Lucky that time) as his friend, T.P. Jain as his always sleeping English Teacher and Keshto Mukherjee as Pandit Shankar Lal had given a superb performances and helped in building the plot.

Music: The music of this movie was given by legendry by R. D. Burman saab and lyrics are by Gulzar himself (as far as I know). Now coming to the songs, tell me how many of you remember the song that ends with VIP underwear Baniyaan!!!
Yeps I am talking about

“a aa i ee, a aa e e, maastarji ki aa gayi chitthi
chitthi mein se nikli billi chitthi mein se nikli billi
billi khaay zarda paan, kaala chashma peele kaan
din taak taak din, din taak taak din,
kaan mein jhumkaa, naak mein batti
haath mein jaise agarbatti
nahi magarbatti, agarbatti, magarbatti, agar agarbatti
agar ho batti kachhua chaap, aag pe baitha paani taap
taap chadhe to kambal taan, VIP, VIP underwear baniyaan”.

I still remember this song by Shivangi and Padmini Kolhapure and it’s picturization. This song is still famous in kids.
OK how about “dhanno ki aankhon mein hai raat ka surma, aur chaand ka chumma” by RD saab himself, must have heard this one cos this is still a hit number. I was shocked when I saw this number over there but it fit well in the situation.
Besides “Hari Din To Beeta Shaam Hui Raat Paar Kara De” by Raajkumar and “mere saath chale na saaya” by Sapan Chakraborty were superb and just fit in the situation.

Direction: Gulzar is famous for his movies that are always very realistic and close to our hearts. In this movie he showed the journey of a growing child where he tried to understand the world around him. In whole movie, he thought like Babla himself to show that how an innocent child observes the world around him. He never failed to capture even a single emotion that can genuinely comes in Childs mind (be it natural disobedience or teasing his teachers or fear when he found that he was sleeping with a dead lady or desperation when he was searching for water , everything was so natural). Hit or flop, this one is will always be among the best creation by Gulzar.

My Take: Kitaab effectively portrays the psyche of young children and their wild fantasies in which they want to do everything. This movie shows the expedition of a boy not only in the world outside his fantasies but also the inside a child's consciousness where they have a thousand of thoughts to do wonders. Childhood is the best phase of anyone’s life but in today’s hectic world children are exposed to harsh realities of the world in their early childhood and are forced to delivery out of their caliber. Through out this movie, Gulzar stepped in the shoes of a young child and showed the journey of an innocent arrogant child who learn from the world around him and choose his fate.
A must watch…..

Friday, December 19, 2008

~*~Colorless Rainbows~*~Whats in their heart???

A girl coming back from school, shocked to see the mourning at her home, she was a bit startled. Suddenly someone asked Do you remember getting married? Girl, aged 10, replies No. A man responds, Your husband is dead.

So now what is her future? What will she do? Whether she will be able to live a happy life there after or will be eschewed for her husband’s death whose even face she don’t remember? During old time in India (and in some places even now), widows have three alternatives to choose after their husband’s death– to be burned with their husbands (as a Sati), to live a life of solitude and confinement in Brindavan or Kaashi (shaving heads and devote their lives to prayer in an ashram) or marry the husband’s younger brother if he is willing and to live on his mercy. In India Brindavan and Kaashi are the cities having widow houses or Vidhwa Ashram that house a lot of widows. In fact, Brindavan is also called as the city of widows, because of the numbers of widows that stay there. Though, they got place to live but still it was never guaranteed that they would now lead a better life and they still are susceptible to sexual and mental abuse, poverty and illness. This twinge and plight of the widows was the theme of movie White Rainbow.

Movie: White Rainbow was released in 2005 and was directed by Dharan Mandrayar. White Rainbow displays an appalling description of widows stripped of their seemliness and dispatched to a life of abject emptiness in a sorrowful city of widows. This movie was said to be inspired from the life of V. Mohini Giri, who guided the social improvement of Vidhwa Ashrams and the rights of Indian widows and was Daughter-in-law of Late V.V Giri.

Plot: White Rainbows was set in the pre-1971 socio-economic problems of widows and tells the story of four widows and their struggle for overcoming the ignominy and vindictive veracity of widowhood in Indian society. Priya Giri, a well educated and well-off young woman is tragically widowed. After her husband’s death, her superstitious in-laws started seeing her as inauspicious and in the mean time some of her friends and in-laws try to sexually abuse her. Totally dejected, depressed and anxious, she finally seeks succor in Brindavan, as other widows of India. But instead of finding solace, she finds a more cruel world filled with viciousness and there her life takes a new turn when she meet Roop, who was rejected by her own children and forced to make her way on the streets and was surviving in the temple town from last 30 years keeping her secrets at her heart, Mala who was brutally disfigured by her mother-in-law who thinks that she was the reason behinds her son’s death and Deepti, a young widow who was forced in an underground prostitution racket run by the pandas of the city. With time there bonding keeps on growing and they started seeing the power of their confidence taking charge of their fates.
Together, this incongruent group confronts the folklore and customs of society that affects not only the treatment of widows but also the widows’ own acquiescence to their misfortune. But, their voyage through a society subjugated by male who always see woman as source of entertainment is not without privation and tragedy. At last, Priya finally realizes that, "Her destiny was to change their fate!"

Are they able to save Deepti from flesh-trade racket?
Will be they able to fight against the myths of society??
And above all will they be able to save themselves?
Watch the movie.

Acting: Sonali Kulkarni as protagonist Priya has given a sincere performance showing the pain of an educated widow who was well off initially but later have to suffer the hardship with right combination of confidence, sophistication, and vulnerability that the central character needed. Amardeep Jha (also known for her role in Naina, Lajja and Zakhm) as Roop, has brilliantly played the role of a rejected widow who is surviving on the money earned by beggary. After giving splendid performance is Shwaas, Amruta Subhash again give a performance of life time as Deepti, a young widow forced in prostitution. Her cries and the pain in her eyes were strong enough to melt the toughest of the heart. Shameem Shaikh as disfigured Mala was back again in a superb performance after playing the role of Shabbo in Chandani Bar. Besides, Virendra Saxena as lewd Pramod Panda who runs a sex-trade racket and Gaurav Kapoor as Dr. Vikram and others as the TV host, the child artist has done a brilliant job in maintain the pace of the movie.
Direction: Before directing White Rainbow Dharan Mandrayar has directed Ele, My Friend in 1992 and won several prestigious awards. After around 13 years he came back with White Rainbow, a movie based on the plight of the widows of Brindavan. White Rainbow brilliantly tackles the topic of widows in India, which has been addressed impassively, unemotionally and plainly; and personified it by focusing on the story of four women who are envoy of many. The best thing about the title White Rainbow, why so? For Indian women, Color is an essential part of their being (in form of Chudis, Bindis, Sindoor and colourful dresses) but when widowed, they are forced to strip of all colors, jewelries and Bindis and are forced to wear white but still they have a countless colors within their hearts and they are like White Rainbow which is colorless, mostly unidentified (to a passing eye, they will look like beggars but still one can see anguish in their eyes) and blending in with the regular clouds or better to say with beggars. A well narrated and handled story without hurting the sensitiveness of the issue.

My Take: White rainbow tells hideous and poignant veracity of yet another essential part of our society–widows, who are considered not only as inconsequential and useless, but also as objects of abhorrence and lust. It provided a platform to a theme that often gets swept under the rug. Through gleaming cinematography and mesmerizing direction the grime and meanness of Brindavan’s streets and ashrams was brusquely shown. Brindavan is a quite dirty city (as i have seen) and to see widows sitting on the dirty streets or lying in some corners was disturbing but still that is the truth. The filth and hideous crimes over there was marvelously contrasted with the immaculate character of lovable and submissive widows who are rejected by their own (not only by their in-laws but also by their children) and constantly abused and totally despondent. But, still one can bond with them, love them, can feel their anguish, hope for them and believe them. White Rainbow also gives a message that we all have the power to change our lives and fate; All we have to do is to just do it!! In spite of being a non-commercial film and a bit slow at places, this movie has the power to hold the viewers attention as ray of light in a bleak world!!!
A worth watch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

~*~Mesmerizing Music~*~

India and Pakistan, the two countries which are still at odds over Kashmir and terrorism but the music knows no border. Despite all the odds, Indians always looked past the unhappy tirade between the countries and have overwhelmingly accepted Pakistani music. Pakistan is blessed with talent and this talent firstly crossed the forbidden Pakistan-India border in form of Nazia Hasan to sing Aap Jaisa Koi which later on became a youth anthem both side of borders and opened the door for Pakistani singers in India.

This followed by album Disco Diwane in 1984 (by Nazia, Zohaib and Biddu), Gore Rung Ka Zamana (by Vital Signs), Hawa Hawa (by Hassan Jahangir-this was my fav during 90’s), Mehndi ki Raat (by Vital Signs), Ankhain Milane Wale (Nazia Hasan), Purani Jeans and Chaand Sa Mukhda (by Ali Haider), Sar Kiye Yeh Pahar (by Strings), Sayonee (by Junoon) and presently by bands as Jal, Dhaani and Fuzön along with Rahat Fateh Ali khan.

Band Fuzön created a stir in the music arena by there first album Saagar (Specially by their song Akhiyaan, Tere Bina and Khamaaj) but later on the Band split and their main vocalist Shafqat Amanat Ali khan (son of the legendary Pakistani singer Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and their family is also known as Patiala Gharana which is known for its concentration on obscure taan and sargams. After singing in the movies like Kal Ho Na Ho (Mitwaa), Dor (Ye Hosala), Hello (Caravaan), Ramchand Pakistani (Phir wohi Raste) and now he is back with his first solo album Tabeer which is based on Sufi and Folk works.
Here is my take of the album…

Khairheyan De Naal: is the first song of the album with borrowed chorus line from Tufail Niazi’s famous folk song of the same name. This song is about never wanting to leave ones home or desh.
Naam Aaye Naa Bhej Mujhe
Mein Nahi Jaana Pardes
Jis Raanjhe Sang Saans Judi
Woh Ranjha Hai Is Des Re
Mein Nahi Jaana Khairyehan De Naal

The best thing about this mellow song is its unhurried smooth natures which will keep you indulge in emotions. Besides his initial Alaps, use of delicate guitar beats and undulating drums and dhols adds further charm to the song but what does the magic is his classical voice and fortunately this song gave him a platform to show his strong classical based singing.

Naina: oh still floating in emotions, now listen this…

Din me na soye bairi
raaton jaage
Jab se ye pagal naina
tere sang laage
Din me na soye bairi
raaton ko jaage.. Sajna
Piya jag rahi meri akhiyaan
karun yaad me teri batiyaan
karun yaad me teri batiyaan
na bhaye mujhe ab sakhiyaan…

This is a song that achieves his full splendor in a gradual way. And this shows Shafqat talent as a lyricist also. Songs talks about the one who is in love, the emotions, the romance, singing (soft tone alaps ), music (use of dhol and ghughroo and a typical tune between the lines) everything is just superb. Gonna love it for sure.

Dum Ali Ali Dum: This is the song that ruled our hearts for years and here is the Shafqat’s version for us. If you are not going to compare it with legendry Abida Parveen’s and late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s version it is a gem in itself where Shafqat’s classical rustic voice does the magic which he sings it on the softer tones. Incessant techno beats and pleasant-sounding support for the chores helps in arranging a a typical dance number for weddings.

Rang Le: Next track is Rang le, a popular devotional qawalli by Ameer Khusro. This song is a fabulous fusion magnum opus where Shafqat radiantly added Jazz and western tune to this devotional sound track. The gloomy, lingering and evocative melody of the song with soothing lyrics and impressive music arrangement gives this song an edge.

"Humari chunariya, piya ki pagariya, Wo to dono basanti rang de
Tu to sahib mera, Mehboob-e-Elahi, Mohe apne hi rang main rang le."

Bulleh Shah: This song is a Raag Bhairavi based sufiana kalam of Baba Bulleh Shah with a dark haunting but delicate tune. Use of traditional table and flute (by Sajid Ali) was amazing and on top of that is Safaqat rendition. A superb composition.
“Aao saiyo ral deyo vadhaai
Main var paaya raanjha maahi.
Ajj taan roz mubaarak chaddeya
Raanjha saade vedde vaddeya.
Hath khundi, modde kambal dhareya,
Chaakaan vaali shakal banayi.
Aao saiyo ral deyo ni vadhai”
(Come, my friends, congratulate me.I have found my beloved Ranjha.
This day has arrived, this auspicious day,Ranjha has entered our courtyard.Staff in hand, a blanket on his shoulder,In the guise of a menial.)

Pagalpan: This track is taken from Sindhi folk song based on Raag Kaafi and was originally sung by Abida Parveen. This song quite different from the other songs in the album because of extensive use of electronic instruments but due to all this arrangements somewhere Shafqat’s voice got lost and this songs became a mundane one. But still the fusion was amazing although it has a contrasting effect with the rustic tune and his voice.
“Sehra, parbat, basti aur ban
Tujhe dhoond hi lunga main ek din
Rahe mera salamt pagalpan”

Rohi: Next track Rohi (which means desert) is based on Raag Kafi and was sung originally by late Zahida Parveen (a famous punjabi folk singer and mother of Shahida Parveen). This song shows a very appealing merger of its conventional origin and contemporary music giving it a calming feel and Shafqat’s pleasant rendition was simply amazing. Listen it when you are all alone, you will feel its power…

“Rohi ke peer fareed ki, bas chaah hai ek deed ki
mujhe aas hai us eid ki, jo milaye bichhda hua sajan
ho jindadi...jindadi bujhi o yaar sajan”

Kartar: Next track is a Raag Darbari-based Kartar which combines heavy metallic tune with a thespian high-pitched orchestra along with Shafqat’s superb vocals on high pitches. This is the song that Shafqat’s father Ustad Amanat Ali Khan used to sing. This song starts with a raunchy guitar vibration followed by a skilled Alaap and then comes the energetic classical singing by Shafqat. Truly amazing piece of fusion…

Manqabat (Ya Ali): Ya ali is a sufi devotional song where Shafqat had shown the brilliance of her singing. Use of lengthy haunting Alaaps and western music instruments along with sarangi gave song the effect which is required to show the strength of omnipotent. Amazing composition..

My Take: From traditional uniqueness to phenomenon, Shafqat has made his mark through out his journey and earned distinction as a vocalist but not as a composer or musician and this album gave him the platform to show is worth. Though there are some drawbacks too, as in the arrangement of some of the tracks (especially with Pagalpan, which became too synthesized leading to the vocals getting disconnected from the melody.) But overall the album is simply superb especially when Shafqat takes music to an entirely diverse level by splendid elucidation of melody and the mesmerizing orchestral arrangement. A superb album…..

Monday, December 1, 2008

~*~Media: A friend or a Foe~*~

Scene one:
11.30 pm India, 27th Nov 2008, In front of Hotel Taj, Mumbai

NDTV reporter Barkha Dutt reporting Live: “ Aur ye aap dekh sakte hain ki kis tarah se NSG ke commandos andar jaa rahe hain. Aur hum aap ko ye bhi bata de ki theek isi samay pe NSG aur Army ke commandos ne hotel ke peeche se bhi entry shuru kar di hai aur kuch commandos khidki ke raaste bhi andar ghus rahe hain..." (As You can see that how NSG commandos are entering the hotel. And for you imformation Army and NSG commandos are also entering from the back sideand some are trying to enter through the windows too)

Scene Two:
At the same time somewhere near Pakistan Border

A person in black dress, after watching Barkha Dutt Live, switches on his satellite phone and dials a number. After 3 rings some one picks up and then after sharing greetings " Janab abhi humne TV pe dekha hai ki Kuch Commando andar ghusne ki koshish kar rahe hai peeche ki aur kidki se, Aap sab hostages ke saath apni jagahe badalte rahiye, Khuda aap ke saath hain. Hume jaise hi aur khabar milegi hum aap ko batayenge. Hum bharta ke halat aur bure kardenge. Khuda Hafiz..” (We just saw that commandos are trying to enter through backdoor and windows, so keep on changing your position with hostages. God is witj you and we will keep on updating you guys. We have to make situation worse for india)

and then phone went dead…

Scene Three:
11.35pm, India, 27th Nov 2008, Inside Hotel Taj, Mumbai

Abu to kaleem “Abhi message aaya hai ki commandos Ghusne ki koshish kar rahe hai, Sabko pakad ke dusari manjil pe chalo jahan abhi koi nahin aa raha hai. Aur agar koi aayega bhi to hume khabar aa jaye gi” (Just received a message that commandos are entering the hotel. Let’s grab all the hostages and move to second floor where no one is coming. And even if some will come we will know)

Now comes the question, is it ok for media to discuss and divulge all the details of any operation against the terrorism. Aren’t they helping the terrorist by providing them all the live reports how and what Commandos are doing?? But yes, before divulging the plans, every time they say that they are not supposed to say these things but they some how manage to show theses things through their reporters.

Aren’t we going to take some thing seriously? Or Media will be allowed to show the whole exercise and action plans in form of BREAKING NEWS and in term helping the terrorist by providing them information regarding NSG and Army position and Plans…

Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.~~ Hafsat Abiola

Monday, November 17, 2008

~*~Grace is Gone~*~ Left over there is felt over here~*~

Few days back, when I was looking for some war movies on a DVD store, i was handed over this movie saying it to be a very nice one. At that time I was not able to read the plot on the DVD as that part of cover was torn away. When I started watching this movie then I was flabbergasted to see that this is not a real war movie as DVD store caretaker told me. For some time I was disappointed but as soon as movie went on I was lost in the perfect blend of human emotions.

Plot: "Grace is Gone" is a film that depends entirely on whether you feel empathy for its characters andattempts to address their grief frankly, gently, and without didacticism. The story is quite simple and it goes as: When a father learns about his wife’s death during Iraq war, he does not have courage to tell his two adolescent daughters about their mother thus he decided to keep it a secret and takes them on a road-trip to a Children Theme Park, but as the trip continues the eldest daughter realizes that her father is hiding something from them. The journey that started as flee from veracity soon divulges itself as a man’s way of coping up with his wife’s loss and finding the guts to tell his kids that their mom is gone.


John Cusack (as Stanley Philipps): Oh!!!!!! Who else than Cusack can fit in the role of Stanley Philipps wearing thick glasses, walking with an unsynchronized pace and having his own little presentiment and premonition? Cusack disappeared into an everyday average Joe kindda character with such tenderness and compassion and portrayed this gawky, physically ’small’ and fumbling tense and hunched man and a suburban father who is dealing with her wife’s death. A few moths back I watched “The Martian Child” where Cusack played a role of a brokenhearted widower raising a troubled child on his own and I was amazed of his ability to play the role of a troubled heartbroken father but here he came more strongly in this Sundance Audience Award-winner.

He loves his country and to serve it he tried to cheat his way into the Army, where he met his wife before he was thrown out for the poor eyesight which he tried to conceal. He believes in Bush administration and the Iraq War but still do not know how to explain to his children that it robbed them of their mother? His acting was flawless, I was left speechless when he gives call his home only to hear her wife’s voice over the answering machine and plead with her for answers for his questions, for a way to tell the girls.

Shelan O’Keefe has done full justice to the character of Heidi whose own expedition is equally complex, she observes her father and uncle arguing to define themselves and she doubt that how her mother survive with a world of men in Iraq war. She is not only a rebellion (a secret cigarette smoking in motel parking lot, a brief fling with an older boy) but she also know her responsibilities towards her younger sister Dawn. Hovering on the edge of teens, she’s just old enough to suspect that something’s terribly wrong and his father is hiding something, but still has enough of a child inside her to get fleetingly seduced by Cusack’s capricious, desperate distractions. Even in her first movie, she proved herself as a remarkable actress, giving her best to her role when it comes, and holds her own against Cusack very well.

Where as Gracie Bednarczyk played the role of bubbly Dawn and in my views she was just being herself, injecting much needed effervescence to counter the heavy drama that circulates throughout the movie. Their acting was like real sisters, fighting with each other for small things, irritating their father by asking "are we there yet" every 10 seconds. Amazing performances.

Alessandro Nivola (Remember him??? Naah?? Ok ok he is known for Best Laid Plans, Jurassic Park III, Face/Off, and the Goal! Trilogy) also turned in a rather short but nicely performed role behind that heavily bearded appearance as the brother of Stanley and the children’s uncle who distrusts the U.S. government.

Direction: Writer-director James C. Strouse, besides capturing some predictable but yet really moving scenes in the movie and plot, also managed to slip in a comment or two about Iraq war and the truth behind it. And the best part is that politics aren’t really argued much in the movie, at least not that much as I thought that was going to be and remain as distinctive truism of family members conflicting in viewpoints and trying to get their own point right and apart from the cause of death, the war was never really mentioned. The best part is the screenplay which holds the gripping drama with a sense for small details over grandiose statements and successfully fulfills Strouse’s sole objective to study the extreme grief Stanley suffers. The best scene is when Stanly tells the girl the truth, the musical score comes up over the voice and you wouldn’t be able to hear thing he says but one can easily see it on the children’s’ faces and their eyes. A really influential scenethat will remain with you for days, if not weeks.

Scores: Read these

"I could never love again, so much as I love you

where you end, where I begin, is like a river running through

Take my heart, take my eyes, I need them no more

If never again they fall, upon the one I so adore...

Excuse me please, one more drink,

Could you make it strong?’Cause I don’t need to think,

She broke my heart My Grace is Gone,

Another drink and I’ll be gone

One drink to remember, Then another to forget

I think of every day to find, A love like you again"

The music of this movie was captivating, poignant and evocative, especially the background scores which displays the emotions of the characters. Score “Grace is gone” was nominated was nominated for Best Original Score-Golden Globe Award.

My verdict: I wrote this review a long back but some how failed to post. But yesterday, after watching “Heroes” and reading Manjit’s take on it, I decided to post it. Grace is Gone comes as a very intense film which gets unfolded in an ironically inconspicuous style all through and attempts to tackle angst forthrightly, tenderly and without any didacticism and it largely succeeds to achieve it. Instead of hovering a lot on the moral questions of Iraq war movie concentrates on its characters and find its answers on sensitive uncertain faces of O’Keefe and Gracie. If you need another plus point for this, then it will be the scores by Clint Eastwood (yes, I was totally surprise when I read the end credits) interspersing the story painstakingly when and wherever required. This one is not a feel good flick in which everyone goes home with a smile on at end but it offers a pragmatic depiction of regular people coping with a very harsh reality. And is tribute to soldiers who fight and sometimes die for their country and for the families of those who wait for their return; when sometimes the waiting is in vain. I will give 4 out of 5 stars. Grab it...

P.S. In the name of peace, They waged the wars, Ain’t they got no shame ~Nikki Giovanni

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

~*~ThE EnD oF Mr. Y~*~

What are you going to do when you found a book with a line on the cover saying “This book is cursed”??? Well, I don’t know about you but this tagline caught my attention and I ended up in reading that thought provoking and mind churning book. But to be true, this one is among one of the toughest books I have ever read with so much of metaphysical stuff that I my poor brain struggled a lot. See “Not only is nothing good or ill but thinking makes it so, but nothing is at all, except in so far as thinking has made it so” So what do you think now???? The novel is an avant-garde look at 19th-century philosophy combined with the fervor of a sci-fi novel and the deepness of a most astounding expedition of self-introspection and discovery.
The book: The cover of the novel is the best I have seen in years with pages edge being black, and the cover having a psychedelic twirl of intricate black calligraphy on a haughty red background (see the pic) and with a shadow on last page that kept me attached to the novel to know who the shadow was on the back page. Hey that is not all, the weirdness of the content of this ingenious novel will not disappoint you while taking you into an unforeseen exciting and riveting contemplation experimentation through the mysterious world of the Troposphere.

The Plot: The novel is story of Ariel Manto, who is conducting research into a 19th century author Thomas Lumas, one of whose commercially failed books, The End of Mr Y, is alleged to be cursed as “anyone-who-reads-it-will-die”. But this book seems to have disappeared from existence along with everyone who ever had its copy. During a sudden visit to asecond-hand bookshop, She finds out a copy of The End of Mr. Y which starts with “By the end of this book I will be nothing, but for the time being you can call me Mr. Y.” and tells the quest of Mr. Y and his unearthing of Troposphere (an alternate world where the visitor can travel through time and space and able to enter the minds of other people, and access their thoughts and memories), that could be only be reached after consumption a meticulous mixture. Somehowshe managed to prepare the mixture, swallowed it, stared into a black dot and is transported into the Troposphere in her quest for the truth and where a jigsaw puzzle begin to unravel. This cursed book brings together a strange mix of people as Apollo Smintheus (Mouse god), ex-CIA agents and an errant Jesuit priest who are wholly disengaged and yet essentially associated in another sphere. But soon she finds that the knowledge she now holds could put her own life at peril and she sets out to find Saul Burlem, her lost PhD advisor, who may be the only person left who can save her.
Who was Mr. Y.??
What is troposphere??
Is she able to save her life???
Will Apollo Smintheus and Saul Burlem help her??

To know the answers read the book.

Characters: The main story is constructed around Ariel Manto, a young PhD scholar living in mouse-infested freezing apartment, whose thesis counselor has inexplicably absent just after her joining, she is visiting a married professor for sex which is a source of income rather than an expression of love. But, her ultimate passion is reading and she says “Real life is physical. Give me books instead: Give me the invisibility of the contents of books, the thoughts, the ideas, the images. Let me become part of a book; I’d give anything for that.” And that was the reason that after getting a copy of The End of Mr. Y, she rushed home with mixed feelings of fear, wonder and intrigue and despite of the curse she read it to know the truth. Her journey to the troposphere, which started in scarcity, lure and craving finally get converted in form of reality, love and above all trust.
All other characters (Saul Burlem-Her lost PhD advisor, Adam-Her 2nd Boyfriend, Apollo Smintheus- The mouse god and denizen of the Troposphere) were built around her character and help in generating various subplots.
The Author: The author Scarlett Thomas was named as one of the twenty best young British writers in 2001 and Writer of the Year at the 2002 Elle Style Awards and after reading The End of Mr. Y I know the reason. This one is an absorbing concoction of page-turning-mystery-mixed-philosophical-religious ideas. The best thing about the novel is that it doesn’t hold back and drag out the suspense to a point where it looses its grip. It is like reading Darwin’s work mixed in Robert Louis Stevenson novel; metaphysics supported with logic and fact and is a perfect mix of genre as romance, felony, assassination, science and mathematics, faith, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, self-loathing and honesty. Despite being relied mainly on history, philosophy, religion and physics no-where it seemed a dull commentary, be it description of 4th Dimension or Apollo Smintheus or gedankenexperiments.

Facts I liked: The best part of the novel is the deep and profound theme based on the ideas borrowed from Derrida (Algerian-born French philosopher famous for Deconstruction theory), Heidegger (German philosopher famous for Being and Time) and Samuel Butler (iconoclastic Victorian author famous for his takes on The odyssey), the natural world of realism, the influence of faith and even the conception of life itself. Besides, the first person narration allows the reader to empathize with Ariel and it also left some loose ends for developing other characters.

Facts I disliked: This book is the toughest book I have ever read, be it the dialogues or the words or the quotes used in the book. See a few examples “The matter of which man is a cognizant escapes the senses in gradation” and “in any place that I take flight, the dark will mutate into light”. Besides, the explanation of Darwin’s theory, The Odyssey, Schrödinger’s’ cat, Relativity theory was a bit hard on my small mind and through out the book I have to Google them to know more and more. The language is coarse and the central character finds it hard to express, even love, without swearing. There are descriptions of some dirty sex at few places.
My take: To say that it is a petrifying, mesmerizing attention grabbing thriller would be an irony as the author through a sequence of actions and plot creates a spooky, daunting setting which makes you glide through the pages. Half way through the book you feel as if you know the entire plot but here comes the ace in form of some twist and turns leaving you again rapt and above all shocked!!! There are few spoilers of course, the coarse language and swearing and at places the dosage of psychology and science gets too heavy for liking. Despite the novel’s length and content, it is immensely readable and even succeeds as a page turner. All in all, a must read for all the thriller buff.

P.S: For more check

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

~*~Drona-Music Review~*~ Not Enchanting At all

Dhruv Ghanekar!!!!! Who? Even I was confused when I heard his name for the first time but when I looked for him I was shocked to know that he is an immensely endowed guitarist and was earlier with “Chakravyuh”, the band featured in Rock On and also a part of the composer duo Ashu-Dhruv who composed music for movies like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar, Broken Thread, White Noise and Bombay Boys and duo is also known for Blue Frog (to know more check which promotes niche and non-mainstream music. Besides, Dhruv use to compose jingles under the label of Smoke Music and now with DRONA, he is making his debut as a sovereign composer. Drona, a much awaited socio-fantasy-adventure-mythological-action movie featuring AB ka baby oopss Abhishek Bachchan as a superhero, Priyanka Chopara as his love interest and Jaya Bachchan. Drona is directed by Goldie Behl (dreary Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai Fame) and movie is set to release on October 2nd. Lyrics of the movie are by a newbie Vaibhav Modi. Here is my take of the music.

1. Drona: Album starts with the track Drona crooned by Dhruv himself in his husky baritone and suits the theme of the movie. His voice is a sort of amalgamation of two great singers Lucky Ali and Adnan. Besides lending his voice to this stylish-groovy-catchy anthem he also worked on the guitar for this track. This song is about the larger-than-life character of Drona and how he will save the earth. It should be the background title track that will keep on coming through out the movie. The music arrangement of song is appealing one with a lot of attractive reverberations, ups and downs, loops and sound effects, specially the use of chores and sunidhi who keep on humming drona drona which mix very well with the lead singer.

"Kahin door sehra ke saaye mein, Machla tha koi toofan.

Aur ek maseeha ke aane ka,Likh ke gaya elaan, Drona."

In spite of having mundane lyrics, this song is worth hearing because of Dhruv’s peculiar voice and finicky musical arrangements specially the use of guitar where he proves his mettle aptly.

Drona REDUX: In this track the singers changed their positions and finally Sunidhi got hold of centre mike and Dhruv takes a backseat giving his voice to Drona Drona only. This track can also be classified as a remix track due to disc beats attached with the song. Though sunidhi did an OK job but some how the earlier version sounds superior because of the invigorating and calm touch of Dhruv’s voice.

2.Oop Oop cha: Next track is Oop Oop Cha. The starting of the song is quite attractive where Dhruv used very interesting instruments with lots of metallic sounds and synthesized notes along with flute that give song a pleasant starting and then queen-of-item-numbers Sunidhi holds the center stage for this dance number along with Nandini Srikar. The USP of this track is an interesting orchestra arrangement that give the song needed thump with the use of metallic flute tone and African-calypso-rap repercussion. But but but here comes the culprit…the ordinary proletarian lyrics that destroy the charm of this techno-friendly-dance-track. But one thing is true that Priyanka is looking HOT!!!!! and that would be the only attraction that can save the song otherwise it would be a listen and forget song.

Fair Play mix: this song is same as the older one with additional rap by Bob Omulo and with more electronic sounds but the output is same……. “DUHH”

3.Bandagi: After trying his hand on western instruments and metallic flutes, Dhruv tried soft sitar and tabla reverberation in this sweet-romantic-love-ballad “Bandagi”. This semi-classical-romantic track is crooned by Sunidhi (at very low pitch) and Roop Kumar Rathod. The best thing about the song is minimal use of keyboards and signing taking the lead. Even the lyrics of this track are apt. Roop Kumar Rathod’s proves his mettle through high quality singing and gives his best to this track. Use of flute, sitar, jaltarang, and tabla along with the background alaap gives edge to this song and make it feel-good-to-ear type of song. This song will be a treat for the lovers of soft music.

“Pal chin Pal chin Uljhi Uljhi ek raina

Dhadkan dhadkan bhikhre bikhre se chaina

Milon chali hai gum si ye khamoshi

Kitna bhi samjhaun mann ye mane ne

Teri bandagi…Jeene na jeene na de teri bandagi”

4. Nanhe Nanhe: Next track “Nanhe nanhe” is a tranquil and pleasant lori in sugary vocals of an ultra mellifluous Sadhana Sargam along with Nandini Srikar. Sadhana’s control over her vocal is amazing and in song she sounds like Lata in "Ek Tu Hi" at places because of the alaaps and beautiful change in the pitch. This is going to be one of the best Lori of present time due to superb lyrics and use of sweet-sounding metaphors which gives it a distinct identity. Dhruv has brilliantly fused Indian raags with western instrument. The best part of the song is the excellent use of the flute at the concluding part. Loved it

“Nanhe nanhe taron jaise naina,

taron jaise pyaare pyaare naina

nainano me chupa ke rakhe,

meethe sapnesapno ka shor meeche,

to jo pakon ke neeche sapne churain tere chaina,

Nanhe nanhe taron jaise naina”

5. Khushi: The last track of album is Khushi which is a Jazz track crooned by Shaan along with ample support from Suzzane D’mello, Francois Castellino, Dean and Sunaina Gupta. This is a conversation-type-masti with lovely use of saxophone, trumpet and drums. This song will surely remind you of title track of “Jaane tu ya jaane na” but this track does not have that appeal in it and somehow Shaan’s voice is not suiting this song. Lyrics of the song are on philosophical side as "Raat aur hum saath mein Ro liye Has diye. Aur gunguna ne lage."

My verdict: What I thought about the music of DRONA is that it would be GRAND but what I heard is interesting but not Grand. Few of the songs are good and they will find their audience. The most important thing I observed that each track of drona has two singers a lead singer and a backing one (who is more prominent than the chorus singer) and this really add the charm to the song, be it alaap of Sunidi in the title track or Nandini Srikar supporting Sadhana Sargam. Besides, I can also feel the touch of A R Rehmaan on the music of DRONA specially in Nanahe and Khushi. So due to the unconventional music arrangement and score Drona sounds different from the league but still fails to make its impact. May be work with movie..i will give 2 and half star out of 5.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

~*~1920-MuSiC ReViEw~*~ Stand Apart From the Rest

What are you going to do when you see the names of “Pandit Jasraj, Parveen Sultana, Shubha Mudgal, Asha Bhonsle and Kailash Kher” on the cover of an Album?Gonna take it?? Yes I did the same... Last weekend I was at planet M looking for the Album of Kidnap (which was not released that time). When I went to the CD station and found one CD in side that, I pushed play button and the voice I heard was so different and haunting that I have to pick up the cover to check the singer and after that I was lighter by a couple of hundred bucks more. That CD was of 1920, a periodic-romantic-horror by Vikram Bhatt.

After “Raaz” Bhatt gave several flops as Aetbaar, Jurm, Ankahee, Red, Speed, Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee etc and finally he is back to the formula that gave him his biggest hit and comes up with a romantic supernatural thriller 1920. Being a hit or not, Vikram Bhatt movies have always been good on musical part and so the hopes from this album was also high (at least to me). The music of this album his given by Adnan Sami whereas the lyricist is Sameer, who gave several hit albums together. Here is may take of the album

1.Vaada Tumse Hai Vaada: This was the song that I heard at Planet M and this one forced me to buy this CD. This track has been sung by Pandit Jasraj (who is basically known for his classical base and I think in this album, for the first time he is giving his voice to a movie song) with immense fervor. In this romantic track Adnan used an appealing fusion of traditional and contemporary instruments and sounds that gels well with the mood of the song. The use of female chorus makes this deep composition a treat-to-hear. Sameer’s meaningfully eloquently apt lyrics get cordially rewarded when they get the voice of maestro.

“Meri Palko Mein, Tere Sapno Ka Dar Hai,

Mere Is Dil Mein Teri Chahat Ka Gum Hai

Meri Rag Rag Mein Tu Bas Tera Prem Samaya Hai Samaya Hai

Meri In Saason Mein Ab Teri Sanson Ki Sargam Bajti Hai

Vaada Tumse Hai Vaaada, Hooo Vaada Tumse Hai Vaaada

Janmon Ka Pyar Ka Dard Ka Hooo Saathiya”

Besides the long Alaaps at the concluding part shows the flawless power of classical singing by Pandit Jasraj. But now coming to the shortcoming of the music, in this classical-inspired-fusion-based music arrangements virtuoso’s voice got lost somewhere (especially when he sings in lower baritones) due to the overpowering arrangements. But overall, the fusion of classical singing with modern arrangement is infact inimitable and this track is worth-hearing number if one wants to hear an almost perfect fusion. This song really grows on repeated hearing.

2. Vaada Tumse Hai Vaada: when I heard the lengthy starting Alaaps, I was sure that this must have been crooned by some classical singer and BINGOO! When I read the name on cover I was shocked to see the name of another luminary classical music veteran Begum Parveen Sultana (Who sung "Hame Tumse Pyar Kitna" in movie Kudrat and got Filmfare Best Female Playback Award in 1981 and I am a die-hard fan for her “Bandishes” and stupendous "dherena","dheem ta nana"s). This track sounds completely different from the first track (although uses the same lyrics) due to characteristic pitch of her. The use of modern music arrangements and specially the sprightly electric guitar tune through out the song give great artistic melodic values to the songs. This song is again a treat for all traditional singing lovers which even after fusion remain Classical at the core.

3. Bichua: Next track contains more surprises for you and you will find Shubha Mudgal, classy folk singer, warbling the folkish track “Bichua” which is an item number (with a touch of Qawalli) featuring the so called goddess-of-item-songs Rakhi Sawant. This track is already doing well on music channels. The way Shubha, sung the song it is going to make you feel that no one could have done better job then her. The energy, the passion and the dedication she showed while singing this not-so-easy song is superb and her voice amazingly go well with Rakhi Sawant. The music arrangement of this song is of typical Indian type (use of harmonium, dhol, sarangi and “Dhol Na Dhol Na Mere” through out the song) but there is something missing in this song. Club mix: The club mix of Bichua is going to be a treat for fast music lovers where the disco beat fillers and synth used in the song gives it a pacy impact.

“Jab Dass Jaaye Bichua, Zeher Chadayein Bichua

Bada Tadpaaye Bichua, Bach Ke Tu Rehna Zara”

4. Aisa Jalta Hai Jiya: Well not satisfied with surprises? No problem, next track gives you legendary Asha Bhonsle crooning an attention-grabbing and mesmerizing romantic number, “Aisa Jalta Hai Jiya”. In this song you will find classical Asha giving voice to song of loving and yearning. The music arrangement is of 60’s style giving it a feel of “kahin deep jale” but this one is a bit fast from that legend. Lyrics are simple but apt.

“Bechein Mere Mann Ka Mayura, Lagta Hai Tanhan Jeevan Adhura

Tann Mein Sabhi Hai Birha Ke Jhula, Ab Toh Piya Ke Adhron Ka Pyala”

5. Tujhe main pyaar karun: Next track completely belongs to Kailash Kher where he used his dismal and expressive voice to generate a lingering feeling. Use of soft keyboard notes, poignant violin and sumptuous female Alaaps through out the song gives song the feeling it needs and this one is supposed to be a background song delivering an escalating sense of vanished love. This track is worth listening more than once.

“Dilon Ki Baat Nahin Janthe, Yeh Sab Zuban Waale

Vafa Ka Jurm Samjhte Hai Yeh Sab Jahaan Waale

Agar Yeh Jurm Hai Toh Yeh Jurm Baar Baar Karoon”

6. 1920 theme: At the end of album comes a lonesome instrumental number showing a wonderful piece of work by none other than Adnan Sami who mixed soft and synchronized piano and violin to give this instrumental. A perfect ending of album.

My take: The music of 1920 gratifies the requirements and circumstances of the film. This album has an elegant and unusual classical music feel that may not work for lovers of fast music but it would be a great listening experience to the virtuosos as Pandit Jasraj (who for the first time giving his voice to a movie song) and Parveen Sultana along with Asha, Subha and Kailash kher. "Vaada Hai Tumse Vaada" stands out as the most striking and will fulfill the need of classical singing lover whereas "Bichua" featuring Rakhi will surely draw crowds in theatres because of its coarse appeal. Now coming to the cons of the album, at few instances the music overpowered the vocals, but nonetheless the soundtrack of 1920 is mellifluous. I would easily give 4 stars out of 5 for the originality of the album and perfect singing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

~*~RoCk On~*~LiVe YoUr DrEaMs~*~

You are young and life is long
And there is time to kill today
And then one day you find that
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun…

(David Gilmour’s classic solo from TIME (Pink Floyd’s album)…… This song is among my all time favorite and it came to my mind again when I was watching Rock On…)

“The poorest man in the world is the man without a dream. The most frustrated man in the world is the man with a dream that never becomes reality.”~~Myles Munroe

I think everyone of us agree with me on this quote…. Well Munroe or not, this quote does have a very strong effect on me. I strappingly think that one should reverie and try to follow it also. There are times when dreams come true and at times they do not, but what’s harm in it.
Few of us have a dream but we may be unable to follow it because of several reasons but there are people among us who go all the way to achieve their dreams. This is the theme of the movie Rock On….

Story: Rock On is story of four friends who try to make their dreams come true inspite of all the problems they faced.
Rock On is the story of 4 Men, Adi aka Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar), Joe aka Joe Masceranhas (Arjun Rampal), KD aka Killerr Drumer (Purab Kohli) and Rob (Luke Kenny ) and their band MAGIK. Movie starts with the band trying to croon their newly composed song talking about the unanswered question of the nature and then shifted to the current time where Adi is a triumphant investment banker who uses to live in a lavish penthouse with his beautiful wife Sakshi (Prachi Desai). Adi has everything but he still suffers emptiness in his life and became a profession gripped workaholic. Joe spends his time idling away, teaching guitar to the neighborhood kids, while his wife Debbie (Shahana Goswami), runs the family business and household. KD now looks after his family’s jewelry business, though he hates it, while Rob is now a composer doing jingles and tunes.

There fate takes a turn when Sakshi and KD met by chance and then Sakshi discovered about Adi’s rock band and about his past where she founds another side of Adi which is different to his usual career obsessed, workaholic looks and discovers the truth about him. To make Adi happy, she makes an attempt to reunite his friends who have now fallen apart. Now will the friends be reunited? Will the rock band MAGIK, again work? Will the charm return back to Adi and Sakshi’s married life, which otherwise seems loveless?

I am not going to tell you that. For that you have to watch the movie and have to feel the magic of MAGIK

Farhan Akhtar (as Aditya the lead singer) makes a great debut as an actor, totally natural and effortless. Adi, who ends up as the most successful of four, is an investment banker, with a pretty wife and a cool house. So all in all seems to have a ideal life, perfect career, a perfect home, a perfect gorgeous wife. But he still he is haunted by the angst inside his own heart and always refuses to share his past with his wife but he never realized that he is also not sharing his present with her as well. He always has a cold expression, a stiffed smile which always fails to connect with others and a behavior which displays aggravation.But still, he is a practical guy, who feels one must compromise to get ahead she told her wife that “Compromise to karna padta hai”. In spite of using minimal dialogues, Farhan delivers a creditable debut in form of near perfect expression. Even the pulse throbbing at his temple, when he tries to control an extreme emotion and when he was singing on the stage, was something that I had only read about, but viewed it for the first time. People complained bout his husky baritone, but he remind me of his father.

Arjun Rampal: After appearing in countless mediocre movies and roles, he comes up with a astonishingly efficient and poignant performance as the idealist Joe the lead guitarist, the man who refuses to part with his guitar, who can give up his life for his friend Adi, and who unintentionally contributes to the break up of the friends. He lives a substandard existence with no occupation, no attention in family business and aggravated wife. Watching his own dreams fade away, his wife slowly losing all her idealism, he teaches the neighborhood kids guitar, passing on the tales of Magik to his son. By giving guitar tuitions and some performances in parties he tries to quench his thirst for music. Arjun Rampal delivers an influential performance yet again and sizzled the screen. Even a background presence by him, even without a single word made the screen sizzle. And his chemistry with Farhan was amazing.
“You may say I'm a dreamerBut I'm not the only oneI hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one" ~~John Lennon

Purab Kohli as Killer drama aka Kedar Javeri aka KD is luminous as the fun loving, flirty KD, who is the heir of a Jeweler store with all the riches and luxuries to his disposal. Yet he has that streak of dissatisfaction too. In starting he seems to be living a life of a failure or jerk with an easy attitude as a Casanova, who knows business and yes, the way he handles the drums was amazing. He makes you smile, and your heart ache. As he laughingly sings “I will survive”, in a perfect manner.

“I will survive

It took all the strength I had not to fall apart

kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart

and I spent oh so many nights just feeling sorry for myself

I used to cry Now I hold my head up high

and you see me somebody new

I’m not that chained up little person still in love with you”

Besides he also does well in the serious scenes, especially when he discovers about Rob’s secret and when he is furious with Joe for dropping out. A performance of life time.

Luke Kenny as Rob, on the keyboard, who always starts with D major is the man with awesome, sexy hair… you have to see it to believe it… The way he enjoys while being on the keyboard was amazing be it Tum ho toh or Socha hai kya.
Post the breakup, he tries to keep his bond to melody alive, by composing jingles for advertisements and working with Annu Malik ( Initially I thought that he was sad because of that only). The quiet resignation in his eyes that silent teardrops and his love for music was just awesome.. I don’t have words to describe it. A restrained approach along with a strong-minded attitude of a guy trying to make the best of the few days left in life, Luke Kenny’s performance is praiseworthy. His accent does nothing to undermine him, in fact just adds on to his impact.

His attitude reminds me of…..

“When skies are cloudy and gray,

They're only gray for a day,
So wrap your troubles in dreams,

And dream your troubles away.” - Bing Crosby

Sakshi (Prachi Desai aka Baani on Idiot Box) is the ideal stunning wife of depressed Aditya. A wife, who is still trying to solve the jigsaw of her husband’s life and in quest of trying to gain joy and content for him, she decides to give him back his life, his music. She is going to be probably the best find of this year with no after effect of Ekta Kapoor’s camp. Means no melodrama, no killer looks or no overreacting. She looks unblemished absolutely and huggable when she breaks into that smile, lifting up the spirits. I simply fall in love with her (yeah that’s true) when she sung
"Ajeeb Dastaan hai ye, kahan shuru kahan khatam,

ye manzilein hain kaun si, na wo samajh sake na hum"
She reminds me of Nat King Cole in Smile

“Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying?

You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile”

Debbie (shahana Goswami) is the wronged wife of Joe. Wronged why???? Wrong in the manner, that she leaves her dreams of becoming a stylist as she have to join Joe’s family business of fishing to earn bread for the family. Her display of a woman irritated with her fish smelling hands, the everyday money asking MACHCHI WAALI’s and on bekaar Joe. In my views, Shahana Goswami, is the most noteworthy one in the movie with the maximum dialogue delivery in the movie. A perfect portrayal of a goaded person, she quarrel and smiles appropriately.

“Turning back the pages of my sweet shattered dream
I wonder if she'll ever do the same;
And the thing that I call living is just being satisfied
With knowing I've got no one left to blame"

Direction: Abhishek Kapoor aka Gattu, is the cousin of Tusshar Kapoor and Ektaa Kapoor. He is in this film industry for long and made his debut in the “Ashique Mastane” and also acted in "Uff! Yeh Mohabbat" (remember???) with Twinkle Khanna. Besides, he also directed the movie "Aryaan" starring Sohail Khan and Sneha Ullal but here he comes as a a breathe of fresh air. There’s a perfect flow to the narration which is amazing, what with the intermittent flashbacks thrown in. The way he showed the change in the Adi’s behavior was amazing (the say his Chaukidaar, greeted him and he replied differently both the time but he catched his tona and his expression in a perfect manner).
And again in the scene, where the band is told by the recording company executive, to include one wedding remix song, so that it goes with the public taste, and the band members signing on the agreement reluctantly, seems a bit drawn. And this showed the reality where rock bands have to end up making crap songs, just for the public taste.
The rock band here is just a metaphor, or just a background, for the larger picture, that is follow your dreams. And on that scale, the movie works really well. The scenes are quite naturally filmed, though there is a lot of Dil Chahta Hai hangover and one can easily feel the effect of Farhan all over the film. And now coming to the best part of the movie, Climax scene, the way it was picturized was amazing. When I heard Sindabaad for the first time I thought that it would be juss an ordinary song but the way it came on the satge I found it as one of the best song of the movie.
Cinematography: Jason West just impresses with the right shots and angles. The beautiful yet calm backdrops and settings are apposite at all places, might it be the band’s practice arena or Adi’s home, the cemetery, the stage of performances or the end scene of lying Buddha in the sea.

Songs: Songs and lyrics are typically strange when compared to the present Bollywood music and it might not go well with all genres. But in my vies the songs were amazing be it “Pichchle Saat dino main”, “Sinbad the sailor” or “Rock on”. Shankar-Ehasaan-Loy and Javed Akhtar are at their customary best, but what makes the main difference is Farhan Akhtar’s unusual baritone that catches attention and brings on life to the lyrics and musicIf you like soft music you have “Yeh tumhari meri baatein” and “Tum ho Toh”, are just right ones to make the heart go tipsy. Specially the way the last two songs were picturized and fused was amazing.

My Take: I always go by the following lines

“Believe the unbelievable, Dream the unthinkable
You can do all things, if you believe
You can reach the unreachable, See the unforeseeable
All things are possible, To them that believe”

And Rock on make me feel stronger on the above lines. When it came to write the concluding part of the review what I felt is I am short of word, but one thing I will say that this flick is a must watch for understanding a fact that, everyone desires his sustenance in form of a vision, an aspiration and a drean which needs to acquire life and breath and become a reality.

“We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.” Woodrow Wilson

Friday, September 5, 2008

~~KaRzZZz-Music Review~~

After flabbergasting success of vivacious and breathtaking Aap Kaa Surroor our nassy Himesh Reshammiya (HR) is back with a vengeance as Monty in Karzzz, where he is playing the legendry role of Rishi Kapoor's Monty, in Satish Kaushik's remake of super hit Karz, In this movie he played role of actor, singer and Music director all together. Well, the music of Karzzz is out now and one can say it is super lengthy and fully loaded with 8 original tracks and one rearranged version of the title song and as many as 10 remix tracks making Karzzzz a bunch of 19 tracks, all hedonistic with typical HR characteristics –typical instrument arrangements, nasal singing and lengthy alaaps, repetitive phrases through out the song. The lyrics are by Sameer and music was released on T-Series music. Here is my take of the album.

Lut Jaaon Lut Jaaon: First track of the album starts with a catchy beat and then HR joins with is typical nasal “Aaaaaa” and then female lead Harshdeep Kaur pitches in with a small para “Tumse Mohabbat Kar loon Jee Bhar Ke..Poori Hasrat kar loon Jee Bhar ke” then HR comes in full swing (I heard that lines Harshdeep lines is a direct lift from Punjabi words in “Aao huzoor” by Karunesh but I am not sure). This song seems to be the title track as there is use of “Us Karzzz pe” at regular intervals. Well, HR sung this Sufi-soft-rock-type ballad quite well and the slow tempo arrangements suits the mood well too, specially the use of Harshdeep Kaur (who crooned Ik Onkaar in RDB, Cadbury perk and Visa Card jingles) whose deep voice engender an importunate haunting and lingering background effect throughout the song. This is a highly enticing track that one can't stop humming after just one listening.
Remix: Well, this remix is quite different from the original version but still I loved it for its different music arrangement specially the dhol and dholak beat along with saxophone.

Hari om: In second track HR is back with his own revamped version of “Om Shanti Om” where he changed legendry “tumne kabhi kise se pyaar kiya” to “Ye mohabbat bhi kya cheej hai, na jeene deti hai na marne deti hai” in AB styled voice to redo the magic that Rishi did on a giant moving gramophone record. If you are not going to judge it against “Om Shanti Om”, the song is good and will take a few listening before it grows on you. Especially the energy and the use of guitar, drum and typical Indian instruments as Dhol and Ghanti are quite impressive… But still I am thinking the way HR holds guitar (Aisa lagta hai ki majboori me pakd rakha hai)
Remix: There are two remix versions "Indian Mix"- which used Indian instruments with ghanti and that too at fast beat, mixed well and will suit the festive mood and an "Electro Mix" this one is going to work in discs. For me remixed were better than original cos they will not drag ur attention towards the voice.

Tandoori Nights: Are you hungry?? Well I am not going to serve you anything but HR is going to serve you “Tandoori Nights” as the third track. I think HR is spreading his rule to Dhabawala’s too through this track. Better I should come back to song. HR crooned this track with conspicuous Sunidhi and used the elements of hip-hop, a bit of rock and trance music with use of lively electronic beats. This appetizingly spunky number is attractive in its elegiac pattern but will not last longer.
Remix: this fast remix version is by DJ Akbar Saami and he added some more hip-hop with fater beats but again it failed to catch a hold on listeners.

Soniye Je Tere: HR has something for everyone in his kitty (hoga hi aakhir gaane hi itne hain), now he is back with an emotionally intense number “Soniye Je Tere”. In this track tries out Indian classic but also didn’t forget to add rap-n-reggae to it to make it good for all. Well in this song HR excels especially in high pitches and his partners-in-nasal rhyme Tulsi Kumar who got a few lines to add as well in evoking romantic hues and vibes. Now coming to the controversies what I heard that this is a complete lift from same titled song by a Punjabi singer Kulwinder Kally. Well HR saab now what say??
Remix: Again this songs comes better in the remix version by Akbar Saami giving it a lounge mix feeling with extra electronic beats to it.

Dhoom Tere Ishq Ki: This track is HR version of “Dard-e-Dil” and this song comes out spectacularly with different composition and arrangements. So for the best of the lot. This song is simply superb but could have been more wonderful if HR has not used his nasal voice, as one can easily say that it has Rahat Fateh Ali khan written on it.. But anyways the main thing that does the wonder is Sameer’s apt simple yet engaging lyrics. And yes the use of “Aur thodi der mein hum juda ho jaayenge” gives song an edge. Perfect fusion of traditional Indian instruments (tabla, sitar, harmonium, Dhol and sarangi) with westernized beat patterns is the main attraction of the song.
"Tumse milna, Jiya Dolna, Tumse milna, Jiya Dolna
tere bin bole sab bolana, meri aashiqui ke bhed kholna
Fursat ke pal me doobana, Apne hi dil se joojhna
Laagi kyun ye laagi lagan, apni hi lagan se poochna"

Remix: This smooth flowing romantic track doesn’t require a remix like this one burdened with energized electronic disco beat fillers. It is like listening “Laagi tumse man ki lagan” mixed with “Hare raam hare raam”.

Sisak sisak ke: After sweet “Dhoom tere ishq ki” HR steps in fusing rap-n-reggae flows with Indian instruments to produce a supposedly riveting and highly pulsating “Sisak Sisak Ke” which gives a glimpse of ostentatious 80’s disco epoch. This will be a treat for HR fan’s where he used blazing mast electronic beats and frisky rap inputs but for me the track lost its glam when HR started harshly hymning the humdrum beats. In this song HR’s try to become RDB goes in vain.
Remix: Remix is quite different from the original one and Akbar Sami, mostly used saxophone to give keyed up disco beat to it along with excess use of rap.

Tere Bin chain Na aave: So after trying Sufi rock, Foodie song, Punjabi love song and disco fever, our HR is now in mood of Ghazal and he comes with “Tere Bin Chain Na Aave” where Tulsi Kumar joins him in giving out feminine sentiments. But this song totally belongs to HR where he modulated his tones in varying pitches (his voice is quite different in this track). The best part of the song is the use of attractive touch of conventional Indian music and arrangements.
Remix: Well I think that remix of this is not required because it totally destroyed the mood of the original song which is quite impressive.

Masha allah: Next comes a desi-fied-sufi-rock-ballad based romantically impulsive track “Masha Allah” (I am confused how to classify it). This song will surly gonna remind you of “Allah Kare” from “Ahista Ahista”. The lyrics of this song are quite impressive and I was confused whether this one will be the “Dard-e-dil” of this Karzzz or “Dhoom tere ishq ki” will be. This song is well sung by HR with varying pitch from low to high through out the song at regular interval. This song deserves second hearing also because of the fantastic music arrangement and the apt lyrics. Well written and well performed.
Remix: Done well by Akbar Saami at a higher tempo.

Ek Haseena thi: Do you remember the tale of Kamini and Ravi’s love??? Nahh probably HR knew this so he stepped in Kishore Da’s shoes to sing one of the most admired tracks of Bollywood. The lyrics are kept same as that legendry track but instead of relying more on guitar tune, HR relied on his and Shreya’s singing potential and rearranged the music arrangements without killing the soul of the song. But one thing that confused me that why is he trying to say starting lines in AB mode voice???
Remix: Hmm will say that this is going to be the best remix of the album, which grows on the rhythm and will surely sound good at high volume. The beats added to the song maintain the theme of song and it is a good tribute to insistent original by Lakshamikant-Pyarelal.

My Verdict: After delivering more than 20 back to back smash hits Himesh & T-series combo is back with Karzzzz. Well Karzzzz is a typical HR soundtrack with a mix of mass appealing as well as class appealing tracks ( as Lut jaaon and Dhoom tere Ishq ki I am quite sure that soon Lut Jaaon, Hari Om, Dhoom tere ishq ki and Tere Bi Chain na aave will find it places on chart along with the remixes of Hari omthat is surely gonna suit the coming festive mood. But still the album is burdened by that many songs that after a time point one can easily get bored and here comes the extra ZzZz in picture. I will easily give it 3 star out of 5.

Track I liked
Lut jaaon (original and remix)
Dhoom tere ishq ki
Tere Bin chain na aave
Soniye Je Tere (original and remix)