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Boarding the Flyte of music!

Music for the average Indian is synonymous with “film” music – be it Bollywood or regional movies. The young urban Indian probably identifies additionally with the Western genres of music. So all in all, a “Chhamak Chhallo”, a “Saada Haq” or a Lady Gaga anthem would probably be what constitutes a typical playlist for most of us. There is definitely no dearth of finding these songs and with the internet, Bluetooth and what have you, right on our finger tips.

But for someone whose musical tastes are “different”, to the extent of being called “weird” or obscure by others around, finding my choice of music has been an onerous experience. Some songs for me have been an association from the audio cassette days, and when the tape recorder went defunct with audio CDs and later mp3s replacing them, I missed quite a few gems from my digital music treasure trove. I never really fancied the idea of converting those cassette tracks into digital format primarily out of laziness and also due to the lack of clarity that it would bring.

To give you a drift of what I kind of music I am talking about consider these – this awesome Raga Hamsadhwani based track titled “Celebration” from the album “Music for the Soul”; this gem is composed by the genius Vishwa Mohan Bhatt with vocals by Sadhna Sargam enough to leave you in a state of ecstasy or another one from the little known movie “Meera”; this Miyan ki Malhar based “Badar Dekh Dari” rendered brilliantly by Vani Jairam. Though I do not understand the intricacies of Hindustani Classical Music, yet I have been drawn to it through such songs – call them semi-classical, light classical or simply raga based compositions.

Along the years, I did try to search for some such tracks on the internet, but with very little success. When Apple launched iTunes and along with it the Music Store, I was in the US at that time. I was definitely excited when I browsed through the vast repertoire of Indian Classical music on iTunes Store. Yet paying 50 rupees for one song was prohibitive to my Indian mind. Later when I reached India, and decided to buy some tracks that I couldn’t get out of my mind, I realized that they were not available for India. I always thought why such a collection couldn’t be made available to us.

I remember saregama launched a venture called few years ago but it was restricted to their erstwhile HMV label and current offerings. Music Today label, the premier music label for Indian classical and related genres, has had a half-baked online presence over the years. Their habit of repackaging the same tracks under different albums didn’t appeal to me. Furthermore, their cost effective mp3s collections vanished from the market after making a brief appearance. So all in all, there was barely a place to satiate my musical appetite.

My prayers were answered by, when they launched the Indian music store – Flyte last week. I was more excited than a kid, who had been handed his long-yearned toy, as I browsed through their catalogue and immediately found the pieces that I had been wanting to get my ears on for years. So in a flash, not only did I end up buying the above two tracks, but a lot many more such.

Like all things Flipkart, Flyte is a very well-thought offering. They really have managed to bring together a huge (read HUGE) range of Indian music ranging across music labels,  replete with Album Artwork and song information in the best possible sound quality (most mp3s available in 320kbps quality). There is also the freedom of buying a single song when you don’t want to opt for the whole album. The pricing is decent (though I wish the one/two minute tracks were cheaper), the tracks DRM-free and one can synch it up on multiple devices. So the songs I buy and download can go on my laptop, iPod and phone like any normal mp3. They also offer a download manager that can track and pause-resume large downloads.

I, like all users of Flipkart, have always been impressed with their packaging and crisp delivery turnaround. But with Flyte, I am full-blown fan of Flipkart. With this long due venture, they have done a great service to music lovers like me, who now won’t have to run from pillar to post for listening to those rare gems of Indian music, and have a legal and cost-effective option available. I also hope this brings down the piracy that is so rampant in Indian music.

A big thumps up to Flyte!


March 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm 2 comments

India Divided

“India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters…” so went the pledge we took in school. But years later, I don’t see these thoughts resonating in our people.

In recessionary times like these, rumours and speculation are no longer confined to the corridors of IT companies; these half-truths become published as news on mainstream websites. It’s a pity that without adequate authentication or getting their facts right, panic and hysteria is being created.

This piece of news was as quickly circulated in our organization as it was published by rediff. But what is sadder is how our countrymen responded to it.

Now when I read a piece of news or an article, I generally browse through the comments section to know what other people like me feel about it. It helps to get a better and often varied perspective to the issue at hand.

A masala news as this was bound to get a lot of comments considering IT guys have ready access to the internet. I scrolled below to read the comments and was shocked to read how people had reacted to the posting. As if accusing Narayanmurthy and Azim Premji for recession wasn’t enough, the responses to the comments were no longer even in the context of the article; they had taken their own life.

People who negated the news met with brickbats and were asked for their employee id. Even though some of these comments were comic (increasing lines of code to fake productivity), others were downright abusive. As I moved to the next page of comments, the topic veered to religious conversions, Brahmins, Mayawati, Dalits, Devegowda and everything unrelated to the article.

It is heart-aching to see people in India condemn their fellow citizens at the slightest pretext. We often talk of racism against Indians, whereas in reality we ourselves need to set our act right first. By dividing India on the basis of caste, religion, state, region, we are doing more harm to us than a slowing economy or job layoffs can do.

January 6, 2009 at 3:30 pm 1 comment

This is gonna be a great year!

HAPPY 2007…

January 1, 2007 at 6:27 pm 8 comments

KANK – The movie

First things first… You should watch KANK if…

– you’ve enjoyed watching KKHH, K3G,

– love for you is an absolute truth,

– relationships is food for your thought,

– you don’t find emotion talk a bore,

– you are not expecting a classic but a movie with brilliant performances,

You should NOT see KANK if…

– you cannot withstand KJ

-style tears & melodrama,

– length of a movie makes you lose interest,

– you expect KJ delivers an even superior product than his previous films,

– you are looking for glorification of “bhartiya sabhyata”

KANK may not be ground-breaking cinema, but you would enjoy the movie if you identify with KJ school of filmmaking. If you are ready to believe his story, you will find the three hours a breeze! However, if you try & question the director’s vision of love & marriage, you find every passing minute more tormenting & illogical than the last.

So even though I do not concur with his belief, of true love being the elixir for all the unhappiness in life, I still kept my thoughts aside & let KJ narrate his saga of two shattered marriages leading to victory of love.

Here’s my take on the characters…

Dev is the typical temperamental guy, one who has not been able to cope up with the vagaries of life. As a husband, he is grey – you cannot make out if he resents his wife’s success, though it never seems obvious, or if he just thinks she is unfair to him & their family. Shahrukh does well, the role suits him to a T.

Rhea has a sad life for no fault of hers; she works hard & tries her best to balance her personal life. She loves her husband & says so. However, her husband fails to perceive it the same way. Preity is convincing in her role of a woman, who tries to give her best shot at everything she does but fails on a personal front.

Rishi loves his wife whole-heartedly and yearns for her to reciprocate. He keeps his cool despite the cold treatment meted out to him, which probably explains his outburst & jealousy when Maya confesses she has an extra-marital affair. Abhishek is pure brilliance, as he steps into Rishi’s shoes. Be it the comic scenes with his dad or his madness at losing the only woman he loves, Aby Jr. adds sheen to every frame he is part of.

Maya is a complex character, someone I’m not sure if Rani and for that matter KJ himself have been able to portray as intended. She takes the decision to marry, out of returning a favour (of Talwar Sr.) but fails to give her husband the passion so required to keep their marriage going. Love colours her life, and she transforms from a supposedly asexual woman to a passionate lover. Rani had a tough act here & she does her best to breathe life into Maya’s intricate character. Perhaps, KJ should take up the blame for the lack (whatever there was) of conviction in her character.

Many times during the film, you begin to feel as if characterizations don’t justify the plot entirely. My sympathies were with Rhea & Rishi than with the in-love pair of Dev & Maya, who “wronged” their marriages. KJ had to resort to Rhea & Rishi mouthing real harsh words (which did seem out-of-character for them) in one of the some spat scenes to have the audience believe Dev & Maya had no option but to fall for each other. This forced justification is what didn’t go down well with me.

KJ had a bold film at hand. He could have gone the “Silsila” way & have the couples bury their differences in the end. Yet he brilliantly chose to go the modern & perhaps more realistic way; but he tried to show Dev & Maya as the victims of marriage than blame the circumstances or even themselves for having made mistakes & not being tolerant enough to carry these forward.

The genius of KJ is that even in such a setting he makes you sympathize with couples committing adultery. Maybe I was expecting him to paint Rhea & Rishi as villains, but this is where he breaks the cliché. Trying to potray every character as human, trapped in their own insecurities & emotions, KJ sums it up in one line by Maya – “Galti ki to maafi maangi ja sakti hai, khudgarzi ki kya sazaa milni chahiye?” (One can forgive a mistake, but how does one punish human selfishness?). Truly an awesome moment!

Another fascinating facet of the movie is the chemistry between Amitabh & Kiron Kher. The elderly duo, so diverse in their outlook to life, gets drawn to one another as friends. Both witness their families breaking apart, yet as a father-in-law he forgives his bahu & wants his son to start a fresh life with someone who really loves him. Kiron Kher as a mother, however, is not willing to pardon her son’s mistake & decides to stay with her daughter-in-law & grandson. This again is Johar’s attempt to show his characters naturally; while the spouses of both Dev & Maya forgive their ex-partners for breaking the marriages, Kiron Kher as a conservative mother cannot make herself do this. Amitabh as a womanizer is again par excellence & gives the movie it much-needed comic relief.

The dialogues are mint fresh, simple yet evoking the right emotions. The music doesn’t live up to KJ’s previous hits. And no, it doesn’t grow on you; the songs are good while they last but sadly don’t stay on for longer. The cinematography needless to say paints Manhattan in all the right shades. The color theme song is perhaps the most well shot of the lot & sounds the best too – it is vintage KJ.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is thought-provoking. It does not offer anything outstanding, yet it is fine film making where subtle things just spring up (that is) if you care to observe them. It depends on your sensibilities if you chose to marvel at the intricacies in the frame or chose to call it sheer inanity. It throws many a question at you, regarding what makes a successful marriage, what can keep it going, is love worth breaking marriages? Sadly, the true answers could only have been revealed if the story went beyond its ending. Perhaps, my thoughts on the movie’s subject are matter for another post…

August 18, 2006 at 1:17 pm 12 comments


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