Saturday, March 28, 2009

nagesh does a godrejini

I must confess I wasn't keeping up with forthcoming movie releases as well, since I had never heard of 8x10 Tasveer until I caught the preview on YouTube a couple of weeks ago. It was written and cut like standard-issue Hollywood actioners with tantalising sprinklings of danger, suspense, intrigue and the like. I have to confess that although the premise was interesting and it was a relief to see Akshay Kumar in a film that was neither like a spelling snafu nor made by Priyadarshan, the usual doubt that this might well be a lift from foreign shores continued to linger. And then against the dark murky depths of somewhere underwater appeared letters in white proclaiming that this was a film by Nagesh Kukunoor. Call this a bias, but I was interested now.

The cast supporting AK and Ayesha Takia looked interesting: Sharmila Tagore, Girish Karnad, Anant Mahadevan (the last thriller I remember him in was Khiladi; I refuse to say more), Javed Jaffrey, Benjamin Gilani (by the Jugalbandi law, he's not going to be around after the first few reels). Aside from Mrs. Pataudi, the bag features people famous on television; it's something notable about Kukunoor's casting. Perhaps it'll become another reason to watch his films.

Another trailer ends with AK standing in a setup that can now only be referred to as a Ghajini setup. This Next-esque film has something to do with photographs and there we have a topless action star in a room that's got its share of photographs on the walls.

A third video that mixes footage from the trailer and some from the film along with questions answered by Nagesh Kukunoor betrays what might be the film's true raison d'etre: it's a film starring Godrej featuring everyone else (which is no surprise considering the "strategic partnership" with Godrej Security Systems). It looks like the days of Red Bull will be eclipsed by this new blatant sponsor fellatio.

And am I the only one seeing a photographic trend? Aa Dekhen Zara has just hit the marquee (and the dust?) and now this.

Before I forget, the Snoop Dogg on the soundtrack is Bohemia, a Pakistani-American Punjabi rapper who scats away against a familiar menacing brooding dark loop on the title track. Time to click publish.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

pulp fiction: made in india: now in english

If you had, as I did, the habit of visiting every raddii store you'd have noticed those books in Hindi, which sported a woman striking a suggestive pose and the name of the author three words long, screaming out in large bold text on top, one word on a line. You'd have probably noticed how similar these covers were to those of the James Hadley Chase novels published by Corgi Books. The same number of words in the author's name too. The name was Surender/Surendra Mohan Pathak and he was (is) one of the most famous representatives of crime fiction in populist Hindi literature.

Back home in Chennai, Rakesh Kumar Khanna, Rashmi Ruth Devadasan and Kaveri Lalchand brought to life an independent publishing house named Blaft. Imagine a list of titles that includes The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, Zero Degree and when this key sketch gets real tongue is fork hen is cock
when this key sketch gets real my baby eagle's dream comes true
(you may go back and read that again).

To this list comes a fresh addition: The first translation of SMP into English. ६५ लाख की डकैती is coming soon to with the moniker The 65 Lakh Heist. The man responsible for the translation is my dear friend Sudarshan Purohit, who, if you knew him, is a great man for the job. The book's already getting its share of press (consider the March 23, 2009 issue of Time Asia). Consider this a full-blown recommendation to rush to the bookstores to snag your copy. This is too cool to beat.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

the big G it is!

It's amazing just how difficult it is to find information online sometimes! YT has finally found some proof that the mind behind the lyrics for Kaminey is indeed the big G:

But having said that, and with all due respect to Rahman, there are other music directors today who are also hugely talented, like Vishal Bhardwaj, with whom I am doing completely different music scores in Kaminay and Ishqiya and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Then there is Ilayaraja, with whom I had a great time reuniting 25 years after Sadma in the forthcoming film SRK.

Ishqiya too. Waah (and duh!)!

crazy kiyaa re!

Who would have thought that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy would one day join the renegade Anu Malik in the S*xy Hall of Fame? With 13B's Oh S*xy Mama the trio notch several points with the song. We'll get to Neelesh Mishra's fine lyrics fine. A thumping bass and a vocoder-ised voice cannot prepare you enough for a familiar voice breaking in with the mukha.Daa (तीखी तीखी आँखें बोलें). Wait a rapping minute. That's Mr. Harjit Singh Sehgal himself. When was the last time you heard that voice? And it has to be the first time he's worked for SEL. He shares the microphone with Anushka Manchanda and Loy Mendonsa. While the song doesn't scale the heights defined by the title song of Mission Istaanbul, it still manages something memorable for collectors of the ridiculously sublime in the chorus:

oh s*xy mama
won't you do the saa re gaa maa
won't you do the saa re gaa maa
yo s*xy s*xy mama

तेरे बिन रस्ते मैं भूलूँ
तेरे बिन कैसे मैं जी लूं
तेरे बिन क्या मैं beer या ज़हर पी लूं

In an ironic twist, the censorious board decided to return to the prudish antiquated ways of the past and deemed the word offensive, forcing the producers to take the easy way out and overdub crazy instead of the s-word in the promotional clips playing on various cable channels. The song remains untouched in the soundtrack for Yavarum Nalum, the Tamil version of the film. Moreover, the scissors have run differently for the Hindi and Tamil versions: the Hindi one's getting an 'A' certificate while the Tamile one is going to relish the wonderfully ambiguous 'U/A' certificate.

The other tunes on the soundtrack are a moderate mixed bag. ba.De se shahar me.n sports SEL touches and has Karthik doing an Abhijeet imitation. aasmaa.N o.Dh kar's gentle pop is destroyed by the presence of Chitra. sab khairiyat hai might qualify as SEL's shortest song on record: the theme for a TV show in the film comes up shorter than Ram Sampath's Quick Byte on Family: Ties Of Blood. The album's laced with an obligatory remix of every song; the remix of this short track burgeons into a bouncy catchy 4 minute version saved from derision by the incessant opening on snare and hi-hat, a composite electro-clap beat and a coda laced with an electric guitar solo peppered with fervent bends.

Tubby (Indrajit Sharma) and Parik (Parikshit Sharma), with a bucket of credits for arranging and producing film soundtracks, toss in the theme for the film employing clichéd dissonance, ominous piano, threatening strings, moody dark cellos, frenetic interplay, trip hop, tributes to Sandeep Chowta and the obligatory choir.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

another melange of malapropisms marches in

Malicious and inappropriate is the patentably Indian abuse of would in places where will was the only choice (and hence, there was no choice at all, really). If someone can tell me how and why this abusage was born, I would (right usage!) be much obliged. Here's a page that opens with a storm of examples. Replace every would you see with a will and you will (not would!) see the correct form of the paragraph.

Next up is a common nugget that enjoyed a short life when we were all in school, because the English teacher was constantly telling you about positive, comparative and superlative forms of adjectives (If your English teacher did not do this, please stop reading at this point and find something else to do, preferably something that does not involve reading or writing). I like to call this the reinforced comparative. You can't blame the users (or abusers, if you will) for trying to take a simple rule for creating comparative forms and choosing to ignore the other rules (after all, it seems inconsistent to have more than one way to do the same thing ... unless you're writing Perl). These hapless souls decide to use more as the prefix for comparative forms. This in itself would not have been so bad if we had people saying "this is more good than that" or "things are more clear now"; a little advice can usually help in such matters. What seems incurable is the replacement of the positive form with the correct comparative form after having exercised the simple rule. This unfortunately gives us egregious exhibits like "this is more better than that" or "things are more clearer now." Want an example? Try Sukanya Verma's notes on a slide in an old Rediff special (ironically about English in Bollywood).

We return to the land of mustard fields, IT stables and cinemalls for our next exhibit, another example of achieving symmetry in conjugation for database actions. If the noun for the verb select is selection, for delete deletion and for insert insertion, shouldn't it be updation for update? Given the host of inconsistencies of the English language, this is the kind of intelligence one might expect in a discarded prototype of an android learning English; this is the kind of linguistic competence people seem to (often incorrectly) assume that they possess. The lessons in English and English grammar in school do not, unfortunately, include a special session to warn the students that all languages evolve and there's enough going on already without them contributing something like this to the melting pot. It's interesting to see that people seem to forget the basic rules of grammar (which, all deities of sanity be praised, have survived the vagaries of time) and indulge, instead, in neological pursuits.

We end this rant into the darkness of despair with another example of the dreaded on a/an X basis. Our sample comes from a warning note on a prominent money transfer portal about currency exchange rates. The authors of the paragraph warn you that the rates change on a dynamic basis. It's nice to know that the rates are not the only vulnerable things around -- the foundation they stand on is also equally shaky. Unless they meant to use dynamic like corporate crapspeakers do, suggesting some sort of executive vitality that is lost on everyone else.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.