Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 9: 2 Songs

Writing about 2 songs is difficult. I have never had any favourite song as far back as I can remember. They’ve been changing as I grew up. Every phase of my life, I have sworn by certain favourite songs only to have those replaced by something upcoming in the next couple of years.

I dont even remember school days in terms of music, except that I used to trudge along with my Mom as she took me to Carnatic music classes (and oh! Bharatnatyam classes where I would get beat by the great Kamal Hassan’s sister Nalini Raghu who happened to be my teacher, I was the worst student) every week. I trained in Carnatic music for 6 years under various teachers. Junior College was a time of transitions, moving from the chillar party gang up into the famed teens and like every other teen, being besotted by English boy and girl bands. I remember crooning along with my chums to the tunes of probably every song that was released by Backstreet Boys, Mysterious Girl, Words by Boyzone, That dont impress me much by Shania Twain and not to mention others like Aqua, Vengaboys etc. Annual functions at Junior college would play these songs and we would sway to these songs as if we have been born singing and dancing to these. 

Life progressed to college then where I drifted towards Bollywood songs. I didnt realize it then but now when I think back, I believe it was because I was interested in singing in college functions, competitions and Bollywood was what appealed to the masses. Of course, I still mostly gravitated towards those with a classical base. A couple that are dear to me from my college era are Kaadal Rojave (Roja Jaaneman) which I sang during my college fest auditions and Mungda which I sang during the fest. I still remember, a close friend S and I would sit sharing lyrics or humming songs in the back benches of our lectures. 

The music fever in me did not die even when I started working. I remember trying to get back to formal training but I would take it up for a year and drop it again after that due to work pressures or the hectic lifestyle. Even in the organization where I worked, I found comrades who were way more into it than I was and it was good learning for me. Now as I type all this I realize, that music to me has been singing way more than listening. Its been a serious part of my growing up life. Singing medleys during the company's annual function, then performing the “Suraj Hua Maddham” at a later honorary function for the participants, I enjoyed it as much then as I think about those days fondly now. 

I have gravitated completely towards desi music, not just Hindi, but Tamil, Telegu, Bengali too. I do enjoy English songs on the radio once in a while and hum along while we’re on a drive, but they not have a special place in my heart. So, coming back to favourites, I really do not have 2. Some songs I like are Naina and O Sathi Re from Omkara, Munbe Vaa from Sillundru Oru Kaadal, some songs from the movie Paheli, A.R Rahman has always been my favourite, albeit, his earlier movies like Rangeela, Bombay, Dil Se, Roja, Kaaka Kaaka, Kandukondein Kandukondein, Kannathil Muthamittal have been nicer than his latest compilations. I also like songs like Seekho Na by Shubha Mudgal, Jhuki Jhuki si Nazar and some songs sung by Raahat Fateh Ali Khan, Hariharan to name a few.

My 2 top songs for this week are going to be just that, the top songs for this week. Like a chartbuster list, they have not always been at the top nor will they stay forever. 

1. Shree Ganeshaya Dheemahi sung by Shankar Mahadevan from the movie Virruddh
I discovered this song around a month back, during Ganesh Chaturti, scrounging around for songs to play while we did our puja at home for the festival and instantly fell in love with it, so much so that I pinged and left messages on Facebook for people I knew interested in music (especially those who loved songs with a classical base). I have been trying to memorize the lyrics whenever I do get time or remember to do it and I must confess I am only halfway there. But so far, at this point, this song rules. Shankar Mahadevan is so good and I doubt anyone else could have made such an impact with this song as he did. 

2. Yeh Jo Des Hain Tera sung by A.R. Rahman from the movie Swades
This has been playing over and over in the back of my mind for a while now. Everytime I think of listening to some music, I start my playlist with this one. When I get addicted to a song I can just play it on repeat for days at a time and my roommates are witness to this. Maybe its because I haven’t been to India much, well that isn’t true, I have visited often but I haven’t stayed much over the past few years and the yearning is what makes me like this song or maybe its just A.R. Rahman’s magic all over again, whatever the reason, this will continue to be in my top 10 whatever the other 9 be. 

Others racing up the charts at this point are Ami Je Tomar, the Bengali song which was then dubbed into Mere Dholna and Naa Jeyo Na, the Bengali song which was remade into O Sajna - discovered listening to Anwesha in the Star Voice of India series, a young kid, who’s already gone into playback. I salute the talent, dedication and effort these kids put into their passion. 

Next week’s the last post of the Ten Day You Challenge and going to be by far the most difficult. For everything else up until now I had a fair inkling of what I would be posting, for the 1 picture, I have no idea !

I would love to hear your views!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 8: 3 Movies

Movies. What can I say. Never been a huge fan. Until that is, I met my husband. I had not met a man more a fan of movies than my husband until then. Before marriage, I used to stay with a friend of mine as roommates. Of course, she had been here in MN, long enough to have formed her own group of friends by then. So the first two weeks I was here, I used to hang out with my husband (then my friend) and his roommates and watch 2 movies a day. Yep, thats what they used to do after coming home from work. Dinner prepared by someone else was a bonus ! :)

I remember, as kids, I did not particularly enjoy watching too many movies on TV. I do have fond memories of movies like Maine Pyar Kiya or Mr. India which when aired on TV, we would record those using our VCR and then play them multiple times. Similarly, in Chennai, my cousins recorded a movie called Guna. Every summer, we would visit and the vacation would definitely include one screening of Guna. In a few years, I had memorized all the scenes and dialogues. If only remembering history were so simple !

The only movies I watched when I was young was those once-in-a-while visits to the theatre - watched Heena, Jurassic Park and some others. When I was in my teens, I fell more in love with the lovey dovey emotional movies and even those emotional serials, I will shamelessly say. So I wouldn’t particular have movies in my list which have memories associated with it, this one’s going to be more the impact the movie has had on me. Even without that, there are 100s of movies if not more, that I have watched, so picking 3 was difficult. So, I am going to list one favourite movie in each of of my 3 most used languages. Needless to say, I am also going to cheat a little and list an additional one in each category :) Here’s my top 3, ahem (6) !

1. Anjali: A movie which never fails to bring me to tears every single time I watch it. I have watched it n number of times, thinking that one day I will stop crying towards the end of the movie when Anjali dies, but every single time I will end up in tears. Yet, it never stopped me from wanting to watch it again. A beautiful heartfelt movie on relationships, being accepted, accepting and the unbreakable bonds in a family. I fell in love with the characters, every single one of them. The father played by Raghuvaran, the mother played by Revathi and all 3 kids especially baby Anjali. No one could have portrayed those characters better than these folks.

2. Roja: A movie that had everything in it. Hope, yearning, an endless positive struggle, a fight for your rights, patriotism everything. The nuances of a relationship were so beautifully outlined against a patriotic backdrop. I feel like I have visited Kashmir and the beautiful south through this movie. The main leads were two basically unknown people, but yet they managed to play their roles with such conviction, add to it A.R. Rahman’s music - one of those first movies of Rahman where he used to create magic with music, before composing music for movies like Slumdog and having people think that's his best.

1. Swades: I never imagined this would be my #1 movie for the one reason that I actually detest Shahrukh Khan. I think he’s fabulous as a showman but sucks as an actor. Usually, his movies are a confab of overacting and useless chuckles, stupid jokes and absolutely rubbish dances. But Ashutosh Gowarikar managed to bring out the true serious actor in him and hence made the movie watchable. Chak De was a close second. A very down to earth concept, no known actors except for Shahrukh, a simple place in India, a pretty low budget considering - yet a very powerful inspiring movie. When I first watched this movie, I was with a group of friends, and when we came out of the theatre, we were all silent, speechless. Not a single word was exchanged, every one of us was in our own thoughts. I especially liked how the director managed to make everything very realistic. Had it been any other director, it would have ended with Shahrukh staying back for the heroine and easily forgetting his work and responsibilities at NASA. But Ashutosh gave it a logical end, something that we could relate to. A movie which makes you yearn for your earth even when you’re miles away. Not that I dont otherwise, but this one emphasises the feeling even more !

2. Dil Chahta Hain: My friends and I used to have contests on who knew this movie more in and out than the other ! We would quiz each other on some of the intricacies of the movie, I guess it brings me back to memories :) A very coming of age movie on friendships, the strains of relationships, expectations from society and how you can still stay in touch and be the best of friends even if you haven’t met in years. I have some friends like those, who I dont really get to talk to very often but I meet them after years and we talk like nothing’s changed ! I feel so lucky and blessed to have such friends ! Loved Amir Khan in this, he was my favourite actor until the day he suggested gifting roses in a Gandhigiri fashion to the Taj shooters. I have since given up on this guy !

1. Finding Nemo: My first animation movie. Opened me up to a whole new world. Fell in love with animation movies after that ! Its so sweet the way these movies, basically cartoon characters spin up such fantastic tales each with a moral in them. If the first animation had been a fiasco I would have missed some of the nice movies which I do think one should most definitely watch. My recommendations: Cars, Up, Shrek series, the Toy Story (its unbelievable how you can make a movie on feelings of toys, makes you want to fall in love with your toys, of course I always loved my toys !), Ice Age series (Peaches! was so funny), Kung Fu Panda to name a few.

2. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: This movie had an effect on me similar to the book “Not Without My Daughter”. The images and the story stayed with me for a very long time after I had watched it and I remember walking around telling everyone I met to watch this movie. Built on the base of the German-Jew war and the holocaust, a heart touching tale through the eyes of two 8-year old kids. Most movies around the Holocaust end up as documentaries, which I have not watched much of, I must admit, but this is one movie which really drives the message home. A very high impact movie. Watch it if you haven’t !

I would love to hear your views!
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