Monday, December 28, 2009

A screwed up trip...

A stay is better than a mere visit. Literally, I would love to stay in Chennai all my life if needed but a visit to that place is a strict no-no! Unfortunately, last week I had to visit Chennai. I was visiting the city after 4 long years but nothing changed. Chennai is a city which doesn’t change much. Let me list out few problems at Chennai for visitors.

1) Exorbitant charges by auto drivers-They will charge you 100 bucks for taking you across the street. Pretty cheap in case you don’t know how to cross a road.

Me: Kodambakkam?
Auto: 80 rupees!
Me: That much? It’s just nearby right?
Auto: But there is lot of traffic, sir.
Me: So what? I should pay for the traffic too? I will give you 30 rupees.
Auto: Go by walk for free.
So much for customer satisfaction. I somehow cleverly bargained him for 50 bucks and got into the auto. He steered it into some weird lane. I asked him” which way is this?”
His answer “Shortcut sir, to avoid the traffic.” left me scratching my own head.

2) Language problem- whichever language you ask in, you get reply only in Tamil. The word, communication has a new meaning in this place.

3) Roads- The roads look like they have been last laid some hundred years back. To top it, if it even drizzles, you will have to walk with your pants up.

I thought of listing at least 10 points, but right now I am down with viral fever which I caught at Chennai thanks to rains. In short, my trip was totally screwed. As I said earlier, I would never ever visit that place but would be glad to stay there provided I have a vehicle and a good flat.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A treat to ears...

I am blessed. Ok, WE are blessed.

On September 26th I had written a post called A Musical Journey about some of the rare gems in Hindi composed by Ilayaraja sir. Even while writing that, I was still waiting for that 'Perfect' hindi album from the genius and the feeling I have right now (since one month) is nothing short of divinity. I was waiting for this particular movie from almost 1 and half years. I was merely hoping for a south Indian meals from him and Ilayaraja sir gave us all, not only full Indian meals but also pizza with extra cheese toppings. The name of the movie is ‘PAA’.

Mudi Mudi song is definitely the most significant song of the album. Artistic use of piano, violin and an occasional guitar to support the percussion makes this song very hummable and stays with us on our lips and very pleasant to our ears. It has 2 more versions and they are brilliantly done even though they sound similar. He practically demonstrated how to compose a different song using the same tune-Little difference in arrangement of the instruments. I like the Shaan version (Gali Gali) more personally, as it was much slower and different than the other two and yet had the same melody, tune with different instruments-The magic of Ilayaraja! Why, even the other two which sound ALMOST similar have different lead (more dominant) instruments-Guitar for Mudi Mudi and Piano for Udi Udi.

Hichki Hichki is another magical song. I never thought hiccups can get musical too. A very difficult song to sing and there is a stamp of a genius written all over!

Chorus has always been the main bane in Raja sir’s music and Halke se bole song is another example of his mastery. Beautifully sung and simple rythemic music can get even a wall to cry!

Mere paa is one song, you should listen to believe it. It was sung by Amitabh Bachan himself in the voice of a 13 year old and boy, does he sound convincing! Check out Bachan sir’s comments after he recorded this song with Ilayaraja in his blog.

Here is the link: Big B's BLOG

Paa theme has everything in it-excitement, emotions, happiness, fun and sheer divinity. The violins which form the dominant part, even during the TV ads tell you half the story-a musical treat.

Last but not the last, my personal favorite is Gum sum Gum. It’s actually a very old tune, rehashed once again in this movie with a different orchestration. This song is a treat for all western classical and Indian classical music lovers, because it sways between two different worlds in the same song. With amazing jazz piano interludes, raja sir gives us the taste of western classical and when the vocals have clear Indian classical music touch to it making this song a musical lesson for generations to come. I am sure Mozart must be clapping in his grave. Not convinced? Listen to this song from 2:29 to 3:17-blessed music. The tune of Gum Summ Gum is almost 25 years old and already has 5 different versions of it and has two instrumental versions too. Trust me, NONE of the versions sound alike and yet they are the same!

Finally a fully satisfying hindi album from the music maestro. I am blessed! Are you?

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