For your viewing pleasure

Here is one of the greatest (?) heroes of Indian cinema, putting to shame all the Supermans, Spidermans, James Bonds and Tom Cruises of the world, just for your viewing pleasure ….. believe me … you don’t need to understand the language (I don’t understand it anyway) to appreciate this stuff. Just follow the links below:

I am sure after watching these two classics you will be more than tempted to try out the other links available there.

Zidane – This year’s devil incarnate?

NDTV 24×7 has been airing this clip today that shows how a few idol makers in Kolkata are making idols for this year’s puja with Zinedine Zidane as the demon. I am surprised that it isn’t Jagmohan Dalmiya this year for having played with Dada’s career.

Wonder where this idea of Zidane as demon came from …… may be from rock singer Jean Louis Murat’s statement “‘Nobody knows if Zidane is an angel or demon …… He smiles like Saint Teresa and grimaces like a serial killer”.

Vision 2020

A few weeks back, Pratik, a batchmate of mine from ISB had written about where he thought a few guys from the batch would be 20 years from now. Here is my take on what a few guys would probably end up doing in 2020:

Alok: Owner of a video game shop laid out in a space equivalent to that occupied by a standard ICICI ATM, in one of the galis of Lucknow. One of the consoles there (or maybe the only console there) would be dedicated to Alok and he would be happily spending hours and days and months playing all kinds of (video) games.

Anoop: Still an Univeral consultant, he would be known more for his achievements as the (non-playing?) captain of his gali’s cricket team of 10-year olds in Mumbai.

ATA – Baba ATA: the world famous gay, spiritual guru with followers belonging to all religions in almost all parts of the world. Giks would be his events manager and would assist him in preparing those spiritual PPTs with the NxN matrices made by SK and Ferrari.

Bharani a.k.a Big B: Owner of, the craze among the youth of the country (to create their blogs on and to get career counseling). Big B’s way2top would have got so many hits by then that all the counters in the world would have got tired of counting.

Dood: Professor of English at DSCS i.e. Dood School of Courtship Studies … would be teaching all those teens who didn’t get convent education on how to woo their girl/boyfriends using the power of the English language.

Ferrari & SK: Will own the famous “Pfaffers Den” in Besant Nagar, Chennai famous for its PPTs for B-School students and corporates with the patented “NxN matrices for everything” formula. Ferrari would also own a cycle repair shop in fond memory of the days spent at one of India’s well known motor companies.

Honda Raam (this is not me): would have set up a chain of shops that rents out musical instruments to struggling musicians with the headquarters in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.

KP would be the well-known producer and no. 1 distributor of z-grade movies. He would also be the no. 1 consumer of Britannia Cheese spreads which Britannia would still be producing in 2020 because of its single customer (but huge) market.

KR would have already retired from his job and would spend his day reading newspapers and watching plays and attending concerts in Mylapore, Chennai.

Rajani (NBT): Celebrated author of the international bestseller – “How to Make Spelling Mistakes while Speaking”. The book would have required about 80 proof-readers to get rid of spelling mistakes in the text.

Ramki: would be the proud owner of a movie hall in Chennai that screens only Priyanka Chopra films and serials (that she would do when she gets older). He would spend most of his time eating popcorn and drooling over Priyanka.

Sallu: Still the universal brother … will get countless number of rakhis tied to his arms and what not on rakshabandhan day…. will be consulted by old aunts and uncles on how to keep their spouses happy and keep their marriages intact.

Talu would be the no. 1 customer of his own liquor shop in Mumbai. He would be meeting his and his shop’s expenses from his daily transactions on the stock market.

Vikram, the “Clickie”: Developing camera rolls in “Clickie Studios” in Adyar, Chennai. Most of his time would be occupied with shooting and delivering passport size snaps of his customers.

Dunkee and I: RJs, cracking and laughing at their own PJs in one of the FM radio stations. This would be the channel most heard by all those people who are frustrated with life and consider (before hearing the program) that there is no worser state to be in than they are currently, just to realize after hearing those PJs that there are two more junkies in the world living in deeper shit than they are. I would also be working part-time as a drummer in a band …. no .. no … not the band that you are thinking of ….. in one of the Asha or Amar Bands of the world that play moojik during the baraat in the north Indian marriages. Dunkee would be the owner of a huge swimming pool where he would dunk himself at midnight almost everyday, that too multiple times, in fond memory of those good old days, or should I say nights, spent in ISB’s swimming pool.

Way2top reaches 100000

Way 2 go for Way2top !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Visitor count on our very own Big B Baarney‘s fundu blog has reached 100000 !!! Ramki and I had the fortune of being shown on the blog as visitor no. 100000 (though Ramki was a few seconds ahead of me in seeing the count and informed me of the same)

Weeklong celebrations are being planned to mark this occasion. Please watch this space and Ramki’s blog for more on this.


TNS – This year’s Sangeetha Kalanidhi

There was a happy news and a sad one that eclipsed the happy one for Indian Classical Music fans yesterday.

The happy news was that the Music Academy, Chennai will be conferring the “Sangeetha Kalanidhi” title, considered one of the greatest awards that a carnatic musician can receive, on maestro Sri T.N.Seshagopalan (got this news from my friend KR). It was an award he should have been given long long ago. It is a case of better late than never for the academy.

But the sad news was that Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan, the shehnai maestro, passed away. He was 90. Though I have not heard him play that much, except for the mangal dhwani on doordarshan for many years and a couple of concerts in Delhi, the respect and admiration he got from the music fraternity speaks volume about his music and about him as a person. Three greats from the music world have now passed away in quick succession leaving a great void that will take a lot of time to get filled – Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer (in 2003), Bharat Ratna Smt. M.S.Subhalakshmi (in 2004) and Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan (in 2006).

The response given by the Ustad to a question on the future of Shehnai after him (source: Rediff): “Shehnai mere saath nahi maregi, insha allah koi dusra Bismillah paida hoga ….. Bismillah se waise bhi sirf shuruvaat hoti hai (shehnai will not die with me. You will see many more Bismillah Khans in future. Bismillah anyways means ‘the beginning’)

Shruti – The 24hr Carnatic Music Channel from Worldspace

I bought a Worldspace satellite radio receiver last month here in Bangalore, mainly to hear Worldspace’s 24×7 Carnatic Music Channel called Shruti. I must say I am satisfied with the investment I made (Rs. 1499 for the receiver without speakers and Rs. 500 for a three month subscription), after listening to the channel for whatever little time I got to listen to.

It is actually difficult to keep running a 24-hour channel dedicated to a genre of music without much repetitions and I think the people behind Shruti have done a good job when considering this. Of course there is so much to hear to in Carnatic Music and so much to be learnt which makes their task a bit easier. Worldspace broadcasts not only Shruti but also other channels dedicated to different genres of music in the world.

One of the good things about Shruti is that it plays recordings of old maestros which you generally don’t get to hear unless you are a real fanatic who has gone hunting around for old recordings and tapes. For example, I have a very few recordings in my possesion where mridangam maestros of yesteryears like Sri Palghat Mani Iyer or Sri Palani Subramania Pillai have played but I have already been able to listen to at least 5-6 songs on Shruti where Sri Palghat Mani Iyer played the mridangam accompaniment. I have also been able to regularly hear compositions sung by maestros like Sri Chembai Vaidyantha Bhagavathar, Sri Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Sri GN Balasubramaniam etc.

The two programs I usually try to hear in case I return home on time from office are Swara Sandhya from 7PM to 9PM and Swara Sandhya’s artist highlight section featuring a 2hr concert of a particular artist from 9PM to 11PM. On some days, recordings focused on a particular melakarta raga or very old recordings are broadcast from 9PM to 11PM. The Swara Sandhya program on Saturdays and Sundays is a request show where songs requested by listeners are broadcast. The program also features a ragam tanam pallavi almost everyday. Yesterday’s ragam tanam pallavi was one based in the raga mohanam by Dr. T.K.Rangachari. Yesterday’s artist highlight section featured Smt. D.K.Pattammal & Sri D.K.Jayaraman.

There is however one thing I wish the people at Shruti would do so as to make things even better. I would be happier if only they can at least indicate on the morning of a day (on their website) about the details of the programs that would be broadcast during the day with the name of the artist who will sing the ragam tanam pallavi in Swara Sandhya and the name of the artist whose recording would be broadcast in the artist highlight section. Though the names of the (standard) programs that are broadcast during the week are available, a few more details as requested above would really help.

Coming to Worldspace, there is one thing I wish they could do too …. though I am aware of some of the problems in doing this, if only they could convert the satellite signal reception to a terrestrial transmission and reception while still retaining their current revenue model, it would solve problems of portability of their radio set alongwith reception related troubles and increase their customer base by a huge number. Currently, you have to keep the Worldspace antenna pointed in a south-east direction with a clear line-of-sight to the sky (a glass pane in-between is fine but not a door or a wall) so that it can receive signals from their satellite up there. The reception though is very clear and of good quality.The receiver also, can’t be easily carried around along with you.

Though I have not encountered any issues till now with the radio set or with the service and I wish I don’t encounter any, it would be good if Worldspace’s call centre/technical staff is receptive and can solve the issue(s) fast just in case something crops up. Though every company these days claims to be customer-focused, its a pity to see the reality on the ground when the customer faces any issue with their product/service.

Concerts in Bangalore today

Today’s concerts:

1) 5:30PM – Carnatic Vocal by Ganesh (of Ganesh-Kumaresh fame … yes .. violin artist), accompanied by Kumaresh on the violin, V.Praveen on the mridangam and N.Amrith on the khanjira at Sri Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind, 3rd Cross, 3rd Phase, JP Nagar

2) 6PM – Bangalore Gayana Samaja – Carnatic Violin Duet by Mysore Manjunath and Mysore Nagaraj. They will be accompanied by Sri Srimushnam Raja Rao on the mridangam and Sri Vyasa Vittala on the khanjira. The flyer had the name of Sri T.V. Sankaranarayanan for today’s concert but may be he is unable to come.

3) 6PM – Carnatic Vocal recital by Maharajapuram S Ramachandran at Purandara Bhavan, 8th Main Road, HAL 2nd Stage, behind Indiranagar Club. Concert organized by Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha

4) 6:30PM – Carnatic Vocal by S.S. Vignaraja at Sri Jayarama Seva Mandali, 492/A, 1st Main, 8th Block, Jayanagar. Concert organized as a part of “Krishnotsava” by Percussive Arts Centre.

5) 6:30PM – Carnatic Vocal by Kalavathy Avadhoot at MES College, 15th Cross, Malleswaram.