Onam with Eenam

Eenam, the Malayalam online album, has released an Onam special version. It has a very nice collection of original Malayalam songs and my most favorite song of the album is “aarO kaathil paaTi“, sung by Pradeep (male version) and Divya (female). Pradeep has done an excellent job on the vocals and Bahuvreehi’s composition is nothing short of professional work. Checkout their songs and let them know what you think.

Categories: Entertainment, Music

Interview with Sindhuja

I don’t really need to introduce Sindhuja to any of the music-blog-hoppers. She is a wonderful singer and a perfectionist in music. Audio India has posted an interview with her today. Go check out the interview. Excerpt below.

sindhuja What do you dislike the most about music blogging?

Apart from the usual gripe about people not following “netiquette” or not being frank while leaving feedback etc., the one thing I feel is that blogging (or any kind of performance for that matter) makes you more audience oriented and so you tend to focus less on your own growth as a singer. I saw that happening to myself. When blogging was new to me, I would crave for comments on my blog- I think that’s natural. It became more of “how will people like this and how many comments will I get?” rather than “how well have I actually sung this and how better can I get at this?” For a time, singing for me became synonymous with recording and blogging. Rather than spending an hour practising, I’d spend the time recording an easy number, mixing and putting it up on my blog. And that meant instant “success”. Getting encouraging feedback sometimes made me complacent.

I think its very important to be ambitious and keep pushing your limits. I don’t really regret all of that though- its all part of growing up. I don’t deny that an artist always needs an audience- I agree with that 100%. In fact, through the blogging medium itself, friends have pointed out flaws in my singing that I might have missed myself and I’m really thankful to blogging for that. But at the same time, I believe an artist shouldn’t get too lost in display of talent and miss out on doing a reality check on herself from time to time- realize her limitations and work on them diligently. Or may be all this applies to just me… :-/

Categories: Interview

Prem – Tilak

Praseed Pai is a friend and an ex-colleague of mine. A well-read and self-made man, he added so much to the office vibes. We used to have lots of chat, discussions and debates on everything under the sun, leading from pornography to philosophy. 🙂 And there was something to learn everyday – a new term or an idea.

The Prem-Tilak stories were born out of one such chat session, when we talked about two of our ex-colleagues. Pai started writing the first story right away and I found it to be witty after reading it. Pai kept on writing and I told him that one day I would try sketching it as a comic strip. So on an evening in the last week, I did the first strip of the Prem-Tilak series. I will do more as I find time and energy. I did not spend a lot of time for this one, so it may not be all so perfect. And I had to draw it in Photoshop using mouse as there is no other digital drawing tool available with me.

You can read the Prem-Tilak series in Praseed Pai’s blog. Do let us know your feedback (Click on the image to view the larger version).

Prem - Tilak

Categories: Prem-Tilak

Tribute to Michael Jackson

What a great way to pay tribute to the King of Pop!

From the You Tube page:

These are two performances made at Segels Torg and the Central Station (a third installment is planned to happen at Stureplan at 23.00 tonight).

The dance collective Bounce came up with the idea and invited the public to a short choreographed session before hitting the streets.

(Thanks to Arun M for the link)

Categories: Music

Ritu – Movie review

Movie name: Ritu (Seasons)
Director: Shyamaprasad
Story & script: Joshua Newton
Music: Rahul Raj

It has been some time since I have watched a movie in theaters. Watching a movie in theaters has its own advantages and disadvantages. If the crowd around or with you is annoying enough, you lose the mood to enjoy the experience that only a cinema hall can provide. So, I usually skip most of the movies until it comes on CD. But Shyamaprasad is a favorite director of mine. There are only a few films which I go to watch by the director’s name and Shyam is one of them. I have been religiously following his films ever since his Door Darshan tele-serial days. So I decided to go to watch his latest film, Ritu, and I didn’t even call my friends to come along to avoid any kind of distraction and immerse myself fully into the movie.

Ritu tells the story of three friends and what the time has done to their relationships. The backdrop is of IT sector. Ritu is Shyam’s first work with an original story and screenplay (by Joshua Newton) and it is a youth oriented movie. So obviously the expectations were sky high. But when the movie ended, I was left with no emotion except the deep disappointment that I had. Regardless of the talented new faces, Ritu fails to strike an emotional chord.

Look at the scene where Sarath (Nishant) sees his father’s death in the hospital. There is a good scope of making you feel the intensity of the scene or the stillness of that moment. But you look at it with the same blank mind that you had from the beginning of the movie. You would want to force yourself to feel something about the scene, but with no luck. See the whole composition of the scene, the ridiculously looking doctor (who gives a good laugh to the audience by his ‘acting style’ right from his first appearance), and I couldn’t really believe that I was watching a Shyamaprasad movie.

Flashbacks seem to be a favorite technique in Shyamaprasad’s movies. It has worked very well in his movies and telefilms too. Take “Peruvazhiyile Kariyilakal” or “Akale” for example. But the flashbacks actually flashes at you in every single minute of this movie in the first half. Sarath drives – flash back, he keeps on driving – flash back, he halts – flash back, he looks sideways – flash back. Flash back, flash back… it flashes on your face repeatedly! I would say a good technique is to choose a few flashback scenes and fit it in appropriate parts, rather than flashing it all on our faces one after another.

Another thing is that Ritu focuses on multiple stories but not in a “Crash” or “21 Grams” or “Babel” way. Those movies, even though they tell stories of different lives, it all connects to one single thread beautifully. But Ritu wants to touch everything that the IT world (or shouldn’t I say competitive corporate world?) has made an impact on. The cleaner guy’s story is a good example. We get to know from his first appearance that he is a displaced citizen because of the internet city. We see his plight when we see the way his boss treats him. Or the scene in the elevator where he looks alienated among an executive crowd. Those were good enough, but wait! They had to make him talk about his plight by himself to make us “feel”. But what felt through the “scenes” were not felt by the “dialogues”.

The climax was the most disappointing. I thought the movie would end after the conversation of Sarath and Varsha in the car park. Sarath talks about people changing like seasons, and he doesn’t want to see Varsha or Sunny ever again. The movie could have ended there, but no, they want us to know what would happen to Sunny in the matter of data theft, and what would happen to him and Varsha after 3 years, and then again a copy of Sarath’s book to convince us that he indeed wrote a book. Such a pathetic climax compared to Shyam’s previous movie Ore Kadal. Compare the climax of this movie with the climax of Ore Kadal. There, Nathan and Deepthi hugs each other and Deepthi’s kids walk up the stairs. We are not told whether Nathan and Deepthi would live together or what would happen to Jayan. It was left to the audience. But look at the climax of Ritu. I would say just one thing – sometimes you don’t need to explain everything and better leave it to the audience so that they can take something back when they leave the movie hall.

The only saving grace of the movie is it’s actors – Rima Kallingal as Varsha is the most talented of them all. She handled her role perfectly well for a new comer. Nishant as Sarath Varma comes to second. Asif has also done a good job as Sunny. Manu Jose as Jithu was quite natural. He and director M G Sasi as Sarath’s brother Hari are two characters with some life. They were really wonderful even though they had short roles.

Music by Rahul Raj is good. My favorite pick from the album is the song “Pularumo“, sung by Gayathri. The male vocals seem to go out of pitch in the very beginning of the song; in the part where he sings “oru kanaleriyunnatho“. I don’t know how the music director did not notice it.

The background music was disappointing. It comes with some rock guitars at one time, which would make us think it is going to take the movie into another pace, but it ends within a couple of minutes. It pops up again when we do not expect it and then again ends as soon as it is heard. I think we have so much to learn from Hollywood on how to use background music to add value to the scenes.

Shyamaprasad is very good at adapted screenplays. I think he would do a good job with a Malayalam adaptation of One Night at Call Center with the actors of this movie. Nishant as Shyam, Asif as Vroom and Rima as Priyanka would have made a perfect fit (don’t you think some of the scenes like the car sex of Sarath-Varsha remind you of Shyam-Priyanka’s love making scene from the book ON@CC ?)!

To sum up, Ritu is a deeply disappointing movie. I admire the writing of Joshua Newton by reading his English blog from a long time, but I think he has so much to improve on script writing after this maiden attempt. I have heard one thing about script writing from a friend who is a movie buff, which he quoted from a book. If a movie’s striking point doesn’t come up in the first 20 or 30 minutes, it is not worthy of watching fully. I think it is so true about Ritu.

Categories: Movies, Review

Introducing Padmaraj

Padmaraj Payyur was a colleague of mine when I worked in Aluva. He is a web designer and even though I knew that he played Violin, I never had a chance to hear him play. Today, he gave me a link to his first musical post and am just blown away by his music! This song is in repeat mode in my machine now and it is so soothing and relaxing.


Raaga test | Upload Music

Categories: Entertainment, Music

The Past Weekend

The last weekend was one of the best weekends I ever had. On Saturday, I had my first ever shoot for a television channel. It all began with an email from a program producer at Manorama News. They wanted to do a feature about Blogswara for their program called “Vanitha“. I, along with Pradipettan and Divya, went there and talked about Blogswara. The shooting was in an Ayurveda resort at Thrissur. I was quite nervous in the beginning and tried my level best not to show it, but gradually it turned out to be okay after the first few minutes. Thanks to Karthika and her team from MN and the friends accompanied, who made it feel like a casual outing. Those who can, do check out the following dates and time to see us on the mini screen. 🙂

August 24, Monday – 2:30 PM

August 25, Tuesday – 5 AM & 9:30 AM

Channel: Manorama News

Sunday was even more interesting. I went to my mother’s birthplace and roamed around the place for sometime. We have cousins there and we do visit them now and then, but it has been a long time since we have seen the whereabouts. Amma was tired, but was so happy to walk around and show us the places. There was an old well in their property which they used to water the farm. She talked about people from her childhood and the old framing techniques etc. She could meet a couple of her old pals too. There was my old Aunt in my mother’s ancestral house and she did not recognize me and my brother when we greeted her. Can’t complain as she is 80 now! But she could walk faster than us. I don’t have any memory of the place, but all my brothers and sisters have nostalgic memories of the place from their childhood. They used to tell me stories of their summer vacation trips to this place, about taking a bath in the village pond, a walk through the paddy fields etc. But the old village is not a village anymore. While showing us around, my Aunt told me that the old paddy fields are all gone and it is now filled with the newly built houses. “Those were our paddy fields in those times“, she said.

Here are some pics.

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This is the house that my mother was born and brought up in.

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“All the paddy fields are gone now” – tells my Aunt walking with my bro and his kiddo.

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The old village pond, it is so beautiful!

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A small water stream on the way. There were some tiny fishes which caught the interest of my bro’s kid.

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And that’s the 80 yr old young lady. 🙂

Categories: Notes, Photography

Picha Vacha Naal Muthal (cover)

PuthiyaMukham

Perhaps after Kangal Irandaal, this is one song that keeps me hooked to my iPod and I never get tired of listening to it. Such a beautiful, melodious song from Deepak Dev and it seems to be the come-back of Deepak after a short interval. This song is already a huge hit across Kerala. One thing I like about the orchestration of this song is that the vocals do not get miffed in the background music. It has very minimal use of background music so that the vocals is clear when you hear it. And this one is sung by the versatile Shankar Mahadevan and the Shankar – Deepak has made this song forever hit. Here is my humble attempt in singing “Picha Vacha Naal Muthal” from Puthiya Mukham.

Sally is a long time friend of mine and also the elder sister of Jessica, whose song I published in my old blog. Sally thought this song would suit me and requested to sing it. Here is the song for you, Sal. 🙂

And many thanks to Rosh for the karaoke track. She knew I love this song and sent me the karaoke. Thanks!

Song: Picha Vacha Naal Muthal
Movie: Puthiya Mukham
Music: Deepak Dev
Original singer: Shankar Mahadevan
Sung by: Joseph Thomas (Jo)
Karaoke provided by: Roshni

Download MP3 of “Picha Vacha Naal Muthal” (cover) – 6.19 MB

192 kbps streaming:

128 kbps streaming:

Categories: Entertainment, Music, My Songs

Currently Listening

Nitin_Sawhney_London_Underground

London Undergound – Nitin Sawhney

I like the whole package. Even though this album is inspired by a tragic event, I think every city/village should have a package of something like this. Music and sounds you hear in the day/night and in the city’s mainstream/underbelly.  Because we all have a story to tell, wherever we live, though music.

Categories: Entertainment, Music