Category Archives: Bollywood 00’s Music

Watching: Mr & Mrs Iyer (2002)


Mr and Mrs IyerThe first time I saw this film about 9 years back, I was totally rapt. So today when I picked this film, it was with a happy expectation of a treat. I was not disappointed. If anything, the film seemed even more enthralling this time. It’s just marvellous in every way!!

for what shall I wield a dagger, O Lord?
what can I pluck it out of
or plunge it into
when you are all the world?

Devara Dasimayya, 10th century Indian poet-saint

The film grabs me straight from this quote in the opening credits. This is my personal Weltanschauung, my world view, in a nutshell. I am amazed that it came out of the mind of a 10th century thinker whom I had never before heard of!

Meenakshi (Konkana Sen)  is a young Tamil Brahmin woman with a small child who is travelling to her in-laws’ home from her parents’ home in the forests.  Raja (Rahul Bose)  is a wild-life photographer returning to the city after completing a project. Protective parents and a mutual acquaintance results in Raja promising to look after Meenakshi on the journey.

Thus we enter this microcosmic world within a bus. This world is interesting and varied, just as our real world is. There is a couple canoodling under a blanket, a group of young adults singing noisily, an older Sikh man worrying about personal matters, an old Muslim couple enjoying gentle companionship, a bad tempered spinster, a drinking and bridge-playing group of  men (1 heart, 2 spade, pass – how did it end? I am side-tracked..), a mother travelling with her intellectually challenged teen and so on.

In this little ecosystem, an un-namable relationship develops between Meenakshi and Raja. I like it that they are travelling from hill-country to the plains, perhaps an analogy for being in between two worlds, in no-man’s land as it were. They are stopped at an unpassable road. We join the passengers in getting off the bus to view this beautiful and isolated world. A sense of unreality descends. In this world, anything can happen – and does. The bus has wandered into an area rocked by communal violence and today it is the Hindus wanting Muslim blood.

And this communalism invades the sheltered world within the bus. Or was it always there, just hidden by a veneer of civilized behaviour? When the terrorists enter the bus, the veneer is stripped. A coward gives away his neighbours. Meenakshi has previously proven to be a woman with traditional views;  on learning that Raja is a Muslim, she shows her own communal bias by muttering ‘And I drank the water he gave me!’ (a no-no for a traditional Hindu). Yet when Raja seems to be in danger, she instinctively protects him by naming him as her husband, Mr.Iyer, an unmistakably Hindu name.  So her traditionalism too is a veneer, hiding a humanist who lives inside.

The Muslim couple is killed and the world as they know it collapses around them. They need to find shelter in the village. As none is to be found, Meenakshi , Raja and the baby,  assumed to be a family, are taken to a jungle lodge just outside the village. And thus they enter a world within a world. Here they are man and wife, and like couples everywhere, after a bit of a struggle, they learn to value each other. This is a symbiotic relationship; she protects him by naming her as husband, and he looks after her in myriad ways. A certain intimacy develops between them; innocent, yes, but still a certain something. When grilled by fellow stranded passengers, they even make up a past. It seems that this imaginary world has invaded their real world which in itself is unreal at the moment.

Do people really forget tragedy and fear so fast? The group settles into its own little community, continuing on in their own way as if there had been no fanatics and no murder. But the beast of communalism is lurking just outside their own world and it cannot be kept out. When it invades their immediate surrounding, Meenakshi cries out in bewildered shock ‘‘Its so easy to kill a man, its so easy!’.  I like how the director has shown their world becoming smaller and smaller; from the outside world to a bus, from a bus to a community, from a community to a lodge, then finally their world is just a bed surrounded by a mosquito net. That world is occupied by a Muslim and a Hindu, both giving succour to each other.

The ending is real and it is poignant. In that train journey and at the station Konkana and Rahul give a heartbreakingly brilliant performance. If you haven’t seen the film, you should; I cannot recommend it enough.

There are big and small touches which make the film authentic. Konkana’s Tamil-accented English is very good (I am Tamil!), even to minutiae like saying ‘fie’ instead of ‘five’.   The way her eyes widen when Raja puts his lips to the bottle instead pouring the water as Tamil Brahmins do (its echhal/jhoota otherwise). The way she calls for his attention ‘Are you listening? ’ – typically Tamil. Rahul Bose is equally adept at small touches to authenticate his character. The supporting cast all do a good job I am sure, but as I could not take my eyes away from the leads, who knows?

This is a music blog but today my post is not about music. Zakir Hussain (the Tabla maestro) has done a very good job but I would call it background music,  not your typical Bollywood fare. The music sets the mood throughout the film. The song Kithe Meher Ali brings together the poetry of Rumi, a Sufi (Muslim) saint and Devara Dasimayya, a Hindu saint-poet; a very apt piece of music. I didn’t much like the fusion song in English, but I was too involved with the story to mind. If you want to listen to the whole track, click here.

Here is Kithe Meher Ali for your listening pleasure.


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music, Film Review

Listening to: Paheli (2005)

PaheliWhen I first saw this romantic fantasy, I was surprised to hear of its poor reception in the box-office and by the critics because I enjoyed it very much indeed! Today, I watched with more critical eyes – and I still found it great fun! It reminded me in parts of the traditional folk tales I read as a child in Amar Chitra Katha and Chandamama; hints of Aladdin’s genie reiterates this view. Even the use of a narrator (with two puppets in this case) reminds me of traditional theatre. It is uncomplicated, light-hearted fun, full of beauty, colour and fantastic locales and some excellent music – for me that translates as a treat. To hell with the critics and the Shah Rukh nay-sayers !!

The story is set at an unspecified time in the past, somewhere in Rajasthan. The tale commences with the preparation to Lajjo’s  (Rani Mukherjee) arranged marriage.  She seems an excited bride, eager to start a new life with her man and his family. After the wedding, the bridegroom’s party, along with the new bride, makes its way back to its own village.

(Kishen Lal) Shah Rukh is a really berasik fellow, dry as dust. He is more interested in his business and accounting than his bride. His father advises him ‘vyaapar ka sukh hi sabsa bada sukh hai’– the pleasure of business is the greatest pleasure’!! That seems to be his creed. Generally I can understand ineptitude with women, especially in men who have not had much to do with females. But such indifference towards his bride, even on his wedding night? Especially when she looks as lovely as Rani does?  Kishen leaves on a trading trip for 5 years the morning after they arrive home, his marriage unconsummated.

But here comes the fantasy part of the tale. On the way back from the wedding they stop at a haunted place and a ghost falls in love with the bride. Finding out that Kishen is leaving on an extended trip, the ghost – with genie like powers- takes up Kishen’s form and returns home. The bride is delighted to see her husband return within 3 days. And that too a very changed husband! The ineptitude has gone; here is a man who is the romantic hero that can only be the fantasy of a woman’s mind! [Girls note: Men will not spout poetry to the beauty of your eyes so don’t melt if they say things like एक बार इन नैनों में झाँकने के बाद कुछ और देख सकता है कोई? In case they happen to be nascent Byrons, they would probably be totally impractical, drunkards or of loose morals. So if you meet a poetry-spouting, good-looking, sober, practical, hard-working fellow, be suspicious! He’s probably a phantom!] Even when the ghost, in a spurt of conscience, confesses all, Lajjo accepts him as a substitute husband.

Four happy years pass.  The ghost brings happiness not only to Lajjo but to the family and to the community. Lajjo is soon to be a mother when the real husband comes back. Will Lajjo lose her fantasy husband? How will it all sort itself out? You have to see the film to find the answers.

Shah Rukh and Rani are impeccable in their lead roles. Shah Rukh does the comedy side of the role very well indeed and brings nice nuances to the two distinctly different men he plays – well done!! Rani glows. Anupam Kher is his amusing best as the father and Juhi Chawla is flawless as the sister-in-law; other supporting roles are competently performed. Sunil Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan impress in their special appearances.  The real star of the film, however, is the cinematographer Ravi K.Chandran who has painted such a glowing, loving canvas that it seduces us from the start to the end.

The music by M.M.Kreem is very very good. He borrows from Rajasthani folk and melds it beautifully with Bollywood flair. The lyrics by Gulzar are written with his sure hand.

  • Minnat Kare – Shreya Ghoshal and group. A nice melody, it does well as a multi-emotion wedding song. Starts with an upbeat pre-wedding celebration song, it takes a more serious turn with a Shehnai interlude and then continues to a sad bidai tune. The colour and atmosphere of the song makes it a visual treat.Open-mouthed smile
  • Dheere Jalna – Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal. A beautiful song,  it is contemplative, even sad at places. It changes pace from slow to fast; I did not like how some hurried phrases squashed or elongated words to suit the beat. Sonu and Shreya are wonderful singers and this song gives them the opportunity to display their vocal range to the full. The first part has a beautiful flute and sitar interlude, and the second (female) part has an excellent Shehnai interlude. Open-mouthed smile
  • Kangna Re – Shreya Ghoshal and group. A lovely song with a catchy and melodious refrain. The dancing by Rani can only be called seductive. The Shehnai is again used to good effect. I like the little interlude of the Viraha Bhava,  the sadness of separation, with Juhi and Sunil Shetty. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khali Hai Tere Bin – Hariharan and Bela Shinde. A nice instrumental is followed by Hariharan’s crooning this pathos-filled song. Nice poetry by Gulzar. Beautiful! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Laaga Re Jal Laaga – Sonu Nigam, M.M.Kreem and Shruti Sadolikar. Sonu is excellent in this lively song which reminds me of rain songs from other movies. I have a weakness for a nice group dance routine – and this one sure provides one! Colourful, joyful, the cheerful beat of the Dholak and the colours of the dancers together gives a very nice effect.Open-mouthed smile
  • Phir Raat Kate – Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan. Not my fav but good puppet-like dance.I don't know smile

To listen to the full album, click here.

Kangna Re – For the joyful dancing and beautiful refrain.

Khali Hai Tere Bin – For Hariharan’s smooth voice and the poetry. The video shows only half the song.

And for the choreography, Laaga Re Jal Laaga :


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music

Listening to: Rang De Basanti (2006)

RDBSometimes a movie makes such an impact that I am reluctant to re-watch it, fearing a loss of that impact. Rang De Basanti is one such film. After six years, as I prepared myself to watch it again, I told myself to be objective as I needed the eyes and ears of a critic. I failed miserably. The movie involved me from the first scene to the last and as I watched the credits with the remnants of tears streaking down my cheeks, I could only think ‘Whence objectivity?’.

The truth is that my emotional involvement started a long while back. I had read of Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekar Azad when I was at school and these boys were my heroes from then. When in 2006 I told the story to my son, he said ‘Oh they were terrorists were they?’. I looked with shocked eyes at him.  I could not bear to have them called that. No, I am not uninvolved.

The first kudos is for the script – Rang De Basanti is beautifully written with main characters painted with a deft but sure brush. Within 20 mins or so, I knew who they were, what made them tick.

A young English woman, Sue, wants to make a film about Bhagat Singh, Azad, Rajguru, Ashfaqulla Khan and Bismil. Her connection? Her grandfather was their jailor and had kept a diary. She comes to India. Her Indian friend Sonia and her mates, DJ, Karan, Aslam and Sukhi are roped in to act for the film. The discordant note is set by the one outside recruit – Laxman, a political activist. Two stories unfold before us then. There is a story of young men who fought against the British on ideology and belief and little else in the late 1920’s, Lilliputian Davids against Goliath. Here in the early 2000’s, the young men have little in common with the parts they play. They are drifters in life with neither nationalism nor ideology. It is as if the worlds of these two sets of men can only meet in the celluloid.

An event changes all this. A friend and Sonia’s fiancé Ajay, an Airforce pilot, is killed in an accident. There is talk of old spare parts from Russia, political corruption, cover-ups. Politicians turn the story on its head, calling the pilot inept. From here things get quickly out of hand.  Are they influenced by the story they just filmed? These two disparate sets of young men separated by decades slowly become superimposed, one on the other. They decide to kill the politician in charge of the corrupt deal. But the media makes him out to be a martyr instead. They have to do what Bhagat, Azad and the other boys did. They have to come out in the open to acknowledge responsibility and state their case. These boys had not been able to identify with the revolutionaries whose parts they played; now their stories become one.

The film has been made perfectly. I have some serious reservations about showing this kind of violent activism on screen but if I keep that aside, I can find nothing to fault. Next to Aamir, I was taken especially by the intensity of Siddharth Nayaran. However, all the actors have done an excellent job. There is no one-upmanship – each part, small or big, contributes equally to the film.

This is a brilliant film.

Lets come to the music. A.R.Rahman has composed music which melds perfectly with the mood of the film. Those who read my posts know that I am a traditionalist. I like songs which have good melodies and lyrics, songs which are voice-centric. This album is not for the traditionalist. However, the songs are a fitting background to the film and add to the drama. The film would be much poorer without them; ARR has to be acknowledged for that. Prasoon Joshi is to be congratulated on his lyrics as well.

  • Paathshaala – Aslam, Blaaze, Naresh Iyer. There are two versions of this song, one a dance song and the other a rap mood-setter. Both work well as picturised, defining the carefree and rather daredevil nature of this group. I found myself tapping to the rhythm and swaying to the beat.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Ik Onkar – Harshdeep Kaur. Shot in the Golden Temple, it is a serene prayer song. Thankfully ARR has left it with little instrumentation. Smile
  • Rang De Basanti – Chitra, Daler Mehendi. I enjoyed this high energy Bhangra title song and its excellent picturisation. Good cinematography keeps the memory of the song alive. The singers do a decent job. Open-mouthed smile
  • Khalbali – Aslam, A.R.Rahman, Nacim. Arabic sounds with a good beat, this is another very atmospheric song. Though I will not choose to hear this by itself, I was drawn to it thanks to its setting in the film. Smile
  • Tu Bin Bataye – Naresh Iyer, Pandhshree. The only romantic duet in this film, it should have appealed but did not touch any chord. Disappointed smile
  • Luka Chupi – Lata Mangeshkar, A.R.Rehman. Lata’s voice is not what it used to be, but as it stands in the movie, it does fine as the mental voice of Waheeda. A.R.Rahman for the first time impresses me with his singing. The lyrics are cleverly done, a mother playing hide-and-seek with her child  and worrying about not finding him to match this mother who will never find her son again.

    तेरी राह तके अँखियाँ जाने कैसा कैसा होये जिया
    धीरे धीरे आँगन उतरे अंधेरा मेरा दीप कहाँ
    ढलके सूरज करे इशारा चंदा तू है कहाँ
    लुका छुपी बहुत हुई सामने आजा ना
    कहाँ कहाँ ढूँढा तुझे थक गई है अब तेरी माँ
    आजा साँझ हुई मुझे तेरी फिकर
    धुंधला गई देख मेरी नज़र, आजा ना
    I like this song very much indeed. An emotional and touching song. Open-mouthed smileRed heart

  • Khoon Chala – Mohit Chauhan. Another background song which adds to the mood of the film. Interesting that such a gentle sounding song works well to rouse the blood!  I am not a Mohit fan however, wish it had been some other singer. I don't know smile
  • Lalkar – Aamir Khan. A poetry reading. Beautifully written by Prasoon Joshi. Smile
  • Roobaroo – Naresh Iyer, A.R.Rahman. Another atmospheric background song with  lyrics to match the setting. Sets mood well enough but I find the melody to be a bit repetitive. Disappointed smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My selection for today is Luka Chupi. As the movie does not use the complete song, listen to the audio version for the full song.

And for the sheer colourful joy of it, watch the title song here (sorry, embedding disabled).


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music, Lata Mangeshkar

Listening to: Ghajini (2008)

GhajiniThere are but few films that I have seen on the big screen in last 25 years, Ghajini is one of those. We happened to be in India en famille when it was released and we went within the first week to see it. We all came out of the theatre very well satisfied with the experience. This is in spite of my not liking violence in films and my children being, at that time, dismissive of Bollywood fare.  After three years, I watched it again today to see why I found the film interesting.

Aamir is without doubt one of the most powerful actors of our times in Bollywood. In this film he flexes his acting muscles with as much ease as he flexes his perfectly built-up physical ones.

A young man of power and success meets an ingenuous young woman who charms him almost without volition. They are from different worlds and he puts his aside when he is with her – is that her charm? He guards his identity; she never knows till the end who he really is. It seems to me that he guards this special place where, for him, only they reside.

Horror strikes. The young woman who always lends a helping hand gets involved in rescuing young girls from girl-traffickers. This leads to her murder and him being horribly hurt. He develops a strange condition which leaves him with only a memory of the last 15 mins of his life. With revenge in his quite limited memory he relentless pursues his enemies. How does he do it? Can he succeed?  If this sounds familiar, perhaps you have seen Memento.

Aamir has a double-role in effect. He is extraordinary in his subtle performance as the quiet man with little to say but whose every expression shows his fascination, his amazement, his delight in this young woman who is so very different from him. And post-memory loss, Aamir becomes another self, one who pursues revenge relentlessly, with robotic precision, reminding us of the Terminator. Aamir’s genius is in totally convincing us that these two personas are one and the same. Hats off!! One of the most poignant moments is when towards the end, right in the middle of a fight, he loses the point and wanders through ill-lit corridors without recognition, lost, just as he is lost in life. A metaphor of the film, perfectly emoted by Aamir.

Asin as his girl and Pradeep Rawat as Ghajini provide able support. I am not sure whether it was Jiah Khan I didn’t like or her character; in either case I did not take to her. Riyaz Khan as the inspector left a poor impression.

I am a fan of Rahman’s old music, not his current generation albums. Yet there are some moments in this album which gives me pause. Lyrics by Prasoon Joshi are very good.

  • Aye Bacchoo – Suzanne. It came across as made-for-MTV kind of song. I liked the guitar interlude but Sad smile
  • Behka – Karthik. Very nice young sound with Aamir sporting an equally young and cool look to match. A heart for Karthik’s smooth singing, good choreography and an amusing picturisation. Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Lattoo – Shreya Ghoshal. I am shocked at myself for liking this song! Quite unlike me to listen to songs of this ilk! I blame it on Shreya for her simply superb voice which coos Yaar Yaar with such perfectness that it beguiles me into listening again!! Open-mouthed smile
  • Guzarish – Javed Ali, Sonu Nigam. The song is preceded by some brilliant poetry by lyricist Prasoon Joshi.
    बस एक हाँ के इंतज़ार में रात यूं ही गुज़र जायेगी

    अब तो बस उलझन है सात मेरे नींद कहाँ आयेगी
    सुबह की किरण न जाने कौन सा सन्देश लायेगी
    रिमझिम सी गुनगुनायेगी या प्यास अधूरी रह जायेगी
    Can the uncertainty before a proposal be better expressed? Sonu Nigam’s humming is simply beautiful. I decided after a couple of listens that I didn’t like Javed Ali’s singing here, nor the orchestration. Nice melody and nice lyrics make up somewhat. I don't know smile

  • Kaise Mujhe Tum – Benny Dayal, Shreya Ghoshal.  A contemplative and romantic song with a beautiful melody. The gentle touch with the instruments to match the gentleness of the lyrics and melody is well done.
    ज़िन्दगी सितार हो गयी
    रिमझिम मल्हार हो गयी
    मुझे आता नहीं किसमत पे अब यकीन
    कैसे मुझको मिले तुम
    I also loved the moodiness of the picturisation. Benny Dayal is quite good but does he not sound as if he mimics Rahman in the higher reaches? !!! Shreya is fabulous – I am a fan! Kudos to Rahman for a beautiful offering. Open-mouthed smileRed heart

To listen to the whole album, click here. My choice for today is Kaise Mujhe Tum.

And for Aamir fans, a bit of fun with Aamir playing dress-up in Behka.


Filed under Benny Dayal, Bollywood 00's Music, Karthik, Shreya Ghoshal

Listening to: Dumm Dumm Dumm (2001)

Dumm Dumm DummI’ve been following Heather and Temple’s blog on Indian cinema for quite some time. I find it especially interesting that they review not just Hindi films, as the majority of bloggers tend to do, but write very often on the films from the South in an entertaining and informative way.  Their posts are made more interesting  by the fact that Heather and Temple often have different perspectives and tastes. Being in Melbourne this month, I invited them home for a movie-dinner session last weekend. It was fun spending a pleasant evening with them discussing our shared interests and enjoying each other’s view points.  Will love to do it again !

On Temple’s recommendation we watched Dumm Dumm Dumm. I enjoyed both the film and the music. Its the kind of film I like – soft, with no violence, romance without idiocy, low-level drama, good locations, beautiful cinematography, a bit of comedy and most importantly, good music and dance. The leads, Madhavan and Jyothika, suit their roles very well indeed and the supporting actors are very good indeed. Do read Heather and Temple’s review to find out more about the film.

The music by Karthik Raja (son of musical genius Ilaiyaraja) is melodious and hummable. The lyrics by Vali, Muthukumar and Vijay did not catch my attention at all.

  • Sutrum Bhoomi – Harini – A happy little song. Harini has this little breathlessness in her voice which matches the mood of the song; well sung! Beautiful guitar interlude. The choreography is pretty and Jyothika dances well.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Desingu Raja – Harish Raghavendra, Sujatha. The fabulous  one thousand year old Tanjavur Peria Koil is the setting for this  song-and-dance number. The dancing, the costumes, the setting all add to a visual delight.  Madhavan, though not a good dancer, poses well enough. The music is ordinary. A big smile not for the song but the dance!   Open-mouthed smile
  • Atthaan Varuvaha – Chitra, Harini, Karthik, Subha, Tippu. I always enjoy marriage songs, they are so colourful! This one has a comic touch too with some good dancing. I do not like the female voices in the higher octave but the song is good, worth watching. Open-mouthed smile
  • Krishna Krishna – Febi, Harish Raghavendra, Karthik. This is the mandatory westernised-youth song. Interesting beats otherwise predictable. Smile
  • Ragasiyamai – Hariharan, Ramanathan, Sadhna Sargam – Lovely song, very beautiful melody. The picturisation is nice too. Lyrics by Muthukumar suit the mood. Sadhana’s pronunciation is a problem but I love the song too much to mind.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Un Perai Sonnale – Sadhana Sargam, Unni Krishnan– Melodious. Only part of the song seems to have been used in the film. Smile

You can listen to the whole album here.

My choice for the day is the lovely Ragasiyamai simply because the melody is unbeatable!

Also watch Atthan Varuvaha, my second pick, for the colour and dancing.


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music, Hariharan, Karthik Raja, Sadhana Sargam

Listening to: Swadesh (2004)


I remember this ‘uncle’ from my childhood who would always go on and on about how only K.L.Saigal was worthy of being called a singer and how Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi were nothing to him. I also remember thinking what a bore this uncle was! Fearing that I will turn into a similar bore with my liking for old music, I try to keep up with the music of today. Like ‘uncle bore’, I too find much to complain about modern music but thankfully I find nuggets which I enjoy as well. Remembering a lovely melody from Swades, I decided to re-watch it today.

I am mystified as to why I don’t remember this film well from my first viewing. It was engaging and surprisingly sensible at places. Shah Rukh puts in a good performance. Being a NRI, I felt a strong sense of connection with this film.

What I liked about the film :

  • From caravan to string bed, from shower to well water, from jeans to Dhoti, from bottled water to not, from a view through a camera to becoming part of the scene, the journey of the protagonist is well depicted.
  • Supporting characters were very convincing – the loving nanny, the cook with ambitions of travelling abroad, the stick-in-the-mud traditionalist, the garrulous friendly postman – I recognised all these people. Even the lead was an egg-head like so many fellow NRIs (and no, not the top boss but a cog-in-the-wheel! Even that small point won me over!)
  • An excellent discussion in the second half of the film about customs and rituals. I too have heard people who have never set foot outside India tell me ‘We have something others don’t have, our customs and heritage’ as if the customs and heritage of all other people of the world is somehow less important! The protagonist takes the side of the argument  I normally take.
  • Touched on some major ills of Indian society without much melodrama. Even knowing it was cinematic manipulation, I was touched.

My complaints :

  • अपने ही पानी में पिघलना बर्फ का मुक़द्दर होता है someone says in this film. Is that not quite contrary to the forward thinking views which this film supports? This statement may be used to imply that Indians should stay in India (as in the film) but also to say people should stay within their own castes and limitations. As a lifelong expatriate, I feel that my family has contributed not only to our adopted countries but to our birth country in equal measure. I resent the implication of this statement.
  • The leading lady was not likeable. Even her introduction was so…cold. Her perpetually irritated expression was not becoming at all. Even in an important emotional scene later in the movie, I found her very unconvincing.

I’ve talked more about the film than I normally do. Let me get to the music. A.R.Rahman has done a good job and the lyrics by Javed Akhtar are very appropriate at times. The choice of placement of songs is a bit formulaic – it includes a road song, a children’s song, a religious song, a romantic song and a patriotic song!

  • Yun Hi Chala Chal – Udit Narayan, Kailash Kher, Hariharan.  I admire Kailash Kher’s sufiana music and he does a good job here. Udit Narayan, I always admire. Good song. Smile
  • Ahista Ahista – Udit Narayan, Sadhna Sargam.  Very little instrumentation allows us to enjoy Udit Narayan’s voice to its full extent. Sadhna sounds good too. Like! Smile 
  • Yeh Tara Woh Tara – Udit Narayan. Good lyrics, good message and well sung. Open-mouthed smile
  • Sanwariya Sanwariya – Alka Yagnik – Lovely melody. Alka normally has a great reach but her voice is strained in the higher octave. Nice instrumental interlude. Open-mouthed smile
  • Pal Pal Hai Bhari – Madhushree, Vijay Prakash, Ashotosh Gowrikar. Boring tune. Enjoyed the Ramlila though.. Sad smile
  • Dekho Na – Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan.  Soft. Romantic. Smile
  • Yeh Jo Des Hai – A.R.Rahman . I can’t say I am a fan of Rahman’s singing but sometimes it works for me. Not this time. Thinking smile

You can listen to the whole album here. But for today, my song choice is purely for its charming melody. Enjoy!


Filed under Alka Yagnik, Bollywood 00's Music

Listening to: Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000)


Successful Tamil films often get re-made into Hindi films. I am not sure why this wasn’t, for this was a superbly made film. But in a way, I am happy as remakes often spoil the flavour of the original. And this flavour should not be spoilt. I would encourage newcomers to the Tamil film world to borrow/buy a copy with subtitles and watch this vastly entertaining film. Based on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, it has been ‘indianised’ to a degree that it doesn’t feel alien at all. Well done S.Rangarajan – ‘Sujatha’ for the story and Rajiv Menon for the screenplay.

There are many good reviews online for those who are interested. As usual, I’ll just remark on whatever caught my attention..

  • Tabu is both beautiful and talented – for me this film showcased her to perfection!
  • I have seen Srividya as a leading lady many years ago; she impressed me then with her expressive face and she does so again as an older but still beautiful woman
  • I am not a great Aishwarya fan but her beauty is spellbinding in this film. The role suits her well.
  • Mamootty has more presence in the nail of his little finger than many ‘heroes’ one is forced to see…what a personality!! I need to get all his older films and give myself a treat..
  • Ajith is charming and very good in this film.  I was introduced to him at a restaurant by our host 4-5 years back; he is even better looking in person!
  • I took a dislike to Abbas even before the role made him out to be a weakling..wonder why..

But I am here to talk about the music and it is truly wonderful!! This is A.R.Rehman in his melodious years; an album to fall in love with, an album to listen to again and again. The lyrics by Vairamuthu are excellent.

  • Konjum Mainakkale – Sadhana Sargam. A very imaginative picturisation with a lovely dance by Aishwarya. I enjoy seeing it. I also love all the instrumental interludes. Open-mouthed smile
  • Kannamoochi – Chitra. I can’t see this without remembering my niece who bought the exact same pavadai-thavani, jewellery et al and who looked as pretty as Aishwarya does in it ! Great Bharatanatyam moves integrated into the dance routine, very well choreographed. Open-mouthed smile
  • Enna Solla Pogirai – Shankar Mahadevan காதலின் கேள்விக்கு கண்களின் பதில் என்ன மௌனமா ? says the lyricist, how apt! Is the answer to the question posed by my love only silence? And later, the song goes on to say ‘ it takes only a second to say No, but it would take me a another lifetime to bear that’.. A beautifully written and sung song. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  •  Enge Enathu Kavithai – Chitra, Sreenivas. I have always loved Chitra’s voice and she sounds divine in a song which seems written for her! A.R.Rehman’s stamp is there with beautiful background chorus and instrumentals. A song which touches one’s heart. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Smiyai – Clinton Devan, Dominique Cerejo. A good dance number with great beats. Some sixties sound incorporated into a 90’s sound… Smile
  • Suttum Vizhi – Hariharan. An absolutely brilliant rendition of Bharathiyar’s classic poetry, I was addicted to this song for a time. My dislike of Abbas is what keeps me from seeing on youtube all the time! Thank you AR Rehman, the classic sounds beautiful in your hands! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Kandukondain – Hariharan, Mahalaxmi Iyer. Shot in Scotland, the settings are beautiful yet I do not like the picturisation at all! That said, the song is still lovely. Smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

With three songs I love, and two other colourful dances which will make great viewing, I have to admit I am stumped as to what to present in this blog! I recommend again that you see this film, if only for the music. Well, ok, I’ve made my choices – it is Enna Solla Pogirai for the beauty of the song and Tabbu’s loveliness.

And Kannamoochi for the dancing :


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music, Chitra, Shankar Mahadevan, Tamil Film Music

Listening to Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

I remembered the movie as being refreshingly different when I saw it first. ‘Will it feel the same on re-viewing?’ I wondered, as I slid the DVD in. It did not disappoint. Its story is predictable enough but there is a feel to it which is indeed unique. It was longer than I would have liked it but then its a Hindi film. A few things which caught my attention:

  • Akshaye was good! He plays his role very low-key and still makes a very good impression. Why is his career in the doldrums ten years on?
  • One end of Akshaye’s lips go up when he smiles and the other end dips!! Reminds me of Mowgli from Jungle Book !
  • Saif was leaner than he is now..suits him better. And he has legs made of Jello –check out his dancing in Koi Kahe.
  • Hasn’t Saif played ‘my heart on my sleeves’ role a bit too often?
  • Aamir Khan is always good but..… I suppose I didn’t sympathise with his character like I did with the other two. His fault? or is it the script?
  • The ladies are decorative. Dimple has a good role but its too small to make an impact. Preity makes a better impression.

Is it a film worth watching? Yes!

The music felt very young when I heard it first. Given my taste for old fashioned music, I might not have listened to it very often but for the fact the my husband was addicted to it and played it non-stop in his car until I begged him to stop! But I did listen to it often and it made an impression. On seeing the movie this second time, I found much to like in the music. This album was a turning point for the composing trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, whom I admire very much. They have gone on from strength to strength since then. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar are very good indeed. Click here to listen to the whole album.

  • Dil Chahta Hai – Shankar Mahadevan. The title song is a male-bonding-on-the-road song, an old Bollywood tradition! Nice beat, I love the instrumentals. Definitely East-meets-West but well done. Smile
  • Jaane Kyon Log – Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan. This song makes me home-sick for Australia! Shot in Sydney, the locales are stunning. Kudos to the music directors for incorporating the sounds of a Didgeridoo. The music is unique and the lyrics tell the story well, showing the two opposing perspectives that the protagonists have. Open-mouthed smile
  • Woh Ladki Hain Kahan – Shaan, Kavita Subrahmaniam. I laughed aloud when I saw it the first time and it still makes me smile. Retro dancing and styling, Saif and his Dev impersonation, a most obviously studio-shot driving, a bit of Spanish influence and best of all, a most ridiculous hand flapping dance – its all so endearing!! Shaan and Kavita sound excellent. Of all the songs in the album, this is the one I associate with this movie.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Kaisi Hai Yeh Rut – Srinivas. Gentle music to suit a gentle song. Smile
  • Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe – Shaan, Shankar Mahadevan, Kay Kay. Another East-West synthesis, this song works very well indeed. A dance song where the three male leads get to strut (really!) their stuff, it has a very youthful feel and a great beat. Open-mouthed smile
  • Tanhayee – Sonu Nigam. A song of loneliness and sadness, it is very well sung by Sonu. The composition is lovely and Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are on the nose. I like how Sonu well emotes with his voice. There is a charming flute interlude which reminds me of Payalein Chunmun from Virasat. A bit of inspiration perhaps? Open-mouthed smileRed heart

As usual I am in a dilemma, a song to smile or a song to cry? I like them here they are. Hope you enjoy them.


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Filed under Bollywood 00's Music

Listening to: Jab We Met (2007)

I am a pushover for Romcoms. There, I’ve said it! I would rather see a nice romcom than an intellectually enlightening or thrillingly action-packed or deeply moving film. Yeah, I’m low-brow, and happily so! It’s true that in the hope of finding a ‘Notting Hill’ or  a ‘For Weddings and a Funeral’, I sit through hours of trashy films. Especially trashy Hindi films as Bollywood churns out many films in this genre. When I do come upon a well-made romcom, its such a thrill !

Jab We Met is one such film. There is a good story line, the lead pair are young and good looking, they act their parts convincingly, the supporting cast is equally good, there are many humourous moments and a few touching ones. And most importantly, there is very good music and a couple of excellent song-and-dance routines. Shahid Kapoor is no doubt one of the best dancers in the business, its a pleasure to watch him move and Kareena is a natural in front of the camera.

The music by Pritam is young and energetic, in keeping with the spirit of the movie. The guest track by Sandeep Shandilya (Aoge Jab Tum) is actually my favourite track in the film, given my weakness for classical music and a deep admiration for Rashid Khan’s voice. The lyrics by Irshad Ali meet the demands of the songs quite adequately.

  • Hum jo chalne lage – Shaan. A lilting tune and Shaan’s gentle voice makes this very pleasant to listen to. Smile
  • Nagada Nagada – Sonu Nigam. A Bhangra number, I start bouncing up and down in my seat every time I listen to it and smile remembering Shahid’s much nicer dance moves. Thank you song for cheering me up every time! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Yeh Ishq Hai – Shreya Ghoshal. Perfectly suited for the character portrayed in the film, the music is good and Shreya sings fabulously. I like the lyrics too.Open-mouthed smile
  • Aoge Jab Tum – Rashid Khan. I was seriously addicted to this song for a while. I think it is fabulous. Rashid Khan’s voice is glorious. I am a Fan!  Lyrics are lovely too. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Tum Se Hi – Mohit Chauhan. Again, the director has chosen the right voice for this song. I am not a Mohit fan but he does sing this well.  Smile
  • Mauja Hi Mauja – Mika Singh. Another Bhangra number, it will have you tapping your feet in no time. Open-mouthed smile

So today I present two songs : Nagada Nagada Baja by Sonu Nigam for the wonderful dancing by Shahid and Kareena and the sheer exuberance of of it all!

And the second song Aoge Jab Tum by Rashid Khan because I love it. See Kareena’s expression at 0:45 secs+ when it changes from pleasurable anticipation, to confusion and bewilderment, to sadness. This young woman has acted very well indeed!


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music, Rashid Khan, Sonu Nigam

Listening to: Devdas (2002)

Let me state categorically : I do NOT like this story. You have a not particularly likeable young man who gives up his childhood sweetheart due to family pressures. Instead of making the best of his decision, he becomes an alcoholic depressive and slumps about in non-salubrious (but astonishingly beautiful!) surroundings. Then you have a nautch girl, so lovely and talented that she could demand her terms with anyone. Instead she develops a deep love for this most unlovable drunk who is always moping over another woman! And our leading lady marries a man richer than the one who gave her up, bowing again to family pressures. And does she make the best of life? Of course not! She is forever dreaming of her lost love. I could shake them all!

Yet seemingly I am very much in the minority. This story by the popular Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (1876-1938) has been very dear to the Indian audience and has been made into 12+ films in different languages. I have seen the Hindi version of Devdas (1936) starring Saigal in the lead and the 1955 version by Bimal Roy starring Dilip Kumar, both acclaimed films.

So given my annoyance with the  lead characters you’ll wonder why I chose to see the movie. Very simply, the music which, released ahead like for all Bollywood films, enthralled me from the moment I heard it. When I saw the film, as expected, I was annoyed with the characters for making such rubbish of their lives. But I came away with some visuals which will live with me forever. Oh the beauty of the two ladies! Oh the sumptuous setting! Oh the costumes and jewellery! Oh that scene with Aishwarya running through the many doors, aalta on her feet, sari flowing behind her! Oooooooh The Music! The director Sanjay Leela Bansali has created a visual feast which pleases my art loving eyes. Credit goes especially to cinematographer  Binod Kumar Pradhan.

The music composed by Ismail Darbar is, in my opinion, one of the best albums to come out of Bollywood in the last decade. The lyrics by Nusrat Badr in his Bollywood debut are equally memorable. You can listen to the whole album here.

  • Silsila ye chahat ka – Shreya Ghoshal : Truly sensuous, this is a siren’s call by Shreya. One of my daughter’s favourite songs. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Maar daala – Kavita Krishnamurthy, Kay Kay : Madhuri’s dance and her costume are wonderful, the song is good. Smile
  • Bairi Piya – Shreya Ghoshal, Udit Narayan : A slow, romantic song with a certain lulling quality I like very much. Both singers are extraordinarily good. When Udit Narayan first starts ‘kaise kahoon’, I always take a deep breath of satisfaction! Open-mouthed smile
  • Kaahe Chhed Mohe – Kavita Krishnamurthy, Birju Maharaj, Madhuri Dixit : A fantastic Kathak song with an unforgettable dance performance by Madhuri, its another memorable number. Kavita’s voice is not my favourite but she has done such a wonderful job of this classically based song that my respect for her went up enormously.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Chalak Chalak – Shreya Ghoshal, Udit Narayan, Vinod Rathod : I do like Shah Rukh in his Bengali babu dhoti-kurta look and in association, I like this song too ! Madhuri dances most alluringly. Smile
  • Hamesha Tumko Chaha – Kavita Krisnamurthy, Udit Narayan : I was addicted to this song for a while and HAD to listen to it daily. The tabla sounds so good! The composer has used the Ooli, the sounds that Bengali women make at auspicious times, and the sound of the conch very well.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Woh Chand Jaisi Ladki – Udit Narayan : My husband’s favourite song from this album, Udit Narayan is so very talented! Open-mouthed smile
  • Morey Piya – Shreya Ghoshal, Jaspinder Narula : I don’t like Jaspinder’s portion of the song, which I find a bit grating so I used to skip this song once upon a time. But Shreya’s part is really exquisite, so I have started listening to it nowadays. Smile
  • Dola Re Dola – Kavita Krishnamurthy, Shreya Ghoshal, Kay Kay : The dance is such a visual delight – two of the most beautiful women in the world without doubt! Again we have the Bengali Ooli used to good effect. The song has a joyful, teasing aspect which is very pleasing. All the singers do an admirable job.  Open-mouthed smile

Because the songs are both a visual and auditory feast, I am going to present not one but quite a few of them. Choose what you will to view.

1. Silisila Ye Chahat Ka – for the astonishing beauty of Aishwarya, her graceful dancing and Shreya’s lovely voice of which I am a true fan.

2. Kahe Chhed Chhed Mohe – For Madhuri’s radiance, her dancing prowess and sheer sensuality and Kavita’s wonderful singing. Credit of course to Birju Maharaj for his excellent choreography.

3. Hanesha Tumko Chaha for the breath-taking settings (see the house!!) and the story telling

4. Dola re Dola – for the pleasure of watching the two beauties do their thing – and to honour the choreographer Saroj Khan who has done a great job!


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music