Friday, September 28, 2007

Cirque De soleil's "KA" on CNN

My favorite Cirque De Soleil show in Las Vegas "KA" recently made headlines in CNN.

Video Watch the technology behind KA

They call it one of Cirque's most expensive and technological shows to date. Read full article »

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Shakalaka Baby" Chinese version by Kelly Poon and AR Rahman connection

Now this is be more specific, a great Victory for all the proud members of "arrahmanfans" yahoogroups...We all know how most of our music directors, with very few exceptions, shamelessly indulge in the act of plagiarism and pretend as if they have no clue about it. But very rarely we come across a news where our music is either used or copied outside of India. Most of the times they credit the music to whomever it belongs. But imagine what would happen if they failed to. One such incident happened just a week ago.

A Chinese song named "Shakalaka Baby" sung by Singaporean singer Kelly Poon appeared on the Youtube last week. Name sounds familiar right. Well you'll be surprised to know that even the song sounded very familiar. Infact it was the same song we heard in Mudhalvan / Nayak and also in the smash-hit musical "Bombay Dreams" by AR Rahman. Here's the youtube video-

Everyone wondered who was this Kelly Poon and whats she got to do with Bombay Dreams. How could she sing the same song in Chinese ? The video did not credit AR Rahman as the original composer. So did she get rights from ARR ?? Does ARR know about this ? The song was also playing on the Singapore Chinese radio station yes99.3fm and her fans were raving abt the it.

As a loyal fan of AR Rahman, I did my part in going to youtube and other forums where discussion about this song was going on, and put comments that this was ARR's song and should be credited to him. Many members of arrahmanfans group did the same. And finally yesterday I came to know that a member of the same group, Vijay forwarded all the emails to ARR and ARR's legal advisors and finally Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Really Useful Group" took it up to Universal Music who are releasing the Kelly Poon album. Universal's contention is that they will include credits to ARR in the album, which only releases on Sep 28. They claim that the video and song on air in Singapore is only a promotional release. However, after this notice was sent, the artist has now credited A R Rahman by means of a small wording at the bottom of her MTV Asia music video, which means they sure did hear us.

Should we be ecstatic and overjoyed ? Well NO !!! considering the fact that hundreds of songs get copied from every part of the world and become a craze here, we can forgive them for a one time mistake.
But should we be happy ? Ofcourse YES !! because we, Rahmaniacs, always proud of whatever ARR does, have for atleast one time made him feel proud of us, by creating awareness about a probable plagiarism act and stopping it.

Keep going Rahman, there are many more countries which you still have left to cast your spell.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Johnny Gaddar - Bol kya story hai tera

Coming friday there are two things I'm keenly waiting for. One is to somehow lay my hands on Halo 3. And the other is to see how the new movie "Johnny Gaddar" turns out. The songs have been playing in my ipod in a loop for about 3 weeks now. Even after albums like Om Shanti Om and Saawariya coming in successive weeks, I can't get enough of Johnny Gaddar, especially the title track. I feel its a very honest and original attempt by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, who tried to come out of their feel - good compositions. They've successfully managed to bring in a new genre of music to Bollywood. The trailers also look very slick and stylish. Cinematography looks excellent. I planned to review this music long time ago, but I was late and missed the boat. Also by then there were many sites which came up with good 'straight from the heart' reviews. I just hope the movie turns out to be as good as the music.

When I saw the first poster which was black and white with red and yellow colors standing out, I was pleasantly surprised. It closely resembled "Sin City", one of my favorite movies. But that joy was short-lived, as the movie preview told a different story. In fact it was more on the lines of Kaante and Reservoir dogs. But I was sure that Sriram Raghavan, who had a magnificent debut with "Ek Haseena Thi", wouldnt just remake any other movie, and that too certainly not a movie which was released just few years ago. So I did some research on web to see if there's anybody talking about this. I eventually found a site where Sriram himself clarified what this movie is all about, and thankfully its different from what I thought. Here's what he had to say about the movie :

" Johnny Gaddaar is NOT even remotely based on any of the films such as Harmesh Malhotra’s Gaddaar, Reservoir Dogs, Ringo Lam’s City on Fire or Kaante.

It’s a caper thriller with the same synopsis as seen in many websites and there’s NO suspense about who Johnny Gaddaar is. As the film unfolds, the viewer will be the first to know his identity. The fun/tension/suspense is in how and when the rest of the group find out and what happens next.

In India, we often confuse Suspense with a Whoduit factor…which is quite wrong actually. Alfred Hitchcock has NOT MADE A SINGLE WHODUNIT and yet he’s acknowledged as the Master of Suspense. Suspense is about emotion....about fear....about anticipation and NOT about guessing who the killer/informer/ whoever is.

The movie doesnt have any BIG names etc. So I’d really request you all to watch the movie in the first weekend.In the hall of course. And all criticism is welcome. Thank you. "

I thought it was so good of him to request us to watch his movie. But in reality, he doesnt have to do that. He's one of the few directors whom I adore and include in the hatke director's list which also has directors like Shimit Amin, Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, Anurag Kashyap, Madhur Bhandarkar, and Nagesh Kukunoor. When everyone in Bollywood follows a standard hit formula set by Chopras or Johars or any other big names, these directors and few others tread a different path. And thats what makes them develop a cult following. I'm really looking forward to watching "Johnny Gaddar". I hope so do many of you.

Before Sunset to After Sunset - Hongkong

Aint it cool ??

Move the mouse up = Before Sunset
Move the mouse down = After Sunset

The set of pictures which were put together to make this shockwave file were taken between 6:10 pm till 7:40 pm. Great stuff !!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Indians win a thriller final - last over video

yayyyyyyyyyyyyy...What a thriller today's match was. Till the last moment both teams had equal chance and all of us were waiting with bated breath for the cricinfo screen to refresh and a W to pop out :) ...watching a self-refreshing scorecard has never been so exciting. Its a fantastic finale, well deserved win by our team. Great batting by Gambhir and awesome bowling by RP Singh, Pathan, and not to forget, 2 times in a row, a winner in the last over, Jogindher Sharma. I think I should also applaud Misbah for his single handed show in the end which really raised the tension and drama in the match, especially from the 17th over of Harbajan. An incredible victory

You can also watch the final 5 overs in this link - Click here

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Young India beats Experienced Australia in Semifinals

This is awesome...this is just splendid...young tigers have indeed beaten experienced kangarooooos...woooooooohooooo...I wish I was in the crowd, cheering our team..With all great players like Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid, we failed in England and now with a young team, all of a sudden we have entered the Finals of Twenty20 world cup!!!! Unbelievable. This is a perfect example of how a new team with full of youth and energy is better than a team filled with experienced players, something which India never had in the last few years. Great job guyz...congrats Yuvraj for yet another splendid performance. Actually I should just congratulate the full team, it was a superb team effort today. Well done boys. You've proved yourself by beating two big guns of this world cup...Just carry on the great show and don't get over-confident any time.

Koi humse jeet na paave, chale chalo chale chalo
Mit jaave jo takraave, chale chalo
Ab darr nahin mann mein aave, chale chalo chale chalo
Har bedi ab khul jaave, chale chalo
Baar baar haan, bolo yaar haan
Apni jeet ho....unki haar haan

Saawariya - Music Review

The trailer of Saawariya attracted many people. It looked very dreamy, like a poetry with beautiful music in the background. I know many friends who were waiting for this album more than for Om Shanti Om. And as we all know Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his penchant for quality music, he's succeeded in extracting a very unique music score from the debutant Monty Sharma. We all know Monty for his brilliant Background score from the movie Black and Devdas. But very few know that he also composed the amazing title track of the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. So although this is his debut movie, he's not new to composing songs. The album comprises of 11 original songs with lyrics by Sameer, no remixes, no instrumentals.

The album starts with "Saawariya" song. A fresh and a feel good song which is very hummable. To add to the freshness, we have a new singer, Shail Hada, singing the song. But just when I started to enjoy this song, it ended. I then realised that its just 2:45 mins long. I wished it was a bit longer. Monty's music arrangement is very apt for this song. Some parts of singing reminds one of Kishore Kumar's style. I think it was intended that way.

When a smooth subtle chorus started the next song with Laage re laage re laage...laage re nainuva...laage re..laage re..I knew that this was the kind of song I was waiting for after watching the trailer. And when Shaan followed it with a soothing sweet-sounding "Jab Se tere naina", I had already increased the volume to get completely drowned in the music. But unfortunately, what followed was a speedbreaker in the form of drum / dhol beats and the song changed its course into a qawali or bhangra wannabe. Thankfully it returned back to its melody soon, which was once again short lived. I'm not against beats, but if you listen to this track you'll understand. This would have been my favorite song from the album, if not for the dhol beats.

Now "Masha Allah" is a song which is direct dil se from Monty, and the way Kunal sings is, it has no other place to go other than direct dil ko. I'm sure Sanjay Leela Bhansali will do full justice to this song with dreamy sets. Its a beautiful song which can be played again and again.

"Thode Badmash" must have been composed during Devdas times. One can't help but notice similarities between this song and "Bairi Piya". This song has the same innocence, naughtiness and interestingly also the same singer Shreya Ghosal as in Bairi Piya. The only missing element is Aishwarya, which I guess is a huge difference. Once again its a small song going for just 3:19 mins.

"Yoon Shabnami" adds to the list of pleasant melodies in this albums. Violin interlude is amazing. In the middle this song surprisingly goes into qawali, but this time thankfully its good and adds life to the song. There's a lot of experimentation in this song as the mood keeps changing throughout. The beats and arrangement is typical AR Rahman style.

"Daras Bina Nahin Chain" song appeared in the first trailor which came out. This is for all Classical music lovers. Richa sharma is very effective in this song which is tailor made for her. In one of his interviews, Monty had mentioned that this is his favorite song, probably the closest to his heart.

"Sawar Gayi" is once again excellent with respect to music arrangement. But it has a kind of sadness to it which would make many to just skip it and go to the next track.

The Chorus singing at the start of the next song "Jaan-E-Jaan" reminds you of the music which appears in the movie Koyla, which in turn was shamelessly lifted by Rajesh Roshan from 1497: Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis. What follows is yet another nice melody which transports you to the 60s or 70s.

"Pari" is another beautiful melodious song, soulfully rendered by Kunal Ganjawala. The whistle tune in the song gives a nostalgic feel to the it. The orchestration at the end of this song is breathtaking. Monty at his best here.

"Chhabeela" is a passable song for me. If this song had featured in any movie between the years 1999 - 2004, probably it would have found takers, but it feels a bit outdated for this time. I'm not saying its a bad song, it just belongs to the times of CDs and cassettes and not ipods.

In "Saawariya reprise" Shail Hada excels once again. Its same song as the first, just that this one comes with crowds cheering for him. Its a perfect ending for this album.

Looking at the sets, the paintings and the costumes in the first trailer, I thought the music would be like Devdas, good melodies but a bit on the sad side. Surprisingly the songs of Saawariya turn out to be very young, contemporary and also melodious at the same time. There are some sad songs without which any Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film is incomplete. In the end its a complete score wherein Monty has poured his heart and soul in each and every track. He's worked hard for two and a half years coming up with this musical score. Unfortunately its come at a time where fast beats, techno, and catchy songs rule the charts, and with mighty opposition in the form of Om Shanti Om, this album might find fewer takers. Nevertheless this album is for everyone who appreciate good quality music. My favorite songs in this album would be Saawariya, Pari, Masha Allah, Yoon Shabnami, and Jab se tere naina minus dhol beats.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

India into semifinals...yayyyyyyy

If Yuvraj Singh was the star of last match, we had 2 star performers in today's victory against South Africa. RP Singh and Rohit Sharma decimated South Africa in both bowling and batting departments. Rohit got man of the match award for this match, but I really thought RP Singh should have got it. I mean he consistently took wickets in all matches he's played, and in this match he took 4 crucial wickets which I feel actually won the match for us. Nevertheless, counter argument would be that without Rohit's batting we wouldnt have got a decent score. So I guess its fair enough. More important fact than that is we are now going to face Australia in semi finals. Considering the fact that Yuvraj didnt play today, we must be a much stronger and aggressive team for the semis. This series is turning out to be good for us, especially good for our new lucky captain Dhoni. Congrats team for the superb victory. Indian tigers are all charged up and ready to pounce on Australian Kangaroooooooos :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Up up and away.....

Oh my god I've not enjoyed Indian cricket this much in a long time. Yuvraj Singh and his 6 sixers in the Twenty20 World Cup series. Unbelievable stuff. With this he's now placed 4th in senior cricket, behind big shots like Gary Sobers, Ravi Shastri, and Gibbs. I guess Flintoff got a very good lesson after this match. Thoongitu irundha singathe ellupuna ipdi dhaan aagum ( If you wake up a sleeping tiger, this is what happens ). Poor Stuart Broad, he would be haunted by yuvraj's sixes in his dreams. This effort for sure has boosted the morale and confidence in our team, and I hope we see a charged up India in tommorow's match against South Africa.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Every breath you take, Every Cake you make

As tradition goes, one of the most important item for any birthday is the Cake. We all love to blow the candles and cut the cake. Its that kind of fun which is timeless. We would enjoy it no matter how old we grow. However as the age increases the number of candles goes up, and when the candles start to cost more than the cake, we can be assured that we have really become old. Thankfully I'm not there yet.

In schools and colleges, birthdays were occasion of get-togethers, parties, booze, and how can i not forget the dreadful birthday bums. Not many gave so much thought on cake. It was like we need to have one for sure, but it doesnt matter what type of cake it is. So we usually picked it up from Ralphs or Walmart. It was easy to select a cake. There were just 4 variables - the flavor,the color, the add-ons like pistas and cherries, and finally the size.

My whole viewpoint completely changed in our bride and groom shower last year, when I saw a cake which totally blew the heck out of me. It actually had our childhood photos on it which we supposedly could also eat !! Now when did that technology come out ?? What other advancements have come in the field of cakes ?? I had no clue. I dont' watch food network, so that makes me totally ignorant of anything to do with food stuffs. This was how our cake looked.

Pretty cool right ?? A Cake with a theme. However i felt bad when everyone munched on our faces..hmmm...When I was young, I guess there were themed cakes, sad part is that I don't remember cutting one. But I do see these days not only all kids get well designed birthday cakes, they also have a special theme for their birthdays. Lucky dogs...

In a quest to wipe out my ignorance about cake art, I did some googling and came across a lot of websites which showcased some mindboggling cake designs...totally out of the world..Look at this Russian website for example Russian Cake Art. All the cakes in the pictures can be eaten without any part being left. No plastics or any other artificial stuff have being used. I've never seen anything like them before in my whole life. Looking at them I feel its high time cake artists should be recognized like painters.I mean c'mon, its a lot of detailed work. Here's a blog which shows beautiful American Cake art with a humorous twist. Very funny cakes they have. They even made an iPhone as a cake, which by no way i would eat :). Check it out here American Cake Art

Its good to see that people have taken cake art very seriously. Great creative cakes can make occasions such as birthdays and weddings even more memorable. Even my wife got inspired to do her own creative cake and didnt order one from store for my birthdays. I was very thrilled to see my last yrs b'day cake which looked like one of my nextel phones having m n m's as the keys of the phone.

And this yr she decided to make a keyboard piano cake. Now considering the fact that she doesn't watch food network, nor does she read about cakes and various decorating tips for cakes, I thought this was a cute cake.

My other friend made a blue cake with a spiderman theme. She had also started making different cakes as a hobby which now has turned into a home business.

So I guess one doesnt really need prior experience in making beautiful cakes. If they are dedicated, have patience, think out of the box and are artistic, they can surely do wonders with cake. Just imagine how thrilled a baskeball game lover would be if he gets to cut a birthday cake which looks like basketball. Of for that matter, imagine how much excited Ferrari lover would be when he gets to cut a cake which looks Ferrari. hmmm...I think it would be an absolute bliss. Ok now I can't wait for my next birthday....

Friday, September 14, 2007

Om Shanti Om - Music review

For my view on OSO movie click here. For music review, read on..

Friday's are the best days of anyone's life. I don't have to explain why. But one of the factors surely would be new movies and music which get released. In short entertainment unlimited. So what do we have in store this friday. None other than the Numero Uno star Shahrukh khan's Om Shanti Om music album. The one which everyone have been waiting for both in terms of movie and music. Farah Khan created magic with Main hoon na. Even the songs were fabulous. Good work by Anu Malik. Will the same repeat with Om Shanti Om ?? Will the soundtrack find equal success as MHN or more than that ?? Before I go into reviewing each and every song, I have to tell you that Indiafm has hyped the album a bit too much. I don't know how many times they heard the songs before coming to the conclusion they came to.

'Ajab Si' gives a subtle start to the album. Its a nice melody, although not as lilting and beautiful like Kabhi alvida na kehna's title or Main Hoon na's title track. The flute interlude which comes after the mukhda is very soulful. KK as usual is great in this song. But other than that I didnt find anything special in this song. Needs more listenings.

Moving track is the more popular one 'Dard-e-disco', thanks to SRK who finally thought...enough is enough...every small bacha coming to bollywood is showing off their body and i'm just crying or romancing...lemme show the Manly side of myself :)..the song starts off surprisingly with the same tune as " De de pyar de pyar de pyar de re...humein pyar de " from Sharabi. And then Sukhwinder catches on..Once again not a great track. If it wasnt for SRK, I would just have passed on this song. I thought Kaal Dhamaal was a better item song. The video looks promising though, so we never the theater this song might be rocking.

Now we come to my favorite song of the album 'Deewangi Deewangi'. A very catchy song, it keeps changing genres throughout the song. One time you hear bhangra beats and then you hear qawali. And this is the song which features the words Om Shanti Om. Shaan and Udit have sung very well and the whole arrangement gives a joyous celebration feel to it. This would be the song I'll wait to watch on the big screen ( coz i believe there's also Salman and Saif in this song )...I wanna see what would be the reaction in the crowd when SRK goes "All the hot girls put your hands up and say ...Om Shanti Om "...

Next song 'Main agar kahoon' starts with the bells/crystal tune which comes in the background of the first trailor, a beautiful start which is then followed by a mediocre tune quite effortlessly sung by Sonu Nigam. It felt like Vishal Sekhar wanted to give a retro melody with contemporary feel and ended up giving a song. Once again when related to Kal ho na ho or any other SRK's similar type songs, this one falls behind.

"Jag soona soona lage" starts off with the opening tune of Main agar kahoon. Must be a situational sad song which probably would go on in the background. Rahet Fateh ali khan did a wonderful job in Bol na halke halke from JBJ. And he renders beautifully in this one also. This has to be one of the well composed songs of the album. I've started luving this song more after repeated listenings.

"Dhoom tana" is a tailor made song for Madhuri or Sridevi. This song belongs to the 80s style. Nothing great again about this song, has a heard before tune. Abhijit sings the same way, be it any song. Instead VS should have used Udit...remember Kaike paan banaras waala...what energy he put into that song..I don't see that here. Passable song.

Dastaan-E-OSO is the theme song, where we get to hear the kahani of Om shanti Om..I feel Shaan is a misfit in this song..the words seem like its all about revenge and reunion, while his voice aint that powerful. But in the end the song conveys the message it was supposed to. This must be the first heavy orchestration done by V-S. May be this was the reason Farah wanted ARR to compose music...he would have broken all boundaries with this song.

Then come all the remix versions of which Dard-e-disco and Deewangi remix versions stand out.
The album ends with the beautiful Om Shanti Om theme music. For people who wanna burn cds of this album, my suggestion would be to put this theme music as the first track. Very nice and mellifluous tune. In future when anyone talks about OSO, people would relate to this tune.

So there you go...thats my impression of Om Shanti Om's soundtrack. I had lot of expectations which were not completely met. If ARR or Shankar ehsaan loy had composed the music, they would have taken it to a different level with lot of experimentation. The problem with V-S is their inconsistency. Some songs are very good while some are mediocre. And you don't want mediocre songs for big banner movies like Om Shanti Om. Nevertheless its gonna be a hit album, if not superhit, and I am still excited to watch the movie featuring 70s Elvis styled Shahrukh and the pretty Deepika, thanks to the colorful and vibrant promos.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The "Key" to success

Three days ago my car all of a sudden refused to start. Thankfully I had driven to office, but as soon as I parked, thats it. It seized to start again. I couldnt even turn the key to ACC position. I always thought of selling my toyota corolla...Its about 12 yrs old and still going strong, and now when it didnt start, all my hopes crashed. I didnt want to spend extra money in fixing this car. I'm a person who always believes that everything happens for a reason...And so I thought was even this incident...only that I didnt know what was the reason. I tried calling up AAA to see if they can help. Luckily they did have a locksmith service but she said the cost would be $280 to repair it. As soon as i heard the price, I kept the phone. Well i did thank her for the offer, but couldnt accept it without doing ample research on net. And so I left my car in the parking lot and used my office vehicle to commute.

Two days passed by and I couldnt find time to search for the meantime few more bad things happened, one of them being the shitty Directv bill...those bunch of losers...and the other one being me losing my fone :( ...can it get worser than this ?? Funny thing was my workplace came in handy in 2 of my bad incidents. I could use my test fone to communicate ( thank god i work in a cell fone company ) and use my office vehicle to commute ( thank god once again for making my office provide vehicles to go to sites ). I've been searching for my fone @ home, no luck so far...shud have left it in my friend's place...i dunno...and as for directv, u know the story from my previous blog. And then there was this stock market, which knew only one way to go...downhill...Oh did I mention about my altercation with my manager ?? Yeap that happened too...his concern was that i wasnt focussed...well of course i was wats the big deal...i'm still working right ??

So yesterday i decided to forget everything and do some research on my car problem..thanks to my wife who found me troubled and did some googling to find few links. There were many suggestions by people..few said it could be the old key, while few others believed it could be the Ignition lock cylinder which goes bad after like 150 k miles, especially in Corolla. Some said the steering wheel might cause it, which when turned properly could fix the issue. But most of them who didnt know much about cars suggested I go to the dealer and not worry about anything.

The last one being the easiest prompted me to call Toyota dealer who after hearing my explanation confidently said it was the Ignition lock cylinder which needs to be replaced. And the charge ??? you won't believe...$550 !!!! wait a minute, in few seconds he brought it down to $450...hmmm some marketing trick i thought. But having no other choice i went for it. Next I called AAA to get help towing my car to the dealer. Had to do it in the evening as i didnt want my collegues to see a tow truck infront of the office...felt embarassing...but as this week was superbad for me, the tow truck came @ 4:30 pm right when everyone was leaving...sweeeeet..

The guy tried his hand in starting the car, but in vain. He then asked me about my plan and i told him to tow it to the dealer. I also mentioned to him the price and put up a sad face...Luckily it worked and he said he'll call up his friend who happened to be a locksmith to see if he can help. And god smiled at me for the first time in the whole week....the locksmith said it can be fixed and just for $250 ...yayyyyyy...i waited in my office till he came like for 1 hr. He turned up @ 6:30 pm in his mobile office / truck.

First thing he did was examining my key, which was the first thing i read on the net. He went inside and took some measurements of the key, and in 5 minutes made a brand new duplicate key. All i was thinking in my mind was that now because of this new key, i'm gonna be charged more than $250 :( ...He put the key in and booooom the car STARTED !!!!! I was like whatttttttt...thats it ??? that was the problem ??? the key ?? OMG i couldnt believe my eyes...I was speechless, fell short of words. He put some WD40 oil to lubricate the lock cylinder and I was ready to go...Finally you know how much he charged ??? $40 bucks...hehehe...where was $550 and where is $ did this happen ?? it was a miracle. When i told the locksmith i was intending to sell this car, he disagreed and asked me to keep it for few more yrs as its a gr8 car. I couldnt agree more.

I gained all my confidence back after this incident. Should i have agreed to the AAA lady before ? I would say no, coz i wouldnt have done any research on cars. Also I wouldnt have driven my office vehicle :). ...saved gas money there, which later got spent in fixing key. So it all came a full circle. It all made sense in the end. Just 3 days ago i was planning to sell my car, and now I started to love and take care of my car more...and may be that was the whole reason why this ever happened stop me from selling my car...

Isnt God just great ?...he just succeeded in showing me the "Key" to Success..

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

DIRECTV sucks- what a cheap company..

To all the people who have Time Warner or Cox cable and want to move to another provider, plz plz plz dont' go for Directv. Choose Dishtv or stay with the cable companies. But don't get fooled by the flyers you get in mails showing various offers from Directv. I was one of them and after reading my story you'll understand why I'm so pissed off at this company right now. Read on..

I am a new customer to Directv and I got this offer in mail which said $44.99 per month for 12 months. This includes 185 channels including locals and you also get a free widescreen portable dvd player. This I was told was an offer only for new customers, the regular offer being $54.99. When i let the customer service rep know that i'm transfering from Time Warner and when i asked whether there is any other additional offer i can get, the lady told me that she would give me additional $10 rebate for 10 months making it $34.99 for 10 months. I confirmed this many times first month and second month and i was told that my third month's bill would be $34.99.

And now i get my 3rd month bill as $44.99, something I never expected. When i call up the customer service, the lady tells me that there was never any rebate, but there was a cash back offer for 10 months, which supposedly i'm not eligible now. I was like " Are you kidding me ?? " This was the first time they had mentioned to me about cash back offer. And when asked why i wasnt told this before, she just said she was sorry about that and couldnt help me further. I thought may be there's a misunderstanding here and may be this customer rep didnt know shit. So then I asked why wasnt i eligible for the offer which i never heard of and she told that i had contacted a third party and didnt go through their company for the service. Now this totally threw me off, because the mail i got was from Directv and never mentioned anything about third party. I completely lost my temper, which I don't usually, and started yelling at her. Felt like making the customer rep stand before me and smashing her to pulp. But then, what would she do...its the company right ?? Everything looked to be like a big scam and they just robbed $100 from me.

The flyer clearly read in bold letters " CALL NOW 1-888-866-2922 or visit ". Now do you expect this number to be that of directv or of a third party ?? Well I guess I wasnt that smart to think that this was NOT a directv number, rather of some unknown third party. If you think about it, its a very easy game for them. Advertise lot of good things, give lot of goodies, and make you call a third party ( which u think is directv number ) which would then give you additional rebates and finally when you sign up and don't get your rebate, let you know that it wasnt them who told there's a rebate, but rather direct you to that unknown company which you have no idea about..making it look like they are not guilty at all. All in all a f*#@ed up situation. I seriously wish i had stayed with Time warner or Dish TV and not moved to Directv. Now I cannot even come out of it as I'm in a 1 yr contract.

But this hasnt deterred me. I managed to get through ranks of customer service department and get an escalation of the case. They've given me 1 weeks time to see if they can get me the so called cash back offer. Also I have lodged a complaint at website against Directv. I cannot wait till I win this war. I'm trying to spread awareness among everyone I talk to regarding this issue. And I'm making sure nobody signs up for Directv. I no more feel like using their free portable dvd player. I would rather sell it on ebay or craigslist. I sometimes sit and wonder, why I'm taking this way too serious. Its just after all $10 a month extra. But aint about the money. Its about a promise, and a word given, which when not executed, becomes cheating. And thats not what one expects from big companies which lure customers. There aren't that many cable or satellite dish companies out there. And one certainly doesnt need to be this cheap to be ahead of the game. Such bastards !!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Steve Jobs responds to iPhoners this was very fast. I just posted my previous post an hour ago about how furious the early iPhoners would be after they come to know about $200 price drop in the new 8GB iPhone. And in no time I see this open letter from Steve Jobs to all iPhone owners, where he explains very neatly and brilliantly in 3 points why this price drop was necessary.

Long story cut short, everyone who purchased iPhone from either Apple store or AT & T store are going to get a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. I think this is a very nice gesture by Jobs. Its a 'Job's well done :)

I liked what he mentioned in his letter - "If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new improved model, you'll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon."

Very true and very well said.

..and my 30 gig ipod is now Obsolete

Apple has announced yesterday a new line up of iPod music players. And what a time to do that, when the holiday season is just coming up. They've developed this trend of stealing the top spot of best holiday gifts every year.

I'm a hardcore devotee of apple ipod brands, having the latest ipod nano, 5th gen ipod and new ipod shuffle...but just in one day 2 of them have become obsolete :(. I'm glad atleast ipod shuffle didnt change. Enough of my sad part, lets go to the exciting additions.

- There's no more 4 gigs iPhone. Apple slashed 8 gig iPhone from $599 to $399, and thats the only new iPhone model which is gonna be available. Imagine the plight of people who bought 4 gig iPhone for the price of 8 gigs just 2 months ago...

- 5th gen iPods have now become iPod Classic, coming in 80 gigs and 160 gigs of storage space for $249 and $349 respectively. Now this is a steal...I had bought my 30 gigs iPod for the same price. Is it time to upgrade ??

- Now this is a great upgrade. The new iPod nano, much smaller and thinner than its predecessor. Best add-on is that it can now display video. But why do I want to watch video in small screen ?? It comes at $149 for a 4GB version, and 8GB version that will cost $199

- And now for the grand numero uno addition to the iPod line up....the newest and the latest iPod Touch. Almost identical to the iPhone, except that you can't make calls. You've got multi touch technology, Apple's Safari Web browser, has built-in Google and Yahoo search. And best part is you don't have to get the shitty AT & T service...woooohooo..There's Wi-Fi wireless Internet capabilities which is cool. They've partnered with Starbucks which would now let users automatically download songs that are playing at Starbucks stores within Wi-Fi range. Smart move. But hold on there's a bit of a downside too for this model. It just comes in 8GB and 16 GB versions :(. Now why would they do that ? 2 months later, they would again come up with a 30 GB iPod Touch for the same price...arrghhhhh...

On the whole, i think its a great move by apple. All the new products are exciting, but my favorite is gonna be iPod Classic with 80 Gigs. My dream iPod would be 30 Gig iPod Touch which would have a built-in radio that would allow me to download songs as i listen to them...Sweet deal right ??? I'm very eager to see what SNL is going to come up with on this new iPod line up :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sivi - Music Review

I would have listened to Bheema songs more if I hadnt come across the completely unknown album "Sivi". With just 3 songs, a remix,a rap and a theme music, this soundtrack easily scores over Bheema in every department. With this movie Dharan has proved that Parijatham wasnt fluke, and he has a lot to deliver in the coming years.

Coming to the songs, the album starts of with 'Mayavi Neeya'. Its a beautiful melodious song structured in a completely different way. A very small pallavi and beautiful violin interlude followed by enigmatic sounds and finally ending in a very catchy charanam. To make it even more interesting Dharan,the MD, made the second charanam much smaller, just the last part of 1st charanam. Very impressive. Just this one song is enough for me to shift away from the entire Bheema soundtrack.

'O Nenje' is second best song for me in this album. Again very very catchy song with a happy feel to it and foot tapping music. This song ends with a rap rendered effectively and uniquely by Dr. Burn of Natchatra fame. Another song which can go on in a loop for a long time. 'O Nenje' remix is again cool, not much different from original though. Just that it has rap interludes which make it more like a rap/hip-hop version.

After hearing repeatedly, i am in luv with the rap bit by Dr.Burn, and so would be many of you, for whom they've added a bit song called Rap Theme to the album. Its the same rap bits featuring in O Nenje song.

'Neruppum' is a good song, but pales when compared to the other two. Its got a familiar beat going in the background...where did i hear that...may be towards the end of "only you" by ARR in Vande Mataram album...hmmm...Nevertheless excellent music arrangement again with Arabic vocals in between. I still havn't listened to this song that many times, as i keep repeating 1st and 2nd song :).

And finally comes the Theme music which starts off with a very dark and a haunting tune and is then followed by Subiksha's opera styled singing which elevates the song to a different level. Breathtaking. I felt this theme was better than the one for Anniyan by Harris where he blatantly copied from Passion of christ. rocked in this one..I sincerely hope this album becomes a huge success irrespective of the movie. I never thought harris or yuvan or for that matter the new kid GV Prakash were a worthy successor to ARR. Infact i don't think there can ever be one. But somehow this guy has some uniqueness to his music, which if exploited can take him to higher levels than the other wannabes. Must buy or download ;)