Friday, May 14, 2010

Did you know?

1. That there are no 'snakes' in Switzerland!

2. The first coffee seed was sown in Chikmagalur town of India

3. Romeo-Juliet story 'did happen' and was not just a 'drama'.

4. Indonesia is made of 17,508 islands!

5. There was nothing called 'India' before, it was formed by British and eventually formalized by Freedom Frighters

6. Japanese get very pleased when they are gifted with a watermelon

7. Almost 16 million men carry Ghenghis Khan's Y-chromosome!

8. Bangalore did not become IT-centric city in 90s, it was into the core IT from earlier 19th century with a lot of research centres

9. The only Sanskrit speaking village is 'Matturu' near Shimoga

10. Napoleon Bonaparte, the french military leader, emporer actually had Italian origin parents

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Most Favourite - Top 10 Hindi Film Songs

1. Wahan Kaun He Tera Musafir, Jayega kahan ...

Movie: Guide


Excellent lyrics and direction. People like different things in a song, sometimes music, sometimes lyrics, sometimes rendering, etc. I am one of those people who follow lyrics first ... if I can connect to it; it becomes a song that I would want to listen again and again. This song takes me to reality of life, in which we are actually 'alone'. Most of the time we superficially go with the thought that we have family and friends, but deep within we realize how lonely we are in a crowd. Even today when I watch this song, it moves me so much when Dev Anand runs after realizing people had thrown some money at him thinking he was a beggar ... one of the finest portrayals of human emotions. Perhaps, best of Goldie ... best of Navketan banner! What makes this song more humane is the soft rendering by SD Burman, the tune which is so very from East Indian; I don't think anyone could have sung this better than the Music Director himself!

2. Ya Ali

Movie: Gangster


Many reasons again like lyrics, rendering & intensity of love! It was incidentally my mother's favorite too. We both loved listening to it again and again and I even had blogged on why this song is so special to me.

3. Aap Jaisa Koi

Movie: Qurbani

Qurbani was perfect one of the finest music albums during my growing up days. This song is simply so beautiful ... be it music or rendering by Nazia Hassan. Don't know why I think of Mysore when I hear this song, makes me nostalgic about those days my sisters & mom would buy record plates from Mysore, while we were based in Hunsur. It makes me very happy when ever I hear this song.

4. Jaane Woh Kaise Log the Jinke

Movie: Pyasa


Guru Dutt! How do I write in words why Guru Dutt is my favorite? His intelligence, his intensity can't be defined in a few sentences. And to top up, my favorite Hemanth Kumar’s deep manly voice adds so much value to this song which is representation of a poetic man's hurt over loosing his love of life. I often listen to this song. The sequence of the song is well shot, Guru Dutt has used his depressed eyes very well to convey message to audience.

5. Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zingagi

Movie: Masoom

Gulzar's lyrics make us think a lot about small, often ignored parts of our lives. This song makes us realize the void we all have. Masoom is a very special movie to me as this is the only movie I watched this with my both parents going in a scooter in Shimoga. I like both the versions of this song, lata's and Anup Ghoshal's.

6. Kajra Muhobbat Wala

Movie: Kismat

Naughty, romantic lyrics topped up with Shamshad Begum's suitable voice. I like everything about this song, composition and the way it is shot ... babita is the boy and biswajit is the girl! It's a lot of fun watching or hearing this.

7. Mere Bhole Balam

Movie: Padosan

Kishore Kumar! I can't stop appreciating how well he renders 'meri pyari bindu'

8. Kanchi Re Kanchi Re

Movie: Hare Rama Hare Krishna

Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, RD Burman, Dev Anand, Mumtaz & Nepal! I find it extremely romantic...

9. Man Kyun Beheka Re Beheka

Movie: Utsav

Best of Lata & Asha ... two women sharing their perception of romance, shot in an ancient house of Karnataka to depict the golden era of India where prostitutes were rich and respected. I liked this song so much that I actually learnt how to render it right and won many prizes till date!

10. O Saathi Re

Movie: Muqaddar Ka Sikander

Amithab Bachchan, Kishore Kumar & Kalyanji Anandji. Everything about this song talks of love, the most beautiful expression of life.

There are many more songs that are my most favourite, but in one shot if I am asked to list top 10 ... then it is this list!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Europe Holiday - Day 2 - Visiting & Viewing Vatican

The first half of the day was allocated to visit the Holy Vatican. I did have some idea on geographies, that the Vatican and Rome were very close, but did not know that the time it takes to reach Vatican is just 20 min from Rome! Vatican and Rome is separated with just a common wall. Not only Vatican is the smallest country (also categorized as sovereign city state) in the world, it is perhaps also the least populated (900+)!

When I compare Vatican to other Holy Shrines in India like Tirupati or Kashi, Vatican is really less crowded and has facility to park only 40 buses. Logistics must be extremely good in Vatican where the crowd is constantly moving. It's amazing to experience that the world's biggest religion's head quarters/holy centre is actually not that difficult to enter and view. One has to just drive a few minutes from Rome, park the vehicle and start walking towards the St. Peter's Cathedral.

As the local guide took over we could learn a bit about Holy Vatican. The name "Vatican" is ancient and predates Christianity, coming from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, meaning Vatican Mount. The politics of Vatican City takes place in an absolute elective monarchy, in which the head of the Roman Catholic Church takes power. The Pope exercises principal legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City, which is a rare case of a non-hereditary monarchy.

We then entered St. Peter's Basilica we see that every corner of basilica represents colorful art. Be it sculptures, pillars or paintings ... Vatican is at its best. The Basilica does not really give you a feeling that it's an absolute prayer hall ... it also exhibits art like a museum.

I switched my camera mode to 'night' so that I don't miss out capturing those beautiful paintings that depict the sufferings of people before Christ and many other stages of Christian history. We were restricted from not photographing a small room in which a few bishops were reading the holy bible.

It was interesting to note that 100 Swiss guards are guarding the Pope and the Vatican. Swiss guards, as we all have heard are known for their loyalty in french history.

As we came out of the Basilica, our trip to Vatican almost ended. We could also see the 'second window' through which Pope Offers blessings to mass, I guess on Wednesdays at 12 pm.

There is perhaps lot more to see in Vatican, below the basilica and behind. However there is always a next time, anytime anyone visits Rome ... driving down to Vatican is a very simple affair.

Day 1 & Day 2 - A Roman Holiday

As we landed in Rome after a long journey from Doha (Qatar) ... the first thing that came into my mind was 'land of Julius Ceaser!', this is what I whispered in Srinath's ear and he smiled. He always knew my favorite historic personality was Julius Ceaser ... who battled, conquered, ruled and even romanced. It was definitely in my mind to visit Rome some day, to even see the ruins left by these warriors of history chapters I once read.

To me, it was the same feeling I experienced 10 years ago when I first landed in Europe in 2000 ... it was just the same ... lot of landscape and very few people on road. Rome appeared very interesting even with just a glimpse outside the airport. Why so? Something that I did not understand then ... but as soon as we approached our Hotel on the outskirts of Rome, a feast for my eyes ... 3 fat cats near trash :-)
As soon as I got down I rushed to the spot to capture them in my camera. That was lovely.

More interesting sightings from our compact room (it was compact in true sense!), I watch out from the window curtains to see extremely fat, oversized hens in a farm house behind the hotel. This farm house had even sheeps and goose. I guess my day was made...

This day was all about driving through Rome to visit Colosseum and end with Indian dinner in a Punjabi restaurant. Colosseum appeared so beautiful to my eyes that my entire travel stress had vanished. I was all ready to photograph and be photographed. Colosseum represents ancient Roman architecture, an elliptical open theatre meant to accommodate thousands of audience. The structure is better known as the Colosseum. In antiquity, Romans may have referred to the Colosseum by the unofficial name Amphitheatrum Caesareum; this name could have been strictly poetic. Unlike earlier Greek theatres that were built into hillsides, the Colosseum is an entirely free-standing structure.

It's very much known how much Italians loved art, theatre and architecture but what is interesting to know that even today Italians are the same ... loving life, trying to conquer something and creative in all the aspects, be it in art or in the art of conning someone or art of making delicious food. What I could connect to instantly was their fascination for cats, cats are very special for Italians and harming a cat can cost someone term in jail!! This is simply superb, a land where there are laws for rights of cats, and for once I walked on the streets of Rome and felt like a Roman. It reminded me what my Mom always told me when I was a kid in certain contexts where people are expected to align with situations ... 'when you are in Rome, be a Roman'. I missed my Mom a lot; if she was alive I would have called her to share these moments. In a group tour the tour manager always tells us certain nuances of the country and culture here he told us only 2 things - beware of your valuables and be very careful with Italian cats. The latter need not be told to me, a born cat lover that I am.

The day ended with decent Punjabi cuisine and good sleep. The next day after visiting the Holy Vatican, we again got a chance to many places of Rome. Like the Trevi fountain, the state house, Cathedrals, Basilica di Santa Maria, Piazza Navona
Rome City Hall and a glimpse of Tiber River.

I loved many things about Rome, the history that it boosts ... Tuscany landscapes, fashionable and talented women, the Pizzas and the architectural wonders.

It was my Roman Holiday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My take on 3 Idiots

Like many who go to watch an Aamir Khan movie (that too author backed!) I too went to watch 3 Idiots. As ever pinned all positive hopes while I watched this movie but I was surprised to see how it did not impress me. Tried hard to like a movie that was being directed by legendary Munnabhai Makers and enacted by Aamir, again someone who flaunts a 'perfectionist tag' but what do I praise? A whole lot of predictable scenes where they praise a character 'Rancho' to raise his popularity over other superior actors like Sharman Joshi? Did the makers of the movie think that naked ragging, uncalled scenes in rest rooms and same old Bomman Irani acting like a Director (not a Dean this time you see!) can set the expectations right for Audience who can think better about an Engineering Collage?

The only highlight of the movie is perhaps the philosophy that says 'do not run behind success, instead do well success will follow you', and I suppose even this philosophy is picked up from Chetan Bhagat's best seller. Aamir Khan playing '20 something' was so much like Indians once proclaiming 'India Shining'. Making few funny faces isn't comedy, comedy should not appear like an attempt of an actor .. instead comedy is an expression of a true actor. Loud comedy scenes, drinking and loosing control, pissing in front of professor's house and always typcasting a studious person as an object to laugh about isn't really a collage about right?

What I expected from this movie is good humour, intellectual representation of a brilliant student, how he can influence thinking of few around him rather than such a 'larger than life hero' delivering a baby at the end of it.

Well, did Kareena sign this movie just to be part of a Aamir Khan clan? She is quite under utilized and is certainly not the only medico who can save life of a paralytic patient. Using poverty and disease to create humour appeared so disgraceful.

By just enjoying a few good scenes that I can extract from this movie, I still find it so hard to say it's a good movie. A few scenes can't make a movie good, a good movie is a good movie ... has to be a combination of sensibilities of a Director, a believable script, portrayal of characters and above all Music.

Sorry, just Zoobi-Doobi can't be an excuse to appreciate the Music of 3 Idiots.

Next time someone launches a movie based on a novel, with self proclaimed intelligent actors in it, even if it is going to be product of a historic block-buster movie ... I shall definitely watch out before I buy tickets!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My First Original Painting

I did this painting just 5 min ago, I can say this is My First Painting that I did based on my own Imagination of Sunset (Dusk). I wanted to represent how Sky represents different shades of color as the Sun sets, I chose to show Sea Tide rather than plain land ... I am proud of it because its very much my own, took only 20 minutes, 3 colors and only 1 brush. There is gloss since oil hasn't dried.