Apr 22, 2009

The Music Maestros | Bollywood music

As the title suggests, this blog is about A.R.Rehman and R.D.Burman

No, i am not comparing them. How can I? Both are maestros of their times. One got an Oscar, the other deserved one. But, what's the difference? There has to be one. Panchamda never had the luxury of using so many instruments for composition and recording. It is also true that you need to be a Rehman to be able to use them effectively. Else, you get an Anu Malik or a Sajid-Wajid. So there has to be that something extra about Panchamda. What is it? Read ..

"Par mein jaagun. Ek khumari. Ek Nasha sa."
These lines are from Dil Gira Dafartan (Dilli-6). Music composed by the legendary A.R.Rehman.
"Aanewala pal, janewala hai. Ho sake to isme, zindagi bita do." And this is the starting of a song from Golmaal. Music composed by the great great R.D.Burman.

I love both the songs. But observing them closely lead to a revelation, which is "sense of lyrics". Singing the first song would not make much meaning unless you sit down and connect it with the previous and following lines. The same is not true with the second song. Panchamda always kept the meaning at the center and used excellent melodies, limited instruments and charm in singing to make them unforgettable. To be honest, Rehman doesn't give too much priority to the sense making of the lyrics. I am not saying that the lyrics doesn't make sense. What i mean is that the lyrics are roped in the songs in such a way that while singing you don't feel attached to the meaningfulness of lyrics. So what do you get attached to?

Lets take an example: Masakkali from Dilli-6 again:

You get attached to the basic melody, the brilliant work of instruments to enhance the melody (the start of song with a matka and a mouth organ (correct me)), the flow of song, the changing scales, the words in lyrics (dikhlade thenga) and the throw of words (Matakkali). But the overall sense of lyrics is always not in the center.

One more important point to be noted here is that the basic melody is similar to "aye udi udi" from Saathiya. He does that time and again. But the treatment of the song is so different that you don't even think about it. I am a big fan of his quawwalis and sufi songs. Here's an eye opener; all the songs have one similarity:

"Khwaja mere Khwaja, Dil mein samaja", Noor un ala, Noor un ala", "Piya haji ali, Piya haji ali", "Maula - Maula, Maula mere Maula"

Need i say more?


PS: Don't take this as a gentle criticism. Pun intended :)


Apr 17, 2009

30 minutes of Mumbai

On my way to office, i was listening to Lucky Ali's "Dekha hai aise bhi". Here's a snapshot of the scenes i saw "kisi ko aise hi" on the way, :

1) The area between the rail tracks and the road, dangerous as it sounds. A water pipe emerging from somewhere out of the ground. A big line to get that questionable H2O. It was heartnening to see the harmony between them. The attire looked Maharashtriyan and they were all surprisingly jovial.

"Dil ke jharokon mein ab bhi mohabbat ke saaye hai"

2) A poster of the new Mahesh Manjrekar movie (in Marathi) on the wall separating the tracks and the road. In the poster, he has a finger pointing out towards you, much like the US Army poster calling for people saying "I Want You". "Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy" is the title and he plays a "conscience awakener".

"Barson ki doori ko milke hum saath mitayenge"

3) A mini-truck passes by on the road. It's the campaign for MNS chief. All i could see was a big poster on a wodden frame pasted in front of the truck. Mr. Raj Thackrey also points his finger in the poster towards you. Not sure if its "I Want You"

"Thoda sa garaz hai, thodi si samajh hai"


Apr 13, 2009

The Great Indian Media

Switch channels on TV and you will find a spectrum of analysis and updates related to politics. All news channels have devised a unique way of portraying this year's election. The bottom line is however that they are all nasty, funny or annoying. Far from reality

The nasty ones: Times NOW, NDTV 24x7 etc

They have all the smart chaps. They will make faces and blabber in non-stop english, making most of the politicians feel subdued. You will find all the hot-shots like Sheila Dixit and Arun Jaitely lining up for interviews/debates. I wonder if they get paid for all this. However, it seems that people like Rajnath Singh are not even considered for an invitation.

What you get out of these channels is an interesting and hot debate with more or less no result. Its filled with smartly framed and spontaneously moulded questions. Many of the participants keep quiet, failing to understand the depth and shrewdness of the question. Kapil Sibbal and genre are the likely winners who end up making
a mockery of opposition party or its leaders.

What cuts me out is the judgmental nature of these channels. Instead of sharing views and reaching conclusions, they prefer labeling people and parties. They project that they are sophisticated but i would rather call them smart. What's the outcome ? TRP ? .. i don't think so !

The funny ones: India TV, Live India, News 24 etc.

Talking about TRP brings in the most celebrated channel, India TV. Given the political environment, all you expect is a palm or a lotus. But here is the stand-out channel. A small extract of what i understood of what they want to say:

"Pakistan mein Taliban, Hindustan mein Taliban, Pakistan ke raaste Afghanistan se Hindustan aya Taliban, Rajasthan ke registan mein seena taan ke Taliban" .. and i think i heard Vietnam somewhere too !

One more .. "Baitullah ka phone aya, Baitullah ka phone kaise aya, Baitullah ka phone kyu aya, Baitullah ka phone kaha se aya, Baitullah ne kaha baki baat baad mein bataunga" .. what the f ?

When they get back to politics, they give different scores to parties based on god-knows-what parameters. But they do say that the 3 stooges sitting in the studio are experts. On the other hand, 'Live India' has an IPL going on, 'Indian Political League'. The lady "news" reader carries a bat with her 24x7. The funny thing is that she keeps playing with it. Once, during the Indian cricket tour of New Zealand, she was pretending as if she was reporting directly from the cricket ground at New Zealand. Poor video mixing made it look hilarious.

But, what's the harm. Who takes these channels seriously. I mean i hope nobody takes them seriously. You watch them to relax. They act as something on which you can laugh, comment, abuse or take your frustration out. I think they are doing social work. Good job. Period.

The annoying ones: Aaj Tak, Zee News, Star News, Headlines today etc.

What is wrong with them ? They carry the highest TRPs and still they are so boring. Forget about being of any use. Headlines today once invited Raghu (Fame Roadies) to represent Indian Youth !. Beat that. The other big channels in this category are somewhere between making sense and India TV. They need to either rise up above the nasty ones or join hands with the Taliban specialists.


We need new news channels !! .. although i don't have a firm opinion about CNN-IBN .. anybody ?