Birth Of A Day

Remember what K.Balachander’s Kalki said about the concept of Birthday. I also have same opinion about BD's. I don’t really know why we or I have to celebrate birthday. I think the actual meaning of the birthday itself has changed, people are happy for celebration than for what the celebration is. In my childhood days I too felt happy on my birthday not because I came out of my mother’s womb on the same day some years before but for wearing new dress, eating chocolates and cakes. We use to cut cake and distribute it to all the relatives and neighbors. But my parents stopped doing it after a certain age and also they made our mind not to grieve for it. My father will get anything I want at anytime. I was able to get new dress or chocolate or cake whenever I want, it doesn’t need an occasion like birthday to bring me something that I want.

I was/am/will be always happy no matter what the day is and that makes my birthday a no special day. It is just yet another day of celebration like any other day for me. I don’t celebrate my birthday instead I celebrate birth of every day for being alive and fortunate enough to be in this beautiful world leading a beautiful life. I am blindly and madly optimistic about life. I live the present no matter how my last second went or how my next second would be.

My birthday celebrations in college were little different. We 15 people as a gang started celebrating birthdays grandly by cutting cakes and collectively buying a gift for the birthday baby. Even in those celebrations, I participated just for my friends who have completely different perspective about birthday. They take it very seriously when a close friend doesn’t remember and wish him on a birthday. So, I wish them just for their happiness. Also when they celebrate my birthday and give me gifts, I accept it just because they felt happy by doing so. Is celebrating birthday is a way to expose your love towards one? I don’t think so. I don’t believe in wishing a friend on his birthday after seeing a birthday reminder set some four months before. That kind of remembrance shows no real love or care for the person. Honestly, I don’t remember anyone’s birthday, even my parent, my brother’s or the closest friend’s. They won’t take it seriously if I don’t wish them on their birthday, because they know me. But few of my friends often mistake me when I don’t wish them.

But whenever a year passes, I feel that I have passed yet another year without starting to learn music but even that worry has gone this year. Finally, I started learning music. Yet I feel I should have started much before. Should I say, today is my yet another happy day which most others call as my “Birthday”?


Masters are Back

See This and


Godfather Music

An unethical marketing technique (as done for this audio) will never turn a bad product into a good one. It is highly unfair to publicize in papers as “Super Hit Songs” when the audio is not out yet. Anyway, looking at the sales, their cheap technique seems to have paid off.

A.R.Rahman’s albums always get two kinds of rating. One based on the standard that he has set for himself and the based on the overall standards of Tamil Film Music. Commercial success is another criteria. Earlier all the Rahman’s classics were commercial hits too. The failure of some of the best efforts of Rahman (Kangalal Kaithi Sei, Kadhal Virus) in recent past is just another proof of how bad our people’s music tastes have gone. You could say that these movies were flops but in early 90’s most of the Rahman’s movies also were flops (including Thiruda Thiruda) but commercially the music did well. Rahman is now again trying to strike a balance between the two and in the process what we get are the albums like this, which for sure will be a hit but will not satisfy a hard core Rahman fan who always expect Rahman to raise a notch above his own standards in each and every album. But Rahman cannot be completely blamed for this. He should choose some worthy projects from good directors.

Me being a serious Rahman fan, Godfather album is just an average effort though not as bad as “Udaya” or “Parasuram”. Though I wasn’t expecting a classic, I expected an album that is at least as good as “Aa Aah”. Sure, the album has got usual fresh Rahman sound, catchy bits here and there and lot of experimentation but the end product is kind of meshed up. Actually, I am not at all disappointed as the album is very much the way I expected it to be and so my final verdict is that it is a pretty good album.

Kamma Kamma is definitely a delight for frontbenchers with loud percussions and catchy rhythms. Thotapuram has also got a catchy rhythm. I like the way Rahman sidelines the main beats and uses more of synth bass and e-beats in the fore. In “Rang De Basanti” he did it with the bhangra beats and here he does it with familiar Telugu folk rhythms. Next popular ring tone of Tamilnadu is going to be e-tune that we get to hear in the song “Ilamai”. Even while watching the trailer I got hooked to this “Thatham tham tham” bit. It is just too catchy. ‘Theeyil Vizhundhu” is a pathos number with a unique rhythm and bass loops. The strange cry and alaap with shivering vocals of Rahman that closes with a banging beat at the end is the interesting part of the song. ”Kaatril” is an average melody with fine singing by Sadhana Sargam and SPB. Even this song has got catchy bits like “Shahiba” with good strings in the background and ‘nana nana’ rendition of SPB in the second interlude. “Innisai” is a classical song and the pick of the album. It has got a very easy tune with nice orchestration and chorus. If there is one song that may find a place in a playlist of Rahman hits after one year from now, it may be this “Innisai” song. On the whole, let us better wait for “Jillunu Oru Kadhal”.


Mozart - Pugazhendhi - Bharathi

I just have four complete symphonies (25, 28, 29 and 35) of Mozart in my music collection and when I first heard i came to know what is fuss is all about. That is enough samples for one to realize how great a genius he is. Not even a single note goes wrong in his music. Also he is the most popular one among the western classical composers. One may not know anything about western classical music or his composition but would definitely have heard of his name Mozart, The Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This film Amadeus takes us in a journey through the life of Mozart as seen through the eyes of Mozart’s contemporary composer called Antonio Saleri who admires and envies Mozart’s genius.

While watching this movie, a Tamil TV serial called “Pugazhendhi” (which is about a poet called Ottakoothan trying in all possible ways to destroy much younger and his contemporary poet called Pugazhendhi whose genius he envy) and a Tamil movie on the life on Bharathiyar “Bharathi” (a great revolutionary Tamil Poet who had as pathetic a life as that of Mozart) came to my mind. If we put the plots of these two together, we get the complete script of “Amadeus”. All these being true stories, how on earth all the geniuses have lead such a pathetic life struggling to survive in the materialistic world in search of a penny. I heard even Beethoven had a tragic life and death.

If you are a fan of Mozart, the movie will turn you into a devotee. One would obviously end up crying for the pathetic end that such a genius had. The movie has got enough scenes to portray the genius of Mozart. In scenes like, when Mozart plays the composition of Saleri after roughly hearing it only once and also improvising it to an extent that it cannot be called as a Saleri’s composition anymore and when he explains his new idea for a German opera about an Octet for 20 minutes on Italian “Figaro” to the Emperor. Also as the movie goes with the narration of Saleri about Mozart’s life, the way he admires and praises the beauty and divinity of Mozart’s composition in words (especially in the scene in which he talks about Oboe and the Clarinet taking over in a musical piece, that Mozart has composed and the way he says, “an unwavering single note”) with perfect accompaniment of music in the background leaves you spellbound. The most poignant of all is when Mozart composes his final Requiem on Mass in his deathbed with the help of Saleri. I saw this episode at least twenty times repeatedly. I mean he is just too fast and before Saleri could write the notes on the paper he is ready with his next set of phrases. When finally they play the beautiful composition with lots of layers dictated by Mozart put together in the background, I cannot just stop the overwhelming tears. I saw God in him at that moment (as Saleri says at various moments in the movie).

“Amadeus” is as close to authenticity and perfection as a movie can get (among the movies I have seen the only other movie which can have such a description is “Schindler’s List”). Though it is a true story, it has lot of drama in it that keeps up the pace of the movie. Though it highlights the genius of Mozart, at times Saleri’s jealous and envy takes a slight edge over and is emphasized in the movie. Murray Abraham’s performance (especially in the older role) is one of the best I have seen. He just burns with envy on Mozart and also melts in the beauty of his composition. Watch his expression like controlling his uncontrollable tears when he reads and listens to Mozart’s composition every time. Mozart’s real character is very unlikely. You won’t expect a genius to behave like that. He is always playful with a funny smile on his lips and filthy language in his tongue but when it comes to music he is totally different. He is very proud of his works and with no little modesty he would often say, ‘I am greatest composer in the world”. It was pretty interesting to watch Mozart like that (of course as he was). Tom Hulce has done a pretty good job in the role of Mozart.

No wonder the movie won 8 academy awards. Every aspect of the movie is authentic to the period and place. Who can provide a better background score for this movie than Mozart himself? They have beautifully and carefully used Mozart’s compositions all through the movie befitting the mood of the scenes.

The movie leaves one thought deeply in mind, that the society should acknowledge the geniuses when they are alive. They should be out of this money-for-survival-for-money loop, so that they could concentrate on their work and work alone thereby giving us great music/ poem/ movie/ painting/ novel or whatever it is, continuously or at least let their life to be as peaceful as that of any other ordinary man. But no one acknowledges a genius as a genius when he is alive.


Poi - Yematram

The expectation and the final product never meets when Vidhyasagar is on credits for it. I never expected “Thambi” soundtrack to be as good as it is. It was really surprising. But now Poi is not up to expectation but it doesn’t mean that it is bad. It is just that movie being directed by K.Balachander, I expected something great, on par with his yesteryear classics. But don’t have expectations like me you will be highly disappointed. After listening to it once, I changed my mind and listened to it as just another soundtrack without having any set standards in mind and found it as a descent album. I think most of the tunes are composed after penning the lyrics (as the songs are mostly situational) and Vidhyasagar has really tried hard to set those lines to catchy tunes. At the end, he fails to rope in catchy tunes that will register in our mind long after listening the tracks. On the positive side, Vidhyasagar has experimented with orchestration and rhythms. I liked rhythms in almost all the songs.

Melodies like La la la and Enna Tholaithai are pleasing to ears mainly because of SPB and Chitra’s vocals. Azhaghana Poigalae is a kind of racy rock number with melodious vocal parts in charanam. Inge Inge is situational song with an unusual format and has a good tune with emotive strings in the background. Kutti Kutti is a typical heroine intro (remember, KB movie) number. People are complaining about touches of IR and ARR in most of the songs, I too felt the same. But I am not complaining, at least it is not a blatant copy. And that is where KB’s touch comes into picture. It is he who wanted the songs that way. But the “Kandu Pidithaen” song comes close to be called as a copy of Kaetaen song from Amarkalam. When commenting on songs from KB’s movies, good or bad, you just can’t praise or blame just the composer; KB too plays a vital role in it. Apart from music, I am quite dissatisfied with the lyrics. There is more emphasis on play of words. It lacks depth in content. It could have been better. On the whole, it is a soundtrack, which I will not search for after a few weeks.

Have listened to Godfather twice. Couldn't come to any conclusion really. But i think will get added up to his good-but-nothing-great list of Albums of A.R.Rahman.


8th Wonder !!!!

I have no big expectations on "God Father" soundtrack though it is by A.R.Rahman. Let us wait till Feb 17.


VCD/DVD of RDB Songs

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra teaches a new lesson in Rang De Basanti about how to use songs in a movie. Usually creators would search for a place in the screenplay to fit the songs in between, but he has searched for situations in the screenplay to fit the songs on. It is more than just situational songs. I mean, the scenes in which the songs are used may work well with just the dialogues and the natural sounds but with the songs, the mood and emotions intended in the scene gets elevated. We don’t look at the songs as such in this movie. The way the songs have been used gives a new meaning to the music and music in turn adds a new dimension to the proceedings in the movie. It is a marriage between sound and light that amplify the impact.

They could have done neat instrumental themes for these situations and could have released it as an instrumental soundtrack, but they didn’t. In the place of “Khoon Chala” song, a grand symphonic piece with Cellos, solo violins and strings would have created the impact but that is where the importance of lyrics and a format of songs in Indian films come into picture. It is just not the music, the lyrics has a lot to convey here along with the music. And cleverly it does aid the commercial success of the audio and the movie. Just think, how much the audio would have reached the people if they had used instrumental pieces in place of the songs.

And that is why I wondered how could they release the VCD/DVD of the songs from the movie so early that may actually spoil the thrill while watching the movie in cinemas. Anyway, mostly only those who have seen the movie would buy it. But they have not revealed everything in this VCD that is actually in the movie. For some of the songs, which come in a critical point, they have put some relevant but random shots from other scenes in the movie to fill in the songs. Ik Onkaar, Paatshaala, Tu bin batayae, Rang De Basanti and Sarfaroshi are recorded as it is in the movie. But the interesting part is the special feature that has Rakesh, Prasoon and Rahman speaking about how such a music evolved. The DVD of the movie is releasing next month.


Sithiram Pesudhadi

I am always interested in taking the risk to buy the album by a new composer. It is basically out of curiosity to know what he is capable of. I consider a lot other factors but yet most of the time I buy it just for the new composer. It is how I bought this soundtrack called Sithiram Pesudhadi by a composer called Sundar Babu. Suddenly there seems to be lot of publicity for this movie which is going to release tomorrow and in Chennai it is getting released in Sathyam Cinemas.

The album has got 12 tracks including 5 instrumental themes. Well I was disappointed by the sound more than the music of the album. Actually the composer has got the notes right but not its sound. I feel the theme tracks would sound better if it were recorded with a live orchestra or with keyboard and gadgets of better quality. Even with such systems, with better sound engineering it would sound better.

A.R.Rahman composed and recorded the western classical piece “Waltz of Romance” for Lagaan in just one night. Satyajit Bhatkal in his book “Spirit of Lagaan”, admires the genius of A.R.Rahman for making such a piece with just a single keyboard which sounds like that of played by a 50 piece orchestra. These new comers may not get such highly sophisticated systems to compose and so the result sounds like that of the background score of DD serials.

Among the songs, Idam Porul Paarthu is a good number with nice arrangements. Also, the gana song Valameenu is catchy. I didn’t like the other songs much.



Though not as exhaustive as this site, our own music genius has finally got an official website. He has also announced that he is thinking about a new non film project like the one he released last year. And where is Rahmanonline.com?

Finally, the much hyped LOTR is staged. The media and press people were not invited for the premiere. The public express mixed opinions. Also there is no much praise/talk about our man's music.

Though he couldn't make it to this show, his theme music for the show is an instant success among the die hard fans of his music. The show is going to be released in a DVD. Our gem of a director has done it.

The veteran director's (supposed to be) last movie is almost complete. The soundtrack of the movie is releasing on Feb 12. It seems all those stars who were introduced by this director (Esp Guna and Thalapathi) are gathering for this function.


Yeppodhum Pen -Sujatha

Bought Yeppodhum Pen in the book fair after reading the interesting description of the book by Sujatha on the back cover. It is a compilation of a serial story published in a monthly magazine called “Mangayar Malar” almost two decades before. I couldn’t say a “Wow” after completing the book. It may be because that I couldn’t relate with the central female character. She is always in a dilemma, in a confused state of mind, not sure about what to do, what and whatnot to believe, what is right and wrong. I really doubt whether all woman lives in such a state of mind from birth till death. I definitely can’t imagine a woman leading an entire life without being herself, not even at a single point of time in her whole life as it is being portrayed in this story.

But Sujatha makes his description of the woman’s state of mind more believable by giving a vivid insight into the social status of her family. Also he clearly explains about the mindset of the common people about woman’s purpose in this world then, through various other characters in the story. The story serves just as a carrier to carry Sujatha’s philosophical, psychological and scientific facts and perspectives on the nature of woman in general. I liked the way Sujatha has simplified the physical transformation that a woman undergoes, as she grows old both inside and outside her mother’s fetus. Also the description of the sex and the egg formation in the fetus is beautiful.

For sure I admire the guts of Sujatha for writing such a book without any compromises and without being pretentious. I think a woman can better say how great or crap this book is. I have given the book to my mom and asked her to read it and give feedback.


Dishyum Music Review

I liked a couple of songs from Sukran composed by Vijay Antony. Suppose and India songs were pure fun to listen to. But I don’t know why I hate a composer so much when he remixes and kills an old classic. His remix of Thulluvatho Illamai and Malgudi Subha’s rendition were pathetic beyond the bearable limits. But I totally fell in love with the songs of Dishyum. I like 4 out of 5 songs.

A composer’s second album is as crucial as a director’s second film, after giving a hit in his debut. The most difficult job of composer is confirming his style of music in the listeners mind through his songs in the second album that should not sound same but similar in pattern or style to the songs of the first album. I think Vijay Antony has done it successfully in Dishyum. He also uses not so commonly used new voices like Gayatri, Jayadev that adds to the freshness of the songs.

Like “Suppose”, Kalailikku has got funny lyrics, layers of weird sounds, chorus, strange diction and rendition by lead singers. It is an instantly catchy number with peppy rhythm. Poo Medhu is supposed to be a pathos number. Though the melody is just above average, the lyrics and Malgudi Subha’s rendition makes it up. I am happy that Malgudi Subha gets to sing a melody finally. I feel she is one singer very much under utilized by our composers. Off late Yuvan use to give her some good numbers in his films.

Nenjan Kootil is obviously the pick of the album. This song has been on my lips for past week. It is a beautiful melody with heart pulling rhythms. Jayadev has done a great job in rendering the song with more emphasis on giving right expressions and enough classical touches here and there. Though clichéd, the usage of a Veena piece in the interlude does enhance the class of the song. Boomikku Velichamellam is one of those songs in which the rhythm and bass is perfectly in synch with the vocal tune of the song. This too is a funky techno number with some nice guitar pieces and interludes. And finally we have a usual kuthu song, which I think lacks enough punch. But it is too early to say that Vijay Antony is here to stay, let us see.


Thambi Music Review

There are few recently released Tamil sound tracks which I never thought that it will be as good as it is. I don’t mean that they are great but some of the songs in albums Dishyum, Kalvanin Kadhali, Thambi and Thiruttu Payalae are very good. But the album Kalaaba Kadhalan (by Niru) which I expected to be very good turned out to be average. Also soundtrack of Sithiram Pesudhadi by a new comer Sundar Babu is average. Let me share my views these albums one by one. And here is for Thambi.

A soundtrack like Thambi is very rare these days that has got all melodies. And when Vidhyasagar is on the credits; we no needn’t worry about the beauty of the melodies. The highlight of the album is the fresh sound that comes out of unique fusion and orchestration laced with layers of synthesized sound and rhythms on semi classical tunes. The other highlight is the come back of some special singers like Jayachandran, Swarnalatha and UnniKrishnan.

The album starts with a romantic semi classical melody Sudum Nilavu with voices of one of the best singer pairs in the recent past UnniKrishnan and Harini. Beautiful lines like Nangu Udhadu Pesum vaarthai Mutham Aagum is evident of Vairamuthu’s perennial talent in penning such love duets. Even the next sensuous number Summa Kidantha has got interesting lyrics (by Vairamuthu) on sex that beautifully and safely walks on to a thin line between divinity and vulgarity. Kalyani (who sung the recent hit Unnai Charanadainthen” from Thavamai Thavamirunthu) is another good import from kerala. She has got a cute voice and could express well while singing. I liked the way a bass flute and a pan flute goes in parallel with male and female vocals at the end.

The song Poovanathil is a mix of M.S.Viswanathan, Illayaraja and a little bit of S.A.Rajkumar’s style of compositions. The main tune is good but I thought the song could have been done better especially at some places orchestration with strings sounds good (like that in IR songs) and at some places it sounds clichéd (like that in SAR songs). The age shows in Jayachandran’s voice but yet a flawless rendition and so is Swarnalatha.

Kanava and En Kadhal are short and sweet melodies. I think Sainthavi who has sung, ”En Kadhal” could have sung the “Kanava” song too because Madhusree’s diction is still pathetic which distorts the beauty of the melody. But Sainthavi is too good in “En Kadhal”. “En Kadhal” could have been bit longer. Ennama Jakkama is a foot tapping number with nice rhythms and strings arrangements in the background. I am happy that though it is a foot tapping song it not a routine non-sense kuthu number. Flute pieces sprinkled all through the song add a melodic touch to the song. Olaikudisa starts promisingly with guitar strumming but soon turns about to be yet another kuthu song. The very short theme music carries revolutionary words of Bharathiar backed by heavy percussions and chorus.

One the whole, the album is a surprise package from Vidhyasagar. It proves a point that when asked for Vidhyasagar can give immortal melodies consistently. Hope he will give more importance to such movies and music than kuthu number in Vijay and Ajith flicks. I am now eagerly expecting the release of “Poi” soundtrack in which he joins hands with veteran director K.Balachander who is known to extract best music from the composers.


Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan

I came to know about this book for the first time when a rumor came out that Maniratnam is planning to make Ponniyin Selvan novel into a movie. The hype created by Sujatha in his weekly blog Katrathum Petradhum about the movie, its screenplay, its dream cast and crew, increased my level of curiosity to read this book further more. But then I haven't started to read novels or any other books other than academics.

Recently one of my friend said that his father is reading the novel for the Tenth time. In recently held Chennai Book Fair, most of the stalls had all volumes of this book on display and some even had announced discount on its price. Whenever I go to landmark or any other book store I will search for this book, think for a while and leave without buying it.

I was always little hesitant to buy it mainly because of the time period in which the story is set and also it was originally written (half a century before) as it may be too hard for me to read the ancient literary Tamil. I have also come across many English translations of the novel but the number of pages is another fear factor for a snail paced reader like me. Also I wasn't sure whether the translation would have the same impact as that of the Tamil version.

My mom used to read lot of Tamil novels. I thought she might get me "Ponniyin Selvan" from the library. When I went to my home town last week, I casually asked her about the book and to my surprise she said, she owns a copy of all volumes of "Ponniyin Selvan". Also she has recently completed reading it for the third time. She also owns other novels of Kalki like "Alaiyosai", "Sivagamiyin Sabatham" and "Parthiban Kanavu".

I happily got the book from my mom and it is there in my book shelf now. I think I am totally occupied for next two or three months with it. I am planning to start reading it after finishing "Blink: Power of Thinking without Thinking" which I am currently reading. Let me see why there are so many crazy fans all over the world for this novel.


Q&A - Vikas Swarup

Q&A by Vikas Swarup has everything to make it big as a bollywood movie. It has a hero, love, revenge, betrayal, violence, action, suspense, thrill, mother sentiment, clichés like hero using a one-rupee coin to decide when in dilemma, lot of melodrama and almost 0% logic at many places. But yet, Vikas makes the book interesting to read, with a unique idea and plot to connect all these elements in a single thread.

It is about how an 18-year-old waiter in a restaurant (strangely) named Ram Mohammed Thomas wins highest amount ever won by a person in the world by participating in a TV quiz game show called Who Will Win a Billion?. The book is nothing but a take on the social and cultural evils of Indian metros through the eyes of an 18-year-old orphan. It can also be said as a biography on adventurous life of an 18-year-old boy broken into 12 episodes and told in a non-linear fashion. I like way the story sequenced in a non-chronological order.

For each question the boy goes back to an incident in his life, which gives him the correct answer. The author cleverly has put this incident first preceding the actual question he was asked in the quiz thereby creating some curiosity in readers mind. We keep guessing which part of the incident in his life has the answer for the question which itself is yet to be revealed to us. But at some places, I felt some incidents happen just for the sake of throwing information with which the boy will win the question especially the initial ones. Each of the episodes is a short story in itself with a fresh starting, a problem coming in the middle and then it getting solved by some heroic actions of the boy in the end. And that makes us keep intrigued even after crossing the incident that we guess to have the answer for the question to be asked.

Initially (before completing the first chapter) I thought that for each question he would correlate lot of incidents in his life and arrive at an answer after lot of analysis but that happens only for two or three questions at that too at the end. The author is more interested on exhibiting the true face of Indians and its pretentious culture. So he covers as many evils in the Indian society as possible but he has interestingly embedded the cause and the consequences of these evils in each episode of Ram’s life. It is quite hard to believe that an 18-year-old guy can have such an experience with the society in real life but who knows the boys in such a social strata may.

The author gradually increases the number of pages of the stories before each question as he reaches to final set of questions. His intention may be to create same curiosity in the readers mind as that in long commercial breaks and thrilling moments in the quiz show before they ask the questions that award the participant with large sum of money. But that doesn’t happen here instead, the stories drag a bit towards the end of the book. But author somehow makes it up with some unexpected twists and turns. If you are going to buy the book, have popcorn by your side and be ready to read the script of a wholesome bollywood masala entertainer that is very much in the making.