Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Vidai kodu engaL naade

Vidai kodu engaL naadae, kadal vaasal theLLikkum veedae
panai mara kaadae, paravaigaL koodae marumurai orumurai paarpomaa

This is the song I have been listening to since morning. Infinite loop.

Movie: Kannathil Muthamittaal
Music: God
Singers: MSV, Balram, Manicka Vinayagam, Febi, Rehana
Lyrics: Vairamuthu

The backdrop for the song is this: bunch of people forced to vacate their homes. In the context of the movie, it refers to the Tamils leaving the war-afflicted portions of Lanka. Vairamuthu’s lines are packed with so much emotion…it’s hard to not feel the sting of tears.

udatiL puNNagai pudhaithom, uyirai udambuKul pudhaithom
verum koodugal mattum oorvalam poogindrom OaOa
We buried our smiles within our lips; we buried our lives within our bodies,
We are just skeletons going on a procession

Another brilliant line is this:
KaNNir thiraiyil pirandha maNNai kadaisiyaga paarkindrom
Through a veil of tears, we see our land of birth one last time…

That’s the beauty of film music. It gives you a million situations to compose music on. Unlike an album, such situations help in brining out the best of the composer. It’s one thing to think about writing a song for “people leaving their homeland”, and another to write one about “the girl goes in search of her real mother, and her parents accompany her to Lanka, and there just as she nears the town, sees the whole bunch of people leaving their homes…including possibly her mother who had left her…”

Rahman brings out the best of each of the five singers. They convey the sadness, angst, and anger brilliantly. Just as you hear the mother’s melancholy, comes the clincher at the 5-minute mark. I have never been able to express my reaction to that particular piece with any conviction. Words do not fail me. Words just seem…impotent.

Go listen.

Monday, February 27, 2006

"Ghana" Ulaganathan

“Is that his country? Or genre?” was my first question when I read his name on the music credits in the album Chithiram Pesuthadi.

Listen to the beginning strains of Vaazha Meenu, and you know that he is indeed gaana Ulaganathan. And a very good gaana kalaignan at that!

I decided to do a bit more research on him, and realized that I had actually heard him sing the song Gummango in the album by Machi (music by A R Rehana…yup, God’s very own sister). If that song didn’t shoot him to fame, this song definitely will. It absolutely rocks.

A bit more on the singer (and lyricist) Ghana Ulaganathan, that I read in an article in Aa Vi:
· Sings/used to sing at marriages, death ceremonies
· Him and his cronies drink the whole night, interspersed with singing binges
· Hails from the slums of Vyasarpadi

He appears in the video of the song as well.

I really wish he sings a lot more songs, and he definitely seems to have the talent to be versatile. Let’s hope…

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Devbagh: Trains, cabs & speedboats

Not another AGGB.
That is how I would have liked to title the post on the Devbagh trip, but I like the current one better…

So, it was the 11 of us on towards the Jungle Lodges & Resorts at Devbagh in Karwar. The attendees were Achuth, Akshai, Ameya, Dhimant, Inder, Kaushik, Megha, Pavithra, Pramod, Vikram, me.

“Best” laid plans
Obviously these can falter. And that is precisely what happened…almost. I was stuck at a wedding 130 kms away from Bangalore; Kaushik was being held hostage by the Commissioner of Customs & Containers (another CCC). But thankfully we all managed to make it on time to catch the train…and shop on the way for volleyball, frisbee, cycle-rickshaw-wallah pants, etc.
(There is an interesting subplot to the Kaushik kidnap crisis. The exhortionists, apparently irked by a phone call made by Pramod at a very bad time, made the unusual demand of asking Kaushik to wear a sleeveless shirt during the trip. But Pramod decided to take it on himself, and paid the ransom. [video footage available at premium rates])

“Meditate, Ameya. Be at inner peace. Calm down.”
Once we had all managed to settled into our seats (or the floor, in my case), we were subjected to witness the inhuman provoking of Ameya by Megha. The only thing that could be deemed crueler and meaner than this was the middle finger shown by Pavithra to Inder…but that’s another story for another day. (Actually, it is no story. There was no reason…it was just normal girl weirdness in action. Simple. End of story)

But Ameya wasn’t flustered by all these buzzing gnats. He is made of sterner stuff. He held himself in check with his phenomenal repository of repartee – {“cheap shot!”, “shut up!”, “I do not get angry!”, }

Allegations on the Swamy! (gasp!)
I had to listen to rants on the hygiene (or lack of it) by walking around bare-foot in a railway station; to the farce and gross content being mouthed by Chakku & Kaushik; to the “huli will eat you up on the hills”. In typical style, I just swiped the allegations away in a single stroke. That’s another advantage of being a God…you always should have the last word. :P

Florence “Mary”amma
We had all slept after the enactment of Karna-Parashurama episode (which prompted Akshai to come up with Para-slipper-rama). But apparently throughout the night, Pavithra kept wanting to cover all of us with the hundreds of Bhavani blankets she had brought. In fact, she even asked Inder whether it would be ok if she went about covering the whole train so that no one felt cold. But sadly, she had forgotten to get her stuntman ropes to do that. And had to be bitterly contented.
Why did she want to do this in the first place? (refer to section on “normal girl weirdness”)

The Entry of R-A-J-N-E-E-S-H
There comes a moment in every trip when Rajjo makes his apperance. This time, though it wasn’t dramatic as his Mudumalai manic-charge, it was still endearing. After just having our resident astrologer Vikram flood our brains with his analysis on why the sun signs of two film stars match, we needed a break…and as we stopped…whom do we see? Rajjo in his resplendent glory!! We had our coffee-tea, while he had his milk. Hmm…actually he always has his milk, though the “has” holds a different connotation.

On the island
Just as we set foot on the hallowed shores, came, what was undoubtedly the worst joke of the trip from Kaushik – “Do not mock the ham!” – in a reference to the hammock. But those who did “mock the ham”, namely Pavithra, Megha & Akshai, found themselves biting the dust with no “help” whatsoever from the others. Reminds me of the old saying on girls and bungling clumsy idiots…wait a second…there is no such saying? There should be one, in that case. :P

We decided to play a quick game of frisbee-volleyball before lunch, and that turned out to be quite an intense affair…for the other team. Our team of Ameya, Dhimant, Kaushik, Megha, Pavithra & me won quite comfortably. And this, despite quite a few tricky hurdles such as the “conflict of interest” induced sabotage, and the constant modifications of the rules. Bandhar has threatened to break my arm if I wrote more about this humiliating debacle of theirs, and so I shall stop writing here…but…just one last word(s)…it sure was quite an astounding annihilation from our part, and quite a pathetic performance from Bandhar, Pramod, Akshai, Achuth & Vikram. ;-)

On the beach
Fun. Fatigue. Full stop.

Dhimant’s shark-boy impression.
Akshai’s Pakistan fielder “diving” impression.
Inder’s diving, and subsequently the frantic search for his lost spectacles.
Mud-slinging contest.
Water polo.
Water monkey.

That is the total number of sunset photos taken by xDrona, xArjuna & Megha.

Ok…I am kidding. It was in the thousands.

[Note: If ever anyone wants to know the tide level at 6:33 PM from 0 to 55 seconds, please look at these photos.]

Spotting the dolphins
I was under the impression that dolphins could jump upto a height of 20 feet. But here, they didn’t even top a tenth of that. Only later did someone explain that, the 20 feet is not above sea-level, but includes the height underwater from where they start the jump.
Weird animals!

But we did spot a lot of dolphins, and sea-gulls that we initially thought were superhuman (err…superanimal) dolphins jumping upto a 100 feet.

Wrapping up
I am sure there were tons of things that I’ve forgotten to jot down here. Off the top of my head, I can think of:
Betty Boop
Rowdy me
Millions of Akshai’s PJs (ok, here’s one of them: What do you call Bahubali if he is sent to outer space? Cometeshwara!)

Blame it on my tiredness. Blame it on my old age. Blame it on other things.

Thanks for the great time people! :)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

“This is the way life is supposed to be…”

I was going to do a review of Rang De Basanti. But I decided to see it once again, before coming up with the review. And after the second viewing last Wednesday, I was faced with a dilemma. I shall get to that in a moment.

Before that, this is how my thoughts were bouncing around, right after the first time I had seen it. “Hmm…not bad. Pretty ok movie. Maybe…just maybe, I had expected a bit too much…”

The following morning: “Holy Chandramouli!!! I definitely need to see it again. And this time, not just for the initial reason – God…” … “well…that too as well…”

Rahman’s music takes the movie to a whole new level. But surprisingly, that won’t be the point of today’s post. God being God…well you expect such things. (unless the director really manages to tank the good songs as in A Aa or MP)

After a lot of thinking to clear the dilemma (see…I did get to it, albeit not in a moment) regarding what RDB really stood for. On the surface level, it’s quite obvious – disinterested generation, forced to act up for the country. But, what really propels the entire thing…that interested me more. And, to me, therein lies the beauty of this film. The beauty of all the frames – the friendship.

The guys rose up simply because of something that happened to their friend. Period. Me being myself, I look selfishly into the friend part, (not ignoring the rest, mind you,) but just fascinated by the depiction of such pure friendship. And from there, I directly skip to the actual content of today’s post.

Four of us.
Four pairs of feet dangling out of my house’s balcony.
Four of us swaying our heads and feet to a combination of gaanas, patriotic songs and…hey saala

There we were surveying the world beneath us. We had our worries. We have our worries. But we had each other as well. And suddenly, amidst the gloom there is more than a glimmer of light…roobarooo roshni

That’s all it is. But we felt so much at peace. So much of joy. I guess that’s how mysterious friendship can be.

And for the four who were sitting on the balcony, for those two hours, definitely…
“this is the way life is supposed to be”

I wouldn’t want to miss it for anything else in this world.
A nice end to the whole day with a chat with Rajjo. Living miles away, he still wishes for us to think of him as being present in spirit. [Always dude! Absolutely always, and as I said, “…and no. I am not talking about a cow joke!”]

(Oh before I end this post, a small bit of news:
This is that time of the year again. Avi & me continuing a tradition we started last year. So, for the next 40 days, Swamy Sharanam)