Bangalore Literature Festival 2013 – Day 1

This was the first time I went for this festival. I got to know only a few months ago that last year Gulzar Saab came to Bangalore, gave a public appearance, and I missed it. So this time I had decided to finally see him. Yep, that was the first and foremost reason for going to the literature festival.

Anyway, the reason told, here is some idea of what I saw on day one.

The day had to begin at ten in the morning, but I was a little early. Deliberately, though I had no plans as to what I’d do there. Things were slightly late too, and the opening ceremony began something around 1020-1030.

There, after the Dollukunita dance, Chandrashekhara Kambara, a Kannada poet-playwright presented a small good-wish speech, while Nabaneeta Dev Sen objected to the use of word ‘bhasha’ as just regional languages in India. Ramchandra Guha gave a little Tamil-in-Bangalore lesson and Ashok Vajpeyi tried to keep the mood light with his short-light talks. Finally when Christoph Bertrams was selling us some Seagull books after Vikram’s someone-even-postponed-his-wedding-for-this-event story, we decided to take a round of book stall, with my G-Mitra Mohit Kataria there too.

After finding and not finding some books, we sat for a few minutes to hear the panel discussion on ‘Vision for India’ but heard only some views of Mohandas Pai, before we were out for something again. And then around 1245 it was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar whose full session was watched. The session was okay, but some of the questions from the public were so ordinary that they made Sri Sri look like a genius there.

Farhan at BLrLitFestAround two, it was Bollywood time. Rakeysh Mehra, Prasoon Joshi and Farhan Akhtar were there for a session and Bhawana Somaaya had a good time talking to them, as did the audiences, where Rakeysh said Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was ‘not a true blue biopic’ but an inspired story. Prasoon talked about things that would have been as shown in the movie, had they been at all, taking the example of the scene where Divya Dutta wears Milkha’s India jacket, and Farhan even had to sing four not-so-sureelee lines with an to-the-core besuree audience. It was Rock On title song, if you must know.

Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola: Music Review (Vishal Bhardwaj)

Vishal. Means Big. So he is, and this time, so is the soundtrack. Literally and figuratively.

The man who brought us rock way back in 2003 and Kalinka in 2011 (as Darling) is this time here with a soundtrack of no less than twelve songs, ranging from Prem Dehati’s renderings to Zulu.

Of course, you get the taste of Gulzar’s pen in the album.

The album begins with the heard-by-everyone title track, that does nothing but makes you dance. There is a madness in the tune, and Gulzar’s lyrics maintain that madness. My guess is that you would have danced to it already. If not, do that, cuz you need not be a dancer to dance to this tune.

The second song of the album, Khamakha Nahi has a foreign element (I dunno which country really) in the beginning chorus, and then it gives you a taste of something like Bekaraan. The romantic track has some simple lyrics by Gulzar, which one can almost identify as his. Loved it.

Oye Boy Charlie, sung by Rekha with Shankar Mahadevan and Mohit is one lovely piece from the album. The song has an English title, desi Gulzar’ed lyrics, desi music and earthy voices. To top it all, the visuals are quite interesting with a comic element. Listen to it. Watch it.

The next track, Hatt Lootnewale, has some lyrics against oppression, and the music isn’t too attractive. But the song has got the best of the singers, as Sukhwinder Singh and Master Saleem, something that may change the listeners’ perception in due time. The popularity of the song will depend a lot on the story/picturization and publicity.

Next comes Shara-ra-ra. A small, one n a half minute track, sung by Prem Dehati. The song is a earthy track with the music, lyrics, and even the brass-band based arrangements being village type. However, this doesn’t sound like Piyush Mishra earthy. So, good, but not exceptionally so.

Badal Uthya ri Sakhi. That’s what the best song of the album is called. The track, sung by Rekha (and later by Prem Dehati in Reprise) is ma’am singing in a full classic-folk mood, with minimal music, and a Sitar ruling the background. The song is actually an old folk song from Haryana and quite popular there. So you know what it is. Do listen. And listen. And let it grow on you.

The joke was, after his debut in Mausam, this guy gets two songs in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola. His name is Pankaj Kapur.

Pankaj sings the next two tracks of the album, which are fun, but would be enjoyed actually when the movie comes out, or at least the video comes out. Pankaj’s singing shows you one side of theatre artist that has hardly been touched by cinema. Try the tracks, or wait for the videos.

The next track is a first in India. It’s called Nomvula, and it’s Zulu music, sung by Umoja [Umoja means Unity in Swahili]. Even the lyrics of the song have been imported, without any Hindi/English being added to them. The music is nice, but I guess an adaptation, maybe something like Kalinka, would be better.

The end of the album comes with a reprise version of Badal Uthiya by Prem Dehati, and a small one for Lootnewale, sung by Sukhwinder. Badal Uthya is ‘almost’ as good as by Rekha, and Sukhwinder’s Lootnewale sounds a little more less noisy than the original version.

Overall, the album has a lot in terms of variety, and some tracks are wonderful; Khamakha, Oye Boy, and Badal Uthya to name the best. But then a few elements were missing too. Both the songs by Rekha are good, but Sukhwinder this time doesn’t seem to have got his fair share despite the number of tracks. When the album was over, I even missed Suresh Wadkar who’s been there for most of Vishal’s albums, including 7KM.

So yes, the album is good. Vishal has done some good work. And it’s worth listening to. But the thirst that came with the big size, isn’t quenched.

Fake Gulzar Account on Twitter!

For once, even I was bowled.

As reported by Pavan Jha, the person who is joked about knowing more about Gulzar than Gulzar himself, and Jitesh Pillaai, the editor of Filmfare, the account @MainGulzar is a fake one.

For the record, here are some tweets from the two.

@JiteshPillaai says:

“Oh shit got conned. @gulzarpost is the real deal. Don’t go by decoys.”

“Dear all @gulzarpost will not be active for a while. I will keep u posted as soon as the legend resumes tweeting. Spread the love.”

“As of now gulzar saab has deactivated his @gulzarpost on twitter. Do not follow any other fake handles please.”

Pavan (@P1J) tweeted:

“@MainGulzar is a fake account.. Just confirmed..”

The confusion was created also because even Jitesh Pillaai posted about @MainGulzar thinking the account was real and retweeted him. I myself was confused by the same and created a post about the account that is now deleted.

Kashmakash – Music Review (Sanjoy-Raja, Gulzar)

Shreya Ghoshal is a singer who proves her metal whenever there is a chance. This one is no exception and one is spellbound as she sings Manwa aage bhaage re to start Kashmakash, the Hindi version of Rituparno Ghosh’s Noukadubi. The slow number has very light background music and Shreya takes the song ahead on her own, and so delightfully. Loved to hear this one. Especially if you listen to Gulzar’s words carefully.

Hariharan starts singing the second song khoya kya of the album like he were Ustaad Hariharan. I mean to say, Hariharan has always been wonderful with his singing but this time the depth in his voice almost beats himself. My guess is that he’s getting better with age, if there is scope. Gulzar is definitely better in this one. A bit on the philosophical side, it’ll be definitely loved if you’re one for the slow, serious singing.

The next song Teri Seemayein again brings in Shreya. A well sung one again, though I found the lyrics a bit confusing at some points. Probably haven’t been able to decipher the words of the maestro.

The next song, Naav Meri, brings in Hariharan and Madhushree. While the song treads at a slightly higher pace than the rest, the lyrics are absolutely delightful and hence the song completely touched me. In fact the arrangement of the song is interesting too as it seems to moving like a boat itself. Do listen to this one. Doob ke shayad is nauka ko mil jaaye kinara..

The last track of the album is a rendition of Tagore’s anandloke, mangalaloke by Sudeshna Chatterjee and choir. The good part is that even with my very limited Bangla knowledge, I was able to understand most of it.

Overall, Kashmakash is one delightful album with slow and meaningful songs and if you’re one for the kind, this treat with the big names like Hariharan, Shreya and Gulzar should not be missed, even if contains just four Hindi songs.

You can buy the album from flipkart here.

Gulzar: Unke alfaaz kya, parinde hain…

I don’t know if I’m good enough to write something about Gulzar. But I love him, and somehow feel that it’s something that makes me fit to write. And hence, I write.

The thought probably came when I was listening to 7 Khoon Maaf, more precisely when I was listening to O mama, and then Aawara. I don’t exactly know what the thought was, but I will try to put it into words anyway. The thought was of Gulzar, his age, his words, and more thoughts that I do not remember or may not want to talk about.

Well, first thing was, who ever thought Gulzar will be writing Rock songs? Listening to O mama, while I was mesmerized by Vishal’s music and KK’s singing, Gulzar’s words fit in there as if water in a jug. I was thinking that the person who wrote ‘Mora Gora Ang Lai Le’ almost fifty years ago, and then ‘mera kuch saamaan’ two decades after that, is writing O mama today, and with his words alone, is as much a part of today’s generation as a someone born after his fifth filmfare award.

I remember his words from the filmfare awards this year about Vishal Bhardwaj as he said, ‘Ek naujawan ka shukriya ada karna bahot zaroori hai.. isne mere lafzon ko jawan rakha hai’ (It’s necessary to thank a youngster.. he has kept my words young), and I do agree with him. But what is most wonderful is how Gulzar has been able to write those young words while maintaining the same quality that he was known for, say, three-four decades ago. Yes, he still writes lines like ‘Dushman jiye mera, wo bhi gair to nahi,’ in that rock song itself.

And then, there is that thing I yearn for, the way he can use the language. He was the one who came up with things like humne dekhi hai in aankhon ki mehekti khushboo and surili ankhiyon wale, and even though today’s lyricist try to come up with such things sometimes and to some extent, are successful too, Gulzar has that command on language that is still missing with them all. I have loved the lyrics of Prasoon Joshi and Amitabh Bhattacharya innumerous times, but I do not know someone who can write ‘saara din sadkon pe khali rikshe sa, peechhe peechhe chalta hai’ and ‘chhod aaye hum wo galiyaan’ with equal ease, or someone who can even imagine the lines ‘aankhen tez tatayya dono jeebh saanp ka phunkara’ or ‘chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai’ or even a simple sounding ‘dil to bachcha hai ji.’

No, I don’t know anyone who can write ‘ek hi lat suljhane mein saari raat guzari hai.’

That is what I fear. For a life when I will not be able to listen to Gulzar’s songs, because it’s almost sure that during my lifetime a day will come when that pen will no more be writing.

And so, I wish he lives past hundred in all health. And that pen keeps going, on and on, forever.

And here I’ll finish for now the unending topic, with something that I wrote with him in my mind:

bharte hain Roz hawaon mein Udaan,
phir bhi kabze mein unke rehte hain,
unke alfaz kya, parinde hain..

7 Khoon Maaf: Music Review: Saat Khoon Maaf

Vishal Bhardwaj is here again.

Well, Darling, the Russian connection of Vishal Bhardwaj is definitely a well composed, well sung piece and similarities as well as differences from Kalinka are quite beautifully done. While Vishal gets the music catchy and haunting, Rekha Bharadwaj sings the song once again with a new touch to her voice. But the voice that gets it the best there is that of Usha Uthup. Kudos to Vishal for using her voice with such precision. The last word on the song: Daaaarrrrrling…

Bekaraan hain bekaraan, aankhein band keeje na, doobne lage hain hum, saans lene deeje na. Well, if I tell you that the song is sung by Vishal Bhardwaj, you’d probably be able to even guess the tune. I mean, so very predictable, and predictably lovely and beautiful too.

Vishal Bhardwaj is back. From the days of Paanch. Yeah, Vishal gets KK back after years, and for something similar. KK rocks in this one, and though Vishal rocks, the slight negative is that like other songs of the album, you have something to compare with it already. This time I was thinking about Sar jhuka khuda hoon main while listening to the song. But then, khuda hoon main didn’t have Gulzar. The lines here are just awesome in some places. Like Gulzar. After all, he can rock too.

Awaara Awaara Awaara. Master Salim sings this one for Vishal and comes up with one of the best things of the album. The music, the words, and the depth in Saleem’s voice go along, making it an experience worth experiencing. Interestingly while the song reminds me of albela sajan ghar aayo re, it also reminds me of Naina and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. And the greatness of the two songs is proof enough to how good the song would be. Na shaakh jude, na jad pakde, mausam mausam banjara.. aawara awara awaara.

The next in the album comes Suresh Wadkar’s solo Tere Liye. The six minute song is definitely a piece of poetry more than a song. Quite typical, but anybody who listens to the song probably knows in advance what it’s gonna be and expects it to be precisely what it is. Humne to parindon se, baagon ke saude kiye, tere liye. Yes. It’s all Gulzar.

Dil dil hai dil dil hai dil hai dil, Suraj Jagan, and Rock. Well, Vishal Bhardwaj completely goes into Paanch mode with raw rock as he composes dil dil hai. I won’t say it’s similar to any song, but just reminds me that if an average composer can compose in N genres Vishal Bhardwaj can do it in N square.

Rekha’s Yeshu is definitely NOT what I was expecting it to be. A prayer, that somehow doesn’t sound that heartfelt, and somehow gets a bit boring too, but then the song sounds fine, and maybe even good for the times when you actually want to listen to it.

The next in the album is Doosri Darling, which comes up with the original darling, that is Kalinka-Kalinka-Malinka-Moya. In case you don’t yet know, the song Darling is based on a Russian folkish song of 1860s, Kalinka. Actually this is the one you have been listening to in the promos.

Overall, Vishal Bhardwaj is as good as ever in 7 Khoon Maaf, but then, a little disappointment comes from the fact that there is nothing as new as was there in Ishqiya, or even Kaminey. Still, there is quality, and this time, some quantity too.

Oh, did you notice there is no Sukhwinder Singh in a Vishal Bharadwaj album, after years?

Dus Tola: Music Review (Sandesh, Gulzar)

Aisa hota tha is a not so slow song made by two masters of slow pieces, Sandesh Shandilya and Mohit Chauhan. I’m not doubting their talent with faster music, but both are generally known for their taste in slower music and here they come up with a likeable, fast, but not much western song. The percussion in the song is worth listening to. Certainly not bad, and then there are some good lyrics too.

Somehow, when I read the title Jee na jalayiyo with Sukhwinder’s name, I was hoping that the song would be good. And as soon as Sukhwinder came in to the song, I got a feel that my prediction was going right. The song is quite Indianized in the feel and in its quite down to earth lyrics too, but somehow the drums in the song say something else. A bit confused if I will be liking this mix a lot, though the song doesn’t sound bad. Again, the lyrics of the song are quite good, better than aisa hota tha in first look.

When I heard the song Laal-Laal-Laal hua patta chinaar ka, I suddenly felt the song was too Gulzar-ish and decided to look for the lyricist. And there was my surprise, it was actually Gulzar, a fact I had totally missed. Anyway, the review continues, this song being a bit beat-based and a bit heard type, even though I can’t exactly place where I have heard such music. In fact with this song I could find similarity in the composing styles of Amit Mishra who composed for Atithi tum kab jaoge.

Either way, the song has some awesome lyrics by Gulzar, they remind me of Maachis. And though the music isn’t half as deep as Vishal’s, it has some effect of chappa chappa on the composing style. A good song overall. Especially in case you have an ear for good lyrics.

Sonu Nigam’s tumse kya kehna is a slow, really slow song and for the first few seconds I was thinking if the song was moving at all. But after some time, Sonu’s softness and the slow melody of the song sound quite likeable and the chorus is effective, but short. I can feel Gulzar’s lyrics again though visibly intentional talk of gold makes things a bit not-that-great. Not bad. Not too good either. Not at the start at least.

The only time a female voice is heard in the song is when Sunidhi Chauhan comes up to sing a female version of Jee na jalayiyo. As she sings the song in her style, it sounds quite different from Sukhwinder’s version though both sound equally good.

Overall, Dus Tola is nothing too great, but for those with a taste for good lyrics and slow music, it is worth a listen for sure. Especially I’d recommend Laal-laal, and if you like that, then maybe the entire album. 🙂

dhan dhan dharti re – Vande Mataram (Raajneeti)

Shankar Mahadevan. Sonu Nigam. Gulzar. Wayne Sharpe. and Vande Mataram. Don’t u know it’s going to be something even before you hear this one?

Well, let me explain a bit. Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti has a song that is based on Vande Mataram and has been composed/arranged by Wayne Sharpe, the American composer who has composed tracks for Jha’s Gangaajal and Apharan before this. He also created the background music for ‘Lahore’.

The words for the song are set by none other than Gulzar who has kept words quite close to Vande Mataram while giving them a more earthy touch by using simpler words. Of course, there is more to the song that just the words from Vande Mataram but then, you can some up the words as ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘bow to thee, mother’. Touching lyrics from Gulzar once again.
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Raavan: Music Review

maaguvanjalo.. aagubenjaaaalo…
a aen aen aen e eo.. a aen aen aen e eo..

Got what is that? Start of a good album, and a wonderful song. The album is called Raavan, and the song is, yes, you get that. Beeera. Beera, beera beera beera, beera beera beera beera beera, beera ke dus maathe, beera ke sau naam, chhede jo beera ko, dhama dham dham dham. If there was anything that could ever be compared to beera, it was probably Omkara, but seems Omkara also stays behind beera when it comes to being musical.
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Beera: Raavan (Vijay Prakash)

Mani Ratnam. A R Rahman. Gulzar. Vijay Prakash. And Abhishek Bachchan. Here is the first video of Raavan, Beera ke dus maathe, beera ke sau naam.

The video is certainly worth a watch and Abhishek is looking different again, though Aishwarya in water reminds me of Guru again. The song is definitely good and I am hopeful about the music that is coming on April 24th. Here is the video.

Raavan: Soundtrack

So finally Mani Ratnam’s Raavan is here. Or so it will be, on April 24th, when Rahman’s music is out. Abhishek Bachchan can be seen in the video of Beera sets up a high expectation from the album, as well as the movie. Here is the soundtrack listing of the movie as found yet.

Behene De – Karthik
Beera Beera – Vijay Prakash
Kata Kata – Ila Arun, Sapna Awasthi & Kunal Ganjawala
Khilli Re – Reena Bhardwaj
Ranjha Ranjha – Rekha Bhardwaj & Javed Ali
Thok De Killi – Sukhwinder Singh

So hopes from the songs of Raavan are high. Check the video of the first song Beera too.

Movie Review: Veer: It’s Salmanism

No. This is not a so-called ‘critical’ opinion on the movie. Nor is it a bashing of the Salman’s Veer, so in case all you’re looking for is bashing and thrashing of the movie, switch over to other critics, there are many who have done that.

Of course, I had read so many reviews before I saw the movie and that was one of the reasons I saw the movie pretty late. But once I entered the theater, there wasn’t one time I felt I shouldn’t have come.

I know Veer is not the so-called sophisticated movie with right facts and logical script/screenplay. But if you are a Salman Khan fan and ready to join the madness which can be called Salmanism, you ARE going to enjoy the movie. After all, Veer still accommodates more mind than, with all due respect, Rajnikant movies do. 😉
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Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji: Full lyrics and Translation

I think this is my first ‘on-demand’ post. I talked about Dil to bachcha hai quite at length when I first heard the song in a promo. The song was loved by people and somebody asked me if I could give an English Translation of the lyrics. So I am giving it a try here.
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Striker: Music Review

Striker is the new movie of actor Siddharth, the guy known for Rang De Basanti among Hindi cinema followers. The music for the album is created by various composers from Vishal Bharadwaj to Amit Trivedi to AR Rahman’s favorite Blaaze to Yuvan Shankar Raja who is composer of many Tamil and Telugu albums.

The best thing about the album is that it has six different composers and still manages to be good. Something that is not really common with music albums.
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