Hot Gas

Music,Musings et al

Month: March, 2009

Books:The White Tiger(Aravind Adiga)

The White Tiger is a stinging,sordid saga narrated in an unrelenting almost nauseating fashion.The book traces the life of one Balram Halwai whose struggles with life and cathartic comeuppance make for a brisk and riveting tale.The narration is carried forward by Balram himself who narrates his story by way of a letter to Wen Jiabao,the Premier of China.Adiga throws in the usual caste issues,slimy politicians,ruthless landlords and more into the blend to conjure a dark and deprecating narrative that hits it hard where it hurts the most.

The books novelty lies in the brazen nonchalant way Adiga spins his tale throwing subtlety to the winds.This makes the narrative simple and uncomplicated but magnifies the stench and slime.The crudeness of language is claustrophobic at times.Unrelenting is the word as the writer never slackens the grip he gains once he puts the reader through the tumultuous strands of his story.

The writer’s eye for detail and observation are commendable for the way he pitches in things that are highly common and makes them look well highly uncommon.The humour is a brooding undercurrent and stands out-Its omnipresent and generous.If you are looking for refined prose then this is not the book for you.In fact the crude language can even put one off but I trudged relentlessly to finish the book.

The White Tiger is a book that appeals to the gut rather than the mind.Believe me I felt relieved as soon as I finished it.Here I want to share an interesting thought that struck me midway through the book.Reading The White Tiger was akin to watching the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed Black.You mightn’t want to read it again.One might savour it since shows the triumph of the underdog and is a perfect partner in crime for Slumdog Millionaire;the flavour of the season.It’s bleak bleak out there.

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!

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Movie Review-Maska(B Gopal)

Maska is one movie you would like to catch if your heart aches for an entertainer that does not tax the brain.Replete with all the elements of a good commercial movie-Loads of Action,An energetic hero who looks his age;emotes fairly well and dances like a man on fire,Not one but two heroines to feast one’s eyes on and a timepass soundtrack(You don’t expect the moon from Chakri!!!).Add to it a fair dose of humour that is below and above the belt as well.Now you get the picture.B Gopal works under the commercial framework something Sreenu Vytla has perfected to the hilt.Its not pathbreaking and no its not even innovative since it ambles along the trodden path.Watch it only if you are bored and have nothing else to do.

My Rating-Two Cheers!!

Aanandha Thaandavam(Telugu)(GV Prakash)

The album starts of with the queer Bangaru Bidda that has Naresh Iyer singing the opening lines in an affected manner but thankfully the song smoothens into a veritable melody.Kalekantini with its classical touches and skillful singing makes it rise above the crowd.Megam Pola in tamil becomes Meghamalle but retains its frenetic pace carried forward by Harish Raghavendra.Meghamalle though has a dated feel to it reminiscent of KV Mahadevan’s musical scores of yore.Neelakasam and Poovune are delightful melodies that warm the heart.The latter especially is an absolute charmer set to a lilting dulcet tune.

Aanandha Thandavam has its heart in the right place and will find its place among good melodies.GV Prakash comes up with an honest and sincere soundtrack that only adds laurels to his curriculam vitae.

My Picks-Neelakasam,Poovune

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!

PS:I found the lyrics downright funny as is the case with dubbed tamil movies.Ah! When will we get some good transliteratists!!!

Billa(Telugu)(Mani Sharma)

Mani Sharma for all his talent remains an enigma.Sometimes the MD comes up with surprises,pleasant ones mind you and sometimes comes up with downright inane tunes that are bland and uninspiring .Even then he remains the most prolific and numero uno MD of the telugu film industry.Now for the review…

Hariloranga Hari is sprightly and pays an ode to the old folk songs of yore.The choice of singers is spot on-Mano,Ranjith & Kannan.Mano is the Bappi Lahiri of south and his sprightly,exuberant vocals suit the song to the T.Makes for a kitshcy listening.Ellora Silpanni is mundane and trite with Mani Sharma refurbishing it age old music.Bommaali is surprisingly bouncy, even though it is hampered by a heard before feel.Majorly works because of its catchy hook and audacious singing.Ney Patasu has a staccato beat that is enticing and is mildly addictive.Mani Sharma gets to do his trademark orchestration and groove going in the two theme songs-My Name Is Billa and Billa(theme song).He strikes gold balancing a mix of crowd pleasing lyrics and cool vocals with his motley mix of arrangements.Uber cool and hip they bind the album together.

My Picks-My Name Is Billa,Billa(theme song)

My Rating- Two Cheers!!

8X10 Tasveer-(Salim-Sulaiman,Neeraj Sridhar&Bohemia)

Neeraj Sridhar composes Aaja Mahi well which has slight indipop influences.The song is pretty neat and the singers especially Sridhar come up with a restrained rendition.Rap interludes are commonplace these days.Done well they add spice and elevate a song a notch higher.Bohemia’s sophomore effort I Got The Picture stutters,trips and finally falls flat on its face.Aimless and scrambled it is neither funky nor catchy.Sheer rap induced drone.Vishal Dadlani shows us why he is the baap of Indian rock music with his pitch perfect rendition in Nazaara Hai.The spirited vocals of Vishal gel well with the mood and theme.Haafiz Khuda and the similarly tuned Kuch Is Tarah are lilting.The staccato staggered pacing of both is captivating and florid.

Tasveer’s score is enigmatic for the bouquet of songs are not just thematic pieces but also include romantic songs.Salim-Sulaiman come up with sublime tunes and just show why they are a consistent lot when it comes to composing.Neeraj Sridhar delivers an assured Aaja Mahi but Bohemia flaters big time in I Got a Picture.

My Picks-Nazaara Hai,Kuch Is Tarah

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!

EK The Power Of One-(Pritam,DJ Phukan)

The ominously titled Bang Bang is a shade better than its similarly titled version composed by Sajid-Wajid.What transmutes it from the mundane to magical are the all guns blazing electric guitar interludes.Sambhale is affected by a hackneyed tune and the incessant repeating of the word Sambhale doesn’t work.Sona Lagda is the best song of the soundtrack and surprisingly its not composed by Pritam.DJ Phukan(Ragga Mix of Bhagam Bhagam) takes centrestage composing an innocent and charming track that that is heartwarming even as the rendition by Shashwathi is evocative and saccharine sweet.The track which has been recreated effortlessly by DJ Phukan deserves a listen.Another breezy track comes in the form of Tum Saath Ho sung by Abhijeet and Shreya Ghoshal.Aided by a fustian tune it flows seamlessly.

Ek is a decent soundtrack with atleast two good tracks and a routine hero introduction number.The interesting part is Athadu’s soundtrack (Ek is a remake of the telugu movie Athadu)  had some good music by Mani Sarma and Ek fares comparatively well with it though there is good reason to believe the former is a better product.

My Picks-Sona Lagda,Tum Saath Ho

My Rating-Two Cheers!!

Aloo Chaat-(RDB,Xulfi,Vipin Mishra,Mehfuz Maruf)

Kunal Ganjawala tries hard and almost succeeds in keeping a listless Life Is a Sizzling Aloo Chaat alive.But what really gets on the nerves are the predictable turns of tune and commonplace lyrics-Something you don’t expect from a movie that is so imaginatively titled.The pretentious title track has the dumb lyrics and techno beats that are in vogue these days.Even the Punju flavour is packed into it.I for one don’t like such staple diet though it might find takers.Ufff!! Its an overdose of title tracks.So we are treated to another title track-this time sung by the reliable Kailash Kher.The Chaat here is overcooked and neither are the kiddo elements appealing.The MDs throw in the customary Punjabi track,Boliyaan, replete with rumbunctious vocals and raucous dholaks.Not a Balle Balle at all.A strictly run of the mill track that wears off pretty quickly.If not for the mediocre tracks I would have called Dhadke Jiya middling.But here it sounds like a god sent balm on the ears.Xulfi puts in a fine rendition and thats about it.

Too many promotional tracks and stock tunes mar what could have been a wacky and offbeat experience.The music leaves a bad taste in the mouth!!! In other words Too Many Cooks (read MD’s) spoil the chaat!!!

My Picks-None

My Rating-Two tears!!

Sikandar-(Justin-Uday,Shankar Ehsaan Loy)

Allah Ho has a meandering tune and contextual lyrics that makes it strictly situational while Arzoo(Naat) with its shrill screechy vocals is an assault on the ears! Both of them lack repeat value.Hamsika Iyer’s cherubic vocals are seraphic in Chaal Apni but sadly one can’t say the same about the done to death tune of the song.The rock base and the brilliant singing of Shankar Mahadevan and Anusha Mani make for a good listen in Dhoop Ke Sikke.Once again the nuanced and intricate singing of Shankar comes to the fore.But for the ‘Rock On’ sound this would have sounded completely fresh! Gulon Mein meanwhile is sparkling be it the reticent and languorous Serene Version or the bubbly Upbeat version.The choice of singers is again done very aptly-Mohit Chauhan and KK.A cursory track comes next in the form of Manzaarat.Shilpa Rao’s enthusiastic vocals are the saving grace for this insipid track.

Sikandar is a mixed bag and shows spurts of brilliance and ingenuity but sadly the good pieces are few and far.

My Rating-2 Cheers!!

My Picks-Gulon Mein and Dhoop Ke Sikke

Gulaal-Piyush Mishra

The OST opens with the aptly titled Aarambh.Conch and trumpets are blown to a create a scintillating effect even as the singer launches into a stirring track.A simple tune aids the track which entirely hinges on the vigourous singing of Rahul Ram and the grandiose orchestration.Aisi Sazaa is a quasi classical piece that is captivating because of the nuanced singing(Shilpa Rao).The orchestration is minimal and leaves a profound impact.Beedo is uncannily similar to Beedi(Omkara) be it the rustic vocals or the lasciviousness it invokes.Yet it manages to retain its sui generisness.A playful song with exuberant lyrics it is very good as long it lasts.Duniya is a reminder of the cruel ways of the world.The singer(Piyush Mishra) renders this powerful song in a heartrending manner.The poignant and thought provoking lyrics elevate the song to a higher level.Raat Ke Musafir is a deadly mixture of gruff vocals and quirky lyrics and creates an eerie effect that is heightened by the minimal instrumentation.The pompous Ranaji akin to EA brings the house down with its singularly kickass lyrics.The seductively bucolic voice of Rekha Bharadwaj who is well versed in this brand of music and the raucous chorus steal the show with their almost Quixotic singing.Sheher is brilliant in the sense that it evokes powerful imagery in the mind of the listener.The voice is edgy and eccentric and almost revels in spelling gloom and doom.The lyrics are outlandish and uncanny.Yaara Maula brings the curtains down on this riveting album.The song is tinged with rock influences and is a pleasant assault on the ears.Overall it concocts a tempetuous atmosphere.

One expects nothing but wackiness from Anurag Kashyap and thats what one is served to in this eclectic soundtrack.Mishra’s sense of sound and lyrics whip up a frenzy of activity.The album works in a phantasmagorical and pyschedelic space.A surreal album that defies norms Gulaal reiterates that Kashyap doesn’t work for the mass populace but caters to the niche who want their movies stirred but not shaken.Gulaal is a logical extension of Dev D,in a way, and a must buy because it is a heady cocktail that gives a hangover that lasts for a long time.

My Rating-4 Cheers!!!!

My Picks-Ranaji,Aisi Sazaa,Sheher

Housefull-Anup Rubens

Yeh Kaali Kaali is the star of the album with an irresistable flamboyance and attitude.The sound mixing makes it even more interesting. Emaiuntundi is a soft melody that sounds pleasant.Middling yet you wouldn’t mind it.Gicchi Gicchi is latino blended with the 70s cabaret numbers of yore.Has an awkward and gawky beginning but finds its groove eventually.The title track is brutally techno  with discordant and incongruous music.Drab and soporific.Jham Jham Jham has an inventive chorus reminiscent of the 60s.The English interlude is good and except for that it has nothing going for it.Anup Rubens can’t get his oeuvre right even though he delivers a mildly engaging album.So much so for the GTA-esque OST label!!!

My Rating-1 Cheer!

My Pick-Yeh Kaali Kaali