Cerebral Shangrila

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

At the Narita Airport, Tokyo

I am heading to the US for a week on a business trip. I am now trying to kill time at the Narita Airport, Tokyo as I wait for the connecting flight. The landing was one of the most spectacular that I have ever seen, as we descended on a hue of brown clouds to a brightly lit Tokyo morning. The view of "Mt.Fuji" from the flight was quite magnificent as well.

Though its my third trip to Narita, its a shame that I have never entered Japan. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride :-)


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Deepavali @ Little India, Singapore

Photos taken during the Deepavali in Singapore. Little India in all its resplendent glory!

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Monday, October 19, 2009

One night @ Call Center

Despite being warned that it is a "shallow" novel, I took the risk and borrowed " One night @ the call center" novel by Chetan Bhagat. I am glad I didn't heed the advice.

Pluses : I found the book to be a no-nonsense, contemporary book that reflects the aspirations and issues surrounding today's generation. The characters are very well etched and the dark humor that runs through the novel makes it a real page turner. Well done Chetan !

Minuses : At times, it reads like a Bollywood script bordering on cliche. There is an over-dose of anti-Americanism, that is uncalled for.

On a whole, its a page turner and great "Time pass".


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blue - Movie Review

What would you get, if you gave Rs.100 crores to a rich, spoilt brat and asked him to make a movie?

The answer is " Blue".

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Deepavali !

Wishing you all a very happy Deepavali ! May the festival of lights bring joy & prosperity to all.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hariharan - Live at NUS

On Saturday evening, Hariharan performed live at NUS, Singapore. Hariharan has a phenomenal voice, rich and deep, that has mesmerized music lovers for more than three decades. A versatile artiste, he is quite famous in many genres - Film music (Tamil, Hindi), Ghazals, Fusion and Classical.

Personally, I have found Hariharan concerts a Hit or miss - either its spectacular or a major letdown. Thankfully, Saturday turned out to be the former.

Here is the concert review with Song list and my comments :

a) He started off with the Rajasthani Folk song " Kesariya Balam" in Raag Maand. It was a surprise that he chose this song as the first one but an indication that this was going to be an eclectic concert.

b) The next song was the nice number " Yaadein Yaad aati hai" from the not-so-nice movie Yaadein.

c) "Uyire" from Bombay ( Raj Thackeray, I swear that it is the title of the movie and cannot be called Mumbai !) was next and as expected the charanams were sung in Hindi & Tamil. Great singing and by now he was completely warmed up.

d) The next one was the fantastic number " Vennilave" from Minsara Kanavu. He didn't try any histrionics and was happy to just sing it the way it is.

e) "Ay Hairathe" from Guru followed next and was sung quite well, particularly the humming.

f) The next song was a surprise " Kuch mere dil ne kaha" from Tere mere sapne - an almost forgotten ABCL movie.

g) As soon as the next song " Manjal Veyil" from " Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyadu" started, there was a huge applause and Hariji did a great job in rendering this number.

h) The next one was the Amir Khusroo sufi song " Mohe Apne hi rang" in the Raag Yaman, which was sung in a contemporary speed rather than the slow tempo. Hariharan's swaras in Yaman were bright and concise.

i) " Krishna Nee Begane" started off in a traditional Carnatic Vilamba kaalam and then he switched to the Fusion version from the "Colonial cousins" album. There was a 15 mins Thani Avarthanam between Tabla & Drums ( when he took a break from the stage) .

j) " Yeh Aaine Se" from his album Kaash followed next and was rendered in the "Blues" style ( he called it "Urdu Blues" !).

k) "Mudhal Mazhai" from the movie Bheema followed next.

l) " Nenjukkul Peithidum" from Vaaranam Aayiram was the next one and was greeted by huge applause. It was rendered with great feel and was definitely one of the best songs of the evening.

m) " Kurukku Siruthavale" from Mudhalvan followed next and was rendered with aplomb. True Hari style !

n) The tamil fans got delirious when " Vaaji Vaaji" from Sivaji followed next.

o) " Kaash Aisa Koi" - the beautiful Ghazal by Tahir Faraz followed next with Hariharan explaining the Urdu lyrics on many occasaions to " Wah Wah" from the audience.

p) I couldn't really catch the next two Ghazals , Shamma Sadj & Sayyan Ghaire , since they were new to me.

q) " Roja Jaaneman" was rendered next amidst huge applause. Hariji brought out the beauty of Raag Kapi on many occasions with soulful singing.

r) " Nahi Saamne" - that spectacular song from Taal followed next. Great singing again !

s) "Chappa Chappa" from Maachis was rendered in the true folk style and Hariharan engaged the audience by getting down from stage and asking a few of them to sing along.

t) The last song of the evening was " O Khaizale" from one of his albums.

It was a great evening that ended with a sumptuous dinner ( that was part of ticket price).

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Child Prodigy @ Super Singer Junior 2

While this season has just begun, looks like we may already know the winner. Watch this prodigy - Alka Ajith. This is sheer genius . We might well be seeing the next Chitra !

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Old Joke

I am sure this is an old joke but still seems funny even today " Once we had Clinton, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope. Then we had Bush, no Cash and no Hope"


Monday, October 05, 2009

Weekend @ Penang

Just came back from a wonderful backpack trip to Penang, Malaysia over the weekend. Travel Diary & Photos would soon follow.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Mannada gets Dada Saheb Phalke Award

The only remaining titan of the "Big 4" - Manna Dey, gets the Dada Saheb Phalke Award. Well deserved one. I am reminded of the chance meeting I had with him at a restaurant in Palo Alto nine years ago , where he was very courteous and kind enough to sign an autograph for me.

Here is my favorite song of his as a dedication. Set in the Raag " Ahir Bhairav", this song will melt anyone's heart.

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