Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I read good reviews about this movie and wanted to see how it is. Huh, it took a long time to finish! I felt as if I saw two movies at a stretch!

Priyanka Chopra decides to become a model in the fashion w0rld and struggles to reach the top and she does reach the top model post. She was prepared to do anything for reaching it. Then she tumbles down...and down.... Her father (Raj Babbar), who was against his daughter becoming a model in the beginning, now, helps her and encourages her to go back and fulfil her dream. She goes back and starts again from scratch.

We know that in the glamour world, whether fashion or movies, it is not easy to be successful. But Madhur Bhandarkar, the director of the movie, has shown the lives of the models, the fashion designers etc. so powerfully, that we get a bit scared. Priyanka has done her job very well. I liked Kangana's acting very much. Her facial expressions are very good. She seems to me to be a better actress than Priyanka! I couldn't believe Harsh Chaya could act so well. Too good. His lisp, the body movements...

We can watch it once. Though, I remembered the movies 'Devil Wears Prada' 'Miss Congeniality' etc. sometimes, while watching this movie.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty. 
He asks one of his new students to stand and..... 
Prof: So you believe in God? 
Student: Absolutely, sir. 
Prof: Is God good? 
Student: Sure. 
Prof: Is God all-powerful? 
Student: Yes. 
Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him.  Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm? 

(Student is silent.) 

Prof: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God good? 
Student: Yes. 
Prof: Is Satan good? 
Student : No. 
Prof: Where does Satan come from? 
Student: From...God.. . 
Prof: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world? 
Student: Yes. 
Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct? 
Student: Yes. 
Prof: So who created evil? 

(Student does not answer.) 

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they? 
Student: Yes, sir. 
Prof: So, who created them? 

(Student has no answer.) 

Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. 
Tell me, son....Have you ever seen God? 
Student: No, sir. 
Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God? 
Student: No, sir. 
Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter? 
Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't. 
Prof: Yet you still believe in Him? 
Student: Yes. 
Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist.  What do you say to that, son? 
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith. 
Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has. 
Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat? 
Prof: Yes. 
Student: And is there such a thing as cold? 
Prof: Yes. 
Student: No sir. There isn't. 

(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.) 

Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat.  But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that.  There is no such thing as cold . Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat . We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy . Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it .

(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.) 

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness? 
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness? 
Student : You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light.....But if  you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it were you would be able to make 
darkness darker, wouldn't you? 
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man? 
Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed. 
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how? 
Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. 
Now tell me, Professor.Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey? 
Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do. 

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir? 

(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.) 

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class is in uproar.) 

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?

(The class breaks out into laughter.) 

Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain,sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir? 

(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable. ) 

Prof: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir... The link between man & god is FAITH . That is all that keeps things moving & alive. 

NB: I believe you have enjoyed the conversation. ..and if so...you'll probably want your friends/colleagues to enjoy the same...won't you?.... this is a true story and the student was none other than........ .


APJ Abdul Kalam, the former president of India . 
orwardSourceID: NT0000767E 
ForwardSourceID: NT00006736

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cosmopolitan Mumbai

I make it a point to read Amitabh Bachchan's blog everyday. He writes about anything and everything under the sun and writes very nicely. His language is superb. Sometimes, he quotes from other magazines also. I liked the article he quoted from Mumbai Mirror, written by Rahul Srivatsava.

As Srivastava said, people from all over India have gone and settled down in Mumbai for so many decades now. My doddamma (mother's elder sister) got married at the age of 12 (Balika Vadhu material!) and went to Mumbai some 65 years back. She knew only Kannada, then. Her children studied in Marathi medium with Hindi and English. Along with them she learnt to read Marathi, Hindi, Tamil (she had Tamil neighbours) and English novels too. She had very good Marathi family friends and did not find any difficulty living there, all these years. Why do people - I will not say 'locals', because people who have been there for generations, are also 'locals'- feel insecure now, as Raj Thackeray feels? Mumbai is called a cosmopolitan city because it has got people from all over India who had been living there, thinking that Mumbai city belongs to everybody, who are Indians. Now, my cousins have come to Bengaluru on their jobs and still they consider Mumbai as their native place.

Here, in Chennai, my children had studied in CBSE schools and they do not know to write in Tamil. They had Hindi and Sanskrit as second and third languages. The government does not insist on having Tamil compulsorily, in the state syllabus. The DMK government is against Hindi language and most of the educated people of this generation (who are in their 20s and 30s),do not know Tamil - to read and write! Three language formula is banned here. The other states insist on their local language as second language and you can have any other as the third language. So people who study in Bengaluru or Hyderabad or Thiruvanantapuram, know Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam. We, esp. South Indians, communicate mostly in English, in work place and outside. We should know the local language definitely and respect other languages also, I feel. Hindi is our national language and English is important for education and for our jobs. All our languages are ancient languages with good literary value, which should be preserved. We should be broad minded and learn the language of the place we live. Similarly, we should respect people of other states, who come to live in our state.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mumbai, the once so called 'Financial Capital of India!'

I read an email in last week's edition of 'Outlook' magazine's Letters to the Editor:

'My dharma tells me to treat all who come to my door as godlike guests and feed them. My dharma also tells me that I must provide succour to my children and that when I do not have enough to feed them both, my children get higher priority and I must ask the guest to go elsewhere, especially, when my guest brings with him not just his family, but his brother-in-law, his third cousins, their friends and the village barber.'

I am sad our country is not made up of so many states with so many languages anymore. The states are becoming like individual countries. People like Raj Thackeray are behaving like despot kings. Slowly it is spreading to other states also - e.g. Karnataka.

Here, in Chennai, I have got a neighbour who is from Chatthisgarh. We are living near the IT Highway and I see so many different types of people from all over India - even sardarjis, who have come here to work in the Infosys, TCS, Sathyam Computers etc. The IT bhoom has made this happen. Even I am from Karnataka. All youngsters are going everywhere. Are all Thackeray's family members live only in Maharashtra? Do they speak only Marathi? Don't they go abroad? Bal Thackeray's first bahu was producing Hindi films, I remember. Bal Thackeray is (or was, because he cannot say so loudly now!) a great fan of Amitabh and Shah Rukh Khan.

What will happen to Mumbai if Ambanis, Tata, Birla and other business people leave Mumbai/Maharashtra. Should Bollywood produce only Marathi films? Should only Maharashtrians act in the films produced over there? The MNCs or any business people, think twice before starting a business in Kerala because of the labour unions. Now same thing will happen to Mumbai because of the problems created by the Thackerays. I will think twice before sending my son to Mumbai, for any kind of job. I have seen what happened to the students who went there to attend the Railway entrance exams. They must be in their late teens or early twenties. This will affect them and they might hate Maharashtrians forever.

Only a strong Central Government can bring some sort of peace. All our political parties are into promoting their own parties. We have sent Chandrayan to the moon and proved to the world that we are coming out of the 'Third World Country' label. These Thackerays are pulling us back into that label again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Twentieth Wife - Book by Indu Sundaresan.

Quite an interesting narration of the Mughal Empire - Emperor Akbar, his son Jahangir, Jahangir and Mehrunnisa's romance etc. In between the romantic tale of Jahangir and Mehrunnisa,(later on Empress Nur Jahan), we can know about the Imperial Place where their women lived in harems, their children (from hundreds of wives and concubines!), their day-to-day lifestyle, how the kings presided the court, about nobles, their slaves ...the fight in-between the princes for the throne...very interesting. Indu Sundaresan has researched well for writing this book.

Ghias Beg and his wife Asmat are fleeing Persia, for their life, to Hindustan. They already have got 3 children and a girl baby is born in the desert, on their way. Ghias tries to leave the child under a tree for someone to bring her up, but a merchant brings her back to him and helps him get a job in the Mughal Emperor Akbar's Court. Then the story narrates how the child, Mehrunnisa grows up, falls in love with Akbar's son Prince Salim (who later on becomes Emperor Jahangir) at the age of 8, when she views his marriage ceremony, from the Imperial Palace balcony. Salim also meets her in his step mother, the Empress's apartment and falls in love with her.

Ghias Beg brings up his children with good education and cultured manners. They learn (even the girls) Turkish, the language of the Mughal Court, Hindi, Sanskrit etc. A brahmin comes to their house to explain Ramayana also! The girls are taught painting, stitching etc. We notice that the Hindus and Muslims lived peacefully in Akbar and Jahangir's rule. They exchanged their culture also - Mehrunnisa draws rangoli with colour powder on festive occasions!

Then comes Salim's greediness to become the Emperor fast and how he fails in his attempts. Akbar loved his son Salim very much, till then. He becomes upset knowing about Salim's behaviour. So when he comes to know that Salim loved Mehrunnisa, he made Ghias marry his daughter off to a soldier of his choice. Mehrunnisa lives with her husband for 13 years with two abortions and then one girl child. Emperor Akbar dies and Salim becomes the the Emperor - Emperor Jahangir.

The story continues till Jahangir marries Mehrunnisa, 4 years after her husband's death and she becomes Empress Nur Jahan, who ruled Hindustan for 14 years with the help of Jahangir.

More than the love story, I liked the way Indu Sundaresan narrated the history of the Mughal empire. Their way of life, the incidents that occurred during that period (16th century). The Portuguese were already settled in India as merchants and then came the East India Company, who wanted to trade with India. The English are mentioned as shepherds and fishermen by the Emperor! Jahangir allows the Portuguese Jesuits to convert his brother's sons into catholics! This way,his sons will have less competition to the throne! The headquarters of the kingdom changes from Agra to Lahore according to the weather and the place of war! Like Akbar wrote (made his minister write - he did not know to read and write and made others to read for him and had a very good memory power, it seems)'Akbar Nama', explaining about the history of his time, Jahangir wrote 'Jahangir Nama', explaining his reign. He was known to be a 'Just King', because his people can ask for justice by pulling a golden chain with brass bells (Chain of Justice) with bells and action was taken. This chain was in Agra and the story is mostly around Agra and Lahore.

The eating habits of that time, the delicacies of the kings, how they were prepared, the ingredients used etc. are also explained in detail. I will try adding rosemary for my dum aloo!

When we read about the life of the harem women, we really pity them. 300 women - wives, concubines etc. - live for a single male. Dress up for him, wait for just a look from him, huh! The king just brings them to the harem or marries them for political reasons, then just keep them locked in the palace! I wonder if our Hindu kings had so many women in their palaces?!

This book of Indu Sundaresan won the coveted Washington State Book Award. We can enjoy reading this book, definitely.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tirupati Tirumala darshan.

We went to Tirupati to have darshan of Lord Venkateshwara on the Deepawali day. We had booked the tickets for 'Archananatara Darshan' (AAD) paying Rs.200/- per head in the month of June itself. They mention the darshan timing in the ticket itself and it was for 28th October '08 morning 5.30 a.m. This darshan starts at 4.30 in the morning every day and goes on till 6.30. Because of the terrorist threats, they do not allow us near the Garbha Gruha nowadays. If the crowd is less, they allow during this darshan, inside. Otherwise we have to get satisfied of the Lord's Darshan (God Venkateshwara is mentioned in the website of this temple as Lord Venkateshwars and Lord sounds funny for us!) from the outer level.

We reached Tirumala on the previous evening after having darshan of the Devi at Alamelu Mangapuram and it was late. Next day early morning, I heard the Nagaswaram at 1 a.m., Venkatesha Suprabhatam at 2 a.m. also. Got up at 3.30 a.m., had bath and were at the Vaikutam queue gates at 4.30 itself. There, a huge crowd was waiting and the temple officials were informing that because of the Deepawali festival, the Lord has got special poojas and so, they allowed people with AAD tickets early - from 3 to 4 a.m. They said that they had been announcing about this from the previous day evening via speakers. These speakers are inside the temple complex and can be heard only by the people who were inside the complex. How can the others hear it, I don't understand. They were asking us to come back at 9 a.m.

We had gone there by car and were able to have darshan afterwards and instead of returning home for lunch, came home late in the evening. There was a big group who had come from Mumbai and their return tickets were booked for 10 a.m. train. They returned back without having darshan.

The temple authorities should not have given darshan timing when the special Deepawali pooja is done every year at the same time. People come there from all over India to visit the temple and their whole plan gets upset and they get mentally upset for going back without having darshan. I do not know if this is the first time it is happening. Anyway, whoever is going to Tirupati have to get confirmed of the darshan timings, at least the previous day, I think.

We had a good darshan later on, though. The ex-CM of Andhra Pradesh, Mr.Naidu had done some very good arrangements for easy movements of the pilgrims and every year, more and more people are coming there! Lord Venkateshwas has to take care of all of us, I think!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

12 Angry Men - A good Movie.

I watched a very good movie, just now. 12 Angry Men. It is a serious movie and you can say, a courtroom drama.

In a courtroom, an 18 year old boy - Spanish American - is accused of murdering his father. The actual trial is not shown. The judge asks the jurors to go into the jury room and discuss and decide about the verdict, whether the boy is 'guilty' or 'not guilty'.

The jury is comprised of 12 men of different backgrounds. Now, first, the voting begins. 11 men vote as 'guilty' and one as 'not guilty'. The jurors are known by just numbers. No names are used. Juror no.8 (Henry Fonda), votes as 'not guilty', because he is not convinced fully to declare the boy 'guilty'. A 'guilty' vote will mean 'death sentence'.

Now, the drama begins. Everyone should convince others why they think the boy as 'guilty' because the verdict should be unanimous. Every juror has got his own prejudices according to their backgrounds. Some are soft spoken, some are argumentative, some are arrogant, merciless and so on.

The gist of the story looks so boring, I know! But once you are settled with the movie, you get so engrossed in it. This movie was made in 1957. A remake in Hindi was made in 1986. 'Ek Ruka Hua Faisla' was the name of the movie and unlike most of the remakes, this one was equally superb. K.K.Raina played Henry Fonda's role very well and the cast included Pankaj Kapoor and Annu Kapoor. I still remember the movie, which I had seen around 1987-88 in TV and enjoyed.

The English movie had great reviews and was nominated for 3 Oscars.

No female character, no attractive locations, nothing. Just one hot, sweaty jury room. The characters don't even address each other by name. In the last scene, while coming out of the court, juror no.9 asks juror no.8, 'What's your name?'. No.8 says 'Davis'. No.9 says, 'Mine is McCardle. Well, so long'. No.8 says, 'So long'! Everyone disperses.!

A very good movie!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

People whom I admire!

I came across this article and I had goose bumps when I read it. Though we are not lucky enough to come across people like this writer, who wrote the article and the person, about whom this article was written about, at least let us read and enjoy, like I did:

It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and gulmohars were blooming at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies' hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of Science.

I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from Universities in the US ... I had not thought of taking up a job in India.

One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors)... It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hardworking and with an excellent academic background, etc.

At the bottom was a small line: 'Lady Candidates need not apply.'

I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination.

Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers... Little did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to be successful?

After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost person in Telco's management about the injustice the company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco.

I thought it must be one of the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company's chairman then) I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing. To this day I remember clearly what I wrote.

'The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives they have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute
of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender.'

I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco's Pune facility at the company's expense. I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them
the famous Pune saris for cheap! I collected Rs30 each from everyone who wanted a sari when I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip.

It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city.

To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways. As directed, I went to Telco's Pimpri office for the interview.

There were six people on the panel and I realized then that this was serious business.

'This is the girl, who wrote to JRD,' I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. The realization abolished all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted.

Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, 'I hope this is only a technical interview.'

They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude.
The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them.

Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, 'Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We
appreciate that, but people like you should work in research laboratories.

I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited place.

I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, 'But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.'

Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune. I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we got married.

It was only after joining Telco that I realized who JRD was: the uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr. Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM... I was in his office on the first
floor of Bombay House (the Tata headquarters) when, suddenly JRD walked in. That was the first time I saw 'appro JRD'. Appro means 'our' in Gujarati. This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him.

I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM introduced me nicely, 'Jeh (that's what his close associates called him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate. She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.' JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview (or the postcard that preceded it).

Thankfully, he didn't. Instead, he remarked. 'It is nice that girls are getting into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?'

'When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir,' I replied. 'Now I am Sudha Murthy.' He smiled and kindly smile and started a discussion with SM. As for me, I almost ran out of the room.

After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him.

One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard. Looking back, I realize JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a small incident for him, but not
so for me.

'Young lady, why are you here?' he asked. 'Office time is over.' I said, 'Sir, I'm waiting for my husband to come and pick me up.' JRD said, 'It is getting dark and there's no one in the corridor. I'll wait with you till your husband comes.'

I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable.

I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing. There wasn't any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, 'Look at this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake
of an ordinary employee.'

Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, 'Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again.' In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after wrapping up my final settlement
when I saw JRD coming up. He was absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him, so I stopped. He saw me and paused.

Gently, he said, 'So what are you doing, Mrs. Kulkarni?' (That was the way he always addressed me...) 'Sir, I am leaving Telco.'

'Where are you going?' he asked. 'Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I'm shifting to Pune.'

'Oh! And what will you do when you are successful.'

'Sir, I don't know whether we will be successful.' 'Never start with diffidence,' he advised me 'Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. Wish you all the best.'

Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive.

Many years later I met Ratan Tata in the same Bombay House, occupying the chair JRD once did. I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco.
Later, he wrote to me, 'It was nice hearing about Jeh from you.
The sad part is that he's not alive to see you today.'

I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy person, he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice. He must have received thousands of letters everyday. He could have thrown mine away, but he didn't do that. He respected the intentions of that unknown girl, who had
neither influence nor money, and gave her an opportunity in his company. He did not merely give her a job; he changed her life and mindset forever.

Close to 50 per cent of the students in today's engineering colleges are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments. I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how the company we started
has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

My love and respect for the House of Tata remains undiminished by the passage of time. I always looked up to JRD. I saw him as a role model for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took of his employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they had the same vastness and magnificence.

(Sudha Murthy is a widely published writer and chairperson of the Infosys Foundation involved in a number of social development initiatives. Infosys chairman Narayana Murthy is her husband.)

Article sourced from: Lasting Legacies (Tata Review- Special Commemorative Issue 2004), brought out by the house of Tatas to commemorate the 100th birth
anniversary of JRD Tata on July 29, 2004.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kamal Haasan - Shathavathaaram man!

I read an article by Sudhangan in Ananda Vikatan, a tamil magazine, about Kamal Haasan. Sudhangan is a writer, journalist and TV anchor. Everyone knows Kamal, as an actor, writer, singer, director,choreographer and in so many other avataars. Basically, he is a dancer, who developed into so many other facets.

When I wrote an article about the movie 'Dasavathaaram', in my blog, I don't know how I forgot to write about the first avataar as Rangarajan Nambi, indetail (maradhi manni?!). The charecter, Rangarajan Nambi, recites 'Vishnu Sahasranaamam' in a booming voice (reminding us, the voice of Shivaji Ganesan). In the interview with Sudhangan in 'Ananda Vikatan', Kamal says that he knows Vishnu Sahasranaamam by heart and knows Suprabhatam, tamil shlokas - Thiruppallaandu, Abhiraami Andaadhi (he recites this shloka in his movie 'Gunaa', which is a milestone in his acting career and one of our favourite movies)etc. He recited some shlokas to Sudangan, during his meeting with him. Everyone knows that he is a staunch atheist. When questioned, Kamal said that when he was young, he was in a famous drama troupe, run by a veteran theatre artiste, Shri T.K. Shanmugam (the name of the movie Avvai Shanmugi was selected in his memory - Chaachi 420 in Hindi). They used to tour all the cities and towns, performing their drama. Wherever they went, the whole troupe would go to the local temple and sang relevant shlokas of that deity. So he knows Divya Prabhandam (shlokas for Lord Vishnu), Thiruvaasagam, Thevaram (shlokas for Lord Shiva). His grasping power is amazing. He is always surrounded by so many intellectuals like the late Sujatha, the tamil writer who wrote the screenplays for Kamal's, Manirathnam's and Shankar's movies, Vaira Muththu, the famous lyricist, director Crazy Mohan and others. He learnt to play mridangam for the movie 'Apoorva Raagangal', learnt to sketch from the famous cartoonist Madan, for the movie, 'Anbe Sivam'.....we can go on like this. He learnt classical music from Dr.Balamurali Krishna, the famous carnatic music vocalist, knows all the technical side of film making and writes screenplays for many of his movies. He is a perfectionist to the core.

He is good in comedy roles, in films like Michael Madana Kaamarajan, Thenaali, Sathi Leelavathi, Avvai Shanmugi, Pushpak....the list goes on. He has given classics like Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi, Anbe Sivam, Moondraam Pirai, Indian, Nayakan, Apoorva Sahodarargal, Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu, Sagara Sangamam, Guna, Mahanadi (I shiver when I think of the movie - too emotional), Raja Paarvai, Thevar Magan, Hey Ram, Nammavar... the list continues and should include his future dream project 'Marudanaayagam' too.

We have read his short stories in Ananda Vikatan, his poems, articles, huh, so many things to mention about him. Hey, I forgot to mention about the comedies, Pammal K (uvvae!) Sambandam, Kaadhala kaadhala, etc. Should we say he is good in comedy roles only? No, no, no - he was very good in Anbe Sivam, Gunaa, Mahanadi, Thevar Magan etc., which are master pieces of Kamal Haasan.

Shatavathaaram title will suit him, hmm???

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jodha Akbar - a heartwarming movie!

I missed the movie, 'Jodha Akbar', when it was released. I watched it yesterday and even now, I keep thinking about it! A beautiful movie. A story between a Mughal Emperor and a Rajput princess - sounds so nice, hmm?

I am not a big fan of Hrithik, but I have changed my opinion now! He is perfect for the role of young Akbar! He looks handsome and acts well too! I loved the way he expressed his anger, hurt and love in this movie. When his mooh bhola bhaai kills Waazim, whom Jalal respects as his father, his anger shows in his whole body language.

Music is by Rahman! No proper words will suffice to praise his music, esp. the sufi song, 'khwaaja mere khwaaja'! Rahman also sings this song along with the other singers. We get goose bumps while hearing and watching this song. Song picturisation also is superb. The last scene in the song, where Hrithik joins the dance, is still in front of my eyes. 'Manmohana' song is too good. I think Madhushree is the singer, I think. Her voice quality is very very good. The sound of violins and santoor and tabla is a feast for our ears! Aishwarya sings this song while doing aarthi. I liked the way Jodha asks Akbar (or Jalal - he was given the name Akbar later on in the movie!) to apply sindoor on her forehead and the way he looks at her! I had gone back to my youth while watching it! Both Hrithik and Aish make a good pair!

Aish looks her best in this movie in all the angles. Neeta Lulla's dress designing is matchless. All the jewellery designs, kundan works on the dresses etc. - I was pausing the video often to view the designs of the jewellery - beautiful !

Cinematography also is superb. The battlefield scenes are unbelievably scenic, in an Indian film. The beauty of the desert sands is a feast for the eyes!

Ashutosh has exploited the complete opulence of the Mughal art and architecture. The movie looks so rich and beautiful! Now, how many beautifuls have come here, in this blog?!

Now, about the slight set backs of the movie, in my angle: The climax battle scene - the scenery is good, but the plot looks very ordinary. Aish coming to the battlefield bedecked with jewellery, etc., huh, the overwhelmed feeling is burst like a balloon! We have to shut down the last half hour of the movie from our memory and go back and see the song sequences or the beautiful artistic scenes of the film and then the movie will be remembered as a classic, I am sure.

We will expect more movies like this from Ashutosh Gowarikar and it is going to be tough for him to keep up the quality! First 'Lagaan' and now 'Jodha Akbar'!

Now, I'll go back to watch 'khwaaja mere khwaaja'!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Balika Vadhu - Serial no.1!

We do not have a second thought about Balika Vadhu, being no.1 serial, even after 28 episodes!

The script is too good, background music is soft and the title song...all of us are bowled over by the title song (who is the singer - no one responded to my query!)! They are not displaying the names of the actors also. For background music they are using flute, ghatam, mridangam, tabla, saarangi, etc. unlike the shrilling sounds of keyboard violins!

Anandi, the child heroine is projected as a typical child, believing everyone and everything and we are going to see how she grows up slowly - how she is going to change. It is going to be happy/sad mixture - happy to see how she copes up with the situations, sad to see her suffering while facing the problems, the negative side of people, she has to deal with. Now she thinks if she lies, her nose will bloat! She feels sad for small things and within seconds, with the next sentence, she forgets everything and is happy again.

The incidents which are shown in the serial are still happening. The girls are not allowed to go to school, or allowed to go to school till they are 10-11 years old. Afterwards they are asked to do household work. Like daadisa says - first Anandi has to learn to cook and take care of the house. Anandi has got a good mother in law - best mother in law - who is there to protect her like a mother always. I liked the way Anandi said when Jagdish was eating slowly - we should eat food slowly for it to get digested easily - with a big smiling face because her stomach was full!

The last segment shows the parents of Anandi visiting her in her sasuraal. The look in her mother's face is enough for knowing the calibre of the actress, Raichura!

The music for the title song is by Lalit Sen. The song 'Kesaria....baalamu' is heard in the background often via instruments and vocal...beautiful song! Typical Rajasthani song!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Voh kaagaz ki kashti, voh baarish ka paani......

Yeh daulat bhi le lo,
Yeh shoharat bhi le lo,
Bhale cheen lo mujhse meri jawani,
Magar mujhko lautaa do bachpan ka saawan,
Voh kaagaz ki kashti,
Voh baarish ka paani....

Jagjit Singh is our family's favourite ghazal singer. All of us love his songs and keep hearing them often. They are melodious as well as easy to learn and sing and have very meaningful lyrics. Doesn't use too many instruments which irritate us when we are not in mood.

Whenever we hear this song of his, we think that it is really very true about the 'bachpan ki yaadein' - childhood days.

In my home, we were three sisters and two brothers. Very ordinary middle class family. But we were very close to each other, esp. me, my sister and a brother. We used to go to our school - more than 2 kms. away - by walk. The school was quite a good school in our locality. We were quite happy in the school also. Our parents also never compelled us to study all the time, most parents were busy taking care of the house with so many kids, in those days, may have been the reason!

I am talking about the late sixties and early seventies. No TV, but the radio was important in every house. All of us would sit in front of the radio to hear our favourite programmes, like Binaca Geet Maala, Jaimaala etc. We used to bet about which song will come as no.1 song in the coming week, in Binaca Geet Maala. Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Lata and Asha were gods for us!

I am from Udupi, Karnataka. We left that place and came to settle here, in Madras (Chennai now!) in mid sixties. When I was in Udupi, we used to hear Hindi film songs, more than Kannada film songs. So we are familiar with Hindi songs than Kannada songs. This continues even today. After learning Tamil, we started liking Tamil film songs also.

So now, back to the radio! I remember enjoying the Hindi and Tamil movie dialogues - full movie dialogue can be heard in the radio, 9.15 pm. Tamil serials in just sounds/audio. In the morning, bhoole bisre geet, sangeeth sarita (even now, I hear this programme in a small transistor in my kitchen!), Triveni in Vividh Bharathi station. In our family get togethers and weddings, we have a session of 'Anthaakshari' always and all my cousins sing mostly old Hindi songs. Occassionally 'nimbuda nimbuda', 'cholie ke peech kya hai' also pops up! Mostly the next generation joins us for these songs. And I am astounded when the next generation sings old Hindi film songs than Tamil or Kannada songs. Maybe all are exposed to Hindi film songs than the Kannada and Tamil songs!

The radio is nearly gone now, though it lifted its head slightly when the FM broadcast had started. Still , we hear them mostly, while travelling in the car. Come back home and back to TV!

Life was so simple. We had ample time for playing with our brothers and sisters, cousins or chatting with uncles and aunts. We used to visit our relatives' place often, esp. in summer holidays, it was a must. Nowadays, it is summer camps and TV for a family of one or two children.

Birthday means Paayasa and that too with jaggery! I love paayasa with jaggery, even now! I was preparing cakes at home or buy and celebrate my sons' birthdays in the later years! Samosaas and fried rice etc. also were there, though. Now, it is pizza for the next generation! We were inviting their close friends and our family friends also for the birthday celebrations. Now, restaurant visits for celebrations of any kind.

My father was a fan of Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor and Shivaji Ganesan was his favourite. He used to send us to 'his' favourite actor's movies. He accompanied us very rarely. The cost of the tickets were 54p, 81p, Re.1.50p. etc. So funny to think about them now! Sometimes some of our cousins also were joining us. Whenever we see those movies in the TV now, we wonder how we were able to enjoy/tolerate them. But we remember how happy we were for just the fun of going out together and enjoying.

Next came the TV - 1981. This is after I got married. Our first TV was a black & white ECTV. We were in Bangalore then and our house had the first TV in that locality. Kannada actor/god(!)'s 'Shankar Guru' was the first movie. We had a huge living room and it was full of local people! My husband sat in the veranda and watched the movie! Next day's movie was Raj Kumar's 'Krishna Deva Raya'! One scene is there in that movie, where Raja Krishna Deva Raya visits Thirupathi Srinivasa temple. I saw some of our neighbours doing namaskaara/pranams, in front of the TV! Slowly TV became common in every houshold.

The 9 p.m. serials became very famous. Only one channel - Doordarshan - was there and we had to watch whatever they showed in that channel. So, like all the TV viewers of those days, we became addicted to Hum Log, which came twice a week. Chutki, Badki, Lalloo were always there in the family discussion. Then 'Buniyaad', 'Ados pados' and so many others invaded our house. I remember that all the 9-9.30p.m. serials on week days were good and so we were not moving out of the house on those days. Saturday and Sunday evenings were movie days. We were going out on those days! Now, we are bored of crying serials and silly comedies. So now we are addicted to music - reality shows. Even in talent search shows, old 'sa re ga ma', anchored by Sonu Nigam was the best, till date. No dressing up by the participants, arguments by the judges, dramatisation of the show was there. The quality of the participants is good, no doubt about it. But Ganjendra Singh also had to adjust with the latest trends, I think.

Grrrrrrrrrrr, I can hear the snoring sound of you people..........let me put a stop for now!!!!!!

Like 'thinking loud', I am reading my own blog now! Funny! Is it too long? Sorry, friends!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Balika Vadhu - A well made serial with very good cast!

Balika Vadhu seems to be a good serial. Though sounds like a documentary with a social message, the way it is picturised and narrated, is very good. The cast is superb. We have seen them in many serials. Surekha Sikri, who plays the grandmother of the bridegroom, Jagdish (Avinash Mukherji), is a very good actress. She has acted in quite a number of films and serials too. Vaibhavi Raichura, who plays the mother of the bride, Anandi (Avika Gor) is also a very good actress - acted in 'Hum Paanch' in a tomboy role and in 'Aastha' in a good role. We have seen Anoop Soni (bride groom's father) and Chaitanya Adeep (bride's father) in some good serials.

Anandi, the main character, is very apt for the role of a child bride. Her acting is superb. She has got a twinkle in her eye and is very beautiful. They have not yet shown much about the character of the bride groom, Jagdish, but seems to be a good choice. So I think the serial will not be boring! And it is still 13 episodes old! Start watching in 'colors' channel at 8 p.m. and daytime repeats are also there!

Oh, I forgot to mention about the title song. We can keep on hearing it. Lalit sen's music is fantastic. Don't know who is singing. Anyone know? I did not see the name in the titles.

Enjoy! If you miss an episode, watch it in 'youtube'!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Driving Miss Daisy - A movie about friendship between 2 strangers!

'Driving Miss Daisy' is one of the best movies, I have seen! Simple story of two people with entirely different backgrounds become lifelong friends.

Daisy Werthan (Jessica Tandy) is a Jewish widow, 72 years old, when the story begins. She is a retired teacher and very very independent and lives alone with just one maid to help her run the house. The story is set in Atlanta of the 1950s.

One day she has a driving mishap and her car gets damaged. No insurance company is prepared insure her car now because of the frequency of the accidents. Her son Boolie, who runs the family business, which is very successful, offers to hire a driver for her. She is too proud to take the help of a driver because she doesn't like to show off as a rich woman to her friends. Her son insists and hires on his company's payroll, an African American driver Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman), who is in his early 50s. The movie shows how she ignores his presence in the beginning and how she starts understanding him as a person. Let me quote some conversation between them and you will know how funny and sometimes heart warming, they are:

Boolie Werthan: What I need is for somebody to drive my mother around
Hoke Colburn: Well, if you don' mind my askin', sir, how come she's not hirin' for herself?
Boolie Werthan: See, it's kind of a delicate situation.
Hoke Colburn: Oh, yessir, yessir... done gone around the bend a little bit. Well, now, that'll happen as they get old...
Boolie Werthan: Oh, no, she's all there. Too-much-there is the problem!
[Hoke laughs]


Hoke Colburn: [on a pay phone calling Boolie after taking Daisy to the Piggly Wiggly] Hello, Mr. Werthan? Yeah, it's me. Guess where I'm at? I jus' finished drivin' yo mama to da store.
Hoke Colburn: Oh, yeah, she flap around some, but she's all right, she in da store. Oh, Lord, she jus' looked out da window an' seen me on da phone... prob'ly gonna throw a fit right there at da checkout!
Hoke Colburn: You sho' right about that! Only took me six days. Same time it took the Lord to make the world! All right, 'bye now!


Hoke Colburn: [Hoke walks in, Boolie and Daisy are there to confront him about a missing can of salmon] Mornin', Miss Daisy. I think it's gettin' ready to clear up out there! Oh, 'scuse me, Mr. Werthan!
Boolie Werthan: Hoke, I think we're gonna have to have a little talk.
Hoke Colburn: All right, sir. Just let me get outta my coat.
[pauses, then turns to Daisy]
Hoke Colburn: Oh, Miss Daisy, yesterday, while you was out visitin', I went and ate a can of your salmon. Now, I know you said eat the left-over pork chops, but they was kinda stiff. So, I stopped at the Piggly Wiggly and got you another can. You want me just to go on and put it in the cupboard?
Daisy Werthan: [embarrassed] Yes, that'll be fine... thank you, Hoke. Well, I guess I'd better get dressed now!


Daisy Werthan: Did you have the air-conditioning checked? I told you to have the air-conditioning checked.
Hoke Colburn: I had the air-conditioning checked. I don't know what for. You never allow me to turn it on.
Daisy Werthan: Hush up!


[Hoke is trailing Daisy in the car as she walks to the supermarket]
Daisy Werthan: What are you doing?
Hoke Colburn: I'm tryin' to drive you to the store!


[Hoke and Miss Daisy are talking about how he can't read]
Daisy Werthan: You know your letters don't you?
Hoke Colburn: Oh yeah, yeah I know my ABC's pretty good, just can't read.
Daisy Werthan: Stop saying that you're making me mad! If you know your letters you can read. You just don't know you can read.
Hoke Colburn: Maam?
Daisy Werthan: I taught some of the stupidest children God ever put on the face of this earth and all of them could read well enough to find a name on a tombstone.

Actually, Daisy goes to the graveyard to place flowers. She has one more bunch of flowers and asks Hoke to keep them on another grave where 'Boer' is written on the tombstone. Hoke says he doesn't know to read. Knows only ABC! She asks him to look for the name which starts with 'B' and ends with 'r'! Hoke is amazed of himself.

These conversations are funny and we can enjoy watching them and through the years, they come to know each other and respect each other in their own way. The last scene is Hoke giving a piece of cake in the Old Age Home. Jessica is 90 years old now and Hoke is in his late 70s. Both of them are with a contented look to be in each other's company. The film covers a period of around 25 years. They show subtly how the atmosphere of the country changes and the relationship between the white people and other ethnic people like Jews and African American changes. The passing of the years are shown with different types of scenes of the climate etc. The cinematography is superb.

The film got 4 Oscars and 9 Oscar nominations. It got the 'Best Picture' award,Jessica Tandy got the 'Best Actress' award. Morgan Freeman was nominated for 'Best actor' award. It won 3 Golden Globe awards - Best Picture, Best Actor (Morgan Freeman), Best Actress (Jessica Tandy) etc. And many other awards and nominations. Jessica Tandy was the oldest actress to win the Oscar Academy award - she was 81!

The acting is great, the script and directing are beautifully done, and the substance, humor and beauty are such that overall, I consider "Driving Miss Daisy," one of the best movies I've ever seen.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

saregamapa 1999 Finals - Vijay Prakash, Ameya Date, Jaswinder - Classical round

Saregama, saregamapa and other programmes, produced by Gajendra Singh is even now unbeatable for quality. These programmes came in Zee TV. Vijay Prakash, Ameya Date and Jaswinder, the participants, are singing here in the classical round. We came to know about Smt. Girija Devi (talking to Vijay Prakash), Hindustani classical singer, through this programme. We came to know about 'Tappa' a type of Hindustani music because of her. She is still a very good singer at this age.

You can notice Vijay Prakash singing a carnatic thillana and how the judges - all stalwarts in their own fields, enjoying! Now, to Vijay Prakash and Ameya Date and Jaswinder:

Saregama 1998 Mega Final videos - Parthiv Gohil, Jogan banke

In the non-orchestra round, Parthiv Gohil sang this song which was sung originally by Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Pt. Jasraj for the movie 'Baiju Bhaavra'. Parthiv is singing this song in front of Pt. Jasraj, who had tears in his eyes. Very very tough song and Parthiv sang it without any accompaniments to help! Gifted voice. Now see this video:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saregama Mega final 1998 - Parthiv Gohil

I saw Parthiv Gohil singing in this video just now! Got goose pimples!

Gajendra Singh's choice of singers is superb!This song of S.D. Burman is from the Film 'Pyaasa' sung by Mohammad Rafi. Guru Dutt acted for this song. Beautiful song with very minimum orchestra. All the songs in this film are superb. Parthiv is singing with so much concentration and involvement. He really feels the emotion of this song. He is one of our favourite singer of this programme. There are some more! All were good in their own way! After this programme, when we heard the songs sung by Parthiv or Shiv Prasad or Shreya, we did not connect the actors faces to the song, but these singers' faces came to our mind!

You can see Pt.Jasraj, Pt. Chaurasia, Music directors Naushad, Khayyam, OP Nayyar, Kalyanji Anandji etc. enjoying this song. Earlier, we knew about the music directors by name. This programme made us recognise them.

Thank you Gajendra Singh and of course, our Sonu Nigam!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mohammad Rafi - the immortal singer of Hindi Film music.

Mohammad Rafi - The golden voice of Hindi film music! Even now, when we hear his songs, we get goose pimples. So many good songs are there in his voice. Even younger generation love his songs. We can see in the reality (music talent search) shows, how people enjoy and the youngsters enjoy his songs. Hear this one. This video has got his and his family's photographs. Great man, indeed!

Saregama - 1998 Mega Final

Sonu Nigam - the current No.1 playback singer participated in Zee TV's Antakshari programme as a participant. He was a small boy of 18 or 19 years of age and was mimicking Kishore and Rafi's voice in that show itself! This programme was produced by Gajendra Singh and I think it ran for more than 12-13 years. Annu Kapoor who was the anchor became very famous through this programme. Our whole family loves music and we used to watch it regularly on Friday nights.

Then, Gajendra Singh produced this programme 'saregama' (I feel like writing TVS saregama - TVS was the sponsor and it feels odd to just say 'saregama!) and Sonu Nigam was the anchor. Youngsters who were proficient in classical and film music were selected and were given this platform to prove themselves. One segment had 13 episodes. The judges were prominent singers, music directors, classical singers etc. The quality of the singers was extremely good. I think after some 16 segments or something, 'Mega Final' episode was made with the winners of these segments. Many famous music directors and singers and classical singers participated as judges and I feel it was the golden period of music by Gajendra Singh. We can see Naushad, Anil Biswas, Kalyanji(of Kalyanji Anandji)etc., who are no more. We can see Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Ustaad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Ramnarayanji and many more stalwarts. We are still nostalgic about those episodes!

We had been looking in stores for the cd/dvd's of these episodes, but couldn't find. Does anyone know if they are available in the market?

I came across some songs of the 'Mega Final' of 'saregama' and you can see the quality of the show. You too enjoy like we did.

Sonu Nigam is singing here with the contestants. Ameya Date is singing in concerts everywhere. Bela was very good. Parthiv was the best. Sonu Nigam was conducting very nicely. He is completely different here, hair style etc.! We admired him a lot in these episodes. Very very polite Sonu!

Sonu Nigam - Our current Mohammad Rafi/Kishore Kumar!

I came across this video of Sonu Nigam, singing Laxmikant Pyarelal's songs in a medley form. I enjoyed it very much. We can see the videos of the music director duo creating music and Mohammad Rafi singing ....I loved this video:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lalooji - our Railway Minister in Shahrukh's Programme!

Last night we saw Shahrukh's 'Paanchvi paas se thez hain?' You can watch it in 'you tube' now. Laloo Prasad participated in this episode. He is game for everything! As usual, he was in his spirits! I loved his reply about Rabri - she is a simple lady, never uses make up or lipistick (!), because of her he has come this far in life etc.

He said Hema has promised to give him a role in her film for which he is still waiting! Shahrukh promised to make him act like a don in his film!

Though some questions were very very easy (5th grader questions!), some were not so. Everyone knows that he is too intelligent and has a very good sense of humour. Wherever he goes, whether here in India or abroad, you can see his photo with people laughing around him. Now enjoy some parts of his episode with Shahrukh in Star Plus programme, 'Kya aap paanchvi paas se tez hain?':

I couldn't get the video from the start of this episode, Anyway, what we are able to see, is enough for laughing! Lalooji explains in detail what 'lac' means. Shahrukh says'you should be the teacher here, not me, for which Lalooji answers, 'I'll be a Vice Chanceller instead'! Shahrukh says Lalooji is a walking encyclopedia - Lalooji says 'haan'!
: Here, he explains about the festival, holi. He sings some lines from a holy song too!


Jantha ka saval- Public question: You had been a hero in Railway Ministry and politics, which role would you like to act, if Shahrukh offers you a part in his film and Lalooji replies in his own manner that discussion is still going on about this, but first Hama Malini's film and then Shahrukh's! When he was asked which hero was his favourite, pat comes the reply 'you'! Then Dilip Kumar! He was asked to repeat his children's names - he has got 7 daughters and 2 sons and he takes his time to recite them!

This is the last part and he wins Rs.1 Crore without taking any help from the children who are there to help him - all the children are famous for their role in advertisements and films. The participants can take help from them as a child (!) like cheating copying from them! Laloo did not use any! He dances with Shahrukh for 'Chayya chayya song' also. We enjoyed Laloo and Shahrukh. Now, you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dasavataaram - Movie

I am a bit upset! 'Dasavataaram' was not as good as I expected it to be. I am a great fan of Kamal. He has taken lot of effort to make a good/different movie. It happened like this in 'Alavandaan' and 'Hey Ram' too. We went to these movies also with great expectations. I think he must give his ideas to a good director and just act. Whatever type of nuances you do, the story line should be catchy. Continuation should be there. So many avataars of Kamal are coming and the link to the story is very very feeble. The story is like episodes.

I loved the starting story of the 12th century. The Shaivite King tried to destroy the Ranganathar (Vishnu) idol and Kamal as Rangarajan (Writer Sujatha's original name and Kamal is a great fan of his, so he must have used this name) tries to save the idol. The grandeur was superb, photography was superb and Kamal was there in full form. Then the bio-chemical weapon story started and it could have been a good story line. Hmmm. Then the last 'tsunami' scene - simply superb. The photography is too good. That's it. I don't remember anything else today - just one day after watching the movie.

I must say Asin was good. I remember a dialogue of Bush - an official tries to explain Bush about the bio chemical weapon and says 'it is a bit complicated'. Bush replies immediately 'then don't explain'! Hey, I remember this dialogue!

I am not able to understand Kamal's thoughts. In this movie, Kamal tries to save Lord Vishnu's idol, but fails. The idol is in the sea. Then, in the 21st century, the god saves mankind by destroying the chemical weapon, in the shape of tsunami -the tablet form is swallowed by one villain character, Fletcher(Kamal) and he oozes blood in different colours, on the sea coast of Nagappattinam. The chemical can be destroyed completely only with NaCl, which is in abundance in sea water. Does he say God will come and help the world, when in trouble?! He also asks Asin why her god let people to create bio- chemical weapon. Confusing, indeed.

I loved his films - Anbe Sivam, Guna, Mahanadhi, Nayakan, Devar Magan and comedies like Thenali, Sathi Leelavathi and many many other movies. I am particular about seeing his movies in the theatre too. Now, I will wait for his next good movie! I know he will not fail his fans!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dola re Dola - Dance by Western women for the Bollywood song!

Dhola re Dhola re by a Western woman:
I came across this video in 'you tube' today. Couldn't stop writing about it! A western woman, dancing for the 'Devdas' song 'dhola re dhola'! Couldn't believe my eyes! The dance is very very tough. The song is a beautiful song. Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai had danced for the song in the movie 'Devdas'. Madhuri is a Kathak dancer. The dance steps are very very difficult. This woman has tried her best and dances quite well.

Dhola re Dhola re by Indian and Western women (click on Dhola re):
In another video, an Indian woman and a western woman dance for the same song. The Indian woman obviously looks like a dancer. She is superb. The westerner must have been trained vigorously! She does her best. This seems to be a home video! Very nice.

It is nice to know that our songs and dances - Bollywood ones(!) are becoming popular everywhere in the world. Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh, Aishwarya and now Aamir Khan (Tare Zameen par) have become very famous and familiar over there, especially in the US and the UK. No tension(!) in our movies. Just song and dances. As Sanjay Dutt says in 'Munna Bhai MBBS, ' tension nahin karne kaa' (No need to get tensed up!). Just relax with a Bollywood movie, everyone feels nowadays, in these tension filled days!

Bollywood has started producing movies, just for the oversea movie goers! And Punjabi based songs are very very popular in the party circle, because of their rhythm and tunes (we feel all Punjabi songs sound similar!). Anyway, it is good for us, Indians!

One more video of 2 western women dancing for the same song! Enjoy!

This is the original:

Kaun Banega Superstar - Grand Finale!

At last, my favourite show has come to an end and as usual, like all the 'grand finale' shows, the last episode was was dragging and boring. The best part was Sonu Nigam was there and he is becoming like an icon now. Everyone was praising him and admiring him - and he is one of the chief guest in this show, where he was the anchor, when Gajendra Singh started this type of music talent search programme in the history of television. The quality/standard of the participants is very high. They should be classically trained, should be able to sing at least 10 ghazals, some 20 film songs of all types etc.etc. Once they are selected, they have to stay in Bombay and their lives changes step by step, to the better, if they are genuinely good and prepared to go through their vigorous training programme. The competition is very very highly rated one. If the participant comes up to the finals itself, is graded as first grade playback singer and opportunities start coming for him/her. The judges are, mostly, music directors and by the time the programme comes up to the 'grand finale', they start making the singers sing in their films. Toshi, Vineeth and many others have already sung in films.

Now, about the 'Grand Finale'! I had predicted (!) Debojith (Debu da) will win the Superstar trophy. My brother said Rahul Vaidhya will win and he was right! I agree, Rahul Vaidhya is equally good. Somehow, Debu has got depth in his voice. But I am not very unhappy about Rahul. During a previous show, Ishmith, a participant, who was making lot of mistakes, won the trophy, when Harshith like singers were shown the door. Harshith was very upset - he came third. Well...these things have to be faced when you participate in a competition. But the recognition is already there and Harshith, Debojith and Prajaktha will definitely become good playback singers, one day. This type of shows, nowadays, depend on public votes and the public sometimes fancy the singers for other reasons also, like looks, the way they talk, dance, etc. The quality of singing, which should be the main quality, goes to the back seat.

Good Luck to all the 5 finalists! We will remember all of you always for good music!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chatri Chor - The Blue Umbrella!

Now...what shall I write about this film, Chatri Chor? I am still 'overwhelmed', will be the right word, I feel. When I started watching the movie, I was feeling sleepy after 10 mts. Went inside and slept! Started watching again. And again, I felt sleepy. This has never happened to me before.

Then the real story started to unfold. The story is based on the story of Ruskin Bond - anyone know the name of the story? The location is Himachal Pradesh (very good photography) and a Japanese tourist gives a beautiful blue umbrella to a village girl in exchange for a lucky charm which has two claws of a bear. The umbrella is so beautiful that everyone in the village wants to have it. One man, Nandkishore Khatri (veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor), who runs a tea stall 'Khatri Chaai stall' becomes so obsessed with it, he lures the girl with money, balloons and what not. She refuses to part with the umbrella. After some days, the girl complains that somebody had stolen her umbrella and she accuses Nandkishore of stealing her umbrella. The police search his house and tea stall - actually throws out all his belongings outside, but finds nothing.

Suddenly, one day Nandkishore receives a parcel which contains an umbrella which looks just like the blue umbrella, but red in colour. The whole village was feeling bad about accusing an innocent man as a thief and so now respected him a lot. He was invited for inaugurating a wrestling competition also. Everyone was in a happy mood. A man was shown as dipping clothes in different colours and if needed, changing colours too. Suddenly, it rains heavily and Nandkishore's umbrella's colour started running down and the blue colour started showing out. He was ridiculed for stealing the umbrella and as per the rules of the village, was isolated from the village. And the story goes to show how life changes because of a small mistake and Vishal Bharadhwaj has directed this story very well. I just felt the songs were not relevant and out of focus in this movie and not very memorable also. The girl Biniya (Shreya) has acted very well. There is no word to describe Pankaj Kapoor's acting, simply superb - he uses the accent of the locals fluently.

A must see movie - for serious/good movie watchers. Will I sleep today?! It has affected me deeply. Thank you, Bharadhwaj. Simple story shown very well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kaun Banega Superstar! Mother's day special!

I get upset when I think that this music programme is going to end shortly. I am so used to watching it on Sunday mornings and I was looking forward to it all these weeks. I was not letting anyone in the house to change channels! The finals will be shown this week end. I cried with everyone in the show when Vineeth was eliminated. It must have hurt him a lot to be leaving the show. He is a very good singer. He was definitely better than Toshi, though Toshi was good in some type of songs, though,not an all-rounder like Vineeth. Anyway, we know we are going to hear him more in the future as a playback singer - we are already doing it!

The best episode was 'The Mother's Day' Special. Everyone sang well and cried well..., me too! The song selection was too good.

I love the song 'Mein kabhi bathlaatha nahin' from 'Taare Zameen par'. Shankar Mahadevan has sung this song with so much emotion that every time I hear this song, my heart feels heavy and the feeling lasts for sometime. Rahul Vaidya sang this song with the same level of emotion like Shankar Mahadevan. This is the best song of the year, I bet. And my son likes it too!!!

Prajakta is the only girl remaining in this show. It happened in 'Star voice of India' show also. The girls didn't come upto the finals. I wonder why. She sang 'Ajee rootkar ab, kahaan jaayiyega' really well. Her mother too sings well. Most of the mothers of the participants attended the show and were invited to the stage also.

One of my favourite participant, Debojit sang Kishore Kumar's (he is an expert in Kishore songs!) 'mere naina, saawan baadhon' - this is a beautiful song and Debuda sang it beautifully. So beautifully that the judges gave him full marks!

Harshit's 'Ek haseena thi' was superb. Abhijeeth sang 'lut gaye' and Vineeth sang 'Lagan lage thumse man ki lagan' quite well. Ishmit sang 'Maasha allah' and the whole crowd/audience sang with him. Really, I am going to miss this programme after the last and final episode next week. Star Plus is going to start 'Star Voice of India' shortly and till it gets interesting, we are going to talk about these participants. Thank you Gajendra Singh for giving us good music and good future playback singers!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kaun Banega Superstar - Star Plus musical programme

All of us in our family are music addicts. We enjoy any type of good melodious music. Whether it is classical, film music or western - anything will do. Nowadays classical trained boys and girls get so many opportunities to show their talents in the talent search programmes in the television, in all the languages. As far as we know, 'Sa re ga ma' programme, directed by Gajendra Singh, started in the late 90's, started selecting very good singers. Sonu Nigam was anchoring the first show and Shreya Goshal, Ganjawala and many others who competed in that programme are now famous playback singers. You know where Sonu Nigam now is! He is the No.1 playback singer now.

At present Gajendra Singh is directing 'Kaun Banega Superstar' for Star Plus. The candidates are the winners of other similar talent search musical programmes. Now, after the elimination process, week after week, five singers are remaining in the competition. All the five singers are capable of winning the 'Superstar' trophy. The sixth singer, Vineeth, who was eliminated last week was unlucky to go. He was one of the best singers. He has already started singing for Abhishek Bachchan and other leading heroes in Himesh Reshammiya's direction. He has sung in 'Dasavatharam' also. I like Harshith, who is an expert singer of Kishore and Rafi songs (he never smiles!) and Abijeeth Sawanth who sings any type of song very well. Doshi specialist in Sufi type songs is also good. I have to mention Debojith, whose voice is superb and I have got a feeling that he will win the trophy this time.

Well...whoever wants to watch quality, good music, should watch this programme, which is aired at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights by Star Plus. Repeat is on Sunday morning at 10 a.m.
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