Sunday, January 29, 2006

the movie ...

follow up to my earlier post on Rang De Basanti

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra – the man behind the lens … shows me some aspects of our capital and thereabouts that make me want to drive down those roads (and chopper rides!)
This movie is one of the few few really few movies where I was antsy – every bit of the interval – I could not get the previous 90 minutes or the impact of it out of my mind! I was at a loss of words! Bluffmaster had impressed me a few weeks ago and promised that smooth directors are here to stay – transitioning crapola Bollywood into classy Indian cinema – but this effort went even beyond that!
The Actors –
Siddharth Narayan – need to watch out for this dude – he’s played this rich cynical kid who thinks that all is lost with India – not a very tough role to play but he’s done a brilliant job – really impressive
Kunal Kapoor – I really loved him Meenaxi (the only thing I liked in that movie for sure!) – and he continues to impress. Impressed with his acting.
Aamir Khan – here is an actor who seldom fails to impress! I like Aamir a lot but I’m not a die-hard fan or anything like that. This one scene in the movie where he bursts out crying – says it all – definitely one of the best actors around!
Atul Kulkarni – plays his usual self – fine actor – fine performance
Sharman Joshi – good comic relief – although was overshadowed by everyone else around him!
Khoon Chala – still can see the picturization of this song – my hair stood on its end! Brilliant stuff.
Roobaroo – still am coming to terms with the way this song was shot – awesome, yet left you wanting for more …
Superb stuff … all credit to Rakeysh. His camera work is superb – gives you an “sitting out there” feel – love it. Could see shades of the camera motion in Battlestar Galactica out there! His direction is classy – a seamless blend of Shyam Benegal and James Cameroon (albeit the special effects).
Farhan Akhtar impressed me with Dil Chahta Hai and then even more with his followup Lakshya.
Rakeysh definitely impressed with Aks, but he goes miles more with Rang De Basanti – here is a director who finally delivers a movie with all the fun … and a story!
Cannot wait for his next venture …

and yes - the movie still keeps me awake sometimes - making me think about what I should be doing for India.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Rang De Basanti

walked out of the movie-theatre an hour ago and still am all wired up. In short - the best Hindi movie I have seen in recent times - .
simply loved it - and every second of it.
more on this after I am done chewing on a few things ...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Great Videos and Hari Om

Gung-ho on India (as usual) and esp. since its around Jan 26, I looked for some videos by Bharatbala and co. and am assimilating them here -

Jana Gana Mana - The sweet rendition by Rahman and the rest of the Indian maestros.

An awesome link that Hemant sent - here -

Ranjot Barot’s rendition of Vande Maratam - here -

A good representation of Vande Mataram - here -

Incidentally, Bharatbala has also made a movie called Hari Om. I was not aware of this one and stumbled on it (as usual!). I was aware of the tajmahal movie that he was working on (I suspect he finished it!) but not this one. Seems to be a promising one ... and somewhat on the lines of Before Sunrise - one of my favourites.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Happy Republic Day

A Happy republic day to everyone – January 26 – the day the greatest democracy in the World was constituted!
But let me put on my skeptical hat for some time –
Granted it is republic day and everyone is gung ho about it – I too am – I love to parade the Indian flag and feel great about it. But what are we really celebrating? This is the day our constitution was born – one of the best written constitutions in the world I am told – awesome – even if this was mentioned in the innumerous “India is Great” e-mails floating around – lets suppose it really is the bestest in the world! … It still exists only on paper!
We all seem to unanimously nod to the fact that India has great rules but pitiful enforcement!

So then why stop short of all the gung-ho about Republic Day. Why not earmark this day to take stock of all the shortcomings of our system … especially on our enforcement front! Not to point fingers at anybody but rather to simply generate a feeling that India is a democracy – by the people and more importantly “for” the people – its time we stood up and demanded our rights! Nothing more … nothing less.
A system where politicians with criminal records are not allowed.
A system where there are legal provisions to prosecute “guilty-as-charged” corrupt politicians.
A system where the people can look to the police for help.
And someday a system of self-governance … among other things!
Not that these things are far-fetched or unrealistic, but that it is our right and we should at least realize that – big step!
Lets take stock (at least today) on what has changed since the last time.
Happy Republic Day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Hindi Song

Brij put up some nice links for Hindi Songs lyrics - amazing the kind of stuff people put up on the internet!

Then as I was looking for something (as usual) I ran into this site for Inspired Indian Film Songs - really surprising some of the songs I found there! Bappi Lahiri and Anu Malik we all know, but to see so many famous RD and Rahman songs ... well ... maybe its time I stopped getting so anal about my compositions!


My recent favourite song – from the movie Rang De Basanti.
Roobaroo - Persian for “face to face”. The tune is definitely catchy (I’m no stickler for lyrics!) but the lyrics (yes – that’s me) are awesome! Very very personal and inspiring. Needless to say - another masterpiece from A R Rahman. D and I keep humming this tune and debating over the meaning/order of this song.

We hear that the movie is out in India - will watch is as soon at it hits Raleigh - before reading any reviews or opinions about the movie! A Rakesh Mehra movie (of Aks fame) - am quite certain its going to be goooooood.
In fact the album is wonderful - highly recommended by me (for whatever thats worth!)
There's another inspirational track in the album called "Khoon Chala" (Blood Runs) which delivers the message that "a Generation Awakens" - sung by Mohit Chauhan of Silk Route fame - superb track.
Nuff said! - before I make this an official Rang De Basanti album post - I shall stop my rambling :)
Back to Roobaroo ... Will translate the meaning and post it … soon (with D’s “HELP” of course). Until then here goes …

Roobaroo Lyrics -
aye saala
abhi abhi huaa yaqeen ki aag hai mujh mein kahi
hui subaah main chal gaya
suraj ko main nigal gaya
ruu-ba-ruu roshni heyy - 2

jo gumshuda-sa khwaab tha
voh mil gaya voh khil gaya
uulon hathaa pighal gaya
kichhaa kichhaa machal gaya
sitaar mein badal gaya
ruu-ba-ruu roshni heyy - 2

(dhuaan chhataa khula gagan mera
nayi dagar naya safar mera
jo ban sake tu hamsafar mera
nazar mila zara) - 2

aandhiyon se jaghad rahi hai lau meri
ab mashaalon si bhad rahi hai lau meri
naamo nishaan rahe na rahe
ye kaaravaan rahe na rahe
ujaale mein pee gaya
roshan huaa jee gaya
kyon sehte rahe
ruu-ba-ruu roshni heyy - 2
dhuaan chhataa khula gagan mera
nayi dagar naya safar mera
jo ban sake tu hamsafar mera
nazar mila zara
ruu-ba-ruu roshni heyy - 2
aye saala - 4

Monday, January 23, 2006

Harga blog

Was asked to read about Andrew Hargadon for one of our classes – interesting chap. Liked his views on innovation and Technology brokering. Then hopped over to his blog where he made an interesting point on new technology – He says – “There is a subtle and fleeting moment early in the introduction of new technologies when society shifts from viewing these novelties in terms of their nearest existing analog and starts seeing them for what they are!” – very very true.

His recent post Toys In The Attic is super-interesting. I myself am guilty of at least three potential computers in mine :P

Need to read this guy's blog more often!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Niladri Kumar and his Zitar

That’s what he calls his 5-string electrified sitar and is in the process of patenting. It has a pick-up and is plugged into a Boss GT-6 guitar effects processor - a rocker's delight!
Had the good fortune of watching him play his zitar live at the first ever Bangalore Habba in 2003-2004. His performance - MIND BLOWING –
Watching him sitting centre-stage with the likes of Fazal and Taufiq Quereshi, Karl Peters, Louis Banks and play like he did … the guy is a genius.
Unfortunately not too many albums of his out there … available in the shops i.e. – we truly live in an age of bhangra and techno … its unbelievably hard to find albums of Indian artists.
Update – Its impossible to find CD’s of Colonial Cousins or Silk Route – they don’t make them anymore – so if you have them or know someone who has them – hang on to those CD’s friends! That’s how bad the situation is!
Getting back Niladri – his album Sitar Gaze is wonderful (still waiting to get the CD back from Sarat) and am listening to “Kali’s Son” – sweeheeeeet works. Plis listen if u can – and yes – do let me know if you find more of his works.
Rock on Niladri & Zitar.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sticky Post for Recent posts

Assimilation is in our culture
Hand Rickshaw
Best City In The World
All in a Day's work
Smell Of Bombay

Sounds cliché but hey I liked it … thanks to Kaustubh Prasad of fame – again stumbled over this while looking for some info on Pankaj Awasthi.

Heck it's actually a word - defines it as – “Devotion to or preference for the people and culture of India.” Among other things … of course!

Assimilation is in our culture – our Nature.

was looking for Pankaj Awasthi and stumbled onto
from there I stumbled over …
The Asians are coming
Kapur says – “Assimilation is what is great about Bollywood. Because India has been conquered so often, assimilation is a part of our culture. It's also the strength of the philosophies of India, the strength of hinduism: it refuses to define itself. Western cultures are more stone, eastern cultures are more water. Water doesn't define itself, it just keeps flowing.”
I concur.

Shekhar has some interesting posts
Sound So Pure
Juhu That Once
Us Immigration
Masturbating In

Thursday, January 19, 2006


from a hectic and fun trip to India. 5 weeks - 5 states - 7 cities - 3 weddings - lots of eating out - lots of driving - lots of shopping - sunsets - beaches - temples - trams - buses - families - friends - emotions ... and much much much more.
Lots of things to write and so little time!

and oh, a recurring update - Bombay does not have one of the best sunsets in the world - it has THE BEST sunsets in the world - period!
random pics from the trip ...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Indian Marriages - a miracle!

Indian Marriages – I guess its always a bitter sweet symphony! Its amazing how things work in Indian marriages – nobody seems to know the order of events and details except one man – the pundit-man!
And still everybody is about doing their stuff – amidst all the chaos. Its almost like an event-management disaster waiting to happen! I write this after being an integral part of 3 marriages – yep 3 different ones (and different people) - in less than three weeks! Harsh-Aparna, Sarat-Sally and Pranav-Dipti – all in a few days!
God seriously loves my country!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Hand Rickshaw

Calcutta still has the hand rickshaw mode of transport – a 2 seater pulled by hand. Knee jerk reaction – “no way we should ever climb one of those … its cruel to the drivers”. Soumya made a very very interesting point – “then how would they earn money?”
“wouldn’t it be better to use their services and tip them better so that they can afford to buy a conventional cycle-rickshaw or better!”
excellent point – the next day mom and I took the hand rickshaw back to the hotel – it was a very short distance and we paid the chap twice the amount he asked – all very nice – but we pretty much felt each and every bump on the road! The damn thing does not have any shock absorbers or the sorts! Heck it pretty much has cart-wheels – no air cushion in the wheels here!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The best city in the world

Bombay at night. 3 January 2006.
The best city in the world – looks its best at night … unfortunately! But amidst all the marriages, food, family and friends, we did manage to slam in a purely impulsive 6 hour drive – New Bombay to Sion to VT to Gateway to Marine Drive to Malabar Hill to Worli to Dadar to Ghatkopar to New Bombay – 80 kilometers of gooooooooood sights from 9pm to 3am. Needless to say - we did have a good pit-stop at GK (Sion) for a splurge of paani-puri, samosa, pav-bhaji and the likes. Would have loved to have Canon's pav-bhaji but that will have to wait ...
Strangely, each time that I pulled out my camera they turned off the lights!
11:55pm - at Gateway adjusting my camera to get a sweet pic of the monument and suddenly everything becomes dark! Things suddenly seem unsafe and we leave the place 
2am – at SiddhiVinayak – am adjusting the camera to get a nice closeup of the Gopura and they turn off the lights!
Seemed like the pattern for the night.

But it’s always boatloads of fun to be in Bombay – we had tea at 1am on Marine drive sitting on the wall – nice. The city never sleeps! Really.

Heck, we almost crashed into someone’s house at Malabar. In all eagerness to view the Queen’s necklace from the top of the hill, I pulled the car onto the curb – when we heard anxious voices screaming “stop”! a couple more feet and we would have been on the terrace of one of the houses and probably crashed thru the roof – what seemed to be the curb was actually the roof of one of the houses! Really Close shave!
Wonder what would have been the first few words exchanged if our car had drooped thru their roof at 2am! “Some tea?” … probably not!