Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Baaghi 2- Review



It’s day 12 and still "Baaghi 2”continues to dominate the box office with a huge collection of  Rs. 142 crore.


Director:

 Ahmed Khan

Writers:

 Hussain Dalal (dialogue),  Abbas Hirapurwala (screenplay)

Stars:

 Tiger Shroff,  Disha Patani,  Manoj Bajpayee
Though it is released as a sequel, "Baaghi 2" is an independent film, which has nothing to do with its prequel, the 2016 released "Baaghi". This is an action thriller, made by the same producers and having the same leading man sharing the same screen name - Ronnie, is a far cry from its theme -- The Rebel.
In fact, this is an action-packed investigative story where an army captain - Ranveer Pratap Singh aka Ronnie (Tiger Shroff)
helps his ex-flame Neha Salgaonkar (Disha Patani) find her daughter Rhea who is kidnapped after being brutally assaulted.
Ronnie does everything he can to find Neha's daughter. But why Rhea is kidnapped is a convoluted story that one must endure.
Set in Goa, and shot in Goa, Kashmir and the jungles of the Far East which is passed off as Goa, the tale is oft-seen with flavours of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Narrated in a non-linear manner with flashbacks, the romance of the lead pair is encapsulated in the song - "O saathi".
Though the dialogues have some gems that offer some whistles and chuckles, the writing overall is a tad unimpressive. The characters are lazily crafted, especially Captain Ranveer Pratap Singh's, who is he?
We are told he is a one man army who loved Neha, but what about his family? How did he land in Neha's college -- a few such questions are left unanswered.
The narrative starts off on a feeble note but hooks you despite the gaping plot holes, but how the plot mysteriously leads to the climax and denouement is commendable.
Tiger Shroff is charismatic and competent. As usual, he excels in displaying his martial arts skill. In some scenes, he reflects his innocence with the right nuances.
Disha Patani is a capable actress. Together, they make a cute pair, but unfortunately they share a few awkward onscreen moments that showed the incompetency of the director.
Of the supporting cast, Deepak Dobriyal as Usman the garage owner, Randeep Hooda as DCP Lohar Singh Dhool aka LSD and Manoj Bajpayee as his senior, DIG of Police and Prateik Babbar as Neha's druggie brother-in-law Sunny, leave an incredible mark with their top-notched performances.

On the technical front, the film is astutely mounted. The production designs and camera work looks excellent, they spell big budgets. The cinematographer has captured the locales and details vividly.
The action sequences though well-packaged and canned brilliantly are ludicrous, especially the sequence in the climax. It falls short on the relatability factor. The background score with its adrenaline packed beats is loud and seems forced.
Overall, "Baaghi 2" is a quite better than its predecessor, which is saying a lot. 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

SPIC MACAY- An Indian Cultural Movement...

Just saw a post on Facebook which gave the details of the SPIC MACAY’s 6th International Convention at IIT Kharagpur. The organisation has came too far and has been successfully fulfilling its primary objectives.
Prof. Kiran Seth
An organisation which was the vision of a young IIT Kharagpur Graduate, started in a small room, in order to spread Indian music, culture, and heritage to youth across the country, Spic MACAY was started by Kiran Seth.
Prof Kiran shares that many people opposed the idea initially. “When we started, most people were of the opinion that there were many more important problems that faced mankind. Many of my colleagues, friends and relatives often asked me why I was wasting my time on ‘gaana bajaana’. I must admit that I was often confused and did not know whether I was on the right track, but some intuition kept me going.”
Keeping the goal of connecting the youth with something which is their own, which is something to be proud of, was what Prof. Kiran was after. SPIC MACAY not only introduces the students or the youth to the Indian classical music, dance, folk music, yoga and other fields of Indian culture but also tries to develop their interest in these fields. An organisation which started just as an unique experiment has worked effectively for many students, helping them in understanding the fine art of living.

Pt Jasraj at performing at SPIC MACAY's concert
Over the past decades of Spic MACAY’s existence, its activities have comprised of performances and workshops on folk and classical arts held in different educational institutions across the country which has been made possible by a strong volunteer force.
The organisation has grown organically, falling, but rising each time, and learning all the way. The organisation believes that experiencing performances, and learning of unknown art forms not only instills a sense of appreciation among the youth, but also shows us how pluralistic our country is. It shows us how rich our culture is and how unknown we are to it. The biggest challenge the movement faces is the lack of funds. As per the policy of the organisation, participants pay no fee, and the organisation solely depends on donations, and government, corporate, and individual grants and sponsorships.

With exposure to the fine arts over the 40 years, Spic MACAY’s work has helped the Indian youth to take pride in being Indian, appreciate the rich and pluralistic culture of the country, and to also become sensitive to others around them.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Katyar Kaljat Ghusali- A Marathi Movie Review!

Some are movies and then some are masterpieces. Movies have actors while, the masterpieces comprise the characters portrayed with perfection. The masterpiece –
Katyar Kaljat Ghusali– is a beautiful movie which has music as its central character, and that too classical music. Moreover, it has many firsts. Shankar Mahadevan has debuted as an actor, Subodh Bhave has debuted as a director, Sakshi Tanvar has debuted in the Marathi film and Sachin Pilgaonkar playing a classical singer for the first time! The 4 ‘S’ brings a lifetime experience, that goes hand in hand with drama, music, cinematography and dialogues.
It has the stalwarts singer Vasantrao Deshpande playing one prominent role and Pt Jitendra Abhisheki playing the other. The drama is set in the pre-independence period and has the whole setting accordingly which carries the weight and nostalgia of the whole play. The story revolves around the ego and ambition of Khansaheb to become the king’s musician. It is narrated in the form of a musical fight between the 2 schools (gharanas) of music represented by him and Pandit Bhanu Shankar Shastri. It has all the elements of film- deceit, greed, revenge and politics while the opposite side has determination, love, devotion and righteousness.
The music is so mesmerising here that it truly transcends the boundaries of language and culture and one does not need to understand Marathi to appreciate this movie.
Classical music lovers like me, will will treasure this movie, while the uninterested one’s will come out with a new admiration and passion for this genre of music. The music is the heart and soul of the film. The presentations of the bandishes like Soorat Piya Ki and Dil Ki Tapish are sure to bring tears to the audience’s eyes. Such a wonderful renditions all the songs are! Shankar Ehsaan Loy have really done a fantastic job with the music.
Cinematography is top-notch while there are some magical scenes- like that of fireflies behaving as per the music also the silence after Shankar Mahadevan’s first rendition. The beauty of Katyar Kaljat Ghusali is that one does not need any special liking for Indian classical music to like the film. More than sufficient elements come together to make the movie watching experience worthwhile. The movie also brings out the idea of how classical music can change the person completely i.e. from a evil person to a nice person.
But, the stereotypical portrayal of the Indian Classical Music was what I disliked. People still believe that such performances and such impact of classical music could only happen at that time-period, shown in the movie. Why couldn’t the director show the whole drama in the modern era?
Overall, the movie definitely does ‘pierce the heart’ with its performances and storyline. Its very rare that a movie is made where the central character in music that too Classical music. Repeating a dialogue by Panditji- The throat is strategically situated exactly in between the brain and the heart because a musician is required to use both. As a audience, I too appreciate this movie with both!

Monday, 19 February 2018

Remembering Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, the torch bearer Of 'Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb’


A legend, a composer, a performer, a musician and the torch bearer of ‘Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb’ has left us. Yesterday was the death anniversary of the legend Ustaad Abdul Rashid Khan, who left us two years back. Its once in centuries when one sees a 108 year old musician performing. But even at that age Ustaad Abdul Rashid Khan didn’t miss a note though before he started his performance he used to say “Main 107 saal ka hoon (I am 107 years old),” and then pausing for a minute and then adding, “Nahi, nahi, main 108 saal ka hoon... bhul gaya (no, no, I’m 108 years. I forgot).”  After that he used to give a disclaimer that “Forgive me if I go wrong... I’m such an old man.”Though he used to never miss a note. Ustaad Jee, a descendant of Tansen was awarded by Padma Bhushan in 2013 and thus making him the oldest musician to receive this prestigious award. He was such a legend that he has composed around 2000 compositions in his life-time. In addition to khyaal he was also known for dhrupad, dhamar and thumri. These forms of Hindustani classical music are so old that they take us back to the time of Rg-Veda.
   An incident shows his skills as a composer. He was in the famous town of Vrindavan, playground of Lord Krishna, and en route to the concert venue. The vehicle was caught in traffic and the driver said, "Radhe radhe". Ustaad Jee was then taken aback by the fact that he did not have an appropriate composition for Vrindavan. And thus in the car itself he composed the following verse, "Gaur varan chanchal nain sakhiyan sang mil, dhol karan nainan band Radhe" and performed it for the audience.
        In 1991, he was specially invited by the ITC Sangeet Research Academy (ITC SRA)  in Kolkata to take over as the senior guru. He has been giving talim there for almost last 25 years. His traditional compositions have been recorded by the BBC and Iraq Radio.
       The UP Sangeet Natak Academi and the ITC Sangeet Research Academy have more than 1500 compositions of the ustad in their collection.
He saw no difference between worshipping Allah and worshipping Lord Ram. After his passing away last year India has perhaps lost the last living embodiment of its Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb.
His musical journey was not without obstacles. Some even claimed that professional rivalry had once led to an attempt on his life. A jealous singer was reportedly so insecure after a jugalbandi with Khan that he bribed a waiter to mix mercury in Khan's food. The mercury ended affecting Khan's fingers. But it couldn't impact his voice.
I would like to conclude with my humble regards to the legendary Ustaad on his death anniversary!!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Odissi...

India has a very rich tradition of classical dances. Almost all the Indian States have a particular dance form which has the roots from the culture and tradition of that particular state. Today, I will be talking about the Odissi dance form.

Odissi dance is the dance established in the Indian state of Orissa. The cadence, the bhangis and mudras utilised as a part of Odissi dance has its very own unique nature. Odissi bargains to a great extent with the affection subject of Radha and Krishna. 
This dance was kept alive by the devadasis. The devadasis are one, who dedicate their life to the service of Lord Jagannath. Prior to the presentation of the Gita-govinda in temples, the devadasi used to dance to the recitation of songs and bols of talas. In any case, after Gita-govinda turned out to be an integral part of the customs, the devadasis performed abhinaya with various bhavas and rasas. 

The Gotipua arrangement of dance was performed by young men dressed as young ladies. In this convention one can identify yanking developments set up of smooth interpretations starting with one stance then onto the next. Beam Ramananda the Governor of Rajamahcndri as a performer artist and screenwriter who instructed moving to a gathering of young men chose to order his move show, jagannath Vallabha Nataka. It was performed in the Gotipua style. 


The diverse things of the Odissi move style are Managlacharna, Batunrya or Sthayi Nata, Pallavi, Abhinaya and Moksha. In mangalacharana the artist devotes herself to the Lord and asks absolution of the Mother Earth for stamping her feet upon her; she apologizes to her gathering of people for any weaknesses and offers greetings to the Guru. Batu Nrytya is unadulterated move. It starts with a progression of sculpturesque stances symbolising the playing of the veena, drum, woodwind or cymbals. Pallivi is greatly elegant and expressive. The tune is in some raga and is sung to the backup of Sargam and Bols. Through outward appearances abhinaya portrays rasa and bhava to draw out the importance and disposition of melodies. By and large the melodies composed by writers, Banamali, Upendra Bhanja, Baladeva Rath, Gopala and Jayadeva are sung. Moksha Nrutya is the last thing, performed to the backup of musical syllables. It has a quick rhythm. The spirit of the artist is to converge with the Divine as the artist winds up overjoyed. Odissi dance is a push to draw close to God and experience genuine ecstasy.


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

What music defines Indian Youth Culture?


(This article written by me was published in UK based online magazine FFM.
Link to which is- https://ffmrecords.com/2017/12/27/2944/)



Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan
When we think of the music that defines our current youth culture, genres like hip hop, jazz and indie music comes to our mind. We are living in an era of autotune and lip sync, where anyone or everyone can become a singer. On the other hand, classical music is probably one of the genres which many youth would be least likely to identify. But, the notion of youth towards classical music is changing. The young superstars of any genre of music are the icons for the society, so is the case with classical music, the young maestros are the icons for the youth. The young maestros who not only are great performers but are also imparting the rich culture and tradition of Indian Classical Music to the generation next.
 Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan, who comes from the great lineage of traditional musicians of Agra Gharana is one of the finest vocalist of Agra Gharana in the country currently.The musicians of the Agra Gharana play with laya, weaving in words, to make patterns around the beat. Khayal in the hands of the performers from the Agra School is a progression — from the abstract to the concrete and from the divine to the human. All these can be seen in the singing of this maestro. He took his initial taalim from his grandfather Ustaad Ata Hussain Khan and also his father Ustaad Naseem Ahmed Khan. Later, he joined ITC Sangeet Research Academy where he took his taalim under Ustaad Shafi Ahmed Khan. Currently, he is imparting his knowledge of music to the future generation as a faculty at ITC Sangeet Research Academy.
Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty
The sweet, melodious and the divine voice Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty, one of the most promising classical vocalist of Patiala Gharana of this generation. The famous thumri of Patiala Gharana “Yaad Piya Ki Aaye”, Kaushiki in her unique style has not missed a chance to impress the audience with this thumri, whenever and wherever she sings. She, born into a musical family learnt music under her father Pt. Ajay Chakrabarty who himself is a legendary vocalist. She with her mellifluous and melodious voice, and her mastery over various ragas has made the music lovers her fan across the globe. She is also regarded as the “torch bearer” of the Patiala Gharana.
A very rising Shisya of a very able guru, Pt Omkar Dadarkar shisya of Pt Ulhas Khasalkar are two such great musicians of the country who can sing the gayaki of Agra, Jaipur and Gwalior gharanas with equal ease. Omkar Dadarkar was previously a scholar at ITC SRA and now he is also imparting his unique style of singing to the generation next. He has been awarded by Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar in 2010 for his services to the Indian Classical Music.
The Indian Classical Music is very unique. In order to truly appreciate/learn this style of music, one must have patience and a true love for musical prowess. For current youth, it’s a process to enjoy Hindustani classical music, and it takes some research to find the right songs and proper singers as well. The complexities of the art include the taal (beats), the thaat (notes specific to certain raags), and the coming together of melody, beats, and scales that take years - even decades - to master. But, one must understand that there is no need to understand music as along as it gives you peace and happiness. There are many musicians like- Ankita Joshi, Arshad Ali Khan, Ritesh and Rajnish Mishra, Brajeswar Mukherjee who are not only great performers but are also passing the rich ethos and tradition of Indian Classical Music to the next
Pt Omkar Dadrkar
generation. The time will soon come when people, specially the youth will have Indian Classical Music in their playlists. Because Indian Classical Music is not only a music to ears but also a music for soul. 

To Conclude, Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan talking about Indian Classical Music said-“If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music, this country would never have been partitioned.” 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

ITC- Sangeet Research Academy- The glorious 40 years...

Considered the “Macca” of Indian Classical Music, Kolkata was all geared up for the ITC SRA’s Annual Music Conference. I was very excited to attend this year’s music conference. I called my guru jee Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan and asked him if I could come. He agreed and I could finally be the part of the music conference. 
 This year the music lovers had lost Girija Devi jee, who was a guru at ITC SRA since its inception. So, this year’s ITC Sangeet Sammelan was dedicated to the “Thumri Queen”, as she was called by her fans.
This was a special occasion for SRA as it had completed 40 years of imparting the Indian Classical Music training to several of its scholar. Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty, Vidushi Subhra Guha, Pt. Arun Bhaduri, Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan, Pt Omkar Dadrkar are few names who were its scholar previously and now they are gurus here and are training scholars under them. Ustaad Rashid Khan and Vidushi Kaushiki Chakrabarty are also the product of ITC Sangeet Research Academy. 
Talking about SRA, its one of its kind in the whole country. Its the only one institution who has so many superstars of Indian Classical Music at one place and all of them imparting knowledge under the guru-shishya parampara. I would like to appreciate the efforts of ITC who is trying to save the Indian Classical Music. The rich history of Indian Classical music which is centuries old, needs to be saved and passed on to the future generation and ITC is doing this job beautifully. The rich and glorious history of SRA where a veteran like Pt Ajay Chakrobarty was its first scholar still has its repute of international level.
Talking about Vidushi Girija Devi or Appaji what she was called lovingly by her fan, I would like to quote Javed Akhtar here who said-“Girija Devi was not only a great classical singer but a national treasurer. We are poorer with out her."  Indeed! the indian classical music has become poorer without her. For whole of my life I would regret not listening to her live even once. If she would have been with her today, maybe I could have got the golden opportunity to listen to her live at this year’s ITC SRA’s annual conference.


Baaghi 2- Review

It’s day 12 and still "Baaghi 2”continues to dominate the box office with a huge collection of  Rs. 142 crore. Director:   Ah...