Four…and on to many more!

It has been four years. Has it really been four long years that have whizzed by so? Wasn’t it just recently that the preparations were on in full swing for the big day? Why, it seems like just yesterday that I was this shy, excited, nervous, glowing bride waiting at the threshold of a life full of promises of changes, challenges, dreams and hopes! Has it been so long since the day I spoke to him about my expectations from this sacred bond of trust that we hoped to build? Well, it truly has been f-o-u-r years since life changed forever. Where did all the days and months and years roll by so quickly, I wonder?!

 When I think back I can clearly remember the various moments of the day. It really was our day – the day when all forces, seen and unseen worked to make it happen for us. It was one day when everything that was done, was being done and that would be done, by anyone and everyone, was solely for us and us only! Boy! Is that a heady feeling or what? One does feel on top of the world! Our marriages are really special that way, don’t you think? It truly is an once-in-a-lifetime experience that one cherishes for ever. On the day, amidst the myriad busy events and emotions, one will not truly appreciate the significance of all that takes place, but in retrospect it fills the heart with a warm glow of contentment 🙂

 As I tread back on the path of memories of the four years since, I can’t but help muse about all the changes that have happened around us, amongst us and within us. Some dear ones are no more and the memory of the beautiful moments shared with them remain just that – memories to savour. Our opinions and priorities have changed – some subtly and some radically. We have walked on hand in hand with new aspirations and dreams that we envisage for our future, taking along our families in this wake. Our thoughts and perspectives have acquired new dimensions that we didn’t think was possible – there has been so much to think, plan and hope for – so much joy and tears, pleasure and sadness, love and pain – a melting pot of emotions and experiences it has been and continues to be!

 I glance at the hubby – home after battling the city’s traffic and a hard day at work – creases line his forehead – lines of thought for his dear ones – plans to ease their difficulties and smoothen the path leading to the future – dreams and hopes for himself and his beloved. I wonder – when and how was it that I began to trust and believe in this guy – a mere stranger just four years ago?! And then… there is a funny commercial on the TV and he guffaws – I fall in love all over again! 🙂 Every little aspect of his personality that captivates me – his childlike wonder, innocence and naughtiness, his boyish charm, the endless patience, the ready laughter, the heart that melts at the sight of any 4-legged being, the selflessness when it comes to his family and friends – the thoughts gush through the heart and mind and engulf me in an avalanche of mush! 😀

 I had a vague idea of the kind of person whom I wanted to lead my life with – someone who would share my interests and passions, who would believe and support in the causes that were close to my heart, one who would understand and encourage me in my endeavours – I suppose, each one of us would have harboured thoughts of this kind sometime or the other. I slowly realized that all of this need not be true for a happy marriage – the interests, hobbies and passions needn’t be shared – what matters is mutual respect for one’s likes and dislikes and the large-heartedness to accept that the partner is different and needs a space of their own. The hubby has been all this and more – has been the rock-solid support that I’ve needed when I’ve questioned my own abilities, has been a mentor and a guide who’s corrected me when I’ve stumbled, has encouraged me always to aim for heights that I dreaded to aspire for, but which he thinks I am very well capable of achieving.  Be it music, further studies or writing or the progress at work – he’s always believed and has been encouragement-personified. I hope I have measured up in my own way to keep the scale balanced.

 Well dear, on this occasion, I want to dedicate this song to the both of us… I re-discovered it recently – just in time to realize that it rings so true for us. 

Happy fourth anniversary! And here’s wishing for many many more happy ones to come along… 🙂


As the year 2009 draws to a close…

…the people of Karnataka are not left with much to cheer about. The final few days have only taken away some of the most-loved doyens of the Kannada film and music industry – first C.Ashwath and now Dr.Vishnuvardhan. While it was difficult enough to come to terms with the fact that Ashwath – a truly one of the kind singer whose kanchina kanttha is unmatched, is no more going to be heard; the very next morning brought an even bigger blow – the news that Dr.Vishnuvardhan – one of the most charming and versatile actors of the Kannada film industry had passed away at the mere age of 59.

Whenever Ashwath took centrestage he would literally set it on fire with his exuberant and passionate performance. His voice is to be heard to be believed – loud, melodius and reverberating with energy, it would give anyone listening goosebumps. Though I never had the opportunity to witness any of his performances live, I have dearly loved so many of his songs. His contribution to Kannada sugama sangeetha and film music is immense, but he was also one of the people who had a hand in resurrecting the bhaava geetha genre of Kannada music and made it as popular and favourite as film songs. He popularized so many of the poets’ compositions by bringing out song collections in the voices of promising voices of veterans and new-comers alike, thereby encouraging the infusion of fresh blood into the music world. He has also composed music for dozens of movies and tele-serials – all of T.N.Seetharam’s much-loved serials ranging from Mayamruga to Manvantara to Mukta-Mukta owe some part of their popularity to their excellent title tracks composed and sung by Ashwath. He has composed music for some unforgettable tracks like Raayaru bandaru, Deepavu ninnade, Balegaara chennaya from Mysoora Mallige and also songs like Nammoora mandaara hoove from the movie Aalemane…songs of Santa Shishunaala Sharifa  and TS Nagabharana’s Naagamandala the list just goes on and on. Singers of his kind are rare and his demise has left a huge void in the music world.

Vishnu as he was lovingly called, was one of the most-loved actors the Kannada filmdom has seen. Setting the screen on fire with his power-packed performance as the chiguru-meese Ramachari in Puttanna Kanagal’s Nagarahaavu, he went on to achieve great heights and carved a niche for himself, in spite of always being in the shadows of the larger-than-life actor and icon of his times – Dr.Rajkumar. He has acted in movies like Hombisilu, Gandhada Gudi, Saahasa Simha (which also got him the title Saahasa Simha Vishnuvardhan), paired up with the lovely Suhaasini in the tragic-love-story Bandhana, played the part of a musician with aplomb in MalayaMarutha which had some excellent classical compositions, was the lovable happy-go-lucky-guy in Suprabhaata, romanced Jayaprada in the remake of Baghbaan – Ee Bandhana, was a part of the hugely successful Aapthamitra  and had just recently wrapped up work on its sequel Aaptharakshaka which was going to be his 200th film too. Vishnu with his trademark right-hand kada and left hand antics and immaculate acting has left behind a mark that will be very hard to replace.

The people of Karnataka as usual have been rowdy and disgusting in their behaviour in paying homage to these icons. Pelting stones, breaking glass and shops, rousing mobs, torching public vehicles, forcibly shutting down shutters – everything that would’ve made the dead people turn in their graves. Shame on us – that we cannot in the least give a respectful homage to the departed souls and cannot let their families rest in solitude and peace. I wonder when we will ever get to see such a day, when the so-called fans will realize that they are not helping anybody’s cause by indulging in such henious acts?

I just want to say – you have entertained us all till your last breath and you shall live forever in our memories. May your souls rest in peace!

One evening at a concert

The weekend turned out to be a one-day affair what with Saturday being a working day in lieu of the holiday enjoyed earlier during the Dasara weekend. Whatever remained of the weekend was spent visiting a friend who’s jumping onto the marriage bandwagon and that too in a chat-mangni-pat-byaah kinda way, with the wedding being finalized for next week.

Sunday evening saw us heading to the Palace Grounds to attend the Shivamani and Mandolin Srinivas concert organized as part of the Times Group sponsored Bangalore Festival. One was lucky to get the VIP passes courtesy a team-mate and being in the surroundings one didn’t wanna miss out on the opportunity. The concert was scheduled for a 7 PM start; we made our way inside by 6.15 PM and were surprised to see a serpentine queue. Thankfully the queue for the VIP entry only resembled a baby snake and we were inside within no time. The evening had already seen a bout of rains and the chaat-walas, corn-butta-seller, the bisi-kadale-puri fellow and popcorn stalls were already doing brisk business.

We picked our way inside amidst the already slushy grounds and managed to bag seats in what must’ve been the 10th or the12th row from the stage. The sound checks were being carried out on stage while there was no sign of the artistes themselves. Well, ‘there is still time’ we thought and busied ourselves checking out the people around us. There was a nice-looking quiet couple next to us on the left and a dignified, aptly-dressed-for-the-occasion elderly couple clad in woollens on the far left. On the right side, we were flanked by a pair of elegantly dressed working ladies in their late twenties. The seats in front were occupied by a local celebrity and his kin; while sitting behind us was a bright, happy and loud family of four, who looked like they were on a picnic and were enjoying their evening out.

After sitting for quarter of an hour and with nothing better to do than observe the folks around us, I noticed that people were bringing in yummy eatables aka pop-corn and chaats. Their drool-icious sight coupled with the nip in the air started playing games with my mind and I was hit by hunger-pangs! I nagged the husband to get us some eatables; obliging fellow that he is, he bought us corn-buttas and a cone-full of hot fried kadale-puri. Happily munching the spicy and yummy thingies alternately, we waited for the show to begin.

7.30 PM and still no sign of the artistes – the crowd started getting restless and expressed their displeasure by booing, whistling, clapping and generating as much noise as possible. Guess it did have some effect, ‘coz ten minutes later saw the pori-tapori Rachana from Radio Mirchi on-stage welcoming us all and introducing to a bunch of representatives from the Art of Living foundation (??!!) asking us to participate in a pledge to save the environment and create awareness about global warming. The pledge itself was inane and was read out rather dispassionately, we thought.

Finally after all the foreplay, the famous trio of Shivamani – the talented percussionist, U.Shrinivas – the ace Mandolin player and Steven Devassy – a renowned keyboard artiste took centre-stage by about 7.45 PM. They soon had the crowds enraptured and swaying to the beats. Guess the Gods too liked what they heard and decided to show their appreciation by sending down rains!! What started as a light drizzle soon turned into a full-fledged downpour barely 10 minutes into the programme. Umbrellas and raincoats could be seen bobbing up and down and the crowds persisted in egging the artistes on. But when even after 15 minutes of coming-down-hard the rains didn’t show any signs of letting up, several people – including the aged couple near-by and the boisterous family behind, made their way exit-wards. On-stage too the rain had affected developments – Shivamani’s instruments were getting drenched from the heavy side-ways lashing of the rain and the artistes were getting drenched as well. The evening’s future seemed really bleak when the support staff rushed in to cover the instruments and Srinivas seemed to be wrapping up too by doing a namaskaram to the crowds.

But guess they hadn’t seen the Bangaloreans’ spirit and resilience yet! The local crowds rushed to the front and urged them to continue… Shivamani did a brief impromptu piece on a suitcase (?!) as what he thought would be a good-bye note, but the crowds just didn’t let him rest, chants of “Once more! Once more” filled the air. Shivamani, a sport that he is, soon got under-cover – he ducked under the tarpaulin covering his instruments and started jamming! He soon had the crowd stomping in approval to the tunes of “Humma Humma” and his other hits. His performance was absolutely scorching and the movement of his hands a blur as he belted out his innovative beats one after another. Srinivas and Kevin were left as mere spell-bound spectators. Somewhere along the way, the rains too had abated but nobody seemed to have noticed. Soon enough Shivamani seemed to recover from his reverie and so did the audience. He encouraged the duo to join in with him and we had the stage set for a riveting jugalbandi. Each was a master of his art and the instruments were but slaves dancing to their master’s whims; the audience was enraptured and applauding at every swaram and melody played. Srinivas showed a glimpse of the genius that he is – drawing notes and sangatis which simply didn’t seem possible from his stringed instrument.

The rain-blessed musical extravaganza drew to a close by around 9 PM. The crowds were still milling around and asking for more. They pointed to the array of unusual accompaniments lined on the other side of the stage and pressed Shivamani for an encore on them. Shivamani once again obliged and showed us why he is a percussion-lover’s dream – drawing musical notes from lifeless objects like bottles and water-cans to suitcases and kitchen utensils! Finally he had to literally shoo away the crowds saying – “Just as how too much sweet isn’t healthy, so is the case with this show. We should stop the performance now and keep the rest for our next show in Bangalore!” 🙂

We said ‘amen’ to that and headed out home-wards.

Mussanje Maatu – notes

mella mella melluva
sanneyalle kolluva
sadde irada utsava
preeti onde allava?

This is one of the most singularly beautiful descriptions for love, I have heard in recent times.
Roughly translated, it means –

Slow and stealthy
Signals and gestures…
is all it takes – to kill
The noiseless celebration that is…
Isn’t that love and love alone?

This and seven other songs are the only reason why one would want to sit through this otherwise ordinary movie – called Mussanje Maatu.

Frankly, my expectations – looking at the refreshingly different posters and the melodious songs, were high. And they were simply not met. The movie and Sudeep’s performance have been praised excessively by several folks, as I found out – on the net and by the media. But it is exactly the latter that was a total dampener for me. Sudeep, with his new lean look in the role of a radio jockey – with a stylish haircut, snazzy glasses and trendy clothes, is fab looks-wise, but it’s when he talked that I had a problem. Though the role he plays has undergone a massive change from the regular tapori/ goonDa roles he has mostly played with a few notable exceptions, the same change is not effected in his dialogues. The Kannada he speaks lacked the refinement and the polish that the role demanded. I found it totally jarring and it played havoc with my patience and nerves. That along with the repeated hamming in mouthing his RJ lines – most of which are overbearingly philosophical – I simply couldn’t forgive to appreciate his performance otherwise. On the other hand Ramya has put in a restrained and pleasing performance. The other actors’ roles never really developed enough to warrant any mention. The haasya-kavi Pranesh looks totally out of place and Anu Prabhakar is wasted in an inconsequential role.

Now for the good bit – the songs are an absolute delight to the ears. There are eight songs in the album and the beauty lies in the fact that there is no single song that would qualify as being the best – all the songs being equally well composed and well-sung too. Sonu Nigam gets to sing 2 of the melodies – one aforementioned duet “Ninna nODalento” with Shreya Ghoshal and the inspirational song “Enaagali munde saagu nee”. Kunal Ganjawala excels in the peppy foot-tapper – “kaddaLu manasanna”. Shreya also does a solo with “Akasha bhoomi” which is a relatively average number as compared to the rest. Our dear Udit gets a look-in with the sad and sentimental “O hrudaya” which seems heavily inspired by his own “Ae ajnabi”. The remaining three are sung by the local singers – “Mussanje maatali” – the title track well-sung by Hemanth; “Anuraaga araLo samaya” – a soothingly fresh romantic ditty sung by an inspired Karthik and the sober lullaby “hettavaLa muddu maatu” rendered beautifully by Nandita.

The music by V.Sridhar (though there have been complaints that many songs are inspired!) is by far the best feature in the movie and the cinematography by the veteran Sundarnath Suvarna is worth a mention too. I was compiling a list of the latest songs that I’d like to have a CD collection of and to my own surprise I found that there are nearly 35 songs – from movies released in the past 2 years, that easily find their way into this list! It is heartening to note that there is some sort of a revival in the fate and fortunes of the Kannada film music. Though it would be foolish to expect a resurgence of the golden times of yester-years which saw the likes of GKVenkatesh – PBSrinivas – RNJayagopal – SPB – SJanaki; this nevertheless is not a bad trend.

Tune into the lovely tracks of MM here. Happy listening! 🙂

Musical muse

My glance fell on the name “Dinakar” in the official birthday list. The next moment,
Dinakarakula Bhushanuni Deenudavai Bhajanajesi
Dinamu Gadupumanina Neevu Vina Vadela! Gunavihina
started flowing from my lips without any intervention from my mind or thoughts!

I surprised myself by singing from memory in good shruti and the exact annotations as I had learnt years ago, albeit in a muted voice. Trying to recollect the pallavi of this keertanam – I automatically continued with “Manasa Etulortune…” after the anupallavi sangatis.

I wanted to be sure and just for a lark thought I’ll randomly type in the anupallavi lines and check what google throws up. And what do I find? the very first link was to this – complete with the lyrics, swarams and to top it all – the meaning behind these mesmerising words beautifully composed by Shri Thyagaraja.

Hail google! And thanks to Shivkumar for this musical treasure trove! 😀

a tribute to "her"

On the eve of Women’s Day, this post is dedicated to every single woman out there – getting through life, like only how a woman can – smiling in the midst of pain and pleasure!

ಆಕಾಶದ ನೀಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ
ಚಂದ್ರ ತಾರೆ ತೊಟ್ಟಿಲಲ್ಲಿ
ಬೆಳಕಾನಿಟ್ಟು ತೂಗಿದಾಕೆ
ನಿನಗೆ ಬೇರೆ ಹೆಸರು ಬೇಕೆ?
ಸ್ತ್ರೀ ……..
ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯಂದರೆ ಅಷ್ಟೆ ಸಾಕೆ?

ಹಸುರನುಟ್ಟ ಬೆಟ್ಟಗಳಲಿ
ಮೊಲೆಹಾಲಿನ ಹೊಳೆಯ ಹರಿಸಿ
ಬಯಲ ಹಸಿರ ನಗಿಸಿದಾಕೆ
ನಿನಗೆ ಬೇರೆ ಹೆಸರು ಬೇಕೆ?
ಸ್ತ್ರೀ ……..
ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯಂದರೆ ಅಷ್ಟೆ ಸಾಕೆ?

ಮರಗಿಡವು ಮುಂಗುರುಳನು
ತಂಗಾಳಿಯ ಬೆರಳ ಸವರಿ
ಹಕ್ಕಿ ಗಿಲಕಿ ಹಿಡಿಸಿದಾಕೆ
ನಿನಗೆ ಬೇರೆ ಹೆಸರು ಬೇಕೆ?
ಸ್ತ್ರೀ ……….
ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯಂದರೆ ಅಷ್ಟೆ ಸಾಕೆ?

ಮನೆ ಮನೆಯಲಿ ದೀಪಾ ಮುಡಿಸಿ
ಹೊತ್ತು ಹೊತ್ತಿಗೆ ಅನ್ನ ಉಣಿಸಿ
ತಂದೆ ಮಗುವಾ ತಪ್ಪಿದಾಕೆ
ನಿನಗೆ ಬೇರೆ ಹೆಸರು ಬೇಕೆ?
ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯಂದರೆ ಅಷ್ಟೆ ಸಾಕೆ?
ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯಂದರೆ ಅಷ್ಟೆ ಸಾಕೆ?………..

– ಜಿ ಎಸ್ ಶಿವರುದ್ರಪ್ಪ

Do listen to this beautiful creation of G.S.S, sung brilliantly by C.Ashwath here.
An ode to all the women of the world.

love in the air and err…ears too

Well it’s that time of the year when love pervades every nook and corner and every sneeze and cough… well, almost…for the past week, all that the RJs can seem to talk about it is V-day and of course anything and everything that they can think of is spoken of in relation to love. You can’t really blame them when love is in the air and the world is caught up in it!

The radio stations were however bringing along some wonderful songs in this pretext and it was music in its purest form for my ears. On V-day I was tuned into the radio on my mobile and was switching channels to catch the best songs on air.
That’s how I had the inspiration to pen this post – about some all time favourite love songs…

Amongst the relatively newer set of songs…

# anisutide yaako indu… – this one gives me goose-bumps every single time I listen to it – just a wisp of its prelude/ interlude music is enough to get me started (the goose-bumps, that is :D). It is undoubtedly the song of the year, be it the lyrics or the notes or the velvety voice of Sonu Nigam – this one from the block-buster “mungaaru maLe” wins hands down, without any competition
# ninnindale… – this is another lovely peppy romantic number from “Milana”… as always, Sonu’s singing is flawless – listen carefully to the words, he gets the emotions and the feeling absolutely perfect
# ee sanje yaakagide – this one from “geLeya” is a beauty, I caught the video on you-tube and was bowled over – simply brilliant – the picturization is revolutionary if I can say that and the song is mellifluous – any guesses about the singer? 😀
# ullasada hoo maLe – this one from “cheluvina chittara” is one of the recent favourites – sung beautifully by Shreya Ghoshal it effortlessly and perfectly conveys the feelings of a dreamy-eyed young girl in love. Shreya is definitely the new-found female voice in Kannada cinema

# baavra man dekhne chala ek sapna… – this song from “Hazaron khwahishein aisi” leaves me speechless – the words make so much sense that it feels rather uncanny – in my view this is the song which gets closest to the description of love and its madness
# jiya dhadak dhadak – from “Kalyug” sung by Raahat Fateh Ali Khan it is beautifully rendered with his Sufi-esque touch – it captures the ethos and passion of the guy’s love for his lady love
# bol na halke halke – its Raahat Fateh Ali Khan again with Mahalaxmi Iyer in “Jhoom barabar Jhoom” – I simply love the use of instruments for the beats and the background score in this, apart from the soulful and soothing nature of the song
# main yahan hoon – this one from “Veer Zaara”, though not exactly brand new, is a favourite from the recent years. This is one song where I love Udit Narayan’s singing; the antaras especially, deserve a special mention – both the lyrics and the singing
# do pal ruka khwabon ka caravan – again from “Veer Zaara” – love the tone of pleasant disbelief and wonderment used in the lyrics of the antaras and of course flawless singing from Sonu and Lataji
# saawariya saawariya – this one from “Swades” has Alka at her best as she effortlessly becomes a girl singing with the joy of wondrous realization of love which has stealthily and soundlessly crept upon her
# jab se tere naina – the famous “towel” song from “Saawariya” – is one of the recent hot favourites – has Shaan at his best – he playfully and soulfully renders the feelings of a young boy in the throes of his first love
# Aankhon me teri – it’s KK in OSO – the love song of ’07 with the 70’s touch – it is slow, ethereal and perfectly romantic
# Main agar kahoon – again from OSO – this has almost gone un-noticed in the slew of popular numbers from the movie – but is a gem, by Sonu again – a young ardent lover expressing his as-yet unsaid love to the girl of his dreams

Among the ever-green golden oldies the ones that come to mind are…

# naguva nayana – an absolute favourite… from “Pallavi Anupallavi” – the seemingly disconnected words transform into beautiful poetry – simple but carrying so much depth in its meaning
# tunturu alli neera haaDu – a melodious slow number from the bevy of lovely songs in “Amrutavarshini” – again simple words that convey the deep love between the couple
# nee amritadhaare – another very melodious song from “Amritadhaare” – Mano Murthy is undoubtedly the uncrowned king of romance in the Kannada music industry at the moment
# jOteyali… – the ever-green love song of Kannada cinema… need I say more?
# nooru janmaku – another wonderful contribution from the Mano Murthy – Nagathihalli Chandrashekar camp, started off an era of melodious Kannada music

# abhi na jao chod kar – the perfect example of Md. Rafi’s velvety voice laced with romance and playfulness; the sing-song nature of the words that convey the hero’s feeling of yearning and the heroine’s naughty retorts is simply amazing!
# tere bina zindagi se koi sikhwa – this one from Aandhi has passionate love wrapped in the folds of seemingly innocuous words
# dil kya karein – the song that had the nation crazy and swinging – the epitome of romance – one among the lovely numbers from the Rajesh Roshan stable
# O saathi re – the notes of Amitabh singing about his deep rooted love for his childhood sweetheart never fails to touch my heart – an all time Kishore favourite
# Pal pal dil ke paas – it’s Kishore and more of him – oh so romantic!
# mere mehboob qayamat hogi – the intensity and the passion in this love-lorn Kishore song sets it apart from the usual genre of love songs
# tum bin jaoon kahan – Kishore again – they say Md Rafi was better suited for the romantic numbers – I beg to differ – Kishore is no less – the sheer variety and depth in the range of love songs he’s sung is proof enough
# O mere dil ke chain – another all time favourite of Kishore’s soulful renditions
# chookar mere man ko – Kishore sings in a melodious and poignant mood for Amitabh in “Yaarana”… time simply seems to stand still!
# Tumse milke – this song is special for its simplicity and the amazing uncharacteristic voice quality of Suresh Wadkar
# jab koi baat bigad jaaye – an evergreen love song – perfectly expresses what love means for the couple and so much more
# kuch na kaho – the pick of the wonderful collection from “1942 – A Love Story” – as the song goes – kuch kehne ki zaroorat hi nahin hai – you just wanna close your eyes and keep listening to it
# tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana sanam – the initial guitar/ banjo strains again never fail to give me goose-bumps – and of course the perfect jodi of SRK-Kajol in “DDLJ” – 90’s romance personified

Phew! That was an exhaustive list and left me quite exhausted… I lost no time in getting some refreshments in the form of more love songs! 😀

Update: The latest addition to this list is from the movie gaaLipaTa – “minchaagi neenu baralu…” by Sonu Nigam. Absolutely lovely lyrics and a lilting melody – take a look here