Cerebral Shangrila

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lata Mangeshkar - 80th Birthday - Nostalgic trip down the lane ...

In the genre of film vocal music, there is Lata and then is everyone else. The true "Nightingale" of India, she has reigned supreme for more than 50 years before resting those tired vocal chords.

I believe in " Art for art's sake". Though I may not be mad fanatic of Lata as a person, there is no other film singer I hold in an higher esteem ( as a singer) than her. She has everything that you need from a perfect singer - Amazing vocal range, unalloyed sweetness in the voice and a perfect alignment to Sruti.

Here is my small tribute on her 80th birthday. My favorite 10 songs of Lata. Hope you like them too ............

1. Song : Yeh Zindagi Usi Ki Hai MD : C.Ramachandra Film : Anarkali

Amazing vocal range. All I remember about this movie is just this song !

2. Song : Rasik Balma MD : Shankar-Jaikishan Film : Chori Chori

This movie had some fabulous songs including one of my favorite duets - " Yeh Raat Bheegi". S-J often made Lata sing at an unbelievable pitch and here is one of those early ones.

3. Song : Jaago Mohan Pyare MD : Salil Chaudhury Film : Jaagte Raho

A song that deeply affected me. It reminds me of purity , in every sense of the word.

4. Song : Aaja re pardesi MD: Salil Chaudhury Film : Madhumathi

It was a lazy sunday afternoon in early 90's and a school boy, who knew little hindi, was watching this movie. He was mesmerized by this song and started a life-long love affair with hindi film music.

5. Song : Pyaar Kiya Tho Darna Kya MD : Naushad Film : Mughal-e-Azam

When the Ustad and Lata get-together, there is bound to be magic. This song has excellent music, unforgetable lyrics, top-notch singing and the ravishing Madhubala.

6. Song : Aapki Nazrone Samjha MD : Madan Mohan Film : Anpadh

I have must have listened to this song at least a 100 times. What can I say about Madan Mohan & Lata that hasn't been said? Lata gave her best for Madan Mohan songs. Period.

7. Song : Aaj Phir Jeene Ki MD : S.D.Burman Film: Guide

Composed by my favorite music director - Sachinda, this song perks me up whenever I am down. What singing !

8. Song : Tu Jahan Jahan Chalega MD: Madan Mohan Film : Mera Saaya

If you want to know what true sweetness is, look no beyond this song. Lata couldn't have sounded more sweeter in any other song.

9. Song : Na Koi Umang Hai MD: R.D.Burman Film: Kati Patang

RD gave some greats songs for both Lata & Asha but in my opinion he reserved the best ones for Lata. This haunting melody stays afresh even after 35 years.

10. Song : Tere mere beech main MD : Laxmikant - Pyarelal Film : Ek Duuje Ke Liye

L-P exploit the amazing vocal range of Lata in this song. When she reaches those upper notes, you are transported to a different heaven.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mr.Smith goes to Washington - Movie Review

It is a Saturday afternoon and one is completely jaded after an hectic week at office. The last thing you want is "sermons" thrown at you - you would rather watch a " Harry met Sally" than " Mr.Smith". But somewhere in the middle of the movie, it touches a chord in you , makes you question your ideals ( If I did have any in the first place) and purpose of life.

Jefferson & Lincoln were no ordinary men and you need movies like these to remind us of those facts. Yeah, this movie is a little too sugary and cliche for today's world ( This movie was made in 1939) but the morals aren't.

Values are worth fighting for and this movie shows how to win a good fight. No wonder it is in the top 100 list of AFI & IMDB.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson - Book review

Three cups of Tea is the exciting story of Greg who failed to climb K2 , the world's second highest peak located in Pakistan, but ended up scaling a much higher peak - opening more than 75 schools in remote areas of Pakistan & Afghanistan to educate illiterate children.

The story unravels from the early failures of an ordinary man with extraordinary willpower who gives every ounce of his energy to make the world a better place. Greg's Childhood in Africa, the support of the eccentric Jean Hoerni and death threats from mullahs make up for an engrossing read.

What Greg is doing is extra-ordinary. May his tribe grow !

P.S : The prose and editing should have been more crisp. It almost feels as if the book was written as a movie screenplay moving between Pakistan & California ( a little too much for its own good).

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Movie Trivia

Most people would know the movie " Four weddings and a funeral" (*ing Hugh Grant & Andie MacDowell).

How do we better know " Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral "?


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Top 10 Michael Jordan Moments

This is " Chicken soup for the MJ fan's soul". What a man ! If you are an MJ fan, don't miss it.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Business Trivia

What is common to Ecuador, El Salvador and East Timor ( Apart from they all start with "E")?


Tuesday, September 08, 2009


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I can't imagine missing a concert titled "RTP". Shankar took us back to the good ol' days when RTP was sung in a detailed manner by dedicating 90 minutes to it in this concert. The RTP was in " Shanmughapriya" and as they say you can never go wrong with this Raaga. Despite voice problems, Shankar gave a commendable performance and impressed the audience with a very good Alapana and Pallavi. The Tanam was rather brief and could have been a little longer. He sang a very nice Jayadev Ashtapathi in raag " Shudh Saarang" ( I thought it was Hamsanadham until he clarified it as " Shudh Sarang")after the RTP and ended the concert with an Abhang in Brindavana Saranga. V.V.Ravi & J Balaji provided an excellent support on the Violin & Mirdhangam respectively.

Here is the full song list :

1. Varnam - Kanada
2. Ma Janaki - Kamboji
3. RTP - Shanmughapriya with ragamalika swaras in Hindolam, Ranjani, Behag & Sivaranjani
4. Nalina Tharana - Ashtapathi - Shudh Saarang
5. Abhang - Brindavana Saaranga

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Photo of the Week - Ostrich, Bird Park, Singapore

I got as close as I could to this bird. The photo reminds me of the movie " Chandramukhi" - Laka Laka Laka !!
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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Kalaa Utsavam @ Esplanade in Nov

The Performances I would be attending - Sikkil Gurucharan, Jugal Bandhi between BMK & Ajoy, Cinema Raagas and of course all the free shows :-)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Week - Examining "Famous" Rivalries

The Week , which has always stood apart from the crowd, examines some of the famous rivalries of recent times.

While some of them are indeed famous ( Mukesh Vs Anil, Kennedy Vs Khrushchev, Periyar Vs Rajaji, Indira Vs Morarji, Lata Vs Asha, Ambani Vs Wadia , Gavaskar vs Kapil), there are other that are downright trivial ( Miandad Vs More ( who remembers this except for the jumping), Sarabhai Vs Dhawan, Sonia Vs Maneka ( Shouldn't it be Indira vs Maneka?).

The writers are the usual suspects and that makes it a rather predictable read than an exciting one.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Venezuela - What 4 things come to your mind?

I was standing at the traffic light opposite to Suntec waiting to cross the road. The stranger next to me asked me , " Can you tell me how to get to the Convention centre?" . I told her the directions and asked her to follow me since I was going there anyway. Here is the how the conversation went for the next 2 mins :

Me : So, where are you from ( She had thick Spanish accent)?

Stranger : I am from Venezuela. Have you heard of the country ? ( My first instinct in such cases is to rattle the capital city and ask them if they are from there).

Me : Yes, of course. Are you from Caracas?

Stranger : Wow, have you been to Caracas?

Me : No. Just know the capital name.

Stranger : What else do you know about Venezuela ? What are the things that come to your mind?

Me: Four things that come to my mind immediately - Oil, Beauty Pageants, Angel Falls ( the highest waterfall in the world) & Hugo Chavez.

Stranger : I am impressed but please " am not proud of the last one in the list you mentioned".

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