Thursday, December 31, 2020

Books I read in 2020

S. No.BookWriterFormat
1Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies* (9% read) Jared DiamondAudio book
2The Brothers Karamazov* (14% read) Fyodor DostoyevskyeBook
3A Room of One's OwnVirginia WoolfPaper book
4Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsDaniel H. PinkeBook
5Start with WhySimon SinekAudio book
6Why Zebras Don't Get UlcersRobert M. SapolskyeBook
7MortTerry PratchetteBook
8Sacred GamesVikram ChandraPaper book
9My Struggle: Book 1 // A Death in the FamilyKarl Ove KnausgaardeBook
10Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition IrrelevantW. Chan Kim, Renée MauborgnePaper book
11A Fine BalanceRohinton MistryAudio book
12Up from SlaveryBooker T. WashingtonAudio book
13The Name of the RoseUmberto EcoPaper book
14My Struggle: Book 2 // A Man in LoveKarl Ove KnausgaardeBook
15The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-ExupéryeBook
16The Confessions of St. Augustine** (68% read)Augustine of HippoeBook
17Infinite Jest** (29% read) David Foster WallacePaper book
18One Hundred Years of Solitude** (5% read) Gabriel García MárquezeBook
19Plato: Complete Works** (5% read) PlatoeBook
* Started in 2019 but finished in 2020.
** Started this year but not yet finished.
*** Sorted in the order in which they were completed.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Books I read in 2019

S. No.BookWriterFormat
1A History of Western Philosophy*Bertrand RussellAudiobook
2Anna Karenina*Leo TolstoyeBook
3Uh-oh: Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door*Robert FulghumPaper book
4Tao Te Ching*Lao TzueBook
5The MartianAndy WeirAudiobook
6The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead ForeverMichael Bungay StanierAudiobook
7Measure What MattersJohn DoerrAudiobook
8Sapiens: A Brief History of HumankindYuval Noah HarariAudiobook
9Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the MarketsNassim Nicholas TalebAudiobook
10If Tomorrow ComesSidney SheldoneBook
11The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi GermanyWilliam L. ShirerAudiobook
12The Buddha Said: Meeting the Challenge of Life's DifficultiesOshoAudiobook
13Mindfulness In Plain EnglishVen. Henepola GunaratanaeBook
14A Prayer for Owen MeanyJohn IrvingAudiobook
15The Gene: An Intimate HistorySiddhartha MukherjeeAudiobook
16Tess of the D'UrbervillesThomas HardyPaper book
17Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies** (91% read)Jared DiamondAudiobook
18The Brothers Karamazov** (86% read)Fyodor DostoyevskyeBook
* Started in 2018 but finished in 2019.
** Started this year but not yet finished.
*** Sorted in the order in which they were completed.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Books I read in 2018

S. No.BookWriterFormat
1ReworkJason Fried, David Heinemeier HanssonAudio book
21Q84Haruki MurakamieBook
3Birdsong (French Trilogy #2)*Sebastian FaulkseBook
4Walden*Henry David ThoreaueBook
5A Christmas CarolCharles DickenseBook
6Brave New WorldAldous HuxleyeBook
7Alice's Adventures in WonderlandLewis CarrolleBook
* These books were started in previous years but finished in 2018.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Books I read in 2017

S. No.BookWriterFormat
1Love in the Time of Cholera*Gabriel García MárquezPrint book
2War and peace*Leo TolstoyeBook
3The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters*Joseph SugarmaneBook
4Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingSusan CaineBook
5Graphics Design*Ellen Lupton, Jennifer Cole PhillipseBook
6Little WomenLouisa May AlcottPrint book
7Bourne SupremacyRobert LudlumeBook
8Zen Mind Beginner's Mind*Shunryu SuzukieBook
9Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the FuturePeter Thiel, Blake MasterseBook
10The Magician's Nephew (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 1)Clive Staples LewiseBook
11The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 2)Clive Staples LewiseBook
12The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 3)Clive Staples LewiseBook
13Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 4)Clive Staples LewiseBook
14The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 5)Clive Staples LewiseBook
15The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 6)Clive Staples LewiseBook
16The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia - Book 7)Clive Staples LewiseBook
17MiddlemarchGeorge EliotteBook
18BossypantsTina FeyeBook
19Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeAnne LamotteBook
20Tuesdays with MorrieMitch AlbomAudio book
21The God DelusionRichard DawkinsAudio book
22The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben HorowitzAudio book
23Principles: Life and Work

Ray DalioAudio book
24Mindfulness for Beginners

Jon Kabat-ZinnAudio book
* These books were started in previous years but finished in 2017.

I did better this year, if I just go by numbers of books. I finished 24 books this year compared to 15 books of last year.

Settling on a book format

I experimented with all three formats this year -- Paper books, eBooks and Audio books.

But, I have more or less settled on Audio Books as the primary format. With so many professional and personal
commitments clamoring for my attention, it is increasingly becoming difficult to squeeze in time for reading eBooks or Print books.

I have recently subscribed to Audible and have been trying to listen for at least 30 minutes daily.

Going for "Tough Reads”

I have started including a few “Tough Reads” in my reading list.

L&D practitioners swear by 70:20:10 model, which posits that 70% of lessons learned by effective managers comes from working on challenging assignments i.e. “Tough Jobs”. In the same vein, I define “Tough Reads” as those books which help us to grow by broadening our horizon and getting us out of our comfort zone.

Tough Reads help to crystallize our thoughts, change our opinions, inform us of the opposing viewpoints, develop fortitude to weather out difficult life situations, foster empathy for people different from us and inculcate tolerance for dissenting opinions. They may be like Middlemarch, which dissects the motivations and psychology of its characters so minutely and elaborately that you get some kernels of universal truth about human nature. Or, they may provide you a research-level exposition on a topic, say “Atheism” in “God Delusion”.

To figure out such books, I started researching more while choosing which books to go for. Trawling through Goodreads reviews is an excellent way to help pop out the next challenging read.  

Favourite book 

Middlemarch is my favourite book of this year.

Favourite quote

There couldn’t be a more sobering and liberating sentence than George Eliot’s concluding sentence in Middlemarch.

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

It makes one wonder whether the underlying assumption prevalent among today's achievers, that you matter only if you are able to make a Jobsian scale “Dent in the Universe”, is blindsiding us of other ways of mattering in the world.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Books I read in 2016

S. No.BookWriter
1Les Misérables*Victor Hugo
2A Short History of Nearly Everything*Bill Bryson
3Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury
4Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryRoald Dahl
5Golden CompassPhilip Pullman
6Subtle KnifePhilip Pullman
7The Amber SpyglassPhilip Pullman
8Lyra's OxfordPhilip Pullman
9Once Upon a Time in the NorthPhilip Pullman
10The Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti, Vol 1 1933-34: The Art of ListeningJiddu Krishnamurti
11Meditation: The First and Last Freedom*Osho
12The Richest EngineerAbhishek Kumar
13The Design of Everyday Things*Donald A. Norman
14Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design*Bill Buxon
15Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web UsabilitySteve Krug
* These books were started in previous years but finished in 2016.

 I made a conscious effort this year to read more.

I am still having fallow weeks of not reading a single page followed by weeks in which I devour more than three hundred pages and will need to discipline myself to be more consistent next year.

Being more into audio books for last two years, I switched back to ebooks at the start of this year.

Les Misérables is one book which is going to stay with me forever. These quotes and reviews will give you a flavor of it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Siddhartha book review

/* Multiple spoilers ahead */

Siddhartha is a bildungsroman which follows the journey of a boy, born in a venerated Brahmin family, as he progresses through the Vedic stages of life as a student (Brahmacharya), a homemaker (Grihastha) and a hermit (Sannyasa).

Defying his father, Siddhartha leaves home to become an ascetic and live a life of self-denial. In his meditative quest on the meaning and purpose of life, he is accompanied by Govinda, his childhood friend. They meet Gautama Buddha (founder of Buddhism). Govinda joins Buddha as his follower. Siddhartha, while acknowledging that Buddha has truly achieved the enlightened state which he had been so far seeking, refuses to join the order of Buddha and places the value of experience in imparting wisdom much higher than teachings imparted by any guru.

Fourth chapter of first part Awakening begins here and is instructive in understanding Siddhartha. He repudiates that the acceptance of Buddhist tenet of detachment from world or Hinduism philosophy of Sansar Maya Hai is necessary for a fulfilling and awakened life.

"When someone reads a text, wants to discover its meaning, he will not scorn the symbols and letters and call them deceptions, coincidence, and worthless hull, but he will read them, he will study and love them, letter by letter. But I, who wanted to read the book of the world and the book of my own being, I have, for the sake of a meaning I had anticipated before I read, scorned the symbols and letters, I called the visible world a deception, called my eyes and my tongue coincidental and worthless forms without substance.”

Now, Siddhartha meets Kamala, a courtesan, and gets drawn by her beauty. She asks him what he can do in exchange of her favours. He says, “I can think. I can wait. I can fast.” Siddhartha explains that he is capable of rational analysis and logical deduction, through which he can set and shape his desires into goals. Also, he has the virtue of patience and art of waiting to understand what goals to pursue and what not. Since he also has learned the practice of fasting (a common practice among ascetics of going for long periods without food), he can’t be broken down by hunger to do something against his will.

“When you throw a rock into the water, it will speed on the fastest course to the bottom of the water. This is how it is when Siddhartha has a goal, a resolution. Siddhartha does nothing, he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he passes through the things of the world like a rock through water, without doing anything, without stirring; he is drawn, he lets himself fall. His goal attracts him, because he doesn't let anything enter his soul which might oppose the goal. This is what Siddhartha has learned among the Samanas. This is what fools call magic and of which they think it would be effected by means of the daemons. Nothing is effected by daemons, there are no daemons. Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast."

Kamala guides him to a businessman Kamaswami. He initiates Siddhartha in his trade impressed with his fast grasp and superior thoughts.

Even though initially Siddhartha thinks himself as just an observer, ultimately he gets appropriated by the hitherto despised vortex of wine, gambling and lust. As that Hindi idiom says, “Kaajal ki kothari mein kaiso bhi sayaano jaaye hai, ek leekh kaajal ki laagi hai, laagi hai.

In his forties, disgusted by his sensory, libidinous life, Siddhartha renounces his comfortable palace and goes to forest. This is just a day after Kamala is impregnated with his child. He goes to the river and contemplates suicide by drowning. He is saved by the awakening of his inner voice, which had in recent years been dwarfed by the cacophony of his materialistic life, and hears that most holy word in Hinduism Om.

He then starts living with a ferryman, Vasudeva, on river banks. Vasudeva is portrayed as a man of few words but deep understanding, a little less conventionally educated but more than compensated by his observing and absorbing nature. Vasudeva teaches Siddhartha and the reader the importance of listening.

“He was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it. Most of all, he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart, with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without judgement, without an opinion.”

In this fast paced life, if people dread having real conversations and “we need to talk” moments, it is because we have just lost the ability to listen. We do not know how to react when listening to someone who is elated, frustrated, accusatory, angry or grieving. We want to butt in with that witty remark, plug in that “similar-thing-which-happened-to-me” story, when may be the speaker is counting on us just to lend him our ears and not our views or commiserations. A side effect of this is that we keep having shallow conversations based on facts and opinions and never on feelings.

Hermann Hesse' depiction of the river as someone who hears without being superciliously judgmental, spuriously sympathetic or cruelly dismissive reminds me of the horse in Chekhov's Misery ("To whom shall I tell my grief?") to whom Iona tells about his son’s death.

But I digress. One day Kamala gets bitten by a snake near Siddhartha’s hut and dies leaving her child. Despite Siddhartha's subtle attempts to instill Sanskar, his son is obstinate and unyielding. One day he flees after stealing money from the hut. Siddhartha goes after him but then realizes how he must have pained his father, when he left him for an ascetic life. It appears to him that river is explaining to him the cycle of life.

In the final chapter, Govinda has a chance encounter with Siddhartha. By that time, Gautama Buddha has died. But Govinda is presented as still-seeking, still-grasping.

"It's true, I'm old," spoke Govinda, "but I haven't stopped searching. Never I'll stop searching, this seems to be my destiny. You too, so it seems to me, have been searching. Would you like to tell me something, oh honourable one?" Quoth Siddhartha: "What should I possibly have to tell you, oh venerable one? Perhaps that you're searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don't find the time for finding?"

Siddhartha tells him that if we remain focussed on the destination, we remain oblivious to the experiences and pleasures of the path. As they say journey is the goal.

We find that Siddhartha has evolved in his thinking from the time when he was talking to Kamala about goals. This chapter is important as it finally crystallizes the thoughts of Siddhartha.

Spoke Siddhartha, "... To thoroughly understand the world, to explain it, to despise it, may be the thing great thinkers do."

Siddhartha exhorts us to lessen the importance we place on thinking, analyzing, explaining. He wants the thinkers to move away from explaining life by deductive reasoning of facts to an inductive deciphering based on experiences and observations. And for this it is essential that they get in touch with their emotions and feelings.

Hermann Hesse was influenced by philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer argued that the world is not rational. Therefore, a spontaneous, instinctual approach, curtailed desires and goals and striving for universal beneficence is the solution to this imponderable, uncontrollable and unfathomable life.

Siddhartha places the quest of unreserved love, admiration and respect for everyone, including oneself, as being the true north of one’s life.

Spoke Siddhartha, "...I'm only interested in being able to love the world, not to despise it, not to hate it and me, to be able to look upon it and me and all beings with love and admiration and great respect."

I would interpret the journey of Siddhartha as the expedition in which finally one is at peace with oneself, neither too happy with one’s goodness nor too self-flagellating for one’s meanness. (“a person is never entirely holy or entirely sinful.”― Siddhartha). Then, if one finds some things abhorrent, like Siddhartha does when caught in the material world, to strive to change that, and without ever forsaking one’s faith in the redemptive nature of human will and determination. This is the only way to get a very high self-respect. And, my hypothesis is that this self-respect and self-belief has to compulsorily predate and be necessarily present for the universal respect and admiration for others, regardless of their national, regional, religious, educational, professional, gender identity, to evolve.

 This is a book which can help you in illuminating blind spots, clarifying muddled values and straightening out bigoted acceptance of one truth.

I have found a thought, Govinda, which you'll again regard as a joke or foolishness, but which is my best thought. It says: The opposite of every truth is just as true!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Barfi Movie Review

/* Multiple spoilers ahead */

When last year I first read that Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra play a deaf-mute and an autistic character respectively in Barfi, somehow I slotted it in the Black, Guzarish and Taare Zameen Par category which place the disability of their protagonist at the heart of the story.

But the atypical trailer of Barfi  piqued my interest

Instead of the pathos I was expecting, it tried to induce chuckles.

Make no mistake! Even though it has dollops of slapstick and who-done-it?, essentially Barfi is a love story. Narrator Shruti perhaps sums it best when she says something to the effect "Mujhme aur usme yehi anatar hai..usne soch kar pyaar aur shaadi nahin is se shaadi karne par itne paise mlilnege...usne bas pyaar kiya"...basically don't base your love or marriage decision on ROI calculations.

Movie starts with a foot tapping "picture shuru" song during the initial casting. Ileana D' Cruz, Saurabh Shukla and Ranbir Kapoor are quickly introduced and then on movie goes in analepsis and the inter-weaving of  three different time periods to bring twists and turns in the narrative and keep you glued.

Barfi is a damn-good-character and is closer to an Anand than an Ishaan or a Michelle McNally. He just accepts that he can't listen and speak. But that never seeems to diminish his joie de vivre..always ready with a new prank, always testing his friends with dares, takings setbacks on his chin and moving on. I mean the scene in trailer where Shruti (played superbly by Ileana) kicks his imginary heart and still he finds "Oh, you are smiling. There is still hope" is not one-off. Later  he offers the same heart on a plate, with a rose. She tells him a no. With a "koi baat nahin" attitude and "I am deaf-mute but good from heart" sign communication, he passes it on to her friend. After any setback to his plan, he just says c'est la vie! and moves on. He may occasionally get he does during his outburst after she picks the more certain, convenient, comfortable choice, but he doesn't hold that against her long.

He is the Jerry to the Tom played by the inspector Saurabh Shukla (as he laments, "Aaap pucchti hain kya kiya hai dekhiye", showing his loose pants with oversize belt,"Iske picche bhaag kar maine apani kamar 52 se 42 karwa li" :-)).

Songs are the soul of this movie. Watch Ala Barfi sung by Mohit Chauhan

 Swanand Kirkire (of Three Idiots & Munna Bhai fame) etches the character though lines like

"Ala ala matwaala Barfi
Paanv pada mota chhala Barfi
Raaton ka hai yeh ujaala Barfi
Gumsum gumsum hi machaye ye to utpaat
Khur khur khur khurafati kare non stop
Khur khur khur khur bud bud bud bud 

Gud gud gud gud maula isi se bachaai le"

Ranbir Kapoor keeps setting new bars and is becoming the Bubka of Bollywood :-) He is turning out to be the most versatile amongst his contemporaries and equally shines in a subtle, under-stated movie like Rocket Singh,  screwball comedy like Azab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani or a bad movie like Rockstar with his angry portrayal of rebel-without-a-cause (script's flaw). He has the difficult task of enacting scenes which inevitably draw comparisons with greats like Chaplin and Raj Kapoor (even the pants are only up to the hem of the socks in some scenes), but more than holds his own.

Shruti gets torn between love and a comfortable life and has to keep making harsh decisions. She asks for one more ticket after getting handed over first ticket and director subtly provides the clue to dilemma in her heart. Then, she gives Barfi just one ticket and doesn't entrain herself till the very last moment. In the last scenes, when Jhilmil shouts Barfi and Barfi is carrying on dejectedly oblivious of her shouts, you can notice the drama going on in Shruti's divided heart reflected in her face as she is deciding whether to tell or carry on.

"Phir le aaya dil" is an achingly beautiful song. Rekha Bhardwaj's soothing voice echoes the longing and wistfulness of Shruti.

After Yami Gautam in Vicky Donor, Ileana D' Cruz plays the role of a Bengali girl and wife better than many of the actual bong girls in Bollywood.

Romance between Barfi and Shruti is developed in the foreground with Main Kya Karoon song forming the background. Main Kya Karoo song is sung by Nikhil Paul George and Swanand Kirkire pens it with beautiful lines like Is pe toh dhun chadhi Hai pyaar ki Na jane Gum hai kahan Baton mein hai pada Bekar ki Ulti yeh baat hai Aise halaat hai Galti kare yeh Main bharu Uf dil ka main kya karoon Main kya karoon..Is dil ka kya karoon Main kya karoon.

Jhilmil is autistic and has difficulty communicating. But Barfi finds it is only she among his friends who doesn't flinch during his "dare". She is insecure of losing Barfi to Shruti and clutches to his shirt in the train or puts an outright challenge to Shruti to come closer in the last scenes with her hand around Barfi. Initially Barfi isn't in love with her. He likes her and was just making sure that she gets taken care of well. He leaves her with Maasi till she comes following the bus.

Priyanka Chopra is strictly ok. Don't ask me why because I don't really know. May be the same thing that Rani Mukherjee's performance was good in Black but not out-of-this-world.

Anurag Basu is in command of his material, both as writer and director. He adds many deceptive directorial touches (check out Main Kya Karoo video at 0:47s), almost as if he is feinting with viewer's mind dodging its next move. Except for Kites, he has been mostly good from the usual low standards of Bollywood. (Though I wouldn't be the first to testify in his favor if charges of derivative film making and outright plagiarism are leveled against him).

It is refreshing that some filmmakers are discovering cities other than Mumbai. There have been many in recent years capturing Delhi (Rang De Basanti, 99, Band Baaja Baaraat). Kolkata and Bengal (Parineeta, Kahani, Vicky Donor) are getting their due share now. Watching Chhau is a good sign that at least some directors are moving beyond just using the conventional tropes (Howrah Bridge, India Gate) to geographically situate a movie.

As the writer, Basu must be applauded for writing a great love story meandering in mystery genre, in which the fact that some protagonists suffer from disabilities becomes just a footnote. The conflict of this story is not the disturbing albeit box-office friendly core of Taare Zameen Par, Black -- "In spite of their unfortunate condition, will they achieve that elusive dream  - painting or graduating -  which will redeem them?". What happens if they don't? Do they become less of a human?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gangs of Wasseypur music is simply majestic!

Gangs of Wasseypur music released recently and I have been hearing it almost on a loop. Gangs of Wasseypur may become the magnum opus of Anurag kashyap.  It shows that he has the guts as well as the gumption to pull off the music which suits the grand vision of Gangs of Wasseypur...revenge drama covering three generations.. powerful actors Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui (who played nasty inspector Khan in Kahaani), Richa Chadda (check her out in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye in which she magically captures the body language, mannerisms, lingo and accent unique to Delhi while saying "Touch Ho Gayi Main, By God" and "Main Tujhe Hoat Nahin Lagti" )

Sneha Khanwalkar is a dynamite of talent..Her choice of singers in Gangs of Wasseypur is impeccable (Listen to Hindi singers in Hunter song)..Varun Grover as a lyricist stamps his mark on the whole album with his authentic, precise, often unusual but seldom incongruous choice of words..

O Womaniya is a delightful song sung by Rekhaa Jha and Khushboo Raaj..It has its origins from the culture of wedding songs in Mithila and other parts of Bihar where ladies sing suggestive or abusive songs teasing brides/ is in the same category as "Saas Gaari Deve" from Delhi 6..Only it goes a little further in terms of saying what many a times remains unsaid.."Bole ka babuna, chal jahiyo Patna; Patna bahane woh chahe hai Satna"...pronouncing "O Womaniya" as "O Omaniya" is fresh and one more proof of how much research must have been done to create the rooted feel of songs ..This may be the first time I have heard the word "Kaniya" (Bahu/bride/daughter-in-law) in Hindi songs..With Gangs of Wassepur set in Bihar/Jharkhand and Richa Chadda, playing a role which ages from 16 years to 60 years, there may be lot of wedding occasions which may cry for this type of song to create the feel of the area.

"Jiyo ho Bihar ke Lala" is the signature song of Gangs of Wasseypur..

It looks almost paradoxical that for this movie which is all about dhishoom dhishoom, knives and guns, singer should urge the Bihar Ke Lala to "Tanin Taan Khinch Ke Tansen Kahlawe ho Bhaiya".. basically urging him to sing, dance and create a maahoul...And when I heard "Tani auka bauka teen tadoka, tani chandan maati chauka kaathi" in this song, touch ho gaye hum by God :-)

Hunter song may easily win the award of double meaning song of last two decades... I mean after the spate of such songs initiated by Choli song in Khalnayak in early nineties, I really don't recall such song in commercial movies. But this song has the potential to become the next Emosional Atyachar. Reportedly for the Hunter song, Sneha Khanwalkar  traveled to Trinidad-Tobago to find the authentic Chutney Music which is a heady concoction of Bihari and Carribean music (with its roots in migrant Bihar labourers)...Rajneesh, Shyamoo and Munna pitch in for Hindi part of songs and what a contrast it creates with calypso style singing of Vedesh Sookoo! (who incidentally also pens the predominant English part of song)..Check out for "Hai Bahut Bhokali" "Heyllo" "Phamous" "Bebas" "Hum hain sikaari". If you are planning to listen to just one song this year, I think this may be that..You don't believe me! check its cool trailer below.

Ae Jawano is a peculiar song. I just can't figure out in which situation in Gangs of Wasseypur, it would serve as the backdrop. It starts with a public address system voice used in large gatherings. In a very thick Bihari accent, lead singer of Ranjeet Baal Party (Gaya) (I am not kidding! they indeed are the singers :-)) recites philosophy of life encapsulated in the catchy couplets and pithy cliches found behind many rickshaws or trucks in North India. "Ae jawano! garibi tod deti hai jo rishtey khaas hote hain...Aur paraye apne hote hain, jab paise paas hote hain" "Har yaar wafaadar nahin hota, har pathhar chamakdar nahin hota! na jaane bun mein kitne phool khile hain, har phool khushboodar nahin hota". This song fizzes out after the promising start and I didn't particularly like it.

After Gulal, Piyush Mishra once again displays his metier as a wizard of words in the Ek Bagal song with great lines like "Honi ko thenga dikhakar khikhilate jaenge"

Teri Keh Ke Lunga catchphrase may sound vulgar and double meaning even by the permissive standards of this album but as Anurag Kashyap explains in his Rediff interview that in the geographical areas where the movie is situated and takes its inspiration from, it basically means "I will not attack you from behind. I will tell you the date and time and then will attack and kill you".  It is sung by Sneha Khanwalkar and Amit Trivedy. Sneha at many places sounds almost like Sunidhi Chauhan. I just can't stop myself from repeating this song endlessly because of the verve and vigor infused by Sneha in the song. That girl sure needs to take breaks from composing music and get behind microphone more often!

Aaaj Dil Man Mauji sung by Usri bannerjee is very sweet, soft, purane jamane ka pyaar wala song.. "Tambu mein baraat, akeli jaat dare, kya karna hoga..ha ha-2...Khula hai bajuband, phata hai kaaj, sambhal ke chalna hoga -2". very unusual and earthy kind of lyrics with"Raat mein jhingoor bole" and why not? In the villages, all the nocturnal amorous adventures are punctuated with the sounds of jhingoor and croaking of frogs. Isn't it? Only grudge is that at 2:53m running time, it almost ends as soon as it starts gathering its tempo and growing on you.

And now I come to the most experimental sound (nah! it is not really a song), and one of my favourites, Tain Tain To To composed and sung by Sneha Khanwalkar. No lyrics as such, just plain gibberish in the form of Tain Tain or Kain Kain but what an infectious beat and tempo. Bravo lady!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had."

-Great Gatsby