Friday, January 25, 2008

The Dark Knight's Joker is Dead !!!!!

I can't believe this happened. When my friend, Shankar, told me that Joker is dead, the only thing which came to my mind was that he dies in the movie "The Dark Knight". But then he kept saying that Joker is dead in real life. And then I saw the news, the tragedy. Damn the age of 28 ??? thats way too young...He was one of the best and rising actors in Hollywood :(. This was absolutely unexpected and unbelievable. After watching The Dark Knight promos I was really looking forward to seeing more from him.

When I heard this news the first thing I remembered was Brandon Lee's death. I don't know why. May be because even he died when filming for the movie, The Crow, where his character had similar get up as Heath Ledger's Joker. Even he died just before the filming was over. And coincidently both of them died at the age of 28.

May your soul rest in peace brother..

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jodha Akbar Music Review

Huh !! Finally Jodha Akbar's audio has hit the stands. I believe it got delayed in India for some reason. However Sony has released it worldwide and believe me, it was totally worth the wait. After listening to all the songs including instrumentals, I feel there can be only two words that would be apt to describe the album -Pure and Eternal.

Ashutosh and AR Rahman combo has got another winner in this album. Its got 5 songs and 2 instrumentals all of which are class apart and beautiful in their own terms. There was a time when I felt only Mani Ratnam knew how to extract brilliant music from the Musical Wizard. With the arrival of Lagaan that view changed and I was very happy that ARR had got another good director who has a very good ear for music and who appreciates good soulful music. In Jodha Akbar we get to hear ARR in his best creative form who's taken his own time in coming up with some extraordinary music for yet another period film. I didn't just want to write a review, rather I wanted to share the musical experience of Jodha Akbar, because not so often we come across albums like these. So here it is..

The album opens with Azeem o shaan shehenshaah. Right when you hear the sounds of horn followed by the thumping sound of drums, you get transported musically to the era which you've only witnessed in history books. In no time the blood starts to gush inside your veins and you feel like going with the crowd Azeem o shaan shehanshah Farmaan awaah..hamesha hamesha salaamat rahe.. Just when you are already captivated by the mukhda and the very catchy chorus chan chanananana line in the antara and want to keep hearing it again and again, you are grabbed and put right in the middle of battlefield where you hear clanging sounds of swords which form the interlude. Everything about this song is so perfect, so grand, so appropriately placed, in other words so Rahmanesque. Its just amazing how Rahman brilliantly matches his music with the essence of the situation, the idea, the thought and the event of Glorifying Emperor Akbar... a composition which even Akbar would be proud of. Marhaba..O..Marhaba...

We all have heard innumerous melodies offlate. Very easy on ears, quite understandable in the first hearing, and immediately on our lips. But Rahman reminds us every now and then that melodies can also be complex, unconventional and yet be scintillating and pleasant to hear. In Lamhon ke is one of those compositions. Its a mesmerizing song sung both beautifully and soulfully by Sonu Nigam, who's for sure reserved a nomination this year. If the first song was about people singing praises to Akbar, this one goes a bit further by digging into the heart and mind of Akbar and his realization of Love...hmmm Ishq hai saari hawaaon mein...The antara portions induce lot of goosebumps with the high crescendo regions and the intoxicating choral renditions..and then arrives Madhushree with her nightingale voice..the way she sings can be best described like a painting...a painting of a river..a free flowing river that meanders happily and ends up in a lake...where everything comes to a standstill..and then we hear Sonu whispering to us...
Mere khwabon ke is gulistaan mein, tumsehi tum bahaar chaayi hai ..
phoolon mein rang mere the lekin, inme khushbu tumhi se aayi hai...
a moment of absolute bliss. I don't want anything more from this album. I've got it all in this one song. The song where you get filled with peace and harmony and Javed saab drowns you in his poetic ocean. A mellifluous number which would be remembered for a long time.

The first thing we notice when we hear the next song Jashn e bahara is Javed Ali's laid back casual singing style. I couldn't believe he's the same guy who earlier sung another chartbuster song "Kajra re". After this song, I'm sure he'll be placed on par with other top singers of our country. Credit goes to none other than ARR for bringing out the best from him. This is a lilting melody and an instantly appealing song. It brings with it a whiff of fresh air. Javed Akhtars lyrics are top notch here. Give close hearing and you'll observe intricate details and brilliance throughout the song, various layers with different instruments producing pleasing sounds. All put together very carefully by Rahman who manages quite effortlessly to produce a beautiful romantic melody. A strong contender for the song of the year.

Later in this album we also have an instrumental of the same song with Naveen's flute replacing Javed Ali's vocals. Notice closely and you'll find that the entire song is not just played with one flute. Both the antaras have different flutes used, I guess to break the monotonous feel, and it works pretty well. A very soothing melody, the power of which you can only realize when you switch off all lights in your room and give it a hear. An amazing instrumental.

The next song is a spiritual qawwali number Khwaja mere Khwaja written by Kashif. ARR's already proved that he's the undisputable king when it comes to spiritual numbers with songs like Piya Haji Ali and Zikr. With Khwaja mere Khwaja, he's added one more to the list. Throughout the song he does some great rendition moving easily from ultra mild to high pitches. The mukhda part is extremely catchy and the entire song is backed strongly by one instrument, tabla, the sound of which is crisp and vibrant. The arrival of Oboe instrument in the interlude signals a serious moment which we might only understand when we watch the movie. Its a number which truly belongs to Rahman.

The album also comes with Khwaja mere Khwaja instrumental version which surprisingly sounds very different from the vocal version. Oboe instrument dominates the full song with subtle orchestration in the background. Parts of the song reminded me of the Bose theme, but that might also be due to the instrument itself. The whole song has a mystic feel to it and its a song which one can hear in repeat mode. I just wished it was a bit more longer. Brilliant, just brilliant instrumental.

Ashutosh - ARR combo album is incomplete with a bhajan song. And so we have Mann Mohana which surprisingly has a very rich orchestration in its interludes for a devotional number elevating the song to higher levels. The song also has a haunting melody which takes time to sink in. For me its few levels above his older devotional numbers like Pal Pal hai bhari and O Palanhare. The orchestration with flute tune still reverberates in my ears even after I finish listening to this song. Believe me...give it sometime and you'll get submerged in this song. Special mention has to be made on new singer Bela Shende who's sung this song very passionately.

And so the album ends on a strong note, with all the tracks being gems, with every track having an identity being the best possible song in its own category. Not often do people make movies such as Jodha Akbar in India. And for that I really respect Ashutosh in coming up with this movie in which he's invested a lot of time, money and effort. To compose music for such a film needs lot of dedication, imagination, research and understanding of directors vision and Rahman pulls it off with great élan. I can't imagine anyone else coming up with such a score which not only compliments the movie so well, also raises the bar for Ashutosh to make the visuals even more enticing. And for that reason alone this album truly deserves 5 stars. I think a lot more is in store for us when we actually witness the movie, in the form of BGM.

Every year starts with a Rahman's album which goes on to grabs numerous awards. By taking historical facts into account and adding Rahman's consistency and his dependability factor, I think he's got it this year as well. Also going by the hype and the promos with music, I have a strong feeling Jodha Akbar is going to be a classic film. I hope Ashutosh doesn't disappoint me. I don't have to specifically mention that this is a must have album or its better than this and better than that...Here's the fact -

There is good music, there is great music and then there is AR Rahman's music.

Do I have to say more ??? Go grab your CD right away...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tata Nano - A promise made, A promise delivered

Ratan Tata finally unveiled perhaps the most-hyped four-wheeler of the year, the Rs. 1 Lakh car ($2600) Tata Nano on the Wednesday's Auto Expo in New Delhi. It was just a promise few years ago and now it has been delivered. Quite frankly I'm very pleasantly surprised that it didnt turn out to be a dumb looking model with no roof or a three wheeler car. It was actually a cool and cute looking car !!!

And even the specs were pretty appreciable for such a low priced car -

624 cc, 33 HP petrol engine which meets Bharat Stage-III emission norms and can also meet the Euro 4 norms. 30-litre fuel tank and four-speed manual gearshift, air conditioning, and most importantly a mileage of 20 kmpl in city and 26 kmpl on a highway.

I mean c'mon thats almost like 55 mpg in US, a mileage which Toyota Prius gives which is priced $ 26000 !! 10 times the price of Tata Nano.

Mr. Ratan Tata...please take a bow for making the dream of millions of Indians a reality.

Also according to him, the car is 8% smaller bumper to bumper, than the Maruti 800 but at the same time 21% larger in its interiors and can sit up to four people. And it would come in one standard version and two deluxe versions with AC.

What more would a common man in India ask for ? I know some of my family members who were pretty excited at the news and who are planning to sell their motorbikes and buy this. Even my mom loved this car and said that she might force my dad to sell our Santro, priced 3 times higher, and get this.

However it looks like the Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil isn't quite happy with the new car as he feels it'll clog the roads and increase pollution. Well thats what's he waiting for ?? Why doesn't he push the Govt. to build more roads, flyovers ? Why doesn't he develop the infrastructure rather than sitting and grumbling about it ? Oh I know...its because now he has to do more WORK...actually the WORK for which he's paid for. What a moron...

Jodha Akbar mp3s out on web - Don't be Fooled

Today my friend scrapped me on orkut saying that mp3 songs of Jodha Akbar have been released. I was really surprised because I've been closely following every event related to that movie, and to my knowledge only the audio launch took place recently and they were releasing the audio on 15th of this month. So I googled it immediately and downloaded the mp3s, you know...just for curiosity sake :). I do intend to buy the original as I always have. I was shocked when I heard the first song "Khamoshi se Pukar".

This ain't Jodha Akbar...its Warriors of Heaven and Earth song by AR Rahman..a Chinese movie. Damn whoever posted these songs on web. This is ridiculous. And added to that people who have downloaded these songs were praising the uploader. I hope atleast after they hear the songs they'll realize that this is not the official songs from the movie. Even the rest of the songs are mere audio rip offs from the movie trailers and audio release function.


The only real and latest news are these videos from the Audio launch :

Jashn Bahara almost Full song :~

In Lamhon ke daaman mein :~

Kwaja mere kwaja :~

Mann Mohanaa :~

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy Birthday AR Rahman

Even now the songs of Roja, Bombay, Kadhalan sound so fresh. Even now drops of water remind me of Taal song, the sound of thunder reminds me of Ghanan Ghanan and Chinna China mazhai tuzhi songs, whiff of fresh air reminds me of Katre song. Even now I get goosebumps when I listen to Maa Tujhe Salaam. Thanks for all the wonderful songs you've given us AR Rahman Sir.

So many different music directors have come and gone since you've stormed the music industry. Our music has changed drastically ever since you've arrived. There's only one thing which has remained constant in all these years and that's your consistency and purity in music. And I feel thats the reason you still reign at the top. And thats the reason nobody can ever take over your place.

Here's a proud Rahmaniac wishing you many many happy returns of the day Rahman sir...hope you give us many many more timeless melodies and beautiful songs..and hope you never seize to experiment.

Below is an astounding work of an ARR fan. It has ARR's picture on all of his CDs released till date. Every time I look at it, I find an album which takes me back to the time when that album was released and that makes me feel very happy. I'm sure it will for you too.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

And the winner for Best Game of year 2007 is...BioShock

I'm extremely thrilled and happy that Bioshock has won the X-Play's Game of the year award which aired on G4 channel. It truly deserves the award for its stunning art direction, amazing story, beautiful haunting music and the gameplay which combines both first person shooting and strategy gaming incredibly. You've got suspense, horror, There were a ton of amazing games this year, but 'BioShock' was the best. There's just so many things which one can explore everytime they play it. So for all you people who are still wondering which game to play, check this one out for sure...and for everyone else who've loved playing this game..its time to rejoice.

"BioShock" shows how good games can be, from how a great story can unfold to how games can inspire genuine emotion. You owe it to yourself to play this game.

Here are the "X-Play Best of 2007 Awards" winners:

* Game of the Year - BioShock
* Most Original Game - Portal
* Best Gameplay Innovation - Assassin's Creed (free-running/climbing)
* Best Multiplayer Game - Rock Band
* Best Action/Adventure Game - Super Mario Galaxy
* Best Sports Game - Forza Motorsport 2
* Best Shooter - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
* Best Role Playing Game - Mass Effect
* Best New Character - Portal (GLaDOS)
* Best Art Direction - BioShock
* Best Animation - Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
* Best Writing/Story - BioShock
* Best Original Soundtrack - BioShock
* Best Sound Design - Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
* Best Downloadable Content - Pac-Man Championship Edition (XBLA)
* Best Strategy Game - Supreme Commander

Previously in December 2007, the Spike TV Awards selected BioShock as Best Game, Best Xbox 360 Game, and Best Original Score.

On a sidenote, I think Halo 3 should have won the Best Multiplayer game award. Havn't checked out Rockband yet though..

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

CNN-IBN Song of the year - Tere Bina

This is really great. Rubaroo was the CNN-IBN song of the year in 2006. And now Tere Bina. Congrats Rahman..hope we get to hear many more amazing compositions from you in the coming years.