Friday, August 12, 2011

Mausam Soundtrack

After a lot of waiting, the Mausam soundtrack is finally here. I've been pretty excited for it, because Mausam is the sort of movie that just begs to have amazing music. The list of singers also makes for a pretty impressive mix. However, in terms of the tracklist itself, I have to say that I'm seriously missing a Mohit Chauhan song. I absolutely love the Pritam-Mohit combo (Tum Se Hi; Yeh Dooriyan), and was looking forward to one on this soundtrack as well. Also, the absence of a female voice doesn't seem right - no solos, but no duets either (if you don't count that short bit in Sajh Dhaj Ke). Wasn't Shreya supposed to sing for this soundtrack - what happened there?

Anyway, onto the actual album...

+ I absolutely love the music for Rabba - it's the same background score we heard during the promo, and it is just lovely. It has that light and airy feel to it, which goes really well with Shahid Mallya's mildly deep voice. The Rahat Fateh Ali Khan version is also really nice, but I'm not sure which is my favourite yet - maybe Shahid Mallya's wins, but only by a little.

+ I immediately took a liking to Sajh Dhaj Ke when I first saw the TV promo - and the actual song delivers even more. Mika gave it his all, and how! Such a fun song; makes you want to jump up and start dancing right there. The original is definitely my favourite, but the Tigerstyle remixes (Desi; Club) are also good for dance floors.

+ Ik Tu Hi Tu Hi - this song, my God! It has such a haunting feel to it, that give-you-goosebumps type. How melancholic. This is my favourite track on the album, but the problem is that I can't decide which version I like more - every time I listen to one version, I think I like it the best, but then I switch to another version and I'm confused again. Really, really good track, this one - done well and differently by all the singers. All three versions will be on repeat for a very long time.

+ Poore Se Zara Sa Kam Hai is also really nice. I love that Rashid Khan croons for the first minute without any background music; he has such a powerful voice and that allows it to come through.

+ Aag Lage Us Aag Ko is reminiscent of Dhol Baaje. Good track, but I haven't listened to it much - it's getting overshadowed by the rest.

+ Another good dance number is Mallo Malli, but I still prefer Sajh Dhaj Ke, easily. Still, this version and the remixes are the type that can grow on you quickly.

+ Irshad Kamil's lyrics are just lovely:

tera shehar jo peeche choot raha
kuch andar andar toot raha
bin tere hum toh poore se zara sa kam hai

ab dil chahe khamoshi ke hothon pe mein likh doon
pyaari si baatein kayi

kaanch pe chalna aanch mein jalna
jitne bhi dard hai maaye seh na sake yeh jindari

Overall, it is a beautiful soundtrack - great composition by Pritam, and amazing lyrics and singing to accompany it. It has that rustic feel to it, which I think fits in really well with the vibe of the movie. Now I'm looking forward to seeing how each song is picturised; hopefully more video promos are forthcoming.

My picks: Ik Tu Hi Tu Hi, Sajh Dhaj Ke, Rabba. 

What do you think of the album? What's your favourite track from it?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mausam Trailer Launch

Today I had the extreme good fortune of being able to go to the Mausam trailer launch! It was an experience unlike any other and I'm still spazzing about it because I finally got to see Shahid Kapoor! :) Not only that, but Mausam is a film most of us have been waiting over a year for - so it was really quite surreal to be able to see scenes from it on the big screen.

First, for the promo - the background music is lovely, the cinematography is beautiful... but what I love most about it is the "feel" of the film. It has that very timeless and romantic feel, but more than that, you get that it's going to be an intense movie and is more than your usual love story. I wish we got to hear some of the songs from the movie, but no matter - something more to look forward to. :)

As for the entire experience - I got there, walked in and saw that all the media had set up. I ended up getting a seat in the third row, on the side of the auditorium. This was totally by luck, as the centre seats were reserved for guests and therefore no one was allowed to sit there. So most of the other non-media people got seats behind the cameras, and I am really SO thankful that no one asked me to move and that I could keep my seat. :)

I got my first glimpse of Shahid as he and Sonam were waiting by the door to enter the auditorium. I started freaking out right there, haha. Then he came in, waved to the fans and said that he wants to say a special thank you to ShahidOnline, and mentioned that they call themselves "Mausambees" so he knows he has really juicy fans. ;) Then they proceeded to the actual Q&A session; I'm not going to give out details of the Q&As because I bet that video will be up on BollywoodHungama soon and it's really fun to watch. And it was a LOT of fun; Shahid and Sonam had great chemistry between them and it seemed like they really had bonded during the shoot. Shahid was very witty with his answers; I especially liked his response to the Kareena-Priyanka-Sonam question. :) He seemed very comfortable throughout the entire thing, and that was great to see.

Then they wrapped up and got ready to leave. The photographers swamped them for more photos, and I weaseled my way into that group (I don't even know how) and walked right up to him and said, "Shahid, I'm from ShahidOnline." He stopped and smiled then. :) I told him I have something to give him on behalf of everyone at SO, and handed him the card.

He saw it and said, "Oh, wow... you guys are rockstars!" I asked if I could get a picture with him and he said yes. I was looking around for someone to give my phone to, and he said, "Give me, I'll take it." I didn't realize my camera was zoomed in, so that picture didn't turn out very well. He started leaving then, and I quietly said, "Oh, I didn't get it..." Somehow he heard, came back and said, "Let's take another one." :DDD And we did! And that one turned out fabulously, and I am ON TOP OF THE WORLD.

Of course the second one is a better pic, but I have a soft spot for the first one - he took it, our grins are huge, his head is resting against mine! :D

VERY, VERY, VERY happy! Clearly. I still almost can't believe it. :)))

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vande Mataram.

Hey guys, remember that time we won a cricket World Cup and it wasn't 1983?

I am so incredibly happy right now that I can barely even articulate it. It's incredible to think that the team has actually won the World Cup, but at the same time, of course they should've won the World Cup - they deserved it. It's just... I am over the moon now. Thoughts:

+ It was a match worthy of a final. I thought I was nervous during the Australia and Pakistan matches; boy was I wrong. This match literally had me hiding under my sheets and peeking at the TV from behind my pillow. I'm not built to take such tension, ha!

+ As I see it, our win was perfect. The only things that could have made it better were Sachin's 100th century and Sehwag slamming the first ball for a boundary. Neither happened - QUITE the opposite, really - but I'm very glad that the team has proved it can sustain itself without their two powerful openers. Earlier in the tournament, we found that they relied on Sachin-Sehwag too much (Sachin in particular), and collapsed later. It was the opposite this time, and I'm glad to see them prove that. Also, while a part of me would've loved to see us pummel the Lankans, victory is much sweeter when you've had to work for it. Again, earlier in the tournament, we've found India slipping from winning positions - but this time, they upped their game from a losing position (high score to chase, Sachin-Sehwag out) and won. It was a beautiful thing to see.

+ Great, great innings by both Gautam and Virat to level the game and bring India back into it. Their runs, the way they operated under pressure... both were crucial for India. 

+ I am, above all, happy for Dhoni. I think he's a brilliant captain and one of the best things to happen to Indian cricket, but he's heard a lot of criticism lately - for his selection choices, for his decisions, for his lack of runs. He silenced them all today with a fantastic innings and an amazing six to end the match. Could not be prouder of that man.

+ Very smart cricket overall by the Indian team. They were under pressure, but they did what they had to do. No unnecessary risks, just enough runs to keep the current rate on par with the required one. They played as a true team today.

+ The most poignant moment of the entire World Cup was when the crowd at Wankhede Stadium started singing Vande Mataram. It was just... beautiful. I would have given a lot to be there with them, singing along, cheering my team along, seeing the match to the end. But even so, it was one of my proudest moments just experiencing it.

+ Just seeing India lift that cup and hoist Sachin on their shoulders has filled me with so much joy my heart could actually burst. They did it. They did it, for Sachin. They did it, for the nation. So proud.

+ LOVELY words by Virat about Sachin: “He’s carried the burden of our nation for 21 years. It was time to carry him on our shoulders today.” Beautiful, just beautiful.

+ Very happy to see the boys also hoist Gary Kirsten on their shoulders and take him for a victory lap. That man deserves much of the credit for this win. Thank you, Gary. Please don't leave us.

+ Thank you, Sri Lanka, for a great match. Full respect to you for the fight you gave.

World Champions! :D
Photo credit: ESPNcricinfo

Happy happy happy happy happy! :D

By the way, if you think you're done with my cricket posts, you're wrong. I've got one more in my system. ;) It's probably going to be up tomorrow. And with that, I think my blog almost requires a name change... :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

IND vs PAK: Post-match Thoughts

INDIA WON!!! WE DID IT! So proud of the Men in Blue. They pulled through again and now we're just one step away from the cup. Some thoughts from the game:

+ The most baffling thing about the match was how many lives Sachin was given. Or rather, how many he took, because the almighty Sachin isn't given things, he takes them. ;) He lead a seriously charmed life today. Nope, he wasn't playing at his best, but you know what? Ordinary innings by his standard are extraordinary innings by everyone else's standard. Having said that, I'm actually glad he didn't make his 100th century today - I'm not going by the "when Sachin makes a century, India loses" myth, I'm just saying that I think he'd rather achieve this milestone when he's playing an innings he's completely proud of. Today was probably not the day, but no matter - it gives us something to look forward to still.

+ Glad Ashish Nehra silenced the doubters. Yes, Dhoni misread the pitch - as did everyone else - and that's why he opted for Nehra instead of Ashwin, but can we stop getting on his case, please? He has to make decisions and he has to take risks, but he's putting thought into them and he's doing what he thinks is right. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't, but that's how the game works and that's what makes it interesting.

+ MUNAF PATEL. Did Yuvraj share some Revital with him prior to this match? Munaf has been the butt of all jokes for a good portion of this World Cup, but he totally showed up today. He bowled tight overs (including a maiden over), he took two wickets, and he fielded also decently. Good job, Munaf.

+ Speaking of Yuvraj, I was heartbroken to see him get out the way he did. Was hoping for another fabulous innings because he has totally been in the game this World Cup. He made up for it with the ball, though, so that's okay.

+ Raina is the man. He shows composure and calmness while batting, but is absolutely enthusiastic on the field. He fields excellently and is always jumping on and hugging players when there's an opportunity to celebrate. Watching a player enjoy his game thoroughly is one of the most heartening things to see, so thank you Raina for your show of enthusiasm.

How is Raina even MANAGING to hold these two? :)
Photo credit: ESPNcricinfo

+ Loved the spirit of the game. It seems too easy for players to succumb to the pressure of an India-Pakistan match, but all the boys played with complete dignity. No sledging, no out-to-get-you attitude, no sore losing. It was a wonderful thing to see.

+ Full respect to the Pakistani team. Not only did they make us work for our win, but they were absolutely gracious in their loss. Afridi showed great sportsmanship - he accepted his loss like a champ, and it was great to see his interaction with the Indian players. We need more like you, Afridi. Thanks for a great game and I hope you get all the respect you deserve back home.

Photo credit: ESPNcricinfo

That's all from me for today. Really hoping and praying for an Indian World Cup win this year. I will not be able to settle properly until Saturday; I'm already feeling the nerves and butterflies. We're so close. So close. Pleasepleaseplease win this, India. Please!

The Epic Match

So I realize that this is supposed to be a filmi blog, but I can't help it - I've been eating, breathing, living the World Cup these past few weeks, so I must talk about it.

THE match starts in a few hours, and there has been absolute pandemonium all over, the kind of pandemonium that only an India-Pakistan cricket match can create. Ever since it has been guaranteed that there'd be an IND-PAK semi-final - and, well, even before that - it's all anyone has been talking about. One would expect that - the competition in India-Pakistan matches always transcends the sport and goes into the realm of war and politics. Cricket-wise, they're already two teams that can set off sparks when they clash, but you go and add India and Pakistan's history to that, and you've got something else.

For this reason, the Indian media has touted this semi-final as being a "peace" match, a bridge between India and Pakistan. Actually, I don't understand the concept of a "peace" match. Cricket is the one thing that makes us more fiercely competitive than anything else - it is, in a sense, war. It seems that a lot hinges on the result of an India-Pakistan match - a win is extra sweet while a loss is extra bitter. But if you think about it, it's unfair to bring all these years of rivalry and tension onto the field during a cricket match. Why do we suddenly look to our cricket team to exact revenge on our rival? Why should the players have to feel the pressure of the match being used as a vehicle for peace talks between the Prime Ministers of the two nations? Cricket is war, yes, but the war should be limited to the game currently being played. Allow it to transcend beyond the stadium and make the game into what it's not, and we'll never achieve the peace we're talking about.

So, today, try to take the match for it is - a match. Cheer for your team, be hyper-competitive, feel free to make good-natured jokes about the opponents. But keep the match in perspective and don't look to it to create either war or peace.

Having said that, it's no doubt that this match is a biiig one. Both teams want the win, both teams deserve the win, and hopefully both teams will play for the win. It's going to be an epic clash and I absolutely cannot wait for it - hence the reason I'm up late writing this post instead of trying to get a few hours of sleep before I wake up at 4:30am to watch the match.

I'd love to be all diplomatic while ending this post, but I'm not going to pull a Ravi Shastri on you all and say that hopefully "cricket is the real winner." No, the real winner better be India. I'm praying and crossing my fingers for an Indian win on this one, so hopefully the boys will pull through with victory. To borrow a quote from Atul Kasbekar: "Today we won't Go Green, we'll just Bleed Blue." That is all.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bollywood Playlist #3: Best of Mohit Chauhan

So I'm working on a new Character Profile (any guesses for which character?), but it's slow going because I've been incredibly busy lately. Hopefully it will be up soon, but for now I'm putting up a playlist because I've been on a music kick lately. This is the Best of Mohit Chauhan list - he's my favourite singer; I don't think I've disliked even a single song he's sung. However, I definitely have my favourites, and they're listed below. :)

Best of Mohit Chauhan
Click the title for YouTube link

raastein mil jaati hai
manzilen mil jaati hai
tum se hi, tum se hi

roads are found
destinations are reached
only with you, only with you

[This is not just my favourite Mohit Chauhan song; it's my favourite song ever. Nothing I ever say about this song will be enough.]

dil ne kaisi harkat ki hai
pehli baar mohabbat ki hai

what tricks has my heart played
i am in love for the first time

[Mohit Chauhan's voice + Vishal Bhardwaj's music + Gulzar's lyrics is a beautiful combination.]

kabhi hua yeh bhi
khaali rahoon peh bhi
tu tah mere saath

there was a time
even on empty roads
when you were with me

[Who doesn't relate to this song? Distance is the one thing I hate the most. You can feel that quiet sort of sadness in MC's voice, which is exactly what the lyrics are trying to convey.]

tujhe bhula diya
toh phir kyun tere yaadon ne mujhe ruladiya?

i have forgotten you
then why did memories of you make me cry?

[Again, who doesn't relate to this song? The above lines in particlar.]

ab yeh lamha teher jaye, tham jaye, bas jaye
hum dono ke darmiyaan

now this moment pauses, stops, lives
between us two

 [This is such a soft, serene song that always manages to put a small smile on my face. MC's voice flows beautifully.]

tere sang chain bhi mujhko
tere sang bekaraari hai

with you, i am at ease
with you, i am restless

[This is probably my favourite track of 2010... if you don't count Sheila Ki Jawani. Um, let's not go there...]

itdi se mud, ada se ud
kar le poori dil ki tamanna

turn with pleasure, fly with style
fulfill your heart's desires

[What a unique song! You can tell MC's having fun with this one.]

sawaloon ki ungli
jawabon ki muthi

pointing fingers
got fists in reply

[If I'm right, this was MC's first film song - and what a debut it was. His voice is haunting here; exactly what you want for such a song.]    

And that’s my list! There are, of course, a number of other Mohit Chauhan songs I love—Tune Jo Na Kaha, Jingle Jingle, Bheegi Si Bhaagi Si, Is Jahaan Mein, etc. Not to mention, he has non-film albums as well—solo (Fitoor) as well as with his band Silk Route (Boondein, Pehchan). All of his songs are worth a listen, but my favourites are those above. What are your favourite Mohit Chauhan songs?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Character Profile: Aisha; Wake Up Sid

I'm one of those people who can become heavily invested in characters (see: Bollywood Characters I'd Marry), and therefore the characters are what will make the film for me. I'd even be willing to put a film's plot on the backseat--not hard, considering too many of our films are basically the same plot rehashed--if I can feel a real connection with the characters. And there really have been some memorable characters that stay with me well past the film's ending credits--therefore, one of the new fixtures on my blog is a profile of some of my favourite Bollywood characters. To kick things off, I'm profiling Aisha, Konkona Sen Sharma's character in Wake Up, Sid.

Aisha is probably not the most typical choice out there, but I absolutely adore her for how understated she is. Oftentimes, a character needs to be over-the-top in order to be memorable, but Aisha's manages to shine through her subtlety, perhaps because she is a realistic and well fleshed-out character--she has her strengths and she has her flaws, and somewhere there is an Aisha hidden in all of us. Aisha is actually the one character who reminds me most of me, and therefore I thought it'd be fitting to start with her.

When we first see Aisha, she is hunched over her journal, possibly recording her thoughts on her first day as an official Bombayite. The journalist in her cannot resist making notes, even if it is at the risk of being anti-social; she very happily ignores the party around her in favor of writing.

However, don't be hasty to judge Aisha as a meek and timid person. She quickly opens up to Sid (played by Ranbir Kapoor) and asks him to show her around Bombay, but immediately specifies what her intentions are (or are not, as the case may be).

From there on, we learn a few facts about Aisha: she lived all her life in Calcutta, she wants to be a writer, and she came to Mumbai simply because she craves independence.

In an industry fraught with "damsel in distress" plotlines, it's refreshing to see a character who is strong, independent, and does not need any form of 'saving'. In fact, she ends up being the one doing the saving--when Sid gets kicked out of his house, it's Aisha he turns to for help, Aisha who takes him in and helps him get his life back on track.

Meanwhile, Aisha's busy getting her own life on track. She has explored Bombay and no longer feels like a stranger in the city...

...she's turning her dump of an apartment into her home...

...and she has interviewed for a job where she meets her, um, rather good-looking boss.

Oops! But who can blame her, really?

How YOU doin'?

The film then continues to explore Aisha and Sid as individual characters and as friends. To say more about the film would be to give plot details away, so I won't. Instead, I'll continue to examine facets of Aisha's personality, through screenshots taken from the film.

Aisha's Style

I love how the costume designers (Manish Malhotra, Priyanjali Lahiri) have managed to give Aisha's character that "modern Indian woman" look--they do not stick her in salwar kurtas, nor do they insist on dressing her solely in skirts or dresses. Instead, Aisha's look blends traditional with modern, and you'll usually find her in a kurta and jeans. It's very typical of what the ordinary Indian woman would wear out and about, thus increasing Aisha's relatability.

I love her payal!

Absolutely adore this camel-print kurta... WANT!

I really like this outfit. It's like an Indianized version of the LBD. Plus, the SHOES!

It's not only Aisha's choice of clothing that reflects her style, but also how she chooses to decorate her apartment. Let me just say that I absolutely love what the set designers have done with her room. It's simple and classy and very reflective of Aisha's character.

Love her use of the bird cut-outs.

Very pretty bird cage to go with the bird cut-outs.

I love hanging up pictures of the people I love too, so I adored this concept!

Aisha's Inspirtation

Again, I love how well-fleshed out her character is. The director does a wonderful job of throwing in little snippets of Aisha's favourite things in the movie. It's done subtly and mostly integrated into song sequences, but it really opens up a window to Aisha's personality.


Aisha receives a shipment of her things from home.

She collects post cards.

More books!

I love smelling books, so I totally relate to this scene.

Even more books! And you wonder why I love Aisha so much...

I've said it before, but the great thing about Aisha is how easy it is to relate to her. She has her flaws--I wanted to shake her when she kept calling Sid immature; I can't imagine how annoying that must have been, especially after he did a lot of growing up--but she's also extremely endearing and unostentatious.

That's that for my first character profile! I'll be back soon with another. In the meantime, do let me know who your favourite characters are, and whether you feel the same way about Aisha as I do!

By the way, as a side-note: If you're a LiveJournal user, you can follow my posts on your LJ Friends Page by adding this feed. :)