Thursday, April 27, 2006

Life, One Scribbled Note at a Time

Snippets, because I'm lazy:

Bloggers are cool. At least the ones I run into. First, I got to meet Urmi, our resident chocolate expert and gourmand at large. And what followed were some amazing conversations and meals, and now I get to vicariously partake in Kasama Loha-unchit's amazing Thai meals through her. Then Sudipta found me and a very good thing it was, because she's super fun and a great cook. And she's right in my hood! And then yesterday, I finally met up with Adagio, and gosh, I grew up around a bunch of physicists, but none were ever as engaging and interesting as him. Intellectually astute and fun, some people have it all! So yay for us.

Em likes Himesh Reshammiya's music. Now Em is no musical pleb, his interests range from Pergolesi, Bach and Rachmaninoff to Pink Floyd and System of a Down. But we were having dinner at our favourite Indian restaurant, and the background music caught our attention. It was hard to pin down, and had such a melange of styles, Indian Classical music, traditional Arabic sounds, techno, and funky pop beats. It was catchy, and Em thought it sounded pretty cool, so I had to ask the owner about the CD. Turns out, the song was from Reshammiya's Aapka Suroor album.

And I agree with Em. Reshammiya's voice may remind you of a cat with a cold, but there's no denying that his sound is very refreshing. And I don't buy the "his songs are repetitive" argument, because I've heard a lot of them and most sound different (except for the common factor of Himesh's voice). And as for the music snobs who turn up their noses at anything that catches the fancy of the masses, I'd tell them to toss it. After accumulating enough trauma for a lifetime listening to a succession of live garage and underground bands in clubs, each sounding exactly like the other, I've become pretty sceptical of the alternative and non-mainstream label. There's just interesting music and not interesting music, period. And my spectrum of interest happily accomodates Emma Kirkby's performance of Hildegard von Bingen's hymns and Himesh Reshammiya's "Tera Suroor". Here's someone who seems to agree!

In news that has me conflicted at all levels, apparently the saviour du jour of Bengali cinema, Rituparno Ghosh has been signed on by Planman Motion Pictures to direct a movie. Planman, as many members of the Indian blogosphere know, is run by Arindam Chaudhuri of IIPM, whose adventures have been well documented over the last year, and even figured twice on this blog, here and here.

Now lord knows the West Bengal film industry is severly cash strapped and needs all the help it can get. Which is why I bite my tongue and hold my peace as Rituparno ignores talented Bengali-speaking actors and actresses and casts folks who cannot speak Bengali to save their lives in an attempt to attract pan-Indian attention and finance. And lest anyone thinks I'm being ethnocentric, let me assure them that I'd be happier to see the likes of June Maliah and Priyanka Trivedi, both not ethnically Bengali but consider Bengal home, rather than Soha Ali Khan, who is nominally Bengali but speaks the language haltingly and with a pronounced accent.

With the background of the sorry state of Indian Bengali cinema, I can sort of understand why Rituparno would let Kiron Kher get away with the travesty of claiming the National Best Actress award for a role in the film Bariwali where her dialogues were dubbed by a Bengali-speaking actress. Kiron had the nerve to claim that she spoke all her dialogues in the film, which is hilarious, because anyone who saw the film can clearly figure out that:

a) the voice is not Kiron Kher's voice
b) the dialogues are spoken by a native Bengali speaker, which Kiron is not, and certainly not spoken by someone who learnt Bengali in six months, which Kiron claimed she did.

It is easier to place all this in perspective when you find out that Kiron's husband Anupam Kher ponied up most of the film's finances. But then why blame Anupam and Kiron, when Bengali filmmakers should be grateful for any money that comes their way to make anything other than out and out commercial over-the-top films. Even if it comes from Arindam Chaudhuri's Planman Motion Pictures. However, I do draw the line at mafia funding of the kind seen in Bollywood films in the past. But I don't think the likes of Dawood and Abu Salem would be lining up to finance Bengali films with artsy pretentions any time soon.


Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I can't stand The Nose, mainly because I get an overdose in the gym.

As for Rituparno, most of his films would be much improved by a plot. They are all quite watchable, of course, with the possible exception of "Antarmahal". But I've had it with "exquisitely delicate sensibilities".
At least "MLA Phata Keshto" has no pretensions.


8:38 PM  
Blogger jhantu said...

Would be interesting though if the "Kolkata mafia" invades tollywood. Then we would read of such awesome names like "Haath Kata Gonesh" and "Bedard Asif" on the front pages of anandabazar.

Adu Salem and Dawood sound so lame compared to haath kata gonesh!!

10:08 PM  
Blogger Old Spice said...

I've actually come to like Himesh a little bit, too - not much, mind, just a little bit. The "Vaada Tainu" track on Aap ka Surroor has been playing on my iPod quite a bit of late. (The previous track isn't bad, either.)

11:09 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

JAP da, I can see how The Nose would get annoying in excess. And for heaven's sake, why can't he leave the singing to others! Rituparno is basically you know, nei mamaar theke kana mama bhalo. I just wish some Bengali directors with more talent start making films soon.

Not-Jhantu, Haath Kata Gonesh? That's black humour right there. So why has the Cal mafia not invaded Tollywood yet?

Graduate, that's a pretty good song. Actually I just heard "Tujhe Bhool Jaana (the previous song) and realized that it is set in Raag Bhimpalasi. Not bad eh?

12:10 AM  
Blogger AB said...

Aha ekhane prottekta FM chanel e jodi oke shunte hoto, you would have eaten your words. I solemnly swear (Of course I am talking of Reshammiya).

12:56 AM  
Blogger Vishnupriya said...

well, you know, the color of money is the same no matter who it comes from. its like asking whether we should stop idolizing mother teresa because she got money from dicatators.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Vijayeta said...

Himesh Reshammiya...The Phenomenon! You're lucky to have heard him in a restaurant. Here in Bombay, he's EVERYWHERE! And i'm not exaggerating. All TV channels, all FM stations, all auto and taxi-wallahs...and if you're walking on the road, you'll hear him from various shops and cigarette kiosks. Is such an overdose necessary? And i think most people dislike him just 'cos of this one reason. I mean, one cant even channel surf without catching Himesh's videos playing simultaneously on 4 music channels...GRRR!
And no, i dont turn up my nose at what catches the people's fancy...I love Bollywood music and some remixes too. Himesh is another league altogether...
Just like Kirron Kher. Everyone knows the National Awards are 'fixed' and could be acquired very easily. I've had a chance of working with Kirron once and she wanted to chabge the entire frame and angle 'cos if only half her face is in frame, it has to be the half with that goddamned dimple. So she was s'posed to be right of frame, looking shocked at something. She insisted and fought to be left of frame so the camera could get the dimple clearly.
Sigh! :(

2:08 AM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

so Ritu's ponied upto Arindam, eh!! given the quality of his last movie - Antarmahal - I must say that's quite a curious couple ;-)

6:30 AM  
Blogger Urmea said...

I feel like a backward child now - who is The Nose and what are these songs?

According to my music playlist there were only three Hindi movies released last year, RDB, Bluffmaster and umm actually two. Sigh!

But thyang khao Swati for the compliments. Is gourmand a pretty way of saying 'PIG'? [vbg]

10:33 AM  
Blogger Adagio For Strings said...

Sudipta was wondering if I paid you to write the first paragraph of the post :D.
Saturday was much fun. Should have seen the Himesh part of the post coming based on conv ;).

12:31 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

AB, yes, I'm spared the overkill. But for someone like me who doesn't particularly care for Lata Mangeshkar's voice, imagine the overkill I endured all my life :).

Quite true Vish. With convoluted international finance, you never know who owns what. For ex., the Sultan of Brunei owns the fabulous Beverly Hills Hotel. And a Saudi moneybags owns a substantial chunk of Citibank.

Vij, totally unnecessary and whatever merits Reshammiya might have are drowned out in this shrill excess. Wait a minute, Kirron Kher has a dimple on only one cheek? Hahaha, you know sometimes Botox makes faces appear lopsided. Who knows what her secret is ;)!

Bonatellis, Arindam craves respectability, and Ritu needs the dough. An odd match made in heaven!

Urmi, and I thought you were two steps ahead of me in the Bollywood dhinchak stakes. The Nose aka Himesh Reshammiya. The man, the legend behind such hits as "Aashiq Banaya Aapne", "Jhalak Dikhlajaa" et. al.

As for pig and gourmand, the difference is the same as between stuff and imbibe. And you, my dear always imbibe.

Adagio, yeah I was wondering why the check's not in my mailbox yet. So I'm the Himesh Reshammiya sort, then?

1:57 PM  
Blogger Shivangi said...

I heard Himesh was having some sort of a throat operation... And quite a few people are worried he might lose his 'exclusive' nasal twang. I, for one, would be happy if he did. I like his music, its great! But I hate his voice. It makes ALL his songs sound familiar. But what do u think is selling? His music or his voice?

11:26 PM  
Blogger Shreemoyee said...

I almost liked Bariwaali till I read about the Kiron Kher bit. Rituporno probably thinks his movies won't sell unless there is a kissing/ groping scene in it. Never heard Himesh, need to check the online sites for a dose.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Gamesmaster G9 said...

For anyone who likes Lord Nose-a-Lot, I have only this to say - try repeating the words "EK BAAR AJA AJA AJA AJA AAAAAAAA JAAAAAA!" about 400 times every day.
Now do you know why I am SICK and TIRED of the man? Jeez - that song is fucking EVERYWHERE. AAAAARGHHH!!!

11:58 AM  
Blogger MAHARAJADHIRAJ said...

Hey Mikra, didn't know u were back. Was checking the other Cyborg blog all this while. Liked and agreed with your defence of Delhi.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Sanity Starved said...

Arindam Chaudhuri... Now, that's a name I remember! Maybe, you should take another assignment :D

The Bengal economy sounds better these days. Guess that will fall out into the art industry as well.

Hope your semester was good!

4:10 PM  
Blogger Kele Panchu said...

People eaither love or hate Himesh Reshammiya. I've to listen to his songs myself to decide. I'm guessing I'll be able to listen plenty of him in the FM and TV channels in India. Does he sing like Shanu? (from many comments I gather that he sings from his nose). Then I will probably not like him.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Debashis said...

Thank goodness Rituparno has not yet decided to take up your suggestion to cast the so called Bangla speaking actresses, cousins, June or Priyanka. Priyanka is all bloated up these days and as for June, she looks puffy eyed and haggard ever since she started out.
However, I do agree, Rituparno could do better by taking bangla speaking actresses rather than Soha and Aishwarya. And if he looked carefully, I am sure he would find lots of talent here.

10:24 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Shivangi, I honestly think most people would be happy if he leaves the singing to the professionals. He's musically quite innovative, but his singing frankly sucks. Just notice the difference between a song like "Aashiq Banaya" (sung by Himesh) and "Dilnashin" (by Shan and KK).

Shreemoyee, Bariwali isn't bad at all, though it seems heavily inspired by Aakaaler Sondhaney.

Ani, I just don't get this inclination to overkill. Especially now with gazillion music channels in India it seems like every hit song becomes stale within a week's time.

Dhiraj, oops! I had put that up to fix my template. It's just a backup now. Thanks for the heads up on the Delhi post.

Sudip, explore Arindam's connections with Tollywood? That might be fun! I don't dare to be too optimistic about Bengal, but it seems things are finally looking up. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Panchuda, strictly my opinion, but I don't think he sounds like Shanu at all. I couldn't deal with Shanu, he ruined some of my best loved songs.

Debashis, June and Priyanka were the first names that came to mind. My point was more about actresses who can speak decent Bengali, and not falter through their lines or surreptiously dub.

And while we are at it, can we stop singers with atrocious accents singing in Bangla? Lata and Asha were fabulous, and so is Kavita Krishnamurty, but must we have the likes of SP Balasubramaniam and Chitra?

10:11 AM  
Blogger Dipanjan said...

nei mamaar theke kana mama bhalo

Maybe. Every time another overhyped Rituparno film underwhelms me, I think more along the line of -
dushto gorur theke shunyo goyaal bhalo.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Bonatellis said...

whichever channel u go to, u'll find Himace Reshammiya, errr, singing ... i am told it's mostly paid-for ...

now, do i want to see discussions on Himace-bhai even in blogs !!!!

11:34 PM  
Anonymous debashis said...

I agree with you about the rest of whatever u said. Its high time that these directors realised the potential present here and presented it to the world rather than simply getting outsiders to do the job.
As for Reshammiya, I think his voice, though nasal, has something that catches ones attention.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous JhQuest said...


4:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


came across ur blog when I was looking for something abt himest an indian in London and love his music, voice notwithstanding....have been listening to it the last few weeks and am hooked....

4:24 PM  
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Anonymous mainlymilitary said...

So, I don't actually suppose it will have effect.

11:50 PM  

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