Monday, October 31, 2016

Still Alice...This Will Go Into My Memorable Movie List!

I think it is better to watch the trailer first!

I try to watch movies without reading the gist, or watching the trailers.  So, the story will be a surprise for me! My mind will be blank to enjoy it fully!

This movie, 'Still Alice' is about a middle aged lady, not a very old lady, Alice, stepping into Alzheimer's disease symptoms slowly.  The movie starts with Alice Howland (Julianne Moore...brilliant acting and got an oscar for this film!) jogging in the morning.  She is slim, tall and runs very fast for her age, 50! Comes home, cooks, cleans, takes care of the family of three children and a husband, goes out to work as a professor at Columbia University (as a linguistic professor to be precise) and she is famous there with her students.  While taking the class, she forgets a word here and there.  She becomes tensed up a bit and checks with a Neurological doctor and gets to know that she is in the early onset of Alzheimer's disease...She comes to know that this disease is genetic and she had got it from her father.  She tries to evade the disease by following some mental exercises.  Her whole family is supportive.

Well, I should not write the whole story.  It is a bit tension filled movie.  But Julianne's acting is so brilliant that we forget about coming out of the movie mode by just switching it off! Her physician husband, John Howland, supports/helps her a lot.  She wants her younger daughter who was in theatre, to finish her degree and be stable in her life.  She wants the daughter to be safe when she won't be there to guide her.  She loses her job because she was not able to be focused.

I liked the speech Julianne gave about the disease at the Alzheimers' conference, when she was half way into it.  You must watch the movie to appreciate it.  Many other memorable scenes/stages are there in the movie.

This movie is  based on Lisa Genova's 2007 best selling novel of the same name and is directed by Richard Glatzer and Wah Westmoreland.

This is from imdb 'trivia' section:
Co-director Richard Glatzer, suffers from ALS and can't speak. He directed the film using a text to speech app on an iPad. Both Moore and Stewart dedicated their "Ice Bucket Challenge" to Glatzer. The team couldn't attend the Oscar function where Julianne received her Best Actress award for this movie, because Glatzer was seriously ill and died later.

(Physicist Stephen Hawking suffered from this ailment and I did a post on his movie here!)

This movie and Julianne got many more awards and the list is in wiki. She is beautiful!!

Long back I read a book by Arthur Hailey, 'The final diagnosis' which was about the lives of intern students in a medical hospital.  Every night, after their classes, the students compare the symptoms of the diseases they studied in the class, on their bodies! That was a very good book.  Like that, I was checking myself at some stages in the movie! As you know, I am 'maradhimanni' i.e. Forgetful queen! I forget nearly on an average, 10 times a day, about words, things, incidents etc.  I think after I started writing here, the symptoms are coming down slowly, still, it is there!  I was a bit nervous, watching the movie! Then, I told myself, when I can do mixture (a bit tough!) and so many sweets at home for festivals, I don't think I will step into Alzheimer's that easily!!!  

I liked the ending in the movie!

Watched this in Tata Sky's Le plex channel! Very good movies are being screened there!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sangeeth Saritha, Radio Programme, Again!

As I have already written earlier, I am a fan of radio since my childhood days.  We grew up hearing the radio throughout the day, well... until TV took sometime of the day, later.  Even then, the mornings are exclusively for Vividhbharathi programmes.  I don't listen to FM radio because the presenters shout all the time and too many advertisements.  Vividhbharathi gets minimum advertisements and many are govt. sponsored like 'gobar gas', 'road safety', PM Modi's 'swachch bharath' and other reforms (this is the recent addition!).   Other programmes will be heard randomly without much attention but the 7.30 to 7.45 am programme is THE Sangeeth Saritha.  I love to listen the discussions on Hindustani/Carnatic music...many maestros discuss the raagas, how they are used in film music, different types of taals and many more.  Just to influence ordinary people who are not serious classical music lovers (I am not a serious classical music fan...I love all sorts of music!) mostly they include one film song based on the raaga in discussion.  I have written a couple of posts about this programme earlier and here, they are!    And here!

Normally, in this programme, one series about some subject goes for 10-20 episodes.  Now, I am hearing for the past few days, a programme about different music directors, the way they use particular instruments for songs, some famous classical singers who sang for a couple of movies....etc. etc.  The VIP here now, is Pt.Nithyanand Haldipur who is a famous bansuri/flute player.

Today, he was discussing about Shiv-Hari's (famous santoor player, Pt.Shiv Kumar Sharma and famous flute player, Pt.Hariprasad Chaurasia) contribution to film music. Today, he was talking about one song from film, 'Tere Mere Sapne'
and the song is given below.  He said, 'In those days, RD Burman, SD Burman's son was becoming famous and was very busy recording songs.  SD Burman got the above movie for directing music.  Singers, Latha Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar were fixed. He had shortage of orchestra players.  At that time he came across Shiv-Hari and got an idea.  He asked just the both of them to play for one song.  With just two instruments, Santoor and flute, he finished recording one beautiful song.  I hear just the tabla sound apart from the two instruments in the background.  My favourite song.  Really, SD Burman is a genius.  Now, hear the song.  The lyrics by Neeraj is superb.

Kishore, Latha's voice, Dev Anand, Mumtaz's acting made the song a hit.  The movie also was a hit.  My parents were not happy about us, young girls, watching this movie (adult theme it was, in those days (1971, I think!).  I and my sister went with my cousins to Rajkumari theatre (a complex is there now!) at Pondy Bazaar, Chennai, to watch this movie.  All the songs were good.  A movie was always a hit in those days, if the songs were good!

I had written about SD Burman and RD Burman's music here!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Our Favourite Musical Programme Now...Voice India Kids!


Our week end prime time is exclusively for watching &TV programme, 'Voice India Kids'.  The finale is nearing, so all the kids are in perfect form.  This show has become famous for the talented kids and the most talented coaches and judges, Neeti Mohan, playback singer, Shekar Ravjiani, Singer cum music director, Shaan, Singer.  They are coaching the kids very well, we could see the improvement in the kids' singing, every week. 

Remember, Shreya Ghoshal, Arijit Singh, Ganjawala, Anwesha and many other singers are products of reality shows. 

 I love this girl, Shreya Basu's voice! All are very very young...

This girl Priyanshi Srivastava is a strong contender!

Saanvi Shetty is singing here! What a voice!

Wonder who will win....3-4 voices are very good.   Sometimes the children who come 3rd or 4th in the reality shows, become famous later, with good training and dedication.  Shreya Ghoshal participated in Saregama as a small girl, look, where she is now!  Musical reality shows started then.  Sonu Nigam was young and was the favourite anchor of many households, including ours! I had done a post on this subject, long back, here, it is!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Lata Mangeshkar, Who Was/is My Favourite Singer Since My Childhood!

Singer Lata Mangeshkar
The Great Lata Mangeshkar!

Where shall I start? I had been hearing Lata Mangeshkar's songs from my childhood via radio.  It was 'Aap ki farmaayish' during daytime in those days and even now, though we hear her in 'bhoole bisre geeth' in the morning too, where very old songs are played.  She is 87 years old now!

From my mother, grand mother to my sons, love her songs/voice! My son loves her old songs, though!

Wikipedia gives more details about her here! I think I will write mainly about the precious cassette we had during the late 1970's!

It was the Cassette season then! No CDs.  We used to hear via radio for many years until then.  Then my husband brought home a car stereo.  It was like small box with knobs and a slot for inserting cassettes.  My elder son was around 2 years old.  He grew up hearing music even when he was in my womb! I am crazy about music...mainly film music, a little doze of bhajans too! I used to play the radio, mainly Vividhbharati from early morning bhajan programmes to night's 'aap ki farmaayish'.  You must be knowing that I am a great fan of 'Sangeet Sarita' programme which can be heard even today from 7.30 to 7.45 am.  The result, my sons also became very familiar with music.  (I think this programme has influenced us to appreciate all sorts of music from ghazals to western classical music).  We used to have many cassettes after the tape recorder came home.  One was 'Lata Mangeshkar's 1971 Live concert  at London's Albert Hall'. It was played 3-4 times a day, everyday! I remember my son mimicking the English words which can be heard in the beginning of the cassette! Dilip Kumar speaks in chaste Urdu! I can't follow many words in his speech even now! But it sounds good in his voice! The cassette became useless after it got cut 2-3 times (I had pasted them again and again!).  I couldn't get a new one later.  I had been searching for it for many years now.  Thank god, I got it now, thanks to 'you tube' and Mega Ayub! Her voice during this concert was at its peak! Soft and clear! Each and every song covered here, is a gem!

Here is some notes about this event at the famous 'Albert Hall' in London:

The 103-year-old Royal Albert Hall in London -- Britain's most prestigious auditorium with a seating capacity for 6000 -- witnessed a musical phenomenon unequalled in its hallowed history when the inimitable Lata Mangeshkar made her international "debut" on its august stage with a series of three concerts in the aid of the Nehru Memorial Project in Britain in March 1974.

Seldom, indeed, has the hall been booked for a single recitalist three times in one week. What, however, made the event equally unique was to have the hall packed by an oriental artiste for all three nights -- and something more. For even after the intermission on the final night (March 14), there still were crowds willing to pay double the highest price for admission to the hall!

Inside the hall, Lata, the cynosure of all eyes, received a big ovation as Dilip Kumar -- one of India's top-notch film stars, who was also specially invited by The India League, sponsors of the Memorial Project -- introduced her at every concert as his "little sister" and as "a singer with the voice that defied description and definition".

Tribute after tribute, as also bouquets galore, came to Lata from many eminent personalities of England and India.

Then amid the ideal setting that matched her many-splendoured talent, Lata sang her songs with a seraphic impulse. She could demand and obtain the spontaneous surrender of her 18000and odd listeners -- and sent them home with gladdened hearts and nostalgic memories

That is at once the singular distinction of the one and only Lata Mangeshkar..."the undisputed melody queen of India"..."the pint-sized bundle of musical genius"... "a singer with a moonlight in her throat"... "a legend in her lifetime"...                                      

I am hearing this now after many years but still can remember the song list clearly!  She is singing even now....for the current famous music director, AR Rahman!

P.S.: I heard this song just now, from the movie, 'Anand'. Goose bumps! She is unbelievably good!
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