Empty thoughts and mutterings

Thursday, August 31, 2006


I finally listened to Jillendru oru Kaadhal in its entirety and I thought it had enough to warrant a post.

New York Nagaram: A True Gem ! After a long time, Rahman comes up with a beauty. Starts with a pleasing acoustic guitar rhythm pattern that flows through the entire song, and sets the pace. The first time I listened to this, I was bowled over and couldn’t wait to get my own copy. Rahman the singer has never talked about as much as Rahman the musician. But his rendition of this song has been as close to perfect as can possibly be. I also have to mention here that his voice fits the song like a T. Set at a typical Rahman pitch, I was spell bound at his crisp clean ucharippu and at how well he could emote. Brilliant ! When I think of good Rahman-sung songs, I can immediately think of Arabi Kadaloram, Vellai Pookkal and Vande Mataram. But, after listening to this, at the end of its run, all the other songs will finish second to this. This song will truly be a singer’s challenge and joy at the same time. There’s terrific scope for improvisations and Rahman has made all those look simple. Having said that, it is a challenge to get a grasp of the basic tune. If you listen carefully, in the first 4 lines of the pallavi, there’s so much variation in rhythm and between repetitions. I am curious to see if the musicians - Sayee, Arun, Moni or Subha can grasp the tune of the song with all its variations (without taking too much time). Overall, I think the song is a chart buster !

Munbe Vaa – One more lovely song. Is is Shreya Ghosal’s divine voice ? Is it the flowing melody ? Is it the neat lyrics ? I don’t know..but it leaves a pleasant taste when you listen to this song. I love the change in pace in the second saranam as compared to the first (adding a tabla support). I have one little complaint though. Naresh Iyer has only been “adequate” in this song. Someone like Karthik would have added a strong character. One thing I have to say about Shreya - This is a time and age, where no one singer dominates the field. A lot of them get to share the pie, and some of them get larger pieces than others. Lucky for SPB and Lata that they were born in a previous generation. That being said, if under the present circumstances, there is one singer that shows promise to stay in the field for a long time to come and has all the equipment to be a dominant force for years, it’s Shreya. Hats off Young lady !

I liked the other songs in the movie as well. Kummi adi was a catchy number and catches your attention immediately, though I felt that in the second half of the song, it loses you a little bit. Maaza Maaza was full of beautiful vocal improvisations. SPB Charan (God only knows why he’s so under used) shows traces of his dad with his emoting, so much so that at one point I had to check raaga.com to make sure it wasn’t SPB who had actually sung this song. Shreya is flawless as well. But the song lacked a flow and percussion I thought. The song Jillendru oru kaadhal is a beautiful combo of “Hello mister edhirkatchi” and “Vennila Vennila Vennilaave” both from the movie Iruvar. Had a heavy Jazz feel, and is slightly faster than both these songs. Machakaari is another catchy number – at a “don’t even try it – only shankar mahadevan can” pitch ! :). The flow was pretty good, but unlike with Prabhu, it does not have me captivated. Maaricham is the only song in the whole album that warrants the forward button. Don’t take my word for it though. Overall I thought Jillendru oru Kaadhal was a beautiful effort.

Recommendation – Must listen !

PS: Please don't form an opinion after you listen to this in Raaga or MIO. Those opinions will not count ! :). Try to get it in a CD or an MP3 format.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Irresponsible Journalism

Journalists, to me are like musicians. There are no bad ones (Well..Almost!). There are the really good ones and then there are the "may be not as good" ones. Whichever way you look at it, talent can only be a good thing. Be it little talent or a great amount of talent. Individual tastes differ and people like some writers better than others depending on their field of interest, style of writing and other factors. But this one journalist annoys me no end. Ours is a cricket loving nation and people can't get enough information about the team and the sport itself. When you're in the public eye so much, there comes a responsibility with it. You're expected to be neutral, and to provide an opinion based on facts or a good understanding of the system. When you are entrusted with the power to alter people's thinking about the sport and it's activities, you better make sure you don't abuse it. When I read his columns I am reminded of those guys in "tape ball" cricket, that have the least knowledge of the rules but are the loudest in the field and incessantly argue every decision or ruling. When I first started reading his columns, I thought "Why is this guy being so biased ?". But like I usually do, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He has a good command of the language. Unfortunately, that's about the only good thing I can say about his writing. As I started to read his writings more, I slowly realized that this guy can be trusted to be consistently biased and stupid. We don't agree with everything, every writer has to say, sure. But this guy just takes "biased" to a whole another level. After all, you're writing along side legends like Michael Holding. Where's the class my friend ?

Read this article, and tell me what he attempted to achieve through this.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Grad School Memoirs III - The Indian Accent

This happened a year after we started Grad school. We were driving to Detroit on a weekend and had stopped at a McDonald’s for lunch. This buddy of ours had decided that that he was in the mood for a milk shake, and was going to order one for himself. We were all so hungry that we barely paid attention to what he was going to order and nothing other than “I’ll pay for lunch” would have succeeded in getting our attention. We were before him in the line, and had ordered our food. He walks up to the lady and says 'Can I get a “Vennila” Milkshake'. The rest of us knew that it was pronounced differently (“Vanella”) in the U.S and not like we say it in India, with a strong emphasis on “Ven”, but we let him learn his own lesson.

The lady replied “No sir, we don’t carry it here”

Our man repeats his order in slow clear English “Vennila milkshake ma’am”

The lady at the counter still didn’t get it…”I am sorry sir, we don’t have what you are asking”

By this point, the rest of us got our food and we walked to our table figuring that he would eventually get through to her.

I turned around and saw him pointing at something in the menu behind her and going “Vennila Milkshake” again...

In about 3 minutes, our buddy walked up to our table, carrying a CHOCOLATE milkshake, and holding an expression on his face that was meant to suggest to us, that this was exactly what he intended to order. LOL ! We had a terrific laugh there and made sure practically every one he knew, knew about this too.