Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Song(s) of the Day - A Return to Blogging

I sincerely apologize that I've seemingly neglected my blog -- my plans to have a themed week celebrating the greatness that is Kamal Hassan got thwarted by a very, very long trip abroad. I spent the last month traipsing around Hong Kong, Singapore and India on a trip to visit family. It was an exhausting trip, particularly dragging along two kids under the age of 5.

Also this past year has been way more taxing than I ever realized it would be - the whole balancing of two kids hasn't come as easily to me as I had hoped. It seems like as soon as you get one settled the other one needs something, and so and on and so forth throughout the whole day (or also through the night sometimes). But wow, time flies and my baby girl is almost one year old! So hopefully we will be settling into more of a rhythm now and I'll be able to get back to blogging.

I've still had a million songs and scenes floating through my head, and I've been stockpiling them to share with all of you.

Since time is limited, I'll just stick with a theme for today. Yesterday we had our first snowfall (at least since I returned to the U.S.) and so immediately I had this song pop into my head:

Not only does it show the adorable Madhoo and dapper Arvind Swamy gallavanting in the snow, but the lyrics actually talk about the "new white rain" i.e. snow. Perfect! This has always been my favorite song from the celebrated Roja soundtrack by A.R. Rahman.

Also I received multiple messages from my mother yesterday that it was the Tamil holiday "Karthigai Deepam" - the celebration of the six celestial nymphs that helped raise Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi's second son Muruga, also known as Karthikeya. The six demi-goddesses also create a constellation in the sky that can be seen during this time of year.

So in celebration of Karthigai I had to post this song from the Tamil dub of the Malayalam movie Devaragam because my favorite actress Sridevi is SO stunning and lively in it:

So that's all for today ... Happy Karthigai and Happy Winter! Will try to be posting more actively and will regroup with the usual suspects to see when we can bring you the Kamal Hassan week festivities!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top 5 Ultimate Romantic Hindi Songs

Someone posed this question on Twitter recently and naturally I thought the response belonged here on the blog. I'm a sucker for the full-blown romantic ballad in a Hindi movie. The more Yash Chopra-ey the better. I'll take them all, with the prancing around Switzerland and everything.

Despite having about a million "favorite" Bollywood love songs, I can easily narrow down my top 5.

So here are My Top 5 Ultimate Romantic Hindi Songs (counting down):
*Click the title to view the song on YouTube*

5. Kabhi Kabhie - Title song
So the movie was indeed supremely messed up and this song is very sad in many ways, but it is still ultimately romantic. Love Rakhee's cheetah print outfit too, and Amitabh's sherbert coloured turtleneck. Excellent times.

4. Pehla Nasha
I remember when I first bought the tape (yes, that's right, audio cassette tape) of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar back when I was 14 or 15 years old. I called up my then boyfriend and breathlessly told him that I was in love. Poor guy was shell shocked until he realized I was talking about a song. God I was mean. But yeah, this song still gives everyone that glazed over look because they're remembering their first love or past life or something super cheesy and super Bolly like that.

3. Chura Liya
This song STILL has such an effect on people. Zeenat Aman was so fabulous in this song (is that a horseshoe charm choker?), Asha Bhosle's cute trills work so well for her. Also the beautiful guitar strums, the sexy saxophone and the sweet innocent looks between Zeenie and the hero (what was his name? Vijay something?) are too perfect. This song is truly evergreen.

2. Yeh Vaada Raha
Admittedly I am a Rishi Kapoor fangirl, but even if I wasn't I think I would love this song. The entire soundtrack of Yeh Vaada Raha was absolutely gorgeous, but this song takes the cake. R.D. Burman + Asha Bhosle + Kishore Kumar pretty much makes me the happiest person ever. It's my favorite combination. The 80s really had some brilliance in the middle of the crazy.

1. Dekha Ek Khwab 
I forget about this song every so often, but I always come back to it. It's just magical. The scenery, the chemistry of Amitabh and Rekha, the silken voices of Kishore and Lata, the poetry of the lyrics ... it just can't be beat. So many songs after this have tried to re-create its atmosphere -- Mitwa, Kabhi Mein Kahoon, Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jaana Sanam, Humko Humise Churalo ... they are all just trying to live up to this song. It is definitely my #1 most romantic Hindi song.

There are of course many, many more ballads/love songs that I adore, but I for once was able to narrow down my list. What would be in your top 5? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Song of the Day: Happy Birthday Sridevi!

Wish I had time to do a REAL post for Sridevi's birthday this year, but alas, life gets in the way. Anyway here's one of my favorite Sridevi songs and today's earworm -- from Janbaaz (1986) in which Sridevi only made a guest appearance, but such a memorable one!!

"Har Kisiko Nahin Miltha" sung by Sadhna Sargam (where IS she these days? Do music producers realize there are other singers besides Shreya Ghoshal?) and Manhar, music by Kalyanji-Anandji ...

GOD she is so fabulous.

Also the trailer for Sri's comeback movie English Vinglish released today, don't miss it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Oh Krishna You Are The Greatest Musician ... *Janmashtami Special*

Happy Janmashtami! It's the time of year when us Hindus celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna - the dark-skinned (NOT SKY BLUE), lotus-eyed, flute playing incarnation of Vishnu. I can't help but love all things related to Krishna. First of all when I was growing up we spent a lot of time at ISKCON temples hanging out with the Hare Krishnas, dancing and singing kirtan. Secondly, my mom was always like a teenager in love with Krishna. I seriously think she might be a reincarnation of Meerabai or something.

Anyway, to celebrate I compiled a playlist of my personal favorite Krishna-themed songs from Hindi films. Check them out if you get a chance, they range from the sublime ("Shyam Teri Bansi" from Geet Gata Chal) to the ridiculous ("O Krishna You Are The Greatest Musician" from Meera Ka Mohan -- seriously, watch it!).


Here's a few Tamil songs about Krishna that I could think of off the top of my head:

Did I miss your favorite? Let me know! And Happy Birthday Lord Krishna!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Come again?: Bolly Sound-Alike Songs ...

Remember back in 1991 when "Jhumma Chumma" and "Tamma Tamma" both came out at the same time, and everyone was scratching their heads and saying "Gosh, those songs sound exactly alike!"?

Then word got out that both Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Bappi Lahiri had simultaneously copied their songs from Guinean artiste Mory Kante's hit song "Tama" (this song is seriously SO made of win - you must watch it). Both were busy accusing each other of copying, hilariously, but it ended up not mattering much as both songs became super hits.

I bring this up because lately I've been thinking about songs that sound alike ... and by that I don't mean Hindi songs that were copied from American/African/Chinese/Arabic/etc. songs because we'd pretty much be talking about the entire database of filmi music, but I mean two Hindi songs that sound eerily similar.

It could either be because they are in the same 'raaga' (melodic phrase) or a similar baseline, chord progression or rhythm. It happens pretty often in Bollywood and I thought I'd share some of the ones I thought of and see whether you folks could help me identify some more (particularly with older or newer songs, since my area of expertise is pretty much the 80s and 90s). Some of these combinations may seem strange, but I assure you if you listen to both songs you will see what I'm talking about.

To begin with - there are the obvious ones. Songs that are copied from something, such as:

Jhumma Chumma - Hum (1991) vs. Tamma Tamma Loge - Thanedaar (1991)


Na Hai Zameen - Khel (1992) vs. Neendh Churayi Meri - Ishq (1997)



Don't Break My Heart - Mohabbat (1997)  vs. Chad Zid Karna - Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya (1998)

And then there are the less obvious, more strange and familiar ones. When you hear a song and you're like "What does that sound like???" ... this happens to me a lot and it's terribly distracting until you figure it out.

Here are a few that I came up with:

Pyar Karnewale - Shaan (1980) vs. Aaj Ki Raat - Don: The Chase Begins Again (2008)


Husn Pahadon Ka - Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985) vs. Meri Sahibaan - Sahibaan (1992)



Hum Tumhare Hai Sanam - title song (2002) vs. Dil Laga Liya - Dil Hai Tumhara (2002)*
(*credit to Kavs of The Diva For Bollywood for reminding me of this one)
(these also vaguely remind me of "Mohabbat Hai Kya" from Prem Rog, but that might just be me)

Uff Teri Ada - Karthik Calling Karthik (2010) vs. Tum Hi Ho Bandhu - Cocktail (2012)



Dil Haara - Tashan (2008) vs. Banjaara - Ek Tha Tiger (2012)
(credit to @MapleBrownie on Twitter for figuring this one out!) 


(Also, @PareshG from The Currysmugglers pointed out that the chorus of "Banjaara" sounds somewhat similar to "O Mere Sanam" from Suraksha)

Switty Tera Pyar vs. Teri Jawani Badi Mast
(seems weird but particularly when you hear the alaaps during the verse of Switty it is very similar)

Sheila Ki Jawani - Tees Maar Khan (2010) vs. Boom Boom - Star (1982) 


I'm going to stop myself here because I'd really love to get some more of these 'sound-alike' songs from all of you! If you think of another one, please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Song of the Day: 90s Nostalgia, synthesizers and Kavita Krishnamurthy

As I've mentioned before, I wake up every morning with a random song in my head. It's not always Bolly-related, but on the days that it is I get some doozies.

Like this one. When the Yalgaar soundtrack came out in 1992, I was all over that ish. Viju Shah is actually one of my favorite music directors, though I always forget about him. I've loved every one of his soundtracks (Vishwatma, Mohra, Tere Mere Sapne, and Gupt!). And he's the son of Kalyanji of Kalyanji-Anandji fame who produced one of my favorite songs ever, "Oye Oye" from Tridev (ok I know it's a total rip-off of Gloria Estefan's "Rhythm is Gonna Get You" but who cares???). He was paired with Channi Singh from the popular Punjabi group Alaap for the soundtrack of this movie. I LOVED Alaap! Some of my favorite filmi songs were copied from their music ... i.e. "Mujhe Neendh Na Aaye" from Dil which was taken from their popular song "Chunni Ud Ud Jaye."

Piece all that together with "Jhankar Beats," a super cheesy disco club setting, a super 90s looking hero played by Vicky Arora (who cares who he is? He has a curly mullet and a puffy white shirt with vest!), side-by-side dance steps, and Manisha Koirala with Snooki hair and a sequins bellydance costume and you have total ridiculousness. AND I LOVE IT.

My two favorite things about this song are the synthesizer music (soooo 90s) and Kavita Krishnamurthy's voice. I didn't love her voice when she started singing for films, but now when EVERY SINGLE SONG is sung by Shreya Ghoshal, I really miss her distinctive sound.

Note: Manisha Koirala should NEVER dance. Just ... no.

So here's my nostalgia song for the day - "Ho Jaata Hai Kaise Pyar" from Yalgaar which starred Feroz Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Kabir Bedi, Nagma and Manisha Koirala. The music was by Viju Shah and Channi Singh and the song was sung by 90s staples Kumar Sanu and Kavita Krishnamurthy. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Tribute to Rajesh Khanna

The man that caused girls all over India to swoon just passed away, and everyone is feeling terribly sentimental. I unfortunately didn't grow up in the 60s so I never quite understood the way ladies from this era were so smitten with Rajesh Khanna. I love the stories though, about how girls were marrying his photographs and marking their maang with their own blood instead of sindoor ... so dramatic and ridiculously filmi.

Admittedly he wasn't my favorite actor, but earlier this year I had even thought about doing a blogging project week dedicated to Rajesh Khanna -- I thought perhaps immersing myself in his films from the earlier years would demystify the Rajesh effect. And though I never got around to this project, I did recently watch the 1980 movie Aanchal starring him, Rakhee, Rekha and Amol Palekar, and I did start to see some of the charm and sweetness he possessed.

Not to mention that he had some of the best songs Bollywood has ever produced all picturized on him. Of course everyone will point straight to "Mere Sapnon Ki Rani" from Aradhana but it honestly isn't one of my favorite songs. Aradhana is one of the best soundtracks ever, and some of the other songs from it made it onto my list of favorites. Other super popular tracks like "Yeh Shaam Mastani" and "O Mere Dil Ke Chein" from Kati Patang, while lovely songs, just aren't ones I'd listen to repeatedly.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a Top 10 list, but I could not possibly remove a single song here, so I had to make it a Top 12. Here we go!

Amaluu's Top 12 Favorite Rajesh Khanna Songs (a dedication):
counting down to my number one favorite RK song

12. Maine Tere Liye - Anand
Fresh, sweet, innocent ... this song just breathes all those qualities out.

11. Jai Jai Shiv Shankar - Aap Ki Kasam
Fun Fun Fun! And I totally, completely adore Mumtaz. Though everyone's favorite jodi partner for Rajesh Khanna was Sharmila Tagore, I always liked these two together.

10. Zindagi Ek Safar - Andaz
I read somewhere that Rajesh Khanna had been paired with Hema Malini more times than any other heroine, which was interesting. This is probably their best song together. Such a great road trip song!

9. Karwaten Badalte Rahe - Aap Ki Kasam
Soft, sweet and romantic. My best friend from my pre-teen/teen years made me love this song.

8. Kora Kagaz Tha - Aradhana
We used to perform this song with our band Ishara (which is how I know half of these songs) and people used to always slow dance/waltz to it. So pretty!

7. Chala Jaata Hoon - Mere Jeevan Saathi
I love how jaunty this song is!

6. Prem Kahani Mein - Prem Kahani
I adore this song. It may or may not be because of Mumtaz's pretty pink outfit.

5. Humen Tumse Pyar Kitna - Kudrat
This has that"epic omg one true wuv" feel to it. Also Kishore Kumar freaking rules.

4. Humen Aur Jeene Ki - Agar Tum Na Hote
The only song on my list from the later years of Rajesh Khanna's hero days. It used to primarily be an Antakshari song for me (isn't every other song a 'ha' song?), but I heard it on the radio recently and was bowled over by how nostalgic I felt listening to it.

3. Roop Tera Mastana - Aradhana
Smooth, sensual with a tinge of mystery ... who doesn't love this song?

2. Chup Gaye Saare Nazaare - Do Raaste
Originally I was going to say this was my favorite, but then I remembered my #1 favorite RK song. Still, this is definitely one of my all-time favorite Hindi songs. And again, Mumtaz is such a cutie!

1. Chingari Koi Bhadke - Amar Prem 
I went through a phase in college where all I listened to was classic Hindi songs, and this became the #1 repeat offender on my list. I don't know what it is about this song but you just FEEL it in your heart. It literally makes my heart hurt, but it a good way. So bittersweet and beautifully sung by Kishore. I can easily say this is my number 1 favorite Rajesh Khanna song.

So RIP Rajesh Khanna ... you had a good run and will always be remembered fondly. Especially by the Aunties who are all probably weeping their hearts out today remembering their first love. You'll live on forever in these timeless songs!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Song of the Day: Rishi Kapoor Motor Chalein Pom Pom Pom ...

It's been really hard to get around to blogging lately but I wanted to just quickly post a song of the day ... this one has floated around in my head a few times but this is the first time I was able to get on to Blogger to share it ...

I had an audio cassette of Hindi Children's Songs when I was little and I abused the heck out of that thing. Some of my favorites on the tape were "Hans Tu Hardum" from Lootmaar,  "Bachchon Tum Ho Khel Khilone" from Tapasya, "Lakdi Ki Kathi" from Masoom and this one ...

So imagine my surprise years and years later, after the advent of YouTube, when I discovered that this song which I had known for so long actually starred my absolute favorite - Rishi Kapoor! And he is in full 1,000 watt smile, Ronald McDonald fro effect. Guess who's smitten. Me.

Careful viewers will note that Mithun Chakraborty is one of Rishi's sideys. I know!!

As much as I love Rishi forever and ever, I admit that this song is owned 100% by Kishore Kumar who sang it with so much jubilation. Oh Kishore, how I miss you! 

So here's "Manubhai Motor Chale Pom Pom Pom" from Phool Khile Hai Gulshan Gulshan (1978) which starred Rishi Kapoor and Moushumi Chatterjee (what a random pairing!), music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, sung by the beyond perfect Kishore Kumar.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Favorites Filmi Dads for Father's Day

Happy Father's Day! 

There's been a lot of talk on twitter about favorite real life Bolly Dads, like new Daddy Abhishek Bachchan and perennial favorites like Shah Rukh Khan, but I immediately began thinking of Dad characters that tugged at heart strings. Certain ones come to mind instantly, like Nana Patekar in Khamoshi: The Musical, Aamir Khan in Akele Hum Akele Tum and Shashi Kapoor in Aa Gale Lag Jaa.

Then I started thinking about who I would want to play my dad in a Bollywood movie ... here's what I came up with:


10. Alok Nath
The Sooraj Barjatya/Rajshri dad of choice. Seemingly sweet and kind and perfect. Sometimes annoyingly so.

9. Khulbhushan Karbandha
Because then I could always say my dad was SHAKAAAAAAAAAL!!!!

8. Naseerudin Shah
He was really, really brilliant in Monsoon Wedding. His reactions were so spot-on, it was just perfect. And subtle and conflicted but so dedicated in Masoom. Also brilliantly awkward as the absentee dad in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Hilarious as portrait dad in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. I could go on and on.

7. Saeed Jaffrey
I just find him to be so jolly. I'm surprised we don't see more of him these days, he was somewhat of a staple in the 90s. He's so little and distinguished. He sometimes reminds me of a leprechaun.

6. Pran
Because you know, he might leave you and your brothers in the park and then you all get separated for 20+ years, but he'll find his way back to you eventually - perhaps with wealth beyond what you could have imagined in your little hut with Nirupa Roy.

5. Anupam Kher
I love a funny dad!

4. Dharmendra
Because then my dad would be the handsomest man in the world.

3. Amitabh Bachchan
Obvs. Can you imagine him singing you to sleep? Plus, he played his own dad in Mahaan, so I'm pretty sure he could play mine.

2. Rishi Kapoor
Cuddliest daddy ever. Plus, he'd have a TON of sweaters I could borrow.

1. Prakash Raj
I just absolutely adore him in dad roles. I know he hasn't done too many in Hindi films, but after seeing him in Abhiyum Naanum (Tamil), I want to see more of this character type for him. Less villains, more slightly neurotic and overprotective but ultimately dedicated and loving dads.

Yes, I admit the Rishi Kapoor one is slightly problematic since I also had a massive childhood crush on him, but I can easily separate pre-sweater uncle!Rishi from post-sweater uncle!Rishi in my mind. Now he is so roly-poly and sweet and I absolutely adored him as a to bits as a father and teacher in Do Dooni Chaar.

Then finally ... in true Bollystalgia fashion ... I started thinking about songs about dads. And here is the result! A playlist! Enjoy and Happy Father's Day!

A special shoutout to Asim from UPodcast who just became a dad this Father's Day too. Enjoy this crazy ride of parenthood Asim!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

3 Songs that gave me unrealistic expectations of home-building/buying

Anyone who grew up with Bollywood films is no stranger to unrealistic expectations. Bollywood gives us epic love, familial relationships, friendships, etc. Not to mention the music being piped in from the trees for us to run around and sing to, as well as back-up dancers in coordinated clothing with choreography all ready to go for your spontaneous song (WHY ISN'T THIS REAL?).

But these songs in particular gave me the silly notion that it would be totally easy for me and the epic omg one true wuv of my life to run away from the big, bad world and build ourselves a home somewhere. Now that I watch HGTV, I know it's not so simple. But wouldn't it be neat if cute cottages just appeared out of nowhere with the efforts of one puny guy from the boondocks and the automatic decorating skill of a spoiled rich girl who previously lived in a hotel lobby?

Dekho Maine Dekha - Love Story (1981)
Starring Kumar Gaurav and Vijeyta Pandit, sung by Amit Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

Ok so granted, they're only talking about a dream cottage in this song, but then in the next few scenes of the movie they are actually living in the house they built. That easy huh?

Akele Hai To Kya Ghum Hai - Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)
Starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla, sung by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik

Yes I'm sure little Raj and Rashmi would be able to build a safe, liveable space for themselves up in the mountains. But I DO love this song, it is possibly the sweetest and saddest little song (if you know what's coming for our main characters).

Humne Ghar Choda Hai - Dil (1990)
Starring Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit, sung by Udit Narayan and Sadhna Sargam

Aamir seems to make a habit of running away with his lady loves. So in this one he chops some wood or something and makes enough money to buy their little Little Tikes playhouse, but still, those things are expensive. I have kids now, I know. I like how they were living in a tent before.

BONUS SONG: Kadhal Sadugudu - Alaipaayuthe (TAMIL) 2000
starring Madhavan and Shalini, sung by SPB Charan
*I chose the Tamil version vs. the Hindi one from Saathiya because I'm biased and like most of Rahman's music in Tamil better than Hindi, except for maybe Rangeela.*

At least by the time we got to more modern movies (early 2000s) it was a BIT more realistic. I mean here we have Maddy and Shalini who've been kicked out of their homes and they found this sort of cool exposed brick place. I think the square footage seems excessive for Chennai though. I always got the impression that they were squatting, although at least Shalini's character is a medical student (resident?) so perhaps she could afford the place on credit knowing she'd make it back. FYI, who knew that hanging laundry to dry could be so romantic.

Anyone have any other good ones?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Coming in November: Kamal Kamaal!

So tonight I fell down the rabbit hole of Kamal Haasan (aka Kamalahasan, as we call him down South) videos on YouTube. It is totally mesmerizing ... everything from the sublime ("Nada Vinodamu" from Sagara Sangamam) to the ridiculous ("Ae Unnai Thaane" from Kadhal Parisu).

We had some minor discussion of his films on twitter amongst the usual suspects, and titles such as Saagar, Sadma, Vikram, Indian, Ek Duje Ke Liye and Hey Ram were all mentioned.

So I posed the question whether people might be interested in doing a Kamal Haasan themed blogging project and am happy to say that I received some pretty positive feedback! I'm thrilled to announce that we'll be doing KAMAL KAMAAL (translates to: Kamal Greatness) days in November 2012, to coincide with his 58th birthday on November 7th. So pull out those DVDs when the time comes and let's have some thoughtful discussion about this brilliant actor, or just enjoy the glitter and tight pants of his disco numbers.

Here's a link to his filmography so you can plan ahead.

Let me know if you are interested in participating by doing blog posts, podcasts, etc. and I will keep you posted!

And really, if you need incentive to check out Kamal Haasan, just watch this!

Friday, April 20, 2012

When Aishwariya took my breath away ...

I'll admit, I'm not the biggest Aishwariya Rai fan. Her acting actually grates on my nerves ... it's just too forced and sometimes her face looks like it's going to break from the strain of smiling. She tends to overact and never quite seems to become the character she's playing in a truly organic way.

But I will say this ... I DO think she is the most beautiful woman in the world. And that's saying a lot since I generally find something beautiful about most women. Something about the placement of her features, the heart-shaped face, and her overall grace (former Bharata Natyam dancer, holla!) all combines in such an unearthly way. She is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. This post was originally going to be a song of the day highlighting the #1 moment where Aishwariya's beauty took my breath away, but then I kept thinking of other examples until bada-bing! I had another list on my hands.

So here's my list of top 10 moments when Aishwariya's breathtaking beauty just blew me away:

10. Koi Jaane Koi Na Jaane - Aur Pyar Ho Gaya
I never even made it all the way through this movie, but she just looks unbelievable in this golden chudidar suit.  I mean it's really hard not to be upstaged by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (RIP! sniff) or Booby Deol's hair, but I cannot take my eyes off of her. I miss these 90s-esque type dances.


9. Poovukkul Olinthirikkum - Jeans
So here's the mindblowingly gorgeous Ash with the most irritating hero in all of Tamil cinema - Prasanth. I don't know what it is about him that irks me but I can't stand looking at his face (either one of his faces, in the case of this movie). My grandmother used to feel the same way - she called him the 'Ashadu No. 1' (Ashadu can be loosely translated as dork/geek/foolish one). I was trying to decide between using this song and my actual favorite song from Jeans, "Anbe Anbe Kollathey" in which Ash is also ridiculously beautiful. In the end I went with this for the thrill factor of seeing her in all the various costumes to match the 7 Wonders of the World (why is the Empire State Building on this list? I call for a re-do!). I mean, who wouldn't love to see her dressed as a Chinese Empress or Cleopatra? I have to admit though, the one scene that really caused the intake of breath was simply seeing her in a plain black gown with her hair loose in the Leaning Tower of Pisa scene. Just gorgeous.

8. Ash kicks a$$ in The Last Legion
I wasn't expecting to be impressed by Aishwariya in the Hollywood flick The Last Legion starring Colin Firth, but I was. Something about the bronzed, duskier look on her and the kick-ass nature of her character Mira all came together in a way that actually made me proud of her. Love the long, flowing locks too. I won't say that she had any real chemistry with Colin Firth, but it was certainly interesting to watch.

7. Baat Meri Suniye To Zara - Kuch Na Kaho
This is the song that made me start to fall for Abhishek Bachchan ... he's so charming and silly and funny in this song. But there is no denying that Ash is stunning in this song. I particularly thought that she was heart-flutteringly beautiful at that moment at 3:12 ... just wow! And I love watching her prance about. I think that Abhishek really does bring out something warm and genuine in her, which is one reason that I enjoy their jodi.

6. Konjum Mainakale - Kandukonden Kandukonden
It's no secret that this is one of my favorite movies, and though I think the director brought out what is Aishwariya's best performance ever in this movie, I still found her really annoying in most of the romantic sequences (like the title song, in which I found her AND Abbas to be irritatingly fake). Despite that, she truly was gorgeous in both the classically-based "Kannamoochi" and this song.

5. Kilimanjaro - Endhiran
I know. It's weird. Bizarre even. But I totally love this song. It's one of those A.R. Rahman numbers that you hear the first time and go "What is this? It's so weird!" and then a day later you're like, "I LOOOOOVE THIS!!!" ... at least that's what happened to me. I also must mention that ONLY the Tamil version is good. I heard the Hindi one once and had to go clean out my ears immediately. Anyway, back to Ash. I feel like she was basically required to glam it up in this movie, but she did it with such elan. And it certain numbers like "Irumbile Oru Idhayam" she was totally out of her element with all the hip-hop style stuff, but she really pulled it off and I was impressed with her. In this song she's dolled up with feathers and doing weird chicken dance moves, but she still looks amazing doing it.

4. Silsila Yeh Chahat Ka - Devdas
Okay so, weird choreography notwithstanding (especially the "aur yahan jal rahe the hum" part), Aishwariya is simply gorgeous in this song. Sanjay Leela Bhansali may be a self-indulgent director, but he manages to create such an utterly romantic setting that I was swept away with it (this song I mean, not the entire movie). And really, he couldn't go wrong with those devastating close-ups of Aishwariya. Stunning.

3. Ishq Kamina - Shakti: The Power
This song marks the very first time I ever saw Aishwariya Rai as "hot" - not beautiful, gorgeous or stunning, but actually HOT. Sesky. But holy mother is she in this song. And what's incredible is the way she pulls off such an overtly raunchy number with so much class! She has so much grace and there's no vulgarity even when she's doing these kinds of moves. Awesome.

2. Kajra Re - Bunty Aur Babli
OF COURSE this was going to make the list. I mean who didn't see this and fall in love with her? She is SO stunning in this, and what I love about it is how simple her styling is. I mean her make-up is applied with a really light hand, the hair is just barely styled, even the costume is minimal (in more ways than one). But all that plus the dance moves and her expressions ... va-va-voom!

1. Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyan - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
This is by far the ultimate example of Aishwariya's unparalleled beauty. I remember literally gasping when they first showed her dressed in all that finery, adorned with jewels and looking every bit like the Goddess Aishwariya. Okay, so I know that a lot of this is costuming and jewelry and make-up, but who cares?! Even I should ask forgiveness for my aankhon ki gustakhiyan. I cannot take my eyes off of her in this. Truly breathtaking. And again, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been getting a lot of flack after Saawariya and Guzaarish, but here he builds such a scene of beauty and truly makes Aishwariya shine. I will always love him for this particular picturization, which I'm sort of obsessed with.

I did of course skip over some obvious choices such as Jodha Akbar and Umrao Jaan, but those felt kind of more of the same type of lavish styling we saw in HDDCS and Devdas (though I liked the simplicity of her make-up in Jodha Akbar).

I'm frustated with the Indian media's coverage of Aishwariya's weight gain after giving birth, because I mean HELLO she just had a baby!!! Give her a break! People have no clue what happens to your body when you have a child, and those women that are saying "I had a child and I'm in shape!" need to shut up because every woman is different, and every woman's body will react differently to this experience. And for what it's worth, I think it's fantastic and very brave of her to focus on her child first and not spend every waking moment obsessing about getting her body back. She's beautiful and motherhood can only make her more beautiful and hopefully more genuinely warm. And when she does decide to return to the screen, I'll be happy to have her back. She's not my favorite actress, but I do love looking at her!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Parveen Pyar!: My top 5 favorite Parveen Babi songs

Parveen Babi. Beautiful and tragic. The ultimate beauty queen of the 80s. I often wonder if we view some of the yesteryear actresses with rose-colored glasses ... Parveen was a model-turned-actress that would probably be getting the kind of criticism that actresses like Deepika Padukone receives if she were in today's industry. She was far more of a glam doll than a serious actress, and yet, we still remember her with admiration and awe. And also a tinge of sadness that she succumbed to mental illness before she could really reach the height of her career. But we will always have her wonderful, discolicious, glittery, sequins-laden and gorgeous image in our heads thanks to her hit songs in the 80s. Here's my tribute to the beautiful Parveen Babi on her birthday -- my Top 5 Favorite Parveen Songs:

1. Aayi Aayi Mein To Aayi - Jaani Dost

2. Yeh Din To Aata Hai - Mahaan

3. Pyar Karnewale - Shaan

4. Meri Nazar Hai Tujhpe - The Burning Train

5. Raat Baaki - Namak Halal

Hope you will all share your favorites in the comments! Happy birthday Parveen Babi, wherever you are, I hope you are dripping in sequins and gemstones and dancing away on a light-up disco floor.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Song of the Day: Bolly Pirates of the Caribbean!

I've had a little earworm today and I had to share. I don't know why I ended up watching the movie Deewane (2000) starring Ajay Devgan, Urmila Matondkar and Ajay Devgan (yes, twice) years ago at my mom's house, but since I did I was semi-obsessed with this song - Qayamat. Something about the melody in the verses really interests me.

The movie itself was okay, but nothing spectacular, like many movies of that time (late 90s, early 2000s). Ajay Devgan plays Vishal, a police officer who is shot in the line of duty by his criminal uncle. He falls into a coma, leaving behind his girlfriend Sapna (Urmila Matondkar), who was constantly complaining that he was so into his work that he never had time for her. Fortunately for Vishal, he has a random humshakal (lookalike) named Arun just wandering around town as a petty thief. He's caught by the Commissioner of Police, who decides to have him pose as Vishal to scare the criminals out of hiding.

At first Arun is not interested in cooperating with the police, but then he sees a glimpse of Sapna and falls instantly and madly in love. He agrees to the scheme and begins spending time with Sapna. Sapna is thrilled that her "Vishal" is suddenly paying lots of attention to her, wining and dining her and lavishing her with love and affection.

Eventually Vishal regains consciousness and the scheme is revealed, and of course in proper Bolly fashion, the love triangle causes lots of angst for all.

This song takes place when Arun, disguised as Vishal, takes Sapna out on a date. Because you know, the hot place to take your lady is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I totally love Urmila in this -- she's so fun to watch. You gotta love how joyfully and unabashedly she's flitting around in her sportsbra.  Ajay Devgan is not one of my favorites, and he really seems like he's struggling to keep up with Urmila.

But I could listen to the song a million times!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Soundtracks Only: Aashiqui (1990)

The iconic poster image. Love the inset pic of Anuradha Paudwal!

Over the years there have been many soundtracks that I adored and yet found the movie to be completely unmemorable. So I decided to share a few of these occasionally via this blog.

I recently heard that there was talk of remaking Aashiqui (1990), which is one of the most ridiculous things EVER. Aashiqui was all about the MUSIC, no one even remembers the movie! Why would you remake it, unless you were planning on re-using the same tracks? Because to change the music would be blasphemy.

The early 90s was all about Nadeem-Shravan's soundtracks, and none of them could compete when it came to the ultra-romantic songs of Aashiqui. This soundtrack sealed the success of singers Kumar Sanu and Anuradha Paudwal, as well as that of the music duo Nadeem-Shravan.

We first heard of Aashiqui when its mysterious poster appeared, showing two figures hidden under a trench coat. Everyone was dying to know who the leading pair was, and finally after months of waiting director Mahesh Bhatt revealed his new stars - Rahul Roy and Anu Agarwal. There was much speculation about the relationship between the two stars of the film soon after its release, which was quickly followed by rumors that they actually hated each other. Not many people remember much about the movie itself, though I remember thinking it was actually quite interesting and similar to Abhimaan with the hero's ego being bruised by the heroine's success.

But really, who cared about the movie? The songs were absolutely gorgeous! My favorite is one of the less popular ones from the film - "Mera Dil Tere Liye" (interestingly, it's the only song that featured Udit Narayan instead of Kumar Sanu).

But my other favorites include "Jaane Jigar Jaaneman", "Saanson Ki Zaroorat" and "Mein Duniya Bhula Doonga", though others preferred "Nazar Ke Samne" or "Dheere Dheere Se".

What was your favorite?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lullabies for desi babies


I've been wanting to blog forever and have had a million ideas floating around my head, but I had to take a short hiatus because I just had another baby! My baby girl Tarini was born December 15th, 2011 (10 days ahead of schedule) and it's been a strangely smooth experience so far. It was a quick and easy delivery, she's been a fairly good sleeper, she's nursing well and my older kid has adjusted beautifully ... at least so far. We've also had lots of family and help around, so we'll see what happens when it's back to just us.

Anyway, now that I have a baby girl, I've been able to sing some of my favorite Hindi lullabies, such as:


Yeah, I get my lullabies primarily from Waheeda Aunty. But that made me think about other lullabies and of course a list started brewing.

Here's some of the ones that immediately came to mind:

Surmai Ankhiyon Mein from Sadma
(and the original - Kanne Kalaimane from Moondram Pirai)

Chanda Hai Tu from Aradhana

Do Naina Aur Ek Kahani from Masoom

So Jaa Mere Raj Dulare from Kathputli

Ahista Ahista from Swades

Aaja Re Aa Nindiya from Do Bigha Zameen

Aaja Aaja Re Nindiya from Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan Series

Also on my most sung lullabies list - Chhote Chhote Taaron Se from Sangeet, which I couldn't find on YouTube, but was only on this slightly shady looking site: 

I almost forgot about this one, which my sister reminded me about -

Chandi Ki Dori from Saajan Ka Ghar

And I can't believe I didn't think of this one right away!

Koi Mat Jariyo from Gopal Krishna


What are your favorite lories/lullabies from Hindi films? And don't tell me "Lalla Lalla Lorie Doodh Ki Katori" because I refuse to put that on my blog! But I'd love some new ideas of songs to sing to the new baby ...