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Music,Musings et al

Category: Haphazard Thoughts

Ms Sunita, Please brush up your English

This post is essentially a rant against a review of Gabbar Singh posted by Y Sunita Chowdary on Cinegoer. So read the review here for the context – It is meant to be an assessment of the English language skills that Ms Sunita possesses. Mostly, I have done this by picking out offensive sentences from the review. The process is merely indicative as there is more incredibly bad grammar lurking in that review which I did not bother about. Also, the piece is supposed to be a general reflection on the horrible state of affairs in the field of Telugu Film critiquing.

I suggest that Sunita Chowdary be sent to school first so that her grammar and sentence construction skills can set right. This review is an unending string of horrendous grammatical errors. However, you would be mistaken if you thought the problem was only restricted to that. Her descriptions are simply pathetic with no tonal consistency whatsoever. I am sorry but if this review was meant to be sarcastic, I wonder who the joke is on right now. Also pray tell me, who in their right mind writes a movie review in past tense? Take the second sentence in the first paragraph itself.  “It is neither a popular story nor a timeless one but what acquires..which is quite an achievement.” Ms Sunita, you cannot just keep adding connectors and extend sentences as much as you want to. There is something known as a full stop which should be used as much as possible to make sentences intelligible. “…the rest the entire credit goes to Harish” Seriously? First decide for yourself how much credit you want to give to Harish? The rest. Or the entire credit. “The director remains close and faithful to Dabangg…without too many risks or going overboard.” So is it a good thing or a bad thing that there are not too many vulgar pelvic thrusts and over the top moments? I think its a good thing. Why do you make it sound bad? And what are these “risks” that you wanted the director to take in an out and out commercial movie? ” ….the two numbers that follow successively does get a notice.” “Do” get a notice, you mean? But even that is incorrect English madam. After all how can songs get a notice? For non payment of electricity bills or what? After some more shocking sentences you suddenly decide to analyse a dialogue from the movie to suggest that it did not have the requisite impact. Any particular reason you chose only that dialogue? Because for me there are many dialogues that work and many that don’t. So what is the point of picking out one dialogue and saying that it did not work. “…panegyric goes utter waste.” It should be – panegyric goes “in” utter waste. “….his jerseys show that he is trapped in youth though the spring in his walk is a delight to watch.” I am quite sure that, in fourth or fifth standard, when your teacher taught you how to use the word “though” she must have told you that it must be used to qualify what has been said before. Therefore your use of it is simply befuddling. Next comes one of the best lines ever – “Ajay is vulnerable.” Vulnerable to whom? The goons, the hero or cancer? Or is it viral cold? Also decide for yourself whether you want to praise a performance or describe it. You should not ideally do one for an actor and another for another. “Abhimanyu Singh has matured as an actor.” This is the only time I’m tempted to make a qualitative assessment. I am sorry but after superlatives performances in Gulaal and I Am, Gabbar Singh can only be a regression. Or do you think it is better than those performances? In which case I not only doubt your English language skills but also your ability to critically appreciate a performance.

I was obligated to write this because these are the film critics that are widely venerated and feted. Writing in proper grammar is the first sign of credibility and unfortunately we have critics who can’t even string a sentence together.

The Sneer of Elitism

Over the past couple of days as the India against Corruption Movement has picked up steam in various parts of the country, I have noticed a very distressing trend over various online fora and social networking platforms. There seems to be a distinct wave of anti-Anna Hazare criticism coming to surface, more clearly than ever. I do not have a problem with this per se. I would probably be one of the first to discard Anna, if not for his juvenile antics and recalcitrant behavior (The government though takes half the blame for this) but for the damage he has done to the anti-corruption movement. But my focus is not Anna. My problem rather is with the apparent elitism with which this anti-Anna movement (Considering how loosely this term is used, the word movement can be applied here also) has been operating. Let us examine their criticism and unravel the hypocrisy of it.

The accusation/criticism is about how the people/masses are being misled by Team Anna which is projecting the Jan Lokpal Bill as being a panacea for corruption, if implemented. This seems to be fair. But I have a problem with how this criticism is being sustained through examples. The usual example involves a common man who does not know anything about the provisions of the Lokpal Bill but has come out on to the streets to join the protest of Anna Hazare nevertheless. This common man who has in the last one year seen the 2G Scam, the Commonwealth Games scam, the Adarsh Society scam, the Reddy brothers’ mining scam etcetera is usually the point of ridicule for being naïve enough to join a protest he does not know anything about. He is also accused by the government of Rajas, Kanimozhis, Kapil Sibals, Digvijaya Singhs, Manish Tiwaris and Manmohan Singhs (Who as the Prime Minister with most integrity and honesty in independent India has quite paradoxically run the most corrupt regime in independent India. The same Manmohan Singh was brazen enough to say that scams were compulsions of coalition politics!) for bringing the country to a standstill. He, the common man, is derided for not being able to articulate properly the provisions of the draft Jan Lokpal Bill he is shouting slogans for. I am not sure how many people sitting in ivory towers have actually read it. But that is not the point. If all this exercise was to have a decidedly cruel snigger at the expense of a modest common man who toils for the same country he is right now holding to ransom, even then I am fine with it. Or maybe not because I have a conscience and maybe because I understand that the spate of scams have finally gotten to a generally apathetic and indifferent (towards petty corruption) populace. Perhaps I am in a better position to empathize with the plight of a common man because I am one of them and stood entire days in the sun to get a certificate or a driving license just because I did not bribe the authorities. Maybe, just maybe the people are vexed and tired at the unending, unconscionable usurpation of taxpayers’ money. Maybe just maybe, this is legitimate angst at having to pay graft to get a driver’s license (also learners license) or a passport or a gas connection or a kilogram of sugar from the ration shop or a birth certificate and even a death certificate….Maybe a Lokpal will actually lead to better, cleaner governance. Maybe it is not a favour to Anna Hazare that all these people are doing. They are doing a favour to themselves. Maybe we should identify with the cause rather than Anna Hazare (Afterall we are more intelligent than the common man who we sneer at for mixing up issues, aren’t we?) to push the curiously intractable government into tabling a Lokpal bill (Kindly note that I’m not talking of a Jan Lokpal Bill. Just a proper, workable Lokpal Bill. This is about the cause of anti-corruption and Lokpal is just one of the issues. It can also include for example the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill.). Let us then leave it to the beauty and horrors of representative democracy (And give an opportunity to the UPA MPs who have been crying hoarse about how they are the legitimate representatives of the people and that only they can legislate). What can even the civil society do if the Government comes up with a good legislation? And more importantly what can the people (who anyway do not know jack about the Lokpal Bill and cannot differentiate the Anna stir from an anti-corruption movement; so how does it matter as long as some move is taken against corruption that is tangible to their everyday life.) do when the headlines in the morning’s papers say “Government tables and passes strong Lokpal Bill to tackle corruption and graft”? Chances are they will stop holding their own country to ransom.

So for god sake think before you sneer. And remember that the government is there for the people and not the other way round as some of the UPA spokespersons would want you to believe. Also don’t expect expert lawyerly articulations from the common man about a legislation.

Music:Some Notable Ramblings(HTAG,Houseful,Kites,Badmaash Company,Paathshaala)

As most of you would agree,my writing has become way too sporadic.It has its reasons.But as far as possible,I would like to keep updating this blog,if not with comprehensive reviews atleast with some random thoughts on what I’ve heard and liked recently.

Shankar Ehsaan Loy had two rather pallid releases some time back:Hum Tum Aur Ghost and Houseful.The former wasn’t a rank bad one per se as it had an exceptional song in Dekho Raste Mein and a reasonably decent one in Kal Tum The Yahan.The others were of course a bland ghosth(Hum Tum Aur Ghost) and a burnt toast(Banware Se Pooche Banwariya).Rewinding back,Dekho Raste Mein had me totally floored with that sparkling tune,effortless singing and lissome orchestration.The lyrics being none too impressive,it’s infectiousness is even more appreciable.

Going by the expectations,Houseful is an absolute dud of a soundtrack.There isn’t one song that catches the eye(or ear).The Dhanno remix doesn’t tamper much with the orginal,but the choice of song is in itself suspect.I Don’t Know What To Do and Papa Jag Jayega are too verbose while Loser is just that:a loser.Oh Girl shows sparks of promise but never really gets ignited.

Paathshaala is an efficient soundtrack in the sense that it gets the job done,and quite methodically at that.Of the ensemble,I particularly like Bekarar,even though it doesn’t feature Lucky Ali at his fluent best,and Aye Khuda,even though Salim Merchant is sounding way too tedious and flat these days.

Kites is a rather weird soundtrack.It displays enough mettle and variety to have one intrigued but just when one expects the going to get better it charts an entirely different course to leave  the listener high and dry.Zindagi Do Pal Ki lathers the old world charm for as long as it works.KK is a top-notch choice,his tone suffused with longing and melancholy,and is a dream to listen to.Ditto with Dil Kyun Yeh Mera which has some lovely passages.But from then on Mr Roshan unadvisedly gives in to the urge of showing off some modern stuff.And that’s exactly when the soundtrack starts falling apart.Kites In The Sky can be excused but Tum Bhi Ho Wahi is totally jarring.Adding to the incense is the curious case of a song named Fire that too in two pedestrian avatars.Crazy stuff.

Badmaash Company is an interesting package.While Ayaashi and the title song are unabashedly boring it has one excellent song and two marginal ones to make up for.Chaska has the rusty,wheezing electric guitar jettisoning the ubiquitous dhol beats,Jingle Jingle has a very delightful,drawn out acoustic riff.Full marks to Pritam for the ingenuity.Further,Fakeera is an unusual song from the composer and moreover Rahat is quite an unusual choice.This unusualness though can quickly be forgotten as the breezy song starts to gather momentum.The opening riffs of the electric guitar are a delicacy,they are still swirling within me,while this must have been Rahat’s easiest payday.Excellent song.

Shamful Music Release

You must be wondering about the typo in the heading.Anyway read on and you’ll come to know what I mean…..

Last Sunday,with nothing much to do,I settled down before the TV to idle away.As (bad) luck would have it,one television channel was broadcasting the Magadheera music release function,live.Amused I watched on.Having seen a few music release functions before I knew how this would pan out too.And soon enough the farce started to unravel.The music director who is supposed to be the man in the limelight was relegated to the background while the actor and his family took centrestage.This shoddy treatment befell on MM Keeravani.With the entire entourage of Allu Aravind’s family taking the front rows,the director too was twiddling his thumbs in the background.The shoddy show was visibly unrehearsed.Saying that the telugu actors are bad speakers without scripts is to state the obvious.Each actor trudged onto the stage to utter a few puerilities as to how illustrious Ram Charan was,with Allu Arjun being the most cringeworthy with his supercilious antics.As if this was not enough,in came Ali and Venu Madhav.Being the eternal sycophants that they are,they put on an unrestrained show of servility and rotten humour that one would cry looking at.

Notwithstanding all this,most of the speakers were eager to pronounce the film a success.All of them talked about how good the trailer was and how good a director Rajamouli is.The writer of the film went as far as to compare Rajamouli with Maniratnam.Maybe the invite did not mention that it was a music release function after all and not a post release function,where they usually do all the absurd backpatting.

Unable to digest the pratfall comedy any more I switched channel.Now I’m kicking myself for not doing it  earlier…..

Frills Thrill!!!(Love Aaj Kal)

The review for Love Aaj Kal has already been posted.For review click here.

Now that we have enjoyed and raved about the music of Love Aaj Kal,it’s time to dig a little deeper to know exactly what made it such a pleasurable experience.Here’s a thought…
Listening to the OST,I couldn’t help but notice the little elegant bells & whistles that made listening to it an engrossing affair.Usually I would have put all this down within a review,but considering it would be too much of a digression I decided to make a separate post out of it.
Pritam,it has been said,has this uncanny knack for producing sound that is delicious to the ears.After all who can forget the evanescent techno sound of Tu Hi Meri Shab Hai or the sui generis electric guitaring in Alvida that gave a contemporary expression to a very Indian sound.
In Love Aaj Kal, Pritam shows off this splendid ability at conjuring scherzos that might as well be remembered as standalone pieces of art.Look no further than Chor Bazaari, where a rather staid tune is uplifted by the eloquent sitar (?)Also notice how a plaintive violin kicks in,providing an emphatic backdrop to Sunidhi in Thoda Thoda Pyaar.The striking guitar riffs at the beginning of Aahun Aahun giving it an enthralling start.Those short bursts of staccato guitar add an indescribable recall value to the song apart from the ingenious use of Kadi Te Hass Bol Ve.Similar is the quantum of effect of KK’s high octave dreaminess in Main Kya Hoon.A dash of techno and synth is all it takes to make an above average sound appear ethereal.Aaj Din Chadheya is the only song where Pritam doesn’t add any particular embellishment though he fills it up to the gills with a lush, vibrant score setting the stage for pied piper Rahat to take centrestage.Finally,the MD brings the house down with the extremely infectious infusion of Tan Dole Mera Man Dole which offers an amazingly kitschy backdrop to Neeraj Sridhar’s verbosity.
Frills Thrill!!!

Love Aaj Kal Music Review Soon!!!

Got my hands on Pritam’s Love Aaj Kal today.Gave it a listening and lI’m liking what I see.But for the main detailed review one will have to wait till Sunday!!!

Inconvenience regretted!

Review Posted.Click Here

Overrated OST:Kanthaswamy

The Economic Times today carried a report on Ayngaran buying the overseas rights of the much hyped Kanthaswamy for 5 crores!!!What caught my eye though was a line which mentioned that the music rights were apparently sold for a whopping 91 lakhs to Sony BGM.
What were the guys at Sony thinking.Maybe they didn’t listen to the OST before shelling out.Another case of hype fuelling unreasonable expectations?So musch so for Devi Sri’s pathetic music!!!

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?

Things I Wish (Rather Love) to See in IPL

Okay This is not a regular post and since there seams to be a lean season going on for reviewers.(Guys wake up…The multiplex fellows and the producers are striking which means no audio releases…Aamir and SRK did their bit but I think they rather couldn’t pull it off!!! Afterall when it comes to money a person can do anything.Say for example Brendon McCullum moving over to Chennai if offered a few more bucks from the Kolkata Knight Riders!!!).So I write something else to lighten the mood a bit fiercely departing from the sombre and solemn music reviews I do.Let it rip…

*Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan coming face to face in a match and to liven the proceedings a bit one of them taking the initiative to get physical.Ummm that would set off some real fireworks and might even signal the end of one of their careers!!!

*Lalit Modi has proposed two 71/2 minute breaks,ie seven and half for the numerically challenged, to rake in some more moolah by way of advertisements.Hope we get to see someone like Shilpa shutting up and bouncing a bit onstage rather than exhorting her pace bowler to spin it more!!!

*This wish infact would be fulfilled after one viewing of a Kolkata Knight Riders match.Poor chaps the team members would be confused to the core on where to look for instructions!!!

*Can we have more focus on the cheerleaders please.Also replace the Chennai team’s cheergirls they were the least uninspiring of the lot the last time around.Maybe they wanted all the inspiration to flow from their captain(Dhoni who else?).

*This is a wish for the future-Play the next IPL in Switzerland so that SRK can juggle between film shooting and IPL.The soothing climes of Alps might calm down the frayed nerves of Bhajji,Mallu Sreesanth and the Antipodean Symmo.

With those five wishes I take leave and also make a strident appeal to all lovers of the game to watch IPL.It provides the thrills and is far better than the hate spewing speeches on news channels.Spend the seven and half minute break to study if your exams are nearing if not watch the Samsung and LG adverts on TV!!!

Wishing a three cheers for IPL2.