Friday, January 23, 2009

Dilli 6 and Connections!

What a way to start the new year! Two albums by Rahman sir!! I'm at office, having some time to sneak in a quick review of both. I've listened to the albums probably 5 times in all, so the opinions here maybe self-contradicted after a few weeks of repeated listening! I don't know what's spurring me to write's maybe the fact that Rahman sir got 3 Oscar nominations just about 12 hours ago! :)

Dilli 6:
The Aarti song is non-intrusive, I guess Ik Onkar's counterpart in this movie. The tune is repetitive, probably traditional. Nothing much to say. Pleasant. Hey Kala Bandar and the title track are straight out of Rahman sir's current trend of punchy synth driven numbers, with top notch programming. The monkey voice in Kala Bander is a clincher! Then come the two classical numbers, Arziyan and Bhor Bhaye. Arziyan is a dream vocal combo, with Kailash Kher and Javed Ali's voices supporting each other beautifully. Shades of Sakhiye Nee thaan thunaiye (the line "aathavan ponaal ahal thaan oliyae") emerge now and then, but on the whole, the 8 minute plus song is a treat. Bhor Bhaye combines an old record of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan interspersed beautifully with Shreya Ghoshal's voice, and is again a traditional composition I believe. I'm not qualified to comment about BGAK's singing. As far as Shreya's singing goes, she almost does complete justice. Dil Gira is yet to sink in completely, and I think it will take a lot of time, given the absolutely unconventional structure, the vocal usage and the overall tune...As of now, it sounds like one of those songs that'll grow on to become all time favorites. Genda Phool is again a fun song, that takes you by surprise with its groovy arrangements amidst folksy singing, and that "bow bow" bass synth only adds to the fun element in the song! Rahman sir's singing in Raina Tu is absolutely out of the world, and the arrangements, the carnatic postlude played on the continuum fingerboard and everything else I've forgotten to mention about this song, are mindblowing! And to top it all comes Masakkali, that hits the bulls eye the first time you hear it, and then leaves the bull blinded by its brilliance. The latin feel, the harmonica solo, the rhythm, and top notch singing by Mohit Chauhan are if anything, assurance that Rahman sir deserves every accolade he's getting, and is growing big time in our hearts! Noor is a recital by Amitabh Bachchan, with nothing much to comment about musically. Overall, Dilli 6 I would currently place above Slumdog or Ghajini, commercial, classy and A.R.Rahman written, err painted all over it!

Coming to connections, Jiya Se Jiya was a let down of sorts from the time the tv promos were aired, and it wasn't all that pleasant a surprise to hear a non-arr-sung version. It's a good song to listen to, but hasn't yet assumed greatness. The three flute pieces categorized as Silent Invocations 1,2 and 3 explore various raagaas. They are good to listen to. But then, they are like any other lounge album pieces. I guess the names of the pieces explain the lack of excited flourishes one expects when there's flute in Rahman sir's songs! Mylapore Blues is brilliant, with its jazz arrangements set to an Indian Rhythm. Himalayas is again an experimental piece, more on the lines of Yanni (note: this isn't a plagiarism accusation, it's a reference to the genre the song is set in). Mosquito is again creativity at its pinnacle, with the Saarangi playing the mosquito's role. Rahman sir, we're suffering from this musical malaria thanks to you :) (How cheesy, but couldn't help ;) ) Mann Chandre instantly took me to Man Mohana and Piya Ho. This is yet another brilliant piece, probably the best in the album. The uncredited female vocals and Sukhwinder's feel touch the heart! Overall, a decent album, with best effect when heard without expectations (considering it's come from the man who gave us Vande Mataram).

To sum up, a musical journey has begun with the new year, and the beginning couldn't have been better! Hope this journey continues endlessly. And a silent prayer for Rahman sir to win the Oscars!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Indian Actresses and their not-so-Indian Secrets!!!

What does one blog about when one has nothing to blog about?? You may ask, why blog at all if there's nothing. Well, because there's nothing else to do but blog about something. So what is it that I'm blogging about? If you haven't figured yet, I suggest you take up a course in Java fundamentals. Why Java fundamentals? Because at the end of it, I would’ve still blogged about absolutely nothing but you’d be richer intellectually. Not that knowing the fundamentals of Java is going to win you a Nobel nomination. But at least I'd savour the satisfaction of having contributed my two cents to social welfare, by inspiring an educational urge in people through my blog.

Now I realize I've used the term "two cents" in my previous paragraph. Aah American currency. What IS it about the Americans that we take a fascination for? Why didn't I say "two rupees"? To be honest, it didn't occur to me to say two rupees" and it's probably because I've read the term "two cents" somewhere that I’ve used it here unconsciously. Now like every other swadesi, I want to write about the Indian fascination for "foren" stuff and the "yo!" feeling one has when showing off a "foren" product. A mechanical sleep-coffee-travel-coffee-sleep routine has done little to propel my thinking cells to type anything cohesive on that topic and project my opinion on it. And I realize I'm fumbling for words, opinions and also the urge to stick to one topic and at least think about it, leave alone write. I guess it’s what they call attention deficit disorder.

I haven't seen the Hindi version of Ghajini yet. I haven't seen the Tamil version either. Didn't feel like, after watching Memento. Point is not that. It is the short term memory loss concept. Imagine someone having short term memory loss and attention deficit disorder combined. Should be fun to wake up, read the newspaper and find out Obama's president, celebrate, then ask who Obama is, only to wake up again and read the newspaper again and celebrate again!! Life would be a lot more exciting living it this way! At least we'd live for the moment!

Three paragraphs into this post and I still haven't made sense. I'm reminded most of my posts are this way, and people are going to end up concluding this is my style of writing, and that my posts are all similarly random. Now that I’ve made this statement, I can't help thinking I'm writing as if I have a huge blog following and I'm oh so concerned about what the "public" is going to think about the stuff I write! It's good to assume things we don't know for sure, isn't it?? Especially when they give us a sense of "feel good"? It's definitely better than others telling us facts that we don't want to know. Or telling us their assumptions about us, and claiming they're facts!

I think I have a flair for confusing (read confused) writing. I'm proud of it (again I've assumed the flair part, so that "pride" being a good feeling, I can feel good). This is one of those afternoons when the mind is completely disoriented, the eyelids are completely in love with gravity and the stomach is playing vacuum cleaner. The ac is so cold, my fingers would freeze without constant activity. Typing seems to help. If you've read till here, then I thank you for your patience or perseverance or idleness or tolerance whatever you want to call it. Happy doing-whatever-it-is-that-you-are-doing. Keep doing it. God Bless!

PS: If you haven't realized yet that the title was a dirty trick to get you reading this post, take up that Java course mentioned in paragraph one I think…