Saturday, May 31, 2003

all good things/bhansali does devdas

Thanks to TNN's Friday night special reruns of Star Trek: TNG, I managed to catch the 2-episode series finalé All Good Things.... This one has the ingredients of the best of the TNG episodes: time travel, Q and some very nice SFX. Just like the series finalé for M*A*S*H (which drew a record audience of 50.15 million households in 1983, according to Nielsen Media Research), this one hits all the right buttons.

To cap the evening with Devdas was a downer, overall.

Friday, May 30, 2003

the HAMMER OF THE GODS strikes again (aka a great reason to begin a fervent dance in abandon)

2003 marks the 35th anniversary of the beginning of Led Zeppelin. Atlantic Records officially released a 2-DVD (Led Zeppelin) /3-CD (How the West Was Won) pack of goodies: a live juggernaut culling material from rare performances as well as landmark concerts, with video interviews and promo clips. Both releases are specially priced and relative bargains (the DVD lists at $29.98, the album at $26.98). Admirably, in the US alone, the DVD set shipped quadruple platinum, and the audio collection shipped a million. For more news, sound samples, screenshots, images and such goodies, check out Electric Magic. {NYTimes review}
the barjatya bird returns [source: Rediff]

After ditching his faithful "lucky charms" in the boring box-office dump Hum Saath Saath Hain, Sooraj Barjatya has decided to play it safe and get an animal back to contribute crucially to his new film Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon: this time it's a talking parrot that keeps going 'Prem, Prem' all the time (Apparently both Hrithik and Abhishek play dudes called 'Prem' in the film). Lest you harbour any ideas about the plot of the film, rest assured. This is a Rajshri production. Which means clean, family-oriented, tinny-song-laden, tissue-worthy tripe. My take on the plot: Kareena (aka the Ghost that Refuses to Die) ends up confusing two dudes with the same name about her true feelings to them and each of these dudes is confused (well, duh!) on the issue of "she loves me, she loves me not". Ample excuses are provided, of course, for songs with mush-market lyrics and rhymes in colourful environs, floral and industrial.
a diffused screenful of news

A desi take on "Gulliver's Travels" serves as a showcase for the state-of-the-art in Indian SFX (which, apparently, is still not up to snuff!), besides the return of Javed Jaffri | With Bhoot hitting theatres this week, a brief Ram Gopal Varma retrospective is quite appropriate | and we are not allowed to forget what a big splash "Indian" cinema made at Cannes, while Nedumudi Venu reminisces on a different, more personal, note | a little report on new strategies to pump some life into the loss-ridden Bollywood music business ... it is unfortunate to note the failure of the effort represented by Bhoot of creating a soundtrack album based on the movie (something not unheard of in the US of A), with music and songs not featured in the film. As a sidenote, there's mention of another pointless (and futile) attempt by music sellers to curb the incessant illegal download of music: [Madonna] had put songs from her new album, American Life on the net. But when surfers tried to download them they were stopped by her voice authoritatively demanding to know "what the f*** you think you're doing?" If the singer thought she could stop hackers by playing a four-letter word sprouting Hitler she was wrong. One of them broke into her official website and declaring "this is what the f** I think I'm doing", posted an MP3 file containing all the tracks from the just-out album. By the time Madonna moved into action, 1,000 of her fans had downloaded the tracks and had her album for free. | Rajiv Vijaykar remembers Laxmikant as he tries to answer the question: What was so special about Laxmikant and Pyarelal and LP as a duo? (despite an interesting article, the question still pops up in my mind, partly fuelled by my preference for R D Burman) | Bollywood's version of the Full Monty (ironically titled Oops) marks Deepak Tijori's directorial début | Ravi Patil revisits duets | Rauchy songstress Sapna Awasthi is all set to hit the stage under the auspices of the family drama company, Awadh Theatre Group | Vipul Shah's Aankhen is going to be remade in Hollywood!! (while Shah works on his second film Waqt: The Race Against Time with the Big B and Akshay Kumar as father and son | a murder of models prepare to testing their acting abilities[sic] (give me a break! all you really have to do is look good, wear skimpy outfits, sashay about and deliver some clichéd sentiment) in Bollywood | and Bravo! for Adoor Gopalakrishnan who was recently conferred the French Commandeur of the Order of Arts and Letters Award, France's highest honour in the arts.

While on the subject of Bhoot, it's interesting how this Rediff interview with Subhash K Jha is a poorly disguised version of an interview with Subhash K Jha in the TOI that I had posted about previously.

And on the subject of Ram Gopal Varma, this is a good place to join e-forces with JR and applaud the interesting promos for his RGV's next venture, Darna Mana Hai, a collection of 6 vignettes of horror (including one about a lady scared of apples! -- I thought 'pomophobia' would have been a good name for this, but surprisingly it seems to refer to the 'fear of post-modernism'. Gah!).

darna mana hai

SHIVA KA INSAAF [a taste of honey]

When none of the names credited in the lyrics, music and direction departments of a movie register, you know it's a sure sign of trouble. When you see the same name across heterogeneous departments (script/acting; assistant director/acting). Sure, they could be cameos. But Raza Murad makes an uncredited appearance (and a fairly significant one at that), so how do these naa-muraads (no pun intended) get billing anyways? Clear signs of an in-house housing society movie production, satisfying all relatives eager to make a career in movies. But I digress. You probably don't even know what I'm talking about!

The subject of this post is an apparently innocuous movie called Shiva ka Insaaf (yes, see, the title of the post is actually significant).

And just in case you're wondering what the subtitle for this post meant: think B-movies, think bees ... get it? (I hear groans!)

Thursday, May 29, 2003

bad bad bad bad geek joke (ow! it hurts!)

If a tree falls in an application, and nobody is around to hear it, is it logged?

{courtesy: the Fishbowl}
ebay watcher ... surfacing for breath

* BOLLYWOOD Saaya/bappi lahiri/funk/breaks: Bappi Lahiri Saaya OST LP Super SFLP 1255, 1988 A very cool album. Bappi Lahiri combines a buch of styles to make a really good soundtrack. One Bollywood funk cut and more which hit a number of moods. Some really tasty instrumental breaks here, too. Keshu Ramsay directed this film. CONDITION Vinyl: NM Sleeve: NM Notes: Records cleaned on a VPI reocrd cleaning machine and packed professionally.

* BOLLYWOOD Pyar Jhukta Nahin/Pyarelal/sitar: Laxmikant Pyarelal Pyar Jhukta Nahin OST LP Super SFLP 1007, 1985 Yow! This Pyarelal soundtack of a Vijay Sadanah movie is all over the place. You get your regular sitar saturation then massive strings cruise in and then everything drops for weird percussive sitar runs and then you get stuff that sounds like it should be in some Western where a villager is singing a song. I don't know what holds this one together other than the fact that schitzophrenia and Bollywood sountracks are words that seem to go together quite well. CONDITION Vinyl: VG+ Sleeve: NM Notes: Records cleaned on a VPI reocrd cleaning machine and packed professionally.

* BOLLYWOOD Pati Parmeshwar/Pyarelal/breaks: Laxmikant Pyarelal Pati Parmeshwar OST LP Super SFLP 1227, 1987 This record starts off with a beautiful haunting female vocal that just begs to be sampled. Side two starts with more sample bait, a very cool sequence of harp and percussion. Overall this soundtrack is pretty moody with some very nice male and female vocals. Movie directed by Madan Joshi, music by Pyarelal. CONDITION Vinyl: NM Sleeve: NM Notes: Records cleaned on a VPI reocrd cleaning machine and packed professionally.

* BOLLYWOOD Allah-Rakha/Annu Mallik/breaks: Annu Mallik Allah-Rakha OST LP Super SFLP 1138, 1988 Another Bollywood soundtrack that covers a lot of ground. There are some very cool vocal runs here, stuff that would make good samples, and then some odd breaks. Cool stuff. Music by Annu Mallik. Directed by Ketan Desai. CONDITION Vinyl: NM Sleeve: NM Notes: Records cleaned on a VPI reocrd cleaning machine and packed professionally.

* BOLLYWOOD/Nache Mayuri/Pyarelal/breaks/sitar: Laxmikant Pyarelal Nache Mayuri OST Super SFLP 1102, 1987 Massive sitar sound and some prime drum/percussion breaks are the high lights on this Bollywood soundtrack froma film by T. Ramo Rao. Laxmikant Pyarelal did the soundtrack. CONDITION Vinyl: NM Sleeve: NM Notes: Records cleaned on a VPI reocrd cleaning machine and packed professionally.

* BOLLYWOOD Parayaa Ghar/Pyarelal/breaks/sitar: Laxmikant Pyarelal Parayaa Ghar ost LP Super SFLP 1283, 1988 Some very cool harp, sitar, percussion and flute breaks here. Some of the breaks are pretty psych. Good stuff. Film by Kalptaru, sountrack by Laxmikant Pyarelal. CONDITION Vinyl: Sleeve: Notes: Records cleaned on a VPI reocrd cleaning machine and packed professionally.

* Sermon+Redman ORIGINAL BOLLYWOOD sample LP: Hey, check this out! Incredibly rare Bollywood soundtrack LP that Erick Sermon & Redman used for their hit REACT. This is from a 1963 Bollywood movie, and the sample is of the voice of Asha Boshle. As you can hear they used tiny slices of a completely different song. Creative sampling, for sure. The used line means: "If someone fancies suicide, what is one to do??". We managed to dig up a copy in unplayed condition and a VG++ cover. Many early 60's movies were never issued on LP or 7", this is the first edition on LP, from 1979. India 1979, Sleeve VG++ (10 cm left spine split seam), Record NM (unplayed)
a fistful of samachar

The original Alien (with a remastered soundtrack and additional footage -- the dreaded 'Director's[sic] Cut'?) is slated to hit cinema theatres come Halloween {ScifiStorm | FilmJerk}

Apanaa President Kalam makes it to slashdot with his speech at the I4T in Pune. cOdEgUru, who posted the article, made a slight (yet understandable) gaffe by writing "at the famous Indian Institute of Information Technology (India's foremost academic institution equivalent to MIT)". The venue was the I4T (or I2IT, to be polite and cool), and not one of the IITs (aka the I2Ts). The relevant extract of interest: I would like to narrate an event that took place in Rashtrapati Bhavan a few months back when I met Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft. While walking in the Mughal garden, we were discussing the future challenges in Information Technology including the issues related to software security. I made a point that we look for open source codes so that we can easily introduce the users built security algorithms. Our discussions became difficult since our views were different. The most unfortunate thing is that India still seems to believe in proprietary solutions. Further spread of IT which is influencing the daily life of individuals would have a devastating effect on the lives of society due to any small shift in the business practice involving these proprietory solutions. It is precisely for these reasons open source software need to be built which would be cost effective for the entire society. In India, open source code software will have to come and stay in a big way for the benefit of our billion people. I2IT has to play a major role in this national mission.

Germany goes Linux, leaving MSFT behind. This deal is especially notable, because it involves desktop computers, not networked server computers, where Microsoft doesn't have as strong a presence in the market.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Bollybob resurfaces [mentioned in a previous post; post dedicated to Bollybob]

with a blast I may add. There's a review of Bollywood/Hollywood posted on the home page. Muffy also has a section on, which includes an exclusive review of Jung (this is the one starring Mithun Chakraborty, Ajay Devgan, Aditya Pancholi, and Rambha). There's another Jung starring Sanjay Dutt and Shilpa Shetty, a review of which you can find on Stomp Tokyo.

ebay redux

[courtesy: a post on rmim] {NOTE: as always, the link may expire as soon as the auction ends}


1981, Music India Records 2392 342

Record and sleeve are in VG++ condition
Manufactured in India

Music from the Original Hindi Film Gumnaam Hai Koi featuring the legendary voice of Asha Bhosle on all tracks.

Music: Raam Laxman
Lyrics: Ravinder Rawal; Kulwant Jani
Producer: Virender N. Bhalla

Side 1:
1. Sapane Jhilmil
2. Na Chawwani Na Atthani Na Ruppaiyya
3. Dilke Jakhmon Pe Dawa

Side 2:
1. Chaka Chak Chak Chaka Chak
2. Jo Aaya Hai Woh Jayega
3. Assalaam-Alaikum

Asha Bhosle:

Sister of the most influential voice of India, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle was born September 8, 1933. In April 1942 her father Dinath Mangeshkar died, causing upheaval in the family which moved from Pune to Kolhapur and in turn to Bombay. Around the age of ten she apparently sang her first film song in the Marathi film Majha Bal.
Asha Bhosle has since sung in virtually every Indian language, in Russian and Malay, has sung Rabindra Sangeet (the songs of Bengali poet Tagore), has sung with the bhangra group Alaap, the Indian rap act Baba Sehgal and Boy George, the former lead vocalist of the British pop group Culture Club. Cassette compilations and recyclings of her work are numerous.

To commemorate her 60th birthday in 1993, for example, EMI India released three cassette sets of her work -- the set of devotional material Bala Main Bairagan Hoongi (STHVS 65107), a set of non-film ghazals by composers such as Ghulam Ali, R.D. Burman and Nazar Hussain called The Golden Collection Memorable Ghazals (STHV 63173/4), and The Golden Collection: The Ever Versatile Asha Bhosle (STHV 62197/62200), a 44-song anthology of popular film hits.

To no small degree, her success can be attributed to her versatility. She has successfully sung in many different voices and in many different styles.
- Ken Hunt; Allmusic Guide

miscellaneous desi entertainment threads [aka when the Times Of India runs out of stuff to write about]

Subhash K Jha wonders if a film's title ensures box-office success (probably because he hasn't been getting too many good soundtracks to review) | Bollywood flicks dazzle the overseas market and Hollywood prepares to sell Indian films, which will probably mean more skin-flicks in the name of family entertainment | Mahesh Manjrekar is all set to do a Sunil Dutt (Yaadein) | The Cannes management team prefers Goa as the venue for India International Film Festivals (I2F2), whatever they may be (perhaps another excuse to screen Devdas) | With Bhoot scheduled for release on Friday, Ram Gopal Varma shares some more thoughts (Subhash K Jha again -- wish they'd get more intelligent questions to ask him) [Personal note: Great website] | The title of Raveena's Stumped echoes its own fate at the box office | The Big B is awarded another outrageous award (the 'Shahenshah' of the Indian Film Industry --- Indian???) that has little to do with acting and more with glitz and moolah
Newton's Three Laws of Corporations [courtesy:
Joey Gibson's Blog

  1. Any policy stays in place unless acted on by an outside force.

  2. The force required to change a policy is the product of the number of managers and accountants in the corporation and can be mathematically expressed as F=ma.

  3. Any action to change a policy will be met by an equal and opposite reaction to retain the policy.

Your Current Connection May Be Capable of Faster Speeds. Download InternetBoost Now

{source: The Trademark Blog}

Remember that line? That and several other banner ads plagued Internet surfers (who didn't use an IE addon to block popup ads or didn't switch to Mozilla) -- part of an aggressive banner ad campaign from Bonzi (also responsible for the purple ape) with a twist: these banner ads often looked like Windows dialogue boxes. And these were deceptive, said attorney Darrell Scott of the Washington state firm Lukins & Annis, which brought the suit against Bonzi last November and was seeking class-action status. Bonzi just settled and agreed that:

  • Future Bonzi ad banners designed to look like Windows dialogue boxes will contain the word "Advertisement" and it will be the same size as other words in the header.

  • Bonzi ads won't contain minimize, maximize, or "x" buttons that do not actually perform their usual function.

  • "OK" buttons on such dialogue boxes will be changed to read "More Info."

  • Bonzi's ads will also no longer assert that users' computers are "broadcasting" their IP addresses
ebay seer: back to back

The guys at Bombay Beats are going great guns. If yesterday's haul wasn't enough, this seer is pleased to note some more items up for grabs:

* CHOR POLICE burman experimental BOLLYWOOD OST: Ultra rare R.D. Burman LP. "CHOR" means "THIEF". When a Burman score is called THIEF POLICE do I need to explain more? One track has a the weirdest, eeriest Moog intro ever and goes into equally weird singing by Asha. Asha weirded out Moog intro and psychedelic singing by Asha. Wicked experimental interludes. The other track has a moog/flute intro with zombies and strange dissocisiating rhythms and more zombies, moogs and shalimar style brass in the interludes. Top obscure crime Burman. India 1982. Cover VG++, Record VG++ (has tiny bit surface wear) {Personal note: This is actually a very very interesting movie)

* BOLLYWOOD RD Burman OST SHALIMAR Original: Legendaric Indian funk-Sitar Moog soundtrack in original 1978 edition. The ultimate Bollywood Funk. With the classic floorfiller. Let's do the Cha Cha Cha. But there is TONS more: The twilight-zone-funk title music, the coctail jazz of 'Countes Caper', the sleazy funk of Let's dance together and last but not least the eerie "Mera Pyar, Shalimar" lounge track. Wicked stuff. Original pressing 1978 of Shalimar, Cover NM has two doors, record VG++, some noise due to pressing.

* Sample BOLLYWOOD HORROR LOUNGE ost: Contains 'Main Kaun Hoon' by Lata. A lwicked ong, deep, & loungy track that has a dark suspense atmsophere and thrilling Horror interludes. Absolutetely fab track. The opening of the track is a ready made sample for some Hip Hop hindi chartbuster, by the way. Listen yourself! EMI India, EALP 4062, 1975. Cover between VG+ & VG++, Record VG++.

* wicked BOLLYWOOD DISCO FUNK samples BABLA: Babla is the younger brother of Kalyandji/Anadji (from a family of nuts & dried fruit sellers!) He joined the brothers in the late 60's Contains and started to arrange the rhythm section. He did a lot of the instrumental work for Rafoo Chakkar, Bairaag and Dharmatma. Later he and his wife Kanchan became big names in the caribeans. And they still are, releasing album after album & touring exstensively. This is Babla's 2nd and best album from 1978: Babla 's Disco Sensation. Yes: sensation. Filled till the top with loud, wicked beats. Dancefloor fillers. And what a fat samples. And there is even some sitar!

* KILLER Bollywood FUNK LOUNGE LP Sadma: This is probably the ULTIMATE bollywood LOUNGE FUNK LP. Contains two absolutely amazing tracks that are addicting, beautiful and the same time startlingly surprising & original. On top of that: this is the only LP I know to exist of the underrated 'RECORDER FUNK' genre. Yo! The LOUNGE track rates in my top five of Hindi songs. It is of an uncommon laid-back ease and yet changing colour like a chameleon all the time. Recorder breaks, lounge sax solo's, sexy singing and synth stuff. The FUNK track is a dazzling mix of heavy guitar riffs, intricate rhythms, recorder breaks and classical-Indian-singing-gone-funk and a couple of elephants passing by. Listen for your self! Sleeve VG+ Record VG++, has some noise in the qiuet passages. Loud pressing.

* Sermon+Redman ORIGINAL BOLLYWOOD sample LP: Hey, check this out! Incredibly rare Bollywood soundtrack LP that Erick Sermon & Redman used for their hit REACT. This is from a 1963 Bollywood movie, and the sample is of the voice of Asha Boshle. As you can hear they used tiny slices of a completely different song. Creative sampling, for sure. The used line means: "If someone fancies suicide, what is one to do??". We managed to dig up a copy in unplayed condition and a VG++ cover. Many early 60's movies were never issued on LP or 7", this is the first edition on LP, from 1979. India 1979, Sleeve VG++ (10 cm left spine split seam), Record NM (unplayed)

867-5309: Only this time it's God, not Jenny

In 1981, one-hit wonders Tommy Tutone had their sole hit "Jenny [867-5309]". The song was a source of unlimited grief for telephone customers unlucky enough to have that combination of numbers as their own.

Now, 12 years later, Hollywood decides to make a similar contribution to national grief with Bruce Almighty. The Jim Carrey vehicle which topped to box office in its opening over Memorial Day weekend has God (played by Morgan Freeman) trying to reach Bruce Nolan (Carrey) by repeatedly leaving a phone number on his pager. For years, books, movies and TV shows have been using 555-(directory assistance) prefixed fake numbers, because the use of an actual number would cause problems. Apparently, Universal Studios ran a case of amnesia on this account and God's number turns out to be Dawn Jenkins' cell phone number. If that wasn't enough, Nolan's pager number matches the one to a South Carolina woman. Fee Fi Fo Fum, I smell some lawsuit-based income.

Related: Movie execs made sure that the number didn't work in Buffalo, NY. But they never checked out other locations ... [courtesy: lockergnome]

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

revisiting the HMV revival series [an elucidation of rants generated before]

Took a look at HMV's "innovative" portal, which, in their own words, is a unique concept where you have amazing option and complete freedom of creating your own audio CDs of your favourite songs. Your selection can be further personalised with your preferred image, CD Title and a message of your choice. By far, HamaraCD today is the largest, most popular and possibly the only legitimate site offering CD customisation facility for Indian songs globally.

(After the laughter dies down) I took a look at their "Important Facts" and found the official (defensive) explanation of the "Revival" Series, and also a justification for the poor quality of vintage music that HMV releases (The argument for the latter is similar to that profferred by the DVD mastering division of YashRaj Films). I thought I'd add my own emphasis, but every word reeks, so I've dumped everything for your reading pleasure:

    For some of the most popular songs of yesteryears, we have Original as well as the Revival version of the song. Please note that in Revival songs the music is carefully re-recorded, in a modern studio, using the original instruments to give a better sound effect and then overlaid with the original voice track. So, these are not modern remixes or imitative recorded versions. Everything is original, as good as new.

  2. We have only the original recordings of the songs in our database as digitally altering them affects their output considerably and also many customers feel, the song and its sentiments have been tampered with. Hence we have consciously taken a decision to keep the recording as the original one itself. You may find that some of the songs in your CD which are very old ones would have a recording difference vis a vis other songs in the same CD. Would request you to kindly bear with us on this.

The question is: Who are these dumb customers who feel that (to quote) the song and its sentiments have been tampered with?? Most people I see buying and selling hindi film music CDs know as much about them as I do about the Polish language (which is 'nothing', in case you didn't already figure that out).

ebay watch [the auction seer is back after a long hiatus]

The guys at Bombay Beats have some more cool desi LPs up for auction, with teaser sound clips available off their website. {note: All links to auction items below may be invalidated after the auctions end}

* Funky BOLLYWOOD Soundtrack JOSHILA RD BURMAN: This is a very, very cool Indian soundtrack for the Dev Anand film "Joshila" from 1973, Burman's best period. As cool beats, crime jazz, hammond stuff is concerned: the song "Kaanp Rahi Main" scores a 10. It's spectacular, but not hysteric, so this will not injure your ears! The beat is sixties funk / latin / bossa with copshow horns playing an exciting tune (sample this!!!!!) and then nice singing and hammond riffs plus weird instrumental intermezzi. Other tracks that have cool stuff on it: "Sona Rupa Layo Re" is psychedelic with sixties beat, hippie trance singing (!!!!!), moog effects with great chase beat ending. "Jo Baat Isharon" is a ballad with nice percussion / sitar stuff. Other strange sample could be the intro of side 2, with very deep tuned percussion/slave choir/flutes/trip violins. Recommended! India 1973 Original 1st print fold-out cover. Cover VG+, record VG+

* Bizarre Bollywood DISCO Bappi Lahiri: Aaargh! Bappi's most demented Disco soundtrack ever. Contains 3 completely BERSERK disco instrumental. Quite short but extremily effective. Bizarre, ingenious, cheesy and dangerous. One of the instrumentals derails completely. At last a real Disco Inferno! Beware! Serious danger for permanent mind reprogramming. Might make your mind permanantly unsuitable for Western life. Also contains two Lahiri brand disco songs with crazy interludes. many samples & all that!! India, 1986. Sleeve VG+ (Ringwear, spinewear) Record VG++

* KILLER sexy BOLLYWOOD MOOG FUNK "Commander": Sexy jungle moog funk! Get ready for the ultimate KILLER FUNK ALBUM by Kalyandji Anandji: "Commander". Not often on ebay, very hard to find. Has amazing hard funk grooves. One long instrumental, which is just the sum of everything you want from Bollywood Funk. Fat, slow open beat, sexy panting lady, funky moogs, plenty bleeps & weird sounds. Towards the end the lady almost comes. Accompanied by strange jungle birds & and a choir of Zombies! The B-side features a fab sexy song by Asha Boshle: also a slow open beat full of weird sounds. Asha does her unsurpassed giggling. Interruptions of a too funky Horn section, a creepy wind is blowing and the same choir of Zombie complete the Bollywood trip on your dancefloor. Ultimate! India 1981, Polydor/Music India 2392 303. Sleeve between VG+ & VG++ (some wear at the edges) Record VG++ (Has one inaudible surfacemark on 2 uninteresting tracks. Very loud pressing)

* funky MOOG bollywood INDIAN HORROR OST Hotel: Wow!!! An Indian soundtrack to the a film called �HOTEL�, with tombstones & crucifixes on the cover. Made by the infamous Ramsay brothers who made a whole string of c-grade Hindi Horror films. And this is one of the few with great music. A genuine Disco Horror soundtrack, and without exagaration: of absolute top Quality! On top of A slow suspensy Disco beat the Indian lady sings genuine Hindi Horror, telling the tale of the doomed Hotel�.Every now and then filmic, terrifying interludes of strange horror Moog effects, desolate winds blowing, creepy bombastic horns� Next to that another great Disco Song in Bappi Lahiri style. The style had to be invented by Indians: Horror Banjo Disco. On top of this: two sublime instrumentals. One Lounge Funk instrumental, and one in a strange Morricone Raga style. India 1981. Cover VG+, Record VG+, quite some surface marks but very loud pressing so sounds fine.

* Ultimate 60's BOLLYWOOD JAZZ lp Upkar: Ultimate 60's BOLLYWOOD NIGHTCLUB JAZZ lp Upkar - original cover
The ultimate hindi nightclub jazz LP: Upkar, by kalyandji/Anandji. Contains the sexy late night jazz sleaze track 'Gulabi Raat Gulabi', which means 'Rose of the Night'. Intro is a dialogue in the nightclub: 'Hi Julie, how you find this? Try one!', and then all contrabases & horns come in, and Asha kicks off... Amazing interludes! Classic track, hard to find in the original sleeve. India 1967, original cover, record & cover VG++

* BOLLYWOOD BURMAN funky LP 1972: RD Burman: far out INDIAN SOUNDTRACK: Apna Desh. A soundtrack by RD Burman from his top funky-experimental period: Apna Dash from 1972. Contains, yet again plenty panting & weird stuff. A great great cover, which pictures Crazy Nightlife Indian Style. Would we love to look like this guy! (And dance like him. But I guess we'll never make it. Nor shall we ever attract the attention of an Indian lady like that). And the record lives up to it, 1000 fold!!! The top track is Nightclub track(they say: Cabaret song) which is with ease in Burmans top 10. Jazzy Asha Boshle, and loads of full psych intermezzo's from the Master. Organs, Loud Horns, frantic guitars. Violent singing by Burman, Loads of strange Percussion playing uncommon Rhythms. Loads of samples! Odeon 1972, MOCEC 7542 Cover VG++ (One corner creased, stamp on front) Record VG++ plays with the regular indian noise

* LISTEN! 1964 Bollywood HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU: 1964 Bollywood HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU in HINDI !! A must for every contemporary 60's styled Bollywood Birthday Party. Groovy interludes and a fascinatingly weird female choir. Sung by Asha, Rafi & manna Dey. Music by Ravi. This is the 1979 issue of the 1964 film. Sleeve VG++, record unplayed.

* Rare BOLLYWOOD Background score VIJETA: Rare BOLLYWOOD Background score. One of the very few albums that contains a large portion of the bacground score to a Hindi film. This film is called Vijeeta and the B-side is filled enterily with back ground music. Mad, boombastic, lush orchestral bollywood stuff. The best part are the funky hindi blaxploi-style chase crampers. Going completly berserk! India 1982, Sleeve VG+, record VG++, plays with some noise due to pressing.

Indian LP quality tips This is straight off the Bombay Beats grading page. Quite useful:
NOTE: Indian pressings of filmmusic can be quite bad, especially before 1977 or so. This has two reasons: first of all the music was compressed to match the limited freqeuncy range of the celluloid. This was done while recording the master tape and therefore the LP's have the same dull sound. Secondly the pressing quality was often quite bad. Most lp's have noise or even distortion in certain passages. Sometimes a record looks mint but sounds VG+. This is an unavoidable experience in collecting hindi film music. If the pressing is worse than average, I consider this in my grading.

Non-film Lp's sound in general better because the mastertapes were not compressed. Also the side distortions seem less. Foreign releases can even sound good.

After 1976 or so pressing quality becomes better. After 1977 the recording equipment improves and rigid compression is absent. Nevertheless: you can come across a C-grade 1983 Bappi soundtrack that sounds like a 1972 score because it was recorded in a louzy studio. With R.D. Burman it is the same: Caravan sounds quite fine, Heera Panna from the same period sounds terrible!

NOTE ABOUT THE SLEEVES: Maybe 50% of Indian records have seamsplits. Not at the sleeve opening, but mostly at the back spine or at the left side of the lower & upper spine. This is because of the plastic innersleeves: they were pressed into the sleeve, and caused seamsplits. Often you don't really notice these seam splits.

van Sant does a Barton Fink

At the rather lacklustre 56th Cannes, Gus Van Sant scored double honours (Best Director and the Golden Palm) for Elephant, a docu-drama about high school violence that seems to owe a lot to the Columbine killings (last made famous by Michael Moore with Bowling for Columbine), beating out Lars von Trier's Dogville, starring the immensely talented Nicole Kidman. Personal note: Add both movies to ever-growing "to watch" list.

Monday, May 26, 2003


Not satisfied with ironically winning the case against Truth Hurts, Bappi has now collaborated with QuickSilver Records (byline: a serious music company), an LA-based recordign company, to create his remixes of 10 of his own songs (another pot/kettle scenario, like Asha doing Rahul and I and then screaming out against the remixes based on RD Burman compositions). Enlisting the services of his son Bappa and his daughter Rema, Bappi has created (nay concocted) Bappiwood Remixes {see also: Amazon page}
Bappi's Album Cover.

note: The May 2003 issue of Little India, which carried the blurb that gave me most of this information, says that the American recording company was called Serious Music. Despite the humour in that name, methinks they got the name wrong. Waiting for additional input to be sure.

followup: The TOI is also running a little press release (complete with Bappi's smiling face hidden by large cheap goggles and an aura of flowing hair!) which says that the recording company is Serious Music (of course, the source could be the same as that of the Little India article I read). Still waiting for something more conclusive.
Thoughts on ISHK VISHK and THE HERO {being movies that I have seen parts of and don't intend to follow up on}

I watch almost anything that Bollywood can toss at me (proof scattered all across my blog's canvas), but the movies that are the most gruelling are the big budget, large studio-backed mainstream "entertainers" that think the world of themselves, and invest countless rupaiyas in marketing and junkets and the like. The Hero (from the team that gave us Gadar, the story of a truck driver/superman proxying anti-Pakistan sentiments to comically unbelievable limits) was perhaps the most expensive (Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) being the reported cost) film since Devdas (surpassing it even?). With all the razzle-dazzle and eye candy, the film opens like any 21st century Sunny Deol starrer would: the character he plays is felicitated at a function in Toronto, Canada and Sunny bhai renders some thanks in angrejii, before transitioning to a plane where he types out a letter on his laptop in English (while reading it in Hindi!). There's the prelude for a flashback (what with that irritating ho.nTo.n pe gitawaa (why people can't say ho.nTho.n is just beyond me!!) infesting the soundtrack). That was it. In one word, cold. Sunny walks about like he just had a lifetime's worth of novocaine shots. The film looks as dull as restroom wallpaper. No enthusiasm to even proceed to explore the idiocies latent in such a production.

Tips chahiye to Taurani ke paas jaao. Ken Ghosh's directorial début Ishq Vishk (targetting, as did inane hits like Style, the "Generation Next" young age group) is a Tips Films release. Hence, the in-joke (head honcho Ramesh Taurani is co-producer). That's about the only bearable aspect of this film that follows Style in most respects. The three leads have more spunk though, but barely. The dialogue writer seems to be recovering from a martian lobotomy, and Anu Malik's jaded music suffers from gutterswipe superficial lyrics and hangovers from Khushi. With all those familar innuendo-laden jokes, I wonder how this film squeaked by with a 'U' certificate. Having caught the end of the film (no big mystery here) and the opening, I must conclude that this member of the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai family does not deserve more of my time. Don't think it will miss me though: something tells me this film's going to do really well at the turnstiles.


starring Rakesh Roshan, Marc Zuber

Sunday, May 25, 2003

memorial sunday has been a whirl, and a long drive around town. First stop: Global Mall on Jimmy Carter Blvd. This is a mall of, for and by Indians (the irony of the word 'Global' is a surefire giveaway). The last time I was here, I sampled the great biryani at Curry in a Hurry. This time I tried the North Indian Thaali at the neighbouring Sai Chat {note: the website has nothing on it right now, but forthcoming content has been promised}. Pretty decent and cost-effective (unless you start converting from $$$ to rupaiyaa).

Also visited Bollyvision {note: see note above}. Despite a lot of advertising and offers, the place has no variety to offer: a hotch-potch of DVDs (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu) -- fresh and viewed, CDs (the minimal mix of a few new movies, some classics, karaoke, ghazals -- what is a Shaan album doing there???, et al), and some tapes (see previous bracket for categories). But one (namely, me, the R D fan) lives on chance: found another of those dreaded combo CDs released by HMV (right down to the little semicircle at the bottom right corner of the inlay cover which says "now on CD"): Bullet/Phandebaaz/Mr. Romeo/Dhongee. Bullet is missing the Asha song piine ke baad, a wonderfully psychedelic number that benefits from the warped picturisation treatment that most of the songs in this film received. Ba.De ba.De log from Phande Baaz has some strange cross-speaker sound journeys... irritating. The only complete soundtrack on this crowded compilation is Phande Baaz, and the omissions on the other movies will be sorely missed. Haa_e re haa_e teraa ghu.NgaTaa and the other songs from Dhongee are marred by bad source material: I can almost smell the fungus and see through the cracks in the LP carefully preserved by HMV. Calcutta has been touted as the intellectual hub in India (or at least a font of "intellectuals"). Guess a lot of these dimaagiis are running HMV: no business acumen, no sense of integrity. Wonder what happened to the chulluu of water they should have committed themselves to...

Khatron Ke Khiladi: B-movie jazz

prologue: Here's my thesis: The kind of improvisation that one associates with jazz can only be found in the films generated in the lowbie farms, and not in mainstream Hindi cinema -- barring the energetic fervent envelope-pushing efforts from Ram Gopal Varma. These low-budget ventures are also showcases of unintentional self-awareness ... not quite post-modern, though, because post-modernism emphasises pastiche, parody, bricolage, irony, and playfulness. These little movies strung together with remarkable cost-efficiency do not attempt to trascend and challenge the boundaries of genre. All the pastiche and parody are attributes of the final output -- a product of audience reactions. Which means they are functions of the quality of the audience. The remote areas of India where these films strike a tidy profit comprise a hoard of receptive people, who have few demands from films and their makers. No desire to see wonderfully etched and framed shots, with subtle messages. All they want is good old action/drama with naach-gaanaa. Then there are people like me:). We know these movies aren't laden with great visual composition, multi-layered scripts. Their appeal is in the ways they push the envelope of film-making, while staying loyal to their core fan sector (mentioned above). Khatron Ke Khiladi is yet another example of such a movie.

For those not in the know, here is a little refresher on how Mithun came to become the King of the Bollywood Bs. And another look at the interesting career of this talented actor, who defies explanation. This guy has won four national awards: best actor for Mrigaya (his début), Tahader Katha; best supporting actor for Agneepath and Swami Vivekananda (he played Ramakrishna Parmahans).

Back to the movie. The plot, being a melange of the motivations of movies like Sholay and Karma, is simple: four goons on the run from the cops become saviours for a complacent group of villagers oppressed by an evil unpatriotic Thakur. Here's a brief character sketch of each of the KKK, aka the Gang of Four

Chhailaa Bihaarii (Mithun): Speaks like a Bihari (well, at least, the filmi version of a Bihari). Although the group puts everything to vote, he is clearly the leader. A confirmed Brahmachaari (aka Hanumanji kaa bhakt), he is inevitably drawn to love Phulwa, a travelling bride-in-waiting, who lets her bull guide her to her mate-to-be (and it turns out to be Chhailaa Babu himself)

Raanjhaa Hi.ndustaanii (Puru Raj Kumar): The only member of the gang who talks straight Hindi, but is given to delivering couplets of variable levels of bland innovation (Perhaps in homage to his late father Jaani Raaj Kumar, who literally wrote the encyclopaedia of one-liners in Hindi cinema)

Bombaas (Ronit Roy): The clichéd Hyderabadi (for a more intense portrayal see Shakti Kapoor). He's the demolitions expert (and ironically enough, his death at the end is an explosive one!)

Baazigar (Sudesh Berry): Talks like a Parsi and is adept at exploiting every opportunity for a quick bet, offering high odds with the confidence of victory.

Me-tune Chakraborty: Subhash K Jha reviews the soundtrack for Khatron Ke Khiladi.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

panchamemorial weekend

What better way to begin the wonderful weekend (the great weather that débuted yesterday evening continued today) than with some streaming Pancham and an online conference with fellow fans. The stream comprised recordings of an old Akashvaani programme called Merii Sa.ngiit Yaatraa featuring R D Burman, Gulzar, and Asha Bhosle discussing film music, especially Pancham's compositions. Lots of trivia, and a lot of great melodies implied complete aural pleasure.

The only other act of significance seems to have been a short trip to Taj prior to the actual session to rent some VHS tapes. Turned out my account with the store had remained unused for so long it had been re-assigned, so I signed up for a new one, inaugurating it with three tapes: Haveli (The Ramsay flick starring Rakesh Roshan), Khatron Ke Khiladi (with Mithun and Puru Raj Kumar not the Madhuri-Sanjay Dutt starrer) and Shiva ka Insaaf (not to be confused with the Jackie Shroff starrer made in 3D in the wake of the success of Chota Chetan/My Dear Kuttichatan). I also grabbed a copy of the soundtrack for Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar! on tape. For 50 cents, this is a steal and also the first time I've got some desi merchandise at a price lower than its price in India (which means, this is really a discount).

AVS-o-rama (being a reaction to the weekly AVS show) [previous post in thread]

Shehnaz Treasurywalla was the guest host today and also presented the reviews received for her début Ishq Vishk, directed by Indian music video wunderkind Ken Ghosh. Very much at ease (after all, she was an MTV VJ, so she has had enough experience), she was a refreshing change from the usual hosts (who, despite all instruction from coaching classes about presentations, kept indulging in the irritating hands-open/hands-close distracting actions while talking....!!), and also a welcome break from the desi_amru accent. Surprise, surprise! The film is a hit in Bombay ... and people there are opining alike the NRIs here ('everyone should see this film' --- GIVE ME A BREAK!!). Dabba acting, half-baked songs. Tcha!

And then there was more on Armaan, which as Deepa Gumaste rightly pointed out, is a movie that can be summarised well by just watching the preview (despite the casting coup of the Big B, Anil and Randhir). A retake on Dil Apana Aur Preet Parayee (which gave us the evergreen antakshari/party song ajiib daastaa.n hai ye), with some dhaa.Nsu (mildly translated as 'marvellous' --- there's no word in English to adequately capture the sarcasm and praise loaded in the word) dialogue upgrades and NRI-esque elements. Visually, the film promises some nice colour blends, but Gracy Singh looks weak (as an actress), the dialogue is weak (and this is from an established script/dialogue writer making her directorial début), and the songs didn't really gell with moi. Jaane do. Next!

And then there was another remix video (replete with semi-clad desi ba.ndiyaa.N and innuendo ideal for the whole family to watch[sic]). This time it was a song from the canon dedicated to the Southie-producer-backed image of good ol' anti-Labour-Day white-shoed Jeetendra: ek aa.Nkh maaruu.N to (with a refrain going bhankas), a Kishore-Asha duet from the Bappi-scored Tohfa (which also contains some of the most outrageously written-composed-picturised songs ever!). HISTORICAL NOTE: The film was a big hit, thus accounting for the lack of taste in the 80s.

Friday, May 23, 2003

the duke turns 8

Not the swaggering taciturn sardonic John Wayne, but Duke, a software agent that soon became the mascot for the hottest language around, Java. Technically, Java turns eight today. Didn't find any link on the Sun pages though.
registered movie titles ...again [up thread]

Man Where Are You (Gurudev Film's Production House)

The Romantic (Hinglish) (Om Shivam Combines) {note that HINGLISH now seems to have made it to the list of valid movie languages!}

Jackie Chaan As Jasoos No. 1 (Bhalchandra Films)

Band Bajana Hai (24 Frames Films)

Rakhail The Mistress (Ripples Picture Entertainment ltd.)

Waqt The Race Against Time (Shobhana Desai Productions Pvt. Ltd.)

Waqt The Fight Against Time (")

Wahem The Doubt (Sana Entertainment)

Seriously, though, there are a couple of interesting titles: Danaash (which means 'knowledge/science/learning') and Tijarat (which means 'trade, business'. remember "Mohabbat ab tijaarat ban gayii hai" from ARPAN?).
friday feeds {Aside: How I wish this could be automated!!}

Served up piping hot: a selection of articles from all the feeds I read (when I get some time off work, of course)

Write and Get Fired (being a link to an account of one librarian fired from being a Google Researcher) | Prime Numbers in Python | Tim Bray on the Death of Scholarship (...when students are asked to look up something relevant to their academic work, 45% of them go to Google, 10% of them go to the local library catalog, and the rest scatter among other search engines...) | Whitespace is a language that works on the following principle: Any non whitespace characters are ignored; only spaces, tabs and newlines are considered syntax (PS: note the date of the posting)
sweet ol' bammy and some tasty sandwiches

Corporate needs led to a trip to Birmingham, AL yesterday. The weather wasn't great for a trip like this. The dark clouds in the grey sky had decided to rid themselves of their burden, and we were driving through sheets of rain. Quite depressing. On the plus side, I was in a great seat in a great van, and I was adept at falling asleep on demand in moving vehicles. Took a snooze. Woke up close to the border. The rain had stopped and the craven sun took a peek. The clouds persisted, but they had turned white in shame.

Nothing much to report landscape-wise. The irony of having taken Home From Nowhere as trip-reading material was evident: chain store logos and signs popping up from the clusters of industrial/residential progress, homogeneous highway borders (If I took a series of photographs of the way we drove, without any signs and landmarks, you would have absolutely no idea where we were!), ... the works. The drive took about 2 and a half hours (any reduction in speed was initially a result of the rain and later the very stringent speed limits enforced in AL [people say it gets worse in VA]).

The lingering memory I'll have of the whole trip would be the visit to the army canteen. Just as is the case back home, army canteen prices are lower (and in the US, more reasonable). The food was simple, and I had a pair of chicken sandwiches to start with. These were made from triangle cuts of white bread, and reminded me of the green chutney sandwiches abundant back home: Simple, tasty, filling, and cheap. The only aberration (if I may use such a strong word) was the overabundance of mandatory content information {the high level of detail didn't turn me off in this case, since my hunger conquered all other emotions]. The accompanying drink was some chocolate Yoo-Hoo, which is commercially packaged chocolate milk (to be precise, dairy whey and non-fat milk!), but still quite tasty. The funny part of the can was the little line in red that said "99% caffeine free" (In case you are wondering -- like I was -- about the source of the caffeine, it's the cocoa). A pair of "combination" sandwiches (a combo of corn and pieces of ham) sans the information about constituents (that's more like it!) tail-ended the lunch break.

This was the first time I was on an army installation in the US, and the closest parallel I had to the architecture was the AFMC in Pune. Uniform corridors as a source of confusion. Signs and more signs. Flags. Bulletin boards. Uniformity. Perfect for Stanley Kubrick movies (like Full Metal Jacket, needless to say).

I should take this opportunity, to complete that post about Full Metal Jacket. The film had interesting vignettes that were clever and served well as commentary about the war in Vietnam. My bias against Kubrick didn't help much, though. For the most part, the film just seemed very distant, and I remained unaffected (except for the first episode in the film and the Mickey Mouse moment at the end). Kubrick seems to leave the burden of interpretation of meaning to the audience, but doesn't provide any hooks at all. Most directors, through their technique, aid your understanding of the film, with cues scattered throughout the film. In Kubrick's case, and especially this movie, I wasn't sure what to make of the film: documentary detachment? OR multi-layered commentary?

Thursday, May 22, 2003

MS Watch: usability

Just added an RSS feed for Microsoft Watch. Getting there was a pain in the usabilty-equivalent of a gluteus. I visit the main page and scroll down looking for the familiar "XML" icon {white-on-orange XML icon} ...

[SIDENOTE: Several people have observed that since this points to an RSS feed, it should read RSS and not XML. Aah well...] [DECAFBAD post: RSS icon in CSS and HTML with comments]... Back to the main thread ...

Sure enough (thankfully, I must add) I find an item in the right sidebar with the icon and text to its right saying "Microsoft Watch via RSS". I copy the URL that clicking the image would take me to and paste it into Feedreader and it complains!! Turns out it's a link to another ASP page that provides information about the RSS feeds, and this is where I find the correct link Gaah! Just when everyone was used to the icons MSFT (indirectly) added some ambiguity. Aaargh!

Being a 1981 product of the Ramsay picchur factory, this B-flick boasts a sepia-and-overflowing-red tainted colour-drained print (characteristic of rare prints that did not meet the requirements for preservation set down by large inflated corporates with marigolds for brains like YashRaj Films -- see below for extended rant), a stellar star cast (love that phrase!) including Navin Nischol, Sarika, Bharat Bhushan (yes, he dies in this movie too), Om Shivpuri and Nadira (yep, you read that right!). Additionally present are the usual suspects (read: comic fillers and obligatory extras):

* Birbal (doing an Om Prakash impersonation)

* Rajendranath (credited as 'Narendranath' and playing Bahadur Bakshi, a cowardly veterinarian colleague to Navin Nischol's Dr Sameer Mahipat Rai). I think I've seen him credited thus in an old Joy Mukherji flick, but I'd have to do some digging to verify this.

* Jayshree T playing (again) the low-budget seductive moll (a club dancer, in this case, with whom Dr Vishal [Shivpuri] has a torrid -- well, as much as the censors and the constraints of economy allow -- affair)

* Not to forget Sarika doing her bit as the desi version of the clueless blonde, with nothing to contribute to the plot except being a love interest and the dumb gal who uses her IQ (which cannot be measured even on the Kelvin scale) and gets into the chu.Ngal (clutches) of the mutating Dr Vishal

The film has several appealing aspects (B-genre, plot points, compositions) to it:

* Bharat Bhushan plays a taa.Ngevaalaa called Robert, with two kids, Georgie and Rosie. To reiterate, he dies in the movie (again): thanks to some hawk serum injected into him by Dr Vishal (Shivpuri), his eyesight hits a sharp improvement, and then his eyes cannot stand the light. His iridic infrastructure shortly collapses under the strain, and so does he.

* Brother Keshu Ramsay (who went on to direct Dak Bungla for the family canon, produce Khiladi 420, and the forthcoming Khakee [post mentioning the film] and produce and direct the interesting Khoj) lends his services for a cameo as a bystander spouting some prolix at the cemetery (see note about the cemetery below) and credited as a "Brotherly Appearance". That must the first time such a credit has appeared (in addition to the regular "Special Appearance" by Sudhir and Gajanan Jagirdar)

* Based on the name and profession of Bharat Bhushan's character, one must assume that the population of the bastii is Christian, and is in danger of extinction. The Hindus (represented by the Mahipat Rai family) seem to be safe, even by the end of the movie. Would this be the first example of subtle religion-conscious horror flicks?

* The CBI office where junior artistes dressed up in police uniform are operating typewriters

* The use (unauthorized, of course) of Pink Floyd's Time as Dr Vishal enters the club/hotel that Jayshree T is supposed to perform her dance number (which is also the second of two songs featured in the film: merii jaa.N, a thar-tharaataa duet complete with English grunts and words ("don't touch me") with Asha). More song information can be found in the credits section below.

* A rock-solid performance by Om Shivpuri (as the bat serum infected world-famous Dr Vishal -- CRIB: If he's world-renowned, how come no one mentions his last name???)

Observations: The film is set in an (imaginary) bastii in the district of Chandan Nagar, which based on events transpiring in the film, seems to be located somewhere between Poona and Bombay. A key piece of evidence is milestone 73 (chosen for its prime properties?) on the highway where Vishal wishes a rendezvous with Sameer.

Synopsis and Review

another dahshat, also scored by Bappi.


starring Navin Nischol (Dr Sameer), Sarika (Kiran), Om Shivpuri (Dr Vishal), Nadira (Kamini)

with Narendranath (Dr Bakshi), Pinchoo Kapoor (the CBI lead), Dev Kumar, Ramesh Dev (playing a muslim police inspector called Dr Mullah!), Gopi Krishna, Jayshree T, Bharat Bhushan (Robert), Madan Puri (Mr Mahipat Rai, Sameer's dad), Agha (Kiran's dad), Chand Usmani

Special Appearance Sudhir Gajanan Jagirdar

Brotherly Appearance Keshu Ramsay

Records on HMV (aka lost forever)

Music Assistants Anil and Aroon

Playback Asha Bhosle Kishore Kumar Sulakshana Pandit Bhappi Lahiri

Lyrics Amit Khanna

Music Bhappi Lahiri (I don't think he sang for anyone else but himself!)

Co-Editor Shyam Ramsay

Sound Engineer Kiran Ramsay

Associate Director Arjun Ramsay

Cinematography Gangu Ramsay

Story, Screenplay, and Produced by Kumar Ramsay

Directed by Tulsi Ramsay & Shyam Ramay


mere pyaar kaa miiTar (Kishore): Yes, you read right. Ultra-pedestrian lyrics composed in the O P Nayyar vein (a really cool experiment) and picturised on Navin Nischol and Sarika (accompanied by Narendranath and Dev Kumar) on a taangaa, high on bhaa.Ng.

merii jaa.N (Bappi, Asha): a vigorously danced out club number with Jayshree T and dude_with_skin_coated_with_shoe_polish? (Who is this guy?). Lotsa cool riffs from Bappi-vaaDii.

Open Question: Was there another song with Sulakshana Pandit (since she's credited)?

Another Open Question: Who's the voice intoning "Dahshat" over the opening credits?

extended rant about YashRaj films

I must first say that I am glad someone (in this case YashRaj Films) has decided to convert to DVD a lot of the old Bollywood films (so what if they weren't "classics", they're still historically important). Now, since it's YashRaj Films, we need a business angle. Which would be fine, all things considered, if they had invested at least a fraction of the effort involved in transferring a film to DVD. Reviews on should be a fair indication of how much the Indian sector needs to come up to speed on good DVD conversions. Back to YRF. Their DVD catalogue is impressive. Being an RD Burman fan, I was especially pleased to see Jagir (which has an awesome electronica-laden soundtrack, and is probably a passable film). However, there are two things that mar the joy at this bit of news (and this brings me to the rant):

* The DVDs are either UK or USA/Canada. A paltry subset is available via Ultra Distributors for VCD and VHS distribution in India only. So, of course, prices are obscene: USD 17.99 plus shipping.

* Let us now examine the "Features" section of our sample DVD. I draw your attention to the last item: "Reproduced from vintage source for the sake of nostalgic appeal, hence possibly compromising on quality". This means, I am getting some sub-rate product and paying through my ... ahem ... for it.

Hence the rant. And if you thought I am getting more than it's worth, considering that this is such an obscure film, check out the page for an unchallengeable classic in Hindi (and even Indian) cinema, Pyaasa. Same deal.

On a related note, Raj Kapoor's Shree 420 (redone for the 90s as Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman) made it to DVD in two avatars: one from YRF (they decided to do away with the nostalgia bit on this one, methinks ... no "nostalgic appeal" nonsense on this page) and the other from Shemaroo Video. Michel Hafner reviews both and provides a comparison: the conclusions are not cut-and-dry, both versions have pluses and minuses. Pity.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

another US restaurant chain visit

Chalked up another US eating chain today with Ruby Tuesday, named (yes, believe it you must) for the Rolling Stones song of the same name. The 'muzak' is a collection of oldies, and there were a couple of interesting old movie posters including one for the Gore Vidal-scripted I Accuse!.
blogger error message for the day [aka "the more things change, the more they remain the same"]

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'

[Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][TCP/IP Sockets]General network error. Check your network documentation.

/Functions/, line 10

Most of us have seen flamers. They lurk on newsgroups, mailing lists, and public electronic fora, waiting for a chance (and they find several, too) to pounce at the 'Reply All' button and spew out their skewed opinions in a manner most ill-formed and inflammatory. The result: someone else gets offended (even 'burnt') and responds (again 'To All'). Thus begins the inevitable unavoidable unpleasant flame war -- taking no prisoners. The only thing really wrong about these attacks is that they extend from the topic of discussion/debate to the people behind the debate -- It gets personal, and once that happens, toast time! Tim Bray has an interesting take on it (flame him if you disagree with anything;).
how personal should your blog get? [ref: Dating a blogger, reading all about it]

First of all I am unsure if 'should' is the right word. How personal may your blog get. No, that's too authoritarian. I'll stick with 'should' for now. My blog posts have been a mix of impersonal posts, detached link clusters, personal ups and downs, but never have they hit that point in the narrative where one may picture an emotional sink tending to maudlin (extreme cases of sob-sob). Extreme joy, sure. Posting gripes about stuff is one thing. Whining is another. The Internet is teeming with different species of readers, some detached, some understanding, some cynical, some rude, some dumb, some clearly on the wrong boat. By making your blog personal (well, too personal), you could end up with one or more of the following results:

* Increased traffic, since a lot of people will empathize with your situation (hi, I know what you are going through...). These posts can go from being predictable yet welcome to perhaps, encouraging (I had a case of the latter, when I posted about my house being broken into last summer)

* Frequent readers clicking away, because the post went from being 'potentially interesting' to 'yet another senti- trip'

* A different relevance in the blogosphere: very little importance is afforded to aggregating blogs (which merely cluster content from elsewhere). What makes a blog interesting/important is the chord it strikes among the people who visit it again (obligation to visit a friend's blog; interesting content; interesting points of view; like interests; long-lost friends; new friends; staying in touch). This point can actually justify the extent to which your blog can get personal. People who know you would knowingly nod as they read your outpourings (or their jaws could drop at your newfound sensitivity!).

Clearly, I need to organise my thoughts better to make this post even remotely interesting. Hit the 'X' now. Close the window. Spare yourself.

And there's always the question what if you built a blog and no one came?

And just in case you were really wondering why NYTimes articles don't show up in Google searches (CS junta and Internet App Developers may skip the click)

cool RSS feeds {being proof that I am high on my news aggregation}

The social issues of spam are gaining interest (the technical aspects have been hot in research for a while, even giving new life to the algorithms at the core of Machine Learning, Data Mining and Cognitive Science) and Schpider, a spam news aggregator is a great place to monitor for updates [Of course they have an RSS feed].

Dave Winer just cooked up Weblog Search, which integrates blogs and Google.

Yet another recommendation for boning up to answer the question What do I do with an RSS feed? (achaar daaluu.N kyaa?). And while you're here, try where next for RSS.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

for the day items

Debate: Is PageRank an OPINION? Google says NO

Social Software Idea: a whuffie is reputation currency that you earn as people credit you out of respect, gratitude, pity, lust, love, or any other motive for popularity. {the whuffie blog}

Invention: Cubicles

TODO: Index and search Outlook email {bamf moment: There's a Python port of Lucene called LuPy {O'Reilly article}

Exhaustive diatribe-cum-introduction: Generators
zeitgeist info-viz

The Python Community Server now has a search engine referral zeitgeist, courtesy of Georg Bauer, who was inspired by Everything Burns. People interested in wiring up something similar for their sites would be interested in the code for the Search Referral Zeitgeist. It looks really cool, and is a great usability test example for an Info-Viz class.

Mark Pilgrim decided to put together PyTechnorati, the inevitable Python wrapper for the Technorati API {previous post} | at long last and procrastination galore, I've decided to dive into the sea of RSS aggregation. I'm configuring Amphetadesk (my choice of news reader). Next up, adding channels furiously, to get myself a single page every day to monitor. | The Dano project at Blogger promises some interesting features including new template tags for archives, site feeds (wonder if this is only for premium members), owner metadata. The question (as always) is: when will things stablize? They're still running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000 [Information courtesy of Netcraft]

Monday, May 19, 2003

JR's a year old

JR began blogging a year ago yesterday, and decides to celebrate the first anniversary of Clipboard Conversations and Other (A) Musings with some heavy ploughing. CAUTION: Patience is key in reading this post. SOLUTION: JR "took the easy way out, by writing it the normal way and taking the support of a few lines of code to give [him] the boustrophedon output". I did the same thing: wrote a little Python incorporating a neat little efficient lambda function and got some readable output with a snap. A great way to celebrate.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

a reloaded weekend

The big weekend activity was moving. I'm now back on my old stomping grounds: Home Park, Atlanta, GA. Referred to critically as 'off-campus student dwellings', the area is probably frowned upon by connoisseurs of fine eclectic living. However, despite the drawbacks, this is where my friends are, and it's also a good vantage point, close to the essential stores, with none of the hangups of suburbia (unless you value your privacy and resent seeing people).

The moves (thanks to an old friend) were two-fold, and the whole process could succinctly be described as car loaded, The Matrix: Reloaded, car reloaded. Somewhere between the first load and the mindblowing ultimately entertaining (how long ago was it that I was willing to go back into the theatre and watch the same movie again?) there was also a food stop at Chat Pati, for some kachori-dahi chaat and dhoklas. Very very filling, although I still balk as I compared these prices with the prices in India (yes, I know I'm not supposed to be doing that anymore, but this is desi food --- HOW expensive must it get?).

The loading and moving process was an empirical illustration of a solution to the question "Just how much stuff can you stuff into a given car while staying within legal and safe limits?". But there are better things to discuss.

The Matrix: Reloaded After a 4-year wait, the sequel to The Matrix has been worth all the patience and speculation (for me). Opinions have been divided, but I was relieved to see the film grow to be more than a simple melange of fabulous action set pieces. It has its share of them though: all the moves from the old movie, an almost never-ending nail-biting car chase on the freeway (all that wreckage put paid to any glimmer of hope on the car-buying front!), explosions galore. Couple of notes: Was Mifune a nod to Kurosawa's favourite actor Toshiro Mifune? One of the songs on the soundtrack was "Mona Lisa Overdrive" -- a reference to William Gibson's book, perhaps (quite apt too). While the first movie was a reference-laden, highly-influenced comic book on speed, this one extends the impression into video game world, right down to the music and the action sequences. While the Wachowskis must be commended for attempting to insert some relief in the proceedings with a gathering at Zion, and Neo meeting the architect of the Matrix some of the soft aspects of the movie seem woefully abrasive: Counterpointing the Zion gathering is an overlong intimate sequence between Neo and Trinity, which could have played well if the leads had played out as travel-weary hungry people in love. Larry Fishburne wins himself a scene where he towers over the congregation of Zion and delivers lines of motivation, but comes across bordering on a convincing performance as a ham roast. Neo repays Trinity's life-giving kiss from the first movie, in a moment that is too incredulous to forgive. But I'm still keen on the final edition in the trilogy. The ideas in the series aren't new, and the presentation is simple enough, in keeping with mainstream demands. But the Wachowski brothers love movies, and it seems to show. And it's a fun ride from start to end. So why complain? Want a more complex involving exploration of alternative universes and realities, go read some Philip K. Dick. [SFX info]

GEEK Update: Took some time to dig this up and verify it, but here's a dose of reality to fellow system administrators: Thanks to the Wachowskis, Trinity (Moss) actually hacks authentically in the movie. Although the screen is visible only for a split second, other people caught it too, and there are pictures on Fyodor/nmap's home page. Whipping up Nmap (v2.54beta2), Trinity manages to find a vulnerable SSH server and then proceeds to employ a 2001 exploit (SSH1 CRC32) to get in. more pictures are up for relish. I've used nmap in the past (a long while ago, actually), and it's a tool I'd recommend to sysadmins and people keen on protocol stack intricacies. This also brings up issues of time (how far ahead/current in time are the events of the movie set?). Rock on!

Addendum: Before I lose my train of thought, another note: this movie (and the series, as a whole) works as a wonderful information visualization experiment for the console-based tasks and activities of hackers. Neo's struggle against the many Agents Smith, the Matrix, the Matrix-within-the-Matrix (or was it?), the Oracle as an 'intuitive programmer' (aka an "intelligent" program -- AI's resurgence). This would add an extra dimension to the moment when we see Trinity hacking into the server (see above): the actual act of hacking depicted within a visualization of myriad hacking activities.

The evening was peppered with scattered fragments from Pran Jaaye Par Shaan Na Jaaye, an expressionist, Brechtian, Firodiya-esque, serio-comic spoof/satire on Mumbai chawl life and conflicts (with the unavoidable mean builder) that also derives a lot from the traditions of street plays. Debutante Sanjay Jha takes a Mahesh Manjrekar's script and sets it loose. Veteran Marathi TV actors, film stars, character actors and new faces take turns switching between easy performances and hilt-top hamming to embelish this movie quoting rib-tickler all the way. It's not perfect, but it's a great way to spend the evening (CAUTIONARY ADVISORY: Foul language never came in so thick, so little ones may stay away). GROUSE: What moron decided to bleep out some of the cusses? Haven't they realised that every time you bleep out something, you draw more attention to it, making it more deleterious than simply leaving it in there? NOTE: There's an extremely bold scene, where a troubled caring housewife (Divya Dutta) who runs three daytime house-cleaning jobs gets only one chance to express her grievances: when her drunk husband is making love to her -- and he snores off after having his way with her, while she continues to voice her issues. One among several serious drops in this chawlorama, which makes a strong claim as a successor to the greatest (IMHO) black comedy in Hindi (dare I say 'Indian'?) cinema, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.

Friday, May 16, 2003

the bear called documentation

Working with Oracle products over the last several months, the thing that struck me most apart from the often-appealing/sometimes-daunting configurability/complexity is the complete and utter sloppiness of documentation. The hands-on labs have errors: grammatical, syntactical. The sample code has versioning errors. In the rush to churn out releases distinguished only by a third- or fourth- order decimal digit, the corporate whose database I most admire (and which is, ironically, their only in-house product: the J2EE container and the application server came from Orion; TopLink came from WebGain; JDeveloper came from JBuilder) has decided to spend little to no time in patiently providing useful accompanying guides and documentation. Finding documentation for the version you are dealing with is often an ordeal on the OTN (that's Oracle Technology Network aka Oracle Technet for people who do not 'worship' the oracle). URLs mentioned in online guides and books published under the auspices of the Oracle Press (a collab with Osbourne Books) go stale as you read the book. The search facilities are rather primitive. And the only companion one has is good ol' Google.

But, you say, I have the release number for the reference guide. That should make my search easier. Think again. Often the old documents are found only on old mirrors or on sites maintained by kind souls for previous versions. Otherwise, you're out of luck.

Case in point: Working with JDeveloper's wizard-based CMR/CMP based on tables with composite primary keys and referential integrity, I was rewarded with the 'self-explanatory' NullPointerException followed by a 'helpful' exception stack trace when I attempted to test the application that JDeveloper put together for me. This 'by my own betrayed' self-destructive software quirk is something I have seen before in Microsoft products. In its hot competition with Microsoft, Oracle probably decided to match the software behavioural aspects as well. Back to my problem though. My searches for useful tips and suggestions came to naught. A colleague finally unearthed a HOWTO addressing this exact issue -- under the pages devoted to a technology preview of a newer version of the J2EE container. Makes sense right? And the tips are germane even to this current version that we're using. And as we test the recommendations made in the HOWTO to rectify the problem, my eyes scan the page that lists all the new HOWTOS and stop at the following sentence, which is in full keeping with the documentation staleness/version chaos problem (my colouring emphasis added):
For example Oracle9iAS Containers for J2EE (9.0.2) does not support some aspects of the EJB 2.0 specification, so the Local Interfaces How-To will not work on version 9.0.3.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

slang find for the week (courtesy: James)

The words "...have a jones for..." leapt off the screen as I read an email from James today. Being still in post-FOB pre-initiated_into_the_American_way status, I had to respond inquiring about the meaning of the phrase. This is what I got:

Main Entry: jones
Pronunciation: 'jOnz
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1965
1 slang : HABIT, ADDICTION; especially : addiction to heroin
2 slang : HEROIN
3 slang : an avid desire or appetite for something : CRAVING

"There was flick a few years back called 'Love Jones'", he says. This film had the same idea too (A love jones is that burning desire to be with someone, to have something, to need someone ... it's that one thing or person that makes you complete, and puts a smile on your face).

you can also use it as a verb; i'm jonesin' for a new _____. , he continues.

"i'd say it's not in widespread use, but i like it.", he concludes. William Safire explored the origins of the phrase. My colleagues knew what I was talking about. Clearly, not as rare as made out to be. Cool. We learn something everyday.

Related: The Online [American] Slang Dictionary, a work in progress | Slang in the UK | Australian slang | SlangSite

Homonyms:The Spoken LANGuage recognition system | The SPADE LANGuage, based on a timed high level Petri net formalism (I don't understand everything that I typed just now!) used for process-modeling.

blogdex bushel

Preliminary note: The good weather persists. Clear blue sky. Calm breeze. Sunshine.

Blogdex has been plagued with link spam and the results haven't been as great as they used to be (besides, politics and political humour aren't really something that clicks for me). Today's visit at long last got me some interesting results:

The first release of the Technorati API {Personal note: Bone up on the Technorati weblog index and search engine} {According to its Link Cosmos, my blog has 13 inbound links. The Horror! The Horror!}

The Happy Fun Pundits have put together a top 10 list of the things he hates most about Star Trek (and gets loads of interesting feedback too) {author corrigendum: Chris}

An ad for a Klingon language interpreter is the stuff of urban legend.

Google is going to create a search tool specifically for blogs. Will this move blogs off the main search path into their own private space? If so, there are implications good (the Google Bombs will subside) and bad (the average user doesn't see blogs in the search results unless he/she specifically indicates -- by clicking a hyperlink, perhaps -- his/her desire to see them)

The History of the Internet according to the Lemon

50 Reasons to reject The Matrix: Reloaded (warning: potential spoilers!!!)

Jayson Blair's elaborate trail of deception (NOTE: free registration required) at the NYT raises unpleasant issues of diversity and multi-culturalism. William Safire op-eds with more thoughts from within (NOTE: free registration required).

(Another link seen yesterday, posted today)An former Oregon spammer talks about the trade

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