Friday, October 28, 2005

Indian Baddie for James Bond!

Bollywood's famous villain Gulshan Grover has been cast as the baddie opposite Daniel Craig in the next James Bond movie, "Casino Royale."

Grover, 50, a veteran who has essayed several memorable roles in Hindi films, will play the role of Le Chiffre in the film based on Ian Fleming's first James Bond book by the same name.
Said Grover: "To be in "Casino Royale" would be a real honour to me and my country." Shooting for the Bond film is due to begin in Prague in February 2006. Grover said although he had commitments around that time, he would drop everything else, if required, to act in the film. He told the Evening Standard: "In India the character of the villain is so integral to our storytelling. "I have always enjoyed playing memorable 'bad men' and which villains are more memorable than Bond villains such as Blofeld from "You Only Live Twice" and Scaramanga from "The Man With The Golden Gun"? Grover added: "I have played so many negative characters in my time that people in India are often too scared to talk to me."

Grover will be the first Indian to act in a Bond film since tennis star Vijay Amritraj and Kabir Bedi played important roles in "Octopussy" (1983). He has featured in several films outside India including "Beeper" (2002), a thriller starring Harvey Keitel.
News Source: The Times of India
Image Courtesy: IMDb Publicity Photos

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sitar Artist on Taraana tonight!

Talented sitar artist Indrajit Banerjee will grace tonight's Taraana with his presence in the KEOS studios. We will play his latest albums and discuss his music. This is a good chance to drop by the KEOS studios after 8pm tonight to get an autographed copy of his CDs.

KEOS is located on 207 E Carson Street in Bryan. The ph number to call is 979-779-5367.

Taraana every Wednesday 7-9pm on 89.1 FM.

Fall Fund Drive is on!

Did you know that 80% of our operating costs are met by listeners like you? And, that we are not supported by any Federal, State or University money? That's the reason- we are what we are!! Independent Media!!

I want to thank all my listeners for a very successful Summer 2005 Pledge Drive last July! We reached our modest goal of $12,000 and even supassed it beyond our expectations! Thank you for supporting Taraana and of course KEOS 89.1 FM. Because of your support, KEOS will continue to provide the programming you love.

Each week, KEOS- the all volunteer non-commercial community radio station in Brazos Valley gives listeners the chance to explore music and news from all over the world- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. KEOS is not just the hard working studio team that takes pride in meeting the expectations of our listeners, but it is you as well! We are here because you support us!

We look forward to your continued support over our
Fall Fund Drive, which is currently on. Oct 22nd to Nov 5th, 2005. Please show your support by calling in your pledge at 979-779-KEOS, or follow this link to donate securely online. Keep this community endeavor alive!

Thank you!

Monday, October 24, 2005

AIDing the future

SWAAD- a taste of India

AID doing what they are best at ... fundraising and initiating great social changes back in India.

Association for India's Development (AID)-TAMU proudly presents SWAAD, a much awaited Indian food festival that has now become a tradition at A&M. This will be the fourth SWAAD. It is also an arena to showcase some of Indias rich cultural heritage. This year's theme is 'Festivals of India'. Mouth watering food and much more! More info here ...

Enjoy this scoop from the past ...

AID is a non-profit charitable, volunteer organization that supports a wide variety of social and development projects addressing problems such as literacy, healthcare, rural credit, vocational training, and children's welfare. AID was started in 1991 in Maryland by a group of students. AID now has about 35 chapters across the USA, over 2000 members and about 300 active volunteers. AID is funding over 85 projects in Indian states, the primary source of funding being the Indian community in the US. AID believes that the poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and health problems are all interconnected and an effective solution is one that tackles them all. See the cur
rent projects being funded by AID-TAMU.

An evening with Partha Bose....

Partha Bose -> a disciple of Pandit Manoj Shankar -> a senior disciple of Ustad Bahadur Khan -> nephew and disciple of Baba Allauddin Khan, the fountainhead of the Maihar Senia Gharana enthralled an audience of around 150 with his sheer scintillating virtuousity on the sitar. This concert was organized by SPIC-MACAY TAMU. The Made in India team was fortunate to spend time with him after the concert and the interview with him proved to be a highly enriching experience for us.

Excerpts from the interview (Saturday Oct 22nd, 2005):

MiI: How did you like your performance today?
PB: It went off well. The audience was different. I needed to cater today to a different clientele. The choice of Raga Patadeep was deliberate. The arrangement of notes is such that it is musical even to the layman's ear. The eminent musicians who had brought Indian Classical Music to the west, esp. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, etc. used to choose Ragas that could be appreciated by an average western ear that has been brought up on western classical music. Patdip is an uttarang raga that is mostly played on the higher octave. This is more pleasing and exciting for the average ear. Moreover, it is an afternoon raga, and in Hindustani classical music, Ragas are played based on the time of the day. We, musicians, take these factors into account before the concert.

MiI: Are your concerts tailored towards an audience. What if a majority do not understand the technicalities of music.
PB: Such concerts are meant to be an educational learning experience for the people. We take into consideration the musical sensibilities of the audience. Some people come out of curiousity and some based on what they have listened so far. Very few can really discern the musical aspects of the recital. However, Music can touch a person through his heart. So, if a few of them were to fall in love with this system of Indian classical music, or if really serious and passionate, take it up as a hobby or a pursuit, I would consider it a job well done.

MiI: How do you visualize life as a non-musician?
PB: Now that you are asking me, that is a very deep and introspective question. I do not want to even think about it. I am from a non-musical family, and had to come up after facing a lot of family opposition. I was initiated at the age of 6 by a sheer moment of serendipity. My father was learning the sitar from my guru for 1-2 years, and my guru happened to hear me play certain notes on the piano. And the rest is a long story as to how music became very much integrated into my life.

MiI: Guru-shishya parampara of the past, present and the future. What are your opinions?
PB: Times are changing. Nowadays, very few people are entering into this field of music. It wasn't like that then. Among my students, hardly any one is interested in pursuing music seriously. It is becoming more of a hobby and less of a vocation. I was fortunate to have been under the tutelage of Pandit Manoj Shankar. He gave me boarding and lodging for two months during difficult times. Our relationship was such that money would have vulgarised it. Often during most times, expressions of silence was the best form of expressing gratitude.

But, I am hopeful. Music is such that it touches the heart and is eternal. This form of music that we are talking of has been there for 4000 years. In the future, I see less and less of this tradition. It would not be practical for a
guru have a sishya in his house during the entire period of study. I do not do the same to my students these days.

MiI: Opinion on world music experimentation.
PB: Live and Let Live would be the philosophy. I listen to western classical too (esp. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc.), jazz, etc. Often, what artists claim to provide in the form of world music rarely touches the heart. However, they are becoming more popular these days. It provides a means of sustenance for the artiste. It is difficult to survive only on Classical Music.

Pictures coutesy:

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Indian Classical Music rocks College Station!

What an amazing weekend it was! Indian classical music has been around for over 4000 years and there is still hope! That is what a rare gem of this art Mr. Partha Bose (sitar) elaborated on, as our Made In India team interviewed him after his mesmerizing performance with table maestro Gouri Shankar at MSC on Saturday night. And Sunday evening proved to be no less an occasion as Gouri Shankar again took (rather shook!) the stage, this time with Mr. Indrajit Banerjee (sitar) and Prof. Shankar Bhattacharyya (sarod) at the Saraswati Kala Mandir in Navasota!

Let's see if we can share this experience with more of you this Wednesday if we can entice that virtuoso team to the KEOS studios!

And pl look forward to excerpts of the interview with Partha Bose next.

Friday, October 21, 2005

India Week- Have your say!

BBC World's Introduction to India Week is on ... a week of coverage focusing on a country in transition.

The BBC's international television channel, BBC World is devoting a week of special coverage of India, starting on 16 October. Here's you chance to not only find out more about India, but to have your say too! Check it out ...
Tann tann.....
Sabne suna re,
Danka bole dhum dhum,
Jago jago ab tum,
Neend me ho kyu tum, oooooo...
Jago re jago, jagooooo reeee ..........
(Mangal Mangal, The Rising)

Hanuman shows the way!

Finally the animation industry in India is coming of age and with ample style and class! Hanuman is probably India's answer to Lion King!

Hanuman (2005)- A preview
Releases Today!
Hanuman (pronounced 'HUN-OO-MAAN': m'aa'n as in aah! ) a mythical character from one of the Indian epics called Ramayana. He is the monkey God who is a devoted follower of Lord Rama and is blessed with supernatural strength to tackle evil.

What a wonderful way to reintroduce the 'Amar Chitra Katha' era into this digital age where kids are spending more time staring at all kinds of screens rather than leafing through books! I think this is just the start and is going to open up the market for digitizing (immortalizing!) all those illustrated classics.

VG Samant, writer and director promises a success this time, what with the immense labour going in to produce more than 150,000 illustrations that will bring the 'little monkey' to life! quotes ...

A spectacular affair, 'Hanuman' promises to be a coming of age animated movie in Bollywood with great fun, drama, action, vibrant colors, fast moving frames, great sound effects, songs, dances and everything else that should go along to make an animated movie a great experience for kids and adults alike.

Jai Bajrang Bali!
And the music is nothing less than spectacular! Akdam Bakdam is my favourite!
Try it out ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Purani Jeans or is it just me?

Who doesn't remember that song by Ali Haider and those evergreen lyrics?
'Purani Jeans Aur Guitar' (My old Jeans and My Guitar) paints a picture of that perfect college bloke in such simple words!

But, hold on. Before we drift off into those pleasant memories of college, here's something to ponder upon for a moment ...

Strolling around almost aimlessly in the mall, as she waits for a friend, Nancy can't help stealing a few glances at some expensive pieces of clothing that are trying to seduce her through the store windows. Among the countless mannequins modelling the latest fashions, Nancy wonders what makes those tattered jeans a signature in fashion. Most big stores, she notices are marketing these ragged, fadded or torn jeans at hundreds of dollars. And they seem to be pretty popular with the teens these days- they are no longer patented for rock stars (they would need the torn jeans as well as the guitar!).

So what is up with these 'custom torn' jeans? Nancy wonders if we are making a mockery of poverty. Or is it just a fashion statement which expresses solidarity with a poor begger in the third world? Sure, only if some of that cash trickled down to those poor souls.

While a savvy teenager proudly tosses a Ben Franklin for a pair of these jeans, the begger on the street is happy to barely own this much cloth for an altogether different purpose; yet a very basic one- to cover his modesty. Mockery or solidarity- which ever way we look at it, it doesn't quite sound right. Does it?

The history of jeans probably points to inspiration drawn from the rugged, oily and shoddy looks of a railroad worker or a mine worker ... So we imitate their appearances? ... Is that the best a man can use his grey cells for? Aren't we capable of better than that? I mean, even if we see this as a tribute to the hard lives of these men- can we with our brilliant minds do no better than this shred of superficiality?

While you ponder ... I guess I would just sneak into my old fadded Hamilton jeans (that almost feel like my second skin) for one last time and hum along- Purani Jeans Aur Guitar ...

Viruddh: Overlooked this one- did you?

Viruddh (2005)

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, John Abraham, Sanjay Dutt
Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Music: Ajay-Atul

"Viruddh" is about an ordinary sixty plus couple, Vidyadhar Patwardhan (Amitabh Bachchan) and Sumitra (Sharmila Tagore), who are forced to search for their faith in human values and society after the death of their only son. In this process they undergo the most testing struggle of their lives... Courtesy -

And, our own Satrangi adds:
An emotional yet unique story with an element of fun probably due to Amitabh's presence- and ably supported by Sharmila Tagore. A decent effort by Mahesh Manjrekar- a director who has shunned the beaten path with films like Padamshree Laloo, Rakht, Run, Musafir, Pitaah, Ehsaas, and Vastaav. The soundtrack is particularly enlivening, graced by the likes of Shankar Mahadevan, Abida Parveen, Jagjit Singh and Roop Kumar Rathod. Ajit Parab's 'Bhooli Bisri' leaves a mark too.

Satrangi recommends-

Drawing parallels between reel and real life- does the above story ring a bell? Does it remind us of the sacrifices of thousands of parents who are losing their children to wars? Wonder how tough it is for them to reconcile after burying their own children.

From Water to Paani

From Water to Paani- From Hollywood to Bollywood

When two greats of Hollywood and Bollywood come together, the final product is potentially astounding.

Hollywood filmmaker Barrie Osborne, who shot into international limelight with multi-Oscar winning epic Lord of the Rings, blockbusters Matrix and Face Off, is set to make his Bollywood debut by teaming up with acclaimed producer-director Shekhar Kapur to make Paani, a movie about a world where water is a scarce and precious commodity. Stay tuned for more ...

Definitely a very effective way to educate the masses, specially the fortunate few who fail to see the reality that will render their dollars powerless one day soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Taraana- Wednesday Oct 19, 2005

This week's 'Taraana' kicks off at 7pm ... and here's the plan:

Popular songs from Dev Anand’s films

Actor: Dev Anand Singer: Mohd. Rafi (#1-5), Lata Mangeshkar (#6-7)
  • Main Zindagi Ka Saath:: Film: Hum Dono
  • Din Dhal Jaye:: Film: Guide
  • Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang Hain:: Film: Guide
  • Khoya Khoya Chand:: Film: Kala Bazar
  • Aise To Na Dekha:: Film: Teen Devian
  • Rulake Gaya Sapna Mera:: Film: Jewel Thief
  • Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna:: Film: Guide

Popular songs from some of the finest Bollywood films so far in 2005:

Page 3

A journalistic story, commenting on different aspects of the society- mostly through the eyes of a journalist.

  • Huzoor E Ala:: Singers: Asha Bhosle
Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi
Set in the 70’s in midst of the political turmoil in India, this movie yo yos the protagonists between the struggle within and that outside. A brilliant storyline, but definitely too much too soon for an upcoming director.
Hazaaron Khwaishein means a thousand wishes ... Doughnut says

Kisna and Mangal Pandey
Both stories built on historical characters, Kisna- a romantic story with a native fellow falling for an English lady; while Mangal Pandey characterizes one of the first leaders of India’s 1857 revolution against the British occupation.
  • Chilman Uthegi Nahin:: Singers: Hariharan, Alka Yagnik (Kisna)
  • Main Vari Vari:: Singers: Kavita Krishnamurthy, Reena Bharadwaj (Mangal Pandey)
Parineeta –Adapted from novelist Saratchandra Chatterjee's story of Calcutta in the early half of the 20th century. A beautifully composed story with fine music and ably supported by a talented cast.

Paheli- This year’s Indian entry for the Oscars. An interesting story based on relationships and fantasy. A fairytale film with a very rustic appeal to it and to top it all, there’s some fine acting and soulful music.

Black- Possibly, one of its kinds in the history of Bollywood. An emotionally complex story of a handicapped student and a determined teacher, handled very deftly yet perceptively. Was a strong contender for the Oscar selection.

  • Piyu Bole:: Singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam (Parineeta)
  • Laaga Re Jal Laaga:: Singer: Sonu Nigam (Paheli)
Salaam Namaste and Bubli Aur Bunty
Two extremely entertaining movies built around the struggle-filled lives of youth in today’s world. Bad-decisions, pain, love, hate and reconciliation – those words sum it all! Oh! Did I mention the excellent music that goes with it?
  • Kajra Re:: Singer: (Bubli Aur Bunty)
  • Salaam Namaste (dhol mix):: Singer: Kunal Ganjawala, Vasundhara Das (Salaam Namaste)
Its not just about cricket! It’s about ambition and determination of a young man against all odds.
  • Paani:: Singers: Shweta Pandit, Sukhwinder, Suresh Wadkar
Garam Masala, Yahaan, and Dus
I really don’t have enough words for these three! Just that I am running out of time and words … any comments will be posted here with acknowledgements. :)
  • Naam Ada Likhna:: Singers: Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal (Yahaan)
  • Dus Bahaane:: Singers: KK, Shaan (Dus)
Politics of religion from a pre-independent India- lets see if that helps us draw parallels in our societies today. That’s one film I am looking forward to.
  • Naina Neer Bahai::
Eid and Diwali Dhamaaka: Tune in to catch a a glimpse of india's regional colors on Nov 2nd.

SPIC MACAY presents Partha Bose

The Sitar is perhaps the best-known and most popular classical, instrument from India. Since then the Sitar has survived centuries, grown in popularity and gone through structural changes to assume its present form – that of a 20–stringed instrument with a wooden stem and a gourd (a vegetable grown in India) shell for its sound box.

Partha Bose will perform on Texas A&M campus on Saturday Oct 22nd, 5:30pm. More details ...

Monday, October 17, 2005

India's Gregory Peck- Dev Anand

Dev Anand is cherished as one of the greatest showmen of Bollywood. He was a leading hero for decades. With his brother Vijay Anand, Dev Anand produced or directed many of Bollywood's true classics such as Guide, Tere Mere Sapne, and Johny Mere Naam.

The influence of Hollywood on Bollywood goes beyond the mere industry name. As cinema evolved in the West, several upcoming directors in India looked to the West for techniques and inspiration. While it was the Beatles, ABBA, Bee Gees and the Carpenters among music enthusiasts, it was Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Lauren, Ingrid Bergman and the likes, among the Hollywood fans.

Dev Anand has been popularly hailed as the Indian equivalent of Gary Cooper and Gregory Peck. One only needs to watch Dev Anand's loping gait, the stiff backed casual movements to see fleeting imitations of Cooper and Peck. Dev Anand’s mannerisms in Guide are no different from Gregory Peck’s in Casablanca!

Dev Anand remarks on his style- “ … my success as an actor could not sustain for decades. There were no acting institutes when I started. My speech, my delivery, my pauses — that’s me, not a put-on. And most of my films were written around ‘Dev Anand’ — a city-bred boy with a modern outlook. So I just had to be myself, unless the character demanded something outside of my own personality.”

Whether or not Dev cultivated Peck’s mannerisms, their female fans from yester-years would vouch that they both shared some common features. Both had chiseled good looks and played characters projecting decency and truthfulness. Peck was among those who shaped the ‘star system’ in terms of roles and scripts being written for an actor and Dev Anand was easily the first Hindi star to have similar honors.

Evergreen Soundtracks from Dev Anand's films

Some of the finest numbers in Hindi cinema feature Dev Anand - Rafi’s Chale Gaye (Kala Pani), Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang Hain, Din Dhal Jaye Raat Na Jaay and Kya Se Kya Hogaya Bewafa Tere Pyar Main (Guide), Aise To Na Dekho (Teen Devian), Yeh Aankhen Uff Yum Ma (Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai), Phoolonki Rang Se (Prem Pujari), Hemant Kumar’s Hai Apna Dil To Awara and Na Tum Hamein Jano (Baat Ek Raat Ki)…the list can only be indicative. Abhi Na Jao Chodke, the Rafi number with Sadhna and Dev Anand in Hum Dono is said to mark the finest opening scene in Hindi cinema. More info ...

Top Five Audio Releases- Oct 2nd week

The top five bollywood movies audio releases are...
  1. Water: All the six tracks of the movie Water are really good. A.R. Rehman has done another incredible job.
    Starring: John Abraham, Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Waheeda Rehman.
    Music by A.R. Rehman

  2. U Bomsi N Me:
    *Kahan ho tum is a good number in the movie.
    *Aankhon mein
    *Halki Halki
    Starring Bobby Bahal, Gautam, Vidya Malvade and Vivek Madan.
    Music by Neeraj Shridhar.

  3. Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina:
    *Jal Jal ke Dhuan
    The movie has some good dance numbers.
    Starring: Fardeen Khan, Koena Mitra and Rakhi Sawant.
    Music by Pritam.

    starring Fardeen Khan, Koena Mitra and Rakhi Sawant. Mus
  4. Devaki:
    *Tohre Bahiyan Mein
    Couple of songs in the movie are good. You can ignore the others.
    Starring: Perizaad Zorabian and Suman Ranganathan.
    Music by Bikram Ghosh & Amar Haldipur.

  5. Humko Tum Se Pyar Hai:
    For all those hardcore bollywood fans, thess songs would not hurt.
    Starring: Bobby Deol, Amisha Patel and Arjun Rampal.
    Music by Anand Raj Anand.

Apart from the top five, Garam Masala is another album one might want to check out.

Courtesy :

Disclaimer: These recommendations are made by a single individual and it is the reader's wish to form his/her own opinion.

Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara - A Review

The movie ‘Maine Gandhi ko Nahin Mara’ is about a person who is a mentally ill and thinks he has killed Mahatma Gandhi. He thinks his house is a private jail and his son is the jailor of the jail. The movie starts with a Dr. Uththam Choudary (Anupam Kher), a retired professor, going to a chemistry class and teaching Hindi. He was a Hindi professor and is renowned poet who has his own publications. Thinking that he is having normal memory loss, his daughter Trisha (Urmila) takes him to a doctor, suggested by her boyfriend. His situation starts getting worse to a point where he asks his younger son Karan (Addy) who he was, and later starts thinking he is the jailor of the private jail to keep him because he has killed Mahatma Gandhi.

Worried by the developments, Karan calls his elder brother Ronu (Rajit Kapoor) from America. As the events are progressing, Trisha loses her boyfriend (reason being she is a daughter of a mentally retarded man and it could be a hereditary). Amidst all the confusion, she finally finds an expert Dr. Kothari (Pravin Dabbas), who takes this case as a welcome challenge and starts exploring how Professor Uththam got the notion that he killed Mahatma Gandhi. The movie takes a flash back to an 8 year old Uththam playing blindfolded archery with his friend. On 30th January, 1948 he gets blindfolded and one his playmates put Mahatma Gandhi’s picture on the wall where Uththam is to aim. His aim being always accurate, he shoots Mahatma Gandhi’s picture. Seeing this, his father accuses him of killing the Mahatma. Added to his misfortune, Mahatma Gandhi gets assassinated on the same day. This makes Uththam’s father very angry on Uththam and never sees his face again.

What do the doctors do to this case and how the move proceeds is better left to be watched. The movie ends with a good message at the end.

The movie has a very good cast with Anupam Kher, and Urmila doing an excellent job. It’s definitely a well made movie, but to be honest, I did not understand the point of the movie. But, it’s definitely watch-able once. What does Anupam Kher feel?

End Credits
Genre: Drama, Political
Released: September 30th, 2005
Production: Anupam Kher
Director: Jahnu Barua
Music Director: Bappi Lahiri
Stars: Waheeda Rehman, Urmila Matondkar, Anupam Kher, Rajit Kapoor and others

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Dear All,

Firstly, I thank RadioActive Ray for inviting me to be a contributor of this blog community of Bryan/ College Station. I would do my best in serving the spirit of Taraana and Made in India.

I intend to write a series of articles highlighting the rich cultural heritage of India through the medium of music, literature, cinema, and architecture. Once in a while, I intend to write on certain aspects of India, that are available only in India. I would coin a single word for these collection of topics that would be addressed by me - "Indianness".

This, by no means, means that I am an authority on the topics that I write about. I would do my best in making it as honest and truthful as possible. I respect an individual for his/her opinion and belief and I sincerely hope, that I am not wrong or unjustified in expecting the same from others. I believe that this blogsite would give all of us wonderful oppurtunities to importantly, learn from each other.

-- Ranga

Friday, October 14, 2005


This is extremely funny and brilliant! Some creative souls have come up with a plan to outsource the annual war between Goddess Durga and Mahisasura to experienced leaders elsewhere in the world!

Check this out:

And this beautifully illustrates the festivities of Durga Puja in Bengal enlivened by the traditional drum beats:

Check out other
brilliant flash movies at

Thank you Deepak!
Courtesy: Anandabazar Patrika

Oh James!

Bond- James Bond!
Arguably the most popular personal introduction ever!

The legendary Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is going to be back again on silver screen, this time with Daniel Craig donning the mantle. 40 years, 20 movies, 5 Bonds and the world is ready for the next one!
The world's most successful film franchise will be back with Casino Royale, and Goldeneye director Martin Campbell behind the camera.

The Bond films have stood apart for their amazing cinematographic quality, evocative music and excellent acting. Time for some Guns, Girls, Cars, Spies and Espionage! Shake your martinis and get ready for some stirry action! Cheers!
More MI6 news here ...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

WATER (2005): A Pre-view

WATER (2005)
Director: Deepa Mehta

Cast: John Abraham, Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Waheeda Rehman, Raghuvir Yadav, Vinay Pathak, Rishma Malik

Music: A.R Rahman

Screenplay: Deepa Mehta

is the final film in Mehta's trilogy on the elements, following FIRE (1996) and EARTH (1998). FIRE, which is about the politics of sexuality; EARTH which is about the politics of nationalism; and WATER, which is about the politics of religion are all worth watching.

In pre-independent India, set against the backdrop of Mahatma Gandhi's rise to popularity, eight-year old child-bride Chuyia hears of her husband's death. Her father, following custom, exiles her to a widow's ashram where she is meant to live out her days. Chuyia's feisty presence starts to affect the lives of the other residents, in particular 20-year-old Kalyani (Lisa Ray a former model), 35-year-old Shakuntala (Seema Biswas of Bandit Queen) and an 80-year-old whose days are waning. Encouraged by Chuyia, Kalyani (who serves as the ashram's breadwinner) breaks tradition and falls for young upper-class Gandhian idealist Narayan (Bollywood star John Abraham), forcing the widows to question their future and faith. Even Chuyia is caught in the wind of change. WATER is a David Hamilton Production, and executive produced by Mark Burton, Ajay Virmani, and Doug Mankoff. Music score is by A.R Rahman.

WATER was officially realeased to a full house at the 30th Toronto International Film Festival, and is also appeared at Washington D.C.s recent SALTAF. The preview screenings, and the audiences reactions’ to the film have been favorable, and the film will be distributed in the in the U.S. by Fox Searchlight, the house that distributed the widely successful Bend It Like Beckham.

I would definitely not miss this film. And after my first sampling of the music yesterday on my radio show, I would certainly recommend it to everyone. It's contagious!

On second thoughts, I feel that Lisa Ray and John Abraham probably cannot do the same justice to the characters as the orginal cast would have done. It is unfortunate that the quality of a film has to suffer due to a few misinformed miscreants. The soundtrack is definitely worth your attention! The following three songs are wonderful: Bangri Marori, Naina Neer Bahai, and Piya Ho.

Test the Water(s) yourself ...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Taraana-Wednesday Oct 12, 2005: Happy Dussehra!

Dussehra, as the name suggests occurs on the “tenth” day following the Navratri (or Durga Puja). It is celebrated with much joy in the entire country. The occasion marks the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon king, Ravana, the victory of good over evil.

The West: Garba & Dandia Dance
People in western India, especially in Gujarat, spend the nine nights of Navratri (nav = nine; ratri = night) in song, dance and merriment. Garba is a graceful form of dance, wherein women dressed in exquisitely embroidered choli, ghagra and bandhani dupattas, dance gracefully in circles around a pot containing a lamp.

In the North In northern India, especially in Varanasi, Dussehra overlaps with “Ramlila” or “Rama Drama” – traditional plays in which scenes from the epic saga of the mythical Rama-Ravana strife are enacted by professional troupes.

In the East
As Durga leaves for Mount Kailash, the abode of her husband Shiva, it’s time for “Bijoya” or Vijayadashami, when people visit each other’s homes, hug each other and exchange sweets.

In the South
The Dussehra celebration of Mysore in southern India is a veritable extravaganza! Chamundi, a form of Durga, is the family deity of the Maharaja of Mysore.

Taraana this week: This Wednesday, let's have a Dandia night!

Playlist: Wednesday Oct 12, 2005

1. Daandiya Film- Kaadalar Dinam
2. Aarkee Garba- traditional garba music from Gujarat
3-8. Track 25-30 - Rangat/ Falguni Pathak
9. Chaina Aamar Reshmi Chudi Artist- Asha Bhosle

Album- Blue Incantation Sanjay Mishra
10. Passage Into Dawn
11. Back in Time
12. My Meditation

Movie- Water (2005) Music Director- A.R. Rahman
11. Aayo Re Saki
12. Bangri Marori
13. Naina Neer Bahai

Artist- Daler Mehndi Genre- Bhangra Pop
14. Tunak Tunak Tun
15. Bolo Tara Ra Ra

Have a great Dussehra! And thanks for listening to KEOS 89.1 FM.

Is Nature Screaming- Leave me Alone!!

Is there a message out there for us- perhaps a signal? Why does it suddenly seem that there is no end to disasters? 2005 might go down in history as a rather dreadful year for mankind.

One natural catastrophe after another! Millions of lives displaced! Seems like the earth is screaming out for mercy! More than ever before in history,
Mother Nature is being exploited by the rich and powerful. And each time this tussle takes place, unfortunately it's the poor that's caught in between. Not only we don't understand mother Nature anymore, we completely refuse to acknowledge it altogether. Remember, how many of us are often embarrased (ignorance!) to answer questions on why Indians worship humans, animals, plants, the sun, the moon, almost everything around- including stones and rocks. The simplest reason for doing that would be to instill love and respect for mother Nature in whatever form it existed. Not very long ago our forefathers lived in perfect harmony with Nature. They gave back as much as they took away from it. Today we don't think twice when we raze down forests to make way for concrete jungles.
And look at the plight of the those affected- The money being offered by the developed world for humanitarian services is peanuts compared to the money available towards military aid. The military machines that are so well trained to kill, cannot be relied upon to save lives. Everything is a trade- no investment if there are no returns! Two poor nations have been spending billions on military activities in Kashmir while people in those regions still lead a lamentable life. And now this disaster!

It always happens to them ...
Don't we all often feel this innate sense of security where ever we are? It cannot happen to me; it always happens to someone else? I am safe where I am. Reflect upon it- there is no guarantee. Think about how transient this life is- one moment we are here, and next moment we are gone. Not that we should be scared about it, but we shouldn't be focussed on it either. So, while we are still around, shouldn't we put in all the effort we can to help repair the damage unleased on mother Earth!

Help before it is too late! Start at home!
Conserve energy and educate others to do so too. Use natural energy as much as possible. Plant more trees. Stop deforestation. Write to you local authorities about wastage of natural resources around you. Conserve, preserve and recycle!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Reading between the lives

The War Within (2005)
Hassan, a Pakistani engineering student in Paris
, is mistakenly apprehended for terrorist activities and interrogated by American intelligence services. He vows revenge and joins a terrorist cell based in New York City, with plans to begin the ground war in the United States. On the morning the attack is scheduled, all members of the cell are arrested except Hassan. With nowhere else to turn, he must rely on the hospitality of his former best friend, Sayeed, who is living the American dream with his family in New Jersey. Synopsis from ...

Now think about this ...
Often we may face similar or maybe less intense situations in life. Some of these experiences leave a bitter taste in your mouth ... really bitter ... sometimes it goes beyond your own self, to hurt your near and dear ones ... what do you do in such a situation? How do you react to such a situation? Or should you even react? Reaction (as in revenge) is always out of spite and anger. And can someone think straight when he's angry? But if you don't react, what else can you do to find peace (not exactly) in this moment of extreme pain? What is it that can bring about a closure?

Try contrasting Hassan's reel life story with another real life story-

... that of Fmr. Army Chaplain James Yee. Chaplain James Yee, a third generation Chinese immigrant and a West Point graduate- one of the first Muslim Chaplains commissioned by the U.S Army. Yee was posted in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002, but less than a year after serving there, he was wrongfully accused of espionage by the military and faced charges so severe, that he was threatened with the death penalty. He's just released his book titled: For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire.
Here's a man who inspires ...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Desi Immi-Grunts? Got your H1-Bees?

It all started - as these things do - at a party. It was a housewarming party in the Washington, DC area, to be precise. An Indian computer engineer with a yen for Jethro Tull was throwing the shindig. Among the guests were a couple of other Indian tekkies with musical backgrounds. The three chatted, hit it off, and decided - let's make an album.

The result is an east-meets-west musical combination that's been dubbed "Curry Rock" by the musicians who made it. Read more ...

Union Square Award for Grassroots Activism

Bhairavi Desai and a committee of taxi workers formed the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) in February 1998 as an independent membership organization to address working conditions, work protection and other concerns. New York City taxi drivers represent more than 90 countries and work 12 hours a day, six and seven days a week in the most dangerous job in the United States – more cabbies are killed per capita than police.
Read more ...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Indian Blues

Album - Blue Incantation by Sanjay Mishra

Not only did the late Jerry Garcia like Indian guitarist Sanjay Mishra's work so much that he released Blue Incantation through the Grateful Dead's merchandising company, but he even graced three of the album's tracks with his distinctive guitar work, making this one of his last performances before his death. But the Garcia connection aside, this disc is worth a listen on the strength of Mishra's nimble guitar work and smooth compositions alone. His dexterity is well-met by Samir Chatterjee's gifted approach to tabla, marrying complex rhythmic structures with pastoral melodies to create an Indian-folk fusion that's remarkably accessible. On tracks like "Monsoon" and "Clouds," Garcia's blues-based guitar is worked into the mix, exploring atmospheric planes perfect for meditation or relaxation, while "Bach In Time" finds Mishra exhibiting a remarkable knowledge of Western classical music. But the album's most effective track is the hypnotically sensual "Passage Into Dawn," which uses the passionate vocals of Sanghamitra Chatterjee to great effect. A gorgeous record that updates the rich traditions of Indian Classical music by placing them in a modern context.
~ Bret Love, All Music Guide

Tune in next week to hear Mishra.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Taraana-Wednesday Oct 05, 2005

Play List for Oct 5, 2005 (7-9pm on KEOS 89.1FM)

Mahisasura Mardini (Partial Repeat)
Due to some requests for rerun of the MM, it was initially planned for a repeat run on Wednesday evening. But, some have rightly pointed out that experiencing the MM chants early in the morning is no where close to an evening ambience. So let me play only select sections of it on Wednesday. Happy Pujas to everyone!
1. Ya Chandi (Chorus)
2. Simhastha Sashishekhara (Chorus)
3. Bajlo Tomar Alor Benu Artist- Supriti Ghosh
4. Namo Chandi, Namo Chandi Artist- Bimal Bhushan
5. Ma Go Taba Beene Sangeeta Artist- Sumitra Sen
6. Bimane Bimane Artist- Geetashree Sandhya Mukherjee

Bengali Songs
7. Opare Thakbo Ami Artist- Kishore Kumar, Ajoy Das
8. Tomar Holo Shuru Amar Artist- Hemanta Mukherjee

Album - Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (Film 2005)
9. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi Artist- Shubha Mudgal
10. Baawra Man Artist- Shubha Mudgal
11. Hey Sajni Artist- Swanand Kirkirc

Album - Mirza Ghalib
Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi Artist- Jagjit Singh

Album- Kisna (Film 2004)
13. Aham Brahmasmi Artist- Sukhwinder Singh
14. Ga Tu Aisi Artist- Ayesha Darbar, Ismail Darbar
15. Kisna Theme 2 (Instrumental) Artist- AR Rahman

Album- Iqbal (Film 2005)
16. Mutthi Mein Aasmaan Artist- Kay Kay
17. Tum Tana Artists- Amartya Rahut, Amit Trivedi, others

Album - Blue Incantation by Sanjay Mishra
18. My Meditation
More next week ...

Album- Alai Payuthey (Film 2000)
19. Endrendrum Punnagai Artists- Praveen, Shankar Mahadevan
20. Pachchai Nirame Artists- Clinton, Hariharan
21. Snehithane Snehithane Artists- Sadhna Sargam, Srinivas

Thanks for tuning in!

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. A Film Review.

Characters. The essence of nostalgia. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aise is a revelation. Sudhir Mishra tells us a wonderful story of three characters, Sidharth (Kay Kay), Geeta (Chitrangada Singh) and Vikram (Shiny Ahuja). The film stands out with its opening sequence, with the three characters reading letters to each other, to an aesthetically created ambience of a politically charged India in early 1970’s. The story traces the path of these characters over a decade, through the turbulence of India’s emergency in the late 70’s.

Sidharth, son of an influential judge, has seeds of a rebel, and sets out to change the world by joining the Naxal movement in Bihar. So much so, he forgoes his love for Geeta for his cause of bringing about a change. Geeta marries an IAS officer, seeking stability and her repressed love for Sidharth. Vikram, sassy, smart, climbs the political ladder and reaches the top rung of money and power but finds himself helpless in his feelings for Geeta. Then their paths cross. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aise gives us three evolving characters. They grow on us. We feel for Sidharth, we cry for Geeta and we laugh with Vikram. The characters are so well etched; you want them to last forever. Mishra interlaces their lives with superb craftsmanship.

Mature Acting

Kay Kay gives in a wonderful performance, needing no more than body language to emote his burning desire to bring about a revolution. Chitrangada Singh, dubbed by many as the next Smita Patil, is simply terrific. I can’t recall a stronger performance by a female lead in years. Backed by a wonderfully written character, she pulls off her debut with the ascendance of a veteran. Shiny Ahuja makes a lasting impression. You feel the most for his character. You root for him. Despite having gray connotations, we want him to succeed.

The cinematography, a three-decade-old setting, mesmerizing music and some wonderful supporting performances make Hazaaron Khwaishein Aise memorable. It plays on such a complex level, you end up being overwhelmed. A highlight of Indian cinema. A must see.

End Credits

Genre: Drama, Action, Political

Released: 2005

Production: Pritish Nandy Communications

Director: Sudhir Mishra

Music Director: Shantanu Moitra

Stars: Kay Kay Menon, Chitrangada Singh, Roshan (Shiny) Ahuja