Best Comeback

Bosey.com logo

A long long time back, a bunch of talented, ZZTop obsessed dudes (and dudettes I hope, in which case I’d like to marry one of them) used to run this cool website called Bosey.com. Though blatantly inspired from The Onion (a fact they always admitted to), they made sure the customised humor still worked. Anyway, one day, the site suddenly vanished without a trace…until today, when I discovered that they had just taken a (long) break to move onto slightly better things. The crew has launched Big Fat Phoenix, and much to my delight have also put up the entire Bosey Archive. Hopefully their new venture Gilfosia – What on earth does that mean? (their question, not mine) will be even better than Bosey.

Femme FM

FM station at MOP Vaishnav

In the wake of FM’s popularity in India comes, what is probably, the nation’s first college radio station – MOP FM 91.2. And while I’d have thunk an IIT or one of them fancy St. prefixed colleges would’ve been the first to do this, it turns out the ladies of MOP Vaishnav College, Madras are walking away with the honor. Maybe the Loyola mOchaans, Pachaiyappas machis et al. don’t care about a radio station, but I’m sure would be interested to know if the girls in the photo are doing a call-in show on theirs.

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Vidyasagar’s Chandramukhi

Chandramukhi

Disclaimer: The fact that I’m a Rajini fan could have possibly marred the objectivity, if any, of this review.

Devuda Devuda – SPB

The all-important intro song of the Superstar welcomes you with fancy fanfare and even while the words Deja Vu, Rahman & Muthu are running through your head, SPB, in his new Bhangra avatar, interrupts your thoughts with excited Arrey Arrey Arrey’s. Peppy rhythms take over and SPB takes a break at the AP-TN border, on his way down from Jallandhar, and launches into Devuda Devuda Ezhumala Devuda. (I had written some lyrics couple of years back, in a fit of sheer boredom, the chorus of which went, Devuda Devuda Thala-ezhutha Maathuda. I thought they were quite inane then, but looks like a copyright notice for the Devuda Devuda part wouldn’t have been a bad idea). So anyway, at this point, the rhythm, which for a few seconds borrows its peppiness from ‘Khaai Ke Paan’ from Don, soon loses the dholak sounds, gathers some bass & strings, and lets SPB take over. The Bhangra influence is undeniable in the chorus, but somehow SPB annuls the effect to some extent and makes you realize what a bad idea it was to have Shouter Mahadevan, blowing his raspberries, sing for Rajini in the Baba title song. The interludes are a formality as it makes way for the deluge of philosophical nuggets that typifies the saranam of a Rajini intro song. Appreciation for the sanitary workers, barbers, dhobis rounded off by a Pattukottai reference lead you into the next interlude that’s mostly a lot of uh-ing and jungle beats gone crazy. More thoughts for the day in the second saranam and the song finally reaches an energetic conclusion. The song is almost a pastiche of former Rajini ‘beat’ songs whereby you get a whiff of Muthu, Baba or even Ejamaan. But then, does one really judge a Rajini intro song by only it’s musical quality?! If the song can serve as a crystal ball into the near future where you can see the man make the camera pan in dizzy circles as he walked around dealing out his nuggets, hugging the very happy people around him, and make a few nifty dance moves, then it’s all good. And to that extent, Devuda works, even though I was left with a nagging thought that maybe Vidyasagar could’ve done better. In any case, I might not be playing this after Chandramukhi has come & gone, but until then, Rrrrepeaatt-u. {5.5/10}

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Pixar’s Incredible Insides

Moriarty from Ain’t it Cool News recounts his visit to Pixar alongwith a host of other journalists. Pretty damn cool actually. After watching the 60 Minutes segment on Google, I thought their working environment was to die for, but Pixar scales new heights in employee comfort. Of course, my drooling at these photos would probably make more sense to those, who like me, spend the better part of their day in a dull, grey cubicle.

A lot of the animators decided early on that they didn’t want cubicles, so instead, Pixar found these groovy little cottages that they bought for them. Walking through the animation department is like walking through a neighborhood for dwarves. Lots of little houses laid out along “streets,” each one with an address on the door.
The animators also have lounges set up so they can congregate and relax, including a jungle-themed lounge with piñatas hanging overhead.

More details & photos can be found here.

Tidbit: For anyone who owns a Region 1 DVD of Monsters Inc., one of the Easter Eggs takes you to a “paper airplane contest” that Pixar held for its employees in the huge lobby you see in the photos fron Ain’t It Cool News.

LOTR – The Musical

Lord of the Rings - The Musical

The musical version of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ will premiere in Toronto, instead of London as originally intended. While CNN explains it is because there is no theater large enough to accommodate the technically complex production, Sify c/o Reuters says it is because theatres in the British capital are so crammed with hit musicals like “The Producers” and “Mary Poppins” that they opted for Toronto instead. But Globe&Mail.com seems to clarify both these reports by saying, Toronto beat out London because all that city’s theatres big enough to handle the production’s elaborate sets and battle scenes were booked.

From Canada.com:

Also introduced to the audience were the diverse composers, A.R. Rahman from India, Finland’s folk music group Varttina and Brit Christopher Nightingale. Samples of their original work were performed for both the live and filmed presentation.

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Tale of my Stone – 1

A Kidney Stone

It was exactly 9:13 pm yesterday, when I uttered the first bitch of the night. Directed at NBC, it was my verbal disapproval of their mysterious decision to air a crappy “Will & Grace” re-run, instead of a spanking new “Scrubs”. It was also about the same time, something inside the right side of my abdomen did a somersault and then kicked me in the balls. But, dismissive as I am about most things in life, I chose to ignore this moment of pain. In fact, I thought I even knew what it was; my whiny intestines protesting my continued decision to not provide them with fiber & buckets of water. They had spasmed before, and were doing it again with perfect timing, trying to build on the pain caused by yet another mindless W&G sexual innuendo.

But somehow, flipping channels didn’t seem to help, and I found myself clutching my right abdomen, wincing in pain, and letting loose a stream of F-bombs like I was auditioning for the Sopranos. My dulled instincts told me something was wrong and I called my friend/neighbour, who immediately rushed over with his wife. A quick session of questioning ensued and my friend’s wife told me that it was most likely a kidney stone. Now, if anyone else had told me that, I’d have clutched the other side of my belly and let out a sarcasm-laden laugh that said, “Oh! really, Doctor?”. Except, in this case, she happened to be one, and a bright one at that. So I just nodded my head and reminded myself to add “Kidney Stones” to the list of “Detrimental Effects of watching Will&Grace”.

Deal with it, Darbar

Mr.Whiny: Ismail Darbar

It’s bad enough when composers have to defend their music with words, rather than let the music do the talking. But it’s downright pathetic when they have to do it by belittling their peers. Check out what Ismail Darbar has to say about AR Rahman in this Rediff interview:

But my work has always been better than his. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was better than Taal. Even Devdas was better than Saathiya. But it is destiny that he got international fame. Angrezo ne uska haath pakad liya hai toh logo ko lagta hai ke yeh kuch zyada hi hai (Foreigners encouraged him so people think he is very good).

Present-day Bollywood composers, shrouded in the insecurity of their limited talents, seem to be stricken with an inferiority complex, which for some reason is foolishly put on display when they talk about Rahman. First, Anu Malik, and now Ismail Darbar. Does this guy really believe that when someone picked up Taal or Saathiya, they were thinking, “Angrezo ne iska haath pakad liya hain, Darbar jaise composers ka nahin”/? Jeez! it’s not like Rahman hangs around music stores to force his music down our throats.

So Darbar, you retard…wake up & smell your failure. If your music is good, we’ll buy it. Never mind your HDDCS ( in which you conveniently passed off two “lifted” songs as your own), or the grossly over-rated Devdas, but how about you rummage through your CDs, all six(?) of them, and listen to those classic compositions from Deewangee? Guess you composed that crap while having a nightmare. And if like you claim, you really are your own harshest critic, then you’d be reaching for that gun a minute into the first song.

R.I.P Mr. Ravindran

Ravindran

In my frenzied attempt to finish watching all the Netflix & other DVD rentals before the weekend, I missed out on some tragic news from Friday.

Music director Ravindran dead

While still in high school, during one of my many sleepovers at my sister’s place, I came across yet another Malayalam audio tape with a photo of Yesudas on the cover and music by someone called Ravindran. I asked my Yesudas-crazy bro-in-law if it was just a “Hits of” collection, upon which he launched into this interesting story about an independent album that had become a huge hit in Kerala. About how Ravindran was this talented composer who had been looking for a break, and that Yesudas had signed him to cut an album for Tharangini Records. Together they had scoured the famous Yesudas voice bank and found the perfect female voice to accompany him. A singer called K.S.Chitra. And out of this alliance was born, Vasantha Geethangal, Ravindran’s debut album, and a remarkable effort by any standards. Two songs stand out fresh in memory. The outstanding Maamaankam sung by Yesudas, and his lovely duet with Chitra, Kaayal Kanni Olangal. Ravindran of course, went to bigger & better things after that, with albums like His Highness Abdullah & Bharatham bearing testimony to his abilities as a composer.

And now, he is dead!

Somehow for me, the passing away of a true musician always makes Death seem a tad more cruel. I know there is no good way to rationalize the feeling, yet I can’t help feeling depressed about it.

MS aka Murali Venkatramam, has paid tribute to Ravindran on his blog, and the following are some links where you could sample some of the songs mentioned in that write-up.

RAAGA – Music Dirs. – RAVEENDRAN

Music India OnLine – Rasikan Oru Rasikai

The Big 0-2

The cutest kid in the world also just happens to be my niece. And in a family where the initial crop of the next generation is male & borderline degenerate, she is a much welcomed addition. So, Happy 2nd Birthday Anniemol…your procrastinating uncle will impose a late fee upon himself and double your birthday gifts.

Annie Mol

Annie Mol pouts Annie Mol

Instant DJs

Paid music downloads, DVD Audio, and now, Di music. Artistes & Labels are coming up with more & more innovations to get music lovers to actually buy some CDs. So, what is Di? This is what the creators, Digimpro, have to say.

‘di’ is an intelligent new digital music format from Digimpro that allows you to choose how you listen to your favourite music. Once you have a track in the ‘di’ format, you can customise it using extra material supplied by the artist, you can listen to a unique improvised version of the track, and you can even remix it while it is playing.

The diPlayer software is a free download, but it only allows you to experiment with the pre-existing tracks provided with the *.di file. I downloaded the player & a sample *.di file and got tired of it pretty soon. But that’s just me.

Digimpro Screenshot

I’m guessing the CDs come equipped with the diMaker software, which will let you include your own tracks. Studio execs are of course “excited” and have lured artistes like Moby to promote the technology. In fact, the first mix of the Moby single – Lift me up has already been uploaded to the Digimpro website.

Now, to wait & see how fast these *di files & a crack for diMaker hits the Net.

Oscar Night 2005

Kauffman wins…from BeingCharlieKauffman.com

Unfortunately, the Oscars were not as entertaining as the Grammys. A watered down Chris Rock was boring except when he pointed out the stupidity of presenting the less glamorous awards in the aisle and commented, “Next year, we’re gonna have a drive-through presentation”.

The weird/funny moment for me came during the 1800th Beyonce performance of the night, when they cut from her face to show a monkey figurine sitting atop a grand piano, then transitioned slowly to reveal the man sitting behind it…Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s bad enough that most of the nominated Brits got snubbed, but did they really have to incorporate symbolism to pick on Webber’s somewhat simian features? :) Oh, and it was ironical that none of the Beyonce performances won the Oscar for Best Song. That went to the Raema Raema something number from Motorcycle Diaries, performed by Antonio Banderas and a disinterested Santana.

Charlie Kauffman winning Best Original Screenplay for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was the high point of the night. And while the softie in me did root for Before Sunset in the Adapted Screenplay category, I was at least glad it was not ‘ClintE & Posse’ who beat them to it.

PS: Kate Winslet looked good enough to eat.

The Name Game

Logic suggests that the chances of a non-Indian making keema of your name is considerably reduced with a name like Anandamoorthy MaternalVillageNada PaternalVillageKesam. Atleast the attemptee might fake a polite smile and formally request help with the tongue-twister or in some cases, permission to just call you AMP.
But no such small mercies with five-six letter names like mine which instantly metamorphizes into sounds that vaguely resemble your original name. Thus, I’ve been referred to as Maanuck, Maanjo and only on rare occasions been treated to, Mmm…mmaa…how do you say your name? .
My mostly Hispanic hairdressers call me Mano since J is apparently just a showpiece in their alphabet. My cellphone company sent me bills in the name of ‘Manjov’ for sometime until I got off my lazy ass and made the “outraged” call. But for most, I’m Manaash which, if you really said it aloud, doesn’t sound too bad. Or maybe I’ve just gotten used to it, except for the odd instance when some master of wordplay addresses me as Menage a trois followed by self-amused laughter.

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The Art of Inane

It’s bad enough that Rajinikant has decided to take long breaks from Tamizh cinema, but now one has to endure every other moron trying to emulate him in finger-whooshing and spewing “acerbic” dialogues. But atleast it’s funny. For those who know Tamizh, here is an audio excerpt from the Sarath Kumar starrer, ‘Aai’.

The Setup:
The hero is a military officer on vacation who decides to turn ‘Vigilante’ for 2 weeks after having observed a police atrocity. So amidst wreaking havoc on the Police Department wearing freakish disguises, he messes with the wrong guy, our villain, Kota Srinivasa Rao. But Kota tracks him down eventually and the following takes place during their first meeting.

Aai Showdown – Real Audio

The rest of the dialogue, I found hidden as an Easter Egg on the DVD.

Kota: Aaaaai. Naan nadanthitte vaetti kattravan. En Kitte Vechikaadhe.
Sarath: Naan paduthikkitte pant pOdravan. Enne pagachikkaadhe.
Kota: Aaaaai
Sarath: Aaaaai
Kota: Aaaaai. Oru Glass thanni kondu vaa. Kudichittu innum idhu maathiri pesuvom.

btw, Telugu movie fans can look forward to a Balakrishna remake of the same sometime soon. Yummy!

Discordant Notes