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Best Music Albums Of 2010

I don’t usually write countdown of best movies and best songs etc, but today when I was looking into my cd rack to play some songs, I realized that I had such few albums of 2010. I quickly sat down to list the 10 best albums of 2010. And guess what? I did not have 10! What the heck, why should there be a countdown at all. So, I just ended up listing the best albums of the year gone by. Here’s my list, in no particular order:

Ishqiya : This was a much awaited album, all thanks to Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar. Their previous work Kaminey had blown me away and I was looking forward to this. Ishqiya music was way different from Kaminey, but effective nevertheless. Since the setting was different, the music had to be more rustic and non-refined. Badi Dheere Jali and Ab Mujhe Koi are the real gems of this album, beautifully sung by Rekha Bharadwaj and so well penned by Gulzar; it brings out the melancholy and pathos of the character. But the songs that actually went onto become chartbusters were Ibn-e-batuta and Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji. In fact, the later lent itself into a movie title. The guitar strumming in country music mode, lyrics in a ghazalesque mood and Rahat Fateh Ali singing in a sufi tone; what a combination. This was the first album of 2010 that I liked.

LSD : After OLLO, Sneha Khanwalkar made a special place for herself in the music world. I still keep listening to Superchor, Tu Raja Ki Rajdulaari and the title track. So, there was a lot of expectation from LSD and she did not let us down. The dazed tracks of Tu Gandi Achhi Lagti Hai and the title track of the movie are a killer. The lyrics are so real, non-glossy and in-your-face. Sample the song I Can’t Hold It Any Longer, followed by FO FO; how much more blunt can you get! The entire theme of the movie is captured through various songs, including the fun number Love, Bollywood Style. True tribute to Adi Sir.

Once Upon A Time In Mumbai : This album was a nice surprise. Initially I had liked only the Mohit Chauhan number Pee Loon, more so for the retro picturization with Prachi Desai dressing up like Dimple Kapadia of Bobby. The Tulsi Kumar version of Tum Jo Aaye Zindagi Mei, that I kept hearing on radio channels, wasn’t very impressive. But then Rahat Fateh Ali’s rendition made me notice this song. Parda song was a nice throw back to the cabaret songs of the 1980′s. Overall a good album.

Dabangg : Another unlikely album which seemed to be all about Munni Badnaam, but actually turned out to be much more. Lalit of Jatin-Lalit fame gave the movie a much needed impetus with the Munni Badnaam song. But the song Tere Mast Mast Do Nain, actually took away my chain. Rahat Fateh Ali’s voice has this rare quality that pulls you towards it and tugs at the strings of the heart. The title track sung by Sukhwinder Singh is also good, totally coarse in approach and great drumbeats. After years of promotion by Salman Khan, Sajid-Wajid finally have got the limelight.

Raavan : This is my favourite album of 2010. Some great lyrics by Gulzar and inspired music by ARR, Raavan was a treat. The hard hitting Thok De Killi, the soft and romantic Behne De, the yearning of Ranjha Ranjha Kardi Vey and the wedding celebratory song Kata Kata Bechara Bakra. Even the soft number Khili Re Khili and Beera which starts with African drumbeats was good.

Apart from these 5 albums, there were quite a few other albums which had a couple of good songs but lacked in consistency and quality. My Name Is Khan had two good songs in Tere Naina and Sajda. Even romantically inclined movies like Break Ke Baad, I Hate Luv Storys and Anjaana Anjaani did not have great songs. A dheemi-dheemi here, a Bin Tere and Jab Mila Tu there. Just about average, but FM channels played it no end and made it sound like classic pieces. Dooriyan Bhi Hai Zarooriyan sung by Vishal Dadlani and Monica Dogra, now Shai of Dhobi Ghat fame, did give some strength to the song. But that was that. Aisha and Udaan were the other two albums that had great potential but fell short on expectations. I would love to mention Enthiran here, but since I am talking only Bollywood movies, I am going to leave it out. Although there was a hindi voice-dub, te lyrics was a big let down but the music was ok. I ended the year by listening to Band Baaja Baarat and Guzarish songs. But even they don’t make it to the list.

Anyways, let me know your list.

This post was first published on PFC

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Posted by on January 23, 2011 in bollywood, movies, music review


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Will ‘Peepli Live’ be India’s Oscar Entry for 2011?

Usually movies come with ratings and reviews which either takes us towards the movie or away from it. But Aamir Khan’s movies come with ‘compulsion’; a ‘must watch’ tag. When Aamir puts himself behind a movie, then all ratings and reviews fly out of the window; and people just want to watch the product at least once. And when that product turns out to be what ‘Peepli [Live]‘ is, we understand what differentiates Aamir from the others.

Everyone has been gushing about the movie; even the media channels who have been mocked at in the movie. The tv channels have accepted it as a backhanded compliment that at least they showed the plight of the farmer, albeit in a sarcastic tone and for TRPs. I would sound repetitive if I said that ‘the movie was great…a satire on the political class and media … authentic … moving’ etc etc. Rather than stating the obvious, let me just say that Shyam Benegal called the movie ‘a landmark film’ on a news channel last week. After hearing the entire discussion, my mind took flight and I started wondering if this movie would be chosen as India’s Oscar entry for the year 2011. Apart from the movie being a fine work of art, a concave view of the farmer’s plight, its also a telling statement on the society. Let me quickly list the things that go in favour of PL:

a. of all the movies that India has sent to Oscars, only 3 movies have been nominated in ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category – Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan. All three based on people with impoverished background in general, MI and Lagaan based on rural background in particular.

b. having seen the success of Slumdog Millionaire and the various discussions on poverty-porn or poverty sells, PL seems to be just the kind of movie that the jury may favor.

c. most movies that were sent as India’s entry were barely showcased due to lack of funds. We have previously seen how Aamir and Ashutosh gave it their best in promoting ‘Lagaan’. By virtue of having been there before and done the hardwork, Aamir seems to be the ideal producer who can promote the movie. And also, his credibility can bring in the jurors and critics to give his movie a dekko.

Peepli [Live] works on all levels, it tells a great tale in a fascinating manner. The story itself is not all that new, a general apathy displayed by the political class and the discontent of the poor innocent villager. But the media-hawks flying down to the epicenter of the drama and the various bureaucratic procedures/hurdles gave the entire proceedings a satirical tone. Who can forget that line “We are waiting for the High Court orders” being oft repeated or the invasion of privacy where a man cannot answer nature’s call without the presence of security and tv cameras. What have we come to? Reporters/journalists chasing mal-mutra for TRPs!

I have this weird feeling that the movie has a better chance of winning the Oscar[because of above reasons] than of being selected as India’s entry. Within India itself there would be much debate on which movie to be sent to the Oscars. Another movie that comes immediately to mind, which could give competition to PL is LSD.

Technically, LSD is on par with what the western audience has already experienced before in Paranormal Activity etc. A movie that does not look like one, the rough-cut and the jagged edge gives it that extra bit of authenticity; and the story-telling is very understated. The movie does not make a statement, does not ask questions, does not prove anyone wrong or right, does not lecture on ways of life and living; and yet it does all of the above in a very subliminal way. Considering technical finesse, story-telling and the real world story that it chooses to tell, LSD would be a good choice too.

Finally, let me come to my worst fear. Yes, I think you guessed it ! MNIK could just prove to be the dark horse. And the only reason why this could be chosen would be that it sends out a message of unity and the shunning of Islamophobia. And no better country to send out such a message than India. If we see from the government’s perspective, they would rather send a movie that shows India in good light than a PL or a LSD. So, if MNIK gets chosen I would not be surprised at all. Moreover, SRK is an equally recognized face all over the world and would manage to promote the movie well; but I am not so sure about the credibility factor.

Let me hastily add that I have not spoken about any regional cinema here. As much as I have read and watched them, I am not sure any of them could make it. But you never know the way I&B ministry works; we could all be in for some surprise. But my personal choice would be Peepli [Live]. Let me know what you think.

This post was first published on PFC

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Posted by on August 25, 2010 in bollywood, movies


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My name is Khan, and I am not a perfectionist

mnikI had no plans of watching this movie. So, all of Friday evening and Saturday morning I kept looking for tickets of Ishqiya and Valentine’s Day; so I could celebrate love on that day. But thanks to the ‘n’ number of prints of MNIK, other movies hardly had any good show-timings. I left it at that and just shutdown the laptop.

Come Sunday morning and something had to be done, we drove round the city from Koramangala to Marathalli, heading for Forum Value Mall. But soemthing inside made me take a right at this junction and stop at Innovative. I wanted to quickly run-in and check if Ishqiya was still available but no, I was a bit late for that. With no choice left, I picked up 2 tickets for MNIK for 3pm.

2.50pm, and we were outside the auditorium. We walked in quitely and sat in our seat. In a few moments I was beaming with pride. Fox-Searchlights presents… wow! Fox presenting an Indian movie, that really felt nice. The movie had hardly begun and SRK had already mouthed the lines ‘MNIK, and I am not a terrorist’. Quite a few people turned up late for the show, but they did not miss a thing. The movie was far too slow for that.

Within 50 minutes I was yawning and did not know where to rest my head, on my shoulder or in my palms covering my eyes. The movie was nauseatically manipulative. When a director makes the audience feel for the character, it works well. But when he tries to force something down the throat, all we can do is puke. Here, I did not feel anything for the character because there was no build-up. We could easily see-through the motive, and how contrived it was; just to get the audience to react emotionally. The message was nice, there are just good and bad people. But they went on and on with it; not sparing a sinlge opportunity to use this line to effect.

mnikLot of things were loud, as expected in Karan Johar movie. But I would not like to blame him entirely. SRK was the co-producer and he must take blame for the bad product too. Let me shed light on some of the glaring and obvious over-statements of the movie. All through the movie SRK is in blazer and trouser and other essential casuals. But during the 9/11 homage, he turns up in a blistering white pathan-suit and with a skull-cap. WTF! Why did he suddenly go out of character? And if that was not enough, he suddenly starts chanting verses from Quran, only to exaggerate the Islamic-phobia. That was a dis-service to the the community, more harm than good was achieved and Karan stereotyped the faith. All through Rizvan’s childhood, they neither showed him offering namaz; nor did he ever witness his ammi offering one. But conveniently they slip him into namaz mode only because they happened to write a golden line ‘namaz neeyat se padhi jaati hai’. Intentions are good, no doubt; but over-exaggerated, trying hard to pull every string of human emotions.

Another point of contention is Kajol’s addressing of SRK. Pre-marital mode, she called him Rizwan; but suddenly after marriage she starts calling him Khan. Who calls their hubby by their surname or last-name? But no, Karan Johar cannot cinematically drive home a point; so he has to drill it down by way of dialogs. So, we know that Khan caused the problems and not Rizvan. And last of my complains is with meeting-the-Prez scene. It was shown that SRK did not like shaking hands and he just says a ‘Hi’. But when he meets the Prez, he shakes his hands. No problem with that at all, special situations call for special greeting. But, he says ‘Salaam Walekkum’ to the Prez and not a ‘Hi’. Why? Why in the name of Lord would he do that, if not to show an Islamic pride. I would not have minded this, if he had greeted everyone in the movie with ‘Salaam Walekkum’, but he chooses that moment to say it. How suggestive is that?

As already mentioned before, the movie was long drawn and boring. Kajol’s wailing scene was overdone, reminded me of Karishma’s screech in Fiza; but Fiza at least deserved that scene. Here its done only to make sure that Kajol walks away with all the awards. I am quite sure SRK will also win awards and accolades for it, and not just Indian felicitation but international awards too. Karan will have some more trophies to adorn his showcase. But, do they deserve it! That’s the question they should ask themselves.

Rizvan Khan could have been a simple man with simple needs and how he reacts to post-9/11. But they chose to make him autistic because it suited the purpose of trying to show the inherent innocence of the character and his lack of knowledge of the way this world works; thereby seeing people in black or white with no shades of gray. I felt Jimmy Shergill’s character should have had a better progression than SRK’s, simply because he has done all the hardwork and obtained a scholarship, he has been loyal to the country and still his wife comes under fire. So, his charcater should have grown more and some substanial points should have been made through him. But Karan used Jimmy as a prop, that was a wrong move.

I have one last issue to bring up. Instead of first tackling and speaking about how muslims are discriminated in US, shouldn’t SRK see that back-home in India, in fact in western part of Inida, there were 2 major riots; Gujarat riots and Bombay riots. So, first let us solve our issues and douse the fire at home, then talk about the problems that muslims, not just Indian muslims, face in US. But they don’t have the balls to do that. Firstly, the movie may have got stuck with censors and if not, then the people on other side of the fence would have opposed the release of the movie. So, they took the more convenient path of blaming all ills on the general intelligensia and taking liberty in showing FBI’s iron-fist and tough security measures at airports; thereby generating more sympathy for the character. I would rather watch a stark portrayal of the after-effects of riots in movies like Parzania, Firaaq, Aamir than watch a glossed up and emotionally manipulative movie like this. These guys should just stick to candyfloss stuff rather than take such serious issue and make a mockery of it. By the way, can anyone tell me what was khan’s SSN number and what kind of visa was issued to him?

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Posted by on February 16, 2010 in bollywood, movie review, movies


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Why MNIK Should Not Be Watched By Mumbaikars!

Let me say in the very beginning that I am not a follower or a sympathiser of Shiv-Sena. I hate their brand of divisive politics and this post has nothing to do with Shiv-Sena’s tirade against SRK.

While the entire media and section of Bollywood rallied behind the star, SRK, in support of his statements; he was amiss. When all fans and film fraternity is trying to get the movie to release in Mumbai, SRK is busy with its premiere in Abu Dhabi. That’s one of the biggest reasons why Mumbaikars should not watch the movie. While the fans are standing by the star, he is not to be seen. I expected SRK to be in Mumbai and urge the crowd to come, watch the movie with him and thumb-down Shiv-Sena etc. But instead, he has chosen the easy path of twittering and making statements. This is general apathy shown towards his genuine fan and I would hate to watch the movie for this very reason.

Another fact is the kind of publicity stunts he is pulling to get maximum eyeballs. Since most of us know the theme of the movie, he is swaying towards Dubai, Pak and Mid-East so his movie is well received in those places; thereby taking Indian audience for granted, WTF!

His chest-thumping statements after IPL auction was ridiculous, to say the least. He said that he would have picked up Pak cricketers in the auction, had he been there. What??? In this day and age of communication, and with SRK being brand ambassador of Airtel and Nokia, could he not have been in-touch with his co-owners during the bidding! Could he not have sent a word to the KKR representatives that so-and-so Pak player is worth his salt and should be picked. But NO. He chooses the easy path of crying foul after the entire event is over. Thereby keeping his fan-base in Dubai and Pak happy and satisfied. He does not want to lose the fan-base there, for obvious reasons. How else is he gonna dance in lavish weddings in Dubai? The irony is that, these very guys will be circulating pirated cd/dvd of the movie.

Coming to the part of his false claims and statements, another publicity for his movie. He recently made a mention of full-body scan in an airport in Uk and autographing the print-out of the scans! The airport authorities came out strongly against this vicious lie stating that they ‘only scan’ and ‘do not have printers’ in the scan area. Hence, his scans could not have been printed at all.

A few months back, he cried hoarse about security measures in US, when he was detained for questioning. The Prez of India did not make an issue when he was cross-checked, Kamal Hasan and Mammooty did not cry foul; then why was our King Khan pissed. Simply becasue he saw an opportunity of bringing his movie into limelight and drawing maximum mileage and cheap publicity; to keep the movie alive in people’s minds and of course to drive home the theme of the movie.

This movie is very important to SRK. Firstly because he has co-produced it and so a lot is at stake. He knows that by angering the Shiv-Sena he can gather maximum publicity from it. Secondly because his numero-uno position is being challenged, Akshay’s and Aamir’s movie have earned more than his movies in the last 5 years. And lastly, his IPL venture and his tv-show have been a mega-flop and he needs to prove himself again.

Anyways, I just wish that his blind-fans can see through this facade and trash his movie. So, Indians in general, and Mumbaikars in particular, please don’t watch the movie for SRK.


Posted by on February 12, 2010 in bollywood, indian politics, movies


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all khans’ under fire

In a strange turn of events, all 4 Khans’ of bollywood have come under fire from different quarters. While Shiv Sena took on 2 khans’, Aamir and Shahrukh over the IPL issue, the other two were lambasted by different communities of Rajasthan for their irresponsible behavior.

Shiv Sena, in their mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, is outraged by SRK and Aamir statements over IPL. While Aamir bore the brunt because all he said was that merit should have taken precedence over nationality while selecting players for IPL, SRK went overboard in sympathising with Pakistan and said that he felt “humiliated” that no talent from Pak was picked. SRK made ridiculous excuses that he couldn’t attend the auction of players. What an excuse! He is the brand ambassador of Nokia and Airtel, all he needed was to be in touch with his represntatives, but he chose not to. And now that his movie ‘My Name Is Khan’ is ready for release, he wants to win back his fans in Pak and Dubai. He is only serving his self-interest, as he is the co-producer of the movie and he wants to protect his fan-base in middle-east. That also serves the purpose of him dancing in lavish Dubai weddings. SRK’s stand was purely a business-minded decision, and not an emotional one. The irony is that, these very people are gonna circulate the pirated cd/dvd of his movie. SRK was calling for trouble, when he went out of his way in support to Pak. Shiv Sena has called him a ‘traitor’ and torn down posters of his movie. I am sure they will cause problems during release of the movie too.

Now, coming to Saif Ali Khan, his involvement on ‘black buck’ hunting case has caused some discontent among sections of Rajasthanis who felt that he should not have been awarded the Padma Shri. Since he has not been proven innocent in the case yet, and he isn’t the most deserving candidate for the award, his effigy was burnt.

Lastly, theatre screens acorss cities in Rajasthan were ransacked duty to wrong portrayal of the ‘rajputana’ clan in the movie ‘Veer’. Hence, the mischief mongers smashed glass windows and tore down posters of Salman Khan.

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Posted by on January 31, 2010 in bollywood, ipl


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upcoming bollywood releases …

Release Date: Jan’2010

Release Date: Jan’2010

Release Date: 25 Dec’2010

Release Date: 06 Nov’2010

Release Date: Dec’2010

Release Date: Jan’2010

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Posted by on October 23, 2009 in bollywood, movies


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srk : i’m a celebrity, get me out of here

It was not a dense jungle out there but an airport, Newark. And the task was neither to have a public bath nor eat roaches nor catch squids and put them in jars. The task was to answer a few security related questions and to prove one’s credentials. Just being a bollywood star is not a recognition, what with rapists like Shiney Ahuja lurking around and druggists like Fardeen Khan roaming free and of course deer hunters like Salman Khan who not just hunts black-bucks but makes black bucks with movies like Chori Chori Chupke Chupke which was totally funded by underworld and add the trampling of poor street-sleepers under his Mitsubishi Landcruiser. So, in such a case if SRK is asked to prove his credentials and some relative/friend’s name and number who can vouch for him, then what’s wrong with that. And add to this the thumb rule of not being allowed to make any calls, what’s wrong with that?

Hundreds and thousands of people have to undergo such security-based questioning, then why should SRK be spared. Is he not a common man for USA. Kamal Hassan was questioned, so was Mammooty and APJ Kalam. Its all done with a clean intention of security measure.

Now comes the tricky question. SRK has been frisked earlier too, he must’ve waited for his baggage even before this travel. So, why is he raising a hue and cry this time? Is he milking the issue to his advantage? He does not need publicity, he is a megastar. Then why is he going on and on. Kamal Hassan, APJ Kalam and others haven’t revisited their experience or retold it.

This incident comes close on the heels of Emraan Hashmi claiming that he was not given housing because of his religious background. Later it was clarified that the owner was not interested in selling the proprety since his son has decided to settle in Mumbai. A case was then filed against Emraan Hashmi for reverse-discrimination.

Coming back to SRK, he wanted special treatment at the airport. But what for? Hasn’t he seen Sarfarosh where an ambassador of art and culture turns out to be the culprit. Moreover, when will we Indians get out of the habit of tu jaanta nahi mere baap ko or tu jaanta hai mai kaun hoon?

Instead of crying foul we should make our security measures stringent. We should frisk any outsider/foreigner and then garland them; be it Bill Clinton or Brad Pitt.

As for SRK, he was let off free; but obviously. And he is making a big deal of it. It has already generated publicty and created a buzz for his new movie My Name Is Khan where he plays an autistic man who is harrassed by the security keepers of US only because his name is Khan … xyz Khan

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Posted by on August 19, 2009 in bollywood, general, movies


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