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Music,Musings et al

Month: May, 2009

Music Review:Life In A Metro(Pritam)

So here’s my first review in pursuance with the Old Is Gold theory.Life In A Metro was the most remarkable and striking album of 2007(atleast for me).The music scene which was languishing till then in mediocre stereotyped sounds of the nasalite received a booster shot with Metro.

The poignant lyrics of Sayeed Quadri lodge themselves into the seamless In Dino sung evocatively by Soham Chakraborty.The singer is to be commended for this is not a easy song to sing for it is replete with nuances and intricacies that add up into a delightful experience.The bewitching use of the harmonica can’t be emphasised more.

Alvida for me epitomises soft rock in India.Encapsulated in a haunting melancholy the song is profoundly moving each and every time I hear it.The electric guitar interludes are the standout of the song-It is rousing to hear inherently India notes play on a wetern instrument and Pritam’s skill is in full flow here.They add to the impetus and stature of the track and are wonderful creations listened to in particular or as a whole.KK is just the right person to handle this song for he has a silken voice that underscores the pain even more.And who can reach the highest notes and yet carry the same velvety voice throughout.Also note how Pritam builds the track to a peak and almost suddenlt brings it to a standstill leaving one breathless like after a bungee jump.

The gruff vocals of James add an entirely new dimension to Alvida Reprise making the pain of heartbreak that much more palpable.

The soft notes of a piano open O Meri Jaan setting the tone for a rock ballad.The tune structure works like wonder here-progressing slowly to a crescendo and then transforming into a lovely hum(OOOO).Pritam and his band are known for adding tuneful nothings to enhance a song’s appeal and they do exactly that with O Meri Jaan.Note the playful and mischievous lyrics are a euphemism for promiscuity.

James stands for gloom be it the depressing Bheegi Bheegi(Gangster) or Rishtey(Life In A Metro).Never have I seen a more forlorn voice.This man can make even a cheerful melody sound like a morose one.So its no wonder the heartrending Rishtey becomes gut wrenching coming from him.

The elegant Baatein Kuch Ankahee Si exudes a warmth that is unmistakable.Pritam is in his elements again embellishing the track with delightful hummings that take the song to a whole new paradigm.Suhail’s efficacy is right up there but even then I prefer the Adnan Sami version any day.Adnan imbues a roly poly infectious energy that I simply love.

Kar Salaam is an ode to the city of Mumbai.Captivating is the word to describe this song.The languorous thump of drums is undoubtedly the highlight of the song while the singers bring in a waft of nonchalant Mumbai flavour into the song.

For me Metro is the definitive album of Pritam though he has delivered many more riveting tracks in other albums simply because as a single entity..as a package Life In A Metro never falters.Leave alone falter it excels and therein lies it’s success.

My Rating-Five Cheers!!!!!

Old Is Gold

Since there seems to be no respite for music lovers from the skirmishes between the producers and multiplex owners I have decided to review some of my favourite albums.These reviews will keep coming till there is a new release.The reviews are in no particular order.

Movie Review:Dev D(Anurag Kashyap)

Let me mention upfront that Dev D is dark and disturbing and is not for the faint hearted.Also to watch this movie one needs oodles of patience.But one thing is clear-Dev D is Bollywood film noir at its best.

As one nows Dev D is a modern take of the Sarath Chandra Chatterjee’s novella Devdas.And I must say it is a highly imaginative and skillful one at that.Imaginative because it demolishes and establishes some of the well entrenched views and morals.It doesn’t take an utopian(in other words preposterous) stand of a drinking Dev pining away for his Paro.Also the way the director has developed the modern Devdas is highly creative.The execution of the film deserves special mention for its phantasmagorical shot taking and pitch perfect scripting.

Dev D might be shocking for some(atleast for me) since it openly depicts the pent up sexual feelings of the main leads Dev(Abhay Deol) and Paro(Mahi Gill).The promiscuous Dev and a Paro who is happy to get married to an older man is unnerving and striking.The story begins with the arrival of Dev from London who was packed off for his impetuosity by his father.The adult Dev and Paro though keep in touch through what else but e-mail and chatting.A misunderstanding crops up when the village allege a promiscuous past of Paro.This breaks down the relationship between Dev and Paro and the latter gets married to a man of her father’s choice in the raucous laugh out loud Emosanal Attyachaar.Soon Dev descends into the vortex of drugs and booze until he meets Chanda(Kalki Koechlin).Chanda is a call girl who has a past.Chanda or originally Lennie is the daughter of a diplomat who kills himself unable bear the news of his daughter caught in an MMS scandal.Chanda aka Lennie leaves home and finds refuge in the big bad red light district of Delhi.Events happen and Dev finally settles for Chanda exclaiming he no longer loves Paro.

The director deserves praise for turning an singularly uninteresting tale into an absorbing and engaging story that sucks you into it in the first hour and never lets up.Sanjay Leela Bansali did with opulence while Kashyap has done with an imaginative storyline.Kashyap has done an extraordinary job in transforming the story into a psychedelic saga that plays on the mind heavily.

Music by Amit Trivedi is refreshing and the integration of songs into the storyboard is done splendidly to capture the mood of the protaganist and happenings.The lead actors led by the avant-garde Abhay Deol are scintillating.Camera Work as mentioned earlier is hitherto unseen in Indian cinema.

One sore point for me though was the director getting indulgent in the second half and clumsying it up a bit.Nevertheless Dev D deserves a watch for its sheer audacity in taking apart probity and shredding rectitude to pieces.After all it has brought the f*** into Bollywood.

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!

Books:Q & A(Vikas Swarup)

Q & A adapted into the hugely successful Slumdog Millionaire is what the Americans call a beach read.With its racy narrative that combines some striking vignettes and travails of the poor the book actually never takes itself seriously.This itself is the single biggest flaw in the book.But if one is ready to brush it aside as insignificant then there is a interesting premise and an even more interesting tale to chew on.The book mainly focuses on the personal journey of Ram Mohammed Thomas from his nondescript existence to becoming the winner of Who Will Win A Billion?The storytelling is non-linear and shifts back and forth to reveal how the protagonist is helped by incidents that happened  in his life to answer the questions.

Vikas Swarup manages a stranglehold over the reader right from the start with something or the other happening-a new revelation….a twist..He keeps them coming to leave the reader breathless.The tantalising storytelling is mighty effective since it keeps one guessing as to what ¬† next question be?

Q & A makes it clear right from the start that it is not a literary escapade that would possess beautiful literary phrases or stunning poetic language.If that’s what you are looking for then keep off.

The cinematic appeal of the book is immense and it has rightly been made into a film.Books like this and those written by Michael Crichton(Jurassic Park,Disclosure,Next etc),Dan Brown(Da Vinci Code) among others lend themselves well into a cinema story.

Vikas Swarup makes a spectacular debut with Q&A and exhibits his more than ample story telling skills thrilling and tantalising the reader.An enjoyable read.

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!

PS:I must mention that I hadn’t watched the movie before reading the book.

Music Review:Pistha(Mani Sharma)

The lively Mandakini with its tacky lyrics and moth eaten tune has no innovation except for probably the usage of a languid guitar in a massy song.Latino guitar riffs pave the way for the lilting and likeable Naa Maharani.Some vibrant arrangements and a dash of effortless singing help this one sparkle.The tune though is mediocre.Note that the opening music of the song is similar to that of My Name Is Billa,though on the slower side.With a routine beat Oka Pelican fails to impress though the techno instrumentation is pretty neat.The idyllic Pattuko Pattuko is fine except for the nagging feeling of hearing to a hackneyed tune.Pidi Pidi is assembly line Mani Sharma at its worst-Everything right from the backgrounds,tune to the arrangements are stale.The customary hero number is a convoluted concoction.

Pistha is a routine soundtrack from the stables of Mani Sharma with placid tunes and staid lyrics.

My Picks- Naa Maharani

My Rating-One Tear!

Music Review:Veedokkade(Harris Jeyaraj)

Harris Jeyaraj has a reputation of coming up with some scintillating musical scores and makes a formidable pair along with Surya.Known for his stock carol’esque tunes Jeyaraj gave a wonderful score for Surya’s last film Surya S/O Krishnan.Let’s see how the man fares this time around.

It’s not always difficult to single out an item number,so it doesn’t take lot of brains to conclude that the song Honey Honey is an item number.The creepy voice is downright nerve wracking.Probably Harris wanted to try something new but the effort falls flat.Skip it.Kallu Moosi Yochisthey is better in fact far better.The melancholy tinged song sung by Karthik is serene and velvety.Harris spikes the next song with all his predictably catchy hooks and rhythms to concoct a first rate number.Nene Nene Needhanne is the best song of the OST and there are no second thoughts about it.The BGM of the song is somehow akin to that of a train chugging at 50 kmph! The next number Ooyaayiye Aayiye stunts the soundtrack with its nondescript tune and thoroughly cliched arrangements.May I add that the singing is also lacklustre.The groovy Pela Pela uplifts the OST with its swinging 60s backgrounds and buoyant singing.The choice of Hariharan is surprising considering he sings more balmy tracks.This could as well have been given to Benny Dayal or Karthik and they would have done a good job.But listen to the song once and you’ll know the difference Hariharan brings in with his soulfully husky voice.

Harris Jeyaraj’s Veedokkade(Ayan in tamil) is a platitudinal soundtrack that gets it right most of the times yet stumbling and stuttering sometimes.My grouse stands true even now-When will we get some good lyrics in a dubbed movie.Anandha Thandavam had some nice songs but its lyrics were downright lousy.Its no better with Veedokkade.

My Picks-Nene Nene Needhanne,Pela Pela

My Rating-Two Cheers!!