Radio resurrected (for me atleast)

BIG FM LogoThe advent of the television coupled with the streaming video etc. would make one think that it was the death knell for the radio. Who listens to the radio is what they say and many would agree too with that.
I would disagree. Given a choice, I would love to listen to the radio over TV. Why? The unpredictability keeps you guessing. And the music is cool as ever especially if you (like me) are a fan of Kishore Kumar and Panchamda. Imagine hearing two of your favourite songs back to back!! Sheer bliss as I experienced recently.
I got hooked to Win 94.6 in the early FM days when Malishka was on the air doing the Breakfast Show. We continue to remain in touch but honestly I don’t listen to her station much these days as the music is what Kavya and her ilk like.
Mumbai has 92.7 Big FM which only plays the hits of yore. The morning RJ, Siddharth is good too as he shares a lot of trivia and ofcourse plays brilliant music. For years, I have been used to the radio in the shower. So when I hear my favourite Panchamda number being crooned by Kishoreda, my spirits soar and my day is made. The best part is that they play all kinds of songs and not just Panchamda so Mom and wifey too are happy listening to that station on the home theatre. Just that Kavya is red-faced unless the song is one she knows. But I guess she will soon realise the worth of the music being played over what is being dished out presently in the garb of music.
The other show that I love is again on 92.7 Big FM and is called Suhana Safar with Anu Kapoor. Excellent research and helps me gather knowledge and most importantly the music is awesome too. Makes the journey to office so musical and enjoyable.
Thank you FM. You are filling in a big void in my life every single day,

A Toastmaster’s journey led me to music

Singing Vaada KaroYesterday as the presiding officer of the Bombay Toastmasters Club, I gave a short speech to open the meeting. It encompassed my journey as a Toastmaster which began sometime in September 2013 when I walked in as a guest. I have so far given 8 prepared speeches since then and participated in other activities as well in the club. It isn’t all about Public Speaking but also about learning leadership skills. Also made new friends and am enjoying the ride.

One of the best learning opportunities I had, was as the co-convenor of Oration2015 which was held in May 2015. Toastmasters from all over the country had come there and I got to learn so much about what goes into the making of a 3 day event, marketing, planning, the activities in the background, getting speakers, slotting them in etc. A wealth of experience gained even though I was on vacation during the actual event.

Exactly a week ago, i.e. January 3, 2016 I got to combine the experiences of Toastmasters with Oration2015 at the Pancham Paagals event. Pancham Paagals is a group of friends who eat, drink and breathe the music of Panchamda otherwise known as Rahul Dev Burman. I don’t want to wax eloquent on his music as the Boss (another name for him) needs no introduction. Sunday was the second event we had. The first one was on June 27, 2015 to coincide with Panchamda’s birth anniversary and the event on Sunday was held to mark his death anniversary (on January 4, 2016). Falgunibhabhi was the MC with me on both the occasions. We had to organise the songs to ensure that the audience is entertained. This time though there was a change as I sang on stage for the very first time after school days. The song was Vaada Karo nahin chodoge tum mera saath from the film Aa gale lag jaa.

So what is the connection? For one, being an MC, content needs to be delivered and you have to be thinking on your feet piecing things for immediate delivery. Thanks to Toastmasters, I could do that. Secondly, singing on stage is another ball game from singing in the bathroom. I could do that too (and I had no egg on my face literally and idiomatically speaking)

Thanks again Toastmasters. I enjoy evolving as an MC considering it was my third attempt at it. Hopefully, I will sing next time too but as the song goes “Kal kya hoga kis ko pata, abhi zindagi ka le lo majaa”. And yes no marks for guessing that it is a Panchamda number sung by the genius himself from Kasme Vaade.

My P7 Speech – A tribute to my favourite, R D Burman “Musical Heartbeats”

PanchamdaOctober 24, 2015 was when I presented my Project 7 speech. It was after I gave my Project 8 speech I know but there was a reason for that. Another TM was also giving his P8 so we could defray the cost of the projector that the club would have to shell out.

P7 is all about Researching your topic and the objectives are

  • Collect information about your topic from numerous sources.
  • Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples, and illustrations gathered through research

Here is the transcript of my P7 which was a tribute to my numero uno composer, R D Burman.

In the rhythm of life, we sometimes find ourselves out of tune, but as long as there are friends to provide the melody, the music plays on. Can music and friendship complement each other? Can friendship lead to magical music? For some it did and their music continues to enthrall us even today.

Toastmaster of the day, Fellow Toastmasters and guests – June 27, 1939 is when Meera Dev and Sachin Dev were blessed with a boy whom they named Rahul. Little did they know that their prodigy would be a trailblazer, creating magic with his music while frolicking with friends.

Rahul Dev Burman popularly knows as Panchamda was fortunate to have the right people who helped him in his musical milestones and become his long lasting friends.

Kishore Kumar was his dear friend. After Padosan, Kishore Kumar despite the songs he sung wasn’t getting any offers. He decided to return to his native of Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. When R D heard of this, he said “Kishore, don’t go. I will speak to Dada Burman (S D) and get you a song in the next film.” As luck would have had it, S D fell ill during that film and Panchamda had to assume the mantle to compose the unfinished music. Kishore got not one but three songs in that film despite Rafi being S D’s favourite. The film was none other than Aradhana and the songs were Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu, Roop tera mastana and Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera. The rest as they say is history. But it was not only work that they did together, they even enjoyed. During the recording of Jai Jai Shiv Shankar for the film, Aap ki Kasam, the producer, J Om Prakash (Hrithik Roshan’s maternal grand father) was livid at the princely sum of Rs. 50000 to be paid to the musicians. He made no bones about it and Panchamda had to bear the brunt of his verbal attack. Pancham confided in his friend Kishore. Kishore in his inimitable style sang in the end “Bajao Bajao, imaandari se bajao, pachas hajaar kharch kiye hain”

Rajesh Khanna’s super stardom can be attributed to the hit music and all credit goes to his association with Kishore Kumar and RD Burman. The song ‘Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai’ from “Kati Patang”, which is probably one of the most romantic numbers to date, has an interesting fact. This song was never planned to be featured in the movie. It so happened that the superstar Rajesh Khanna and Panchamda were travelling together on a flight to Delhi. In between the conversation Rajesh Khanna said “I am so jittery. Pancham why don’t you just hum a tune?” Panchamda felt obliged and the tune of ‘Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai’ was heard. Rajesh Khanna liked the tune so much, that he prevailed on the director Shakti Samanta to create a situation in the film only to include the song which went on to become a blockbuster track and continues to do so even today. Small wonder that these two went on to make some of the greatest hits of all time.

Panchamda’s friendship with Gulzar started in 1972 with the movie Parichay which was also directed by Gulzar. The first song Panchamda composed was “Musafir Hun Yaaron” Panchamda went to Gulzar’s house at 1 in the night to hum the tune made for this song. Both of them sat listening to the tunes in the car and discussed it till morning! Like all geniuses, they were eccentric – definitely yes but extremely passionate. There were tunes that Panchamda composed and then would not give them to anyone else saying “Only he will do justice to this tune with his lyrics” So much was the mutual confidence. They were such thick pals that Gulzar was called Safed Kauva, white crow for he would always dress up in white. Gulzar in turn called Panchamda “Laal Kauwa” for his fetish for red shirts.

After Panchamda’s demise in 1994, his buddy Gulzar reminisced in his poetic style “Zindagi ko akele nahi jhela jaata. Hamaari to team hai. Aa jao ya bula lo!” which means “I can’t live this life alone. We were a team. So either come back or call me up there.”

A great song needs a mix of not just the music but also meaningful lyrics, singers to emote the lyrics and good artistes to picturise the song on. Panchamda was indeed very lucky to have such thick friends who helped him create magic that is enjoyed even today. I am lucky to have friends like these and do hope each one of you have such lucky stars in your lives as well.

P8 – The Evergreen Inferno

SholayYesterday I gave my P8 speech at Bombay Toastmasters. The objectives of P8 are:

  1. Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience.
  2. Use visual aids correctly with ease and confidence.
  3. Time: 5 to 7 minutes

Here is the transcript of my speech. Also attached is the link to the video of the clips I used.

4 decades and one week ago, we celebrated our 29th Independence Day. It was Friday, August 15, 1975 as we proudly unfurled the tri colour in school (Slide School). Little did I know that there was history in the making on that very day. Like the freedom movement then, it was now India’s turn to rid ourselves from the clutches of a tyrant – (Slide Gabbar Singh)

Toastmaster of the day, Fellow Toastmasters and dear guests, Ramesh Sippy’s magnum opus, Sholay (slide) has in my opinion been his best ever movie in more than one way. Let me today highlight a few small but unforgettable gems of this classic.

Sholay – the moment one hears the name, it brings to mind Gabbar Singh and his immortalised sidekick <Video Sambha>

While the scene was to be shot, Amjad Khan remembered a dhobi from his childhood days who would call out to his wife: ‘Arre O Shanti.’ The lilt in Gabbar’s dialogue came from this dhobi.” Mac Mohan who played Sambha traveled 27 times from Mumbai to Bangalore for the shooting of the smallest role. When Macmohan saw the edited print, he was distraught and rushed to Ramesh Sippy “I am reduced to an extra in the film. Why don’t you just edit me out?” Ramesh Sippy said “I have edited as much as I could and the censors did their bit. There is nothing I can do now. But I will tell you, if this film works, no one will forget Sambha”. Unhappy that Macmohan was, he never attended the premiere. It was only when people on the streets recognised him as Sambha and asked for his autograph, reality dawned upon him. In the end of September, after 6 weeks of the release, he decided to watch the movie with his family. He was mobbed in the theatre and had to show his face on persistent demand from the audience. The police had to be called in to rein in the audience and let the STAR leave. 

<Video Clip – Tera kya hoga Kaalia> 

Kaalia – the character was enacted by Vithal Bapurao Khote popularly known as Viju Khote. He had a 7 minute footage in the entire film but his dialog is permanently tattooed in the minds of Bollywood fans. Ramesh Sippy had asked him to come to his office. As he was getting in Amjad Khan walked out and said “Viju, do this character. It is good. We will enjoy this film together” There was no semblance of what lay ahead for him. He had to practice horse riding and bear the brunt of a mare who knocked him down several times during the shoot. 

<video clip – Itna sannata kyun hai bhai?>

Rahim Chacha – enacted by A K Hangal – His dialog “Itna Sannata kyun hai bhai?” remains etched in our minds. The portrayal of an old and blind father who has lost his son was heart wrenching. He was given a brief outline about the blind, orthodox, Muslim Imam he had to play, and he prepared for the role by studying blind people and how a devout Muslim offered namaaz. The way in which he dramatized the scene was a great example of understanding the value of silence. Viewers identified with the emotions and could cry easily.

Just like these small characters in Sholay who made a mark for themselves, in life, does it really matter what our title is? Do we perform better because our business card has the fancy hierarchical words? Will you instantly become less productive if those words were taken away? I would rather focus on The kind of work I get to do, The level of responsibility I have, The opportunities for me to grow and The values I stand for.

https://youtu.be/pN62yIGJERc is the link to the visual stuff I used.

Ended up joint winner for the best speech at the club.

Random Thoughts mid air

random thoughtsThese are random thoughts that I penned down mid-air so pardon the incoherence in my mind. As it is I am challenged there:-)

My journey to the USA has always had some kind of a twist. When I went in 2010, my mother in law was in hospital but at that time I was going alone. This time the three of us were traveling and dates were known to us well in advance but not announced. My father in law was to be operated for his spinal problems but somehow or the other it kept on getting postponed and finally it happened only on April 20th when we were leaving on 25th. We did leave but not without wifey getting extremely tense and continues to remain tense.

The day of the journey, 25th was a day to remember. We were booked by the 1515 flight to Dubai and from there we had to take the 2215 flight to Atlanta. So we were set to leave around noon. Just as the baggage was being loaded, some sixth sense told me to check the web site for timings. Thank God I did. The Dubai – Atlanta leg of our flight was delayed by over 14 hours which would have meant we would have had to sit idle for 20 hours as we had a 5 + hour lay over in Dubai. Called up the Delta call centre and spoke to them. They too weren’t aware of the delay as she said the flight is showing as scheduled when a simple Google search told me that it was delayed. Finally reality dawned upon them too and they agreed to reschedule us. Put us on the 0220 Air France to Paris and then after a 2 hour 40 minute lay over we were to head to Atlanta. Things worked out well and I am writing from the Paris Atlanta sector right now. Unfortunately they do not have a plug point to charge my lap top. All they have is a USB so will have to switch over to the iPad in case I run dry.

What have I done? Watched some TV shows. Watched a movie called Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya which was recommended by Kavya too. Honestly she was watching it and I was only aping her. Slept. Black coffee. We are about 4 hours 30 minutes away from Atlanta says the online map. We have completed the trans atlantic leg almost and will soon enter Canada and from there head south to Atlanta.

Listening to some remix music. Currently listening to Hare Rama Hare Krishna (not the movie) but the chanting of the Lord in remix format. I wonder if any other religion would have the tolerant nature to admit that we could listen to remixes of God’s songs. Sometimes I feel like Hindus are the most tolerant lot but let me not get into that.

The new Airport at Mumbai was impressive thought Kavya. She was over awed by the brand stores at the airport in Paris but Mumbai Airport was far better she felt. I think I would agree with her.

Just heard yet another remix of my favourite, Yeh Vaada Raha which happens to be the title track of the movie. I always loved that movie and it’s soundtrack composed by none other than my favourite, Panchamda. I thought the movie and the soundtrack were both a hit but got to know only later that the movie didn’t do too well and so the soundtrack too suffered. What a tragedy!! Remixes have brought some songs back to life but honestly the original sound track is so so good. My other favourite was Harjaaee again composed by Panchamda. Some awesome soundtrack that was too. Don’t know how that movie did in reality. Panchamda produced phenomenal music but maybe the generation did not understand the brilliance then. I now realise it after so many years. We have indeed lost a great composer.

Children grow up so soon. Kavya went for some haircut which included some really stupid hair style “Flicks” which I find ridiculous. Tells me “Papa, you don’t understand girl stuff and you don’t have an idea about fashion” No choice but to agree. Daughters really know how to handle Dads and make them accept any and everything.

Wow…. Music these days make your feel so much out-of-place…. Finally found something I know in the Live Concert clips. Opening song is Scorpions’ Rock you like a Hurricane. But the doubting Thomas in me has the gall to think, is he singing really or is it lip syncing? These days you never know what is possible and what isn’t. Even the guitar pieces could be orchestrated with the stage mic switched off? Who knows? Do they have LIVE as in really LIVE concerts? I wonder. But for now let me enjoy Scorpions.

While I knew the Scorpions, there was another artiste I knew Tina Turner but the song was unknown. Must give it to her that even at this age she can show her energy on stage. She is a grandmother.

Now Cyndi Lauper – She looks so different now. Normal hair!!! No colours on her hair which is a record of sorts. Though her eye shadow et al are in a multitude of colours.

Sholay – A trendsetter even today

Sholay

Sholay – A movie? No it is a cult favourite…. As I sit glued to the TV watching Sholay for the umpteenth time, I realise how much the movie means to me. I was a kid when it released in 1975. But in those days too I would have seen it so many times and every once in a while have seen it. The movie is unique in sooooo many ways. In those days, it was viewed and viewed again for being the only movie in 70mm and the sounds and music used in the film were phenomenal. Always will remember the coin being flipped and the sound echoing across the theatre. Songs were a rage then and remain so even now. Music is by my favourite and the ultimate musician, R D Burman so I will not wax eloquent on that.

But I just wanted to touch upon one aspect of this movie – the characters. However measly a role in terms of screen presence it was, the characters are etched in memory.

  • Sambha – played by Mac Mohan (who was Raveena Tandon’s Maternal Uncle) – The film’s dialog is vividly recalled even today as Gabbar said “Arre oh Sambha, kitna inaam sarkar rakhe hain hum par?” All Sambha said was “Poore pachas hajar” and that shot him to limelight.
  • Kaalia – played by Viju Khote – One dialog to this day makes it trademark in Bollywood – Gabbar Singh said “Tera kya hoga Kaalia?” Two minutes of that scene and who knows it will linger on for a century.
  • Rahim Chacha – enacted by A K Hangal – His dialog “Itna Sannata kyun hai bhai?” remains etched in our minds. The portrayal of an old and blind father who has lost his son was poignant.
  • Soorma Bhopali – played by Jagdeep – Such a small role in the movie but Soorma Bhopali is still talked about and laughed at even in stand up comedies
  • Ramlaal – enacted by Satyen Kappu – As the man Friday of Thakur, he said a few words in the movie but has had an impact. Of course, the character has been the butt of jokes in recent times.
  • Mausi – played by the radiant Leela Mishra – Another very small role but she had to listen to Amitabh (Jai) heep praises for Dharmendra (Veeru) when asking for Basanti’s hand. Also Dharmendra’s famous scene – Succciiiiiddde had some of her talent showcased too.
  • The Jailor – portrayed by Asrani – His dialogs “Hum Angrez ke zamaane ke jailor hain … ah ha” and “Hamare jail mein surang?” are remembered well. Another small but witty role and very well written too.
  • Hariram, the barber cum Asrani’s informer enacted by Keshto Mukherjee – Probably the least screen presence in the film but always remembered for his portrayal.

All in all Sholay was an epic movie which is made once in a lifetime and I am glad I was there when it was released.

2014 – A New Beginning

new-years-eve-2013-5666313846390784-hp

The google doodle today is apt as it signifies change of guard from 2013 to 2014. As the clock strikes midnight tonight we will bid adieu to 2013 and welcome 2014. Wish you all a very Happy New Year. May the new year be filled with joy and prosperity. On this occasion, I would like to share a video by Suneel Agarwal – A new beginning.

Another song that has been buzzing in my mind since this morning cycle ride is from the film Mashaal sung by the evergreen Kishore Kumar. A song full of hope and very very lively. Do listen to it if you haven’t.