Nov 18, 2007


Or should I call it Memoria :)

Digging back to the tunes in the 1990's in Hindi film music, I must say it was indeed a golden period (ARR apart). With evergreen songs from 1942: A Love Story, Khamoshi and many more movies, we had Madhuri, Manisha, Kajol, Juhi Chawla ruling the scenes then.

Bahon Ke Dharmiyan, Aaj Mein Upar, and Mausam Ke Sargam make Khamoshi such a special album. Same with Ghoonghat Ki Aad Se from Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke, Saajan(most songs), a couple of entertaining ones from Ishq, Chup Gaya from a Kajol-movie, and the long list goes on. I recently enjoyed watching a lot of these songs, thanks to Youtube and was reminiscent of those school days. :)

Though my music interests have changed a lot in the past 3-4 years, I am still able enjoy these songs, most times. They had the E-value (not the E-value from the BLAST), the Entertaining value. Most songs these days lack that and project skin and more skin. And another factor adds to it too, the NOSTALGIA factor! Probably in 2017 I might enjoy the songs from 2007, the way I am enjoying the songs from 1997 now :)

Nov 8, 2007


Phew! No blog for an entire month! Probably shows the vettiness no longer exists and mid-sem crisis has taken it's toll on me.... kidding.

Of late, I've been too busy and haven't found time to write something here. However, I've been writing other stuff for long. It's a report for my qualifying exam scheduled later on in the month. That's a different experience totally and I have begun to like it too. After all, writing is an art by itself. Also, I have been writing codes for my algorithm, which is interesting too.

Haven't watched too many movies to comment on them either, but watched Johnny Gaddar which was a good and different approach. I attend grihapraveshas of the houses of a two friends, which indeed was so relaxing from this hectic schedule.

Not a great Diwali/Deepavali either, since the report-writing will take a lot longer than expected.

However,it's been a nice week without the usual teaching, so have lots of time to sleep in the mornings (something that I love to do).

Winter has not begun here yet and the pleasant weather continues.

Will probably write something soon! Got quite a few ideas to write on!

Oct 8, 2007

Mid-sem crisis!!

My status message on Google talk screams the title aloud. The title is self-explanatory. However, a lot of 'concerned' souls seem to think otherwise and kept asking what the crisis is all about and if there is a serious problem happening. There are serious problems, but not in personal life, but in graduate student life.

A mid-sem crisis is something like a mid-life crisis. Mid-sem crisis usually happens due to overload of submissions/deadline for things to do, which is often a result of procrastination but not always. Such a situation always takes place in the graduate student life, every semester, between the first mid term and second mid term and at times goes on till the end of the semester. At times a day would have 2 hours of sleep and 20 hours of work.

Hopefully, I survive it this time! No exams in my course though, but a lot of teaching to do and things to work on for my research! Cannot wait to get back to my good old Bengaluru aka Bangalore for a vacation!

Cooler Tempe

The temperature here dropped to the high 50's - low 60's this weekend. It was 64 F yesterday morning at 8 am when I got out of my school heading to school, it was like a typical Saturday morning... dull and gloomy. Last night it hit 58 F. Temperature going down to half the temperature in summer. We've seen a 118 F day this year and a 58 F day in less than 6 weeks.

A severe winter in store for us I guess!

Oct 3, 2007

Different views!

"mugha nagha natmadhu natpalla nencha thaghanaga natpadhu natpaagum"
Friendship not seeks one's look but seeks their heart

"kaRka kasadara kaRpavai katrapin maRakka seivadhu love aagum"
Love makes you learn everything and forget.

A few lines from the song "Dating" in Boys. One of my favorite songs for its theme and contradicting views of a boy and girl towards love. It is an irony that the song "Shakalaka Baby" from another movie Mudhalvan of the same director Shankar runs in the background and it is an exact reversal of roles.

The lines posted make a lot of sense, however not in entirety. I would incur the wrath of a lot of my friends and others, if I endorse the views of the anti-love portion of the song. Playing it safe! :)

Sep 26, 2007

Tempe - at minus 20 degrees

No.... I am not talking about a temperature of -20 deg F or 20 deg C. Compared to the usual 105-110 deg F, Tempe's been having unusually low temperatures at this time of the year. It wasn't so last year or the year before that. I haven't seen the day temperature go past 90 deg F which is surprising from the fact that not so long ago were the temperatures touching 115 F. Is the summer over or is some more sunshine in store for us, before the freezing winter?

Alas,(why alas?) the Winter has crept in! Will my joy be shortlived (as usual)?

Sep 24, 2007

Karthik - a phenomenon

Although the concert yesterday was a group concert with 4 singers famous in their own right, there was one person who single handedly made the show a romping success, and a fun-filled one.

It was Karthik - the voice behind many a song in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi. His "Chori Pe Chori" in Saathiya caught the attention of the Hindi speaking crowd, but he's been pretty popular in Tamil singing one hit after another. right from his first song in Star - Nendhikitten to this first few noticed songs in Baba - Shakthi Kodu and Maya Maya to Uyire En Uyire, Anaarkali, Ale Ale, Oru Maalai and Kan Pesum Vaarthaigal, he's had a good collection of songs.

A young guy, who was purusing Chartered Accountancy before getting into film playback singing, has been in a lot of songs on my playlist. But his performance at Naach - 2007 in Phoenix on Sept 22nd was the one that caught my attention totally. He was too good with his songs and at the same time entertaining.

Usually music concerts turn out to be, singers singing one song after another and get away. But this was not the case, He interacted with the audience pretty well and knew the audience pulse. This was his great success/achievement which most singers don't get.

Here is the list of songs sung by Karthik in the concert. More details in the blog titled "Mahima Naach 2007" right below this blog.

Shakthi Kodu - Baba
Theradi Veethiyil - Run
Akale - Akale(Malayalam)
Maro Maro - Boys(Telugu)
karu Karu - Pachaikili Muthucharam
Boom Boom - Boys
Oru Maalai - Ghajini
Snehidhane/Chupke Se - Alaipayuthey/Saathiya
Ale Ale - Boys(Telugu)
Mithwa - Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna - Amazing one!
Nila Kaagirathu - Indira
Girl Friend - Boys
Kajre Re - Bunty Aur Bubly
Mustafa Mustafa - Kadhal Desam

The other singers were Sadhana Sargam, Unnikrishnan, and Ganga.

Mahima Naach 2007

With two of my favorite singers coming to perform in AZ, it was another concert that I would crave to attend. Plus an added bouns was that one of my friends Shilpa Sangam was performing a couple of dances for the songs. I just expected it to be an ordinary fare with few people turning up and the concert not being too entertaining, since the singers were either fairly new or not too popular to gather a big enough crowd like how Hariharan’s or SPB’s concerts do. But I was mistaken. The crowd was definitely less compared to the other concerts that I have been to. But, I would say it was a 4-hour stint that I would love to experience again and again. The entire atmosphere was filled with claps and whistles, and never have I seen it in close quarters like this for a music concert. Plus the dances were all very well choreographed and pretty lively. It never got repetitive. If at all there was monotony, I would say it was the number of Tamil songs that were sung. Agreed it was a predominantly Tamil crowd, but there were others too, and there should have been emphasis on other language songs too. However, I cannot complain, since I knew almost all songs and I was happy that I saw my favorite singers singing them, just for me! :)

It began with a medley (recorded) from Dhoom II and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom to introduce the Naach dance troupe.

Ganga started off with “Yeh Mera Dil” from the movie Don(new one). She was pretty good in this one and sounded fresh.

Unnikrishnan sang his popular “Roja Roja” from Kadhalar Dhinam, which had inputs from Ganga too.

My favorite Sadhana Sargam sang her ever-refreshing “Pehla Nasha” in the same spirits as sung 15 years ago. Unni Krishnan accompanied her on this one. It was a great duet. Sadhana made a mention that it was the first time she was pairing with Unni for a concert and a song. Sadhna Sargam then sung her popular track “Saath Samunder” from Vishwathma – a foot-tapping number. She ended the song with “Le Gayee” from Dil to Pagal Hai.

This was followed by a dance for Dola re Dola re from Devdas. This was played from a CD probably. My friend danced for this one.

Another of my favorites Karthik, (the man behind “Ale Ale” and “Maya Maya”) came to the stage. He mentioned it was his first tour to the US and he was getting nervous and would sing one song and then begin talking. The song he sung was apt for him, “Shakthi Kodu” from Baba, and it gave him enough Shakthi to engage us till the very end of the concert. He then sung his song form Run – “Theradi Veethiyil”. He made it pretty interactive with the inputs from the crowd itself. He sings ‘Theradi Veethiyil Devathai Vandhaal’ and the crowd would complete the line. This went on and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unni Krishnan and Ganga sung the classic “Narumughaiye” from Iruvar. Ganga couldn’t match upto Bombay Jayshree’s rendition though. There was a Bharathnatyam dance with this song.

A person by name Prabhu, commonly called Bay Area SPB sang the Telugu version of “Vaaji Vaaji Sivaji” from Sivaji. Ganga accompanied him on this one. What Karthik calls his “fluke” Malayalam song is “Akale” from the movie by the same name and he sung this next.

My favorite song “Konjum Mainakale” from Kandukonden Kandukonden was rendered next by Sadhana Sargam pretty well and as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, she has improved a lot in her Tamil rendition. She flawed though, in singing – En Peyarai Solliye Kuyilgal Koovattum as En Peyarai Solliye Paruvam Marattum, which still made sense, I guess.

Ganga sang the song “Barso Re” from Guru, and my friend danced for this one too.

This was followed by “Maro Maro” from Boys(Telugu), sung by Unnikrishnan, Ganga and Karthik, who said he had to be pardoned if he introduced his own lyrics to his Telugu rendition. The dance for this one deserves a special mention since the dancers had a chair on which they stood and danced at times.

Karthik then sung the current favorite “Karu Karu Vizhigalal” from Pachaikili Muthucharam. This had a good dance too.

Ganga then sang “Maargazhi Thingal” from Sangamam and Unnikrrishnan later joined in for this song. The song ended with a long “alaap” by Unnikrishnan which was really good.

Bay area SPB and Ganga sang Sivaji title song “Ballelakka”, next followed by an excellent rendition of “Banno Rani” from 1947:Earth by Sadhana Sargam. The sole Kannada song in the concert was by Bay area SPB and was Thai Thai Bangari a song of Dr. Rajkumar.

“Boom Boom”, a peppy number from Boys was brought alive by Karthik and Sadhana Sargam. Karthik did a good job with this one, and for once I got the right pronunciation of the lyrics of this song, otherwise butchered by Adnan Sami(I don’t blame him either). This had an interesting dance too.

Being a die-hard fan of the Hariharan-Sadhana pair, I felt pretty happy to listen to the rendition of “Chanda Re” from Sapnay, (aka Vennilave in Minsara Kanavu), by Unni Krishnan and Sadhana Sargam. It is one of Sadhana’s best songs and will remain to be.

The first song, a national-award winning one, something that brought him to film playback singing – “Ennavale” from Kadhalan was Unnikrishnan’s next.

Karthik then acknowledged Harris Jayaraj that he gave him some of his best songs and sang “Oru Maalai Ila Veyil Neram” from Ghajini.

Unnikrishnan and Ganga sang a song from the Tamil movie Dhil – “Un Samayal Araiyil” which apparently got him and Sujatha the best playback singers award from the Tamilnadu government.

Next was the one I was waiting for. Seven years ago, I first ever heard it with the Bru ads on the television. Also, the crowd cheered “Snehidhane” and Sadhana Sargam said ‘Woh hi aa raha hain’. Karthik began with the ‘Netru Munniravil Unnil’ and I felt simply out of the world. Sadhana Sargam began with “Chupke Se”, which disappointed me, since I wanted to listen to the Tamil song. But she didn’t completely disappoint me either. She did have bits of the Tamil song in between. The dance for this was very well choreographed too.

The song with the time-freeze technology in its video, “Ale Ale” from Boys was the next one sung by Karthik and Ganga. Karthik as usual was at his best. He said this song was to be recorded on a day when he had to leave to Singapore with his flight at 1 or 3 am. Apparently the song was not ready even at 7 pm and the recording began at 10 pm. And the lyricist Kapilan and director Shankar wrote bits and pieces of the song and Karthik and ARR would record it in gaps. Finally when he heard the end-product he was pretty happy. This is one of the beautiful songs visually too with the time-freeze technology(frst seen in Matrix).

“Mithwa” from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna was the next one by Karthik and he said he simply loved this song and this was his first attempt at it. It was a reallt soothing number.

The next song was “Haira Haira Hai Rabba” from Jeans. Unnikrishnan and Karthik came to the audience to see which side of the audience was louder, which was a nice interactive thing. The song was a Telugu/Tamil mix.

Then was a short Medley with “alaaps” by Sadhana Sargam, Unnikrishnan and Karthik followed by a few numbers, Karthik was on the piano initially. Sadhana Sargam sang ‘Udhaya Udhaya Ularalile’ from Udhaya. Unni Krishnan – Katre En Vaasal from Rhythm, Ganga – Malargale from Love Birds, Karthik – Nila Kaagirathu from Indira. Then all of them sung the Kal Ho Na Ho title track, which wasn’t that pleasant to listen with Unni’s classical mix in it.

We thought this was the end of the concert, but it was not.

Next was Karthik’s number ‘Girl Friend’ from Boys. I have never liked this song(atleast in 2003), but after listening to it this time by Karthik himself, I figured out, it is indeed a fun song.
All the four of them then sung the famous ‘Kajra Re’ from Bunty Aur Babli. IT was a fun number, but there was no dance for this one…. wait…. the crowd had already begun to dance to the tune.

Unnikrishnan then rendered Uyirin Uyire from Khakha Khakha. He was out of sync initially and didn’t do a good job with the song.

Finally all the four of them sung – Mustafa Mustafa from Kadhal Desam. Karthik was really good on this one.

It was a refreshing concert for me, and most of the number were the ones on my playlist and it was different to listen to it real-time with the singers singing it. However, I would have preferred more songs form Sadhana Sargam and Karthik duo – they do have ‘Manja Kattu Maina’ and ‘Kadhal Vettukili’(not so popular). Karthik and Sadhana could have sung ‘Aao Naa’ and ‘Azhage Sugama’ pretty effectively too. However I cannot complain since it was indeed a lot of songs in the concert.

I would have loved to meet them backstage and speak to Karthik and Sadhana Sargam. However that didn’t happen. But, there is surely a next time. If Karthik is going to be in the US next for a concert, I would definitely be there. Same with my trip to India, I would want to attend one of his concerts for sure.

These concerts are full of excitement, enthusiasm, good crowd spirit and good entertainment value. I missed the ARR concerts this time, but that will never happen the next time ARR is in the US.

Sep 20, 2007

Coffee - and its rejuvenating Aroma!!!

Coffee - something that you'll find in any restaurant in any part of the world. Various flavors to it and thus called by various names including mocha, latte, cappuchino etc. Not getting into those details, this is about the simple coffee made in every possible Indian household - Filter coffee and Instant coffee.

The name that comes to anyone's mind while talking about instant coffee in India is Bru or Nescafe Sunrise. The chicory in these makes it apart from anything that is available in the US, apart from it's finely powdered form. I've been lucky to find Bru in almost every Indian store around that too for a very reasonable price.

My day begins with a cup of coffee, usually Bru. (I usually don't have the time to have a filter coffee, though I would love to, since I need to leave home by 8 am). The coffee aroma itself is sufficient to wake me up, and keep me awake for the entire day. Also on days that I have filter coffee, the Coffee Day Ultra Rich coffee's aroma is simply out of the world, fill my kitchen with nostalgia. I simply love it. Cothas coffee/Narasu's coffee give pretty good aroma too.

The coffee in Karnataka(a state in India) is a served in very small cups/tumbler(lota), and I know of people that have 6-8 such cups of coffee a day. However, the cup is always half full, or the usual "by 2" seen in Bangalore restaurants. A "by 2" means split one cup of coffee into 2 cups, so that two people can have it. However, it is seen that both cups are almost 3/4th's full(though with lather). Thus, a benefit to the buyer/s.

These days I figured out, a coffee right after lunch is quite helpful in staying awake, thus surviving the doze cause heavy food intake, which specially occurs when I have a class right after lunch. My department used to have the coffee room open till the end of summer and it indeed was helpful in keeping us awake at all times. A slight hint of drowsy feeling, would lead me to the coffee room, and there I get rejuvenated. Sad that it is no longer open to us. However, that didn't stop us from getting our own stuff to do coffee. But the experiment became a disaster, when the coffee maker didn't function. Waiting to get a new coffee maker this weekend.
One can argue about the effects of coffee, but the majority of people (that drink coffee) still continue to do so. Coffee continues to have a strong presence felt. However. a limited consumption is always good. Anything in excess is bad. 'Alavukku Minjinaal Amirthamum Visham', translates 'If not taken in right quantities, amrutha(heavenly nectar, known to give immortality) also is poison'.

Time for another cup of coffee.....

Sep 6, 2007

My new music system

I had been wanting to get a real big music system for a while. A primitive music lover like me has quite a few of his music on cassettes(not that I don't have their MP3 versions), I somehow love cassettes. The old system I had was given to me by Ram, and I had it for a good two years, though CDs stopped playing on that one.

My specifications for the system were called as outdated by a few people. I wanted something that could play Mp3 CDs, audio CDs, and cassettes and not cost more than a couple of hundreds of dollars, yet have a good sound output. I found that CD players or boombox were not good keywords to search them on the web. A visit to a friend's house proved to be fruitful, when I figured out that these were called 'shelf systems'. (Have they never called things right in the US?)

A couple of searches showed me good ones for less than 200 bucks. I had decided on getting one, but decided to hold on to it for a while, and get it after clearing a few uncertainities.

However, I told Supprey I was planning on getting it sometime. And thought will buy it over the Labor day weekend and forgot about it.

The next day I go their house, and I see this one and they say it's my b'day gift. I was speechless and still am. One of the really nice gifts ever! Now, I no longer listen to songs on my Dell speakers when I am home. It is on the big Philips FWM575 360 Watts MP3/WMA Mini Shelf System. It plays Mp3 cds, CD's and cassettes in addition to Mp3 files on a USB drive :)

Thanks, Supprey, Dilip, Harish and Prathap for this one!

Aug 22, 2007

Vaseegara - Retuned as of classics

I got this one in one of the many forwards that I get.

It is a rendition of the song Vaseegara from Minnale (Zara Zara from RHTDM). I just sounds as if it is from a movie in the 1950's. And it is not actually bad. But I somehow feel that the song should be left untouched. Apparently, I read in one of the polls on the ARR Orkut community that Vaseegara might have been composed by ARR.

Update: I started liking this one more than the original! :)

Aug 15, 2007

A New semester begins........

As the summer semester draws to a close (not the season), it is now time for a brand new semester to begin. My second year at Graduate school would officially begin and I hope to finish my MS thesis on time and defend it as my PhD Qualifiers too, after all the delays. I also will be teaching full-time this semester along with 2-3 courses. I will also have two papers due for a conference sometime beginning of October. Hopefully, I should be able carry it all through well. There are going to be quite a few long weekends this semester, one in September first week and two in November. Also, the India shopping spree should begin sometime too(that is if I am making a trip to India this December-January).

Good luck to me ( :) ) and to others!

Aug 11, 2007


An instant blog for a new song! The song is Enadhuyire from the movie Bheema and music is by Harris Jayaraj.

This song from Bheema is sung by Sadhna Sargam, Chinnmayee, Sowmya Raoh and Nikhil Matthew(Vijay TV's Super Singer winner). Perhaps the promise of Harris Jeyaraj that he would give an opportunity for the SS winner, to sing in his film is finally made. I guess this is Sadhana Sargam's first song with HJ too.

Begins with Sadhna Sargam's voice then mixes into Chinnmayee's voice and some tabla followed by Nikhil Matthew's voice and Sowmya Raoh. He sounds a little like Naresh Iyer, but I am beginning to take back my words.

It is a pretty slow song, and this is the only one I heard in the album and developed an instant liking for this one. I like the "mmhhmm Tha"..... that the song begins with. And Sadhna Sargam's Tamil has improved greatly these days, as told about the song in Kireedam.

Though the song reminds me of a million other songs, it is still simple and sweet. The songs has a striking resemblance to Mayilirage in the initial stages, Munbe Vaa(esp. the Naan Naana Kaetten Ennai Naane..... is there in this song and one cannot miss that) and Aagaya Sooriyaai. Hope it is picturized well!

Aug 10, 2007

Music Rejuvenates!

This summer has been good to me in quite a few fronts. It gave me the time to look for lot of stuff, including good music, both new and old. I found a lot of songs that seem to be quite refreshing. Though they are all not favorites of the masses, they are distinct in their own right. And here is a list of songs that I developed a liking over this summer.

The first one that comes to my mind is Shauk Hai from Guru. The song comes in bits and pieces accompanying the subtleromance between Madhavan and Vidya Balan. Mainly with music from piano, it slowly grows on you. and Sowmya Rao who sung this has definitely put in great effort to get her best out.

Yeh Rishta from Meenaxi is seemingly refreshing both to hear and to see. Never have I seen a desert in such glory, nor have I heard someone who could sing a song as flawless as this one. Reena Bharadwaj, earlier heard in Baba Kichu Tha, is an underrated singer. A. R. Rahman simply does magic with this one again.

Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha is yet another simple song with light orchestration. The piano interlude in this is simply marvelous. I have no ides who the singers of this one are, but whoever they are, they have done a great job.

Ennuyir Thozhiye from Kangalal Kaidhu Sei is one of ARR's best songs till date. I usually used to skip this song on my playlists, but I heard it one morning and since then I have been listening to it atleast once everyday. Chinmayi is at her best in this one, though she was excellent with Tere Bina and Sahana. I just compare this one with Sahana song from Sivaji. This has beautiful orchestration and her alaaps are too good. Unni Menon as usual is great with his rendition. But, what a tragic waste of good music for the crappy movie.

Nenjae Nenjae from Ratchakan is a great duet with KJ Yesudas and Sadhna Sargam. While Sadhna struggles with her Tamil, this is a gem of a song. I am not too sure what is the background of the song, but I guess it must be in an appropriate position. A simple song, with simple lyrics(simple for me to understand) went unnoticed.

Uppu Kallu from Karupasaamy Kuththagaidharar - I already have a post on this one.

Akkam Pakkam from Kireedam is a new one, but I developed an instant liking to this one. The video is also fine and both Ajith and Trisha look good in this one. Sadhana Sargam has come a long way in Tamil Music and has her pronunciation right in this one. It is a totally sweet song.

Unnai Kandane from Parijatham is a slow one with new singers. I also like the Edho Nadakkudu song from this movie. Not bad music for an apparently watchable movie. A refreshing song, with fresh faces and unseen locales.

Maula Mere Maula from Anwar is a soothing melody from Roopkumar Rathod. The movie was depressing though.

Achchi Lagthi Ho from Kuch Naa Kaho is a great duet with Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurthy. It is distinctly different from the usual duets and has a pretty well-choreographed video too. Aishwarya Rai looks very much different from her usual plastic look.

That was a long list. I am just waiting to get a CD/MP3 player with good speakers and I will be listening to these songs and many more, to glory, rather than on my Dell Laptop.

Jul 28, 2007

2005 and Two years later......

A sudden gush of hot air greeted me, when I got off the aircraft on Aug 6th 2005 at 2 am. I was like - 'What place have I landed in?', 'Is this the place I am going to spend a significant portion of my life?(Then it was 2 years, though it is a lot longer now....)'.

Excluding the two month long lazy trip to Bangalore last summer, I really have been around Tempe all while. So it does make sense to put some thoughts about my life in this _____(read blank) town.

This guy who's never been away from home had set his foot on the US soil (read concrete) and was raring to go. A lot of expectations from within and from others made him pretty responsible and not take things too lightly. But would this thing last.....

No more relatives around, all friends(mostly new ones), roommates, (who could be the best thing to happen to you, or at times the worst too!), professors, bosses at work, students of other nationalities in the classes all would seem new to this person, who has never been in a hostel either. A not-so-frequent call to back home, counting the number of minutes spoken(or the duration the calling card would last for) used to be the case with most of us. But thanks to the ever reliable company, it did seem reasonable to talk to loved ones pretty frequently. Weekends used to be fixed for webcam chat and voice chat, by those who felt 'Seeing is Believing'. For me, weekend meant sleeping for long. I still believe so.

A totally new variation in teaching style, asignments, labs, exams seemed wierd initially, but not anymore. Waiting outside a professor's office, during office hours to ask help with assignments or to talk about being prospective research assistants(read funding!) all took place. And I did land up with a very sweet professor too! There's no feeling for an exam here as back in India, and the grades really don't matter after a while. Research does matter a lot though!

A sudden change from eating cooked food to preparing food without a transitional phase in between was something shocking. But it was handled comfortably, thanks to tips from mom, cooking turns amongst roomies and free food give-aways by the hotels here. Why would I speak more about the food, it should be more emphasis on other stuff done in these two years!

Shopping was something that fascinated me in this country and I would shop away to glory, after all there is a credit card to pay! Be it groceries or other things, I would enjoy it.

The types of people I came across would be either good or bad, opportunistic or helpful. This stint did teach me a lot and made me more independent, patient(after all who would listen to me shout, other than my family). I also figured out it improved my time-management skills etc. I found myself at the receiving end, when people helped me initially. But, I am able to do it now much to my satisfaction!

After all, these two years weren't two bad and hope the next couple of years would be as smooth as this, or perhaps smoother!

God bless me and the world!

Jul 26, 2007

Favorite Movies - II

So here's it's sequel to an earlier blog, listing my favorite movies.

Kannathil Muththamittal - One movie that actually stirred up the emotions in me. Probably the first movie that I cried, a beginning of a never-ending thing. Simran fitted to here role to the T. It should have probably be named Indira, than Amrutha or Kannathil Muththamittal. Keerthana P.S. was one child artiste that I enjoyed after Shyamili. Madhavan was not in his usual chocolate boy role. Nanditha Das' performance in the climax was amazing. sad that Simran lost out on the National award, since she had her voice dubbed (by Deepa Venkat).

Flavors - A really sweet cute desi-american movie. Realistic, though most people seemed to be Andhrites,(which is one reason why it was real). All the scenes seemed as if it was happening right next door. A person who has been in the US, will appreciate this movie even better. The chemistry between Karthik and his friend was something rare, and they were the best couple in the movie. The mother-father duo from India(seen in Waagle ki Duniya), seemed really practical. One should have a mom like that one. My mom, is surely one. The Ramana Dasara... guy was fun too, especially with Karthik in the scene in the hotel. Candy alias Chandramukhi, with her rules for her apartment roommates, which had 'Candy makes the rules' as the first rule, was a practical girl. Overall, a good H1 visa holders' movie.

Bombay - The Maniratnam magic worked with the Bombay blasts as the theme. The simple romance between the lead pair was a good thing in the movie too. ARR had good songs for this one, particularly Uyire, and the theme.

Padayappa - The only reason for this to be on the list could be Rajnikant's style and more importantly Neelambari aka Ramya Krishnan's flawless acting. A typical Rajni masala movie, though with a complex storyline had a clear screenplay. And for once, Rajni let someone speak against him.

Mugavari - An Ajith movie, had the yearning of a young guy to become a music director, yet wanting to support his family which has been really good to him. Jyothika was good in this one. The soundtrack was a rehash of many English songs, thanks to the copycat Deva.

Sathi Leelavathi - A laugh riot and all characters were reponsible for the success. ONe cannot single out a character which didn't contribute to the share. Kamalhassan and Kovai Sarala were a fun couple. One of the best comedy movies till date. I want to watch the Kannada version of this one.

Michael Madana Kamarajan - Never can a movie be made this way. 4 Kamalhassans and each of them having a different storyline, yet linked later on. Why don't movies have such strong storylines these days.

Jul 22, 2007

Self check out

The supermarkets in the US have this Self checkout option, to avoid making their customers wait in the forever serpentine queues. All items, except discrete vegetable and fruits have a bar code on them and you would scan the bar code.

The experience last week at the 'Always Low prices' store was not all that desirable. We keyed in the bar code number more number of times, than actually scanning the barcode. The machine/bar-code reader isn't sensitive at all, and even a Walmart employee who came to help, couldn't do it himself. It was worse, if one got multiple quantities of the same thing, since it didn't scan the second or the third piece of the same item. I wonder how cashiers do it all the time. Hats off to their efficiency.

At the Food and drug store, it is way better off, though I've faced the same problem, but not to this magnitude.

Jul 19, 2007

Summer in AZ - My Experience

If there was an alternative to an hair dryer in the amount of hot air blown, it would be the wind in Tempe or in general the wind in the valley. It was this gush of hot air that greeted when I landed in Tempe. I never knoew I would be associated with it for this long. Last summer, I was in India, enjoying the monsoons, But this summer, here I am, enjoying the heatwave in Tempe.

It was a late summer, May was particularly pleasant compared to the last May. This June was like how last May was, the summer has had a one month offset. Hope August doesn't get too hot though. The temperatures scorch at 112 F on most days and have gone upto 117 F. This is the temperature in the shade apparently. So the really one is a few degrees higher. The worst time to walk in the sun would be between 3-5 pm. The least temperature would be 85 F at 4:30 am and may last till 5 am. I have seen the temperature hit 100 F by 7 or 8 am. The beginning of this week had some showers which made the next morning very humid. It was like Chennai, sticky and sweaty!

I chose to teach this summer, to keep myself occupied and for monetary benefits too. It would have been really boring if I had to immerse in research all the time, even though I am finiding it good to do that now. I didn't make a trip to India, in order to facilitate a faster MS thesis defense and PhD qualifier. Also I am working on a few conference-level papers, which I definitely need to have, since I have been researching for so long. I feel it was good decision that I made to stick around during the summer, since it is so relaxed and my only focus is on research.

My teaching experience this summer is something that I need to make a mention of. I was handling the basic Circuits class for the first time, even though I have TAed for the next course in circuits. But this was an experience, since it was mostly non-EE students and most of them had this as their first course in EE. The labs that I taught were pretty simple and not too demanding. I tried to experiment around introducing a new lab and giving guidelines for their reports. It did help me a lot, since I saved a lot of grading time. I should probably implement it in the next semester, if I am let to handle a lab all by myself. Also, I had the opportunity to set a lab final and it was like reliving my BE lab exam experiences. I did receive good feedback from the students, though there were these usual complaints. But one thing that I was surprised was that 'I was rude/impatient' from a particular student, so I learned what I had to control. Be it my saccharine tone or liberal attitude or my impatience, it needs to be offered only in moderation.

I didn't watch too many movies, probably because I found a lot of company to talk to. But I did watch Hrishikesh Mukherjee's two classics, Khoobsurat and Chupke Chupke, thanks to Kumar. I watched Sivaji, in a movie hall, and at home I saw Flavors, and a few other ones that I don't remeber at this point in time. I prefer watching TV, now that lot of India channels are up on the net for free. Also, I tried to build my music collection and I felt happy doing so.

Also my work at the administrative office in the university was of great relief from the stress and boredom :)

Overall, not a bad summer!

Jul 15, 2007

Help Vinay!

The bone marrow drive for Vinay was held at Chandler temple on Ray Road today. I went and gave the sample and registered. I really felt happy doing so. It doesn't hurt to do this. After all, it is spending some time and giving a few samples of saliva. The collection does not even take a minute.

After all there are 1 in 20,000 matches for South Asian and you could be the one to save a life.

My friend Suchindra informed me of this and I felt I would go if there was a drive in PHoenix and luckily there was one.

More information on and

Jul 9, 2007

Uppu Kallu - Ode to mother

One of those songs that stir back old memories in you. Apparently sung by a girl in remembrance of her mother, while she sees this particular guy. The song is in Karupasamy Kuthagaidhaarar, no idea what the title means. But it is composed by Dhina, and sung by Bombay Jayshree. A really sweet song. Love every bit of it and brings back good old memories of my childhood etc. don't know why.

The song's link is

A not so good-quality video at

Jul 6, 2007

Bore and Boredom !!!!

Boredom is something that I hate. One of the worst punishments that I can get.

My main aim in life, research gets boring at times. Teaching gets boring most of the time. Chatting, Orkut are no cure to boredom. They can bore you to no end. Movies, TV - there is a limit to it too. Sleeping - oh no! not all the time..... Music - an okay cure to it..... Cooking - fine if things are going good on the stove and microwave, but at times it can be the most boring thing to do.....

The best thing for me is to TALK TALK and TALK..... either in person or over the phone.... But pity the person who has to bear the brunt of my chatter. It has increased over the years and I need to control it and my outspoken nature. They have often landed me in trouble.

One thing I need to do is to go out and play and get some exercise. I am sure this will balance everything out!

Jul 5, 2007

My fav movies - I

A list of my all-time favorite movies - a lot of them the usual typical movies. This is the part 1 and will mainly have Tamil movies as emphasis and the post-2000 ones. It was post-2000 that I began watching movies, thanks to the 4 month long break after my II PU (12th class). It would also make sense if I would say that action movies do not feature on the list unless they have been too entertaining. Give me a movie with good looking people, good songs and no unexpected twists and turns(it shouldn't tense me) and no unnecessary fights, I can sit and watch it forever and ever and ever........... Another option, have a movie with a lot of action and fights, but let that be the only premise.

Alaipayuthey - The first movie I saw within 2 weeks of release, and the concept of a simple weddind makes a lot of sense to me. Love the really light-hearted romance between Karthik and Shakthi. Would have watched it a zillion times now, that I know the dialogs...... Snehidhane - my all time favorite song and every other song in the movie is something that's on all my playlists. Mani's magic worked.....

Kandukonden Kandukonden - One of the really colorful movies in all times, and a good showcase for all the actors to exhibit their skills. ARR was in great form, and so were the singers....... An album to cherish, and a DVD to treasure.....

Mitr -my friend - Revathy Menon's directorial debut made a lot of sense to me seeing the craving of a Indian housewife in the US, who cared for her workaholic husband and an 'ABCD' daughter. Really good movie.....

Mudhalvan - Shankar at his best, Arjun in great form, Manisha at her best after a long time, and ARR as usual rocking...... though unrealistic made me crave for a CM like him, plus a good romance between Arjun and Manisha was a big plus.

Kakka Kakka - Perhaps one of the few Jyothika movies on this list, I watched the movie just for the lead pair and was satisfied by the really mature and dignified romance between the two. Plus fast-paced stories are okay to me, if they seem realistic. HJ had really good songs in this one.

Mouna Raagam - Perhaps the only 80's movie in my list. I love the Karthik's flashback in the movie and Revathy's mischief in the movie. Plus songs by the Maestro were too good.

Mozhi - A clean entertainer with a feel-good theme, and good acting by the lead artistes.....

Kanda Naal Mudhal - A treasure to the Tamil film industry, a fun movie without a dull moment, and one of the really good movies of Laila. Good songs by YSR.

Rhythm - One of those sloooooowwwwwwww movies, but was really effective in bringing to life the 5 elements of nature in the 5 songs..... Good acting by Meena and Arjun, and a clean entertainer....

Anbe Sivam - Kamal's magic worked big time in this movie, and this movie makes me think about so many thing everytime I watch it. One of the treasured ones for me.....

It was just 10 movies in here. Will come up with many more blogs on this one..........

Jul 1, 2007

Sivaji Thiruvizha at Tempe

Having been in the sleepy town of Tempe for close to two years, I have heard of a few carnivals, and event that have had record number of participants. I have seen classical music concerts that have attracted lot of Indian crows, say 200-250. I have seen movies like Vettaiyadu Vilayadu attracting a huge crowd to the theater in such number that, extra chairs had to be put behind the existing seat and I was sitting in the first row. The crowd was all calm and composed except when Kamal appeared on screen for the first time. But this time it was different and had to be different.

Rajinikanth, the hero of the masses and classes had his second release in two years and it meant the union of the celebrated director Shankar, music wizard ARR and this great actor. So there was no shortage of hype at all. Any movie-based site, news-based site had atleast one article on the movie everyday. The advance booking begun a while ago and the tickets for a month were sold out in India on the first day itself.

Here in Tempe, the movie was getting released on the same day as the rest of the world, except for the time difference. Dilip got the tickets for this one, almost four weeks in advance. And I saw that the tickects were all sold out 3-4 days before the movie itself, something that rarely happens here. I expected to see a big Indian, Tamil crowd at the theater.

What I saw was definitely a lot of Tamil people and a equal number of non-Tamil people. The name Rajini is just magic to attract people to the theater. The parking lot was full, at 8:15 pm itself, even though the movie begins at 9:30 pm. All the cars had their speakers blare out Athiradee, Ballelakka and other songs from the movie. The serpentine queue to get into the theater to catch the seats never seemed to get smaller. It was a reunion for a lot of friends who least expected to see their friends at this event. For a few of them, it was a reunion after a couple of years. A big crowd of people without the tickets went back home dissappointed.

The students group from Tucson, came in with special shirts for the occasion and took the first row of seats. The theater was full at 9 pm itself. Sivaji songs along with songs from Shankar's other movies were played. There were long trains of people that went around the theater hall. It was indeed fun to watch the same excitement as in any theater in India.

The trailer for 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom' was played and none of us wanted to see it and all of us juse wanted to see Rajini. Next came the trailer of the animation film on Rajini 'Sultan', which was enough to stir us up. Next came the AVM logo and then Superstar Rajini logo, which was entirely new and drew whistles and claps in great numbers.

Flowers are not that widely available in Tempe, but that didn't prove to be a problem to the fans. Shredded bits of paper did the job, and it was only those bits of paper in the air for the first 10-15 minutes, and every time when Rajini had something really stylish to offer.

There was no dearth of whistles, claps, laughter throughout the movie. And that's entertainment too. The crowd onscreen was entertaining and the crowd offscreen was entertaining to the same extent too. It was indeed a fun filled outing. I doubt if this is going to happen again. It is something that happens once in a lifetime.... a lifetime of Rajini's film.

In short, it was a Thiruvizha with lots of people, flowers, praises etc. The only thing missing was a Rajini cut-out. Is that too much to ask for?

Jun 15, 2007

SIVAJI - The movie - Review

SIVAJI..... I have no words to describe the movie. It's been ages since I have seen a masala movie that's been really entertaining. Be it the slow and insignificant first half or the fast paced and well shot second half, the movie SIVAJI : The Boss, definitely does justice to the name of Chevalier after whom the movie is named. There ends the relationship between the two. Also in the name of M G Ravichandran, there's an MGR who is really the surprise element. Rajini will be the only artist that could even carry off a totally shaven head with a style.

Rajinikanth had a nice exemplary show of his style skills and there were songs that were exclusively shot to showcase his style alone. Even though the style defies gravity and would make Sir Isaac Newton think about his law of gravitation, it entertained. At the end of the day, it is important that you get entertained by a movie, if not a message. And that is exactly the plus point of this movie and the USP of any Rajini movie.

The story is fairly simple and weak compared to Shankar's earlier movies. But this is a Rajini movie and he needs to make compromises on the plot. This movie seems to take off from the point where Shankar left in the 1993 classic Gentleman that starred Arjun. It is a proper concoction of Gentleman, Mudhalvan and Anniyan with ingredients picked uo in the right amount from each of the movies in the right quantity and served well with a main dish called Rajini. It is about an NRI, who wants to do service to Indians by providing quality education, good healthcare, jobs to educated and make even a small village prosper. We resorts to the whitening of Black money, after he is robbed of all his money by the existing corrupt system.

His love interest in played by Shreya. She doesn't have a big role in the movie as in other Rajini movies, but she definitely had more songs with him than in any of his recent movies. The actress Kanika apparently dubbed for her and it does suit her. (All other remarks removed due to change of mind, she does look vulgar in a few songs! She was exploited!)

Vivek plays the uncle of Rajini and is a fun to watch with his one-liners and his style. The first half was with him and Rajini trying to woo Shreya and her parents. The concept of Rajini trying to become fair, though illogical, did bring a lot of laughs from the audience. Nayanthara in the title song Ballelaka looked really slim compared to her Ghajini and Chandramukhi days. The villain role played by Suman seems intelligent in a few scenes, but villains always become an non-entity in Rajini's movies (except Padayappa). Raghuvaran is back as a doctor, and shows some life-saving trick that defies the rules of medicine. Raja and Uma Padmanabhan as Shreya's parents are a funny couple, so is the Solomon Paapaih's family. Vadivukkarasi and Manivannan are the usual Rajini's parents who support him in everything.

A.R. Rahman was another hero of the film and Shankar as usual with his extravagant sets, made the good songs also look great on screen. Vaaji Vaaji song with the Middle eastern and European theme was very well shot. Hariharan's Aambal and Mavvals were depicted by Rajini in his own style. Madhushree's voice deserves a special mention. Ballelakka was shot in a beautiful location and I really want to know where are such locales in India. Athiradee was filled with style and was really enjoyable. The Oru kudai sunlight had Rajini in the fair getup after his trysts with Fair and Lovely mixed in bleaching powder(Courtesy Vivek), and Saffron Milk etc.(It was apprently a skin grafting technique on video) Shankar as always has extravangant sets and this time I really understood why he has such extravagant set of existing wonders, probably to save up on the airfare and living expenses for the 100-200 background dancers. It is just in the Sahana song that there aren't many background dancers. But that was compensated by a glass house setting. However, Sahana song disappointed me, since I expected it to be in a landscape setting but it wasn't.

The clothes for Rajini designed by Manish Malhotra were something that Rajini shone brightly in. Especially the yellow kurta in the Ballelakka song was something that I liked apart from his clothes in Athiradee. His Jingchak (or authenic Jingucha) hairdoes and clothes in Oru Kudai sunlight seemed just apt for him and he didn't look made up in them at all(Rajni looked younger than in Chandramukhi, espcecially towards the second half. And his getups as Sivaji, MGR and Kamalhassan were amazing and it did seem that those star were on the screen.

Shankar's way of telling was good as usual, but since this a predictable fare, there were not surprise events or twists. Shankar's idealistic Indian town/city might be a thing of the distant future. But it did give a good feeling of seeing a prosperous city. I hope things like that really happen in the near future.

Overall, a total paisa vasool. It was worth the ticket.

More post on this soon........

SIVAJI - The movie - Preview

One word sums it all. Superstar......, no actor in the history of Tamil cinema or even the Indian cinema has ever had such an influence on the people, not just the commoners but the elite and the educated class. It is this guy Sivaji Rao Gaekwad, rechristened Rajinikant who casts a spell once in every 2 or 3 years with his movie. His movie 'Sivaji: The Boss' has been in the news since 2005 and is finally released all over the world. I am going to be catching the movie on the First day First Show here in Tempe, something that I've never done for a Rajinikant movie. It is a different feeling though, and I am beginning to get really excited about the supposedly 3 hr 10 mins movie.

Even though it doesn't star my favorite stars, I am happy that ARR the genius is a part of this movie and has excellent pieces. My personal favorites are Vaaji Vaaji, Sahana Saaral and Ballelaka. Chinnmayee has done wonders to the song Sahana Saaral Thoovudho, which is otherwise butchered by Udit Narayan(but to a lower extent). Her hummings at the end of the song is simply out of the world. It bears close resemblence to Ennuyir Thozhiye from Kangalal Kaidhu Sei. Vaaji Vaaji Vaaji en Jeevan Sivaji is sung really melodiously by Madhushree who is accompanied by none another than Hariharan who springs about Aambal and Mavval(whatever flowers they are). But her rendition of Azhagai Saniyida, instead of Azhagai Sanaiyida, makes me puke. Ballelaka being the opening song apparently has the ever enthusiastic SPB along with Rehaana. It has really authentic lyrics that would make any Indian outside India get the feel of India.

Shriya in the female lead is something that I am still yet to digest. I haven't seen her in too many movies, so wondering how apt she is for the role.

No idea of what the story is like. The story and the rest of it, will be something that I'll know in a few hours time......

Vaaji Vaaji Vaaji, En Jeevan Sivaji.............. Vazhga Sivaji

Jun 4, 2007


I usually write my own stuff in this blog, however non-sensical it is. But, it is this forward that made be think. A small kid tries to make another kid comfortable in his own right. Please read on. Thank you Ankur for sending this across.

The happiest people on this planet are not those who live on their own terms but are those who change their terms for the ones whom they love

My wife called, 'How long will you be with that newspaper? Will you come here and make your darling daughter eat her food?' I tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene. My only daughter Sindu looked frightened.
Tears were welling up in her eyes. In front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with Curd Rice. Sindu is a nice child, quite intelligent for her age.She has just turned eight. She particularly detested Curd Rice. My mother and my wife are orthodox, and believe firmly in the 'cooling effects' of Curd Rice! I cleared my throat, and picked up the bowl. 'Sindu, darling,why don't you take a few mouthful of this Curd Rice?Just for Dad's sake, dear.

Sindu softened a bit, and wiped her tears with the back of her hands. 'OK,Dad. I will eat - not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. But, you should...' Sindu hesitated. 'Dad, if I eat this entire curd Rice, will you give me whatever I ask for?'...........Oh sure,darling'....'Promise?'... ..............'Promise'. I covered the pink soft hand extended by my daughter with mine, and clinched the deal.

'Ask Mom also to give a similar promise', my daughter insisted.My wife put her hand on Sindu's, muttering 'Promise'. Now I became a bit anxious. 'Sindu dear, you shouldn't insist on getting a computer or any such expensive items.Dad does not have that kind of money right now. OK?'

'No, Dad. I do not want anything expensive'.Slowly and painfully, she finished eating the whole quantity.

I was silently angry with my wife and my mother for forcing my child eat something that she detested.After the ordeal was through, Sindu came to me with her eyes wide with expectation.All our attention was on her.............'Dad, I want to have my head shaved off, this Sunday!' was her demand.

'Atrocious!' shouted my wife, 'A girl child having her head shaved off? Impossible!' 'Never in our family!' my mother rasped.'She has been watching too much of television. Our culture is getting totally spoiled with these TV programs!'
Sindu darling, why don't you ask for something else? We will be sad seeing you with a clean-shaven head.'

'No, Dad. I do not want anything else', Sindu said with finality.
'Please, Sindu, why don't you try to understand our feelings?' I tried to plead with her.

'Dad, you saw how difficult it was for me to eat that Curd Rice'. Sindu was in tears. 'And you promised to grant me whatever I ask for.Now, you are going back on your words. Was it not you who told me the story of King Harishchandra,and its moral that we should honor our promises no matter what?'

It was time for me to call the shots. 'Our promise must be kept.' 'Are you out your mind?' chorused my mother and wife.
'No. If we go back on our promises, she will never learn to honor her own. Sindu, your wish will be fulfilled.'
With her head clean-shaven, Sindu had a round-face, and her eyes looked big and beautiful.
On Monday morning, I dropped her at her school. It was a sight to watch my hairless Sindu walking towards her classroom.She turned around and waved. I waved back with a smile.

Just then, a boy alighted from a car, and shouted, 'Sinduja, please wait for me!' What struck me was the hairless head of that boy. 'May be, that is the in-stuff', I thought.

'Sir, your daughter Sinduja is great indeed!' Without introducing herself, a lady got out of the car, and continued,' That boy who is walking along with your daughter is my son Harish.He is suffering from... ... leukemia.' She paused to muffle her sobs. Harish could not attend the school for the whole of the last month.He lost all his hair due to the side effects of the chemotherapy. He refused to come back to school fearing the unintentional but cruel teasing of the schoolmates.'Sinduja visited him last week, and promised him that she will take care of the teasing issue.But, I never imagined she would sacrifice her lovely hair for the sake of my son!
Sir, you and your wife are blessed to have such a noble soul as your daughter.'

I stood transfixed. And then, I wept. 'My little Angel, you are teaching me how self-less real love is!'

Jun 3, 2007

Cart thieves

A Graduate student in US, who does not have access to a car to go to the nearby grocery store invariably struggles in carrying the couple of gallon-cans of milk, cola cans, juice cartons, watermelons, along with other stuff, back home. Most stores in Tempe with the exception of one, have magnetic sensors on their carts and do not allow you to take the cart outside the store's parking lot. So the one that allowed earned the blessings of the students, no matter how strong the FRAGRANCE in the store was. Until recently, we used to pick up things from a market that was open beyond midnight, the best time for us poor souls, and walk all the way back carrying them, or take a bus back home if it wasn't too late.

A year and half back, me and 'Dream' bought half the (store which is on a the Safest path) and not being able to carry the stuff, tried to lift the cart across the wall and miserable failed. This was a disastrous experiments and I vowed I would never try it again.

But, 'Laziness overcomes any vow'. Once me, ‘Dedicated’, ‘Browny, Yellow and Lord’ and ‘Devotional song’, were there and as usual swiped our credit cards away to glory (in the store on the safest path again). I tried an age-old tested experiment on the cart then, just for fun. I lifted the cart’s front wheels and just pushed the cart which stood on its rear wheels alone. The trick worked, the cartwheels were not locked by the magnetic sensor. I earned the praises of the people named above. It was an easier trip back home.

Not so long back the trio, without the lord went to shopping, but we made sure our vow of being frugal was followed, since our good employers hadn’t turned in our information to the HR and we didn’t receive a pay. ‘God bless the employers.’ Each of us took a cart to try the trick, and a shocking thing happened. The trick didn’t work. The cart wheels were stuck. But ‘song’ saw a unique thing. It was just the front wheels that were locked, that too only from in front. So she gave us the ‘Nobel Laureate’ idea of pulling the cart backwards. Even though it meant complicated handling, it did wonders to the cart, it did save us that day.

The accomplices in Cart 'Thallufying'

But the only hassle is that the front wheel tries to rotate and it can pose a serious problem to you pushing. However the ‘dedicated’ is now a master in pushing it with dedication. I would want to try it with the ‘Always Low prices’ store, if at all I don’t get a ride then.

PS: I didn't name the people that were involved in this mission, it is left your imagination to find them out. Also, we heard a police car approaching once, I did scare them we might land up in trouble paying $2500 for 'thallufying' the cart.

May 29, 2007

At the Canyon.... the Grand one!!!!!

A picture says it all.

Well this was my first visit to the Grand Canyon, AZ, 20 months after living in the Arid zone, aka Arizona. I have almost overcome my fear for road-trips(well not totally, and will not go another one for 2 years atleast) and we were a group of 7 in a Grand Caravan going to the Grand Canyon.

We were also at the Arizona Snowbowl at Flagstaff, the San Francisco mountain. We were 11000 feet above the sea level(if thought Bangalore was at the same height too).

A detailed blog on that soon.

I captioned this photo 'The Grand Canyon - A wonder captured by another wonder.... oops me'. :)

May 18, 2007


My blog description reads 'As if blogging were a height of vettiness.....'. For the souls that are not aware of this Thanglish(Tamil + English) word, vettiness is a state of joblessness. Vetti means jobless in Tamil, the dravidian language.

It was not until recently(say 18 months ago) that I got to know of this word. My stay in this desert has taught me a good bunch of Tamil words apart from many other things. This word was one of it too. Being vetti is the trademark of a Graduate student in the Summer and winter breaks unless someone has path-breaking research to work on or a demanding internship. Vettipaechu is the word for non-stop talk without a purpose.

Enough of Vetti blogging..... Me getting ready to go home.....

May 17, 2007

Flower - Life

Oh flower!!!!
Though short-lived,
your life is a joyous one....
as a queen who rules,
the world for a day....
which is unachievable....
by anyone else.
Lingering on one's lips....
in the form of honey,
you make one's life sweet,
which is again....
possible by a very few.

Enjoy your life....
the short one....
Make someone's life sweet....
thus making your life meaningful....

(Some portions of this are inspired by the song 'Poova Poove'(oh flower) from Poovellaam Kaettupar(Ask all the flowers)).
Picture Courtesy: The flowers at the potluck at Dr. Antonia's place on 12th May 2007. :)

May 6, 2007

Non-stop Nonsense

As I walk to the end of this semester, I turn back to see the two years that I've spent here. With most of my friends gone after this semester, it is going to be a really different life for me, but yet the same, with new people around. I hope it continues to be a good learning experience for me.

In these two years I have learned something that I hadn't learned in the years I was under my parent's warmth back home.

And the summer is here, though the past week has been pleasant, not too hot. More blogs to crib on the AZ summer soon.

Meanwhile, this weekend was a movie fiesta for me. I saw Lesa Lesa, Pardes and Meenaxi: A Tale of three cities. I watched Lesa Lesa completely for the first time, it was a really beautiful movie in terms of colors, music and locales. Pardes made me think about the artificiality of the life that is lived here in the US, but was long, but devoid of Sharukh's overacting and heroics, sonce it was not his movie at all. Meenaxi, though a complex movie was beautiful with the genius' music and some slick camera work in shooting the beautiful Jaisalmer and Prague.
I also happened to see 'Kangalal Kaidhu Sei', later on in the weekend, even though my prediction that the movie was going to be a big letdown. I simply love the songs in the movie, remarkably different from the usual stuff that is around. But, I have no idea why they had to feature in a movie of errors like this one.

More movies lined up for the summer :), but work comes first. The demands and expectations of my superiors are increasing and I need to push myself into that. I am sure, I will so well.

Apr 28, 2007

Hindi blog

हिंदी में भी blogging. वाह रे वाह

Just got blogging in Hindi activated. Hopefully, they introduce in more and more Indian languages.

Apr 21, 2007

Summer in AZ

I somehow dread the aspect of being in AZ this summer. Having been in Bangalore all my 21 summers, including the last one, I somehow cannot digest that I AM going to be here this summer. I've heard summer being the most productive time for research, since you cannot head out anywhere till 7-8 pm any day, it's best if you are in your office/lab by 8 am. I hope this does some good to me. I am also going to be teaching, and my class is a 1 pm and I pity my students who will have to come by at that time. Fortunately, for me, my lab is in the same building, so I am saved from the torture of walking in the mid-day heat, unless I wake up later on in the morning and need to rush to hold my class :).
Bangalore is blessed and has one of the spectacular climate(unpredictable at times though). The temperature there never goes beyong 35 deg C(95 F) on most days of the year. If at all it goes beyond 35 deg C, it is going to rain in a day or two and this brings the temperature down.
Having cribbed about those few 100 F days, I see this as a oven to get baked, a frying pan to get fried, and a dryer to get dry(literally). I remember the day I landed here in Phoenix at 2 am, and when I stepped out of the aircraft, a gust of hot air greeted me. I felt as if a hair dryer was targetted at me. For a portion of a last summer(1 month), I was here, and the AC in my apartment was being too very good and kept the room hotter than ever. I hope it is better this time. But one good thing about AZ is that, there is very little or no humidity at all. It saves me from the sticky days that I used to see in Chennai.
How I survive this summer might be a good thing to write at the end of summer(does it ever end?). I might live on fruits, juice(as usual), and icecream(something I have been limiting for a while). Sunscreen would be a tool, if not an umbrella to shield me from the sunshine.
Hope the summer ends soon.

Virginia Tech Massacre

I pray for the souls of the people who lost their lives in the Virginia Tech shoot-out. May they Rest in Peace.

Apr 15, 2007

A dear friend

A friend of mine.....
Always with me at work.....
A giver of happiness.....
Places good notes in my ears.....

Strives to pass to me.....
All that he receives.....
Whether he likes it or not....
Just to make me happy.....
Bearing with my moods.....
And a change in them.....

My headphone.....
Stay with me forever.....

Apr 7, 2007

Hariharan's concert in Phoenix

It was the 23rd March, a few days before couple of submissions and meetings. I knew it was going to be a nasty weekend ahead, but I couldn’t give up something that I’d planned a few months ago. It was singer Hariharan’s concert ‘SRISHTI’ that was to take place in Mesa, AZ. It was marketed as ‘Hariharan in Phoenix’ and was probably the first time that the ‘Phoenixites’(ala Mumbaiites, Delhiites….. or is there a better way, ‘Phoenicians’??) were getting to see Hariharan.

For those who aren’t familiar with Hariharan, he is one of the renowned playback singers in the Indian film industry, who was into Ghazal singing for quite a while till A.R. Rahman used him for a song in his debut film ‘Roja’ in 1992. It is pretty unfortunate that Hariharan was not noticed by the masses till then, except by the Ghazal-loving people. It is after the song in Roja, ‘Thamizha, Thamizha’, that he was noticed by the conventional film-makers and music directors who begun using his voice. His song ‘Uyire Uyire’ from Bombay is still one of the finest songs ever in the history of Tamil cinema. In 1996 he formed ‘Colonial Cousins’, with Leslie Lewis and the very first pop album and its successors were well received by the Indians. He’s been singing in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada and a couple of other languages.

It’s not strange that, never are his renditions of a song, identical. That’s something to his advantage and disadvantage (the former is true in most cases). And he always begins a song in a totally different way, before getting into the actual lyrics of the song. This was really one of the interesting things that happened during this concert. He kept the entire audience guessing what song he was going to be singing, and this surely was something a music fanatic would love to do. Myself, Supraja, Shanta and a few of Shanta’s friends were together and were seated in the last row of the balcony(is that what they call it here?, well atleast it was on the second level(first floor by Indian norms)).

The concert supposed to begin at 7 pm started with an atrocious introductory speech, and a dance for a medley of ‘Nahin Samne’ from Taal, ‘Premalekha’ a song from a Telugu movie(sounded close to a song in a Tamil movie called ‘Nee Varuvai Ena’, probably a remake), and a song from a Tamil movie Ullasam. If this was an indication to the kind of songs he was going to be singing, I definitely felt I was going to hate the concert, since except for the first song, I didn’t enjoy listening to the other two.

I expected him to sing a couple of Ghazals as well and I was not wrong. I am not a person into Ghazals, but love listening to them whenever I get a chance to listen to them. He started with a couple of Ghazals and the strictly normal audience (nothing to do with the probability distribution), was getting bored and people began to talk and he was forced to cut them short and start singing movie songs. He made a mention at the beginning of the concert that he was going to be singing ‘Urdu Blues’ and some ‘Sufi Music’. The terms ‘Blues’ was coined because the uniform for people singing blues was Blue in color, seems interesting.

A list of songs/Ghazals that Hariharan sung that evening:

Kash Aisa Koi Manzar

Usne Jab Mujhse Kiya

E Aayine Se Pehle - this song had some really excellent keyboard notes. This was what he called Urdu blues.

Eh de Masti Hain – He began this song by teaching a few swaras to the Phoenix people, and made them repeat it, but ultimately ended up in a faster rendition which no one could repeat J. With this began Ga Ga Ni Ga Ri Sa Sa, Eh De Masti hain, Log Kehte Hain.

It was by this time that the audience became restless and began with an unusual song, but loved by everyone.

Nila Kaaygiradhu – This is from a Tamil movie Indira, set to music by ARR. He also gave an English translation to the song.

Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal Hain

Ennai Thalatta Varuvaalo – A song from ‘Kadhalukku Mariyadhai’, something that I didn’t expect nor did I enjoy this one. This might be because I am biased against the Tamil actor Vijay.

He finally came up with the song from’Yaadein’, Baatein Bhool Bhool Jaathein Hain, Yaadein Yaad Aathi Hain. This song end with the Phoenix people singing the song. This was the end of first part of the concert.

The Sankara Eye foundation that organized the concert, had a 10 minute show of what they were doing in India and this seemed to be a really nice initiative. There was a 10 minute break till 9 pm. The restaurant Udipi Café seemed to cash on this opportunity by providing with dinner for the audience, however at a reasonable cost.

The second part of the concert had a greater number of songs. Hariharan was joined by one of his students Chandrayi, who was the female lead for the few duets he sung.

Bahon ki Dharmiyan – This was a really soothing number from ‘Khamoshi: The Musical’

Nelloru Nele Jaana - the dubbed version of immensely popular ‘Kurukku Sirithavale’ from Mudhalvan. He however seemed to sing a few lines from the Tamil version in the middle. But neither Hariharan nor Chandrayi could get their Telugu right.

He then began with a classical rendition of Krishna Nee Begane Baro, and followed it up with the Colonial Cousins version of the songs and ended it on a classical note. Only Hariharan can do it.

He next began ‘Tuj Pi Kahan…?’, and none of us knew this song, but ultimately it was a beginning to ‘Chanda Re aka Vennilave’ from ‘Sapnay aka Minsara Kanavu’ in typical Hariharan style.

It was the same with ‘More Saiyyan Ghar Nahin Aaye’ which ended in ’Roja Jaaneman’. Till then I didn’t know SPB and Hariharan had rendered that in Hindi. It seemed really good in Hariharan’s voice too.

He then sung his latest hit from the Jyothika-Kamalhasan starrer Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu – ‘Manjal Veyyil Maalaiyile’.

Next was the most awaited song – one of his recent hits, one of current favorites and what he called Sufi Music. Aye Hairathey Aashiqui from Guru. One of the features of this one was that Hariharan himself sung the ‘Dham Dhara Dham Dhara Chashm Chashm”, with great ease. Chandrayi sung this better than Alka Yagnik in the original.

Yamuna Theeram from the Telugu Movie Anand was his next song.

He had Ghazal next and a few Thukdas for an old friend in Phoenix. This included his first song.

It was then he said he was going to sign three songs before ending the concert.

He then sung Taj Mahal’s Apni Zulfen. This was followed by Nahin Saamne from Taal, which had a long ‘Preyasi…….’ And finally him at his best ‘Uyire Uyire’ from Bombay.

It was really refreshing after his concert. We also managed to get a photograph taken along with him and also his autograph. I was really excited about this and so were Supraja and Shanta. I wouldn’t want to post the photo over her though.

The only thing I don’t want to remember about this event was the way I had dressed up. I was in school till an hour before the concert and had no time to change, I was in my usual weekend attire. And that weekend was a really demanding one for me, and I was happy that I could make it to the concert.

Mar 25, 2007

Hariharan's concert

The singing sensation Hariharan was here in AZ for a concert. More on this in sometime. It would definitely come up in a week, not like the unfinished SPB concert blog.

I got a picture taken with him and Shanta got his autograph. Really exciting moments.

Mar 24, 2007

Khaana.. Saapadu... Oota...

In the Indian languages Hindi, Tamil and Kannada that is what 'Food' is called. Something that a Indian Graduate student in the US craves for apart from the usual pizza, burger, burritos, tacos etc.

Having been in this sultry Arizona desert for close to 17 months(excluding the 2-month long trip to India), I've had an opportunity to dine at most of the Indian restaurants in and around Tempe, including two of them in Scottsdale. "I am a connoisseur of food and appreciate good vegetarian in any form."(disapproved by Dilip and Supraja, I don't eat half the vegetarian stuff apparently) My self-cooking is something I dread the most, but I need to do it thrice a week, given the financial and health constraints that prohibits one from eating out everyday. And I have no clue why people appreciate my food at times :). Enough of self-criticism and self-praise.

I landed in the beginning of August 2005, and didn't get an opportunity to eat outside food until Oct 2nd, when the restaurant Gandhi was opened close to the campus. It was their first day and free food was given away. Starved for good food for close to 2 months, the best use of it was made by us, the Fall 2005 admits. My friend Sapna had her status on Yahoo! messenger set as 'Grab the free food in Gandhi'. There was naan wrap with rice and curry along with Mango lassi. This was the first time I tasted outside food in US, and it did taste a lot different from the same in India. We made the best use of it and got 2-3 wraps for each of us. It was such a shameless thing to do, but who cares anyways.

Then the Fall 2005 semester took it's toll on me and finally I was done with my three courses. It was in October 2005 that 'India Bistro' was opened on Forest Avenue and University Drive. My roommate Praveen and his friends were a regular visitor to that place right from start till it's end an year later. It was Rupa's graduation treat at India Bistro and it was my first proper dinner outside(after than the wedding in Atlanta). It was a buffet with the usual dishes which seemed extraordinarily out of the world then. I would give a 7 on 10 to this place, since it had a quite a bit of vegetarian food and most of them were good too. Their standard menu had chole, spinach curry, rice pudding, gulab jamoon, pulav apart from other curries and non-vegetarian items. It was not a surprise that I went there just for the gulab jamoon and the rice pudding. I went there a couple of times, and they scrapped the buffet off the dinner menu and it was just buffet for lunch. It closed in Sept/Oct 2006 and he opened Madras Cafe, in the place where Gandhi was, but this was short-lived too.

Gandhi too had buffet for both lunch and dinner, and during the crisis months of November and December, we would run for a quick dinner there. There were totally 6-8 dishes on the menu, with 3-4 being vegetarian. It was run by a Punjabi lady, and it was no wonder the dishes were too oily. They used to have two curries and two rice dishes with mango lassi and rice pudding. The thing that interested me more about this place was the large world map that they map on one side of the wall. I would give it a 5 on 10. I was there last, when I was done my Spring 2006 exams. It closed sometime when I was in India and was never opened again. Madras Cafe replaced it for a while.

Kohinoor the closest one to my apartment has been one thing that I dread to go to. I have heard about its dirty kitchen and more about its owner and the lady who scares me whenever I am there. I am there only when I am seriously hungry and have no other option. It's been 6-8 months since I've been there. I give it a 2 on 10. I have heard that the Copper Kettle express close by is better compared to this one but never been there.

Madras Cafe was a short-lived one, but had good dosas for cheap and some good curries too. I would give it a 7/10.

Leave behind the shortlived ones and the so-so ones. Now comes the really good ones here, and that have been around for quite sometime too.

India Plaza on Apache has a good variety of chaat and it pretty nominally priced too. I discovered this just a couple of weeks back. i would give 8 on 10 for it's chat. It has dahi puri that tastes the same as in Bangalore. It's bhel puri was good too.

Little India is the place you need to be if you want to have awesome chaat. It is managed by an irritating Gujrati guy, but it is okay considering the chaat stuff they have. They have Samosa chaat, Kachori chaat, dhokla, paranthas, papri chaat, golgappas and anything that you can think of. I'd been there 3-4 times and loved it each time. I would give it a 9/10 for its chaat. The only drawback is you need to wait if you are there on a weekend, since it is jammed packed and they have very few tables.

Tandoori Times is one restaurant we went to recently. It has good tandoori stuff and the vegetable biriyani at this place is awesome. Prathap says that the chicken biriyani is good too. But the curry dishes like Navratna korma were ordinary. We got a bread basket with Onion, Garlic, Aloo and Plain naans. It was a good buy and tasted good too. I would give this place a 8 on 10. It doesn't have too many vegetarian options though. But on weekends there is a belly dancer, which made us feel a little too uncomfortable.

Delhi palace, on University Drive and Rural, is one of the oldest restaurants here and my favorite. They have a really good dinner menu and it is the variety that attracts too many people to this place. They have all varieties of north Indian dishes. I don't like the lunch buffet too much though. The Malai kofta, paneer dishes here are simply out of the world. And not to mention, the Samosas. I've never tasted better ones in the US. They have a nice variety of dishes and the it is my most frequented place. I've always seen more non-Indians than Indians here :), no idea why? And it was here I dined the last before going to India last summer and it was a really nice taste of India I got before reaching India itself.

Udupi cafe on Scottsdale Road, is one of the oldest restaurants and the pure vegetarian restaurants and is my favorite for the south Indian food. It is the only place that serves Dosas other than the India Plaza. I am not too sure if Pasand serves Dosas though. They have a proper menu of south Indian dishes starting with idli, medhu vada, masala vada, dosas, uthappam, apart from the north Indian dishes. But I would suggest, get the south Indian dishes here. I don't like the chutney though, since it is made from dessicated coconut. The lunch buffet on weekends has a lot of variety with pongal, vada, idli, dosa, jamoon, payasam and other north Indian food. I wouldn't mind going to this place at any time, just for the dosas alone. They have normal plain dosa, masala dosa, rava dosa, rava masala, chettinadu cauliflower dosa, tirunelveli spinach dosa, coimbatore ...(some dosa), spring dosai etc. Just the same dosa with different stuffing inside. It fills you too, and it is a good dinner. There are good starter on the menu which themselves tend to fill you. I would give Udupi a 10 on 10.

Jewel of the crown in Scottsdale would have been the real 'Jewel of the crown', but for Udupi Cafe. I have been there twice, and it has a good set of vegetable curry and gravy dishes, good paneer dishes, good naan, parathas. It's garlic naan is something that is out of the world. And it has a nice sitting area outside and during the 'pleasant' months of October, November and March it is good to sit outside and relish the good food in the good Arizona weather. They have a good set of starters too. Overall a good place to eat, and easy on the pocket too. A 10 on 10 for this too.

Pasand and India Gate are places that I've not been to, so cannot say how they actually are. Will update this when I go there.

I agree that the Indian restaurants in Tempe are not upto the same mark as in the Bay area and Chicago area, but that's the thing that we are offered here.

Mar 20, 2007

Mozhi - A breath of fresh air

I would say my Spring break ended on a really nice note. I happened to see the Tamil movie 'Mozhi - Pesum Padam' starring Jyothika, Prithviraj, Prakashraj and Swarnamalya on 17th March in Harkin's down the Mill Avenue here in Tempe.

Having heard a lot about the movie(good things, of course), it made sense for me to spend some time and money on this movie. But it was a early show at 11:30 am, which is like 7 am for me especially on a Saturday. But this semester has seen an early Saturday for me, I hold office hours 8 am - 12 noon. I happened to rise pretty late, and fortunately was dropped by my roommate at the theater after picking up a few friends.

The theater seemed to be filled entirely except for the first two rows(which is a rare phenomenon for a Tamil movie here). It was entirely family crowd except for a few students like us.

The movie began with a village belle coming down from a hilltop temple and striking a conversation with a beggar there. It all seemed silent(without the rerecording) except for the dialogues spoken. I felt - Are they playing the right movie?. Well, the same scenes were played using rerecording and the characters Karthik(Prithviraj) and Viji(Prakashraj) were introduced as musicians assisting music director Vidyasagar. It was a nice way to introduce the characters, different from the usual opening song or fight. But the opening fight was reserved for Archana (Jyothika), who rescued a poor vegetable seller from being beaten up by her husband. Well, it was then that love struck Karthik in a comical way - Lights above his head glow up and there is the bell of Kwality Wall's icecream cart sounding. Nice way to detect if romance has struck someone.

I wouldn't want to go into the details of the story/plot, which was fairly straightforward and predictable. The music was pretty melodious and soothing, but nothing pathbreaking. I loved Katrin Mozhiye, a really nice melody and picturised well too. There were 3-4 one-minute numbers which were fillers in between and didn't hamper the flow of the movie.

Well, there was comedy in every single scene of the movie, except for the really serious scenes involving Jyothika and Prithviraj. The way Prakashraj proposes to Swarnamalya, her reaction, her parents' reaction and Prithviraj's reaction to it was really well made and was comical.

Swarnamalya was good in the movie too, in a role similar to her Poorni role in Alaipayuthey. And she did good justice to it. Hope she continues to shine this way.

Prithviraj, my current favorite after Parijatham and now Mozhi, is a good artiste who can act well and make you laugh too, esp his expression in Parijatham's fictitious 'Ponnu Paarkum' scenes were awesome. His combo with Prakashraj is something that turned out to be really good in the movie. In the scenes where he yells at Jyothika about her imaginations and also when he makes Jyothika feel music through the speakers and later proposes to her, he expresses his acting capabilities well. But for sure, this hero cannot dance too. And his antics in Kannal Pesum Pennae songs were simply hilarious. His dressing sense in the first song were atrocious with him in orange pants etc.

Jyothika, in her swansong proved what she was. And for a Jo-Fan like me, this was the perfect one to watch, after being slightly disappointed with her Pachaikili Muthucharam. She spoke no words, except when Prithviraj imagined a voice for her. As usual her eyes did all the talking, but her Chandramukhi-ish yelling in the climax scene could have been done away with. The way she says that she is deaf and dumb was simply superb. As said earlier she had a heroic entry in the movie and stayed that way. She made sure that she was the only one suited for the role. I only hope she continues to act after a while. She had very little make-up like in Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu, Silendru Oru Kadhal, and looked good in the final scene when she was all made up.

Prakashraj as an actor was excellent with all the one-liners and his chemistry with Prithviraj is comparable to Munnabhai-Circuit combo's chemistry. He as a producer has succeeded in all his movies. I loved Kanda Naal Mudhal and Azhagiya Theeye. It is very rare to see a producer have such quality movies these days. I would say this was a a fresh breather for Tamil cinema which is filled with movies involving heroism, action, infidelity and glamour. Prakashraj needs to be applauded for this.

Music by Vidyasagar. He proved his touch in Katrin Mozhi which plays twice in the movie, once when the four have a joyous moment, and during the ending credits. Sevvanam Selaikatti is a nice number and colorful on screen too. The SPB number 'Kannal Pesum Pennae' was hilarious, but the music is jarring at times. The solo sad song is a good one too.

My favorite lines from Katrin mozhi(no idea what purinthividil means - does it mean if understood?)

Iyarkayin Mozhigal Purinthividil
Manitharin Mozhigal Thevai illai
Idhayathin Mozhigal Purinthividil
Manitharku Mozhiye Thevai illai

Comedy involving Brahmanandam-Prakashraj and MS Baskar(who is in the year 1984) were in flow with the movie and were very decent, something rare to see in movies these days.

Overall, a feel good movie and definitely in my favorite movies list. And truly a 'Pesum Padam'

Mar 15, 2007

UNICEF stuff

Well, I didn't want to spam people by sending in this UNICEF invite. The people visiting my blog please click on this:

Donate money without spending a penny.

Mar 3, 2007

Unakkul Naane

Another song blog, but a little shorter one this time. I haven't heard it that many times for it to have a great impact on me like Paartha Mudhal Naale or Suttum vizhi Chudare. For people who don't know what song I am talking about, it is "Unakkul Naane Urugum Iravil, Ullathai Naan Sollava" from Pachaikili Muthucharam, starring Jyothika directed by Gautham Menon. Is it a coincidence that I need to love any song Bombay Jayshree sings for Harris Jeyaraj. I am not a great fan of him at all, but somehow the combo of the two of them creates magic. I simply love this song, still figuring out why?

One of the reasons could be the excellent violin pieces that plays between the two charanams. Amazing clip, one that I've liked after YSR's magic in Oru Naal in PUdhupettai. Another song with an excellent Violin piece was "Azhage sugama" and "Anbe sugama" from Paarthale Paravasam by the genius ARR. But the violin piece in this song is simply exquisite, simply apart from the other two equally good ones.

Another reason is the way, BJ takes pains in stressing each word in the second charanam, "Thee pol then pol salaname dhaan, madhiyen nimmadi sidhaiyayndhal " after which the lines pick up the tempo. This was really good in the age of singers who swallow half the words while singing or the music takes over leaving the lyrics unheard.

Another version of this song, a more western one with Madhushree, is equally good, except for the fact that Madhushree cannot infuse the same feeling that BJ did. Maybe it's her Tamil written in Hindi/Bengali. The classical one with BJ, wins when compared to Madhushree's version. But I love the song on the whole.

Jan 27, 2007

Guru - A Mani Ratnam Film - Music

The title says it all.

It was sometime during the Fall semester that I knew Maniratnam was doing a movie starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. And mid-November I heard that there was a music release function, but the audio was out only by nov 18-19th(don't remember the exact date). I was on the website and see that the Guru audio was already on there, while the music was yet ot hit the stores(which was a couple of hours away).

I heard the songs and I first one that I heard was Baazi Laga, which actually seemed very ordinary. And I was curious to see to how Bappi Lahiri sounds, becuase there was a hype surrounding the song he sung, this too failed to interest me(but only for the first couple of times).

After this came Ay Hairathe Aashiqui, Jagaa Man.. Pairo se zameen ...........(literal pause in the song). As written in one of the blogs, Rahman can do wonders with music and the "lack of it" as well. I fell in love with the song the first time I heard it. Alka Yagnik proved that she is a seasoned singer (a few of her other songs that like are Mehendi Hain Rachnewali, Maahi Ve, Taal Se Taal Mila, Kuch Kuch hota Hai, Ghoonghat hi Aadh se etc). I hadn't heard too many of her songs. But after this song, I went on to listen to her other songs and she seems to have had a lot of soul-stirring melodies to her share too. But her diction in this was too plain. [Her 'Ashiki' sound literally as 'Ashikuyi'(Supraja's observation)]

Then came Mayya Mayya, and this one is sung by Maryem Toller and Chinmayi. Maryem I believe is an Egyptian by birth and trained in Arabic singing. I just loved this, even though I knew this was picturized on Mallika Sherawat and I am no great fan of her. But, this seemed to have a distinct flavor apart from all the other songs that I listen to these days. And this turned out to be true. I was amazed to see how Mani had incorporated the title credits in the same song.

Next cam Jaage Hain, which I guess would be a theme that would be running through the movie. This had amazing vocals by Rahman and the Madras Choral group. And I love the lyrics
"jaage Hain Der Thak hamen, Kuchch Der sone dho..... thodi si raat aur hain Subah tho hone dho".

Finally I heard "Tere Bina" sung by Chinmayee and Rahman along with others. It started the same way as Ay Hairathe but in a paced manner. This was "THE" song that I was looking for. Chinmayee, earlier I had heard her in Oru Deivam Thandha Poove from Kannathil, and she was amazingly good in the song. And she was good in her rendition of the title track for the soap Anbulla Snehithiye. Overall I loved this song and knew that the song video was one to watch out for. But, seeing the 1 minute clip on Youtube, I felt this was a Sanjay Leela Bhansali kind of song, especially, I could see only Salman khan with Aishwarya throughout the song as in Hum Dil De chuke Sanam. But, the choreography for Abhshek was funny. In the movie this comes in a portion where Aishwarya leaves Abhi after learning he married her for the dowry, this sat in place and at the end of the song Abhi comes in a car and aish who is waiting comes and hugs him, and that's Mani, not losing time because of a song either.

I was waiting for the movie all through my winter break listening to this audio. And this came to the Tempe Cinemas on the 12th Jan and this was going to be my first movie of the year and perhaps only one too. This was a solid packaging of a 10 hr movie in 2 hr 45 minutes. I have no words to describe the movie. Maybe that would be another blog.