Friday, April 30, 2004

Caught Peter Meyer's documentary (hosted and narrated by Danny Glover, who occasionally came off as a tad too over-rehearsed and trite) Can't You Hear the Wind Howl? The Life & Music of Robert Johnson yesterday. Very engaging and informative (Johnson heads the list of legends who died at 27 followed by Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin and Cobain). And now to acquire the Complete Recordings:)!

Thursday, April 29, 2004


And finally, Google goes public ... May all good things in store for the US economy happen. And the SEC website is running Linux. A good thing. Getting slashdotted would be a bad thing.
56 fragments, wild and outrageous

Thanks to a VHS from a source other than my usual Indian store haunt, I managed to catch the portions of Ab Tak Chhappan I had missed thanks to a copy off a skipping DVD. I have come to believe that such a review of fragments helps me slot a film better. The Kal Ho Naa Ho reassessment helped me file that flick as crap, in an overall sense. ATC stands strong as a strong sum of strong parts. The missing fragments included Revathi's murder at the wedding reception (and I thought the way things were filmed evoked a very powerful reaction), Sadhu Agashe's resignation, the murder of Welankar the corrupt corporator, and more threads to the Feroz angle. The film gets a resounding thumbs up.

Caught a formatted-for-your-TV-screen (thank you very much!!) VHS tape of John McNaughton's Wild Things. A more explicit version just came out on DVD this month, so I guess a repeat viewing is called for in the future. Given McNaughton's credentials, I concluded that the whole enterprise was meant to look like a tacky, made-for-TV (complete with for-commercial-break fades), porn noir twisty flick complete with smooth jazz and 80s riffs contributing to the cheesy porn ambience (along with double entendres, frontal nudity, sexuality, and general lack of morals). The twists are predictable enough, but what is not predictable is the steady stream of them (even seeping into the end credits as backstory fragments). Despite all these "demerits", I was entertained thoroughly. Bill Murray (and to some extent Kevin Bacon) seemed to be the only people on the cast, who seemed to display any awareness of the "true" intent of the film. I remember the furore in the Pune newspapers (thanks to the threesome featuring Neve Campbell, Matt Dillon and Denise Richards). Frankly, I don't think it was worth it. I wonder if using McNaughton's previous work to view this film in a more appreciative light was a bad idea. Being a bad movie afficionado is one thing, going tangential is another.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

literary diversions

And all I loved, I loved alone. {Alone/Edgar Allan Poe}

One day/the horses will live in the saloons/and the enraged ants/will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the/eyes of cows {city that does not sleep/Frederico Garcia Lorca}

aaj ek harf ko phir Dhuu.NDataa phirataa hai khayaal {Faiz | see also: the In Custody soundtrack}
super perfundo on the early eve of your day/on really romantic nights of self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion

Richard Linklater's Waking Life explores the duality of the dream state and the waking state, and introduces us to several articulate people trying to find the meaning of their existence. Linklater shot and cut this conversation-heavy film the regular way. And then in a brilliant stroke of genius, he got animators to convert all this film to a series of water colour frames. The effect added an extra alternative element of realism to the proceedings. Surreal expressionism in a way. The conversational tone may turn people off. I found My Dinner with André (a movie that comprises a long dinner conversation) boring, but this effort was more endearing. The Philip K Dick anecdote about Flow my tears the policeman said was priceless, given that I'm a fan. And there are so many cool quotes. Vocal/likeness cameos include Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (reprising their roles in Linklater's Before Sunrise), Steven Soderbergh and Linklater himself. Always remember "the trick is to combine your waking rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams. Because, if you can do that, you can do anything".

Monday, April 26, 2004


mind games: Finally, after fate thwarted two attempts of mine to catch Charlie Kaufman's new exercise in love, longing and the persistence of memory. Carrey and Winslet deliver sincere performances embellished by a soundtrack that boasts three Hindi film songs off an import compilation from Universal called Music of Bollywood. Which three songs you ask? tere pyaar, meraa man teraa pyaasa, and waadaa naa to.D. There were two more songs that made the penultimate shortlist, both of which were R D Burman tunes: jaan\-e\-jaa.N Dhuu.NDataa and hogaa tum se pyaaraa kaun. Apart from being a novelty, they seem to serve the situation rather well (especially lyrically). The proceedings have a foreign-art-film tone of starkness and bleakness (that's it's Winter doesn't help matters much), and the mind games are fun to watch. At some point in the film, I deduced that this was a great movie for a date (don't ask me how, or why). A quick glance at the seats around me in the sparsely populated Midtown Art Cinema hall (the flick has been running for a while, and it's not mindless entertainment, so the crowd ends up being limited) offered a shocking confirmation of my suspicions. That I was there alone with a lapful dose of movie publications and a small piece of paper with some notes scribbled on it probably helped augment the ironies in the film. Needless to say, I await Charlie Kaufman's next.
a law and order enterprise: Caught Company again on VHS. Still think it's a good flick. Still think this might be Vivek Oberoi's best performance yet. Wonder why the Urmila cameo dance number aajaa re tuu gale lag jaa (which puts words to Chowta's Law and Order Theme off the soundtrack) was omitted from the soundtrack release ...
a quest for identity: Caught Wajood on VHS. Just to catch Nana's performance. A performance he was proud of, and a film he was shocked to see fail. I agree with the first part (the strong ghaaT accent notwithstanding), but N Chandra's complete ineptness at being able to tell a good story well offers enough proof for failure. The Madhuri/Mukul romantic interludes (encounter, song-and-dance, conflict) deserved brevity. The songs were a rage on the satellite channels and countdowns, but don't hold up well except as annoyances. A lot of the proceedings seem stagey (thanks to some bad lighting and editing). What I found most interesting were the literary and mythological analogies drawn in the film (I have a feeling this was Nana's doing, because I can't seen Robin Bhatt and Akash Khurana coming up with something like this): Ashwatthaamaa, Othello and Desdemona. And the motifs: the typewriter, the lines of poetry. And the Firodiya angle (except the final performance, which clearly enjoyed a budget that exceeded the sum of the budgets of all the Firodiya performances I was part of!). The background score gladly rips Kitaro and doesn't credit him (obviously). All said and done, if you can stomach mainstream nonsense, be patient just to see something promising, handle some theatrical excursions, this is a good flick for you.
a famous cyclist: I would be the last one to say "I saw Lance Armstrong in person", but I just said it. Tagged along for a ride to the endpoint of the Tour de Georgia, and caught the tail end (literally!) of the race, and the presentation ceremony. Although cycling races are not my thing, I was happy to note that there wasn't too much of the nasty smell of beer in the air. There was still the usual trash thanks to people who had camped there all day to catch a glimpse, but this was a better experience than Music Midtown and the football games at Sanford Stadium.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

earth day 2004

And Google celebrates it with another cool logo:
Google Earth Day 2004 Logo
a personal journey

Martin Scorsese's 3-episode documentary for the BBC takes us literally on a "personal journey through American cinema". Having seen Scorsese talk about films before, I can say that he's a very good candidate for such a project. He has the right mix of admiration, awe, knowledge, and geekiness. And his ouevre serves as an excellent bed for examples. This is neither complete nor exhaustive, but it's just fun to see him sit and share his enthusiasm for works that span the spectrum from mainstream to virtually unknown. Three tapes may seem like a lot, but this NEVER gets boring. And it's also a good way to build up a list of interesting films (especially if you're tired of the predictable lists churned out by the AFI). [ The director's dilemma The director as storyteller || The director as illusionist The director as smuggler part 1 || The director as smuggler part II The director as iconoclast].

NOTE: One name that stood out in the list of acknowledgements at the end was "Quentin Tarantino". I never saw QT in any episode, and MS never dropped his name. However, given that names like Sam Fuller and Budd Boetticher figure prominently, I'm not very surprised. Triviamongers will note that the scrawl credits were designed by Saul Bass.

Monday, April 19, 2004

bill, once again

Not long after my first look at the second installment of QT's glorious tribute to martial arts flicks, film noir, spaghetti westerns and film lore, I was back in the hall watching the 2 hour 17 minute epic unfold again. The second look jogged my memory on stuff I had noted the first time, but never gave a second thought. And it also helped me grab some more notes

* Movie references: The poster for Mr Majestyk in Budd's trailor. The reference to the Garfield/Turner classic The Postman Always Rings Twice. Other explicit references like Shogun Assassin, Carrie (as Beatrix emerges from the grave of Paula Schultz, a reference in itself), The Golden Stallion, The Circle of Iron/The Silent Flute. References in the script AND the soundtrack to Road to Salina.

* Gordon Liu wasn't the only one to play different characters in both parts (Johnny Mo in the first, Pai Mei in the second). Michael Parks played the sherriff in the first, and Esteban Vihaio in the second.

* That book Esteban puts down ("The Carrucans of Kurrajong" by Jasmine Yuen, if I'm not mistaken) seems like an in-joke. Jasmine Yuen Carrucan (also credited as Jasmine Carrucan) was second assistant camera on the first part. Interestingly, she was associated with an aborted (although it looks like it's coming back to life ...) project familiar to triviamongers back home -- a film called Water by Deepa Mehta [more and more].

* "The Lonely Death of Paula Schultz" is the only chapter title that does not appear against a black background

* What was the bleep for during Bill's conversation with Budd when he says "afraid"?

* Once again the soundtrack CD seems to missing stuff including at least one track by Isaac Hayes, a couple of Ennio Morricone tracks, and a couple of Bacalov pieces. And even that piece of disco/sitar music as Beatrix spars with Pai Mei.

* More on the Pai Mei segment: It's amazing how much faithful detail QT adds (in subtle ways) to the segment: the lensing, the sudden camera zooms into XCUs, the background mattes, and the background music. Priceless.

* And there's a multiple-POV moment when Elle arrives at Bud's trailer in the morning: one from a regular POV, and the second time as the Bride looks down (and Isaac Hayes's Ironside begins to play).

* There are radical deviations from the script: Yuki's Revenge was excised (and replaced by a scene exploring the massacre at the chapel). Bill's description of Pai Mei's wrath happens at a fire instead of in a jeep driving to Pai Mei. And Esteban Vihaio appears to tell Beatrix about Bill's fascination for blondes instead of having Bill tell Beatrix this.

* Was Tommy Plympton (the Bride's ill-fated groom) named in reverence for George Plympton? (who was a screenwriter for The Green Hornet among other goodies)

* When Budd refers to the Bride as a cowgirl when he is talking to Elle Driver, was that a nod to the Uma Thurman starrer Even Cowgirls Get the Blues?

* And should I be thrilled that I spotted a gaffe (Bill takes SIX steps instead of FIVE before succumbing to the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique) that has now made it to the IMDB page? [ADDENDUM: April 28, 2004: For some reason this has vanished from the goofs page ... and a new one about the camera being visible in Larry's glasses has appeared ...]

Saturday, April 17, 2004

ICMS II: in the morning

Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar accompanied by Pt Suresh Talwalkar on tabla and Vishwanath Kanhere on Harmonium present a grim unsmiling picture as they sat on stage ready to begin the second ICMS concert for 2004 -- a Saturday morning concert. However, once they segued into their renditions for the day, the faces were smiling, the chemistry wonderful and the musical virtuosity unparalleled and mindblowing. Adventurous taans and mii.nDs were the order of the day. From the haunting dawn of miyaa kii toDii to the familiar phrases of jaunapuri to the patient buildup to an improvisational jamboree built on bri.ndaawanii saara.Ng to an astounding exploration of hi.nDol-bahaar culminating in a roopak-taal-backed evocation in bhairavii, this was quality music with high-quality music. Hope it lasts till the next event in October.
the bride gets hers

QT is the best genre blender I have seen. What he pulled off in Kill Bill Vol I was a miracle of jaw-dropping carnage and homage. His audacity was evident and permeates into every foot of film in Vol II. Who else would have the gall NOT to mention the title of the flick at all in the opening credits (choosing instead to cut from UT's "I will kill Bill" to a stark dark in-keeping-with-the-noir-look title that reads "Vol. 2"). The second half of Tarantino's tribute to martial arts flicks, spaghetti westerns and myriad influences (like Ford's The Searchers?) is longer, has much less carnage (but what little exists is still shocking and well positioned), has a more diverse less "hook"y soundtrack (although there's more Morricone -- including a track I already own, yet again! -- and Bacalov, and a couple of old familiars from the first volume including Urami Bushim and Ironside). The film also marks a drastic shift in tone and pace. While the first one seems to have been a compendium of QT's fights and deaths, this one takes its time with characters (some new, some old) and lots of talk. I fear this may actually turn off quite a few fans of the first flick (and fans of QT, in general). While there's enough here to make this a worthy companion to Vol I (great dialogue including QT-style riffing on pop culture -- Bill's take on Superman, the excellently faithful Pai Mei chapter, the elements comprising the noir look and feel, the two long minutes of on-screen darkness accompanied by some very very effective diegetic sounds, that fabulous switch of film aspect ratios -- 1.33:1 was it?), the film does occasionally give me the impression that the splice was made at an inappropriate point. The two volumes seem a little off-balance (and there is definitely merit in this approach). However, it is still a very good reason to hit the theatres. Lots of changes to the original script. And you have to give it to QT for making Bill a very very interesting character -- taking him beyond being a "natural born killer" [although Bill uses the phrase to describe Beatrix] (was that pun intended?). And it's amazing how QT manages to pull it off with every character consciously articulating each word and phrase with a weight of "cool" importance. There are rumours of a Volume III (although several years later), but I hope QT manages to find another genre niche. Or perhaps something completely different. In the meantime, I'll wait patiently for the "authoritative" soundtrack release (and keep building my Morricone collection up on the side). Overall, I'm inclined to agree with James Berardinelli on the feeling of self-indulgence. And the math holds out as well: splicing the opus into two parts did give QT a chance to indulge in his creative excesses. Since QT has promised a release of the unified version (as originally planned), we might get a chance to take a look at what this film was meant to be.

About the only preview of interest was for the much-delayed American release of Zhang Yimou's Hero. The thing that made me sit up (aside from being able to watch the splendid visuals on the big screen) was the credit reading "Quentin Tarantino presents". Miramax had acquired the rights to this flick, and, as is common practice for the market-hungry profit-mongering Weinstein brothers, had stripped it down to 95 minutes. "QT sold out" I groaned. Turns out he didn't (should I have even doubted him??). What he did was insist that the original uncut version be released as is. Nice.

The music hunting has begun. Beginning with source information on the brief instrumental extract called The Chase [more]

Related: My take on Volume I

an explosion of mainstream ineptness

Mehul Kumar's Kohraam.

Friday, April 16, 2004


There's an application server called Pramati (been meaning to try it out some time). And now I notice an Apache Web Services Project called Sandesha

love in nepal

[elsewhere: rants on the soundtrack]

Sonu Nigam is surprisingly earnest and honest in this pathetic flick from RGV camp alumnus (wouldn't use the word "graduated" though ... ) Rajat Mukherjee. The background score and the songs have their moments. Debutante Fllora is a pain. What Rajpal Yadav does for most of the film should be familiar for people who saw him provide the running joke in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya. The proceedings are mostly inane and dismal, simply for (a) lack of comic timing (b) a general sense of "are we making a thriller, a romantic comedy, a darkly funny entertainer, some or more of the above ?". Raj Zutshi appears only in the first half of the film, and Vijay Raaz (nice tone and demeanour) is wasted in a second-half-only limited role. Sadness in Pokhara.

Monday, April 12, 2004

easter tridium

I began Easter Sunday with ad-man Ram Madhvani's Let's Talk. Hyped as the first film shot on DV to be reverse-telecined for theatrical distribution in India, this enterprise is redeemed only by the honesty of everyone involved, and a towering soaring performance from Boman Irani. And then we have Ram Madhvani noting that he was inspired by the structure of the Thumarii. Everything surrounding the flick tickles the interest. The end result seems strangely inappropriate for DV (unless the intent was to "exactly" capture the starkness and colourlessness of the normal lives of the protagonists). The simple story (a wife decides to tell her husband that she is having an affair, thus casting the father's identity of their next child into doubt) is told interestingly, but the overall tone is extremely depressing. Still, if you can stomach this, as well as the dumb pixellation as Boman cavorts in a bath towel, you might like the Krishna sightings offered as simple counterpoint, and the flick as a whole. Unfortunately, this may not be a great way to pioneer the use of DV in Indian cinema.

Next up, Mahesh Matthai's Bhopal Express. With people like Kay Kay Menon (billed as "KayKay") and Naseeruddin Shah, Zeenat Aman in a brief yet memorable turn, and a surprisingly more competent turn from Nethra Raghuraman (who sucked in Thakshak), this human drama set against the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of December 1984 (infamous as the "Hiroshima of the Chemical Industry") gets my hearty recommendation. The soundtrack includes people as diverse as Lucky Ali, Ila Arun, and Jagjit Singh. Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy provide the background music. What stays after the end credits roll is the evocative sequence where KayKay rushes to flag down a train headed to the endangered Bhopal train station. And another thing that will stay is a little element of detail. When we first see the Topaz Bar (where Naseer and KayKay are headed), we see the accompanying musicians tuning up their instruments. This doesn't seem too exciting, except I have no memory of any detail like this being included in similar scenes in all the Hindi films I have seen.

And finally, at long last, Martin Scorsese's perfect mix of art and entertainment, Goodfellas. It's interesting to see that given his religious background, Scorsese managed to set (with this film) and break (with Casino) the record for the most F-words used in a single flick (both courtesy the lively Joe Pesci). This film, just like Bringing out the Dead has Scorsese displaying consummate ease at choosing great songs that evoke the right emotions (something that QT seems to have picked up as well). In addition to being a very engaging flick with snappy dialogue and a frenetic pace, there's a lot of interesting use of film technique here as in Hitchcock's films: the most memorable one for me would be the over-2-minute-long single steadycam tracking shot as Henry and Karen leave the parking lot and settle down for their first real date. And then there's the Vertigo zoom when Henry meets Jimmy in a restaurant and realises that he is leading him to his death. And the death montage sequenced and cut against the piano coda to Layla. And the "new wave" use of freeze frames. Eminently watchable.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

agoraphobic aspirations

Thomas in Love (no reflexive puns intended!) represents another random selection at the public library. Seen on shelf, checked out. This is a French indie film about an agoraphobic, who hasn't stepped out of his house for eight years, doesn't allow anyone into his house, and interacts with the outside world through videophone. He exercises his libido by playing out cybersex storylines. The whole film has a single POV: Thomas's videophone console. What unfolds is predictable: Thomas falls in love (twice), and decides to step out (rightly inferring that his condition may have been aggravated by his insurance company looking for a cash cow). There are other aspects of the film that are more interesting: the fact that everything is run by insurance companies, and the stark desperation of life itself: people hook up at dating sites, and are so tied in to the electro-mechanical nature of life that actual interaction with other people is a big event. Aside from that, the film has little to offer in terms of complexity. But it wasn't too bad overall.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

kill bill volume II: the preview

No teaser trailers. A nice appreciably long trailer awaits us all. Her kid features in the preview, which means that it is safe for me to read the complete original script without any fear of spoilers. The end credits of Volume I told me that the "Crazy 88" comprised far fewer. The preview features words from Bill (Carradine) confirming this. Nice.
exploitative exploitation

I remember having seen Kamala a long time ago on Doordarshan. When Jag Mundhra made Bawandar, this last foray in the genre of exploitation-exploring docu-drama got some more limelight. Deepti Naval featured in both films: in Bawandar she was the social activist, in Kamala she is the eponymous protagonist (Well, Tendulkar's identity ideologies notwithstanding). The film seems dated and choppy (a side-effect of the budget, clearly). But there is a lot of substance and a fair amount of layering (courtesy Tendulkar's source play?). Triviamongers will note that Bappi Lahiri contributes two songs to the soundtrack, one by Pankaj Udhas and the other by Salma Agha. Shabana Azmi featured in Suraag as well, as did Marc Zuber.
AFPL gets a new look and a new system

My favourite haunt, the Atlanta Fulton Public Library, has just unveiled their new electronic system. It's called iBistro. The L&F is elegant, and I hope this means goodbye to the old purple/green/blue scheme. Oh yeah, it's running Linux:)

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

me and mr johnson {see also: clapton returns to his roots ... again}

Lots of familiar riffs (especially the one used on Unplugged's Before you accuse you featuring on When You Got a Good Friend) and there's a strong sense of Rollin' and Tumblin', which finally surfaces near the end of Travelling Riverside Blues. I must confess I seem to prefer Led Zeppelin's cover (perhaps for the atmospheric riff), but this is a nice purchase, and a welcome addition to the collection.
oddball cycle of love

V K Prakash's "rectangular love story" Freaky Chakra has interesting ambitions. There's a lot of oddball humour, a lot of it familiar, and good performances from Deepti Naval as the widowed Mrs Thomas, who works with dead bodies and awaits pornographic calls from an anonymous caller, and Sachin Khedekar as the depraved repressed Mr Sundaram who has a thing for Mrs Thomas and gets off on making anonymous pornographic calls to her every night. Ranvir Shorey often grates as the writer/sutradhar who watches his story go out of control, thanks to the X factor of Sunil (another inadequate turn), who comes in as a PG to Mrs Thomas. The soundtrack by Ousephachan has some good songs, although Venugopal's version of naa chaahiye mujhe pyaar (used in the film) doesn't work as well as Devi's (available only on the album). The only problem is that the weirdness tries too hard (and there are way too many screenwriters for comfort).
die daylight saving time

When the clocks changed in October last year, I began looking at dark dark mornings and winter blues. First time ever. Come February and the mornings started getting brighter. And I began feeling good again. And now the clocks changed again. And the mornings are dark again. Friends have tried explaining the scientific[sic] benefits of DST to me. I never understood. Don't think I ever will. Back home in Pune I never knew about DST (except when dealing with the clients in the US of A, and even then it was a statistic!). And things were fine. I see DST messing with the consistency of days and nights. And if I'm susceptible to winter blues or dark morning blues, I'd like to find a cure. Cursing DST won't help me much. And the cool aspects of long bright evenings with late sunsets are wearing thin.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

the masks we wear

It's amazing that someone chose a film like Party for DVD release. And the transfer, despite its flaws, is a very watchable one (although I watched a copied-to-VHS version of the same). I remember watching Govind Nihalani's adaptation of Mahesh Elkunchwar's Marathi play on Doordarshan. Elkunchwar's name is more familiar now, thanks to some exposure during my Firodiya days. The play focuses on events before, during and after a party thrown by a socialite for the hoi polloi of the creative world of the arts (writers, playrights, actors, directors). What unfolds is a bitter satirical view of the hollow frustrations, rivalries, repressions and pretentions of a group of masked members of a society so completely out of touch with the real world, as the spectre of the absent Amrit (a member of the fold, who chose to commit to a social cause) looms large. It's Chekhovian in the sense that there is no well-plotted story, nothing much actually happens, but we are told a lot about the characters inhabiting the goings-on, and a glimpse into the quality of their lives. The opening credits are in Hindi, a minor blessing, given the dumbing down of the language itself as Hinglish becomes more and more prevalent. The cast is a veritable whos-who of fine acting, and this must remain one of Nihalani's best efforts. Despite the theatrical nature of the proceedings, this would go on my list of recommendations.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

a regal double bill

Hadn't done this in a long while. Two new releases. Back-to-back.

Dawn of the Dead: Zack Snyder's retake of the second edition of Romero's cult trilogy works surprisingly well. The allegory of the shopping mall is not as elaborate as in the original, and the gore is also toned down. Not much of a score either. Nevertheless, right from the Carmageddon-esque pre-credits sequence to the Romero-esque opening credits (blood red against black), through the time spent getting to the mall, defending it, and making a break to the shore, this is an engaging flick. Snyder even takes liberties by making his zombies move just as fast as regular human beings, which makes them even scarier. The downbeat ending (spliced with the credits and aurally enhanced by thrash music) is predictable, but does not ever stretch beyond a few glimpses that make their point. Some of the old cast are back in cameos. The Alamo chess set was cool. And it's interesting how the simple tale gains more resonance with the zeitgeist so many years later.

Hellboy: I agree with Roger Ebert that Guillermo del Toro's adaptation feels like a comic book. There is a seriousness and respect for the source material and its mood (last seen to a great extent in Tim Burton's Batman, although that got a lot of the back-stories fudged and mutilated!). I had enthusiastically recommended del Toro's Cronos for a CAN group screening based purely on extracts I had seen in a Barry Norman review. And then I got a chance to catch his roach flick Mimic. Although the latter could be beaten up for numerous howlers, I still liked the atmosphere and tone, and the overall look of the film. There's a lot of that in Hellboy too. Ron Perlman (seen in Cronos) seems destined to play the lead role, and attacks it with a sincerity and gusto that endears. There's John Hurt (virtually unrecognizable) and the usual plot elements for a "flick based on a ton of comic book myth that must tell it all in a very very short time". Loved the SFX. Loved the intense elements (that Rasputin would appear in all this seemed to make a strange kind of sense). Rotten eggs and the safety of mankind.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

pancham in the blender

Used to be a time where being a hardcore Pancham fan included knowing about cool songs that got knocked off the radar thanks to bad films or bad luck, or both. With the remix craze now resembling the IT boom of the early 90s, being a hardcore Pancham fan means being able to spot these melodia obscura that are now popped into a second-rate blender along with synthesizer masala, pre-programmed rhythms and a usually passable second-rate voice punching out the melody without fake sensuality and oomph. But thanks to the remix raajaas, one gets to hear forgotten nuggets like ba.Ngale ke piichhe (more famous the much maligned pop icon kaa.NTaa lagaa), ham ne sanam ko Kat likhaa, sonaa ruupaa laayo re. And now HMV/Saregama has just released a sequel to Gulzar remembers Pancham. It's called Panchambeats, and boasts nothing special for hardcore Pancham fans, besides extracts from merii sa.ngiit yaatraa and cleaned-up versions of Pancham compositions in the aging moulting HMV catalogue. Rumours have it that old BMG Crescendo catalogue gems are reappearing (or even appearing for the first time) on CD. I wouldn't get too excited about any signs of a Pancham revival. These are just whiffs of capitalism.
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