Saturday, April 28, 2007

Soundarya - Good Effort

Soundarya - Beyond .. Beyond.. your Imagination

Felt the tag line of the movie was somewhat queer when I saw it initially. Was wondering what the movie would be about. Since it is a movie starring Ramesh I felt it would be worth watching. The lyrics and music by Hamsalekha were quite interesting and enough to pull me to the theatre.

The movie starts off with a sneak peak into the land mafia which has spread its roots into the ever growing demand of land in this City of IT and BT that is Bangalore.[There are umpteen references to the city this way in the movie that it irritated me a bit :-) ] The events depict the hold of land mafia and influential people who make their business easy by using muscle and money power. These chain of events create an impact on the viewer and makes him aware of the fact that we are living amidst such circumstances even though we feel safe and seem to enjoy our life in our own way. Despite being far from these, how a commoner can get caught in these events and suffer forms the real matter of the story.

Ramesh(Ramesh) owner of a chemical company is a happily married man lives in Bangalore with his wife Soundarya(Sakshi Shivanand) and daughter(Baby Shreya). He gets into the matter of land mafia just because of a silly reason and has to listen obscene remarks and comments about his wife from one of the mafia lords, John. He gets enraged by this and decides to kill the person, poisons the person and dumps his body in a park. But later he starts feeling guilty about this sin after he starts getting anonymous calls to confess his crime. Meanwhile the investigation of the murder of the mafia lord is handed over to Prakash (Rahul Dev), Ramesh's best friend, who comes down to Bangalore and stays with Ramesh during the case investigation and keeps him updated about the turn of events. Guilt makes a major impact on Ramesh's mind and he decides to confess his crime to Prakash and he writes a letter to him telling all about the murder. But the letter is read by Soundarya and she in her efforts to save her husband writes a letter confessing that she killed the mafia lord. What does Prakash do? Does he take Soundarya into custody or is it Ramesh who is held responsible is the later part of the story.

A very good effort by the director E Chennagangappa who himself is said to have been in the real estate business in Bangalore. He has put reality into the events depicting the land grabbing incidents by means of false document creation, extortion, murder etc., just to be in the business. But he bores us towards the end of the movie with some unnecessary sequences and a dragging song in the sequence leading to the climax.

Ramesh is brilliant in the role and does his job very decently. But he seems somewhat uncomfortable dancing to the slow songs. He again proves that he is one of the very few talented actors who can handle all kinds of emotions well. Sakshi Shivanand irritates a bit with her mannerisms which are too much at times. Rahul Dev is good in the role of the CBI officer but the dubbing artist for him plays spoil sport. The voice doesnt suit his personality. Same is the case with Sakshi Shivanand. Baby Shreya adds life to her role with her innocent looks. An interesting cameo as a spiritual leader by Avinash puts us on the edge of the seat but ends up as a damp squib when his real identity is revealed. Shivakumar as John has done a good job. Lohitashwa is wasted in a bit role.

Songs with lyrics and music by Hamsalekha are great to hear. Hrudayada Maatu is nice song sung by Kunal Ganjawala but he needs Kannada pronounciation lessons badly. Soundarya the title song is good to hear, to which Sonu Nigam lends his voice. Alli Nodu Alli Nodu is a good number but shot unnecessarily in foreign locales. Adnan Sami crooning in Sneha Preeti is a good song but wrongly placed. I question at this point - why we should go for non-Kannada singers when we have ample playback singing talent here in Kannada itself.

Overall its an interesting movie with a crooked ending(atleast for a Kannada movie) - Worth watching once for a different story line and good performance by Ramesh. What needs to be seen is how will Kannada movie goers accept this movie with an unconventional ending. The ending is a bit Hollywoodish.... that might be the reason why the tag line is "Beyond.. Beyond .. Your Imagination" :-)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Classics Revisited Series.

Savinenapugalu Beku Saviyalee Baduku....
How true are these lyrics from a Kannada movie which says memories are required to enjoy the life....

Here I will put forward some memories of some of the classic movies in Kannada and Hindi which I have started to watch. The movies which I have started to watch were the best in their time and genre. So whatever I would write would be like paying tribute all the people who were a part of the movie in any respect. Also it would be like thanking the maestros who gave us such movies the memoirs which we can cherish forever.... Hence I name the series "Classics Revisited....."

Please let me know your views/inputs regarding this.

Will do the writeups during the weekends for any movie which I watch. Please do leave comments about the movie or the writeup or anything which you feel like sharing.....

1. Khamoshi - The Musical (1996)
2. Khel Khel Mein (1975)

[Starting off with these two hindi movies... will add more to the list and also Kannada movies]

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Kshana Kshana - Sunil Kumar Desai's Next (Audio)

Kshana Kshana - Thrills... Chills...

Released by Anand Audio.

Every movie of Sunil Kumar Desai is always associated with lots of expectations. Even this movie has built up a lot in the minds of his fans since this is supposed to be a thriller after his Marma. This movie stars Aditya, Dr. Vishnuvardhan and Prema! Music is by R P Patnayak. The album has 6 songs.

The album starts with "I Love you I Love you" sung beautifully by Rajesh Krishnan and Shreya Ghoshal. Lyricist K Kalyan again lives upto his 'Prema Kavi' status in this song.

"Madhira Madhura" sung by K K and Malgudi Shubha with lyrics by Kaviraj sounds like an item song.

"Kshana Kshana" sung by Usha Uthup is the title track which is very pacy and sounds very haunting. Lyrics by V Nagendraprasad are ok. The orchestration of the song is what is good about this song. The chorus and the different voice of Usha Uthup adds a lot to the mysterious feel of the song. It feels great to hear Usha Uthup in Kannada after a long time. She is known to add her own touch to all the songs she sings and she does that here also which adds a lot to the feel of the song.

"Ondu Kotre Eradu Kodtini" sung by Udit Narayan and Chitra with lyrics by K Kalyan is good to hear and is all about kisses. Udit is good in his singing as usual. But I am wondering who is this Chitra. She doesnt sound like Chitra who sang 'Omkaradi Kande Prema Naadava', 'Tunturu...' etc., This song has the feel of the famous jaanapada song 'Kaadu Kudure Odi Banditta....'

"Love Love" sung by Chaitra and lyrics by Kaviraj is again a pacy number with good beats. Not quite appealing with respect to lyrics.

"Ee Kshana Gharshana" sung by Rajesh Krishnan and Sunita with lyrics written by Kaviraj is about achieving a goal!

Some songs dont sound interesting but might be very situation specific since it is a thriller. We might appreciate the songs when they are woven with the screenplay to add to the suspense and thrills in the movie.

Good album with different music by R P Patnayak.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Santa - Preetsorge Swanta (Audio)

Santa - Preetsorge swanta

Released by Akash Audio

Shivanna's next movie Santa has got lots of epectations from many. The trailors on TV seem interesting.

Director S Muralimohan has written lyrics for four of the six songs in this album which has music by Gurukiran.

The album kick starts with "Superman" sung by many singers like Chaitra, Gururaj Hoskote, Gurukiran (??), Chetan, M N Lakshmidevi, Baby Hirannayya and Baby Rakshita is a song explaining about the heroics of Shivanna and most of his movies are quoted in the song. Lyrics by S Muralimohan doesnt impress.

"Shiva Shiva" written by Kaviraj and S Muralimohan and sung by Suneeta is a song for the mass with refrences to cricket, machchu, laangu... Wonder where are the melodies.....

"Bhagavanta" written by S Muralimohan and sung by S P Balasubramanyam. It starts off with the famous lines of Bhagavanta Kai Kotta dudiyokanta (famous annavra song). It is a good song with lyrics telling about working hard.

"Naguvirali" written by V Manohar and sung by Nandita is a slow number with hindustani alaaps in between. Song is about wishing good for one's lover.

"Dhava Dhava" written by Hrudaya Shiva and sung by Karthik is a pacy number telling about the effects of love on a person. Good number! I loved Karthik's playback singing in this song! Good lyrics by Hrudaya Shiva.

"Naguvirali" male version is sung by Shrinivas sounded better than the female version! Best song in the album according to me.

Very average album!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pallakki - Audio Review

Pallakki - Audio Review

Released by Jhankar Audio. Music by Gurukiran. This movie is the next one for the new heart throb Premkumar.

The album has seven tracks.

Bidu Bidu is the opening track which is a melodious number written by Hrudaya shiva and sung really well by Rajesh Krishnan and Chaitra.

O Priya is a solo number sung by Chitra which tells about the woes of parting from one's lover. Lyrics by Kaviraj is good for this number.

Kannallu Neeneene sung by Gurukiran ( Kannada's Himesh or what???? ) has lyrics by V Manohar is a slow number with good beats. The song is just ok. I didnt like the lyrics much. Felt as if the lyrics were fit into the music.

Avva Kano Kannada sung by the legend SP Balasubramanyam has lyrics by Shivananjegowda tells about various places in Kannada Naadu and what they are famous for. Lyrics are just ok. Nothing great about this song except for SPB.

O Priya written by Kaviraj and sung by Aslam is the male version of the Chitra number. Aslam has got a good and promising voice.

Intha Shaapa penned by Kaviraj and sung by Chetan is a slow number about pleading for a lover to explain the reason for parting.

Goli Maaro written by Kaviraj and sung by Karthik is a nice song telling about fighting back against leg-pullers and never say die attitude.

Overall an OK album!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Dhareyolagina Raajakaarana @ H N Kalakshetra

Dhareyolagina Raajakaarana @ H N Kalakshetra

Politics is not a new phenomenon. It has been existent since the days of Mahabharata. Thats what is depicted in the play 'Dhareyolagina Raajakaarana" staged by Sanchari Theatre troupe. This is told from the point of view of Draupadi who is told to be the main reason for the Kurukshetra war to occur. She is shown to have been a victim of male dominated world and the politics surrounding it. Many instances are shown wherein Draupadi is shown as a woman on the receiving end of the male politics in the viel of following Dharma.

Draupadi is won by Arjuna after hitting the fish in the swayamvara is described as a commodity whom the paandavas have won. Arjuna tells his mother Kunti that they have brought something and Kunti asks them to share it among themselves not knowing the fact that what they have brought is not a commodity or a thing but a bride whom Arjuna has won. After their mother tells this, all the remaining paandavas develop an attraction towards Draupadi and claim that they too should have a share in her. Seeing all this Draupadi's fears rise and she questions why she is being treated this way and Kunti convinces her that it is better that she accepts them all as her husbands despite what the society thinks since she should follow it to safegaurd Dharma.

Next when Arjuna brings Subhadra as his wife, Draupadi questions Kunti why Subhadra was not asked to be shared among the paandavas just like her and also questions if it was because of the fact that Subhadra was from Kunti's family and hence there was favouritism towards her.

During the the game of dice between the paandavas and kauravas, she questions why a wife was used as a bet as if she was nothing but a commodity (again!!) for her husbands. She is very angered after she is disrobed infront of all the elders of the family and curses the kauravas. In an attempt to calm her down, Dhritarashtra offers her three wishes (as a bribe to save themselves??) using two of which she frees her husbands from slavery to protect her dharma as a wife.

During the war, she also visits Karna to tell him that she had liked him to be her husband before Arjuna won her. But he rejects her saying that he has to protect his dharma. She then feels sad for her mother-in-law and her misery after Karna's death. Thats when she also explains to Kunti that even Kunti was a victim of male chauvinism and oppression and hence she had to face this misery of secretly weeping for her lost son.

Finally Draupadi even points fingers at Krishna for not having saved her children after Ashwatthama kills them during their sleep and accuses Krishna of favoring just the paandavas and to save them from Ashwatthama he had sent them away.

Though the story is based in the time of Mahabharata, the theme of the play still holds good in present day society where male domination is still rampant. This play was characterized by the powerful display of emotions by Nirmala who played Draupadi. Her emotions and expressions were top class to make the audience feel for her pain, misery and agony. Even Sandhya who played Kunti was good, but I felt her emotions were too overboard at times. Other actors Raman(Dharmaraya), Vinay Krishnaswamy(Bheema), Nanjunda Murthy Rao of Muktha fame (Arjuna), Shesha Murthy (Nakula) and Malatesh (Sahadeva) played their roles to perfection. But it was fullly Nirmala's act which bowled the audience over. The sets by Arun Sagar were innovative and added to the right feel of the various situations. Light by Jagadish was apt. Music Gajanan T Nayak was just good with a touch of variety all through the play. Finally it was the director Mangala N who should be congratulated for her great effort of bringing about such a topical play and that too with such a great effect. She has truly extracted the best out of all her actors.

Hope to see many such bold attempts by Sanchari Theatre troupe.

My suggestion - dont miss this play when it is staged elsewhere!

Nenapaadalu Shakuntale @ Rangashankara

Nenapaadalu Shakuntale @ Rangashankara

Aneka's adaptation of Mahakavi Kalidasa's Abhijnana Shaakuntalam as 'Nenpaadalu Shakuntale' is the well known love story of Shakuntala and Dushyanta.

Abhijnana Shakuntalam (The Recognition of Shakuntala) tells the story of king Dushyanta who falls in love with a lovely girl Shakuntala who is at sage Kanva's ashrama. The couple get married in gandharva style and things seem to be going smoothly until Fate intervenes. When the king is called back to court by some pressing business, his new bride unintentionally offends the angry sage Doorvasa who puts a curse on her, erasing the young girl entirely from the king's memory. Softening after her friends describe to him her situation,the saint concedes that the king's memory will return when Shakuntala returns to him the ring he gave her. This seems easy enough--that is, until Shakuntala loses the ring while on the boat travelling to meet Dushyanta. And to make matters worse, she soon discovers that she is pregnant with the king's child. Upon reaching Dushyanta's place, he fails to recognize her and humiliates her. She then goes to sage Maareecha's ashrama where she gives birth to Sarvadamana. True love is destined to win the day, and when a fisherman finds the ring, the king's memory returns and he starts to repent for his mistake of not recognizing Shakuntala. He accidentally happens to visit Maareecha's ashrama where he chances upon Sarvadamana who is playing with a lion cub. His mother Shakuntala comes in search of him and thats when Dushyanta recognises her and accepts her.

The story and hence the play is very simple and has all the elements to make it worth watching. The colorful sets and the various shades of lighting used were the highlights of the play. The major highlight was the climax wherein Shakuntala feels sorry that she being recognized by Dushyanta is related to a mere ornament and not love, thus questioning the status of women in present society where material love rules. Nenapaadalu Shakuntale is remarkable not only for its beautiful love poetry, but also for its abundant humor which marks the play from beginning till end. Good effort by Suresh Anagalli of Aneka in directing the play.

Pampa Bharata @ Rangashankara

Pampa Bharata @ Rangashankara

Samudaya's next offering after 'Jugaari Cross' is based on the famous Kannada poet Pampa's adaptation of Mahabharata famously known as 'Pampa Bharata'. Pampa Bharata is also known as Vikramarjuna Vijaya. Adikavi Pampa in his version of Mahabharata chose to personify his king Arikesari (a Rashtrakuta feudatory and a great friend of Pampa) and centred his work around Arjuna. Arjuna is glorified to a large extent in his work and he is given lots of importance. After the war of Kurukshetra,it is Arjuna who is crowned king and his wife Subhadra who becomes the royal queen (unlike Dharmaraya as depicted in Vyasa's Mahabharata).

The play has been adapted and presented in a different format with Karna the other character walking into the limelight. Why Karna is what comes to everyone's mind. The reasons are explained in the play. It is shown that Pampa actually wanted to show king Arikesari as Karna and not as Arjuna in his work. But since Arikesari's attitude and hunger for power was too much to handle for Pampa, he ends up depicting his friend the king as Karna who is a symbol of sacrifice in the Mahabharata.

In a well executed plot, Karna is shown to be questioning Pampa why he was sidelined in the latter's work though Karna's and Pampa's lives are in parallel. The parallelism is drawn with Karna being treated as an outsider due to he being a Sutaputra. Pampa, a born Brahmin who later is converted to Jainism also faces such an outsider status in the society. Due to this Pampa sympathises with Karna since he too had to face situations similar to the ones Karna had faced.

In his reply to Karna, Pampa explains the reasons for not glorifying him but taking to Arjuna due to his closeness towards Arikesari, the king. He explains him the reason why Karna did not get the chance to win Draupadi even though he lifted the Dhanassu and aimed at the fish correctly. The consipiracy behind this was the political plays of Krishna, who wanted Arjuna to win Draupadi. It is also shown that Draupadi falls for Karna when he aims correctly at the fish. Karna has to undergo lots of humiliation because of his non-Kshatriya status-the main one being the chance to head the army against the Pandavas. Also his oath to his mother Kunti that he would not kill any of his brothers except Arjuna puts him in a fix. Just before the war starts it is shown that even Draupadi comes to Karna and she is shown to be angry at him for not marrying her and also wishes to have him as husband even if Arjuna dies in the war.

Quoting his reasons Pampa says he had to glorify king Arikesari and hence Arjuna in his Vikramarjuna Vijaya and apologises to Karna for neglecting him and not doing justice to his character even though he had sympathy towards Karna. The play ends with king Arikesari also confessing that he had Pampa killed due to the brahmin dominated society where he had to rule against his wishes just for the sake of making it big and to hold on to power.

Great performances and innovative sets were the highlights of the play. The format of the play which starts of in the modern times wherein two research scholars go in search of a shila shaasana said to have been written by Arikesari for Pampa, thus triggering the events towards the great climax is wonderful.

Good direction by Pramod Shiggaon added to the grandeur of the play. My wishes again to Samudaya for giving us this play and bringing out the other side of the epic Mahabharata.