Archive | March, 2009

Duet Movies: Promoting Good Cinema

31 Mar

Duet Movies is the production house of acclaimed actor Prakash Raj. Apart from being a superb actor, Prakash is a wonderful producer too! He has produced 6 Tamil movies- Azhagiya Theeye, Kanda Naal Mudhal, Poi, Mozhi, Vellithirai and Abhiyum Naanum. I have watched most of these except for Poi and Vellithirai. All these movies are very good ones, which are quite different from the trash we see in Tamil cinema today. Tamil cinema is a strange dichotomy-On one hand you have wonderful movies being made by a few directors (who are a minority) who choose to tread a different path and on the other hand you have horrible movies like Villu, Silambattam etc etc this list is endless!

Duet Movies has consistently attempted to make different movies which can be enjoyed by all.  Being a patron of good cinema (movies which explore exciting different subjects, having the courage to do something novel), I have always appreciated Prakash Raj’s attitude as he says that cinema should be entertaining as well as trying to convey something positive in life. His movies Mozhi, Abhiyum Naanum have definitely done this. I don’t know how many times I have watched Mozhi, each time I see it I go into a different world. The natural humour, the dialogues, the music, everything was top class in Mozhi. Abhiyum Naanum was also a very touching and absorbing narrative, the travails of a father who is too “attached” to his daughter and how he overcomes that! It is shown so beautifully that every father should see this movie. I hope to catchup with Vellithirai soon.

I totally support Prakash Raj in this great service he is doing to Tamil cinema. He is giving us some respite from the commercial, rehashed, violent movies.  Hope other producers too try to follow Prakash Raj so that we see meaningful cinema which adds value to life!

Saaz: Unique Music by Ustad Zakir Hussain

19 Mar

Saaz was a film OST which released around 1995.  It had music by multiple composers like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Raj Kamal and Vanraj Bhatia.  Ustad had composed 3 tracks for this movie and all 3 had a stamp of class written all over them. The other tracks were good too but these 3 were outstanding! The tracks composed by Ustad were:

  1. Kya Tumne Hai-Sung by Kavitha Subramaniam-It starts with beautiful hummings, finger sounds (thats Zakir for you!) with tabla bols and taals.  Besides having a merry tune, the song has great rock guitar pieces and use of multiple voice layerings for Kavithaji’s voice.
  2. Raat Dhalne Lagi-Sung by Kavitha Subramaniam-This song is what I call a vintage song because Ustad uses so many Indian sounds/instruments making it a must-listen.  Sarod is rarely heard in film music and this song has awesome Sarod interludes adding to the melody.
  3. Phir Bhor Bhaee-Sung by Devki Pandit-Another very melodious number based on Raag Bageshri characterized by soothing sitar interludes. Again very PURE Indian music.

I wish Ustad had composed for more Hindi movies, though he has composed for a few movies like Mr & Mrs. Iyer. I think Saaz is Ustad’s best film music album. I searched for this album in many music shops for almost 5 years but in vain. Recently, I found it on the net and had no option but to download it.

A.R.Rahman Felicitation: A Splendid Show

9 Mar

I consider myself blessed to have watched the A.R.Rahman felicitation function yesterday on T.V. I thought it must be like any other function where they celebrate a film’s success and I wanted to see it only because the legends MSV, Ilaiyaraja and Rahman were sharing the same stage (as you can see from the photos in the previous post below). The most striking feature of the function was that almost all the composers, singers, musicians from the Tamil music industry attended the function to congratulate and celebrate the achievement of their own son A.R.Rahman. This was the underlying spirit of the whole function and that is what made it so memorable. The function avoided all the trappings of a formal function and it was in fact very informal as it was a  family get-together. The compering by S.A. Rajkumar was top notch and his introduction of all the speakers was highly eloquent. All the speeches were from the heart (especially MSV Sir’s loving speech) and were brief except for Ilaiyaraja’s speech which was for about 10 mins (still short considering the other discourses we hear!). But Ilaiyaraja had me asking for more as his speech was simply spellbinding! The genuine affection that the music composers, singers showed for each other touched my heart. Many composers shed a few tears hearing the outpourings of love towards each other and towards music as music united all of them. Even Rahman did shed a few tears when S.Janaki spoke about Rahman’s father R.K.Shekhar sir. The defining moment for me was when MSV and Ilaiyaraja draped a shawl around Rahman just before his speech. The 3 trendsetters of Tamil music were seen together which will be one of the rarest moments in the chapters of Indian music. Towards the end, the ever-humble A.R.Rahman beautifully reciprocated the same feelings as he declared that the love that people have for composers (referring to Ilaiyaraja’s and MSV’s  huge fan following) is even more valuable than awards like Oscars. He signed off by saying that nobody should abuse other’s works and he said you can abuse me but not them as they are MY people!! I am not sure if we will see such a fantastic programme again but what we saw will remain etched in our hearts for many years to come! To get a taste of the feelings during the programme see Ilaiyaraja’s wonderful speech below, there is no better way to end this post.

The Maestros together!

6 Mar

Look at the following pictures from A.R.Rahman’s felicitation held at Chennai. The entire Tamil music industry was there to acknowledge Rahman’s  achievement.  For a music lover there is nothing better than seeing the Trimurtis/Trinity of Tamil music-nay Indian music, together-M.S. Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraja and A.R.Rahman. Click on the photos to see them fully.