Saturday, March 29, 2008

Random Music Musings...


An inspired Rahman is a treat :). Over the last few days, I was listening to some random songs - not just Rahman's, but these two songs are really beautiful!

1) nenjam ellam (Ayutha ezhuthu - Tamil): Especially in the second interlude, the guitar piece is a treat. Exuberant overflow of love and joy depicted beautifully.

2) ballelakka (sivaji - Tamil): Imagine this - the biggest super star in the industry, the song needs to set the context. It needs to evoke a feeling that is much bigger than a party-mood setting. More like a mini-festival. It also needs to capture a feeling of nativity (south-indian Tamil culture). The song manages to click at all levels. As is unsaid tradition, SPB sings this song for Rajini. My only feeling is that when SPB descends effortlessly with "mei, mei, mei" (close to 16 times!), some effort could have gone in to fill the spaces with proper lyrics instead of resorting to the filler "mei". It probably would have created an awesome impact!


He is truly a gifted composer. The compositions flow truly effortlessly out of his head. I think he is someone who doesn't really have to work to get the tune right. The only work is getting the song ready after orchestrations!

My gripes?

1) He tends to settle for computer generated sounds (even though they mimic a real orchestra). The difference can be made out. His tunes can do really will with a true orchestra
2) His tunes capture the general feel of the situation. The nuances get missed out. Though it is very pleasant to float with the effortlessness of the whole product, nuances make the song rich!

1) paesa madanthaiye (mozhi - tamil): The song captures the mood beautifully - love and pain!
2) annanoda pattu (chandramukhi - tamil): The biggest difference you will see in this song - it is a Vidyasagar song made to fit for Rajini - not the other way around! The song was coded for the mood and still doesn't sound awkward. Of course, customization for super star is there (ippudu choodu!) and the tone of the singer in the second stanza - still, credit to the composer for sticking to his style and managing to pull it off!
3) kandEn kandEn and methuva methuva (both from pirivom santhippom - Tamil): Much more
than love, it captures intimacy between a husband and wife. Not necessarily sexual intimacy alone, but emotional intimacy as well! It's hard to put what the song captures into a precise
definition of words.

Few songs that I listened to recently that bring out the exuberance of Life in one of many ways!

1) Velliyangiri from "Project Green Hands" - Sounds of Isha: Celebration, Buoyancy and Ecstasy!
2) "You only live once" by Yanni - The title says it all!
3) "Ganglat Fran Laggars" by Mynta - Fusion music. Don't ask me what 
the title means! And don't let the genre put you off. I first heard 
this when a German meditator played this and was later lucky to get 
this here at Chennai. Joy and Celebration!
4) Devotion from India 24 Hours: Just one more possibility from the Maestro!
This depicts not celebration or joy - but a feeling of total surrender to something much
much larger that this tiny "self" we experience most of the time. This is no ordinary track!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

College Autocracy

I picked this video up from my friend's profile. It is absolutely ridiculous - the content is about "separation of sexes" in several colleges in Tamil Nadu. The video doesn't name the colleges, but Sathyabama is an obvious candidate you can pick out easily from the list. Jeppiar's interview is totally ridiculous and probably comes from his political roots - "tamil culture" is the reason. The other reason is "to help focus on studies". I already knew about these colleges and their policies, but the extent to which it is depicted here is stunning. In an almost apartheid style, even the stairways are separated out by gender and barricades are erected in buses to divide seating!

I however, wouldn't blame the colleges as much as the students (and their parents) who choose these colleges for their education. Why go through four years of life in a jail? Speaking from experience, with exceptions of a few elite institutions, it really doesn't matter which college you get your education from for your job, provided you know your subject well. Also speaking from experience, I have noticed that silent revolutions work much better than vehemant revolutoins! If in a particular academic year, not a single soul joined the colleges listed, you can be sure that there would be a "policy" change right away!

Cellphone Providers and Marketing...

The cellphone providers' market is really heating up now with Virgin mobile also jumping into the bandwagon.

However, only Airtel seems to have grasped early the importance of building a brand. Their really masterful plan was when they roped in Rahman to come up with a theme. So successful was the music that so many different versions of it under so many orchestrations are out and just hearing the tune will associate Airtel with it. See this video and the theme that comes along at the end of the video. The ad itself is quite cute! So many common people are now brand ambassadors for Airtel because of this tune (ringtones!).

More recently, Reliance came up with it's own theme which is quite awesome as well. It does sould a little like Airtel's theme, but the core job of associating the brand with the music is done! See this video and the theme at the end - again good work with the ad as well!

I think other providers need to realize - stars will not always be around and must find a way to reach people where there are no video screens.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

India Today Conclave - Is Spirituality Relevant to Leadership

The video is here.

The video is a whopping 1 hour, 46 mins.
If you don't have the time, I suggest this: skip the first 10 mins, then listen to Sadhguru's talk.

I've tried to list them below. Text in blue is my personal opinion, annotation. As you can see, the summary below will not do justice to a 100 minute video.

Also, it was very unfortunate that this meeting was presided over by Javed Akhtar. To me, it appears that it was a pre-conceived decision to be in disagreement. I mean, it is ok to falter the first time, but two explanations later - back to the same question!

Spirituality: Experience of Life beyond the physical (mind is included in "physical")
Spirituality: Looking inward

Danah Zohar
"I'll be a little bit controversial" (why start out on such a note? To gather attention?)
Don't accept division between physical and spiritual
Break the thought barrier
"Spiritual Intelligence" - not Spirituality, not Religon - intelligence with which we can bring our deepest values and brightest vision to the world. Ask why am I here!

12 principles of spiritual intelligence

1) Self Awareness
2) Spontaneity ("in the present" action)
3) Vison and Value lived (ache for the not yet done, said, happened)
4) Wholism (quantum view - waves and particles, quantum microscope)
5) Importance of questions (Questions are infinite)
6) Positive use of adversity
7) Celebration of diversity
8) Field independent
9) Humility
10) Compassion
11) Call to vocation (Spiritual calling)
I am missing the 12th point. I don't have patience to go thru her speech again! :)

Comes up with a "Statement of commitment" to business leaders.

Overall, she disagrees with Sadhguru, but ends up saying the same things. Especially, see points 2, 4 and 5 or "break the thought barrier" (they fit very will with "experience beyond the physical"). She also ends up with an elaborate 12-step process. But to me, she has not said anything radically different.

Javed Akthar:

1) To Danah: Why "spiritual intelligence"? Common sense, civil responsibility? Why spirituality? "Why am I here?" is a pompous question. It is conceit. (Give me a break! The must fundamental question any one can ask in his/her life time is conceit? Conceit is when you ask the question to another - and for dubious reasons. How is it "conceit" if you ask this to yourself with a sense of inquiry?)

2) To Sadhguru: Many Guru's have different point of views. One common point: "All say don't use your mind". How to listen without senses? (Sadhguru never said that. Anyway, Sadhguru responded to this with his own sense of clarity, after telling Javed that he was listening to some one else! Read: You aren't even using your senses fully/properly! It turned out this wasn't sufficient for Javed!)

Popular people are not spiritual (quoted Nehru and another popular literary figure. I don't get it, are we discussing popular people here? Point taken, so the goal is to be popular?). They were "out of box" thinkers! (Yes Mr Javed, what is "box" here? Your mind right? Please go back and read Sadhguru's definition of Spirituality)

Overall, events like these, that hold great possibility of exploration to business leaders need to be presided over people who are open and humble. Otherwise there is great possibility of them turning into a farce! I personally know what possibility Sadhguru offers, so it is important for people who enlist his time use it responsibly.

How is your spelling?

See how well you do. PLEASE! I am not showing off! :)
The test IS interesting!

Your Spelling is Perfect

You got 10/10 correct.

Your spelling is excellent. You also have a great memory and eye for detail.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Problems...

I read this quote by Swami Vivekananda:
"In a day when you don't come across any problems - you can be sure you are traveling in a wrong path"

How true...

But - wouldn't it be more apt to say
"In a day when you don't come across any problems - you can be sure you have arrived home"

:) :)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Random thoughts on a weekend...

The 60KCr farm loan waiver, I feel is a long overdue change brought about in the budget this year. I however wonder, despite the enormity of the relief, if it is only a band-aid, as the root causes that created this situation still remain - so the situation might build up again? Whatever said, it is a move in the right direction and a way needs to be found to to move this burden to the rest of the tax payers. With addition individual tax relaxation announced as well (revisions of slab), we need to wait and see how this will work out.
This is still step one, and a step two is required to address the real problem.

India winning the CB series will be an enormous boost (in energy and cash-kitty!) to the team. It will also be a good lesson to Ricky - that arrogance doesn't always pay off. It is probably time for him and his team to think of alternate ways of playing cricket. This "play hard but fair" crap has been going on for quite some time now with a lot of bullshit about imaginary boundaries drawn over on field behavior. It is a simple thing to just decide "cricket only" and focus on the game. Deriving fuel by irking others is not a sustainable way to play the game. India, in a way, is also going the Aussie way - may be a lesson is underway?!? The teams as a whole can take a lesson from the way Sachin conducts himself on-field. The only thing that talks is his bat (read: "performance") - nothing else left to be said!

Yesterday, in a news snippet, I heard about a group of people (public) nabbing an armed man (he had a loaded gun) and handing him over to the police despite being threatened with the gun. That was a surprise, for we don't do such things. May be times are changing?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

anjAthE | அஞ்சாதே

After "chiththiram pEsuthadi" (சித்திரம் பேசுதடி), it is near bulls-eye for "Mysskin". He succeeds in portraying a morose, chilling and lawless world with unflinching disposition. My earlier gripe - namely, the need to go back to these themes - is still unchanged, but it is difficult to withhold admiration for his mastery in crafting the storyline.

Some comments (point 5 is a spoiler!):

  1. He could have avoided a repetition of the hero's personality from his first movie. His mannerisms - especially his body language when he gets angry draws directly from his earlier character
  2. New roles for pandiyarAjan and prasanna. The former shines. The latter doesn't do a bad job, but having seen him long as a chubby hero, this stark transition to a negative role doesn't fit that easily
  3. A shockingly high number of scenes are audaciously set without dialog. The director nearly pulls it off, but could have kept a few things in mind: Tamil audience is used to dialogs, especially teething punch dialogs :). May be he could have compromised a little! When so much scenes are moving on the strength of the screenplay only, the editing and BGM must support the flow. Editing could have been more taut. Some scenes are dragged out (climax drags to a whopping 45 mins or so). BGM - Sundar C Babu has done an admirable job in many places, but given the strict criteria, I was missing IR or HJ :)
  4. Movie length? (close to 3.5 hours - consider just two songs that fit quite well to the situation and no comedy track!)
  5. (Spoiler) When you get shot in a place where you really don't want it , there is no trace of pain on prasanna's face. He actually does his trademark sign off before he passes over... I don't think it will work in reality

Overall, I think it gives a great break to the hero and establishes the director as a "watch out for his next movie" guy! I probably won't watch this movie again for it's theme - but you have to give credit to talent when you see it! :)

My only request for him is to try new themes! (same request goes out to Bala and Gowtham) - take a leaf from MR or even karu.pazhaniyappan's (three different themes in three different movies) book!

My iCalibration for this movie is 80. iCalibration - this term is something I came up with to denote that this value is not a kinesiological calibration but an intuitive one. Since I am aware of both the material and the map, the value is inferred. Any folks who can cross verify with their self calibration are welcome to comment on this.

Reasons for the score: The trend of this movie is in general, apathy (50). Occasionally, there are inspiring moments, but overall, it is dull and chilling. In this context, there is really no reason to even watch this movie!
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