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.
[laughs]
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!
[pause]
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:

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