Sunday, December 13, 2015

Their names are Khans!

oh well borrowed from a cliched Bollywood title right enough yet this post is all not-so-all-about-Bollywood..
..while the whole of India(media) is obsessed with the Khans -Aamir , Salman, Shahrukh and so on and so forth and fighting over what these Khans represent, their views on religions, tolerance or otherwise, if they want to live in India or move away to safer havens, the narrow, short sighted cult (read Bollywood) they represent churning out movies that neither represent India truly nor honestly for the most part, let us Indians for a moment remember some of these Khans(and some other Muslim surnames, you get the point!) for what they represented -
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan - an Indian prior to Aug 14th 1947 when there was no Pakistan but more importantly perhaps the best Hindustani classical voice ever to have lived ( thats just my opinion but try listening to his Ka karun sajni aye baalam and we can sit down and debate smile emoticon )
Ustad Abdul Karim Khan - remember the Carnatic rendition of Rama nee samaanamevaru.. yes a Muslim North Indian rendering a composition by the South Indian Brahmin Tyagaraja..
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan and their sarods and sitars that echoed the ethos of my ancient land where every diversity is accepted, celebrated and integrated from the mists of time...
Ustad Bismillah khan - whose Shehnai filled the narrow alleys of Benaras and the inner sanctum of the Kashi Vishwanath temple there and on the banks of the river Ganga and whose favourite diety was the Hindu goddess Saraswathi... whose shehnai recitals has been broadcast during moments of joy and grief countless times on TV..
Ghulam Ali - whose rendition of "Baaju Bandh Khul Khul Jaaye" - a thumri that is so highly suggestive and erotic in nature despite its divine connotation,sometimes being awkward to listen to even in solitude! - but sadly who was denied a chance to perform his art in my country in the recent days.. shocking... surely there is some conspiracy somewhere.. note his ghazals only come a mere second in comparison with his highly trained classical knowledge..
talking of ghazals ,Mehdi Hassan - the ghazal genius who only had to sing "Kesariya Baalam padharo maro desh re" and that would just suffice...why do we need this Bollywood Khan's Incredible India campaign at all when a Rajasthani folkore can invite people to visit our beautiful country and experience the richness of her music, dance and traditions?
Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Ustad Amir Khan and many many more, some of whose magic am still trying to figure out thanks to my recent marathon pursuit of Hindustani music recitals...
..and of course how can I forget my favourite - the one and only Ustad Rashid Khan whose voice gave me goosebumps 10 years ago and still does..- he mesmerises us with this emotionally charged rendition everytime but the best for me is his jugalbandi with the Hindu brahmin ( again!) Pandit Bhimsen Joshi where the two artistes sang like they were one soul, one a veteran another the relatively amateur, yet the nod of the veteran when the younger one sang a passage like a flash of lightning just before the first monsoon rains commence, explains so beautifully the mutual respect for the divine art of classical music age,religion notwithstanding...
Yes there are many such Khans and Alis India has produced.. today when modern India is arguing (read that wasting time!) over the stupidity of the Bollywood Khans, let us try for a second to remember these other Khans, let us pay homage to their timeless art, their contribution to our country's music, to their Indianness, bow down in respect to to their sacrifice and commitment to the one and the only religion that is true in this world - music!
Right.. back to "Baju band khul khul jaaye, sawariya ne kaisa jadu daala re". Oh boy, am I blushing!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Confession of a student of Carnatic music of several years..

This is an honest confession. I would be lying to myself and to whatever that little music I have been gifted with in this birth if I do not come clean on this.  Carnatic music is what I learn as many of you know. It is my longest association in this life after my parents and sister. Over the years my association with this form of music has been the single most stable factor in my life. Although not a professional singer, the one thing I have been doing constantly is learn. I owe it all to my gurus and Skype :) what would it have been if not for them ? 

But that is not the point am trying to confess today. Carnatic music is imbibed into my soul now and has no chance of escaping, thank God for that. There is always a thread in the brain, subconsciously processing every tune , every melody, drawing parallels, guessing the ragam, the rhythm, almost second nature. But... but, on a good day, and I dont know how to put this without sounding offensive to .. well myself perhaps, but on a good day , I have to admit -  Hindustani music is more more lovely!

So lovely, I regret not learning it to the point am in tears! I envy the voice production techniques, the gamaks and the khayals and most importantly the freedom of expression.  Barring some exceptional musicians, cross over has never been that appealing and that simply because of the vast distinction between these two styles of our music. The vocal technique, the raga handling and the approach are entirely different and any attempts at cross over have only resulted in pale imitation am afraid! Exceptions of course, but a handful! But that is just me, please do not think am being prejudiced against any artiste or musician! This is my confession , not a critic review!

Our music of the south is divine, it  is soaked in devotion and is the ultimate tool I think for a human being to attempt to try and realize the meaning of it all, an attempt, thats all.  It is like life carnatic music is - demands a balance in melody and rhythm. It seeks confirmation, embodies it. It is very comforting to confirm I admit. To accept unconditionally the greatness of  the artist/poet who pre-created song, the metre of the lyrics, the exquisite tapestry of the rhythm, the nuances despite the strict notation and yet to create that small nook of a space where one can fly free with improvisation - is a wonderful wonderful thing. Every carnatic musician is excited about that small niche wherein they can be their own, it is our desire and our constant bottleneck, at least that is where my mental block lies! Of the navarasas we Indians so proudly talk of in art, carnatic music undoubtedly majors in Bhakthi, karuna ..

But that beautiful music of the North, oh what can I say ?  Shringara rasa it is. Beauty, love, poetry, art, finesse, mellow and the ultimate tool for freedom of expression.  Where carnatic beckons a mere mortal to attain glimpses of the divine and sometimes become close to one, the Hindustani form elevates the mortal to a supremely refined human being. It opens the floodgates of freedom of expression. It says - "here is this empty canvas, go ahead and do what you like! There are but very few basic rules - do not paint outside the canvas for then it is no painting but push yourself to the boundaries of self expression." It is all about making us more human, all about exploring the the
non-confirmist traits we all possess, all about breaking taboo and seeking out that which feels like is unattainable.  It is that added playful touch to a wonderful nuance in a melody or that extra punch to a note to insist an emotion or that fine balance of the voice when rendering thumris that express unrequited or forbidden love or that beautiful altering of the pace in a span of two lines to convey the sense of urgency - everything about Hindustani music is human, very human! It sets us free, uninhibited and opens out the pores that clog certain areas of the pre-conditioned human brain..

This is just me and I would certainly not prefer one over the other or have a bias over which is greater. It is not always about which is greater. Sometimes, it is just what it is. What one feels about a thing. The point is to confess with honesty, for honesty is truth , truth is art , art is love and  music is love in search of a word!

No, I am not going to change my blog's name to Bilawal, it is Shankarabharanam and shall always be but some days I may hear a Bilawal when I listen to a Shankarabharanam and wish I was in utopia!



Sunday, November 15, 2015

a rendevous for a hopeless romantic!

..graffiti on the walls as the channel train rolls into Gare du Nord
a rude and nonchalant response to a "un(e) carnet sil vouz plais"
a stench-filled RER passing through the suburbs into the centre
a character scarved, perfumed and chic, yet scruffy and smelly..
..of tobacco, garlic, cheese and wine!

I smell a freshly baked baguette,croissant,a cafe au lait,
a caffe, a bar tabac, a brasserie round the corner everywhere..
a waiter so annoyed when asked for a dish with no meat
and more annoyed  when I sent back a dish for it had oeuf!
..and yet when the dish came back anew,oh boy! did I devour every last bit like I had never eaten before!

..a man in his sixties in his own world like I never exist,
not caring a damn, not a look , not a glance..
yet when in broken French I ask for the nearest metro to the Tour..
an affectionate arm over my shoulder, another pointing to my map..
a face leaned right into mine,making me flinch and blush..
a gregarious voice crooning into my ears-the quickest way is to walk!
..then awkward parting smiles, a merci , an au revoir and a kiss
that might well have been French just had I let it be!

.. I walk from the Arc to the Concorde along the Champs..
peer inside a Cartier, a Chanel, a Guerlain , a LouisVitton..
and hopping into a Bateuex Mouches, I float along the Seine... 
gaping in awe at  la Louvre, Le Notre Dame, Hotel De Ville and Musee D'Orsay..
.. and at night I ride up the Tour De Eiffel as if in a trance
mesmerised, enchanted and hopelessly in love with the City of light!

..with a friend, a niece, the spouse ,year after year, this journey do I make..
a ritual in Rue de Bourgogne over a galette and a crepe au citron,
a tagine in a Moroccon I can never forget!
listen in across tables, lip-sync with the locals when they speak and smile at their eccentricities,
crack up when the metro arrives in R(H)ome and Mir(h)omil..
and  always say the H out loud when taking a Sor(h)tie!!!(ALWAYS)

be fascinated by the priceless expression on a crazy gal's face
as she saw the shimmering lights of the Tour Eiffel for the very first time..
or sometimes take a solitary walk along the boulevards
smelling the fleurs in a marche, hoping for a vente in the shops..
peering into the windows of the apartment blocks, wondering what must be going on in their Parisien lives!

Paris - I am not done with yet, for there is lots more left to see,
the catacombs, the museums and the cathedrals that beckon me.
where looking over from the hills of the Sacre Couer, I feel free..
where every thought feels like a poem on a rhyming spree..
a city whose light shines even on the other side of the sea
bleeds today like a wounded prey on flee..

Here I seek yet once more, a rendevous with this place..
Time and again a journey, I promise to undertake,
fearlessly and with pride in my heart ablaze,
I shall seek out the next cafe for a piece of rich chocolate cake.. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hear the cries of an Indian woman...

It was one of those perfect days today. Or so I thought.  A much anticipated team lunch at The Butterfly and the pig in celebration of the holiday season at the end of the year. The lunch was awesome, the company of my friends most enjoyable, the restaurant exceeded my expectations and the puddings yummy. It was a nice day too in Glasgow, so it was going to be one of those days when all goes well and everything is good!

The lunch was done and I was back at my desk with a stomach so full that it almost blocked the nerve endings in my brain. Well, not quite but I mean to say, my brain was out of action. I felt lethargic and decided to give myself some time to go through news back home in more detail. Normally and more often these days than 4 years ago, I scan the Guardian, the Telegraph, the BBC, then the Indian express , the Hindu and ndtv in that order. I choose to read the British media over Indian media these days, even for news from India. Journalism back home has been replaced by sheets of Page 3, soft porn and such forms of highly sexualised content or an utterly biased dose of unrealistic, unruly, faked up political discussions that this country of mine is capable of. The British media is more responsible about who it caters to. At the very least it attempts to keep the news and the sensation separate. Or so I think. So does Sundari, my best friend too.

And this is when the miseries of my mind began. I happened to read the details of the New Delhi gang rape case. The news was very very very disturbing and disgusting, to say the least. These days, rape in India is more common than corruption cases, so much so that I have stopped reading about both in view of preserving my own sanity on a daily basis. Oh yes, there is a rape reported daily on Indian media. Not to speak of our corruption, but that is for another day.

This gang rape in the country's capital ,which is increasingly becoming the most unsafe place on this planet for women, has  triggered a huge backlash across several factions of the Indian society. That place is scary! On  one side, you have the world's largest democracy functioning, on another you have the same democracy steeped in such deep rooted evils, so powerless even in power and so ignorant even when equipped. It makes me want to shout, cry and wail in desperation. I am ashamed to call myself an Indian!

A 23 year old paramedical student was raped by 6 men in a luxury bus on Sunday night when she was returning home after watching the Life of Pi with a male friend of hers.  It could have been me. It could have been anyone. I just had a shiver run down my spine.  The act of watching a movie with a friend from the opposite gender is as common as going for a meal with a friend of the opposite gender, isnt it ?  That poor girl is fighting to breathe  in a hospital even with ventilator support! Is this what one gets for wanting to watch a movie ?

Are we the same civilisation that boasts of the supremacy of the female form ?  We pride ourselves in the numerous female dieties worshipped, we sing in glory of the Mahishasura Mardini and the strength of Sita, Draupadi and others women. Why, we even have a temple  in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu whose presiding diety is called the GarbhaRakshambika, meaning, the one who protects the womb. It hurts terribly to think that one of them  went  unprotected on Sunday night. And in such a horrible manner. It hurts very badly.

The anger builds up each time I hear news like this. And we have one on a daily basis almost, am not kidding. So it was a father and a step father raping their daughter in Kerala last week, it was a girl in Bombay some time last month, a girl in Hyderabad a few days ago. And cases of marital rape, do not even go there!  My blood boils when corrupt rascals called politicians come out and defend the rapists by stating that they ought to marry the victim and give her a respectable status in the society! Bring on capital punishment for saying such things!

 There is a new breed of highly obsessive, trapped individuals in the Indian society today who have no clue what they are representing. This was not the work of a psychopath, this gang rape. It is highly unlikely that 6 psychopaths got together and decided to go on a rampage, no. This was a pure opportunistic crime borne out of a very distorted sense of morality. These inhuman minds thought it was ok for them to pass lewd remarks on a girl and a guy being out late at night , albeit they could have been just friends or lovers. They thought it was wrong for a girl and a guy to be out late at night watching a movie, but they thought they were right in wanting to teach the girl a lesson for trying to protect her friend from being beaten up by them. In questioning the intentions of the couple, they did not question their own. In attempting to be the moral police for another man's supposedly potential sexual urges when being with a girl, they forgot about their own misplaced carnal desires. And the had no clue whatsoever. The male could have simply be a pal or a lover, but the truth is , the girl chose to go with him to the movies. These evil men had no clue about the subtle nature of the physical emotions of a human being, of a woman. When a woman lets a man into her comfort zone in any context, it has several terms for it, trust, closeness and above all, consent. And by law, trespassing is a crime. Be it is stranger, a lover, a friend or a spouse. Oh well, did I not say I had a great day to begin with ? I surely did... I am raging, fuming and terribly angry now..

My rant is not over yet. And am not the only one today in India. How do we solve this problem ?  A few options come to my mind. And given it is me and my mind, one can expect the unexpected. :)  I smiled at once in the last half an hour, phew! Anyway,the list goes thus :

  • Death penalty for rape, life term at the very least - brute force method  to cure the symptom, not the root cause though.
  • A UK 999 equivalent system - cut the social security number project, it is a waste anyway, bring this on. Especially given the excellent telecom infrastructure today.
  • A highly skilled police force for dealing with atrocities such as this.
  • Creation of  a social norm where sex is no longer a taboo, encouraging cohabitation of mutually consenting adults, creating an open system of dating and marriage through choice, in short, an overhaul of an institution that is sacred for most Indians keeping in view the changing times and needs.
  • Rightful accessibility to sexual content via regulated media for non commercial purposes with severe legal and criminal implications otherwise. ( And enforced too! ) 
  • Marital rape to be criminalised to the same degree as murder. It is still very much behind closed doors, literally! Recently, there was a court ruling making no big deal of it, the judge should be behind bars in my opinion.
  • Creating a social norm that imbibes in young boys the notion of gender equality starting from the family levels. This is still uncommon in rural India.
  • Most importantly, desexualisation of entertainment, social networking and internet. Young girls have a lot of pressure to copy their movie stars and icons.  I do not agree to this "women dress provocatively" nonsense that is being circulated by certain channels but unlike in reel life, there might not be a hero all the time to save the girl from the villain. And to that end, it is quite important for women to be more aware of their surroundings. And to trust their gut feeling. If something/someone does not feel right, then it is probably not!

I think I feel more positive now. Just venting it out. I pray that the girl recovers, that the rascals are punished  and  the democracy stands up to its truest word. There must be hope for our flawed society. The law of the land has to rise to the occasion, now more than ever.  I must stop my rant now.. It is almost midnight and I think I had a good day in the end afterall. As someone said, it is a mindset thing. To not chase the symptoms but to target the root cause...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Between equals.....

Interesting it is in life,art and elsewhere,when the stage is set for a show between equals. The perception, the imagery,experience and just about everything is more appealing in this than the more mediocre ones. The principle of duality is strongly enforced, the experience is enriching and beautiful. In our world, it might explain why a Federer-Nadal match is so big, for instance. As humans, we tend to be driven to be similar to one another, to be like for like. We are in an endless quest to always pit ourselves against an equal. Or with an equal. When competing,we derive more pleasure when the rival is as good as us, if not better. When not, we wish to associate ourselves with someone like us, as good as us, if not better. In love and in war, everything is more beautiful when it is between equals. Like for like, the comparison draws more interest. No matter how you look at it! An intelligent conversation with a like-minded individual, a musical duet, an intense argument, an action sequence in a movie, these are but a few examples of  the kind am talking about. 

Strangely enough, in art as in life,although one associates artistes to be solitary creatures confined in their strange and quirky minds, the best and beautiful expressions have been between two artistes who are masters and equals.Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir or KVN and Palaghat Raghu among the musicians I listen to. In the same context, film actors and costars who share a chemistry have been much talked about in the Indian film industry. We have seen movies where the actors' chemistry has taken the movie to an altogether different level. It is a very cliched subject, yes, but sometimes, certain artistes are more equal than the others!

I have seen an Amitabh Bachchan-Rekha, a Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol, a Rajkumar-Kalpana or a Vishnuvardhan-Arathi and admired at depth the intensity of their togetherness onscreen. I have enjoyed many a dialogue, an argument, an expression, a dance duet and a playful romance as many of us who grew up in the 70s  and 80s did. We were the lucky generation in the sense of what Indian cinema today has become. The movies we watched had drama ,music and dance all woven together so aesthetically  that it invoked in us, a deep desire to appreciate the finer things in life. The movies we  grew up on had all the elements of the 'Navarasas' as they are referred to - the nine essential expressions of life and existence. None of today's fake tan as I call it. We were Indian and we showcased it. We celebrated, cried, shouted, sang and danced and emoted through life and art. And broke rules too!

Sorry, I digress. This is not a post on Indian movies in the last millenium. It hardly is. But in a way it is. No discussion on Indian cinema can be complete without a reference to regional language cinema. Unfortunately, Bollywood mesmerised the entire world into thinking that India is like what is shown in a Hindi movie.That is hardly indicative of Indian culture as a whole. Bollywood captures the life and culture of North India for most part. That is it. Today, it hardly captures even that, but I shall not digress again!

For years, south Indian cinema dominated entertainment in India. Some of the finest intellectuals and artistes churned out movies incomparable to any like their own generation elsewhere in India and sometimes across the seas too. Cross-over and parallel cinema is a buzzword today, but some of these movies and actors were already doing that. Method acting was more or less the norm.And music. And Tamil cinema. One did not have to go to a carnatic music kutchery to know what a mohanam or a shankarabharanam was. The common man in South India was an elite music lover and had access to some very fine music. Tamil cinema has been and shall be the most experimental of them all. Tamil cinema had the luxury of carnatic music at its disposal, something that was explored to its fullest potential by the likes of Illayaraja, K Balachander, etc.

Again I digress, probably for the last time in this blog post. As some of my readers might know, I have blogged a lot in the past, about this and that but a lot about music and movies. It has been a while and sometimes the motivation to write needs to come through a laborious process of trying to find the right creative mood. I found one such yesterday. I chanced upon a youtube video of a very old song from the Tamil movie 'Varumayin Niram Sivappu' meaning the 'The colour of poverty is red'. I used to know the song years ago and somehow amidst the mass pile of music we produce, had got lost in my mind. The movie as its name suggests, has a strong social flavour to it and is probably now on my list of "To watch old classics", one which is growing by the day. But, it was the song that captured my attention and brought about the creative mood that has prompted me to write one long blog post. For the song is no ordinary one. It is picturised on perhaps, Indian (tamil specifically) cinema's most under rated yet immensely powerful on screen couple - Kamal Hassan and Sridevi. They were, in my very humble opinion, more equals than anyone else. And this song, this very song is perhaps the most accurate depiction of their equal-ness.( No word like this in English but I take liberties! )

Kamal Hassan and Sridevi, on their own, achieved stardom unlike any others. Both of them came from Tamil Nadu, struggled initially and made a huge mark in Bollywood and other regional cinema, a feat that remains unsurpassed even today. They are artistes that need no talking about. Sridevi was perhaps the last of the quintessential Bollywood poster girl of the 90s. She is known as a superstar, a mega stylish diva, blah blah blah, (what with her comeback in English-Vinglish in October 2012!) but she was a big name much before that. She was a star in the 80s in Tamil movies, years before she had her first botox injection to dance to the tunes of Hindi cinema ( literally!) Not to mention her nose job!Kamal on the other hand was always a method actor. Always broke the rules, he did. Even today.One can hate him or like him but one cannot ignore him.  He is perhaps the finest of natural actors we have today. And they came together in Moondram Pirai in 1982 and am still trying to make up my mind as to who deserved the national award there!

This song am talking about here "Sippi Irukkadu"  is a classic showpiece of the finesse that this pair produced in the 80s. It is almost as if the song was composed as a tribute to their double act. I post the video of this song at the end of this post and encourage you to watch both their expressions at the same time.(you can with a little practice). It is mindblowing. It is a simple song, ordinary a composition compared to so many masterpieces that Tamil cinema has produced. But, it is elevated to perfection by these two. The fact that two actors can complement their facial expressions to be in perfect harmony while playing their individual parts is amazing. Most actors fail here. Most actors are shown together yet do not appear to be in harmony while sharing screen space.

Cut to this song on youtube, someone has added subtitles to it and I have my own issues with subtitles. No matter how hard you try, translating the exact emotion from a vernacular language to the all purpose English simply does not work! It always falls short. The song itself is a simple romantic duet of which we have millions in our movie industry. But this one is a duel as well. She being a singer, challenges him to compose lyrics to her tunes impromptu! (Tough one that!) And this song is all about how they express their admiration and mutual attraction for each other through the medium of art.  It is a match between equals. As actors, these two have always challenged each other when playing opposite each other and in this reel piece too, they seem to challenge each other. And it is superbly  natural. His gestures wonderfully mimic carnatic musicians when they have got some sangati or musical expression right! Expressions like 'Appadiya' and 'Beautiful eh' are so aptly executed not to forget the wonderful playback singing that sets it in. Sridevi has matched that up word for word literally and figuratively. Her amazing grace and poise, the manner in which she covers her ears to get the right tune in her head (something musicians do) and her playfulness while trying to outwit him all the time,yet appreciative of his quick responses, every one of these gestures  show that Kamal Hassan and Sridevi are equals of the first order. It seems almost as if they played out their respective parts in reel life as they did in real.  The lyrics of the song, again, seem to do exactly that. There have been several romantic duets full of highly poetic structure and sentimentalism but in my opinion, this one does the job neat. Strikes the right chord. It is simple, subtle and yet elegant.  Kamal Hassan has always had looks that has appealed to the opposite gender ( myself included) but in this, his casual attire matched with his part as an intellectual makes it endearing. Sridevi looks like Sridevi minus botox. Not anything like what she did in Chandni but she is a traditional South Indian girl who sings carnatic music.She looks and plays the part.  It appeals to the senses,evokes emotions of the right kind and brings back nostalgic memories of the days bygone. And most importantly, it brings to light the beauty of a match made in heaven transposed onto a few tens of millimetres of reel of which dreams are made of. 

And for those of us who understand Tamil, I quote from the most touching line in the song itself...
 Mayakkam thandada yaar, Tamilo ? Amudho ? Kaviyo ?

Trying to get back to blogging....


Thursday, January 26, 2012

The other man...

...of Kannada films!

Ardent kannadigas and kannada movie fans would know whom am referring to. (I hope you can guess!)

He was special,ultra talented with looks that made women swoon,the best among his peers. He was a ladies' man,a natural charmer. He acted in some of the best Kannada movies in 70s and 80s. My earliest recollection of a kannada movie was one of his. What a couple, he and Arathi were! Then there was Nagarahaavu and Vishnuvardhan had arrived!

He had only one problem, he was always second-in-line to superstardom. He was always falling short of that one expectation that set him apart from the greatest of greats, Dr Rajkumar! It was not his fault, it was simply a question of circumstances and timing.

Personally, I loved Vishnuvardhan, his style, his confidence and his charm. He was "Mr Photo" if you like. He epitomised the unique 70s "bell bottoms sidelocks" generation. I hope am not killed by RFC - Rajkumar Fans Club (not Rangers Football Club) the next time am in Bangalore for saying this!. Dr Rajkumar was a phenomenon for sure, but it was Vishnuvardhan that won hearts,especially in movies like "Gandhada Gudi".

I think he was aware he was always going to be the second best only.And yet, he continued to give his best,to his movies, to his heroines and to his fans. He was subtle yet forceful when presented with his chances. And one was swept away into his wonderful world of romantic charm!

And not to speak of his on screen chemistry with Arathi. The two of them were made for each other, somewhat symbolising the best song in their classic "Hombisilu" - "Midiyuva Managalu yeradu, midithada ragavu ondhe" roughly meaning "two hearts that sing the same tune". He,the fair skinned gentleman,she the dusky beauty, priceless!

Although much older, I appreciated his acting skills in "Madikeri Sipayi". His good looks did not come in the way of his serious role, he was able to set that record straight. He was as much a force as he was a charmer!. Throughout his career, he knew how to balance that act.

I am loving writing this blog myself. My friend Sheeja always said "romance is a beautiful subject,it is eternal". I agree with her, with actors like Vishnuvardhan, romance never dies. It takes but one spark to rekindle the passion. And oh,having an Ipod full of old kannada songs helps, certainly on boring Monday afternoons...

A few years ago,on this very day,I was on my two-wheeler in the busy Jaynagar area of Bangalore. This must have been around late 2004,early 2005,maybe. I stopped at a traffic signal and waited. You know how we Bangloreans checkout other vehicles when waiting for the signal to turn green ? I was doing the same to this lovely big white car standing next to me. The car had tinted windows and looked brand new and big. As I was checking it out, the tinted windows rolled down and there I saw him! Yes, Vishnuvardhan,the man himself.. He was dressed in some costume and obviously was on his way for a shoot.

He gave me a big smile,a very human one, a real one! I stayed there,very weak in my knees,wishing the signal did not change.. forever.

In fond remembrance of this "other man" of Kannada movies,on this day, I claim to have listened to the following song, a few hundred times on my Ipod! Thats quite a record for a fan's admiration of an actor like him,what ?

- Saaveri

(P.S : Dont ask me how I remember the date well,I have a very strange way of remembering events through bizarre associations)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh boy, have I changed ?

I chanced on my blog today while looking for some music review, oh yeah, the one I used to write, almost daily, about 4 years ago! My God,I have changed as a person! I am not the same me who wrote these blogs , or am I ?

So much has changed, it is scary!

Bangalore changed to London and then Glasgow...
Oracle changed to JPM...
Driving to work changed to taking the tube/train..
INR became GBP..
I went from single to married ( having fallen in love too )
Lovely weather gave way to crappy rain!!
Some friends forgot, some became closer, one fought and left me!
Music classes twice a week at Mami's house became Skype lessons!
Cricket became football..erm.. not quite but...
Coming home from work to relax and watch TV gave way to "coming home from work to do more work"...
Salwars and sarees gave way to skirts and trousers..
Bollywood movies, hindi soaps gave way to travel channel and comedy shows..
Not stepping out of Bangalore gave way to travelling all over Europe...

But.. somethings did not change..
My blog is still called Shankarabharanam,one of my favourite ragas!
Carnatic music still makes me want to packup and go back home!
Ustad Rashid Khan's voice still gives me goosebumps!

Maybe I should restart my blogging ?