Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Searching for Heroes

Remember the glorious songs of yester-years: 'yeh hai reshmi zulphon ka andhera', 'zindagi ittafq hai', 'Allah yeh adaa kaisi'? Remember the actress who made these songs memorable on screen? Oh yeah! I am talking of Mumtaz. Did you know that of the 17 odd years of her career, she spent only 7-8 years as a top rated actress. Before that she struggled as an extra, heroine's friend, supporting actress, and a side-kick. Now how many actor or actresses you know who have persevered and made it the top? Rekha's name comes to mind. But she was always a lead actress - a bad one who reinvented herself, but a lead actress, nonetheless. I checked with a few of my friends; there is no such example in the South India too. Similar, but not quite. That's why she is a hero and someone to be inspired by.

You can see and hear her journey here => mumtaz-a-study-in-perseverance

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Remembering Jaidev: The Musical Genius

Recently, the movie Hum Dono was re-released in colour. The movie was a rage when it was first released. The songs were very much appreciated. During its re-release in colour, Hum Dono trended to the top 5 spot on Twitter, the present generation social barometer.

On the eve of the re-release, Devanand spoke highly of Asha Bhosle's philosophical 'Jahan Mein Aisa Kaun Hai...' and Lata Mangeshkar's ethereal 'Allah Tero Naam ...'. But I do not quite remember Devanand talking about the man behind these songs, Jaidev. Perhaps, I missed it.

In any case, I think Jaydev did not get the recognition he deserved. He received the National Award for best music thrice. The only other music directors to have received the National Award thrice is A R Rehman and Ilayaraja.

Since Devanand did not remember him, and since most of you either do not know him, or have forgotten him, I have compiled his songs here =>

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Did Amitabh Bachchan Kill Melody?

It is commonly assumed that rise of Amitabh Bachchan as the Angry Young Man in Hindi Movies is responsible for the death of melody in Hindi film songs. With a complete entertainment package like Amitabh in a movie, perhaps the emphasis on good music decreased. But is this impression really correct?

I have compiled some of the most memorable songs sung on Indian silver screen by Amitabh. The playbacks range from Kishore to Yesudas. Have a listen and let me know what you think of this collection.

The link =>

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Friday, March 25, 2011

If Lata is in, can Asha be far away?

I must say, I have never enjoyed myself more. Making web pages dedicated to the golden era of Bollywood music was the best decision I have ever taken. I bet I would have visited these webpages more than anyone else. Whenever I get a chance, I pop in and do a quick listen to one of my favourite songs.

And this time I am back with Asha Bhosle. I was very uncomfortable with the fact that I had a web page dedicated to Lata, but nothing yet on Asha. ("What would Asha say?"). I feel a little better now.

Here have a listen yourself => Asha Bhosle, the Voice that Spans Generations

And in case, you are feeling lazy and do not want to scroll up and down searching for other Musical webpages, here's the complete list, so far.

25 Songs of the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar
25 Songs from a Musical Maestro, Manna Dey
5 Songs each from Bhupendra, Manhar, Suman Kalyanpur, Vani Jayram and Sharda
21 Songs from Music Directors singing their own composition
Female-Female Duets in Hindi Cinema
Binaca Geetmala 1953-1972

Since I am enjoying myself so much, you can be sure that this list is only going to grow.
Watch this space.
And thanks for all the support.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Binaca Geetmala

People of my generation and above will remember the Wednesday evening 8 p.m. This was the Binaca Geetmala and the golden voice of Amin Sayani time.
Binaca Geetmala was the most definitive music countdown show for India. Times have changed. With a surfeit of TV channels, each having its own 'top 10' shows, no one really bothers.
So, how about recreating the romance of Binaca Geetmala. I have created a webpage with just that intent. The webpage is a collection of the first 20 years of Binaca Geetmala. From 1953-1972.
You can not only listen to the chart bursting top song of each of the 20 years, you can also see it. And there are small quizzes to go along.
Have fun.
Here's the link => Binaca Geetmala

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Musical Lenses Featuring Lata, Kishore, Manna, Hemant and many more

The last week and the weekend were spent in absolute ecstasy: listening and choosing music of the golden era of Hindi playback singing.
There is magic in these songs and now that I have created webpages that is a mini-collection of sorts, I now have two wishes:

a) that more people listen to these - both those who understand Hindi and those who don't
b) that these songs find their rightful place in world music.

Today, if you search music in Internet you will find Beatles or other pop-music at the top of the heap. I do not deny their rightful place, but is there any reason why Lata, Rafi, Kishore, Hemant, Manna, Asha should not rub shoulders with them.

So, here is a request. Please visit the webpages I have built. Give me your suggestion to make it more attractive. But more importantly,spread the word. Please tell at least 10 people you know to visit these webpages, and they can tell 10 more and so on ...

Here are the pages:

25 songs from the Nightingale of India: Lata Mangeshkar
25 songs from a musical maestro: Manna Dey
21 songs by Music Directors singing their own composition
25 songs from the minnows of Hindi Playback

You can rate the songs you like best. I hope you enjoy listening to these songs as much as I enjoyed creating the webpages.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

The Sachin Tendulkar Factor

Everyone who has once held a bat in hand seems to have an opinion on the Indian cricket team. So here's my two bit:

The reason why Indian batting order collapse after a great start involving Tendulkar is because Tendulkar is so good. This may seem to be a cock-eyed logic but hear me out ... Because Tendulkar is so good, and because he bats so effortlessly when he is in full flow, the rest of the batsmen in the dressing room think that the pitch is playing true and that it is a batsman's pitch. They ust be going, "Arrreee! Sachin has hit 3 sixes. Wow! I will go and smash the ball all over the place." Unfortunately, they get it wrong and they fall flat on their respective faces. The sad part is that there is no lessons learnt.

I think it was Rahul Dravid who got it right. In one of the interviews, given quite some time ago, he said something to this effect: Watching Sachin at the other end is a great experience. Of course, you need to be careful. You cannot play like him. So, you play your game.

So, here is my advise to the Indian batsmen: Recognise your strength and play to it. Let Sachin play his game. You play yours.

By the way, this applies to daily life too.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

My 50 Squidoo Pages

Finally! This is one milestone that I was aiming for, for quite some time. With the lens on the book review of the book Mother Pious Lady I managed to hit the 50 Squidoo page mark. And did one better: the lens on the Assyrian Lion Hunt in the British Museum makes it the 51st. Please visit these pages and let me know what you feel about these.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Indian Museum

Sad, but true. Not many Indians like visiting Museums. Though every largish city in India has one. The Science Museums are usually visited by children as part of their trips organised by school, but that's about it. The museums that are related history and culture are given a pass.
Now you may argue that this is not true. That you have visited the museum in your city. Possible. But how many times did you visit that museum. Once? That's not good enough. Museums have so much to see that one, or two for that matter, visit is never enough.
The museums in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are world class. The Government Museum in Chennai is absolutely fantastic. And so is the Indian Museum in Kolkata. Those living in cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are lucky. They can visit these museums as many times as they wish too. Others who get to visit these places only a few times in their lifetimes can only take satisfaction by looking at the photographs they would have taken. Here's my set that I took at the Indian Museum, Kolkata. Did you know that the Indian Museum in Kolkata has an Egyptian Mummy? Go see my pictures.

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Mother Pious Lady

Sometimes knowledge is packaged in a certain way that you would not grasp its utility unless you actually encounter it. So it is with this gem of a book: Mother Pious Lady by Santosh Desai. Packaged as a current affairs book, it is actually a gold mine for advertisers and marketers. I can see it as the basis of thousands of advertisements and marketing initiatives targeting the existing and for years to come. Actually Santosh Desai can make more money if the book is sold free, and he charges per advertisement based on this book.
Oh! You are not a marketing chap? But I am sure you would like a book that is witty and hilarious. I am sure you would also like to know the mind of the Indian middle class. Or better, you grew up as one but only recently moved up the ladder, thanks to the Indian success story. Nothing like curling up with this book and losing yourself into nostalgia. An occasional chuckle helps!
Want to read more? Check out the book review.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bodh Gaya: Photo-Lens

A few of you may have noticed that the list of World Heritage Sites visited has an additional entry - The Mahabodhi Temple. Yeah, I finally visted Bodh Gaya. You can find lots of pictures and some details in my 'photo-lens on Bodh Gaya: Land of Enlightenment.

Let me know what you think of the pictures.

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