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September 17, 2014 Wednesday     
In the early phase of his career while working on ‘Apu Trilogy’, maestro Satyajit Ray had a fascinating association with the legendary Ravi Shankar and they worked together on few films including the trilogy and PARAS PATHAR. While creating together, Ray conceived a documentary film on the renowned sitarist in details but for some unknown reasons couldn’t make the project and it remained undisclosed for s few decades only to be recently presented in the form of a book titled “Satyajit Ray’s Ravi Shankar – An Unfilmed Visual Script”, edited by his son Sandip Ray. The presentation has contributions from Dhritiman Chaterji, Arup K. De, Deepak Mukherjee, Debasis Mukhopadhyay and an introduction by Sankarlal Bhattcharjee too becoming a collector’s item for all true fans of the master, teaching us many important lessons on film-making as per his own style.
While there are no specific dates known about the actual creation of the visual script, the present book has been beautifully designed in a small horizontal format including a detailed storyboard by Ray with frames (sketches) painted with water-colours (though published in a sepia tone) along with guidelines about camera angles, movements, zooms, dissolves, cuts and various transition options.
The storyboard is also accompanied by a good amount of text in the form of two interviews with Ravi Shankar, a sleeve note from Apu Trilogy LP by Ray, few rare photographs and an extract from his book “My Years with Apu : A Memoir”, together offering many unknown, amazing anecdotes related with the director’s early creations. Interestingly the visual script was there in the possession of “Society for Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives” before being published and this is the first time a complete storyboard of Ray’s sketches has been released in the form of a dedicated book.
However the most interesting fact is that the documentary planned is not anything routine, talking about the life of the artist like a biography as usual. On the contrary its actually a documentary of a concert by the legendary world famous musician, titled “A Sitar Recital by Ravi Shankar”. It begins with a dark screen lighting up slowly revealing Ravi Shankar with his sitar in the middle of a stage and then later focuses on his face, hand movements, accompanying musical instruments and nature images of trees, storms, sky, flowers, painting of a lady and much more. For all friends well familiar with the sequence of a Classical Music concert, the documentary follows the set pattern of an Alaap, JOR or MADH and JHAALA quite mesmerizingly.
Moreover the book also makes you aware of some pleasant facts, not known to many, like the maestro sitarist Ravi Shankar was also a fine singer rendering many classical compositions in one of his educative albums made especially for the west.
So being a great tribute from one creative genius to the other, this is certainly one of those rare must have books which need to be there in the collection of all true fans of Indian Cinema as well as of Indian Classical Music.

“Satyajit Ray’s Ravi Shankar – An Unfilmed Visual Script”
Published by Harper Collins (Paperback)

Link to buy : http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/9351361748

Tags : SATYAJIT RAYs unfilmed visual script on RAVI SHANKAR, Book Review by Bobby Sing, Rare Collector Delight Books, Articles on Cinema and Music by Bobby Sing, Worth Collecting Books on Indian Cinema and Indian Classical Music.
02 August 2014 / bobbysing /
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As I finished watching this highly realistic look into the future talking about our newly found friends in the world of electronics, there was all confusion in my mind to be honest. And the confusion was that whether to praise this well-made movie for its insightful projection of a lonely human mind satisfied living with his own set of machines all alone. Or should I take it as a concept making fun of we all who are readily giving away to these gadgets slowly and steadily missing the actual gifted life to be lived in a normal mode. So leaving the decision on every individual friend reading this with his own perception of the issue I would like to begin with a brief of the movie itself followed by few personal observations which might help you to take a wise decision in the end.
Revolving around a lonely man working in the cyber world as a letter writer, on the verge of taking a divorce, HER is about his strange virtual relationship formed with his newly bought operating system talking to him as a woman named Samantha. Backed by a powerful intelligent software, this non-existing friend gets closer & closer to the man through her sensual voice and immensely likable persona. And spending more & more time with Samantha he eventually falls in love with her, only to be left alone again as per the software’s pre-set programming designed cunningly. An extremely well-conceived concept by director Spike Jonze, the film basically works due to its lead performances by Joaquin Phoenix as the lonely man along with Scarlet Johansson as the sexy voice behind the computer generated woman without a face. And together they do give you a real feeling of a lively romance developing between the two in an inviting virtual ambience of computers.
So as a film, this can easily be rated as a great achievement in terms of futuristic story-telling, highly inventive yet realistic concept, commendable sound design, well composed musical score, brilliant camerawork, believable performances and an introspective direction by Jonze. The execution pulls you in right away and one can feel as if in a direct relation with its lead character completely in sync with his thoughts, emotions and actions. The extreme close ups make you understand the expressions more naturally and you simply have a novel experience watching this highly emotional science fiction winning the Best Original Screenplay award and four other major nominations at the OSCARS this year quite deservingly.
However the reason for including HER in the must watch movies list here is nothing related to its technical or thematic excellence. But it actually has been added as the film which might become a high alert alarm for many of us, fast heading towards becoming a person close to the film’s main protagonist to say the truth.
In other words, leaving the technical achievements apart, if one doesn’t appreciate this movie at all then I would like to call it a real bright positive indication, as it means that you couldn’t find any instant connect with its characters, which is in fact GOOD. But in case you loved the movie and could easily identify with its leading lonely character enjoying a virtual love, then in my opinion it raises a serious alarm and is quite dangerous too. Since it reveals that you are also somewhere feeling like him only from the inside, looking for that imaginary solace in the machines around taking most of your available time of the day in a questionable manner.
And that is the exact reason why HER has been included in the ‘must watch list’ here, as I wished this movie to become an instant WARNING for all my friends somehow falling into the same fictional trap as depicted in its script.
Putting it in more stronger words, I don’t want any of my friend living with this kind of silly ‘HER syndrome’ as I would like to call it. Because all kinds of technical developments in this new-age century are being made by us, to be used as a means to grow and live a better life ahead. But only dumb minds give away to technology in such a manner like the main protagonist of HER.
So I want all my friends to watch HER to learn the lesson of ‘what’s not to be done’ in all positivity and become beware of such idiotic virtual practices which can easily win us over taking much of our valuable time just for nothing.
I wish you all to see the film, as it will make you understand that how we ought to enjoy the weather going out in the nature feeling it on our own and not by reading the weather reports on our cellphones.
I would like to recommend HER since it may make you realize that its not fair to avoid your innocent kids just to get back to your work or to the kitchen by giving them a game to play on a tab, phone or laptop. In fact that remains the first stage of developing the typical ‘HER kind of generation’ in the coming future.
I wish everyone reading watches this because it might make you aware that its criminal to forget picking up a pen and paper to write and always do it on your digital screens. Yes, we ought to use these machines to save our time & energy both. But we are not supposed to allow them to take over us completely turning into some lifeless, action-less beings entirely dependent over them 24x7.
And in support of my above expressions, I would like to share a recent personal experience related to the heavy load-shedding seen in our area (in Delhi) in the last few months which you must have read or heard about in the news too.
Now its about a decent middle class locality I am referring to, wherein every household is fully equipped with cable TV, internet connectivity, high end mobile phones, tabs, laptops, digital games and much more in terms of electronic gadgets.
So it was around 7pm in the evening when the lights went off and there was a complete black out with the natural light fading out in the next few minutes only. As few people made some phone calls we got informed that it was a long load-shedding being done which might go to 6 to 8 hours to be exact. The first few hours didn’t make much difference as most of the houses had inverters installed and the impact was not much. The television sets were off but the people were still busy using their laptops, phones or tabs along with their kids and nobody was feeling the void since all their gadgets were calmly running on their available batteries as expected.
But things didn’t remain the same for long and post 3-4 hours around 11pm, the park in the middle of the area was full of clueless, restless, irritated, abusive ZOMBIES. Their computers, laptops, tabs, PSPs and phones had stopped working due to the drained out batteries, the inverters had gone off too and they had now got nothing to do at all as per their fixed routines. Many of them were just roaming around looking at their wrist watches repeatedly and many had opted to go for a car-ride taking their families along to make an immediate escape. The scenario became pretty tense towards the mid-night and one could easily see only disturbed faces all around looking for only one thing to get back on track so desperately.
However, there was one old aged sane person in this silly chaos, a learned man who very well knew how to use this time in the best possible manner and luckily I found him in the end of all parked cars sitting inside his Wagon-R with the cabin light on. The old man already knew me and my interests through my website, so the moment I hesitatingly knocked at his side of the window-glass, he rolled it down a little keeping away the book he was reading and said,
“If you have got something to read then bring it fast and get into the back seat…….., as I don’t want any of these mad creatures to waste my valuable time with their stupid gossips.”
Taking the clue like an obedient student, I ran towards the house, took out one of my ongoing books and in just 2 minutes was reading it sitting at the backseat of the car with the AC on at the minimum. And we kept reading for about two hours when he turned back and said,
“You know what we used to do 20 years back when load-shedding happened to be a routine part of our lives, especially at nights and we didn’t have any cars to spend the time in. We used to play carom board, cards or other children games like Ludo, Saanp Seerhi and more borrowing them for a night, in the light of few small candles. And I still cherish those nights as one of the most enjoyable times of my life spent with all the dear friends.”
I really loved listening to the old man’s unforgettable memories and could easily relate to them personally since we too had spent our childhood in the same manner, watching the adults enjoying our games borrowed for the night playing in any selected corner. But then remembering the good old times for a while, we both soon came back to the present returning to our individual books. And the moment light came back just before the sunrise, we had finished reading them all and had only smiles to exchange, shaking hands together saying “Thank you” to each other.  
Coming to the moral of the story, the old man righty knew how to use the available technology (the battery & petrol of his car) to his own benefit and was not distressed when all his gadgets were not available for more than 8 hours. Using the right words, he was not yet bitten by any ‘HER Syndrome’ at all whereas almost everyone else in the locality went through an extremely difficult phase in those long hours without the electricity.
So relating this enlightening experience with the movie here, I would really like you all to watch HER and try to learn ‘what not to do’ from it with a clear positive mindset, as I don’t want any of my friends or their kids living his or her life with such a silly ‘HER syndrome’ today, tomorrow or in the coming future.
Written & Directed by Spike Jonze
Starring : Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson and more.
Tags : HER (2013), Movies To See Before You Die Love Theme Drama, Not To Be Missed Movies List by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, HER Review by Bobby Sing, Life Teaching Films to be seen as a must, OSCAR winner movies of 2014, HER Syndrome by Bobby Sing, Articles on Music, Poetry and Life, Inspirational articles by Bobby Sing
23 July 2014 / bobbysing /
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Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyar Aaya HaiFeroz Khan’s mega venture DAYAVAN (1988), a remake of Tamil cult classic NAYAGAN/NAYAKAN (1987), didn’t get a great response at the box office due to various reasons. But its soundtrack is still remembered for its quality tracks composed by veteran music director duo Laxmikant Pyarelal.
Returning to that era of late 80s, those were the days when film music used to reach the market months before its actual release and particularly a Feroz Khan film’s music was much awaited eagerly due to its own brand value built by the banner’s earlier big musical hits like DHARMATMA, QURBANI & JAANBAZ. Plus Vinod Khanna had just returned to the Industry after a long gap (coming from OSHO’s commune in America), hence his every project was looked upon with great expectations both by the industry people as well as the viewers together.
The soundtrack released by T-Series became famous right away in the mid of 1988. But interestingly its major hit was “Chahey Meri Jaan Tu Le Le” sung by Jolly & Sapna Mukherjee penned by Indivar, instead of the now more famous “Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyar Aaya Hai” soulfully rendered by Pankaj Udhas & Anuradh Paudwal written by Aziz Qaisi. However the preferences were not the same once the news was out about its never before kind of kissing scene between the lead pair of Vinod Khanna and Madhuri Dixit, which till date remains one of the most erotic bedroom scenes ever in a Hindi film.
Now those were not the days of internet connectivity, 200 TV channels or all these social networks. Therefore just the news of such an intense scene (spread through the film magazines) was enough to create a huge curiosity for the film in the trade circles. As a result, it got an ‘A’ certificate from the censors and we were denied our entry into the theater in the first 12 pm show since our school dresses revealed it all to the gatekeepers. So we had to go for another film right away (it was HERO HIRALAL as I can recall) and then later watched DAYAVAN in the night show quite excitedly without any entry problem.
Somehow the movie couldn’t fulfill the expectations raised by the general public widely but DAYAVAN did become hugely popular just because of that one song alone having the controversial kissing sequence between its lead pair. In fact such was the excitement around that particular ‘less than 1 minute’ sequence, that the musical beauty of the melodious track got completely overshadowed by its erotic picturisation and the song simply became more of a visual treat for majority of people all over, ignoring everything else about its melody, lyrics or arrangements.
Decades have passed and in the present net age, the track is still more seen and less heard in the web circles for the obvious reason mentioned above. And I am sure the makers of HATE STORY 2 also selected this particular track for their erotic film just because of the song’s preceding history alone and not for any musical brilliance at all looking at the way it has been used in their mediocre film deliberately.
However here I would like to draw your attention towards the quality difference between the two tracks musically, which clearly reveals the amount of hard work our veterans used to put in while making every single song in the film’s soundtrack unconditionally……, a practice which now seems to be only a part of our rich musical history of the last century.
To explain it in a layman’s language just listen to the two tracks simultaneously and focus on their Antras (stanzas) plus the music coming in between these stanzas which is technically termed as Interludes. Now in the DAYAVAN track both the antras and their interludes have been composed beautifully (& distinctively) making some extra efforts with the use of flute and other instruments along with the outstanding rhythm breaks played wonderfully. Whereas in the current new age version, the interlude music is simply there as a required filler without any soul of its own or melody.
Further in the lyrics section, the master lyricists and music directors of the past never allowed any forced-in words/lines in their songs which actually are not fitting into the meter of their composition properly. So you will never find any word/line sounding awkward in a track or not gelling well with the flow since everything was roped in so smoothly looking after each and every word very carefully.
However in the present HATE STORY 2 version, the words are not fitting in well in the line,
“Phir Zarrey Zarrey Mein Deedaar Aaya Hai” (pushed into the meter)
& the message sounds weird in the expression
“Aur Tu Hi Woh Firaaq Hai Jisko, Hai Silsilon Ne Mere Paas Laya ??????????”
Still the singer goes on singing it forcefully and the music director has no problem in keeping this awkward ‘take’ like an ignorant creator because they are actually just concerned about the opening lines to sound good and nothing else. Moreover the market response also supports them strongly since how many of today’s young listeners actually know or care about the antra-lyrics and the interlude music composition putting it bluntly?
So no doubt our film music has lost its original path somehow in these two recent decades for sure. Since now instead of making a song with a team putting all its creative efforts collectively, the tracks are openly being purchased as a readymade product from the vendor as per the requirement of the producer to use it in his promotions. And that exactly is the reason a well-made LP song as “Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyar Aaya Hai” continues to be known for all wrong reasons even after 25 years since the makers were just interested in re-using the avoidable controversy it created back in 1988 and were least interested in any of its meaningful lyrics or melodious composition written by the masters.
Still the situation can change taking it positively.
But this change has to come from the listeners alone becoming more responsible and demanding in the future. Because the producers are obviously going to make whatever sells like soaps and detergents in the market fetching them their desired profits and they damn care about the quality of music stored in your hard disks, phones and USB drives in the current net age.
To give you an idea about how we always keep ignoring all the better things, the moment any one says DAYAVAN, the first thing comes to your mind is the kissing scene in its song “Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyar Aaya Hai” featuring Madhuri and Vinod Khanna. But rarely any one would recall another memorable sad song in its soundtrack (written by Indivar & sung by Mohd. Aziz) with the words, “Dil Tera Kisne Torha, Yun Tanha Kisne Chorha” which was the best track of the film as per my personal choice along with a Holi festival song “Diwani Tum Jawano Ki Toli" featuring a fabulous musical arrangement.
But sadly, that’s how we have been conditioned to live our lives so casually on whatever is fed by the marketing forces through the media and I hope listening to these enjoyable tracks, you start realizing what all we have been missing in our film music since these last few decades………unfortunately!
Tags : Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyar Aaya Hai - A Song known for all wrong reasons, Dayavan music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, Famous controversies of Bollywood, Most Erotic Scenes in Hindi Films, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing, Articles on Music, Poetry and Life by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Nostalic Articles about the 80s Hindi Cinema.
20 July 2014 / bobbysing /
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