Posted in Uncategorized

And the Oscar went…..

…clearly to a person who deserved it more than everyone else in that category. Right? No, as most would claim.

Guess that is the irony of any movie award show. Everyone knows that it is highly irrational to be objective about an art form because art in itself is so subjective. Yet, year after year, glitz after glamor, actor after actor, they clamor to the Kodak theater.

So they did last night too.

For weeks, I had been cajoling my whole family to go watch “The Hugo” in theaters with me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince them and now I am reduced to watching it in my home theater. Finally, I will have a good reason to put that 3D TV to use. I am not that disappointed that I didn’t get to watch ‘The Artist’ in theaters. I am sure I would enjoy it but then I wouldn’t probably think of it as Oscar worthy. Remember it is all subjective?

While at the topic, see a pattern here – An  Englishman (ok..King) who struggled with his speech won an Oscar last year and a French man who didn’t speak at all won it this year. Makes me wonder if it would be a German who doesn’t have a tongue who would win it next year!

By the way, Billy Crystal is the kind of Oscar host you could get for minimum guarantee. He is not going to ruin it for you. He is not going to create controversies for you. He is not going to Gervais it for you. So, what we got yesterday when compared to the previous year was definitely better. But would the academy ever dare inviting Ricky Gervais to host the show? Probably Never.

There were some refreshing changes last night in the format. The main one being around musical performances. With the academy struggling to find even 5 suitable nominees for the Original Song category, it was only expected that they do something different. I was pleasantly surprised to see AR Rahman having a part to play along with the legendary Zimmer.

Finally, Angelina’s leg stunt was overshadowed by how skeleton like she looked. And yes, the JLo – Diaz stunt was funny and worth it. But Cohen took it too far and he lost a few fans.

Posted in Music - General

Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakkathilaey (Tamil Music)

(***Before I start this post, I have a confession to make. My personal preference is to write தமிழ் in English as “T-H-A-M-A-I-Z-H”. I feel this is the most accurate way. But thanks to the British, this was one of the many Indian words that have been heavily anglicized and widely acceptable. So, in spite of my trying, every now and then, I slip and type T-A-M-I-L or I do it purposefully because of the audience or the context. ***)

In this information overload age with me constantly wired (figuratively speaking of course), I cannot recollect an experience like this in the recent past. For the first time, I was totally blown away by a music album about which I had not read anything till I actually listened to the album. I wasn’t even aware of such a movie being made (which is to say something because I follow all Tamil movie related news very closely with a mouse and a click). As is normal, I check out new music releases on Raaga periodically. I sample all the songs & if I like the album, I hang on to it till I either like it, fall in love with it or get over it. On Monday, I found this new album, which honestly in my mind registered as “Achu” at first. I was at the gym and listened to the entire album without skipping a single song , one by one till the end. When I had time again later that day, I remembered this experience from the morning and decided to listen to the album again. That’s when I learned that the movie is “Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakkathilaey (மாலைப் பொழுதின் மயக்கத்திலே)” and the music director is “Achu”.

The next day, I read a review of this album on milliblog. Now for starters, I follow milliblog for Kartik’s most objective reviews. Unpretentious and to the point. And also, his reviews are normally unadulterated by others’ opinions because he does his reviews as soon as an album is released (in most cases) and has always been the first one to review amongst all recognized reviewers that I am aware of. I was pleasantly surprised to read a 200 word review for this album (which per milliblog standards is the equivalent of getting 55+/100 on Ananda Vikatan movie review scale). And it was also here, where I learned that Achu, the music director of MPM had actually made his debut in a Telugu movie in 2008 (Nenu Meeku Telusa) and MPM is actually his second release.

Now, I can see you squirm in your seats waiting to ask me what exactly excited me in this album. Please be known that I am not going to do a song by song review of this album as that was not the purpose of this post. Rather I thought I would quickly share what impressed me the most.

  • All 3 versions of “En Uyirae” are simply out of the world. Of course Karthik’s version is my personal favorite.
  • “Yaen Indha” steals the show for its revolutionary and stereotype bending music. Would call it the “Aromale” of 2012. Brilliant fusion of melody and rock riffs. Rush meets Van Halen sort of rock.
  • There is absolute freshness to the album. Freshness, which I can’t describe using my keyboard.
  • I would also attribute the heavy influence of guitar that makes this album special. Guitar sounds have been used just right and they quite enhance the feel. Needless to say, Achu seems to use Piano sounds well too.
  • The overall treatment to the album, in combination with some romantic lyrics which by themselves also stand out could have added to my experience.

Well, this was one of those rare experiences… which is why I decided to write about it while I have it fresh in my mind.

Go check it out. Listen to MPM if you can. Here’s hoping Achu has a great musical future.

Posted in Books, Movies - General, Music - General, Sports - General

Look-back

Last week was quite extraordinary in the sense that I hit upon 3 different ideas that I wanted to blog about..here. This hasn’t happened in a while and I was thrilled. But then, I was worried that I would overshoot my January quota and end up with a drought filled February. So, I thought I would table those ideas for the time being. And here I am, trying to recollect those 3 ideas. Never mind.

Quick round-up:

Books:

The Calcutta Chromosome  – Amitava Ghosh

I would say I was pleasantly surprised to read a sci-fi from this brilliant writer. A writer, some of whose sentences sometimes need multiple readings to understand. The best part about this book is that you could finish it in one sitting although I finished it in 2 sittings (2 plane rides followed by some late night reading).

Movies: 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – David Fincher

Ok. I was not that impressed with Fincher’s handling of this story. I liked the original Swedish version better. Although, there were some brilliant lines in the Fincher version which were enough to make the trip to the theater worth it. Rooney Mara was brilliant. And Trent Reznor – Take a bow! (no pun intended).

Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows

I have watched a few Guy Ritchie movies in the past and have liked many of them..(Snatch, LSATSB, Sherlock Holmes I). But this movie may have made me a slight fan of his style. I can’t imagine anyone else pulling off a Sherlock Holmes story in such a classy, novel and glitzy way. Downey had outdone himself from Part I.

Band Bajaa Baraath (Hindi)

Heard that this movie in general generated lots of positive buzz. Not a bad movie. Mostly clean Rom-Com. But I wondered what was so different in this movie compared to a few others that came out around this movie’s release. Overall – a good time pass..

Music:

Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Eppadi – S Thaman

A very different Thaman album. So Bravo to him for accepting to do this. Nothing extraordinary in the album except the fact that it is a genuine attempt to make a youth album with a Romance theme. From that stand point, Thaman has succeeded (7/10).

My picks – Parvathi, Parvathi (Brilliant tribute to “Viswanathan Velai vendum”) and Azhaippaya…

Talsamayam Oru Penkutty – Sharreth Vasudevan (Malayalam)

Sharreth once again hits a home run. I have been following his music only in the last 3-4 years but whenever I have time, I try to listen to some of his old work as well. What a composer! One of a kind. A kind that singers apparently are scared of when they get a call from his studio.

My picks – Ponnodu Poovai, Kannaran Thumbi and Enthe Hrudyathalam

Sports:

What an epic match the Rafa-Novak match turned out to be. Watching the match was exhausting enough. Rafa gave everything to hold that trophy is an understatement. I don’t think there were will be another epic grand slam final like that in the near future. Salutes to the two brave & strong men.

That pretty much sums up my last few days. Oh, yeah, by the way..I almost forgot – The Giants won!!