I am looking for singers (male & female), preferably with Tamil knowledge, lyricists, drummers, keyboard players, flutists, guitarists for my album. If you are interested, please leave a comment or contact me via my profile page

Sunday, March 27, 2005

[Song watch] En Swasa Katre

En Swasa Katre is a desi version of typical hollywood action flick with commercial elements like Arvind Swamy (who was hot then)/Isha Koppikar(who is hot now) and music by the inimitable A.R.Rahman

The movie, without doubt, bombed at box office very badly. There were all kinds of rumours that it was a 'hawala' movie. Hawala movies are high-budget, destined to death movies, even before its inception ;-) Once the movie goes bust, it would be recorded as loss and there by converting the money from black to white.

It was pitiable that, till date, the songs from this movie have never gotten the credit. IMHO this movie had packed nice variety of songs and were very very melodious. Brief review of the same

En Swasa Katre (M.G.Shreekumar, Chitra)
This song, when heard the first time, brings back the memories of listening to 'Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil' of a yester-year hindi song. However, that fades into the background bringing a wonderfully melodious chitra, pardonable-but still very nasal- Shreekumar into a lilting 'neelambari' ragam. The chords, even though simple, evoke a close binding in your heart to the melody. The alaap by Chitra and the veena piece are simply exhilarating. Must hear, especially at bedtime !

Rating 4.8/5

Chinna Chinna Mazhai Thuligal (M.G.Shreekumar)
This song got considerable TV audience via the 'pepsi-ungal choice' kinda programs, but deserves every bit of applause.
The lyrics by Vairamuthu are simply superb.
mazhai kavithai kondu varudhu
yaarum kadhavadaikka vaendam
nedunchalayile nanaya oruvar
samadhamum vaendam

The instruments clearly bring the sense of 'dancing in the rain' (ARR uses that for rain songs - checkout 'Thenmerku paruvakatru' from 'Karuthama'. The second stanza takes off on 'sree' ragam and continues beautifully. Very very well done song - it never ceases to calm you and please you, if you are a nature lover.

Rating 5/5

Jumbalakka (Rafi, ?)
This song, according to the media, was the chartbuster. It is a neatly done dance number, but still not failing to soothe the melody rasikar in you. Tell me, if you unconsciously don't start tapping your feet to this simple but effective song. Pronounciation could definetely have been better...but hey! this is a dance number not a poetry recitation.

Rating 4/5

Chillallava (Harini, ?)
This number is a perfect ARR song. Believe it or not - it combines amazing melody (shades of hamsadhwani, and humming is definetely Kirawani'ish), rib-tickling satire by (vengaya vilai pola irangadhadhu - at that time Onion was as precious as diamond itself - tune would be life a deflated baloon at that juncture) and wonderful rhythm (beats most latino dance numbers played at my workplace cafeteria hands down).

The best part about the song is the alaap by Harini (she is wonderful, compare it with the hindi rendition by Kavitha Krishnamurthy now Kavitha Subramaniam, you will know) and the saxophone'ish (is it french horn? - enlightenment always welcome!) crescendo to the entire song when in the last pallavi.

Rating 4.6/5

Theendai (SPB, Chitra)
I can't stop loving this song. Composed in 'manirangu' ragam (to the lay-man it looked like Sree ragam, but my mom & aunt always insisted on that being manirangu, they win :-( ) This song has a background chant - which is quite un-intelligible, but adds a 'mystique ambience' to the song (this is the best i could - translate my feelings into words) No words can describe SPB & Chitra in this song - healthy competition, easy, walk-in-the park comfort - with delicate gamakams - this is one of my ARR's all time favorites.

Rating 5/5

Thirakaadha Kaatukulle (Unnikrishnan, Chitra)
Apologies, had earlier noted this as sung by Sujatha
One of the underdogs in the movie, this song does not garner attention as any other song in the movie - BUT - a wonderful composition. Typical romantic number, with some lovely background instrumentation. One can hear nice 'touches' of Neelambari and Hamsadhwani ragam in this song as well. Chitra, as always, eases her way through the song and Unni cuts the grade as well. This song was picturised in a waterfall/forest background and one can absolutely 'feel' the same. This, IMHO, has always been ARR's strength -be it the trance in 'Pudhu vellai mazhai(Roja)' or 'Athangara Marame(Thenkizhakku Cheemai)' etc

Rating 4.3/5

Overall verdict - Definetely a 'must buy'

Thursday, March 24, 2005

SPB : SP Balasubramaniam : A Legend

SPB to millions of people in India is simply a living legend. 39 years, (almost close) it has been, since he started crooning and he is 36000+ songs old. Man, by any standards that would grind the body down.

Doing a mathematical average, it works out to almost 930 songs a year or 2.5 songs a day. Wow ! mind-numbing statistics.

But, hold on - statistics is not the only thing that is mind-numbing about SPB. His voice after 40 years carries the 'SAME' freshness that it did when he entered the industry in 1966 and took it by storm.

His singing is characterized by perfect audition in most languages,youthful exuberance, ecstatic highs and emotional lows, enthusiastic intonation and charismatic rendition. To even list some of his best songs - am flooded with so many of them, which one to choose - which one to leave ? . Imagine, all of this has been possible without *any formal training* whatsoever :-)

He is just not a celebrity, he has a proven human side to him. His humility is unsurpassed, the way he conducts himself is unblemished. He has always been there to stand-up and be counted to the thousands and thousands of charity concerts or fund-raising events when it comes to social service.

His message to the people has always been that music has no language and can open doors that can't be opened by many other keys and peace unto all.

His one wish, always been, to stage a 'carnatic cutchery'.. he has spoken about the desire many times.

One wishes and prays that he is able to thrill the audience for many more years to come and give us all 'The basic pleasure' - listening to good music.

Hail SPB !

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Burning Midnight Oil

US House began debating the need for a bill at 9pm Sunday to decide whether a federal court needs to review the 'case of Terri Schiavo' who has been suffering from 'persistent vegitative state'.

Without getting into the legality/morality of the house trying to order a judicial review of the courts' decision - it is mightily heartening to note that, the elected members convene on a weekend, when the house itself is not in session to fight for the ca(u)se of a single woman, and the outcome, could affect many other homes in the country.

Shift the focus back to India, where our lawmakers dont even work when they are supposed to work, with only regular thing being 'walkout' of the parliament. It brings back the memories, irratatingly so, of the parliament conducting a 'discussion' about the 'pesticides' in pepsi/coke on the very day of a study showing that pesticide level in the drinks are very high.

Don't hold you breath for very long - our 'honorable' law makers did act - they passed a law 'banning use of pepsi/coke/other cool drinks with immediate effect within the premises of the parliament'. Wow what promptness when it comes to saving themselves. If my memory serves me right, there has not been any law yet for the public !

If asked, they'd justify their haste by saying, for the public to be 'served/representated' well in the parliament, the MPs should be healthy and kicking %#@

Finally...a win

Howdy everyone ? Sorry, was held up with 'work' and thanks for all those who eagerly asked for more.

On top of my b-agenda (blogging agenda) is India's victory..rather late. On paper, Indian team outlasts Pak team man-to-man. A team that boasts of Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly & Laxman in its batting ranks can't be matched by *any* other team in the world...atleast on paper. Bowling has always been in-consistent with occasional heroes who have misfired more than they have fired.

Nonetheless, Indian team finally managed to win...thanks to the two unsung geniuses of the team. Kumble has 460+ wickets to his name and still always has to fight to get into the team! He is still accused of can't spin the ball, can't take wickets in unfriendly conditions blah blah...man this guy came into the ground with a broken jaw in West Indies. Nothing more can prove his detractors wrong.

Dravid....compared to Kumble he has been acknowledged to a better extent, but continues to be the bridesmaid. Rediff carried an article sometime back with the same title. How unfortunate should he be to never given the credit since Tendulkar scored a 50 in the same match. Dravid might not be 'crowd-puller' nor might his game by 'exciting', nor does his foto on paper sell, still he is *The Fulcrum* behind the Indian successes in the past four years.

To all those Sachin fans reading this, no...this does not mean am bashing Sachin - he is a *genius* without any doubt - but all the 'excitement' in his game is now a thing of past...when was the last time you saw Sachin as 'vintage sachin' not a new-age sachin who cuts out the risk to make sure runs are made albeit to team's advantage.

If sachins plays a non-enterprising innings as well, why does it matter if the runs are scored by Dravid or Sachin ? Should Dravid not be, then, equally cherished? Should he not applauded heartily for his decision to keep the wickets and bat, despite being one of the senior most member of the team ? Man, why can't the sachins, gangulys and laxman's of the world together roll their arms over and perform a decent fifth bowler's job ?

Will Team India really act like a team or few players who (easily outlast others in teamsmanship) perform 150% create the impression of 'team india'

Time will tell.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

To Die for... or to Live for...

We come across these cliched phrases more often than not. According to Drucker, 'Patriotism is to be ready to die for your country' and 'Citizenship is to live and contribute to your country'.

Man, this guy can write 'some' punch lines.

Children, how many people would now call themselves citizens/patriots ?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

[Commentary] Democracy & India

Please follow the link to Politzero


Responding to a interesting (and controversial, atleast to me) blog by one of my buddies Siva about 'piracy' that is hidden inside everyone.

Agreed. On a different but related note - wright brothers took the help of so many people, organizations and institutions to invent the flying machine and when they patented it and asked for royalty - the *whole* country was simply shocked and outraged !

Think of the 'founder' of electricity asking for royalty everytime you use it !. How about 'phone'- every word you speak, you have to pay a percentage to the 'founding father'

Matter of fact - no single invention then on, can ever claim any other *sole royalty* coz - their invention took 'electricity' for granted !

It is only coz of the sheer 'magnanimity' or more rightly 'contribution to the human soceity' that drove people to invent rather than to make a living out of it

Once again taking a philosophical nonetheless controversial stand - the moment one tries to 'stay healthy' - that itself is stealing the mandate of 'fate' that you get obese. Yes, you can always argue that *it is fate* that makes you into trying to stay healthy - it is the same fate that makes you 'copy/steal' as well :-)))

Honestly, dont understand what stand I have here !

[sports] India's 'warm hearted gesture'

India extended a friendly hand to the touring Pakistan cricket team by making sure the latter would not be disappointed by a loss of a sound cricketing performance by India.

To make the guests comfortable and not feel let down, Indians displayed utter lack of urgency while they were batting and complete absence of the passion to win while they were bowling ensuring that Pakistan managed to draw and hold their heads high.

Kudos India - the 'warm hearted gesture' will go a long way.

One is very sure that 'boys' tried their best while 'credit' has to be given to the tourists for the way their lower order held up against some 'good bowling'.

As much as we can boast about our talent, if we dont have the right attitude & passion to win, we *WILL* always be chasing only 'individual milestones'.

This is a single factor that separates the 'Champion Aussies' and 'the rest'.

Looks like, after all, my pre-series prediction would not be very far off from reality!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

[Politics] Case of messing MLAs

Case of Messing MLAs


We all know what a 'bottleneck' is. The word brings back couple of interesting thoughts to mind(atleast mine).

First is the 'Molecular Thermodynamics' in chemistry during my 11th grade.(God I hate the subject - it is for people with good memory and only for those people). It had something to do with Le Chatelier's principle and roughly translated it goes like 'the rate of the reaction will be determined by the rate of its slowest step'

The example, given at that time, was - no matter the speed at which you walk down from your seat at movie theater to the exit door - the speed at which you can pass through the door is still constrained by the slowest speed at which people pass through the door (conversely, the door can allow to pass through).

Second one was more recently by Peter Drucker in 'Practise of Management'. He says that there is saying (age-old) that the bottleneck is always at the top - however, he uses that to indict the 'top most management' as the bottle neck.

Do you feel anything that rings the bell when you say the word 'bottleneck' ? ofcourse not the rate at which you can drink coke out of a bottle ;p

[Entertainment] Director Shankar and ARR

Shankar is one of the leading directors of southern film industry. He has directed/produced blockbusters that are far ahead of other MOMs 'Message-Oriented-Masala' movies.

One of the hallmarks of his creation is the music. ARR has been de-facto music-man and the combo has produced some scintillating mixture of peppy dance tunes and memorable melodies. Who can forget a 'En Veetu thotathil' (Gentleman) 'Ennavale' (Kadhalan) 'Telephone mani pol' (Indian) 'Anbe Anbe' or 'Kurukku'/'Azhagana Ratchasiye' (Mudhalvan). There are many more wonderful songs that, if started listing, will occupy the entire real-estate of the blog.

After the musical chart-buster but monetary box-office busted venture of 'Boys' - Shankar is working on 'Anniyan' with Vikram as the lead hero - but the music direction is by 'Harris Jeyaraj'. Initially there were reports of fallout, both Shankar and ARR refuted them - then almost in a united voice they both said ARR had some commitments - but HJ is also equally good composer blah blah....

Now, in a recent interview to 'The Hindu', Shankar has said 'both of us have decided to go our separate ways'.

It would be a big loss to lovers of top-notch music that Shankar and ARR has produced, not-withstanding the abilities of HJ.

Hope it is 'both of us have decided to go our separate ways' - just for this movie.

Time will tell !

Monday, March 07, 2005

[Sports] Indo-Pak Series

Hope it lives up to the billing...It is always tough to predict with any sort of certainty, the chances of either country.

IMHO - it would 1-0, 1-1 or 2-0 in favor of India

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Taxman cometh

Yes, it is taxing time for everyone. April 15th is the last day to file your federal taxes. State filing dates may vary. Virginia waits till May 1st.

Alert : Last minute procrastinators - You may choose to file at the last moment, but make sure you have all the information and correctly to say.i.e. make sure your W-2 has your SSN,Name exactly as in your SSN card. Make sure you have all the 1099-NT from the banks and they tally with what you have.

Some important tips :
  • Federal taxes can be e-filed free. Visit www.irs.gov to get more details
  • VA state taxes can be e-filed free as well. Visit tax.virginia.gov for more details
  • you can visit your local post office, public libraries or the website to download forms and instructions to fill the same.

    It is advisable to calculte with paper & pencil (into the downloaded/pickedup form) and tally it with any website that you may choose to use. Keep in mind to not fill in your ssn when you are doing scrap work (safety precaution)

    Remember, it is your responsibility to file taxes and get/pay any thing that is due. Any unclaimed refunds beyond 3 years will be forfeited.

    Do not hesitate to ask for any help that, someone around you, can help you with. Or comment on this website.

    Nothing stops with information - it has to turn into commentary ! ;)

    Wow, what a way to make people lose their money. First, they deduct taxes at source, then they deduct more/wrongly. Then you have a limited time to fail and claim. And if you fail to be accurate in your claims, you will be penalised, even if you are due a refund ! Sad to note that most countries around the world use this mode.

    Excellent money minting policy !
  • Thursday, March 03, 2005

    From a freaking cell to a fearful cage

    Chennai, has a central prison at the heart of its city (no pun intended). Everytime i used to travel via 'Park Station' - which is the transit point to 'Chennai Central Junction' - one can see the 'high' walls of the prison right from the station platform.

    Incidentally, they also have a place called 'Theevu thidal' - 'Island grounds' as it is called more fashionably these days.This Island grounds hosts many public events like exhibitions, magic shows, circus etc.

    Vandalur Zoo is one of the biggest in South Asia (as have been told). It is located in the outskirts of the city at a place called Vandalur (yeah too obvious)

    Without testing your limits of patience - there is a connection among all of the above. A 'Joke' - a what ? : yes, you heard it right.

    Before the zoo came to Vandalur, it was located at the Island grounds(hope, i got my facts right) or somewhere near that place. The prison was literally adjacent to the zoo.

    Some comedian (you thought the joke was mine ? ;)) thought of a color one.

    A life-sentence prisoner laboriously spends 10 years digging a tunnel from within his cell (apparently to escape). Fate had something else in mind. When he finally reached his exit point outside the prison - he began hearing loud growls - not unsure of what it was, he ventured to come out - and he realised it was a lion's cage !.

    This is what westerners call 'from the frying pan into the fire' - i though i'd share this joke with you to coin 'from the freaking cell to a fearful cage'.

    BTB, a twist ending to the blog(God, i can't seem to shrug off my habit of imitating night shyamalan. Anu malik is happy that am not into music direction). Vandalur hosts 'Crescent Engineering College' which is right adjacent to our college, where 'yours truly' did his engineering course.

    Ofcourse, there used to a mischievous smile when people heard 'vandalur' associated with our college name - but we often used to bring immediate burst of laughter by remarking that, 'Yes, the zoo was our staff room'. (Pardon me teachers).

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    [Song Watch] Sonnalum Kaetpadhillai

    Sonnalum Kaetpadhillai by Harini,Unnikrishnan from the movie Kadhal Virus.

    It is amazingly sweet, melodious and occasionally a bit slow - never on the richness of the tune - from the stables of A.R.Rahman

    Harini, to my gripe, has always been exuding the excitable, childlike texture in her voice ever since singing the 'nila kaigirathu'. I can't find a word that suits - but occasional howling would be commonplace in her songs. Of late (i.e. since '02) she has been sounding more and more mature like 'moonrezhuthu' from Parthale Paravasam.

    Is her motherhood bringing this maturity ?

    Without digressing more, Sonnalum, to me, has been her 'best' and 'most' mature performance as a singer - she imaginatively weaves in and out of this song...to the extent that Unnikrishnan was made to look like 'by the book' singer !

    Kudos to her - like to hear more of such songs from ARR and Harini combo.

    Talking of sounding 'mature' - what was it that ARR has done to his voice in 'Yeh Jo Des Hai' - many people wondered who the singer was. Excellent performance.

    If he is gonna sing like this, would be a welcome, different voice, to the band of singers.

    Hail Melody!

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005


    'Post-capitalist society' by Peter F. Drucker has been enjoying the honor of being perused by my grey cells for the past week.

    Among the other things (which will later be commented on as [Book Watch] and hence come back and visit the site often, and DO comment ) found a nice punch line in there.

    The section was about what 'Organizations' are - and what 'results' they produce....

    'The results of a university is students & workers applying knowledge, The results of hospital is patients walking away and never coming back, The results of a church are not even on this earth'

    I liked the last one very much !

    Smelly Cat...

    Smelly Cat Smelly Cat, Where have you been ?

    These are the poetic, laughter evoking lines sung by Phoebe&friends in one of the Friends episodes.

    It would sound like a prose recital and when she asks for friends to join in, it becomes 'n' times fun

    Actually come to think of it, the melody behind those lines are def hummable....

    Disclaimer: If you dont really find any reason, why this is funny please watch TBS - they have been running promotion of 'Its funny on TBS' with this scene often, that should fix your problem. If it still does not fix it... forget it.

    [Book Watch] : Starbucks

    Starbucks - pouring your heart into it. How company was built one cup at a time.

    Pure & unabashed self promotion. It is one of the cheap marketing stunts - with every crisis in the company be it they ran out of toilet papers to they ran out of coffee beans - everything is resolved with success of the CEO.

    It travels to&fro in time and leaves no coherence in the narration.

    Nonetheless, learn as much as you can from anything that comes by.

    OK read : 3 out of 5

    [Book Watch]: Larry Ellison

    Larry Ellison - An Intimate Potrayal of Oracle.

    This to me, is still the favorite partly coz this was the first of the 'corporate/entrepreneurial' biography that i read.

    It is amazingly well written book, the style of author/Larry commenting on each other is novel and makes it an interesting read.

    Must Read 41/2 out of 5

    [Book Watch]:Jack Welch...

    Jack Welch - Straight from the Gut.

    One of the amazingly well written corporate turn around books. Ofcourse, there was enough spice in GE/Welch's story to keep it cool till the end...

    Strongly recommended 41/2 out of 5

    Snow Nightmare......

    When one sees the words Snow & Nightmare together, it is typically linked to some accident coz of snow or car cleaning or trekking upto your station.

    Mine, especially this week, has been different.

    On Sunday, it was predicted that upto 12 inches of snow is expected in the DC metro area and would paralyse the entire region - as would us in our childhood - was expecting closure of offices - which is not at all uncommon when such massive snow storm is predicted.

    Every one hour kept on checking the weather reports. We have 'weather alert' line at office which has pre-recorded messages to indicate the 'closings'. Called that number so many times - finally went to bed - with no hopes of getting up early for a monday morning commute. Think of it - you get up on a monday morning - and you are told, dont worry take the day off :-) so cute.....

    impossibly, woke up at around 4 am - tried calling the 'weather alert' - no luck - no updates yet....snore snore...

    then my roommate got up - looked through the blinds - sighed in disbelief and ran off as typical of a work-day, disappointment was writ large all over me :-P. Still could not understand what it is that caused such a reaction from my room mate.

    Finally when i got up and opened the blinds - wow - not a *single* flake of snow on the ground....

    How cruel, weathermen are sometimes....

    Once i dragged myself to office, realised that i was not alone in calling 'weather alert' so many times....

    BTB, a cheap, Night Shyamalan, kinda surprise ending to the story ( if it can be called that) - it finally ended up snowing 4 inches and all of them melted away on tuesday - yippe - dont have to clean my car -laaa la la laaa la