All posts by Manoj

When I yearned for lip-synching

I wonder why Rahman even bothered with an orchestra (if you can call it that) during the San Francisco concert on June 2. ‘One-eyed’ Sivamani, from the land of the blind, could’ve played the rhythm on any or all the percussion surrounding him, and the crowd would’ve still danced and cheered. Who cares if the mixing/audio was horrible, that the singers had no charisma, and sometimes sang flatter than some American idol rejects? It was probably the worst $45 I spent in my life. I attended the LA concert back in 2003, and came back not too disappointed, but this just plain sucked.

But I’m sure the 1500+ dancing & cheering buffoons in that stadium will disagree.

Three in Twelve

That’s 3 National Championships in 12 months. Feels good to be part of some winning team.

My favorite inside-joke sign at the game (as reported by a Gator Fan)

Ohio State University – The New Georgia (hyuk, hyuk)

Can Super Bowl MVPs do the Bhangra?

Four months go by, you haven’t updated your blog, and then one day you are staring at something bizarre on your computer screen, and you’re like – Screw hiatuseses, I’m posting this shit.

Unless someone can prove me wrong (don’t even bother), I’m pretty sure this is Mallika Sherawat and Peyton Manning busting a move at some desi girl’s sweet sixteen party. I’m sure Mallika agrees the only thing better than putting your bare bum(nsfw) on display at Cannes, is to do the bhangra with a 6-foot-5 quarterback with a laser rocket arm.

Courtesy: Deadspin

More photos here.

Sampling Raja, Malaysian Style

While Yuvan butchers Papa’s songs in the name of remix, a bunch of Malaysian rappers have paid tribute to a Raja classic in style. Yogi-B and Natchathra sample Madai Thirandhu on their album Vallavan. I had no clue who these guys were, so I checked out the album and some of the other tracks are solid. The rapping is impressive and from what little I could make out, the lyrics sounded better than anything from Kollywood. They even pay tribute to Lil Jon & his Crunk (crunk-u king-kku respectoo) in the well-produced Move Dat. Other fun tracks like Ellamaey Kaasu has more of Raaja with a hat-tip to Padikaathavan, while Kamasutra uses a Carnatic-styled hook.

Acquire this album people. Easily the most interesting album in recent times with Tamizh words in it.

The low-budget video for Madai Thirandhu feat. ‘Lock Up’ Guna :-D

Crap begets Crap

“The remake of ‘Don’ that should never have been made!”
“Don disappoints”

Funny how everyone presumes that you already consider the original a classic. Unless you are still a 10yr old living in the DD era or a Amitabh Bachchan fan, there’s no way you can survive that movie. And I’m neither.

Speaking of bad ‘superstar’ remakes, Tamil cinema has been churning out many over the past 5-7 years. Except it’s a LOT of delusional fools trying to emulate the original.

Spike Lee talks about “Changa Changa”

From the DVD commentary for ‘Inside Man‘ – an approximate reproduction.

The song you’re hearing ‘Changa Changa’ [sic] is a song from a Bollywood musical ‘Dil Se’. I am a Professor at the NYU Grad Film School and one class we were talking about musicals and there was an Indian woman, who was a student of mine, and she said – Do you know anything about Bollywood films, and I said No. I said, suggest some.
So next class, she gave me the DVD of this film ‘Dil Se’. I liked the film very much, but I loved the song ‘Changa Changa’, and I made a mental note to myself that somehow I would try to put this song in the movie. So we had the original song, but Terrence Blanchard, long time collaborator and music composer, wrote an orchestral arrangement behind it. And for the end credits, we had the rap by MC Panjabi.

on SOK (work in progress)

I told myself yesterday, a (terribly) incomplete post is better than none at all. Plus, I’m touched when anonymous no one in particular asks me to update. :)

Yay, Rahman is back with another album. Let the superlative overload begin…

‘Rahman Broadway Hangover’ is what the title track would be called in English. What you heard in ‘Iruvar’ is nothing compared to this big-band extravaganza for which Vaali writes naughty opening lines – ‘Birds do it, Butterflies do it, Trees do it’. If you thought ‘copulate’, you ought to be ashamed. It’s love, you fool…a Cool kinda Love. The song is probably a tribute to the few years Rahman spent around the world of musicals. Heck! he even has a cat meow in a few notes now & then. Hat-tip to Webber. Check. The singers (it sounded like Tanvi had company) ,unfortunately, are no Ethel Mermans. Infact, at around 3:29 one of them sounds like she is improvising and being strangled at the same time. Tsk! Tsk! The song will probably sound fresh in tea stalls, but otherwise, it’s your basic big-band template customized to fit Tamizh lyrics.

I understand why ‘Kummi Adi’ would read better on the back of a CD, but if it were to me, I’d have stuck with Avalukkenna Ambasamudhira Iyer Hotelu Alwa Maadhiri, Thaazham Poovena Thala Thala Thalavenu Vandha Vandha Paaru. Thank God for Vaali! I know he kids a lot about doing it for the dough, but sometimes I think he does put a little heart into it. Snehan & co., take notes. This is how you write fun lyrics, not crap about what you do best in the kitchen! Maybe the opening lines helped, but this turned out to be my favorite in the album. Villupaatu-ish melody aided by a rollicking rhythm, better singing and a saranam that sounds prettier with Swarnalatha’s voice. Good stuff.

Machakaari is a catchy pop tune with a relentless rhythm, sung with gusto by Vasundara Das & Shouter Mahadevan. Will probably find extended playing time on every teenager’s iPOD. And some on mine. Flavor of the month.

Majaa Majaa brought back memories of Ah-Aah. And I really don’t need that right now. If you wanted SPB Charan to sing like SPB, why not use the original when he’s around? Tiresome.

Post Script:
When I wrote what I thought of RDB, a few Rahmaniacs came by, fangs exposed, and reminded me of what I already knew. That I know not much about music. And I’ll admit it…I cried a little, at first, and then looked to the skies and howled like Sean Penn in Mystic River (I’d like to see him in a remake of ‘Paasa Malar’). Which is why I need to explicitly ask the haters to stay away this time. And if you really need to vent, channel it all at the vagaries of the desi blog-ranking system. A worthy cause.

This one’s on me, Piweb

If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was divine intervention that made me post less over the past few months. But then I know God hates my writing, so that can’t be it. Let’s just say I lucked out and lost only 2 posts when my former webhost decided to pack their bags and take that well deserved vacation. Have fun in Hawaii, Piwebhosting! That $5.95 cocktail is on me. Literally…I paid for it, for services un-rendered this month.

Anyhoo, I assessed the damage and I’m only 2 who-gives-a-damn posts short after the changeover. Thank you, MySQL Backups. I was always skeptical of them INSERT INTOs and (parathanthesized, separated by commas, numbers) being representative of my posts. Now, I believe.


Thanks to Shankar, master of the vigilante movie, RDB does not shock ‘n awe you with its plot. The mistake would not be in loving or hating this movie, but in taking it too seriously. Let not the fluffy camerawork or light-hearted writing in the first half fool you even for a minute. If you were not incensed & “affected” by the number of corrupt ministers killed in cold blood by the Vijaykants & Sarath Kumars, then you should not care about the style of retribution in RDB either. Accept it as just another revenge drama, albeit shot with more refinement, and you can avoid the brooding after (either over the movie or the money lost).

PS: I’m still recovering from that damn viral fever which could explain the attempt at rationale. Maybe in a week, I’ll be crying into a pillow over my lost seven dollars. Or choking up everytime I hear a fighter plane roar by. God! I hope I get struck by lightning if it’s the latter.

The Quintessential 80s (or 90s) ‘Western Music’ Compilation Tape: Chennai Style

Sometime during the early 90s, I was sitting on a wooden barricade at the YMCA grounds in Royapettah, dragging on what I thought was a Wills NavyCut (an hour later, some hazy faces told me it was “grass”). 13AD was playing the opening riff of an English song that obviously had an impact on Phillip Cherian who was getting ready to explode in drooling delight. “Wow…O…God…mmm….mochaan*…fuck” were his words, I think, though not in that order. Not too impressed with me being not too impressed, Cherian berated me in classic peter english – What? Fuck…mochaan, what? You don’t know “Sweet Child O’Mine”?. I think I might have nodded and then fallen off that barricade..
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