Friday, May 22, 2009

Moving on to a new blog on wordpress......


Finally I decided to revamp my blog and give it a new look. I have moved on to wordpress.
My new blog address is

This blog will remain as it is with the older posts.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rithubhangi-Album released by Manorama Music

"Manorama Music" has released "Rithubhangi" a collection of 9 songs which have been penned by "Dr. Sreeja Balaraj" and tuned by "Kallara Gopan". I have sung one song in the album. The other singers are P. Jayachandran, G.Venugopal, Kallara Gopan, Kavalam Sreekumar, Sujatha Mohan, Manjari and Shweta Mohan. The album is abvailable in all leading music stores across Kerala. Cost of the album is Rs. 75/-.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

And I sing another Telugu song tuned by Sandeep Chowta in "Saleem" for Dr. Mohanbabu....

Illeana & Vishnu Vardhan Babu

It's been a month where different things have happened. I had an operation on my right ankle to remove the steel implants placed around an year and a half back, to repair the Trimalleolar ankle fracture. I was laid up in bed again and had a pleasant surprise when "Sandeep Chowta" called me to sing another Telugu film song! Again this is a very big occassion after "Bujjigadu" in 2008. I flew to Mumbai and we recorded the song in "Yatra" his studio at Andheri. This time it's for "Dr. Mohan Babu" the Telugu Super Star, who also is the producer of the film.The film has been named "Saleem" and stars his son "Vishu Vardhan" and "Illeana" in the lead roles."YVS Chaudhury" directs the movie. The song is a solo one and a "breathless" kind of number. "Chandrabose" is the lyricist. Do wait for the Album which would be out the next month. It has 5 other peppy numbers.

More news about Saleem here:


Mejo Joseph

"Notebook" is a beautiful film which was directed by "Roshan Andrews" and has melodious songs tuned by the young and immensely talented "Mejo Joseph" who also happens to be my friend. We together had judged the last preliminary round of "Amrita T.V Superstar Junior 2". I got the minus tracks of the movie from him directly when he came to our College to inaugurate the arts festival. "Notebook" is his debut film.

"Iniyum" is a song that flows like a ghazal and has rich tones of acoustic instruments which makes hearing it a wonderful experience. The song has been sung both by "K.J Yesudas" and "Sudeep Kumar" as a duet with "Manjari" as the female voice.

Song: Iniyum Maunamo

Film: Notebook

Music: Mejo Joseph

Lyrics: Vayalar Sarath

Original Singers: K.J Yesudas, Manjari, Sudeep Kumar

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Guzarish-Ghajini-A.R Rahman

It's been quite a long time since I posted a song here. It's always the latest songs that attract the young and I should say that singing songs of this generation do challenge you at times. It's not to prove any point but sometimes it's fascinating to try different songs that you are not supposed to sing or your audience and yourself have made you think so. This is one such song that caught my attention recently. Getting good karaoke tracks for latest songs are sometimes very difficult. The ones mostly available with the N-364 kind of keyboard tones are un-inspiring at times. So I had to tinker with the original a little to get the main voice of this song subdued. Then I had to play with the equalizer a little to even out the track. Here is the result.
Sonu Nigaam's humming in this song gives the life to the backing track, so I believe that it cannot be replaced with any other voice. Well Sonu's loss in not being able to sing the full song has been Javed Ali's gain. The song has become a chart buster!
Song: Guzarish
Film: Ghajini
Singer: Javed Ali (Humming parts by Sonu Nigaam)
Music: A.R Rahman
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Chandanalepa Sugandham-Vadakkan Veera Gaadha

Music director Ravi or Bombay Ravi as he is know in the south, is one of the very few stalwarts of Hindi film music who is alive today. He has given innumerable hits in Bollywood in the 60's and the 70's and even 80's like Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Do Badan (1966), Humraaz (1967), Ankhen (1968), and Nikaah (1982). He won Filmfare awards for Gharana(1961) and Khandaan (1965). His other successful films include Waqt, Neel Kamal and Gumraah. He was instrumental in shaping the career of Mahendra Kapoor who died recently.
In the 80's he started composing for Malayalam films, became a big success there and thereafter has been a regular composer for director Hariharan. Every film for which he has composed music right from Panchagni has been a super hit. Some of them were Nakhakshatangal, Sargam, Vaishali, Five Star Hospital, etc. Today I present one of his super hit songs from Oru Vadakkan Veera Gaadha.

Song: Chandanalepa Sugandham
Film: Oru Vadakkan Veera Gaadha
Music Director: Ravi Bombay
Original Singer: K.J Yesudas
Lyrics: K Jayakumar (I.A.S)

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire disappoints!

After Slumdog Millionaire made waves at the Golden Globe awards and then shocked everyone by bagging 10 nominations for the Oscars, everyone was eager to see what it had to offer. I generally do not blog about matters other than music even though I am a movie freak who does watch most of the good Hollywood films and international films.
I was thrilled to hear that A.R Rahman whom I admire, as does the whole of the nation had not only got a golden globe but also had bagged 3 Oscar nominations! This motivated me to see the film. But all my expectations were in vain! Slumdog for all it’s media hype is just another run of the mill, Bollywood movie, the only difference being that it’s directed by a british born Hollywood director. I would not say it is utterly bad. It is just an average film, especially for us Indians who are used to seeing such films right since Bollywood films have come into existence. For all the senior Indian actors in the film, their roles would have been a cakewalk as they would have been doing such roles since very long. It has the same story line of any typical bollywood film. Brothers separated after parents die and then an old childhood love separated and then reunited after many years, the underworld, and the red-light backdrops etc. I think that the only reason why Slumdog is there is in Oscars or has got the Golden globe awards would be that it was directed by a well known Hollywood director. If the same film was to be directed by an Indian, it would not even have been seen by anyone outside India. Either this proves that this is the downfall of world cinema or that this is going to be the state of things to come. Anyway this year amazingly there are no many strong contenders for the best film category, other than The curious case of Benjamin Button. Has Hollywood started losing its hold? Have they started seeing our masala movies with songs, dance and the like? Or is it that the jury would have never ever watched a typical Bollywood film before in their whole life except for Slumdog and then were so pleased to discover the beauty of Indian slums? Or does it mean that if the Oscars were for world cinema as a whole and not for Hollywood films alone, Indian films would have won several Oscars in the past? For me who has seen the likes of Gone with the wind, Ben Hur, The sound of music, The Ten commandments, and recently, A beautiful mind, Gladiator, Road to Perdition etc. the fall from glory is evident. I feel that even The Revolutionary Road was a commendable movie though it got only a single nomination. After watching Slumdog it’s hard to comprehend it’s entry for the Academy awards! Mumbai today is not what as is shown in the film. All the images from this film have already been shown in hundreds of Bollywood films in the past. Danny Boyle may get all the acclaim for the film for being the first person to force the jury to see the first Hollywood film in a typical bollywood style and get away with some Oscars, but it would be an insult to the likes of Satyajit Ray’s, the Aravindans, the Adoors and the Nihalanis, who have produced enough quality films to make a mockery of the Oscars. They were not watched by the Oscar Jury, just because their medium was in a language other than English!
As an Indian, speaking on the nominations for A.R.R and Rasool Pookkutty, I would be the most happy man if A.R.R and Rasool, win their Oscars and I believe A.R.R will definitely do so as out of the three nominations in the best song category, he has two! And if he wins then it’s going to be the best thing to happen for Indian Cinema as International recognition is long due for our little Mozart from Madras! But I strongly believe that A.R R has done even better in many films in the past and Slumdog is definitely not his best. Even the songs in the films are like any Bollywood movie songs like Chak De or the like and do not go to the high standards that ARR has set for himself in films like Bombay, Fiza, Lagaan, Rang De Basanti, Water, Fire, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose-The Forgotten Hero or recently Jodha Akber or so many Tamil Films. He should have got the Golden globes award or the Oscar for his music in many of the Indian films he did. Even the song in the film comes in the end and is disconnected from the story. I also find that A.R R has turned too much to Techno (computer processed and generated sounds) in this film than in any of his other films. Definitely this is not one of his bests, even though he deserves all International recognition for what he has done for Indian cinema. He is one of the very few music composers who listens to lot of good world music and can easily score music for any Hollywood movie. I would be happier if he uses more of original Instruments in such scores. I cannot be blamed as there is no musical part in Slumdog which stays in my mind after I leave the cinema hall whereas, I still carry the themes from Taal, Lagaan and Rang De Basanti in my heart.. Speaking of Hollywood films, the background scores from The Godfather, Star Wars, Jaws, E.T, The Omen, A Beautiful Mind, Titanic, Gladiator, A Road to Perdition and recently The Revolutionary Road (Both by Thomas Newman) etc. are still fresh in my head. In spite of all this I wish and pray that our own A.R.R and Rasool Pookkutty, get an Oscar for India, as this is the best shot Indians would ever get at the Oscars in the coming years!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Car Audio using iPod and Altec Lansing 2.1 desktop speakers

--------------------------------------THE iPod as a HU---------------------------------
------------------------------------Front view of the Satellites-----------------------

-----------------------------------Rear view of the Satellites--------------------------
--------------------------------------- The Sub Woofer--------------------------------
I have been busy with lot of other things (including music of course) in the past one month and one of such things was finding a right audio system for my new car. Since I believe in doing things in my own way, I did not want to follow the general route of buying a Kenwood/Alipne/Pioneer/Sony which is forced upon you by the dealer. Then follows the next general step of going for a JBL/Sony....etc speaker system. It could be two or four or an extra sub too which would rob you of an additional 25-30 K. Well I decided that I was going to do something different and break the general norm. Since I have been using Altec Lansing GT5051R 5.1 other than my Norge Millennium (for reference), my first thought was to see if Altec Lansing had good 2.1 speakers. Am saying this as my 5.1 is one of the best in the business. Altec Lansing never compromises on quality. My search led to the VS 4121 BLK which comes with two 6 watt satellites, and a 19 watt Sub. Now the die hard car audio freaks who swear by the Pioneer and JBL's would laugh at the thought of installing a 2.1 31 watt desktop system in a Car! Well here lies the mistake. We all have been programmed to believe that a car audio only sounds good if you power pack it with the Alpines, Kenwoods and the JBL's! It's not the volume that matters, it's the quality of sound that finally matters. My good friend a bike mechanic and an audio freak who also fits car audio systems distanced himself from me telling me that I was really mad! But I had already decided to go ahead as I believed that since the car is a small closed environment, the 2.1 would sound good with 30 watts. Well here is what I did.
I got the 2.1 VS4121 BLK and then opened it to see the circuit if it could be run on a 12 V car battery. I cut the transformer output wires and saw that it was giving 20 Volts DC. There was a 7812 regulator IC which provided power to the volume/tone control sections and pre-amps. The Power Amplifier IC is the TDA7377 (basically a 2 x 30W dual/quad Car Radio PA) which was directly fed from the transformer output. I found from the IC data sheet that the minimum voltage for it to be operative was 8 volts. Thus I made sure that it would work with the car battery. Then disaster struck! I accidentally switched the +/- of the transformer output wires and I was shocked to see fumes coming out from the PCB! But I had the guts to take it to my College and with the help of a colleague came to the conclusion that the regulator IC and the power amp IC was burnt out. I was relieved to see the sound back after replacing both the IC's. Then, I removed a 12 volt UPS battery and tested the 2.1 with it. It worked like a charm. Next I tested it inside the car and I was really taken aback at what I heard. I must confess that I have never heard all those 30K systems come anywhere near the clarity and pureness of sound that the 2.1 produces in a car! In fact it sounds better in a car than in a room. The sub is just astounding. I just have put the speakers on half the volume and they just blow you over! I tested with an iPod as the input source. I tried different types of music including A.R.R's Yuvraj, Carpenters, Mozart, etc. By now I was in love with the elegant satellites and the small but powerful sub. The highs, mids and the lows were just amazingly reproduced for every kind of music! It has to be heard to be believed. Now the next step was to mount the speakers. Since my car is the Swift, I got a luggage compartment wooden pad. I got a wooden pad as the fibre type MGA original one was not suited for putting the speakers on it. I attached the satellites with super glue on the wooden pad and then the sub in the hatch. The next job was to power up the speakers with the car battery. I took the help of the Maruti showroom electrical guys who did the job for me. The next issue was alternator whine which is a continuous whine which starts as soon as the engine is on. I got over that by using an inductor and a capacitor duo pi filter, the components for which were obtained from an old Computer SMPS. Now the system is perfect without any noise and day by day I am addicted to listening music in my car. My iPod which I was not actively using since some months has finally turned out to be of great use in the car!
Guys, all those who have an iPod or similar media player and have got a new car can go for this arrangement. It will only make you poorer by Rs. 2500! But there is no compromise on the quality of sound that you get. The sleek satellite speakers blend with the inside, and look awesome. The sub also takes very little space in the hatch.
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