Hot Gas

Music,Musings et al

Month: May, 2009

The French Bond Breaks!!!!

In one of the most exciting encounters of the French Open Rafael Nadal the top seed and defending champion was sent crashing out of the French Open by Robin Soderling.
Just when everyone was thinking that the cup was Nadal’s for the taking Soderling has done the unimaginable ie beat beat Nadal on the claycourt.This has now split the field wide open with a bevy of contenders who feel they have a chance.The creme de la creme being Roger Federer and Andy Murray.With his nemesis out can Federer add the elusive French Open to his overflowing kitty?

Music Update:Love Aaj Kal

With the release date fast approaching the makers of Love Aaj Kal are soon going to release the movie’s soundtrack.The reason for excitement being the collaboration between Pritam and Imtiaz Ali after the super succesful Jab We Met.Bollywood Hungama mentions seven songs sung by Mohit Chauhan,KK,Neeraj Sridhar,Sunidhi Chauhan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.Watch out!!!

Some logic defying stuff

An interesting phenomenon caught my attention offlate.One week back I posted the music review of Yuvan Shankar Raja’s Oy and within a span of 5 days it has toppled Gulaal’s music review as the highest viewed post on this blog.Why?
Is it due to the fact that my modest blog is slowly creating a space for itself in this big bad cyberworld?
Is it because people have been starved for good music?
Is it the hype surrounding Oy?
Is it the popularity of Yuvan Shankar Raja?But then AR Rahman is even more popular and Delhi 6’s review should have garnered more views.

They say some things defy logic.This must be one of it.The other being the atrociously obscene IPL trophy.The megalomaniacs at BCCI must have thought this way have completely lost it.They thought embedding a few hundred diamonds into an Indian map would look good.Even the Indian map juts out of a panel that is ungainly.Gilchrist must have felt like a loser receiving it.The Rajasthan Royals must be heaving a sigh of relief for not making it this time.Oh and it must be pyrrhic victory for the RC Bangalore.The thing is the trophy resembles a memento (something that is awarded at street end stage plays for best actor,best actress) more than a trophy.
The most atrophical trophy.Ever.

Music Review:Current(Devi Sri Prasad)

Walking through the esplanade that is Devi Sri Prasad’s music one wonders….about the music he has created and more ironically what he could have created.The Music Director made a stunning foray with Manmadhudu when the equally stunning RP Patnaik who at that time was at the height of his prowess was shunted out,allegedly.And just when one thought there was no looking back Devi Sri piled on the misery with ear splitting,melody lacking platitudes.And just when the one thought the end was near Devi Sri redeemed himself with an astonishing Jalsa.Proof enough that talent is not a consideration at all.Since then the story has moved along on similar lines with Devi Sri coming up with innovative ways on how to maul the listener’s eardrums and stupefying him into comatose.

In Current Devi Sri is in modest form exorcising his usual two trashy,two mediocre and one good song formula.The two trashy ones being,Ammayilu Abbayilu and You Are My Love.The two mediocre ones being,Rekkalu and Current.Resurgence and revival are in the offing in the deeply affecting Atu Nuvve Itu Nuvve.

The first two(the trashy ones) typify the music director’s pedestrian oeuvre-fast,inane and over the top.So the less talked about them the more the good. The next two Rekkalu and Current make marginal amends in a sense that the tunes are a marked improvement.The monolithic unidimensional aspect of Devi Sri is he never goes beyond the synth beats to fill in the background.This makes all his songs look seemingly similar.Some nifty polishing with a flamenco guitar or even a key board would have done a world of good. As if to reassure us that he hasn’t completely lost it Devi Sri comes up with a sparkling ditty,Atu Nuvve Itu Nuvve, that surprisingly is devoid of his painful techno stuff.The rueful lyrics and the lamenting violins bear propinquity with the disillusioned vocals of Neha Bhasin.And the end result is a coruscating ode to love.A special mention of Bhasin’s vocals is inevitable.Her redolent rendition and her effortless poise are no doubt laudable but it is her tonal coarseness that evokes poignancy.The dreamy intonation comparable somewhat to Sunidhi Chauhan’s timbre is all the more alluring.Kudos!

Devi Sri shows glimpses of resurrection though it is constrained to only one song.As for the others.They disappoint.Big time.

My Picks-Atu Nuvve Itu Nuvve

My Rating-One Cheer!(This is only because of the plaintive last song!)

Music Review:Oy(Yuvan Shankar Raja)

For Oy! Movie Review.Click Here-

In the dog eat dog world of telugu filmdom Siddharth has gradually created a niche for himself amongst film audiences with his enthusiastic and earnest acting.But more often than not he has contrived to fail, frittering away his energies in vapid movies like Chukkallo Chandrudu and Aata.Time to show Bommarillu and KIKK were not mere flashes in the pan?
Ditto with Yuvan Shankar Raja.A leviathan in the tamil film industry he has often succumbed to speciousness if not spuriousness.This fall in standards can be attributed partly to the high workloads he inflicts on himself.A case of biting of more than he can chew.As a result his harvest has been in a state of precipitous decline.His last four OST’s in tamil Siva Manasula Shakti,Sarvam,Vamanan and Muthirai were not bad.They weren’t good either.It is this complacency that bleeds Yuvan.Can he stem the tide?

Saradaga has Yuvan using one of his stock tunes but to good effect.While Sunidhi adds a dreamy effusiveness to the song Karthik(bless him) is in top form.It is the singers who make the middle of the road tune seem like a breeze.
It’s hard not to revel when Shreya Ghoshal sings Anukoledenadu.Her unbridled, girly way of singing infuses life into even a dead man.Yuvan keeps the backgrounds to a low hum and that draws all the more spotlight towards Shreya’s sprightly rendition.
Oy Oy, the title song, trickles in, in the first 15 secs and then the percussion kicks in just when you were expecting something else.Siddhrath’s bouncy vocals are devoid of his ticklish accent, possibly due to the wondrous advancements in sound recording?The lyrics too sustain the conniption.The female vocal interludes though sound as if they were straight out of a Ramana Gogula composition.The boy band style though is maha catchy.
Seheri unmasks another effulgent aspect of Yuvan-His expertise at conjuring something splendidly catchy out of sheer nothingness.Watch out for the hook lines that are astonishingly infectious.Toshi (I hope it’s not Tochi because if it is I’ll have to call the lawyers) instills waywardness into the proceedings with a calculated carelessness.The peculiar trance like quality is also mesmerizing.
KKs inherently melancholic vocals inject even more poignancy into Waiting For You.Yuvan prudently subdues the backgrounds thus italicizing the vocals.
For me Povaodhe Prema is the crowning glory of the OST.Yuvan’s minimalist tune is lugubrious alright but it is his own singing (my god!) that is heartrendingly plaintive. Look how he rounds off the pallavi straining his tonsils to create the desired impact.Lump in the throat for sure.

Yuvan deserves more than a pat or a brownie point for Oy, for here he showcases what he is capable of-A delectably gratifying aural delight!

My Picks-Povaodhe Prema,Sheheri,Waiting For You

My Rating-Four Cheers!!!!(I’m being lenient here,but I’m overjoyed,So there!)

(Added on May 25):

PS: News reports, especially interviews with the lead actor suggest that he has himself contributed to the OST in the form of a ‘Music Producer’. This capacity according to him is being done for the first time in India. Music Producers are common in the vicinity of Beverly Hills. Way to go Siddharth!

Music Review:Mallanna(Devi Sri Prasad)

Of late Devi Sri has had middling results.Last year saw his near best in Jalsa and also his near worst in King.With trepidation one looks forward to Mallanna.

Allegro opens with a serene operatic intermezzo and segues chafingly into a pompously bombastic mess.Excuse Me Mr Mallanna is thankfully better with sensuous female vocals (Suchitra) which combine well with the soft techno thumps.Just about passes muster.Ivanne Dupe begins with Vikram belting out all the South Indian dishes there are only to run them down and start praising a Pizza.If inane lyrics ever made a song appealing,this has to be it.Efficiently composed as well.Devi Sri screams in his singularly squeamish voice and we listen enraptured to Mallanna Theme Musiq which turns out to be quite a farce in the end.The folk tune is garish and the vocals obnoxious.The next track Mambo Maamiya makes you feel there is a dog panting beside you which is funny,the song meanwhile is unintentionally funny.Done with the dog we move to the cat.Yes the next track titled Meow Meow takes a bizarre premise for starters and soon descends into a cesspool.Naa Peru Meenakumari is accompanied with odious techno beats made more gross by the raunchy vocals and it doesn’t take long to figure that it’s an item number.The fusion of an old song(can’t remember which one) makes it interesting.Only for one listen though.

With that we come to the end of Devi Sri Prasad’s hideous, bordering on repulsive soundtrack.And he disappoints.Big Time.I think Devi Sri needs to revamp his orchestration for his style of arranging is monolithic in the sense that he only uses those standard techno beats to back up a song which get monotonous after a period of time.

My Rating-Three Tears!!!

Music Review:Paying Guests(Sajid-Wajid)

Shaan breezes through the sedate Jack n Jill supported ably by Earl.To be truthful this is what Sajid-Wajid epitomise-imbecile lyrics fused with stock tunes.To expect something above the mundane from the duo would be a gross mistake.With a quasi middle eastern tune and spirited vocals(Sunidhi) Nazar Se Nazaria is engaging.Somehow it reminded me of Sunidhi’s brilliant Mehboob Mere from Fiza.It’s probably due to some resemblances say the meandering tune that ends with a tantalising hook line.And just as you begin to start expecting something better  Sajid-Wajid reassure you and come up with the banal Paying Guests.Supposedly the title song the MDs make a mess of it conmposing a singularly bad tune.Maybe they were trying to pay an ode to Bappi Lahiri that Mithun would have been happy dancing to.Considering the fare on offer it is too easy to get pleased by the pleasant Ya Rabula Rabbi sung by Sonu Nigam.

My Rating-Two Tears!!

Music Review:Gopi Gopika Godavari(Chakri)

Chakri comes with a baggage or rather with the chokers tag.The burly man’s talent was never in question with several gems to his name(Case in point the heart rending Jagamanta Kutumbam Naadi) but his inconsistency has led to a lot of heartburn.Here Chakri has the perfect platform to envision a breezy soundtrack……

Karthik makes a melodious start to Bala Godavari except that is is nothing great.The rhythm is as old as the mountains and the conversationalist style well worn.Sothe song needed something fresh to elevate it to a higher plane which is unsurprisingly lacking.The santoor provides for a soothing backdrop to the gawky Go Go Rye Rye.The ungainly singing of Chakri though is thoroughly unecessary.The way he spells ‘Go Go’ is jarring,maiming a flowery tune that was about to blossom.Unintentionally funny.The altogether muddled Maavidaku is at best rambling and insipid.The lyrics bewilder if not perplex me-How hebetudinous can the music director and lyricist be to amalgamate the lyrics Maavidaku Thoranaale into a fast paced,beat based cadence.To compound the problems a bit further-I found the opening interlude similar to Om Namaste Bolo(Ready) and the intervening interludes akin to Ek Baar(Chirutha?).These might be gratuitous but certainly don’t help make the song any better.With a minimalist tune Nuvvakkadunte is better considering what I have been trudging through.But that’s not saying much,Ain’t it?The staid Sundari is a mediocre effort that fails to raise the bar that is set way too low by Chakri.It’s rasping to hear Madhumita trying hard to imitate Sadhna Sargam.This very stereotype is the archetype of Chakri’s music and proves to be his foible time and again.

After a racy Maska,Chakri succumbs to his old failings.Doesn’t portend well for the film,this.

My Picks-None

My Rating-Two Tears!!

Music Review:Prayanam(Mahesh Shankar)

I was intrigued to find Vishal Dadlani on the inlay card and a question cropped up.Can he sing telugu without mutilating the pronunciation something the imported hindi singing brethren are (in)famous for?Even today Udit Narayan’s atrocious bordering on blasphemous pronunciation continues to haunt me;Evidently lessons haven’t been learnt.The good thing is Vishal Dadlani is one amongst the many crooning Hey Ya Wow which is made zingy by effusive interludes and catchy choruses;The lyrics are commonplace though.Meghamaa got me by surprise-listen to the song to know why.I stared with incredulity at what my music system was playing.A gorgeous experiment that comes out with flying colours.The MD deserves a pat for drowning me into nostalgia.With fab orchestration juxtaposed against some moody uncut vocals(Is it Mahesh Shankar or Sri Ram Chandra?) Nuvvu Entha shines through brightly.Sadly both Meghamaa and Nuvvu Entha are bit songs both clocking below 3 minutes.

Mahesh Shankar displays a rare efficiency and clarity of composition that has been lacking in telugu OSTs these days.I reviewed this album with trepidation as empirical evidence points that bad music is synonymous with small films.But Mahesh Shankar has got me gobsmacked.This is the the Dasvidanya of telugu-Unsung,Sweet and Compact.

My Picks-Meghamaa,Nuvvu Entha

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!

Movie Review:Life In A Metro(Anurag Basu)

With not much to do I thought I would have a dekko at Life In A Metro-a movie I couldn’t watch till yesterday.My thoughts..

That Anurag Basu is talented was a well established truth.But the extent of his genius presented itself in the fullest to me as I watched this brilliantly crafted drama.Trained in the Bhatt school of filmmaking Anurag is a man who doesn’t restrain himself and is someone who shows delightful mastery over complex human emotions and bonds.So armed with a multi star cast containing some of the most unsung artistes Bollywood has produced.

Metro is a movie in flux.It moves at a brisk pace focussing on 9 people as they go along leading their lives in a frenetic Mumbai.Shikha(Shilpa Shetty) and Ranjeet are a married couple going through rough phases almost squabbling over everything and anything while Shruti(Konkona Sen) is Shilpa’s sister who hasn’t found true love in this world.Rahul(Sharman Joshi) is an employee in Ranjeet’s office who lets out his flat for his colleagues sexual escapades in return for a good word they would put in with the boss for his promotion.In his own words…Main yahan race jeetne aaya hoon koi morning walk pe nahin.. and even before one starts suspecting the character of the man Basu weaves in a father thread that seemingly justifies Rahul’s lack of rectitude.Neha(Kangana Ranaut) too is an employee in Ranjeet’s firm and sleeps with him in the belief that someday he would reciprocate her love.Rahul loves Neha.Meanwhile Anmol(Dharmendra) and Shivani(Nafisa Ali) find love after 60 after living for 40 years in separation.Anmol comes back to India to spend his little remaining life with her.Shikha finds herself drawn towards Akash(Shiney Ahuja) and soon she starts evincing interest in him as things get worse at homefront.There’s also Irrfan Khan in a ingeniously etched role along with Konkona and both of them stand out as first among equals amongst the sparkling star cast.

I also believe touching scenes that tug at the heartstrings cumulatively make a film.One need not agree with what the director is potraying on screen until and unless it is unconvincing.In Metro the same happens.One can only stare with disbelief as the characters get entangling themselves into a huge mess.Not one of them seem to have the patience to stop for a moment and dwell on the muck they are descending themselves into.Even as one see’s the Ranjeet-Neha thread coming to an end one see’s Akash and Shikha getting up close with each other.The only plot that is free from convolutions is the sweet sexagenarian love between Anmol and Shivani.Both of them are oblivious to the world as soon as they are together and one can only feel sorry for Anmol when his world comes shattering down.

Basu should be made to teach the likes of Nikhil Advani on the art of making taut multi starrers.It is good that Basu realised that having a talented star cast is only have the battle won.After all content is king.Even the kitschy Deewangi Deewangi in Om Shanthi Om with a galaxy of stars in it was a neatly choreographed and picturised song.

It is fascinating how Basu has managed to extract such exquisite performances from each one of  the cast.Irrfan is irrepresible as the peeping tom who vows to listen to whatever his wife will say after marriage.Konkona plays Shruti with accomplished ease something she has perfected with dainty little films.Shiney is spectacular in a small yet well fleshed out role.That one feels bad for him at the end is testimony to this fact.Kangana is once again in her elements playing the cliched role of a mentally unsound person with clinical efficiency.Sharman Joshi as the man torn between Neha,money and father love is great and lends gravitas to the role mixing in vileness with innocence.Kay Kay Menon pitches in a nuanced performance as the promiscuous husband who mends his ways in the end.But for me Shilpa’s portrayal as Shikha was the best of the lot for here is an actress who has revealed her midriff more than her acting skills yet explodes on screen with her riveting performance.

Technically the film is top notch with a non intrusive photography that plays mere spectator to the ongoings and is stylish at the same time.Another splendid aspect of the movie is the way the rock ballads have been blended into the movie.Pritam,James and Suhail play themselves as vagrant balladeers who lend a sufi touch to the proceedings with their evocative songs.The dialogue is doused in acidity and hardhitting.I think silence is a essential part of dialogue and it is put to good effect.What a hundred words can’t say a dead silence can.The lines mouthed by Irrfan come to mind..Yeh shahar jitna hum sabko deti hain us se kaiye jyada humse le leti hain(This city takes away more from us than what it bestows on us).