Friday, April 27, 2007

India Diaries - III

Not knowing when to stop

I'm not defending the King of Nasal Overtures, the one-and-only Himesh Reshammiya. But I wonder how much of the hatred the man invokes is a function of overload.

One can't escape him. His songs are everywhere and on everything - TV, radio, Bajaj motorcycle ads. Kids sing Himesh songs on Anupam Kher's excessively cute " Say na something to Anupam Uncle."

In an ideal universe, he would know when to quit. He wouldn't have the hubris to actually think his voice is worth anything. He'd recognize that there are better singers he can use for some of his admittedly hook-sy songs. (Try listening to jhalak dikhla ja more than twice and I challenge you - it'll be stuck in your head for the day).

But then, the market does rule, doesn't it? T-Series just came out with a six-CD collection featuring 'The One and Only Himesh Reshammiya'. An autographed cap free to boot. And the amazing thing is, there'll be people buying it. Just like people paid $25 to go see Himesh in concert here.

But the most fun part of this trip was driving my mother nuts with my renditions of 'tera suroor'. And of course, Shaka Laka Boom Boom ( SB2, for those who come in late). I link to Ramanand and George's fun investigations into this one for the ages.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

India Diaries - II

All in Bad Taste

- There's only one word to describe the news channels in India. Pulp. Watching Zee News, NDTV and any of the other N channels cover the World Cup, Bob Woolmer's death or anything else for that matter reminded me of the  rags you could buy for a buck on railway stations in Bhopal or New Delhi. Lurid and sensationalist too.

Wait, I thought I was talking about news channels, not the Times of India.

Aaj ki match ka villain kaun - a) Sachin b) Dravid c) Sehwag. Apne jawaab 8284 par SMS karein....

- The only redeeming program on TV for me was the one Barkha Dutt moderates. Unfortunately, it is geared towards a sound-bite friendly speaker and not for any sort of nuanced debates. Even before someone gets a word in edge-wise, she's moved on to someone else.

- What I was probably happiest about apropos news coverage was that I flew out before the Ash-Shek marriage. The Hurley-Nair alliance has left its scars, and the Rai-Bachchan merger would have meant even worse.

'Prateeksha' has been painted a shade of muave that Rai chose herself from Asian Paints' Color World, where you can choose from millions of colors to match your choice. (that's your surrogate advertising right there. The TOI just made a few cool millions).

But seriously, that adds one more pair (Baby B - Rani) to the list of pairs with obvious  chemistry that went on to off-screen alliances with people they don't gel as well with on-screen. Famous examples in the past include Big B - Rekha and Kajol-SRK.

Maybe that's two more pairs, if you have a sense of humor and count Ash- Hrithik in D:2.

Monday, April 16, 2007

India Diaries - I

Playing Catch-Up

- Flying now means lots of movies. A bad year in terms of buzz-movie viewing was over-compensated on a 11+11-hour splurge between Seattle and Seoul-Incheon, both ways.

- The Departed was over-rated - best film of the year, really? 

- The Prestige, under-so (best movie of the year for me. JR - I complete my Chris Nolan filmography including The Following :-))  

- Happy Feet was light on it's feet, dark around the edges and better than everything Disney's put out in the past 10 years. The sucker for the underdog story that I am, Rocky Balboa rocked my world. Stallone as director still packs a punch, and Rocky is as endearing as he ever was.

- DiCaprio has really matured as an actor and I think I can finally forgive him for The Man in the Iron Mask. Especially in The Departed, though Blood Diamond wasn't too bad. I don't know about the accent he had in the film though.

- Even without really expecting much, Babel and Pan's Labyrinth were both underwhelming. I liked Pan's... more, and Babel was just too self-important for my taste. What's the f*%$ing point? is my question. Was it an attempt to make the movie festival-friendly? Maybe my tastes don't coincide with the NPR crowd,  but I actually didn't meet anyone who liked Babel either side of the Pacific.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Back, I am

A vacation extended and time away from the computer resulted in a very long hiatus for this blog. I'm back, for anyone still interested.

Loads of observations and insights on a chaotic trip to India coming your way soon...