Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stepping on a new platform

Hello… I’ve some news to share.

I’ve begun work on a fiction and as many of you know, it’s always been a dream for me to get a book published and it still is. I wish it turns into reality soon. Being fellow bloggers, you have been following my writings for quite a long time and I owe you lots for having been so supportive and thereby exuding the confidence in me to start with this work. Thank you so much! You are the first among a few to whom I’m disclosing the start of this new venture. So I take this opportunity to share with you, the storyline of my work of fiction. 

My first attempt at fiction delves into the mind of an Indian teenager to retrace the path of his life in the last five years. Though annoyed, he’s determined to make life enjoyable and prefers to take his future as it comes. Years are punctuated with months of mixed events and he begins to examine reasons for his mediocrity. Not a very ambitious person, but suddenly starts to value life at the dawn of a few unexpected memorable events. He's on a mission to dream BIG and realize the same. In the process he takes a step forward.

Based on real-life incidents, I stand in the shoes of the protagonist to narrate the events that unfolded to make him take that step forward.

It’s not completely fictional and incidents from my life shall be part of it. Just like my blog articles, it’ll be a work straight from my heart and I stand in the shoes of the protagonist to feel every word I pen. I’m indeed very happy to begin work on the same but I know, it calls for a lot of patience and shall truly be a test of my character to actually deliver something really worthy enough to reach the pages of a book. Till then, I wish to channel my thoughts in the direction of my work and hence taking a break from blogger as far as writing is concerned. I shall visit your blogs for inspiration to improvise on my work, time and again. Looking forward to a challenging but at the same time, a refreshing and a learning experience!

The exact time I shall take to complete this work remains a question mark but being my first attempt, I want to take sufficient time and deliver my BEST.

Till then, take care. 

P.S: I'm thankful to Divya for presenting me the Thoughtful blogger award.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

T20 - Shreya Special 2

The Top 10..

10. Jaadhu Hai Nasha (Jism)

On listening to this song, I arrived at the equation Jaadhu + Nasha = Shreya Ghoshal. Wow! What a rendition! It’s a blessing for the Filmfare award to have landed itself at the hands of Ms. Ghoshal. Just like Saansein Madham, she improvises in the 2nd stanza and it’s simply magic. Not everybody has the innate talent to bring out so much warmth and this is where we feel divinity in music. They say, certain things in life needed to be experienced and not analyzed. This song exemplifies the same and I leave it for experience and not elaborate any further.

Favorite Line: Baahon Mein Teri Yun Kho Gaye Hai (2nd stanza)

9. Barso Re (Guru)

Shreya’s long time due for a tie-up with Rahman for a Hindi number got over with Barso Re. This song swept awards at all functions and I would rate it as one of the best songs of 2007. This is the effect a song has when two Music Messiahs – Rahman and Shreya come together. She has really given her ALL and that was evident when she sang ‘Nan Naa Re Nan Naa Re’.

Favorite Line: Nan Naa Re Nan Naa Re

8. Teri Ore (Singh is King)

I wonder if mellifluousness can get any better. No! It can’t get better than this. This song has given me warmth of the highest order. It has got me relieved of distress and made my life look more beautiful and colorful. The hoarsest in Rahat’s voice complemented Shreya’s and she’d added a new dimension to the song. This was one of the few songs to which I can listen for one hour, non-stop.

Favorite line: Teri Ore Teri Ore Hai Rabba……

7. Ishq Hua (Aaja Nachle)

This is the best example of the pathetic nature of Indian Music and films – the dependence of the former on the latter. Due to lack of publicity for this song and the movie’s colossal flop restricted the reach of this song to a wider audience. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best songs Shreya has ever sung and ironically, happens to the most under-rated. The Sonu-Shreya combo brings back memories of some really mellifluous numbers of the past. A wonderful composition backed by a superb rendition.

Favorite Line: Nazron Ko Sambhaalein, To Dil Ka Kya Karein

6. Tere Naina (CC2C)

I fear if this song will fall into the league where Ishq Hua belongs to. This is another song that has the characteristics which Ishq Hua had – bad publicity of the song and the movie’s colossal flop. This song was a real test for Shreya to match up to Shankar and she’s played her part perfectly. The composition is terrific – the speed of the song varies like ‘never-heard-before’. While majority of the faster part is taken care of by Shreya, she makes sure, they are not done at the expense of the lyrics and the diction is just spot on, especially in the second stanza when she sings 4-5 lines continuously.

Favorite Line: Mere Dil Mein Jo Armaan Hai Paaas Aake Zara Dekho Na…

5. Silsila Ye Chaahat (Devdas)

Reason for my liking can be attributed to just one – it was Shreya who sang. In the sense, nobody else could have produced that magic at such a young age especially when she sings ‘O Piya’. I liked the song so much that I wanted to see its video and since I had never seen Devdas, I downloaded the movie just to watch this song. When I did watch, I was moved to see that sync between Ash’s facial beauty and Shreya vocal beauty. A wonderful song and its best enjoyed when listened to, using headphones and not speakers.

Favorite Line: Phir Se Baadhal Ghar Jaa Hey………….O Piya Yeh Diya…..

4. Beiri Piya (Devdas)

The ranking of Silsila and Beiri Piya was a close call but I rank Beiri Piya higher just for two reasons – it won Shreya a national award and it had that amazing ‘ISSSHHH’. This just goes to show Shreya’s self-competition right from her first film. This is one of the best romantic melodies ever composed and for a teenage girl to sing the same alongside a veteran like Udit and win the national award just goes to show her brilliance. The ‘ISSHH’ announces the arrival of a legend-in-the-making, call for silence - make you listen to this melody queen with rapt attention.

Favorite Line: Tu Dhoor…..Paas hi ta ab pass hai tu dhoor….Hey kyun…Ha aaa…

3. Tu Meri Dost Hai (Yuvvraaj)

This is Shreya’s first duet with Benny Dayal, who had delivered some terrific Tamil songs before Dost happened. Shreya makes entry 2.5 minutes into the song with ‘Raat Mein’ and ironically, lightens up the song with a light shake of her divine vocal chords. Her last stanza with Rahman is mind-blowing and one couldn’t have expected for anything better. The line ‘Ek Pari Gujrati Hain’ in the last stanza is just Wow!!! And her rendition is a rendition is something her contemporaries can only enjoy and can’t actually replicate. 

Favorite Line: ‘Jahan Shaam Utarti Hain…’ (The last stanza with Rahman– Wow!)

2. Ek Pal Ke Liye (Ankahee)

This was my most favorite till recently. This song has been giving me goose bumps ever since I first listened to it. I would say, this was one song which made me look up to this doyen to Indian Music. There’s something in this song that makes me listen to it every time I turn on my music system. One thing I confirmed with this song is, Shreya Ghoshal improvises with time and her second stanzas in all songs outsmart her first. This song draws you forward, and the song is best enjoyed when she sings ‘Phir Kya Ho Kya Kabar’. Mind-blowing! I feel bad to rate it second because it deserves a first place 

Winning the T20 cricket World Cup is very tough and to select The Best song of this T20 demanded efforts of the highest order and so much thought 

And the winner is……

1. Kaise Mujhe (Ghajini)

There have been songs when Shreya has sang solo numbers and entertained us so well but this song when she just flashes across our ears for a few seconds and leaves a lasting impact. Terrific! That is the trademark of a legend - quality is independent of quantity. I’ve witnessed a similar impact in songs like Mein Agar Kahoon and Teri Yaadon Mein where she outsmarts Sonu and KK respectively. Now, this is the turn of Benny Dayal to face the music. The way she starts ‘Aaaaaaa…..’ makes one get softer at heart, feel more sympathetic and look at life with a broad-minded perspective. To watch this song on screen, you end up getting your cheeks moist involuntarily – Yeh Shreya ki Jaadhu. 

Those few seconds when you flash across our ears like an angel are my favorite lines.

I pray God to bestow you with good health and happiness. Keep entertaining us and I wish, you sing better songs and I would like Ek Pal Ke Liye and Kaise Mujhe to drop down places next year.

P.S: Being a die-hard fan, I would also like to do some constructive criticism. The song ‘Poovinai’ from the Tamil film Ananda Thaandavam is one of the best melodies composed in recent times and hats off to you for the rendition. But I found something unusual, though you’re appreciated for perfection in Tamil diction even by stalwarts like S.P.B, a few lines in the first stanza looked out of place and I couldn’t understand what the lyrics were. I’m sorry if that was offending but this was just to make sure your reputation doesn’t get affected by even 0.1%.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

T20 - Shreya Special 1

I'm still between Heaven & Earth and unable to think of anything else to pen down - the meet with Shreya still haunts mesmerically. On requests from a few friends, I now post the article which I had presented Shreya on 31st Jan 2009 and it is for this that she has promised to mail me back after reading. I split them into couple of parts and here is the first. Here we go... 

Shreya Ghoshal songs mean The Best and to select just 20 of The Best demands so much effort. It did get really tough when I involved myself with the task of doing the same but the toughness was something I thoroughly enjoyed and I attribute this sweet bitterness to my love for her songs. Despite the love, the last thing I had wanted was confusion and ironically, that happened first as soon as I ranked the songs of my choice. The sheet of paper on which I had ranked had all scribbling possible and the ranks kept changing every minute and it was utter chaos, to say the least. Even mathematics or physics problems that I had solved in the past never had so much of scribbling. Here I go with the rankings and a short description for my liking.

20. Pyaar Ki Ek Kahani (Krissh)
To rank a song as good as Pyaar Ki Ek Kahani at the 20th spot, it just goes to show the quality of Shreya Ghoshal songs, the lucidity in her rendition and the power of the voice to reach the audience, no matter who they’re. This song happened 3-4 years after her entry into film music and Ms. Ghoshal makes her entry into this song almost after 2 minutes with a hum and understandably, big things don’t happen just like that but grows on the audience slowly. With Sonu Nigam for company, it was wonderful to listen to them together and I feel, Shreya gives her best when she sings alongside someone as great as Sonu. In my opinion, this was the best among all Shreya songs of Krissh.

Favorite Line: Ek Tha Ladka Ek Thi Ladki Deewani (Wow! It draws you forward)

19. Shikdum (Dhoom)
Shaan happens to be one of my favorite singers and I loved his combo with Shreya and if I’m right, this was their song together. The song made for a wonderful melody, a class apart when the rest in that album were all hip-hop and rock type. It was a fast-paced melody and the childishness in Shreya’s voice was brought to the forefront and this was best evident in the below line.

Favorite Line: Achcha lo chalo, haari main haari Maan li sabhi baatein tumhaari  

18. Ta Ra Ra Ra Rum Rum (Ta Ra Rum Pum)

One of the best ever melodies I’ve ever listened to. The song could be best enjoyed when one is in a state of distress. The best way to start feeling-good is turn on the music system and play this song. The rest shall be taken care of, by Shreya Ghoshal. The best quality to be appreciated in her rendition is the fact that, she makes sure she understands your distress but at the same time, she makes sure you get relieved of it. Courtesy: Cuteness in her voice

Favorite Line: Ho agar kabhi koi ghum toh, bilkul na tum…

17. Dhoom Thaana (Om Shanti Om)

This song intensifies the debate whether if Shreya is the next Alka Yagnik/ Lata Mangeshkar. To fans like me, we’re happy if she’s Shreya Ghoshal and we don’t want her to be called with such names simply because she’s a class of her own and none shall ever come anywhere close to her perfection in diction or clarity in rendition. It intensifies the debate, in the sense, Shreya takes us back to 1970s and the feel is just perfect. She beautifies Padukone with the rendition and in the process, with the fast beats, makes you dance along with SRK and Padukone. This song exemplifies her versatility and affirms the fact that her voice is not confined just to melodies though she’s the BEST at it.

Favorite Line: Kaise Banjaara Mann Ki Baat Mein Aaye, Kaise Ek Raaja Ko Manmit Banaye Kaise Pehnu Main Pyar..

16. Kaash Ek Dhin (Showbiz)

This is another of her duets with Shaan. It’s such a lovely number and I don’t know if this song became that popular. Nevertheless the beauty of a song is completely independent of its popularity and the combo of Shreya and Shaan rocks big time. The song is equally divided between them and makes for a wonderful listen. While Shaan makes it fantastic in the first stanza, Shreya outsmarts him in the second and she does to the extent, I get so much lost with her in the second stanza that I begin to wonder from where did Shaan entered when he begins ‘Kaash Ek Dhin’.

Favorite Line: Mere Dil Ko Tum Churaake… (The full second stanza- no compromises)

15. Tu Kahaan Kho Gaya (U Bomsi and Me)
This song is special to me in a way that this alone could make me sleep at the times when I was beginning to have sleepless nights. In the sense, the slowness of the song, the laziness in the rendition, reluctance in the voice modulations made up for a soothe listen that it had the power to turn an insomniac to sleep. It’s a must listen but ironically, this never turned out to be a smash hit. Divine!

It’s Shreya all the way and hence, I find it tough to pick just one line.

14. Mere Dholna (Bhool Bhulaiyya)

Firstly I feel bad to place one of my favorites at the 14th position and the competition for places starts to get tougher as we move up. Needless to say, this is one of the best classical numbers to have been composed in Indian films and such a composition’s brilliance is appreciated only when it’s rendered someone as exceptional as Shreya and Sree Kumar. The ease with which she seemed to have rendered is just wow! Amazing!

Favorite Line: Saanson Mein Saanson Mein Teri Saragamein Hain, Abb Raat Din...

13. Mausam (Kidnap)

It’s amazing to note, a singer who had sung Mere Dholna and Tu Kahaan has sung this song. That’s Shreya Ghoshal for you! Versatility personified. Minisha Lamba’s bikini act wouldn’t have electrified the screen but for Shreya’s sensual rendition. This kind of a visual effect demands an aural boost and this was perfectly provided by Ms. Ghoshal. This rendition brought back memories of one of her numbers from Jism (Got it?)

Favorite Line: Na Na Na Na Na Na (Undoubtedly…sensual best)

12. Har Taraf (Saaya)
This is one of Anu Malik’s best compositions and this song showcases Shreya at her teenage best, both visually and aurally. Yes! Shreya Ghoshal makes a guest appearance in the song as a school student leading the choir. Her presences on the screen were moments when I started to compare her visual beauty to that in her voice. The protracted high pitches calls for so much talent and that seems to be quite abundant in her. Overall this is a song which enables a music lover to enjoy the sweetness in Shreya’s voice when she was in her teens. 

Favorite Line: Ye aasmaan ye zamin, chaand aur sooraj kyaa banaa sakaa hai kabhi 

11. Saansein Madham Hai (Kasak)
This song is the Hindi version of Nuvve Naa Shwaasa (Okariki Okaru) composed by M.M. Kreem. A soothing number and it’s one song one can listen to, anytime – however good/bad their mood is. With this song, Shreya has affirmed the fact that language is no barrier and that she shall produce the feel in any language – the tune alone shall do. This is one of my favorites and her improvisation in the 2nd stanza speaks volumes of the talent she possesses.

Favorite Line: Rehna mujhe hain teri panaaho mein rakhna tujhe hain..(2nd stanza)

The Top 10 to be posted next weekend...

Monday, February 02, 2009

A Heavenly Sojourn

When I purchased the red colored Adidas T-shirt from Shoppers Stop a few months back, I never thought I would wear the same on a day which shall mean the most to me. The bag I received from my college for organizing symposium events - I never expected it to accompany me on the day when I will feel like I'm in heaven. Yes! I’m posting this piece 46 hrs post my visit back to Earth from heaven. An event I had wished it happen before I could bid adieu to my fellow men on Earth happened, as early as day before yesterday - A 10 month dream turned into reality. Those were moments when I couldn’t differentiate between actuality and illusionary. Those were moments when I wondered if I had been gifted with special blessings from God. Yes! With special blessings from God, I had the opportunity to meet my Goddess – Playback singer Ms. Shreya Ghoshal.

I virtually sensed the heavenly moments when I purchased my ticket for the Shreya Ghoshal Live-in concert that was to be held at the Music Academy, Madras on the 31st of January 2009. Most fortunately, the sequence of events happened just the way I had wished it to and I actually wonder if God can ever be more kind to me. Hence firstly I would like to thank the Almighty for what has happened and then proceed with the narration of the most memorable (will always be the most memorable) evening of my life.

I made myself well-prepared (whether or not Shreya was, for the concert) with the list of things I had wanted to do. As soon as I purchased the concert ticket last Monday, I made it a point not to have a shave that week – 'grow as much beard and moustache as possible and then get the neatest one done on Saturday morning'. Apart from that, I documented another write-up about my admiration for Ms. Ghoshal’s music. This was done on Friday evening and I made sure, I gave my best amidst the flurry of messages friends sent – texting me names of heart specialists available in Madras if something should happen to me the next evening, out of uncontrollable excitement and joy. And as I had planned, I took a print out of the latest article I had written to present her for the evening and 2 copies of the article ‘Fallen in love….' wherein Shreya herself had commented. I also made sure I added that comment of hers at the end of the document to add 'THAT' special feel to it. One copy was taken for me to get her autograph - as a present by her and one as a gift I shall present, as a token of reverence. With all happening as planned, I rid my way to the auditorium half-hour ahead of time and gladly, was pleased to find another Shreya Ghoshal fan in the neighboring seat. We discussed a lot about the love and admiration both of us have for Shreya, our favorite songs etc.

As time passed, the star of the evening and the ever twinkling star of my heart – Shreya Ghoshal decorated the stage with her presence, entered on-stage and made her first angelic appearance in front of my 2 eagerly-awaiting eyes, which had always wondered if they could ever make use of themselves to see this child prodigy from close quarters. She started off with Silsila Yeh Chaahat (Devdas) and went on and on, non-stop for an hour and half. After a 20 minute break, she returned back and continued for another one and a half till 11.20 pm. Though her divinity-rich vocal chords were good enough to keep the audience enthusiastic and the mood thoroughly exciting, she reached us still better with her humble talk and the occasional display of her sense of humor. And despite preparing a list of songs for the evening, she heeded to the requests of the crowd and tried her best to go by what we wanted. That attitude of hers was amazing and I was completely bowled over when she said the following after singing ‘Agar Tum Mil Jao(Zeher). ‘I feel very good every time I come to Chennai because people here appreciate good music and I must confess, I loved the blog that was written by the guy from your Chennai’. Wow! Never in the wildest of my dreams did I expect her to make such a statement amidst 1000-seaters. Those words into my ears were equivalent to the pour of honey into my mouth and on listening to her appreciation; my heart got itself dissolved into these never-before-felt emotions. 

Her on-stage performance was mind-blowing - actually better than what I had expected, could say The Best ever. It's really worth penning down those songs, at least for people who didn’t have the opportunity to be there. They include her fluent rendition of the classical notes in Mere Dolna (Bhool Bhulaiyya), the ever-perfect Tamil diction while she sang Munbe Vaa (SOK) and the seductive stance she took while performing Jaadhu Hai Nasha (Jism). Another aspect of hers which I must mention is her command over the lyrics – she never used a lyric book to render hindi songs. What moved me was the pleasing nature with which she asked for pardon, well in advance, if she happens to mispronounce Thamizh (this was how she pronounced the word….wow!!) lyrics but that never happened with Munbe Va (a filmfare winner) but faltered a little while rendering Uruguthe (Veiyil). Some other songs which I found as perfect as the original include Ab to forever, Waada Raha, Yeh Ishq Hai, Pal pal har pal, Piyu Bole, Barso Re, Tu Meri Dost, Teri Ore, Tere Naina (on-stage debut at Chennai) and I’ll be doing injustice if I fail to mention 'Tujh Mein Rab Dhiktha hai' (Wow!! That was jussssssttttt toooooo good. I was stunned. At her vocal best!!). I'm a little sad that she didn't perform Kaise Mujhe (Ghajini) and Beiri Piya - while her mellifluous 'ISSHH' is my sms tone, 'Aaaaaa' from Kaise Mujhe is my ring tone.

She finished the concert brilliantly with Dola Re (another filmfare winner) and it was time for me to get into action. As soon as the concert ended, I ran up the stairs and stood in front of her on-stage. She smiled at me and I reciprocated with the biggest one possible. I took out the hard copy of ‘Fallen in Love….’ and showed her. She received it and questioned ‘What is this?’. I replied ‘A small gift for you – this is my article’. One look at the title, she started with a few divine sentences which still echoes in me and it’s getting pumped by the heart on and on, along with the blood. Below is what happened.

As she read the title of the article, she started "YOU ARE RAJESH? YOU ARE ONE PERSON I WANTED TO MEET. I’m HAPPY YOU’VE COME". She then told her Personal Manager ‘He is the person I was talking about' and then pointed to her fans waiting for autographs, ‘He is the blogger guy I was talking about, during the concert. He's written such a wonderful article’. I shook hands with her (Wow!!!) and finally managed to pump out a few words, spoke something in that sense of extreme excitement, told her, 'Shreya, it's a dream come true for me', she turned her eyes away from the sheets of paper I had given, looked at me. That one word she said, with such a sweet voice - it was an equivalent to a million. She said in her characteristic style, accompanied by the cutest smile ‘Aaahaan'. People waiting for autographs were pushed away but I alone stood next to her. I was just admiring the beauty - I didn't know what else to do (and was wondering if these things were real or illusion). As I was admiring her, she winked at me and said 'Please wait. I'll autograph'. She then autographed on the hard copy and accepted my request for a photo which was clicked by her Personal Manager. I was one of the very few who had the special privilege to take a photograph alongside her, in those 2 minutes. I presented her another of the article I had just written, on the eve of the concert. On receiving, she said 'Wow!!! Nice' and has also promised to e-mail me her reply. Despite the mention of my e-mail id, mobile number along with the articles and her promise to mail me, I'm so happy with just her words of promise - that meant the world to me. She passed on the sheets to her PM to let herself autograph. As she moved out of the hall into the car, I made sure I never moved away from her, tagged along and was pleased to find my sheets of paper alone, seated next to her inside the car. 

This was truly an experience I never have experienced in the past and it’ll call for something really BIG to come anywhere close to this and I can’t think of anything, as precious as this, happening in the near future.

Apart from God, I take this opportunity to thank the following people for making my dream come true (in the chronological order of events):

1. My cousin Divya and aunt who first made me take notice of the newspaper ad.
2. My parents for the financial support they provided to purchase the ticket.
3. My friend Muthu for allowing me to take his digicam.

Here are the photos. Do have a look at them.

I'll be doing injustice if I fail to convey my special thanks to that mysterious person who passed on 'Fallen in love...' article's link to Shreya. I'm waiting for the day when I could meet him/her. Thanks a lot!

Also, I would love Shreya to make a music album in the near future and definitely, that should be one of her long term goals and if it is one, I'm sure she'll look into the intricacies involved, work hard towards it and deliver one of the best ever possible. She actually deserves to make one for the talent she possesses - if not for her, at least for her millions of fans like me. My best wishes for the same.

The moments on-stage with Shreya provided euphoria of the highest order or at least, of an order I never have experienced. The odour of her perfume which hit me as hard as her ravishing looks still haunts mesmerically. Wow! It truly was A Heavenly Sojourn.

I conclude with a line from your song and I really mean it...

Tujh (Your music) Mein Rab Dhiktha Hai Yaara Mein Kya Karoon.. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (You and Music)