Hot Gas

Music,Musings et al

Month: September, 2011

Impressions : Dookudu Movie

*Worth a single watch at least for the most awefuckingsome, mind blasting (Yes,Russel Peters would also agree) hero introduction scene in the history of Telugu Indian cinema. Idi choosaka okkokadiki bulbulu pagilipotaye.

*Mahesh’s screen presence was never in doubt even in duds like Athidi and Khaleja (I still like the movie!) and he is stunning in Dookudu also, carrying the slightly bloated 3 hour long movie on his shoulders.

*Talking about movie run time, although this is a loong movie, it is never tiresome. On the contrary, the familiar Seenu Vytla trick of stuffing every scene with humour and comedy keeps the laughter rolling. Consider it to be like Ready (The telugu one.Nobody gives a shit about the Hindi one which earned truckloads of money but had a constipated chimp masquerading as a hero) with a better script + good action thrills + mass masala + MAHESH BABU

*Kona Venkat, the asthana dialogue writer for Vytla films, is getting awesomer by the day. There is a full on so-whistle-worthy-a-mass-masala-dialogue-that-it-will-blow-your-fucking-mind once in every ten minutes. So in that sense it is a return to the Pokiri kind of dialogue writing but not story telling.

*Samantha looks cute onscreen and is a change from the now-gone-cranky Kajal. Prakash Raj does a positive role for a change although he is annoying sometimes.Nazar dabbles in comedy for probably the first time.Brahmanandam is as usual the biggest bakra of them all.MS Narayana’s showreel of Yamadonga, Magadheera and Simha is delightfully funny.The others make up the numbers.

*The songs have been shot well.Chulbuli gains a lot from the choreography and beautiful locales.Nee Dookudu was pure mass hysteria in the theater as it follows the awefuckingsome intro scene.The others are alright.

So all in all a paisa vasool movie that should preferably be watched amidst the din of a single theater. I hear that already half of Kollywood and Bollywood (the chimp included) want to remake this movie.I wish them luck (But please! not the one trick shirt undressing pony!)

Music Review : Oosaravelli (Devi Sri Prasad)

Even a reasonably predictably composer steps out of his comfort zone once in a while and Devi Sri does this brilliantly with Brathakali – an angsty song that breathes fire through its abrasive rock base, powerful lyrics and furious singing. Devi Sri’s own uncut vocals provide the perfect counterpoint to all this.Terrific, compelling listen!

If there is one place one consistently hears the talented Adnan Sami, it is in Devi Sri’s soundtracks. Granted that he has a unique voice (jalubu gonthu, they say in telugu!) that does not fit many situations but it seems as if our MDs have completely forsaken him. But Devi usually gives him tuneful songs and here too Sami gets to sink his teeth into a jaunty number – Nenante – with some breezy orchestration.

Yelango and Dhandiya are completely uninspired. The former at least has an interesting flow to it but the latter is a terrible kuthu song that hammers home every cliched sound from the genre. Even the lyrics by Anantha Sriram are painfully lowbrow. The theme track, on the other hand, is eminently forgettable. Sri Anjaneyam, the other bit song, is uplifted by some good lyrics and spirited singing. Of the two melodies – Love Ante and Niharika – the latter is the clear winner. Although the tune is nothing great to write home about, the ambient orchestration and choice of singers make it engaging.

My Picks – Brathakali, Nenante

Music Review: Force (Harris Jayaraj)

Force is quite an interesting album and showcases most of Harris Jayaraj’s strengths – hummable tunes, pleasant orchestration and catchy riffs – to Hindi music listener. While for a substantial part the soundtrack only recycles Jayaraj’s earlier hits, it has at least one strong new composition for the southie listener. Khwabon remains faithful to the original, Uyirin Uyire, right down to the singers and still remains a delight to listen to. It is a strong tuneful song and transcends the language barrier with ease. Main Chali, on the other hand, pales in comparison to its source Manasa (Munna; Telugu) because of an uneasy blending of the antara and mukhda. Where the original had one single simpatico flow between these two, the Hindi version tries to stitch up a breezy antara with a rather exuberant mukhda. While this is not necessarily bad, at least here it appears disjoint and discordant. Dum Hai To Aaja follows a pattern that is similar to 10 on 10 (Pyaar Impossible) and holds limited appeal. Jayaraj serves up a passable melody in Dil Ki Hai Tamanna; a situational song with a weak tune. Chahoon Bhi is an absolute stunner: inheriting its legacy arguably from Rahman’s Khamosh Raat. It has a gentle rhythm and an excellent ambient tune that is leisurely but not lazy. It takes a while for the soothing melody to wash over you (Yes,its one of those songs that grows over you). The choice of singers (Bombay Jayashree & Karthik) is thoughtful and pays rich dividends. It is a pity Bombay Jayashree does not sing as much as she deserves to and Karthik, in a decidedly cameo role, pitches in a superlative dreamy performance.

My Picks – Chahoon Bhi (Khwabon also recommended for the first time listener)     

On Amsterdam

McEwan writes well and the two books I have read of his – this and The Comfort of Strangers – maintain splendidly a simmering undercurrent of unease and tension that comes to the fore in the end.In fact the ending of Amsterdam is serene as compared to The Comfort…which spirals to a visceral denouement.This kind of writing is the antithesis of the mass produced thriller that directly appeals to and appeases the adrenaline.It plays subtly on the frazzled nerves of the reader; even the intelligent one who knows all is not hunky dory and is kept guessing till the end.The plotting is straightforward, revolving around two major protagonists who are linked by a late common lover, but it is the writing that elevates it.McEwan wades through the moral morass that the protagonists fall into with a light touch. The narrative mostly flows from the internal thoughts of Clive and Vernon and this is an exceptional way to keep the reader engaged with their most intimate thoughts.

The prose is crisp and elegant and the book ends when it should.

Music Review: Ra.One (Vishal-Shekhar)

The score opens with the by now popular Chammak Challo which starts of on an admittedly awkward note before finding its groove in the kaisa sharmana aaja refrain. This is when Akon finds his range even as the song becomes more fluid and truly international in its appeal. Further the song comes in a catena of remixes which one can try out at one’s own leisure. Also a note on Hamsika Iyer’s singing – It’s absolutely stunning. I have been a great admirer of her voice since the serene Chanda Re (Eklavya) and her seraphic vocals should ideally get more recognition. Akon’s other song Criminal melds pop influences into Vishal-Shekhar’s templatized desi tune to good effect while Jiya Mora Gabhraaye inverts the process, to a lesser impact, by overlaying quasi classical vocals onto a somewhat techno-trance base. It seems like one of those middling Midival Punditz efforts; nothing less nothing more. Right By Side is extremely Vishal-Shekhar’ish for comfort – although it feels like comfort music – invoking bits and pieces of their upbeat numbers from Dostana to Break Ke Baad. It is still held up by some sprightly singing and orchestration. If you take comfort in the commonplace then this is for you. But in my opinion the soundtrack takes a turn for the better from hereon with three exquisite numbers which form the mainstay of this soundtrack. Vishal Shekhar channel the same frenzied spirit that probably seized Vishal Bharadwaj when he was creating Dhan Te Nan in the sensational Raftaarein. Right from the seedy opening burst of music to the sinister B-movie singing topped by the repetitive Veera hook, everything about this song reads pulp. Although it could have ended up being a corny re-take of the blaring 70s era it has enough originality and ballast to hold its own amidst a sea of derivative efforts. It also helps that Vishal helms it with his characteristic gruff vocals. In Bhare Naina, Vishal Shekhar create a fabulous song, blending Hindustani classical singing into a soft rock orchestration. A couple of gothic chants are thrown in to create a brooding atmosphere. It is a song that thrives in this captivating atmosphere too with the orchestration, that keeps shifting gears, merely aiding it and letting the vocals breathe. The soundtrack comes to an splendid conclusion with Dildara (Stand By Me). Shafqat Amanat Ali has been my favourite singer since his Fuzon days and here he is in sublime form, extracting nuances out of words that no other singer would have or even could have and sings with that rare transcendental quality that uplifts a song from being a purely aural experience to a metaphysical one. Vishal Shekhar’s sparkly tune changes shades intelligently and gorgeously while Kumaar’s mix of sufi platitudes hardly matter as Shafqat’s inspired singing takes over. Ben E King’s Stand By Me almost becomes unrecognisable except for the lyrics which remain intact and the same seems to have been incorporated as a rallying pitch for the protaganist. The three instrumental scores are aptly grandiose and rousing in nature with strains of Raftaarein predictably finding a mention.     

Ra.One has a smashing score from Vishal-Shekhar with enough variety to keep a listener engrossed.

My Picks – Dildara (Stand By Me), Raftaarein, Bhare Naina, Chammak Challo