Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

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Austin, Life, Music, Piano

Puke

Today is a landmark today. Took a tiny step to re-kindle my synthesizer/digital piano passion and ordered a decent model for myself. My metalhead-tattoo-rendering-always-buoyant boss (who shall remain unnamed on this blog not because she’s less important, but because letting out her identity would mean revealing secrets at various levels, something I take very seriously now and more on that later), provided the necessary artistic inspiration and the name of an amazing local, independent shop in Austin. I had to do my bit to Keep Austin Weird.

I am ecstatic; feel more cognizant of my hands and the nervy quiver that hasn’t left them since late evening. Do they still remember how to create music? At least, they’ve been provoked.

For the crazy metalhead, whose fortitude knows no limits, who knows how to live life more than anyone else, and most dearly, who is still living it up.

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General ramblings

Music Meme: Part II

Continuing the Music Meme that I’d picked up from Lallopallo’s blog. I’d previously listed my Top Ten Indian Songs. In this post, I bring to you my Top Ten International Songs in no particular order:

#10- Come Undone by Duran Duran-

#9- Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

#8- Coming Back to Life by Pink Floyd

I actually like ALL Pink Floyd songs and my list would be filled with only their numbers. It’s so difficult to pick out only some songs. I need to have a separate Pink Floyd list probably.

#7- I Will by The Beatles

Ditto for The Beatles…they need a separate Top Ten The Beatles list. My favorite’s Paul though. 🙂

#6- Doing That Thing You do by The Wonders

Very heavy Beatles influence…don’t you think so?

#5- Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

I’ll be doing great injustice if I don’t include at least one song by them. Holy Guru of Rock music.

#4- Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

This song has 26 million + views on Youtube. Need I say more?

#3- The Double Life of Veronique film music by Zbigniew Preisner

Overall, I love Preisner’s music…this is just an example. If you like Western Classical, I would advise you to check out his scores for other movies made by Kieslowski. This is the link to his radio on last.fm

#2- Sweet Child of Mine by Guns n Roses

#1- Nothing Else Matters by Metallica

It doesn’t take much to understand what kind of music I listen to…mostly from the ’70s. Give me any of these bands, or give me ABBA or something similar and I’m a happy camper. 🙂

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General ramblings

Music Meme-Part I

Found this meme on Lallopallo‘s blog and got instantly tempted to draw up my list. I’m supposed to make two lists- each in a different language. I’m fluent in only four languages (English, Hindi, Bengali and Marwari), but I listen to a variety of stuff because music really has no language. I’ve come up with my “Indian” list here.

Indian:

I’m a big fan of Sufi music. I have a big list of Sufi songs that I enjoy listening to. And some old Hindi movie songs. As per the rules, I’ve restricted myself to only ten here. No particular order.

#10- Tujhse Naraaz Nahi Zindagi from the movie Masoom- Gulzar’s lyrics brings out the pain and joy in your heart. Literally. Beautifully sung by Anup Ghoshal and composed by the maestro R.D Burman.

#9- Wedding Qawalli by A R Rahman- This is from the noteworthy show Bombay Dreams. Can’t get more Sufi than this. Sukhwinder Singh is the singer. I don’t really like him, but I think he’s done a wonderful job with this one. You can listen to it here on Youtube.

#8- Silli Hawa Choo Gayi by R.D Burman and Lata Mangeshkar- This is an old song from the movie Libaas, which I haven’t watched. I don’t know when I started liking this song. Not sure if you’ve heard of it, but I go nuts every time I hear it. I’d written about it a long time back.

#7-  Tere Bin Nahi Lagda by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan- The man who has given us some of the best Sufi numbers is no more with us and it is almost a tragedy. This is my favorite Fateh Ali Khan song. I’m sure you have heard/seen this song before. It used to be a hot favorite:

#6- Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal Hum from Lamhe- Maybe it has something to do with the deserts of Rajasthan. Maybe it is Sridevi or maybe it was the controversy that engulfed this movie in the early 90s because of the unconventional theme. I’ve been a big fan of this movie and its songs. This one is my clear favorite.

#5- Gurus of Peace by A.R Rahman and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan- Too good to be true. This is the best thing to have ever happened: two legends of music coming together to give us some of the most unforgettable melodies. You can listen to this song here.

#4- Piya Haji Ali by A.R. Rehman (Movie: Fiza)- I love this area in Bombay. And I love this song too. Didn’t like the movie much, but I haven’t been able to get over this song!

#3- Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le by Ilayaraja (Movie: Sadma) I’ve been searching for the Tamil version of this song. If anyone knows, please leave me a comment or write an email.

#2- Pachai Killigal by A.R. Rehman and Yesudas (Movie: Indian)- Kashtiya Bhi Ladh Gayi from the movie Hindustani for Hindi movie goers. I prefer listing songs in their original dialects, unless I’m unaware of the origin, that is. I rediscovered this song a couple of months ago on Youtube. I’d almost forgotten this movie’s soundtracks. Kappaleri Poyachi is a close second. I actually like all the songs from this movie. Difficult to pick a favorite.

#1- Bombay movie theme music by A.R. Rehman- One of the best OSTs I’ve ever listened to. I don’t think I can ever get tired of this one. I’ve been listening to it ever since the movie came out in early 90s. I really liked the movie back then and haven’t watched it ever since. I’ll try to watch it in Tamil this time (with subtitles of course).

Like you can see, I have a big A.R Rehman hangover. It has nothing to do with Slumdog Millionaire or his Oscars. I’ve always been like this since I heard the songs of Roja as a kid. My mom knows it all too well. I wish I could meet him once. I don’t know what I would do, seriously. I love his voice and his music. I can’t imagine anyone else singing the songs that he does. Hard to find someone who is more down to earth than him. I planned to write my favorite English songs too, but I lost track of time writing this post and listening to some songs. I’ll be back with Part-II soon. 🙂 (sooner than four months for sure).

P.S- I have to have to mention this song by Pankaj Udhas that I really love- It’s called “Chandi Jaisa Rang Hai Tera”. Here’s the video:

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a r rahman, A.R.Rahman, Aishwarya Rai, Bollywood, Entertainment, Hrithik Roshan, Life, Movies, Thoughts

Movie Review: Jodhaa Akbar

Don’t accuse me of going back on my words. Yes, I admit that I had said that I won’t be watching this one, but can you really blame me for watching it, when all the blogs that I read have already posted a review or the blog authors are waiting to watch this movie and review it? 🙂 Hrithik fans- one request- please don’t read this review. You might get a little pissed off. Aamir Khan fans- you can stop reading this post now. I have absolutely no donuts for you.

Ashutosh Gowarikar has made movies like Lagaan (which was nominated for the Oscars) and Swades (one of my personal favorites). So, people have high expectations from Jodhaa Akbar. And if you already don’t know, then let me tell you this- even Aamir Khan, along with his wife, Kiran Rao, attended the premiere (Okay, I did lie- there is something for Aamir Khan fans). I succumbed to peer pressure and ended up watching this movie last night, at the cost of my beauty sleep. It was not that bad. It was not that good either. The movie doesn’t proclaim to follow the Mughal History to the hilt and the story is Ashutosh’s personal interpretation of the love story between the famous Mughal King, Akbar and his wife, a Hindu princess, Jodhaa.

The movie has some really good moments. Let me talk about those first. The scene where Hrithik, as the King, makes an appearance for the first time, is quite impressive. Also, lots of other people have talked about the way the marriage scene between Hrithik and Aishwarya has been shot. Yes, that was very colorful (in Rajasthani style) and eye soothing. One of my personal favorites is the song “Khwaja Mere Khwaja”. Ashutosh has shot this song with a lot of subtlety and no one else would have done this song justice. It’s a simple song where the singers of Akbar’s court are paying homage to the Allah and are singing praises of their Lord and God, Akbar. Hrithik Roshan has done a phenomenal job in this song and really acts like the Emperor. I loved the way he got up and joined the singers, raised his arms towards the sky, and got lost in the lovely atmosphere. this has got to be the best scene in the movie, according to me.

Another memorable scene is the one where Hrithik is having a court discussion with his courtiers and he hears Aishwarya singing a bhajan “Man Mohanaa”. He gets so mesmerized by it that he dismisses the court and follows the faint tune to finally reach his Hindu wife, genuflecting in front of the diety, Lord Krishna.

But after setting such high standards, Hrithik did let me down in some other parts. I am not happy with his Elephant taming scene or the other scenes where he’s flexing his muscles. He was not acting like Akbar then. He was just plain Hrithik. Can you even imagine Akbar out in the courtyard, without a dress, exercising his muscles and Princess Jodhaa, a couple of yards away, pining for him? This is clearly a directorial fault and some loose editing. It kind of spoilt the entire aura and the richness that’s supposed to be omnipresent in each and every scene.

The song “Azeem-O-Shan Shahenshah” is one of the best tracks in the CD and I expected it to be shot on a large scale. Basically, the song is about people from different walks of life coming in front of the king and paying their respects, after Akbar demolishes the taxes that Hindus pay for taking pilgrimage trips. Ashutosh should have taken help from his dear friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali in designing the sets for this song. I know that there are lots of people who loved the way this song was done, but I don’t know why, I felt as if something was missing. The picturization looked too hurried. It ended up looking more like a roadside locality show.

Hrithik Roshan’s acting is quite good in some scenes, but overall, it’s not very consistent. In the first 45 minutes, he’s done a decent job, but after that, he stops behaving like Akbar. I’m suprised that Ashutosh Gowarikar didn’t realize this while making the movie. Or perhaps he did and realized that it was too late.

Aishwarya Rai’s acting, surprisingly, is much better than Hrithik’s, in my opinion. She has done a decent job and manages to keep her giggles and stiff motions under control. I would give Ashutosh the credit for this. She looks extremely pretty throughout the movie and for once, you will be overwhelmed by her beauty, only for the simplicity of it. But..err..she looked like a crazy daaku who doesn’t know how to fight in those sword scenes. Oh, and that sword fighting scene between Ash and Hrithik was way over the top. Hrithik’s trying to woo his lady by throwing flowers at her (as elegantly as he can) in between the fights? 😮 Total work of genuis! Lesser mortals like me can’t even talk on cell phones while driving.

Poonam Sinha, as Akbar’s mother, is a treat to watch and if it were not for her acting, Ila Arun would have very easily turned half of the movie into a Saas Bahu kind of serial.

I really enjoyed seeing the big palaces and forts and the sheer opulence, because it reminds me of my trip to Rajasthan, that I’d taken a long time ago. I’m originally from that state and I always like it when it’s shown in movies 🙂 My mouth almost started watering in the scene where Aishwarya cooks a Rajputana meal for Akbar and the other kings. Ghewar, dal, bati, sanghri ki subzi, boondi ke laddoo…eating such a traditional, Rajasthani meal is my ultimate dream.

The length of the movie kind of made me a little wary of watching it and I need to admit that there were times when I stopped watching the screen completely and got lost in my thoughts or my work. 3 hours 20 minutes is way too long for the story that Ashutosh Gowarikar is trying to tell. He could have easily restricted it to 2 hours 30 minutes at the most. But I guess, he believes in giving you full paisa vasool kind of entertainment.

This movie could have been a simple love story between any prince and his princess and not necessarily between Akbar and Jodhaa. I wish I could have seen some more details of the actual rule of Akbar instead of the mushy love scenes, that only made me want to run away. The country flourished during Akbar’s rule and there was so many advancements in Arts, architecture, music, general administration etc. and because of that, 3 hours 20 mins should have been used for showing some other stuff too. Ashutosh Gowarikar could have devoted less reel to the saas-bahu saga and some of the battle scenes and concentrated more on other aspects of the Emperor’s rule and the relationship with his wife (which kind of, turned out to be half baked in the second half of the movie). Even the ending was a little hurried and dissapointing. Perhaps, a mini series on a television channel would have done justice, no? 🙂

Rating: 6/10

Related Reading: Music Review- Jodhaa Akbar 

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a r rahman, A.R.Rahman, Aishwarya Rai, Bollywood, Entertainment, Jodhaa Akbar, Movies, Music, Thoughts, YouTube

Music Review- Jodhaa Akbar

akbar1.jpg

Jodhaa Akbar is Ashutosh Gowariker’s soon to be released film and is based on the love story of the Rajput princess Jodhaa and the famous Mughal Emperor, Akbar. The music of this movie makes a big splash, typical AR Rehman style. Ever since the promos have been aired, I have been eagerly waiting for the album to be released. Without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty gritty!

The first track of the album, Azeem-O-Shahenshah opens with lots of earth shattering beats and fan fare. It transports you back to the Mughal Era and makes you want you dance, in a way. It’s been sung by Mohammad Aslam and Bony Chakravarthy. Never heard either of them singing before. Rehman does a good job of mixing some soft tunes in between his trademark beats.

The second track, Jash-e-Bahaara, has been beautifully sung by Javed Ali. It’s a very melodious and romantic song. I have seen the song on Youtube (Click here) and Aishwarya Rai looks really pretty. I’m not really sure if Hrithik Roshan suits the role of Akbar. Hrithik just looks like Hrithik! Towards the end of the album, you’ll also find an instrumental theme based on this song.

The third track, Khwaja Mere Khwaja, has been sung by the maestro, A.R Rehman himself and is my favorite 😀 It reminds me of Ishq Bina from Taal and Piya Haji Ali from Fiza. I have always felt that AR Rehman excels when it comes to Sufi music. I don’t know how he manages to compose these songs, because this genre is definitely one of the most difficult to even conceptualize. I’m a sucker for A.R Rehman’s voice because it’s quite distinct and a little “cracked”, if you know what I mean.

Sonu Nigam and Madhusree have done a decent job in the next song, Inn Lamho Ke Daaman Mein. I didn’t really like this song much, because it gets spoilt by some unnecessary strong vocals. The entire effect is not very good. The last song, Man Mohanna, which has been sung by Bela Shende, is also quite dull compared to the first few tracks in the album. You might like it if you are fine with devotional songs.

All in all, I highly recommend this album. It lives up to the expectations of AR Rehman fan(atics)s and is one of the best Hindi Movies albums to be released in a long time. The last that I liked was Guru, which had also been composed by AR Rehman. 🙂

I’m not sure if I’ll watch the movie- I don’t fancy Hrithik Roshan trying his level hard to portray the role of Akbar. Wasn’t Akbar a little rotund? Hrithik should have put on some weight, at least. We could have expected some more perfectionism from him. Anyway, this is a music review and I don’t intend to spoil it by talking about Hrithik Roshan.

You can download the album from this link.

Rating: 4/5

Let’s end this review by watching a trailer from the movie:

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Entertainment, irene jacob, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Movies

The Double Life of Veronique

This “review”- if you may call it so- was long overdue. If you are reading this review to know about the story line, then I would ask you to stop here. (Here’s a trailer of the movie, if you are interested). I will be jumping back and forth between scenes that touched me and the moments that I couldn’t fully comprehend. This movie is connected to Decalogue IX because the story line is the same.

Irene Jacob, our girl next door, does a spectacular job as Weronika and Veronique in the movie The Double Life of Veronique. I was reading some critiques by other people yesterday and one of them said that the last scene was over done and too perfect to be true. I beg to differ however. The second last scene was a cinematic beauty. When Veronique’s lover, Alexandre, tells her that he’s writing another book based on the lives of two women who are twins, the look on Veronique’s face is to die for. So, what does this mean? Is Kieslowski trying to tell us that Weronika and Veronique were twins? Alexandre had earlier chased Veronique, a complete stranger to see if she would respond to him because he wanted to know if the plot of his book was realistic. Veronique, on the other hand, feels that he is in love with her. Without knowing who he is, she also falls in love with him, only to get hurt later when she discovers the truth. I sometimes feel that Alexandre loved Veronique more because she was a “subject” for his various creative endeavors. He woos her by sending an empty cigar box, a black broken piece of thread and a radio with background noise…two of these objects connect Veronique to Weronika. Did Alexandre know Weronika or was it just pure co-incidence? After all, he does divulge to her the main theme of his book- Two women, born on the same day, in two different cities; one burns her hand on stove and at the exact same time, the other woman withdraws her hand by instinct, as if to have learned all of a sudden not to do it. If any of you have watched this movie and know the answer to this question, then please drop me a comment.

Another lovely scene is the one in the wide courtyard where a political procession has been going on. Weronika doesn’t even notice it because she’s so enraptured in her staff notations. (A side note here- This scene has also been shown during the opening titles, suggesting that probably everything is pre-decided?) This is where we she sees Veronique getting into a tourist bus, clicking pictures. Weronika’s shocked. Later, Veronique is shocked too when her lover Alexandre discovers the picture of her look alike and points it out to her. I wanted to ask myself the question that why did Veronique start crying profusely after seeing her look alike in the small stub of the picture? Was it a realization on her part that she would die too? Or was it a final acceptance of the invisible force that had been guiding her all her life? Kieslowski’s movie is quite open-ended and herein lies some of the problems.

The starting scene where two little girls are being guided by their mothers is sheer brilliance. Little Weronika views the world upside down, gazing at the stars while Veronique is being prodded by her mother to look deeper at the fine veins of a leaf- something that she tries to do later on in her life too. Kieslowski continues the significance of this scene through out the film by giving both the women a crystal ball with some stars to play with and by utilizing upside down camera angles very often.

There is another scene where Weronika is playing with her crystal ball, which bounces off, and then, she holds her head high and welcomes the golden rays of the sun- something similar to what she did while singing in the choir when she lifts her head and gets drenched in the rain. This scene looks spectacular, but I couldn’t connect it to the plot. I’m asking myself too many questions perhaps.

I like the way Kieslowski introduces Van den Budenmayer again in this movie when Veronique is teaching young kids a piece of music and tells them that it has been composed by a 200 year old Dutch composer, who’s almost been forgotten. This is the same piece that had been previously sung by Weronika when she was dying. The music of this movie is as haunting as it can get.

The American version has another scene added to the movie, where Veronique’s father is calling her and she comes running into her arms. It was quite trite and unnecessary. I don’t know why Miramax requested for it.

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