Thursday, July 07, 2005

The TIS Effect...

First of all, I dont believe in buying an audio CD for more than 8$. Given that it's a desi music (IR's sound quality - not musical quality - was never superior to that of ARR), and with just 6 tracks, the max worth of 'Thiruvasagam In Symphony' (TIS) CD would be 6$ ($1 per piece if I've to put this on iTunes domain). Thankfully, bad karmas aside, I was able to download the mp3s of TIS off the net. Well, I'm one of those guys who support technology innovations, though I would'nt mind paying for the mp3s if worth it.

Basics
I am not very good at Tamil, and hardly have i read any tamil works too. I could never understand Narumugaiye (Iruvar) or the Kandrum Unnathu (En Swasa Kaatrae) song and had to take the help of tamil-scholarly friends. But after having listened to this album, I so wish I had known the language to enjoy the depth of its creativity. However,music can still be relished sans lyrics, which is why we still listento songs in various languages. So with no prep-work, I increased the head-phones volume.

Orchestration
The orchestration resembles that of Guru, Siraichalai, Avathaaram. Devoid of lyrics and voices, these could be masterpiece BGMs for a whole lot of forthcoming Tamil flicks. Speaking for myself, I fall under the category of those who wud love to hear "Maasaru Ponne" (from Devar Magan) forms of music, and esp when they are sung in the voices of vintage Janaki, Yesudas (age has nowcaught up on them) and SPB. But this could simply be a mindset thing, as there are no 101s to say Thiruvasagam is best suited to a given format. To me, IR's voice is best suited for pathos, eulogising a made-for solitary hero in a soul-searcing act, and so I wish these hymns were sung by better singers who are good at what they are.

Format
1) Now is 'TIS' completely a western classical piece? Well, NOT Really, IMHO. It's an attempt to fall under the category of world music, but not on the innovative genre, but creatively new for most of the desi audience. In simple words, it's 80s IR melodies symphonized.
2) Is this format the first of it's kind in India - Yes / No. Yes, becoz ofthe use of Savite literature. No, coz a few #s in Bombay Dreams by ARR had a similar format.

Media-Hype
Though it was a good-read to note the heaped-up praises on IR during the launch of TIS CDs, it's quite funny when peeple comment off TIS to be a fusion of Indian classical music in Symphonic form. One of my friends from Chennai had fused a classical Charukesi # 'Innum En Manam Ariyadha' (Thoodu Selvadharadi from Singarvelan) with Operas and Gregorian Chants and the final product was indeed fabulous. To me, those pieces were as good as the TIS collections. Disclaimer - the point here is that the utility-value of TIS is subjective and should have no correlations with the remarks made by who's-who at the TIS launch. So, relish the album for your own sake and not for the herd mentality.

Raaga Analysis
Am a novice here - The IR stamp is seen in all the 6 compositions with his usual oft-used raags Mayamalava gowlai, Sarasaangi, Shanmukhapriya, Shankarabharanam, Purvi, Hindolam, Kalyani and Charukesi. But this form of music is not meant for raag-dissection. So no point dwelling further.

What's next?
I've heard the Oratorio. Need to check-out the original Virutham format sung by Othuvars, and the Thiruvasagam translations in English.

Happy listening.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

an anniyan reviews ANNIYAN...

I recently read in the media that the latest tamil flick Anniyan is quite a rage in TN. Like many other Chennai-ites, I like Shankar's movies as they carry the stamp of innovative presentation, grand visuals, fabulous music and colorful heroines. I haven't seen
Anniyan yet, but here's the top 6 reasons why I would REFRAIN from paying more than 50 Rs. to watch Anniyan in a theater in India. (50 Rs was the max i ever paid to watch a movie -that was for 'Indian' in Sathyam Theater in '97, but hey it was a Kamal-ARR flick). For US folks, I think it's better to wait for the movie to reach$1-2 zones. Here's the countdown...

1) Harris Jayaraj - There's nothing much to mention bout it. Synthetic rehash of classical music. An ARR clone, rather a poor-man's ARR.

2) Heroine Sada - Beauty is subjective. But, she's far away in every sense from Shankar's earlier gals (Aishwarya, Madhubala, Manisha, Urmila and Kasturi -for sister roles).

3) Iyengar casting - Not every Tom, Dick and Harry who sports a kudumi-toupee, smears a Naamam/Pattai, wears a Poonal, and attempts an accented Brahmin-tongue can represent an Iyer/Iyengar. I wud simply call it a cheap imitation. This applies to Vikram, his mom-character, Sada and other ching-chaks in the movie. Btw, I don't fancy any kinda religious fascism.

4) Remo's accent of Vikram - Agreed, Remo's personality demands a cool couture. But does being cool boils down to flaunting an accented Anglicized tongue? A rural-have-nots philosophy.

5) Intellectual stuntness - Are people so blind to recognitive resemblance? How can people not see the physical look-alikes between Ambi and the Remo character? In a country where true-privacy is a luxury, how does Remo finds time/space to change outfits in split seconds (not shown) and stillremain out of radar? Facts - It takes normaly 3-4 weeks to reset your Perm'ed/dyed hair, and hair styles never change from wavy-curly with personality shifts. Multiple Personality Disorder fantasized.

6) Inappropriateness - Why care for a anti-G fight in a movie showcasing a social issue? This is not a sci-fi movie like 'Matrix', and Schizophrenia is not a Sci-Fi concept.

Having said that, I am sure there would be quite a few +ves to look for...

1) Acting - Vikram, Prakashaj, Nedumudi Venu.

2) Sujata's crisp yet fresh and thoughtful dialgoues.

3) Vivek Comedy.

4) Shankar's presentation.

Your comments are always welcome. :)

Monday, April 25, 2005



MX vs CM...

The apt title for MX would be 'Kurangu kaiyil mala'. Be it a poor obsolete-1.2-MP quality of the footage or the crude crooning by Dr. PadmaShri K of insipid so-called Jazz music (rather a dangu nakka rehash with jazz instruments), MX once again suffers from the K-syndrome. The legend of over-doing things started off with late S, who discomforted the audience on a roller-coster ride with agonies gone extreme and melodrama forcibly caricatured. S went by the Value Statement that for every 1 Rs he takes, he would give a surya-kodi act, meaning zillion times the principal value invested. Truly coming from the Planet of the Apes, K being perceived as the adopted celluloid progeny of S, K goes a step further in investing that Rs 1 all by himself. Too much for nothing?!?! Yes it is, unfortunately. An investment miracle, so the Asuras think, choosing the wrong side of the snake while searching for the Ambrosia. Thankfully, blessed are those who receive the timely 'Fruit of Wisdom' from Lord Arunachalam, when in dire needs and distress. The pleasure rains are pouring heavy from the heavenly abode of Mannan, as the boon-shower came right on time on the New Yrs day! A phenomenal success once again for our dear Thalaivar and his ardent supporters, thanks to the right support of the Ace Director P who still considers London more a CHARACTER than just a city Personified. Every frame of CM has been cultfully chiselled for the wants of the elite spiritually inclined fans, making it an antidote for people accidentally suffering from the K-syndrome and an ambrosia for the Devas who spiritually chose the right end of the snake.

Confused? Pls read below for the prequel.

MX - Mumbai express, the latest tri-lingual flick frm Kamal Haasan.
CM - Chandramukhi, the latest one frm Rajni, after a span of 3 years, since the colossal Baba flop.
K - Kamal, Kurangu, whatever...
S - Shivaji Ganesan, an epitome for over-action.
P - Director P Vasu, who once lucked out with movies like Mannan (with Rajni) and Chinna Thambi (with Prabhu). Way back in 1994, he gave an interview before releasing Mr. Romeo. He justified having shot the movie in London, saying "London Poi edukanamnu illa. Intha padathula LONDONe oru character!". The movie was a disaster.

So...what did i like? Neither. You'll know if you've watched Manichithrathazh (Malayalam).

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

When it rains, it pours...musically!

With work-dynamics in a passive phase, I ended up checking raaga.com for some musical updates. It has been a musical rain since then, with a lot of quality audio and must-hit links.
I am trying my best to update my HD with mp3s as I am sure some of you might want a copy the next time we get to meet :).

1) To start with, it has to be the soundtracks of Chandramukhi, the showman being the one and only THALAIVAR SuperStar Rajini! Its a letdown by Vidyasagar esp for a Rajini film, but still some of them are worth a few listenings.

Athinthom - A rehash of Mankuyile Poonkuyile, so it seems, on the lines 80s IR's folkish melody. SPB rules and is a must-have mp3.
Kokku Para - Catcy one. It's a kathadi song and it reminded me of the 'Maanja', 'Deal', and 'Baana' days.
Devuda - Typical Rajini introduction song with generic philosophies for Jantha, since 'Singa Nadai Potu' from Muthu. Would have been passable if not for SPB.
Konja Neram - What Vidyasagar calls his best. Asha is good, but too much hype for an ordinary song. I think it is set in Abhogi, like 'Indraiku En Intha Aananthame'.

2) Taj Mahal - An Eternal Love Story - A classic collection. (Hindi)
Wouldn't have even bothered to click on the links if not for Hariharan. In short, a classical-quality music and Hariharan is at his best. Other than Dilruba which is relatively a common composition, all the other 4 are masterpieces.

Apni Zulfein Mere
Ajnabi Tehro Zara
Mumtaz Tujhe Dekha
Tareef E Meena Bazaar
Dilruba Dilruba

3) Mumbai Express - by Ilayaraja.
A disappointment. I feel Kamal went overboard, and I wish he stops crooning and rope in SPB instead. It's all Jazzy stuff, with usual IR dangu-nakka beats. So go for it if you like Jazz, sorry ethnic-Jazz.

4) Bose - The Unforgotten Hero - Must Buy Album. (Hindi)
About 19 tracks including the orchestral versions. None but ARR can do it.

5) Ponmudi Puzhayorathu (Malayalam)
Song - Oru Chiri Kandaal. The song takes you back to 80s. The song reminded me of the 'Vividh Bharathi' days when AIR-Chennai used to play the song 'Poongathave Thazh thiravai' from 'Nizhalgal' on weekends. It's set in MayaMalava Gowlai, an IR's statistical-mode.

Happy listening.