Dec 26, 2011

Out of the Blue (TY!)

Since the beginning of December, I was wondering what should be the last post of 2011 on 'Out of the Blue'. A nice romantic poem, that would fetch me good number of 'likes' on the facebook link? Or a movie review of Don-2, that would get me maximum number of 'page views' and controversial comments? Or a simple and cute good bye kind of post, where I would say nice moralistic things and thank you for wasting some of your time in reading my blog?

Even after a lot of consideration, I could not decide on anything concrete. Writing a romantic poem requires lots of 'hands on' experience (You cheap mind, it does not mean what you think!). I have been deprived of love and romance off late. Yes, 'separation' and 'solitude' are themselves catalysts of verse but now a days even these feelings have ceased to bother me. So, romantic posts have to remain in 'draft' section at least till early next year.

'Convertible' remains the most loved blog post. Click and Read!

Moreover, reviewing Don-2 was also out of contention straightaway. In fact, I have decided that I would never 'review' any Shah Rukh Khan film on this blog. I do not want even a slight hint of bias to creep into my reviews. Yes, I would continue to write about Mr Khan, every now and then. But there I would have my privileges as a 'writer'. Recently one of the readers' very interestingly summed up my 'love' for Shah Rukh Khan...."And when it comes to Shahrukh Khan, you behave like a kid fighting for his pa’s movie, saying he is the best (you love him so much…)"!

Click on the Photo above to read the 'most popular' blog post!

It is the love and responses like these that have kept this blog alive for 10 months. When I returned to blogging in February this year (I know the word 'return' sounds dramatic. But trust me it was nothing grand), I did not have extraordinary hopes. I still do not have any illusion. But, I just wanted to see that will at least some of those 30-odd people who regularly 'like' and comment on my Facebook notes bother to come over to a new page altogether, just to read what I write. At facebook, I 'forced' my friends to read my posts by tagging them. Yes, I received much appreciation and love on Facebook, but I wanted to see whether that appreciation was only an 'obligation' post tagging or did some of my friends actually liked what I wrote. Will they take some time out, click on a link, wait for the page to load and then read &comment on the post? I could bet on some of my best friends and few of my ardent admirers (Yes, you ass! I have a fan base. Size does not matter). But anyone other than them? I used to wonder.

It is in this regard that saying 'thank you' is absolutely important. I must thank all the readers for showing great patience and appreciation by visiting this blog so often. For coming back again and again to this blog, and making me feel special by posting some wonderful comments. All these months have been nothing less than an unbelievable journey where around 80-odd people have joined the site in some way or the other. Nearly 200 people like the blog's page on Facebook. I know you must be thinking that 200 is not such a big number for a FB page. But, I had never thought these many people would 'like' a page belonging to someone's personal blog.

It is very humbling, extremely satisfying and monumentally encouraging when someone addresses you as 'Sir' after reading a certain post or a reader's comment goes on to state something as inspiring as this.. "Yes, your a month or two back post-When A Nation Churns… Yes, I read it on October, and believe me, I again and again clicked on 'Apply Now' button, until I realized what you meant… that very day I opened an account in blogger, I always wanted to have one… Your writing has this power…"

Okay cut it. Neither I myself want to sound pompous nor do I want you people to think very highly of yourselves.

By now, you know what this post has turned out to be. A not-so-well-written or rather stupid 'Thank you' post. But honestly, I could not stop myself from writing this. In fact, I wanted to say so much more, share some gratitude, affection and love. But sometimes, we should let things take their own course. Planning does not always guarantee success. Somethings are great just because they happen 'Out of the Blue'. :)

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!!

May you do things that nobody has ever done!

P.S.- OTB will never let you down. 2012 will be bigger and better! (And I know you are thinking how smartly have I promoted two of my previous posts through this write-up. Yeah, I know I am good. (wink))

Dec 15, 2011

Not-So-Great List of Top 10 Songs-2011

Ok, I was really interested in bringing out a proper list of Top-10 songs of 2011. I was always fascinated with Cibaca Geetmala or even a Mirchi Top 20. But, when I sat down and tried to collect the data, I realized that the task was enormous (I hate to research while writing a blog!). First, I had to google all the releases of 2011, then sort them out. I did not want to miss out on any good song. We often forget the films and songs that come in the beginning of each year. Second, I realized on what basis can I call my list 'Top 10'? I mean, different people have different tastes and my list was certainly not based on any scientific survey. I tried to run a small survey on blog's facebook page for the No. 1 song but again the sheer 'variety' of taste was again on display.

So, I finally settled down on bringing out a list of 'personal' favorites. Yes, 10 songs of 2011 that I liked the most. Based on the number of times I listened to these songs, watched their videos, recommended them to friends, put them as my caller tune/ ringtone and so on. Obviously, the list will have some songs that are universal favorites. But a few might surprise you or even make you despise my music taste. But anyways, If you are here, reading my blog, I know you love me. :)

So, Here are the 10 Songs that kept my ears engaged in 2011!-- (In the descending order)

1. Chammak Challo (Ra.One)--- It has to be the song of the year for me, for the sheer impact it had on my mind. I have heard it innumerable times and it still exists in my playlist. It was my ringtone for good one month. And I love Shah Rukh Khan. And of course, the song has its merits. Akon's diction, Vishal-Shekhar's music and the gorgeous KK. Yes, choreography left a lot to be desired. But SRK looked cute while trying Bharatnatyam steps.

2. Sadda Haq/ The Rockstar Soundtrack--- I took up to Sadda Haq immediately. It was the perfect fodder to my mind in this year of rebellions and protests. However, I was not very fond of rest of the songs of Rockstar, till I saw the film. With time, 'tum ho', 'Sheher mein' and 'kun faya' mesmerized me. Now, all the songs of Rockstar seem to be so soulful! Easily Rahman's best work since the Oscars. True master he is! And no to forget, Mohit Chauhan's awesome vocals!

3. Laung Da Lashkara (Patiala House)--- This song is 2011's unsung masterpiece! Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are second to none when it comes to creating Punjabi magic! Earthy innocence!

4. DK Bose/ Switty (Delhi Belly)--- DK Bose hit my like a cyclone. Unconventional and unforgettable lyrics. Switty took over after a certain time! Awesome Punjabi dance number! Delhi Belly was one hell of an unusually great soundtrack! (The Return of Ram Sampath)

5. Saddi Gali (Tanu Weds Manu)--- R Madhvan and Kangna Ranaut. It does not get more non-typical than this. Flair of folk and strong vocals. Also, appreciable is the effort of relatively new music composer (krsna) and lyricist (Rajshekar). Great soundtrack in totality!

6. Darling (7 Khoon Maaf)--- Usha Uthup carried this song on her shoulders. Vishal & Rekha Bhardwaj and Gulzar are proven geniuses. Teasing lyrics, foot tapping music.

7. Senorita (ZNMD)--- Spanish flavor. A lesson on life and how it should be spent. Hrithik-Abhay-Farhan's vocals. Do we need more?

8. Te Amo/Saibo (DMD, Shor in the city)--- Te Amo drowned without making much impact as it was part of a forgettable film. Ash King and Sunidhi made sure that I remembered 'her', every time I listened to this song. Saibo was another such beautiful track. Fresh and romantic.

9. Achcha Lagta Hai (Aarakshan)--- This one makes to the list just on the power of its lyrics. Prasoon Joshi, my god! He seems to be so familiar with the common man's antics! Another song that makes me remember 'her'!

10. Jalebi Bai (Double Dhamaal)--- Ok! I am sure, you are hating me by now! May be laughing! But If I had not included this one in the list, I would have been a hypocrite. I was hooked to this song, specially its video. That 'Jalebi-Making step' of Mallika! I don't know who sung it, or who composed the music! Sometimes, it does not matter! (Wink)

P.S. - More serious 'Top 10s' follow soon. I know, this list is not so great. But, music is all about comforting your ears and soul. Is not it?

Dec 9, 2011

Ladies V/s Ricky Bahl: An Uninspiring Face-Off

I will not get into the plot and story line of Yashraj Films' Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl. As an audience, you are intelligent enough to figure it out after seeing promos and reading about the film in the media. There is nothing new or no 'twist' as such, of which I need to make you aware of or warn you before hand. So, let's come across to the goods and bads of the film, straightaway.

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl comes with a huge albatross, called Band Baaja Baarat, around its neck. Frankly, no one expects Maneesh Sharma (Director), Aditya Chopra (Producer) or Anushka-Ranveer (Lead Actors) to recreate that magic 'literally', as films like BBB are very rare and special. But one can not help but expect at least 'some' of the euphoria that 'BBB' generated, from 'L Vs RB'. That earthy humor, taut script, sizzling chemistry! Aah!

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl fails to take off for the entire duration of its running. It moves at a steady and sometimes lethargic pace, reminding you of the 'plateau' phase in any tenth-standard physics graph. But film's slow pace in the second half and lack of excitement in the first half are not the only flaws. What comes across as an unpardonable sin is the way Anushka Sharma has been somewhat sidelined in the narrative. She ends up playing a 'pawn' in this epic battle between 'Ladies' and Ricky Bahl (Ranveer Singh).

The ladies in question here, Debutante Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Sharma and Dipannita Sharma Atwal, do justice to their respective roles. In fact, Parineeti deserves special applaud for pulling off the role of typically rich and partially dumb Delhi girl with utmost ease. Her dialogues, or rather monologues, are hilarious at places, and her timing brings in some much-needed comic relief to the entire proceedings. Dipannita Sharma, as the ambitious, brave and modern corporate professional cum leader of the ladies pack, exhibits remarkable restrain and poise.

And what about Anushka Sharma? She is undone by a script that does not let her be free. She is absent for the entire first half, and gets very few moments of personal brilliance in the second half. That famed chemistry of Anushka-Ranveer suffers heavily due to this injustice done to role of the girl who carried BBB on her shoulders.

Ranveer Singh seems to be enjoying his day under the sun with a well-toned body and a meaty role. He looks totally at ease, looking sufficiently cunning and deceptive as the 'woman-wealth hunter'. The music of the film is very 'one-track', with at least two songs (Jazba and Jigar Ka Tukda) having stunningly similar tunes. Maneesh Sharma, the director, should have ideally done more with such an interesting concept in hand.

Moreover, the film clearly lacks doses of humor. A film of this genre (Rom-Com) breathes, eats and sleeps humor, both covert and overt, but Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl falls flat in this department, with only the character of Parineeti Chopra fighting a lone comic battle.

I went to the theatre with an expectation to watch an mouthwatering battle of sexes, some fun moments (Typical Yashraj style), all in all to have a paisa-vasool experience. But Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl falls well short of the expected experience with not so exciting treatment of the story line. Ranveer Singh cons the girls way too easily and the girls too, get back at him way too easily. And somewhere in between, Anushka and Ranveer fall for each other way too easily and that, is the end.

Final Verdict: Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl disappoints in totality. Do not expect a Band Baja Baarat encore. This is strictly a 'one-timer'!

**1/2 (Average)

Dec 4, 2011

Sometimes, Greatness Just Spills Over the Brim!

I don't believe in mourning. I think, great people leave behind great memories which should be cherished rather being mourned. This was precisely the reason, I refrained from putting up blog posts after demise of several legendary artists this year, be it Dr. Hazarika, Shammi Kapoorji, Jagjit Singh, Bhimsen Joshi and many others. I have no hesitation in admitting that I know very little about the craft and the legacy left behind by these great people. But sometimes, greatness just spills over the brim. You need not always eat a mango to relish its taste.

But Dev Anand's demise leaves behind a great vacuum and fills my heart with strange sadness. Again, I have not seen all of his films. Hum Dono, Guide, Heera Panna and Jewel thief are some of his works that I had the chance of appreciating. My remembrance of Dev Anand is mainly associated with my father being a fan of his style and cinematic craft. I remember being told by my mother that my father used to imitate Dev Saab's style during his youth. Those were the days when Dev Anand would sweep the nation off his feet by wearing 'black trousers' and 'white shirt'. He was the first style icon of India, with millions of girls dying to get a glimpse of the charismatic actor. Dev Saab possessed a unique charm, an infectious radiance that could enthrall young and old alike.

On his birthday this year, I put up a status on Facebook which said, "Happy Birthday Dev Saab! Please stop making films now! :P". It was a casual update. I never knew he would take my jibe so seriously. People of my generation have often been amused to see a 80-plus man making films after films, most of them disappearing without making any noise. But most of us failed to understand the undying vigor and love for cinema that Dev Saab had. His 'Chargesheets' and 'Love At Time Squares' may not have set new landmarks, but his unflinching faith in his craft and abilities has definitely put several of those young filmmakers to shame, who waste their talents and resources like overflowing water.

This post was not planned. I do not know what to write. I will always remember Dev Anand for acting in, and making great films. I will remember him for living his life on his own terms, for working till his last breath and for giving back so much to the Industry (he groomed an army of young talents). Much more than what Industry actually gave him. I saw spark in his eyes every time he sat there at any award function. There was a child-like stubbornness in him. He did not mind people cracking jokes on him. He did, what he loved.

R.I.P Dev Anand!


P.S.- Needless to say, this year has been absolutely terrible for Indian Art/Entertainment. The picture below comprises few of the gems who passed away this year, but let me clarify, the list is much longer. (Notable misses- Uncle Pai, Indira Goswami, Ustad Sultan Khan, Shrilal Shukla)