Nandalala – Another proof of Raja’s greatness

I caught the movie this weekend and it is among the best to have come out of Kollywood. Where most movies focus on the actions of the characters, Mysskin delves into the characters themselves, analysing the psyche – their ability to love and their vulnerabilities. But the heart of the movie is in the music, which was pretty clear seeing the promos featuring Ilayaraja.
The use of music and silence to express emotions stands out in Nandalala. I’ve always preferred Raja’s music to others’, and was delighted to see a movie where his music communicates to the viewers in a fashion rarely seen in the past decade. Bala’s movies have always had soothing scores but somehow the raw emotions that signify vintage Raja’s music didn’t shine through, partly due to the themes of his movies.

Nandalala gives the maestro a theme where emotions play a major part, and he treats the viewers to an aural treat that strings at our souls. For me, music means expressing emotions, and Raja stands non-pareil here. The ability to portray raw emotions via music is his own domain. Although several of Rahman’s songs portray powerfully the emotions of the characters – En kaadhalae comes to mind immediately – his use of technology has, while giving us many peppy and memorable numbers, denied him this ability. I do not criticize him, our movie makers have become too dumb. Fast paced action, racy numbers and plotless movies are the order of the day, and that is not Rahman’s fault.

Ilayaraja’s music shines through the movie and his use of silence to emphasise it makes for pleasant listening. I wish more movies like this are made, if only to let us rejoice, fear, cry, laugh and feel the emotions of the characters.

If you have not seen the movie yet, watch it. It is a good movie on its own, but Raja’s music elevates it to its own level.

When maamis rocked – An evening of music

Post concert: Myself with Rajesh Vaidhya
Post concert: Myself with Rajesh Vaidhya

I went to my first kutcheri of this December season this Sunday night with Ramanathan (@kriznaz). The performers were Rajesh Vaidhya and his troupe. Being a n00b at Carnatic music, I had no inkling of what to expect, although I had listened to him often on TV. I know a few popular songs, and songs that are favourites of my parents and other close relatives. I have never been trained in music, and I regret it to this day. We went an hour early to the venue at Mylapore and were quite happy (albeit disappointed) that there was not a soul who had arrived before us. We thought we were too early and expected a crowd to build soon. The rain  was pouring relentlessly, and that could have dampened the spirit of many rasikas.

When we entered the hall, the crowd was thin and people were starting to come in after the concert began. The first piece was a sloka in Vaachaspathi that was followed by Vaathapi Ganapathim. The next piece was Ganamurthi. They proceeded to perform one of their own compositions in five ragas – Bandhuvaraali, Gowri Manohari, Sindhu Bhairavi, Rasikapriya and Marubehak. This piece sent most of the audience into a trance, and I could see many in the audience swating their heads. I forgot for a moment I was in BVB auditorium and thought I was in Unwind Center, with the audience being dressed in traditional attire. Such was the effect as the performers raised the tempo and we were sent into a state of bliss.

The next pieces were Dhwani, their own composition; Chinnanjiru Kiliye; Kaatrinile Varum Geetham and Jagadhodhaarana. The next piece was Kanda Naal Mudhalaai, a popular movie number that was followed by Wedding Bells, composed by RV’s guru Chitti Babu. The performance culminated with a scintillating rendition of Chandrasekhara Kripanidhey in Sindhu Bhairavi.

Our ears were subjected to divine music for a hundred minutes that evening, and I still can feel the strains of the Veena as I sit in silence. My December season has kicked off with a most interesting concert, and I hope to learn more about the wide ocean that is Carnatic music during this season.

Note: Thanks to Ramanathan for accompanying me, answering my dumb questions and providing me with the song list.

Samsung Galaxy 3 – i5801

I finally upgraded from my dated Nokia 3110c to a new phone last month. And yes, it had to run Android. I chose to go with the Samsung Galaxy 3 for two reasons: Reliable service, and I have a newfound affection for Samsung of late. Their products have never given me any problems – except when my PC display went dead for a night. Even then the display was up by the time I got back from work, thanks to the friendly service person who came to check it long past his work hours (I assume they too work 9-6 like the rest of us.)

Having used this phone for over a month now, I can clearly see myself using my desktop and laptop less and less. Of course, I do use a desktop at work. But for personal mail, social networking, music, surfing blogs and other activities I use my phone nowadays. I have to get to my desktop for some purposes like programming, drafting long mails, seeing movies and the like. But for viewing music videos, sending a quick response to mail, this phone is more than handy.

It comes with Android 2.1 Eclair, and I’ve heard that an update to Froyo is on the anvil. I have rooted the phone, found it too buggy, and reverted to the Samsung 2.1 ROM that it came with.

The phone has a very decent display, but I thought the resolution (240 x 400) might be tricky. I have had no problems with most apps I have used so far. Using the on screen keyboard in portrait mode takes a bit of practice, mainly because the screen is narrow. But Swype saves users  the pain of tapping every key to type a word. (In fact, I typed this blog post and the two prior to it on my phone.)

Text messages are organised as conversations – which is useful if you are like me, forgetting what you had asked the person who just replied Yes or No. You cannot send a message to more than 20 contacts at a time though.

The default music player has the options normally expected, but it doesn’t remember which song you were listening to. The surround sound mode is not great, given the tendency of the bundled earphones to fall out of my ear. I recommend using a better pair earphones, like the Sennheiser MX series. The video player handled movies upto 720p fairly easily, but given the low number of pixels it was not great watching them. The YouTube app works pretty well, streaming videos without any lag over a 3G connection. But on EDGE and GPRS, you’ll need to be patient enough for the video to buffer.

The Wi-fi works well enough at home, where I use it ten metres and two walls away from my wireless router. The signal strength was as good as my laptop. I could transfer files from my home server without any difficulty and at speeds I did not expect. The camera has a basic 3.1 megapixels, with no flash. I wouldn’t use this camera unless I had nothing else on hand with which to capture a still. Especially indoors, the camera is not at all usable. Outdoors however, it is usable and the quality is comparable to most 2MP cameras on Sony Ericcson phones.

The battery didn’t last me the whole day when I first used it. However, letting it drain and then charging it to 100% did the trick, and it lasts just under two days for a single charge. That’s commendable, considering I use GPS for an hour or so, Wi-fi for two odd hours and play music for two hours a day.

The GPS didn’t work properly at the first try, but a simple trick set it right. Dial *#*#1472365*#*# and you’ll be presented with the GPS settings menu. Press back, and it starts working fine.

That’s my review of the Galaxy 3, after a month of regular use. I have many apps installed too, I’ll tell about them at a later time.

Raja and KJY – Awesome song: பூவே செம்பூவே

I’m listening to this song from Solla Thudikudhu Manasu in a loop right now. I can never ever get over it, listen a million times I may. I generally like K.J.Y’s song, but this song has something that keeps me hooked. Maybe the feel or the lyrics, I’ll never know.

Another of my eternal Raja favorites. Here are the lyrics:

பூவே செம்பூவே உன் வாசம் வரும்
வாசல் என் வாசல் உன் பூங்காவனம்
வாய் பேசிடும் புல்லாங்குழல்
நீதானொரு பூவின்  மடல்


நிழல் போல நானும் நடை போட நீயும்
தொடர்கின்ற சொந்தம் நெடுங்கால பந்தம்
கடல் வானம் கூட நிறம் மாறக் கூடும்
மனம் கொண்ட பாசம் தடம் மாறிடாது
நான் வாழும் வாழ்வே உனக்காகத்தானே
நாள் தோறும் நெஞ்சில் நான் ஏந்தும் தேனே
எந்நாளும் சங்கீதம் சந்தோஷமே
வாய் பேசிடும் புல்லாங்குழல்
நீதானொரு பூவின் மடல்


உனைப்போல நானும் ஒரு பிள்ளை தானே
பலர் வந்து கொஞ்சும் கிளிப் பிள்ளை நானே
உனைப்போல நாளும் மலர் சூடும் பெண்மை
விதி என்னும் நூலில் விளையாடும் பொம்மை
நான் செய்த பாவம் என்னோடு போகும்
நீ வாழ்ந்து நான்தான் பார்த்தாலே போதும்
எந்நாளும் எந்நாளும் உல்லாசமே
வாய் பேசிடும் புல்லாங்குழல்
நீதானொரு பூவின் மடல்


Phew. My Tamil is still alright. Haven’t typed any mistakes 🙂