Monday, March 31, 2008

quad core brain damage

You know there's something eerie in the air when two forthcoming additions to the Bollytrash stockpile of mind-numbing product have so much in common. In one pala.Daa we have, milord, Rakesh Roshan's production Krazzy 4 that has ensured sufficient interest not through its cast roster or script (or what passes off for it), but through the presence of Hrithik Roshan and SRK strutting their stuff in individual item numbers that share the same tune (belted out with aplomb by Vishal Dadlani on one of his increasingly common gun-for-hire assignments) but boast different lyrics (Asif Ali Baig, Javed Akhtar). In the other pala.Daa, your honour, we have Nakabandi Nath himself reprising the role of Monty Oberoi in Satish Kaushik's remake of Subhash Ghai's filch Karz; this film is called Karzzzz (aka Karz4 -- get that, Kar-zee-4). We've already talked about this film before, milord.

Roshan's production is supposedly based on this old Malayalam film called Mukilla Rajyathu. This translates as In the land of the Noseless and is part of a Malayalam saying that goes mukilla rajyathu murimukkan rajavu (apologies for not iTrans-ifying it, milord). That means In the land of the Noseless, the Half-Nosed is King (yes, yes milord, just as they say in English, In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is King). One wonders if the nasal element is a reference to the now de-cap-itated star of the Ghai rip-off. Yes, yes milord, a possible conspiracy theory.

Before we close, your wigness, may we also draw your attention to the poster of this remake, whose USP has been that its star is slated to appear without a cap for 75% of its running time sporting the results of his hair transplant. The poster looks familiar, does it not, your eruditeness? Does the film Walk The Line sound familiar, your astuteness? Perhaps we should consider letting Shepard Fairey know ...

That's all your judiciousness.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

the I in the objective as a south african flower gets a serenade

K.K.'s new album Humsafar sports a mix of Pritam-echoing Pakistani pop (aasamaa.N ke), an echo of Leslie Lewis with the title track and rainaa bhayii, by far the most interesting track -- one that mixes the boat song with a rock/pop arrangement and phrases in Malayalam. The final track is called Cineraria and is presumably an ode to the South African genus of flowers. The singer gives lyricist Mehboob a break and pens the lines himself; and they become fodder for a grammatical peeve: Is there another place / Another place in the sun / Where you and I could be together, love / Tell me why is it so hard / So hard for you and I / At times alone I sit and wonder. The only consolation is that this bit of hyper-correction is tucked away inside the song instead of being an egregious assault like Jessica Simpson's Between You And I.

all debts are clear'd between you and I
-- (Antonio's letter to Bassanio) Act III, Scene 2; The Merchant Of Venice / William Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

postel and pedantry

Joel Spolsky tackles the flames greeting the decision to have Internet Explorer 8.0 support a revised refined "better" "Standards" mode in another entertaining article that employs an interesting example of MP3 players on Mars. The second half of the article brings up Jon Postel's robustness principle: be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others. This is something that abounds in several areas of software development. It also reflects, for me, the state of communication. It makes pedantry extremely hard and unrewarding. After all, if you've understood what the other person was trying to say, any attempt to correct the words and phrases used (or abused, if things are in really bad shape) seems like a waste of time. Yet, there's so much time wasted as the brain tries to rearrange and remedy the words heard or read. Apologists for the evolution of language and creative expression will argue quite convincingly in favour of such errors that may eventually, as history has shown us on several occasions, make their way into the language. The "wrong" becomes "right." But evolution cannot assuage the pedant's wounded eyes and ears.

Friday, March 14, 2008

a dash of mishra

Sudhir Mishra's Aur Devdas, a political mix of "Devdas and Hamlet" with Shiney Ahuja, Lara Dutta and Chitrangda Singh (more hereabouts) as Devdas, Paro and Chandramukhi respectively, seems to have lost to Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, a quickie set in a time when Bombay wants to be Shanghai" and when nobody gives a damn about a kid called Johnny who sells tea on the streets. Turning co-producer with the film, Mishra plans to give Karan Nath a second lease of life with the film besides having live songs in it. There's also the juicy tidbit that Chitrangda Singh's been roped in for an item song of sorts. What boggles the mind, however, is the cast roster for the film: joining Sikander Agarwal (who plays Johnny) and Karan Nath is a host of familiar names -- Neil Nitin Mukesh (who made a stupendous début as Johnny Gaddar), Soha Ali Khan, Kay Kay Menon, Anurag Kashyap and Aditya Bhattacharya (director of the undersung Raakh and the criminally hard-to-find Dubai Return). One drools in anticipation.

Friday, March 07, 2008

RMIM Puraskaar 2007: the results are out

The results for RMIM Puraskaar 2007 (mentioned hereabouts) are out. A big round of applause to Vinay for continuing to nurture this wonderful idea. (Disclaimer: YT was on the jury). This time around I also got to get my hands dirty with some code assisting with collecting song metadata -- all with the JavaSound API through an MP3 SPI, the Java Excel API and OpenCSV mixed with strategies. All in good fun and I now also have a way to check the tags on my MP3s.

Related: RMIM Post | post on the giitaayan blog

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

the self-deprecating filmmaker returns

After the debacle of his take on Sholay, RGV trounces everyone in the race to rip the film and its maker apart (Although the quality to be critical of one's work is admirable, it's a pity that he's had to do this for a while now).

I don't blame anyone else for going wrong in Aag. Amitabh Bachchan trusted me completely in Aag. But I feel my intention was wrong. Aag was a three-year-old dream. Many changes happened. I was told by lawyers to change the story because my Sholay had to be different from the original. I lost my way along the way. Aag ended up as a caricature of Sholay. When people around you keep saying it's turning out well, you tend to get carried away. Aag was a special flop for me. Just as Sholay was benchmark, Aag was a landmark for me. It was not even a wake-up call. It was a slap.

There's a new film called Contract in the making with Bombay and Bangkok being key locations and it's laced with newcomers. One wonders if this is Dhyeya sporting a new title.

Sarkar Raj, the sequel to his tribute to The Godfather is all set for a May/June release this year complete with the promise of political undertones and of being larger in "scope, scale and span." It would be a big stretch to expect the kind of leap in texture, complexity and cinematic achievement that The Godfather Part II was after The Godfather, but as a fan of the maverick, I'd still like to hope for something to remedy some of the harm done by the recent rather disappointing years of The Factory.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

a flourish here, a spot there

In an interview with Q magazine, Robert Plant was asked what Led Zeppelin thought about how widely used the beat for When The Levee Breaks was. His respons contained a nugget of information that, surprisingly, I've not read elsewhere:

We were flabbergasted and impressed when people started using When The Levee Breaks. when Jimmy and I talked about it, we figured nothing was sacred, as we'd been nicking old blues stuff since the beginning of time. it got a bit preposterous when Michael Jackson did Bad -- which is the riff to Heartbreaker [from Led Zeppelin II] with one note changed and as far as we're concerned is a nick.

[courtesy: When The Levee Breaks: The Making Of Led Zeppelin IV by Andy Fyfe, a book that's low on style but laced with information and one that sports one of my favourite photographs of the band on the cover]

Pop quiz, hotshot. There's a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do? . That was Speed. 5 years later, someone latched onto the idea of combining the buddy film along with this premise and a generous helping of mad science to come up with Chill Factor: Things will turn radioactive and bad, if a new biological chemical weapon is exposed to temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit (that's about 10 degrees celsius) and it's going to take an ice cream truck driver (Cuba Gooding, Jr. in a career-questioning role) and a convenience store clerk to keep it getting into the hands of some ex-Army terrorists.

Meanwhile, Subhash Alfred Ghai, last seen as his unsubtle self in Om Shanti Om is returning to the director's chair (Kisna anyone?) with Black and White (in search of harmony). The font echoes the Leone-ian territory covered in Omkara and the ebony-and-ivory packaging aside, the film's premise echoes The Devil's Own; this is quite a comeback for Ghai, whose Karz, the muse for Om Shanti Om was an echo of The Reincarnation of Peter Proud.

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