Inevitable 2018, Hello!

2017 was a roller coaster year. Well, I can call it adventurous and tumultuous in the same breath. Yes, you might argue that these expressions don’t quite sit adjacent to each other. But at times, our derivatives stand flawed and undisputed.

Strange are the ways of life, so was 2017.

Indulgent, attractive, celebrated.

Sometimes, we feel excited about things that didn’t work. Perhaps, time is the major player here. We smile when it smiles. But in life, at some point, we all smile. Not really when we want, we don’t get to decide everything in our life, every time. As much as I am a great believer in myself and am self obsessed, I cannot ignore the subtle variations of destiny in my interesting life. I guess, there lies the beauty. And all the joy, apprehensions and agony that supplements the turmoil of the journey, so famously called ‘Life’.

But, all said and dusted, 2018 could be the year of my life. Instincts, gut feeling, not sure what it is. But the feeling remains undisputed. And, I am looking forward to it with exuberance and hope. Hope is good, fear is not. But apprehension, yes. I guess, that’s why 2018 is going to be a massive year of glorious uncertainties.

Keep aside my life for sometime now, 2017 was yet another year with lots of everything – emotions, achievements, disappointments, celebrations.

For each of you, let’s achieve what we always wanted to.

Let’s do what we enjoy the most in our decorated lives. Let’s create the space we always wanted in our lives. If you don’t like something, say it. If you want a change, now is the time to take first baby steps. Respect people but don’t take shit from anyone, especially if you don’t deserve it. Value relationships but make sure the relationship is two fold and devoid of oscillating benefits.

Phew! I know. Words of wisdom for few, Gyan for many and just rustic, frivolous words for those who don’t find a meaning in web of words and spoken partitions.

Let’s take a look at some pulsating pictures that defined my 2017, in more ways than it so appears.

2018, come and you will realize that you are already falling in love with me.

Kaatru Veliyidai – Different Terrain

Sometimes, our love stories don’t need bad guys to create a rift and separate 2 made-for-each other souls. Our nubile minds are just enough and too good to create miseries for self inundated human beings.’KV’ is a bi-product of such individuals who live and smurf themselves with their ego to destroy superlatives.

Love, lust, sex or marriage – we all live in a volcano of emotions that’s ruled by ego – tiny, small, big. It’s available in all sizes and is devoid of caste and religion. It just resides, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. It depends on how we use our ego – to create or to destroy. Ourselves, sometimes everyone else who is around us. It is celebrated with a cacophony and mourned with anguish. Mani Ratnam’s film deals with such familiar yet anonymous components of human life. Not commercially, but in his own way. What better way to make 2 people fall in love amidst war? Classy patriotism.

‘KV’ begins with the carnage of Kargill and ends with a household whimper. No surprises here, and all ends well. But the journey of love, togetherness, ego, separation, pain and ecstasy are bundled up in a dramatic deluge of thrills and bore. It is inspired by true events – I don’t remember seeing this tag line in a Mani Ratnam film since’Bombay’ in 1995 but we were not that explicit way back then with such catch phrases. Times have changed, so has cinema. Mani Ratnam has forged in to a fascinating collaboration – romance amidst tumultuous waters. It works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The thrill moments – Mani and his cameramen are made for life. Ravi Verman’s exploits in ‘KV’ takes us to another planet. Right from the start – the credits that overlap the blood of Kargill war, the snow laden mountains that look like sleeping in your lap every now and then, the dust laden camps – all look like pieces of divine particles put together to etch an epic love story. Aditi Rao Hydari gives a refreshing performance as the leading lady, I hope the pretty face moves ahead after this memorable stint with Madras Talkies. Karthi as the flamboyant Air Force officer and an eccentric individual does justice, often handsome and often unpredictable. The last 20 minutes of the film is a stunner – the high voltage chase scene in a jigsaw puzzle-like roadway and a riveting background score by AR Rahman will just take your breath away. Absolute brilliance. Plus, ARR’s songs are already a chart buster. I am on a rewind for the past couple of days with ‘Nallai Allai’ and ‘Tango Kelaayo’. Just hooked!

The dull moments – ‘KV’ isn’t your commercial wannabe, and it had to be quite pacy to get attached with the audience. It does but not consistent enough. Mani Ratnam’s definition of romance in itself is a bit unconventional, but it isn’t as ravishing as we expect it to be in his kind of urban love. The could-have -been better editing is compounded by ordinary dialogues which makes few sections of the movie stoppable. The story isn’t iconic, and all his usual suspects appear inadvertently – Srinagar, snow, closed door dialogues, Red Cross to name a few.

Comparison trivia – I don’t want to but irresistible me! It has few similarities with his own films – ‘Roja’ and ‘Alaipayuthey’. Some uncanny resemblances with ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Pearl Harbor’ too.

Mani Ratnam isn’t the kind of filmmaker anymore whose films will set the cash registers ringing. But his films possess class, and technically way above the rest. There is something about his films that I rave about, I like his kind of cinema. Few notches high, the ground below still looks clean. That’s ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ in a nutshell.

He never possessed this classical, mellifluous aura of a playback singer, that others of his generation could pull of with aplomb. But Mukesh was a genius in his own right – signature voice, oodles of melancholy, the staggering high pitch verses and the magnetic bliss. He made a trademark out of his vocals that seldom could be emulated, the richness that usually is unseen in such unconventional ways. It would be caressingly apt to put it through, like this – Mukesh can sing your songs, but you will have a tough time singing his.

mukesh

Raj Kapoor made him his household playback machine and the juggernaut is an iconic partnership for Indian Cinema. From ‘Aag’ to ‘Mera Naam Joker’, RK’s phenomenal run with his soundtrack was incomplete without Mukesh’s voltage juxtapose and Shankar Jaikishen’s ethereal scores. His ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ still haunts the ones who had a brush with the original.

A legend in his own melodious ways, Mukesh was a resonant chord of the sublime times.

Steering thought process, courageously striving through. Not the shadows, rays get me inspired.

art of classical music

music has been an integral part of my life, that it’s a part of my DNA is an inexplicable conclusion.

my parents and grandparents have been admirable advocates of classical (Carnatic) music, My mother used to be a decent vocalist during her younger days and dad always had this uncanny inclination towards genuine vocal chords. My sister, is the most impressive in our family. In fact, she is one person who has successfully juggled academics while pursuing her passion, she went on to perform with All India Radio. She is a mother of a 5 year old today but passion rekindles at odd hours, I know it does. That aside, she is spectacularly talented (she is too good to admit it).

I am not in this league, but try to reassemble myself in the classical mode. I have been a student of Mridangam myself for few years but am talking about magic here.

Percussion instruments have always struck a chord with me. In fact, instrumentation keeps me fascinated. Mridangam, Tabla, Violin, Mandolin, Saxophone, Sitar – they bring back paradise in our mortal hearts. A jugalbandi featuring the dad son duo – Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain, a thaniavarthanam of Umayalpuram Sivaraman, a contemporary leaf out of Buckram Ghosh’s asset, the mellifluous chords from Pandit Ravi Shankar’s palette. It pours when heard amidst fragrant poetry in a defiant mood. I have little knowledge of ragas and talas but that doesn’t stop me from raving about the notes these geniuses can extract.

my inspiration, to pen this down, comes from my experience with Apple Music. I am hooked to it whenever I can, and am quite impressed with their library of classical albums. Apparently, no other streaming platform is paying such attention to what is phenomenally known to be the ‘root’ and ‘basic’ for all the music we have written, made and sold. But unfortunately, they have a short shelf life and is remotely purchased. I have procured some classics, some very old collectibles that are seldom found elsewhere. Kudos to Apple Music for doing this, for bringing regional music to our doorsteps. With local sources lurking around in plenty, Apple Music being at the helm of such redemption is a diminutive attraction.

your music, my music – well, am talking about only music.

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