Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Good people. May this festive season bring us all the joy that the Universe can offer. Godspeed and God bless. And yes would like to meet Santa :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Even if your eyes are closing....

Do it with your heart wide open...

Love this song "Say" by John Mayer in Bucket List. Have been listening to it on YouTube. Really love the lyrics. The song. And the voice.
Puts my thoughts in a certain mode which cannot be defined right now, but maybe I ll figure out. But in a weird way I have been doing what's been said in the song sometimes in my life and hope to do so. More often.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The voice of another heroine

in TN 07 AL 4777. For Meenakshi this time. For those who have just come in, TN.... is a remake of Taxi 9211. And Meenakshi is essaying the role of Sameera Reddy.
The director Lakshmikantan has been the one with whom several hours have been spent at the dubbing studio learning the ropes of the skill.
Read, Unnale Unnale and Dhaam Dhoom. Though Lakshmikantan anna was not part of DD in the beginning, he came in a little later. And the dubbing sessions at Trinity have been the best. Most of the movies I have dubbed for have been done there. UU, DD, Satham Podadhey and now TN07 AL 4777 have been done at Trinity. I am given to understand that the brain behind this place is Mr Lakshminarayan, 6 time National Award winner. Could be more but I forget the exact number now.
Lakshmikantan has a "punai peyar" which is "singam" .. So it goes like Singam this, singam that by the people in the studio. A lot of times I have felt that the lot of acting happens in the dubbing studio by means of extracting the right voice quality and delivery from the artistes. And believe me, to be at the receiving end and to judge the right take from several and more than anything else, to know what they want in a particular take and to get it from the artiste - this talent according to me is non pareil. I wonder how all of them manage that. The amount of voice acting that the engineers can do is amazing. If a voice artiste is unable to figure out how to say a particular line, the engineers say it and all that we have to do is just copy their feel.
A lot of the hilarious times in my life have been at the dubbing studio. To remember the Bucket list, to laugh hard enough to cry, have done that at the dubbing studios. Yes, as I have mentioned earlier, it can be tiring as well, as sometimes the right delivery just doesn't happen, or the clarity might be missing, or a certain voice quality that is fixed for the particular heroine, during the screen test needs to be maintained from beginning to end, and its but natural to forget that particular tone.
But the engineers know exactly when the quality changes and when tiredness sets in the voice. At that point they reschedule to finish the remaining work. To be supervising the dubbing requires a lot of skill apparently and the engineers at the console are usually the ones who take over and direct the artiste, as far as I have heard. Lakshmikantan is one of those super people who have that skill. He is also one of the most sincere and straightforward people I have met. Has the guts to call something crappy on the face and like most creative people in the industry, an amazing sense of humour. We have all laughed so hard that we have cried. Sometimes I would complain on being unable to lip-sync with the heroine. And the way we ll all go into peals of laughter cos there either the engineers or he would start off on something.
More often than not, a heroine does not know the language. And I marvel at how the actors are able to do their job with a straight face and do really well too. For all you know the girl in front of him is just blubb-blipp-blurbing. I remember SPB sir mentioning, he was dubbing for a hero and that the heroine in that particular movie, said just A, B, C.. and the entire alphabet in a certain manner and emoted for the remaning part. Once the alphabets were over, the numerals start.. 1... 2-3-4.. 5......some tears.. 6-7-8-9-10. Finish with anger. Imagine whatever you want.
Some day, I intend to take interviews of the engineers and post it here. Someday.
Sometimes people, even those I work with, ask me to not host, not dub, not do radio. At the risk of repeating myself, I have one motto, to learn and keep learning. I am offered the opportunities. So let me try. One lifetime. So much to do. So less time. Most of my energies have and will always go into music and learning the art form. There can only be a quest for perfection as I see. Perfection is something, maybe, that cannot be achieved. If you think you have achieved it, maybe thats it. What else is there? After one milestone is reached, the eyes search for the next one, gauge how far it is and choose the righteous path to reach it.
When I am at the end of my life, I want to know for sure, just not assume, that I have made a reasonable use of the time that I have been offered. Having said that, these are thoughts on this day, at this point in time. Like they say life is what happens when we are busy making plans :)

Happened to

watch Bucket List. Whaaddda movie. And Kit Kitredge. Whadda movie number 2.
Also watched Made of Honour. Yeah chick flick but love that love story. I need the dose of rom coms. I am a sucker for happy endings and yes I have missed quite a number of wonderful movies cos I knew before hand about the ending. Gruesome, violence and ghouls are not for me. Unless of course its like Van Helsing. I like that guy ;)
I wonder if movies like the Bucket List are made here, or at least conceived. It would be a shame otherwise. One of the movie biggest industries in the world and I wonder where the real movies go. Like the general people say, do the people really decide that they do NOT want 'intelligent' movies? I think what the Indian audience wants in their movie is quite a mystery. Or is it?
Have no clue whether there is an answer to that. And yes, please do drop suggestions on songs/music I should listen to and movies I have to watch. Would be nice to expand my view.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


the viewers of the Super Singer. Episode after Episode and especially after the telecast I am flooded with a lot of comments and mails.
I understand that there are varied opinions. In my position I cannot be a party to any, not even to my own. That would be the only fair thing to do as the show's presenter.
I am on neutral ground. I have to be there and I will be there.
Also I read a lot of people asking me to communicate your opinions to the judges. I can understand your sentiments and that all of you empathise and are supporting the contestants at every turn is extremely heartening.
As far as I am concerned, I have a certain limitations. I will have to maintain my professional decorum. Also, the judges are wayyyy senior than I am. I cannot communicate anything to the producer or the judges. This is a kind request for you to understand.
The professional field is always open to new talents. The limelight will definitely identify true talent. Time will have all the others.
At the risk of repeating myself, the producers maintain the secrecy and confidentiality of every round to the extent that until I am on the floors I am clueless about what the round is about, what the concept is. A lot of times the songs that I have to sing are decided at the last minute. And recorded there without prior preparation or practise. And usually I am the last one on the floors to shoot. Sometimes the tiredness of marathon
Though this is unrelated, a talent show gets so much of feedback. People discussing back and forth on what should be right. So much time on forums.
And all of us are Indians. How come the same energy is not expended is not expended when it comes to our city or the country? Like for example, just casting a vote?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Absentee on Super Singer once again

To everyone who has been politely demanding an explanation on why I did not appear on Super Singer (Kuthu Round) last week. This particular shoot schedule happened on the 14th of November. The "Kuthu" round was shot 2 days after the "Entertainment" round. I fell sick as soon as I got back on the 12-13th. The shoots of SS stretch well into the wee hours of the morning. My nose had been lacerated and I had ignored the warning signs and the occasional spotting. I guess it decided to protest that morning when we returned from the shoot and a few blood vessels in my nose decided to call it a day. The producer was unable to reschedule for reasons best known to her and Srinivas sir also had a concert in Trivandrum on that particular date. November 16th was our show for the Hindu November Fest and thankfully by then, my ENT had fixed my nose. These are times when you wake up, smell the coffee and start taking your health seriously.
Again, I had a huge concert at Sivakasi for Standard Fireworks on the 3rd which was fixed more than a couple of months ago. Most concerts and engagements are penciled into the calendar at least a few weeks prior to the event leaving some leeway for eventualities. My Producer knew of my dates and though the shoot was originally scheduled to happen after I came back, she somehow had to advance the dates due to her constraints and told me around the time I was to take off to Sivakasi and scheduled the shoot for the 3rd, the very day of my concert and nothing could be done.
Point being: I will be missing on another set of three episodes of Airtel Super Singer after the "Unplugged" round with Stephen Devassi. :)
Yugendran and Malini will be hosting the show once again.
This is just to put an end to unnecessary speculations.
I am very attached to the show and can only hope that dates don't clash again. But then the Producer is the boss and what she decides, goes!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Blaaze on H Sridhar

There were people who worked more closely with Sridhar Sir.
Blaaze on Sridhar sir here.

Monday, December 01, 2008

H Sridhar

Prolific Sound Engineer, artist par excellence. One of the brightest minds in India and the world in his field - is no more. He breathed his last this morning.
Though I have run into him several times, said the HI-s and Hello-s it was only recently that he spent a few hours of on different occasions with me.
The "upcoming" is a very tough place to be. The path is arduous and there are definitely a lot of things and instances that don't make the journey easy at all. As a child I have heard elders talking about the insults that musicians (who have later gone on to become doyens) used to go under the 'guise' if I daresay now, of learning, in olden days, the amount of hardships, the harshest of words that people have had to swallow, the varied experiences that almost always threaten to crush the spirit, enough and more people telling you that you are not good enough.
Anyway, no one has a red carpet rolled out, especially if you have some capacity in you. There are spectacular times and there are very tough times.
I went through a phase, when self doubt overcame me, due to various external triggers that I was at this stage where I started questioning everything I did. Worry was the only thing that consumed me. I questioned every note that came out of me. And let me tell you its like a black hole that consumes you.
I have met varied kinds of people. I treasure but a handful. One of them were Sridhar sir.
You could have known someone for years, but just exchanged the courtesies. But there are times when a certain short period of time can leave an indelible mark.
I never really got to know Sridhar Sir, as I said, until a few months ago. A time when my spirit was near crushed.
One of the days, I happened to start talking to him. He seemed to be having the time. He was lighting up a cigarette, I was audacious enough to ask him to kill it, which he did, after giving me a look in mock anger, and I started out asking about how to sing better, on managing headphones, stage performances and so many other things. And somewhere I spilled the beans saying I am worried about where I was and I had reached this point where I thought "should I be singing at all?" .. though I did not say the very same words, he quickly saw through that. And every time that I met him thereafter, maybe 3-4 times in all, he made sure he spent at least an hour, spoke to me, told me about "good days" and "bad days" and what to do. The point is he only told me the what-to-dos. Not the what-nots. I guess I was already overdoing it.
He said he went through self doubt as well and that its good to take that lane once in a while, but we need to come back to the main road and go about doing what needs to be done to accomplish our goals. And without my knowing, he brought me back to the nicer world and leave the foggy one that I had created. And in the times that followed we ran into each other, he was tuned in enough to notice the changes happening and said that the light was returning to my eyes. That I had started smiling again. Or rather my eyes were smiling now. As they used to.
I had just gotten lucky enough to be pep-talked by him. There were fun times too earlier when the topic came about finding the right guy. It was one of the most hilarious conversations of my life. This morning, I happened to call a common acquaintance for a follow-up and that was when this friend broke the news, after quite a long pause. "WHAT?" was my response... and "How come..." I was sobbed all the way home, called mom as well and told her.
On the drive to his residence, I replayed all the things he had said to me, one by one. Tried to remember smaller details. After paying our respects and on the drive back, I kept mulling over all that he said to me.
His work will live on for ages which goes without recording it here and he will be sorely missed by the industry. But the one thing that keeps coming back to me, is that so many people are now deprived of his wisdom, interspersed with his trademark laughter and wit..... so many youngsters.. could have thrived under some timely guidance which could probably come only from him .
I had the good fortune to spend some time with this gentleman. Wish I had had more.
Sridhar Sir, You should not have left. Not ever. But at least, not yet.