Showing posts with label india. Show all posts
Showing posts with label india. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

JAI HO! 'Slumdog Millionaire' composer and Oscar winner A.R. Rahman performs at the Oracle Area in Oakland

A.R. Rahman shows off his two Oscars

UPDATE: This show has been canceled due an accident that occurred with set collapsing in Detroit. This show will be rescheduled. Fortunately no one was hurt in the accident.

A.R. Rahman is one of India's most popular and epic film composers. The Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire turned American pop culture, at least mainstream pop culture, onto Rahman in a major way. This Saturday, Rahman graces the stage of the Oakland Coliseum with the Jai Ho: the Journey Home World Tour.

The show promises to be quite a show of Bollywood enthusiasm featuring changing sets, large images on LED screens and a spectacular cast of musicians and dancers from across the globe including Hariharan, Javed Ali, Benny Dayal, Blaaze, Shweta Pandit and Neeti Muhan. "Through the concerts," says the AP, "Rahman is attempting something many performers from outside the English-speaking world have tried and failed to do: transcend a regional, ethnic niche and become an international mainstream superstar."

I first fell in love with Rahman's music when I saw my first Bollywood Film, the Oscar nominated 2001 film, Lagaan . The music and the story remain my favorite (see "Mitwa" below). When the movie Slumdog Millionaire started to gain popularity...


My fav, "Mitwa" from Lagaan:

In the clip below, Bhuvan (the fabulous Aamir Kahn) and his friend Gauri, must convince their friends and fellow villagers in 19th century colonial India that while the task of beating the English colonialists, the earth and the sky belong to them and are worth fighting for.
Listen, O my friend,
What is this fear you have?

The earth is ours
And so is the sky.

And how can I not post this?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The two songs from the Bollywood '3 Idiots' I just can't get out of my head

So my friend Kim was in town last weekend doing some research for her dissertation and wanted to see 3 Idiots, and I was happy to go again. It was just as enjoyable as the first time.

These are the two songs that I just can't get out of my head, thanks a lot Kim for posting them as your facebook status...

I can imagine that if you haven't seen this movie, these scenes are going to be completely out of context and totally bizarre. So read here for my review of the movie.

"Zoobi Doobi" - this is a dream sequence - obviously - Rancho (Amir Khan) and Pia (Kareena Kapoor) are falling in love. Some of it takes place at a wedding because they met for the first time at Pia's sister's wedding, which Rancho crashed.

and "Aal Izz Well" - Rancho and his college buddies sing about tricking your heart into thinking all will be good when fear comes, that way you'll have the courage to take it on. Enjoy the soaped up guys. And the toilet shots. HA. so funny.

Yes, it is totally silly, but that's what I love about Bollywood. I love the silly and ridiculousness.

And now you understand this picture.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Movie review: Aamir Khan stars in "3 Idiots": a Indian film about making your passion your work

3 Idiots ad in the lobby of the the Naz8 in Fremont, California

"Chase excellence and success will follow." That is the lesson of the new Indian film 3 idiots.

You know when Aamir Khan takes on a project, it's going to have some sort of social lesson. He has tackled British rule over Colonial India in the Oscar nominated Lagaan: Once upon a time in India and primary education of children with learning disabilities in Taare Zameen Par (Every Child Is Special) in which he starred and directed. Now Khan takes on higher education in India, a factory that churns out engineers, doctors and student suicide.

If you have never seen a Bollywood movie before, but enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire (which was largely a British film), this is an excellent first Indian film for viewers used to Hollywood's style. 3 idiots is huge already and I'm sure you're going to start hearing about it. It will be the first ever officially released film on youtube (12 weeks after opening, so around the middle of March) and it is Bollywood's biggest blockbuster with the biggest opening of all time

On the way home last night, my friend, who was born and educated in India expressed to me how much this movie hit home for him. To get ahead of the herd in India, students are pressured by their families to study to be engineers and doctors so that they can make a lot of money, marry and live in a big house. What if you aren't even good at engineering? What if you want to be a photographer?

Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so. Americans can learn from this message as well.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

GO SLUMDOG GO!: The alwaysmoretohear Oscar Review

Just in case you missed it, word on the street is that this 2009 Oscars awards ceremony was the most enjoyable show in a long time, with a few pitfalls. These are a couple of my favorite and not-so-favorite moments.

-Song and dance host Hugh Jackman was perfectly entertaining. Loved the intro. Loved Anne Hathaway.

-I am a big fan of the new best actor/actress format where five previous winners honor each nominee, it made every moment very special. Much better than showing out-of-context clips. I really hope they keep it this way.

-Could have done without the way they presented of "Best Score," I'm sorry, but that was boring and it all sounded the same.  Maybe they could have written a better arrangement. Maybe I just don't appreciate film scores. I dunno. I couldn't even find a youtube video of it, but honestly, I didn't try very hard...

-The "Musical is Back" medley number with Beyonce and a couple of those kids from High School Musical made my head spin. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but there were musical references flying at me so quickly I didn't have time to identify them!  And Beyonce is in everything. She's amazing. 

And since I haven't shut up about it since I hear that an A.R. Rahman film was coming to the American big screen, I should probably say something about Slumdog Millionaire and its big win over the weekend. 

You probably know that Rahman won the Oscar for Best Song with "Jai Ho." And if you haven't seen the movie, or love the song as much as I do, here's the clip from when "Jai Ho" appears in the the film. The Oscar winning song appears over the credits, while the cast performs a very typical, yet out of character from the rest of the movie Bollywood-esque dance in the Mumbai train station.  Love the Spanish, so random.

This next clip is what I've been excited about since I first heard Rahman was getting recognized for Slumdog: the live Best Song performance at the Oscars.  I loved this, even though the Oscars people crammed all three nominated songs into one number. Whatever, it was still cool. And this year, it seems as if it was a "world music" explosion! Bollywood dancers, what look like Kodo drummers, my favorite: the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa. And I love John Legend's voice.

It was also fun to hear Rahman sing. Did anyone else notice the weird mix of live singing over pre-recorded track?  Whatever. It was cool.  I wish M.I.A. didn't go and give birth right after performing at the Grammys last month, it would have been fun to hear her bit in "O Saya."

Go Slumdog Go! And congratulations to the people of India and Indian film lovers all over the world. This epic film industry has finally gotten it's international props. Hopefully this is only the beginning and there are many more amazing movies and awesome scores to be shared.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Oscars: The Visitor and and Slumdog Nominated

The Oscar Nominations are in and two of my favorite films of the year were nominated. 

Richard Jenkins from the Visitor was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role. This movie was terrific. Read my initial thoughts after seeing the film here: the musical aspect of the movie really caught my attention.  Jenkins played the dad in Six Feet Under, we love him. I don't think he'll win (he's up against Sean Penn in Milk), but I'm so happy he got a nomination.  He's been a character actor for so long, this must be very exciting for him. 

Slumdog Millionaire, on the other hand, received 10 nominations (and will probably win many of them) including best score and TWO best song nominations for "Jai Ho" and "O Saya."  And you know what that means right? Oscar performances!  And while I'm not a huge fan of M.I.A. (she's got great beats but I just can't get around her voice) she'll probably be making an appearance.  And hopefully there will be dancing. Composer A.R. Rahman is finally getting the worldwide recognition he deserves.

4 Golden Globes are exciting, but this is going to be even better.

Check out one of my former blog entries discussing Slumdog and my favorite Indian film Lagaan, which also happens to be my favorite soundtrack by Rahman.

Here is one of the nominated songs "Jai Ho" 

And a second nominiated song "O Saya" (This one is my fav. I love the percussion)

Anyone think other songs should have gotten nominated? I can't believe I haven't bought the soundtrack yet? What am I waiting for?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire wins four Golden Globes, including best original score

If you haven't heard yet, Slumdog Millionaire won four Golden Globes last night, including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score!  And A.R. Rahman was there to collect his statue! (read about it here and watch a video, including Rahman's short but sweet acceptance speech, here.

Check out my previous blog entry about the movie (including the trailer) and my favorite of Rahman's previous scores Lagaan. I have since seen Slumdog and loved it.  It's very clever, sweet and educational about Indian poverty. 

Slumdog will be released in India in a little less than two weeks, and I'm sure the masses are clamoring ever more to see it now that it has received Hollywood's praises.

Watch the press ask the cast and crew questions at the Golden Globes here.  (Too bad Rahman wasn't asked a question.) 

Congratulations! Let's see what happens at the Oscars. 

p.s. I've added a couple of tunes from the soundtrack (M.I.A.!) as well as put the tunes from Lagaan at the top of my playlist. Take a listen.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A.R. Rahman: Slumdog Millionaire and Lagaan.

The first Bollywood movie I ever saw was Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India. After seeing that movie I fell in love with Indian film and popular music.  But Lagaan's soundtrack, by A.R. Rahman is still my favorite.  Last week his new movie Slumdog Millionaire,  from the director who brought us Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, was released in the United States. The soundtrack also features M.I.A.'s Grammy 2009 nominated single "Paper Planes."

In 2004, TIME magazine declared Rahman the "Mozart of Madras" and has sold over 150 million records, placing him among the 25 highest selling music artist of all time.  He has composed over one hundred film scores in the last 25 years and is also involved in various charitable causes.

Watch this clip from the 2002 Oscar nominated film  Lagaan , staring the fabulous Aamir Khan. The film takes place in Victorian colonial India. During a drought, the English colonizers have placed a double tax (lagaan) on the local Indian farmers.  Feeling the injustice of the situation, Bhuvan, Khan's character, bets the English Captain that he and his farmer friends will beat the English in a game of cricket (a game that Bhuvan has never played before). If the farmers win, they will never have to pay lagaan again, if they lose, they must pay triple lagaan.  

In this clip, Bhuvan and his friend Gauri, must convince their friends and fellow villagers that while the task might seem impossible, the earth and the sky belong to them and are worth fighting for.  
Listen, O my friend,
What is this fear you have?

The earth is ours
And so is the sky.
The song is called "Mitwa." 

This is just one of the several fantastic songs and dance sequences from this movie. If you are interested at all in Bollywood (and good foreign flicks in general), I highly recommend Lagaan . It's long though, as are most Bollywood films, but I wouldn't be ashamed in you if you wanted to fast forward through much of, what seems like a 45 minute cricket game toward the end of the movie.

Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman's new release, is the story of the impoverished teen Jamal Malik who becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of "Who wants to be a Millionaire."  The film jumps back and forth through time presenting the viewer with life tales that lead Jamal to possess the answer to every question.  

Read this in depth review of the soundtrack. Thank you to Manu at t-Shirt Junkie for turning me onto this movie.

Don't count on seeing much singing and dancing in traditional Bollywood style in this film, I hear that doesn't come until the credits.

I'm super excited to see this movie.  It's not often that I am able to see a Hindi film on the big screen.

I've also added some Bollywood tunes to my playlist.  Enjoy!