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Cruel… June 19, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in Cinema, Cricket, crime, india, Mass Media, Media, People, t20 world cup, victim, viewership.
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…every which way.

A man allegedly rapes a woman working at his house. The channels go berserk calling her a ‘naukrani’ or ‘naukar. The heinous allegation almost being mitigated by the social position and of the girl and the nomenclature of her profession.  The media of the biggest democracy in the world doesn’t extend basic courtesies to victims of crime. In this case however they extended the same to both parties. For so long considered the repository of all things promiscuous – the film actor now has proved that he or she is indeed a vile, licentious animal that preys.

The perpetrator of this crime – Shiney Ahuja had to strangely be barefoot. That is the rule in India. An accused can’t wear shoes. What do shoes and guilt have in common? No idea. Anyways he still has to be chargesheeted, the case fought and the sentence delivered – a long way from now, some years probably – but why can’t he wear a shoe or a chappal for that matter.

India’s loss at the T20 World Cup. Another instance of the mob fury. Cricket is a sport. Cricketers are not gods. You win some and you lose some based on your strategy. Like petulant schoolboys with no emotional anchor finding solace in somebody else’s victory, they came out on the streets and burned the captain’s effigy.

It is not the mob alone that is to blame. It is the incessant analysis and counter – analysis, by ‘I-know-better-than-you’ ex-cricketers, who have to justify their payments, who hype the match and then impute reasons where there are none.  The self-feeding hype machinery of all media has to strike a balance between reporting responsibly and viewership targets.

Dear Pakistanis – a letter from India December 9, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in bizaree, Blogging, Hindu, india, Mass Media, Media, Muslim, nation, Opinion, pakistan, Personal, Politics, Random, State, strange, terrorism, World, Writing.
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17 comments

Dear All Pakistanis

Many wishes on Bakri Eid. On this auspicious day I would
like to get in touch with as many of my neighbour’s as possible, considering
that we don’t treat each other with a shred of respect or trust. That is an
over-statement. We do exchange liberals, pleasantries, sweets and cricket
for sure.

We also exchange a whole lot of artillery, bombs and hate.
Courtesy our history. Why to blame history? Why blame 1947 all the time. I have
stopped. How many generations have to die to forget the wounds of that horrible
partition? Nobody has any answers to that?

A little about India. Probably you know a lot
already, but here is a bit more.

We are all angry zealots here.

We have camps here where Hindu’s practice bombing Pakistnai
towns and cities.

The ambition of all rich and poor youngsters who practice in
these camps (yes wonder of wonders rich and poor together – the benefits of a
common enemy you see) here is to spread the saffron flag in all regions of the
world and popularize Hindu Gods all over this glorious earth

India
in fact is not a multi-religious country at all. The Indian STATE regularly
torments people of all other religions

Everyday numerous legions of people who profess a religion
other than Hindusim are slaughtered – the recent attack on churches in fact was
an aberration – what actually happened was – the Christians briefly gained guts
and started attacking the vandals – briefly – that’s the real story

The Indian Media is quite pathetic. It is controlled by a nexus of State/Capitalists/Hindus/Liberals – quite bizarre actually. Orwell himself approves of this combination

We are the most honest lot in the world. Period.

It is a corruption free country. Please check it out for
yourself.

Cricket is actually not that popular in the country. Nor is
Bollywood. All that is hype and projection.

There is peace everywhere in our land. No violence.
Absolutely.

The riots that happen in India are not because of social
tensions and exploitation by various power groups. It is because of deep,
extreme boredom amongst communities who then just do it…following the
empowering American mantra

Babri Masjid was actually not demolished by zealot Hindus.
It was the handiwork of non-state actors from…let me get back to you on this.

Dawood Ibrahim regularly plays cricket in front on his house
in central Mumbai. With the cops in fact.

I won’t go any further because I don’t think you will trust
me. But I am sure you will have your own sources to figure out what is true and
what is false. You will get all the ‘evidence’ needed to satiate your
inquisitive brain. Actually for you all of this is a no-brainer. Isn’t it?

Many wishes and all the best.

Love,

A deluded, chaotic, corrupt, violent, India. Hell, I said
it.

India Dying… November 28, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, hate, india, Mass Media, Media, Mumbai, nation, Personal, Policy, terror, Urban, World, Writing.
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Mumbai is still under siege. Now more than 50 hours after an unspecified number of terrorists attacked the iconic Taj Mahal hotel – frequented by the rich; Café Leopold, a favourite of the backpacking foreign tourist; CST or VT, the main railway terminal of the city and the lifeline of the thriving business and commercial capital of the city.

As expected, there has been outrage from all quarters. The government is shocked and so is the Mumbaikar. I will not mention the spirit of Mumbai because it is just a media creation. I didn’t feel like working and probably would need a therapist in some time – a victim of terror – gluttony. People are not even feigning normalcy. There is fatigue – with the government and with the world in general.

For not taking the threat of terror seriously. 2 Prime Ministers of the country from the same family have been assassinated; half of the country suffers from some sort of insurgency or unrest; we have wonderful neighbours in the form of Pakistan, Nepal and Bangla Desh and yet…

Inefficient Response Units – although the police force laid down its life fighting the terrorists, it is safe to argue that the Indian police is under-armed, under-trained, unfit and de-motivated to take on such an attack as took place. Efficiency is different from bravado and emotion doesn’t win you a battle.

Good Neighbourly Relations – I don’t want good neighbourly relations with Pakistan or any other state that uses violence as an instrument of state policy against my country and people. We will suffer economically…well, so will they. We will suffer culturally? I don’t care and if we did deeper I don’t think that will be the case. There will be no cricket? So be it. How does cricket make any difference? There are other countries that we can play against; create new healthy rivalries and celebrate our defeats and victories.

Politicians.

People. People who crowd a high – security zone where commandos are trying to flush out motivated terrorists. Bizarre.

Media. Plays an important role and played one in this case also. But the constant emphasis on human interest stories by Barkha Dutt revealed a perverse desire to milk the personal tragedy of people. Not done, especially when done ad nauseum. Plus the marginalization of common ordinary middle class folk of the city. All the shows were populated by the rich of South Mumbai. What was the man on the street thinking? Any idea?

Javed Jaffry – I have always liked Javed Jaffrey but he said something that is a sliver now. When asked what he thought about the terror attack he said something like this – (this is the gist. I am not quoting verbatim) ‘there is a history of injustice in India. People don’t get justice. The British woman complains and her case is put on fast track whereas the others…all this is because of injustice’. He also spoke about Babri, the Bombay riots, Gujarat and the Christians in Orissa.

So for all the injustice that India personifies here we present the attack on 26th of Nov 08.

I am missing something here.

India is not a perfect country. India is not yet a just country. So is most of the world. So, let us arm ourselves and take each other’s revenge. Wonderful concept. Purely evolutionary. The strong will survive…

I offer my apologies, can we sit and talk or do you want to measure the amount of historical exorcisim that will be just right to settle old scores…all of this of course in the blood of young and old, man and woman, boy and girl and oh not to forget the children of course…and then and only then if you are satiated…

The Obama Lesson November 11, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in brand, Elections, india, Mass Media, Media, Opinion, People, World.
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Finally Obama won. I was as excited as anybody else; rooting for him and spending hours, mainly online, checking up on the election news, gossip and trends.

I discovered a lot of new things.

  1. The Huffington Post – the blog-stop of preference of the liberals. Great articles and even funnier and acerbic comments.

  1. The Campaign – how are campaigns run? This question was superbly demonstrated by the Obama camp. I am not even in America, so have missed out on 95% of the audio and visual ammunition that was deployed by both the camps. But some things were as clear as day. Obama knew what his message was. McCain didn’t. Obama was all strategy whereas McCain was only tactics. Obama was positive and McCain relied too heavily on the negative. Obama spoke to all of America whereas McCain spoke only to his constituency. This campaign should be the Bible for all future campaigns (with the same set of dynamics of course)

  1. New Media – the internet probably has never played such a huge role in any political campaign before. Each and every move of both the campaigns was stripped in minutes – TV seemed snail mail. Fact checking became a national obsession and the constant negatives and lies from the McCain camp were revealed to all in a matter of minutes – must have cost a lot of votes for the republicans.

  1. Democracy via Funding – of the people, by the people, for the people. The Obama camp’s use of new media to increase awareness and to raise funds. The small contributions from the millions that enabled Obama to take the battle right into the red states. People came forward, gave money to the person they believed should be the man for the job and eventually hope to reap the benefits. Grass root mobilization at its finest.

  1. Brand – who or what is Brand Obama? Is it limited to the American shores? I think it goes a bit beyond. Hope, change, a break from the past…the keywords of his campaign are relevant in many a place around the world – especially India. How he performs from the 21st or January 2009 will make, unmake or enhance what has been an awe – inspiring performance – of intellectual rigour, grace under pressure and vision.

  1. McCain / Palin – Beavis and Butthead would have been better in the White House and Palin would have put the RSS to shame.

  1. Tina Fey – I want all her performances. Obama should thank Ms Fey’s impersonations which brought into relief Palin’s ignorance and made many a fence sitter decide where the vote should or shouldn’t go.

  1. Sub Prime / Economy – finally understood what the sub – prime crisis was. How it paved the way for the collapse of banks and the death of venture capitalism. The pitfalls of free – market economy and unregulated capitalism. Is India listening?

Avant Garde Lies September 11, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, Entertainment, Films, india, Mass Media, Movies, Opinion, Personal, Reviews, Writing.
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5 comments

Is the recently released film Aamir avant garde? Does it make the director of the film an avant garde director?

Avant Garde: The adjective form is used in English, to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics.

Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm.

Well, the director of the film (Rajkumar Gupta) definitely thinks so. A piece on him today in Mumbai Mirror announcing his next feature, has him humbly excuse himself from his past effort to go and attempt more mainstream works.

Well, he is definitely positing an avant garde notion of cultural thievery by ripping a foreign film and then feigning ignorance at the existence of such a film.

What does it tell? That the director has no notion whatsoever of what the term means. It also means that the journalist who took the bytes doesn’t know the history of the director’s first film. He couldn’t remind him – ‘sir, what about Cavite?’

What it shows is a dumbing down of everything. Success can create half-truths and if you wink at it they might become one whole, living breathing organism. Just look at the White House elections. The GOP (Republican) ticket seems to be the Big Brother of the RSS. If you have the mouth you can run away with the debate. They have been able to successfully downgrade education, compassion, intelligence to elitism…something un-relatable with the common folks of America. Just like our Bollywood superstars are apologetic about making an intelligent film.

What will my audience think?

I apologise. Aamir, a film that portrays the entire Muslim community to be in collusion with terrorist masterminds…along Aamir’s journey he only meets willing Muslims who are collaborators with the terrorists!

The film escaped with the review – a sensitive portrayal of a relatable middle-class hero who is a Muslim. Not even Gadar with its chest thumping Indian patriotism (Hindu) could do that. RSS and others should felicitate Mr. Gupta. Very sensitive. Definitely avant garde.

6 Pack Mahabharata July 8, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Channel Wars, Entertainment, Epics, India.Culture, Mahabharata, Mass Media, Personal, Television, Writing.
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Once upon a time in India there was a family. And the family fell apart. They fought. And there was death and destruction.

Yesterday was supposed to be an epochal moment. The great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’ was making a comeback on prime time television. The new version called ‘Kahani Hamare Mahabharat Ki’ is being helmed by the television behemoth Balaji television; therefore the ‘K’ to bring into play the appropriate gods, goddesses, planets and other celestial beings who supposedly unknown to us play a creative and commercial role in the success or disaster of the said venture.

News channels are going overboard bringing on board the actors and other creatives who were a part of the earlier avatar made in the 80’s…when India was abandoned on Sunday mornings from 9 to 10 in the morning. Can ‘KAMK’ beat B.R.Chopra’s version?

Post the clutter – breaking ‘Ramayan’ launched by NDTV Imagine on prime – time, channel and other creative heads have waken up to the possibility of Indian mythology becoming prime time fodder in opposition to the saas-bahu sagas. The intrigue, scale, grandeur, message, philosophy, love, devotion they say is integral to both our epics and the Indian or Hindu way of life.

Mahabharata in fact is more pan-religious than Ramayan. So 9 X grabbed the opportunity, got hold of Balaji and bingo an epic got recreated in a jiffy. How does it fare? Will it be as eyeball-grabbing as the 80’s version? Will it dent viewer-ship patterns in 9 X’s favour?

The 1st episode is quite a disaster.

I agree, it is too early to pass any judgment. It is in its infancy and there are always teething problems. One can correct, build, develop and improve. Let’s hope so.

1st – The positives – television stars. All the horses of the Balaji stable have been harnessed for this show. The series definitely will have star value. But have they been cast right? That’s a BIG question mark. More on that later.

The series is shot on High-Definition. Although the transmission is still ‘standard definition’ it remains to be seen to whether there is in fact any upping in the visual standard.

It was a straight 30 minute telecast with no breaks…after an eon. Don’t think it will be the norm though.

As of now that is all in the Positives. Some would say clothes designed by Manish Malhotra, but I would still suspend my decision on this. It seems as if the makers got hold of Troy, Spartacus, Ben Hur, Alexander from the shops at Lokhandwala market; films where people wear cloaks and rough ornaments and copied them. That is the extent of research. Peter Brook’s Mahabharata would have been too avant-garde and possibly down-market for them, shorn as it is of all glamour.

Duryodhana, played by Aryan Vaid, has a scorpion tattoo on his arm. Draupadi has a star kind of a tattoo on her chest. All the Pandavas were in the dark, so wait for more such mehendi designs.

This is six-pack Mahabharata. Chiseled bodies who have all arrived from the gym. Anita Hasnandani playing Draupadi is ill-cast. The makers could have dubbed her voice at least so pathetic a scene she cuts raving and ranting during her molestation. There are places where one can sense Anita’s squeaky voice has been tweaked to sound like Roopa Ganguly’s, who played Draupadi in the earlier version.

Aryan Vaid too has been miscast. His voice, demeanour not leaving any mark, unlike the raspy and envious Puneet Issar. Wait, you’ll say, characters grow and this is just the 1st episode. Forget Aryan Vaid, the talented Makrand Deshpande hammed to death in his brief appearance yesterday. And to heighten the drama, to kill it rather – none of the Kauravas – King Dhritarashtra, Elder Beeshma, Guru Drona, Kripa…none of them were shown during the disrobing of Draupadi! Bheeshma’s palm and the blind king’s raised eyeballs were definitely seen. Somebody is trying to be subtle here. Who are the directors of this show with misplaced sense of narrative punctuation and effect?

You might accuse me of suffering from 80’s hangover. But just like my next door neighbour, I too am eagerly waiting for a spectacle and this epic allows you to do that. And when you have the budget, the people, why sell it only by glitter – stars, effects, technology, marketing. Why not actors, effects, narrative, technology?

There are other objections too – the way the episode was hurried through and Anita H’s preposterous performance. Glory, grandeur, gravitas – the 1st episode had none.

But you have the ‘K’ on your side.

Attack of the Idiot Box July 2, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, Entertainment, india, Mass Media, Media, Personal, Television, Writing.
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11 comments

Shinjini is in hospital. A participant on a regional reality dance competition, she lost movement and talk after an episode in which her performance was criticized by the 3 member judges panel.

 

Presently she is in a Bangalore hospital recuperating and spoke her first lines in some days. As expected there has been a furor. Did the judges overstep their jurisdiction? Was their criticism justified? Did they in fact critique or did they ridicule the hapless participant to such an extent that they, albeit unwillingly, injured her – emotionally and psychologically?

 

Noises are being made to draft guidelines for judges, which is welcome. Many a time, producers and directors of such shows cross the line and succumb to the tactic of ridicule and humiliation – the very basis of some reality shows. It is the participant’s unscripted helplessness, humiliation, humbling and eventual triumph that draws audiences to the format.

 

Schadenfreude – a German word meaning ‘enjoyment taken from the misfortune of someone else’ is the guiding principal. It is common knowledge that ‘reality’ in television reality shows s ‘constructed reality’, mediated by concerns of rising or falling ‘Television Rating Points’ or TRP’s. There have been cases of sexual assault on some reality shows that have been aired just to boost its popularity. Many even suspect whether the said assaults were in fact pre-meditated by the show’s director’s.

 

India is an evolving market and reality television is here to stay. The epochal 15 minutes of fame will seduce us to sell our soul – the price is, as always, negotiable. There are a few things to be kept in mind –by the contestants, conceivers and last but not the least – the audience.

 

Contestants

 

In the beginning it is you who wants the show. The show doesn’t want you. There are thousands like you who are dying for the opportunity to be on national television. So if you get it, grab it.

 

If indeed you make it to the show remember that it’s a golden opportunity. Be smart, use all the prior experience of watching reality shows and create a persona that is right for the contest. You will feel schizophrenic – but that’s the general direction in which the entire world is moving. Live with it.

 

You will be judged, criticized – basically ripped apart. Are you ready for that? Remember that even if you were promised otherwise – you are not the one who is in any position to change the way in which the show is conducted. You have only 1 option – to leave the show – will you? Most probably not.

 

You have the possibility of becoming a brand. Harp on your dominant trait – even if it is offensive. It will get you noticed. But be smart to realize when it stops paying dividends. Everybody acts a bit on reality television and so must you – a bit that is.

 

If you in fact indeed have the talent then losing on national television can in some cases be better. You get sympathy and people recognize many a final round loser. So, it is not the end of the world. In fact, it is the beginning of a brand new career. Enjoy.

 

The Conceptualists

 

Know when to stretch the envelope in style and content.

 

Exploitation and humiliation don’t work all the time. Audience and tastes evolve faster than we think they do. Most Indian reality content being adaptations of foreign formats, there is a time lag and voila things have changed. So should content.

 

Talent, skill, popularity, drama, controversy – what are your show driver’s and do they work in the local market?

 

Please – something original.

 

The Audience

 

Take everything with a pinch of salt…and other assorted spices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon Stoned and other Stupidities May 29, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, india, Mass Media, Tragedy, Writing.
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6 comments

D.P. Yadav, the father / uncle of Vishal and Vikas Yadav, said one of the strangest sentences ever uttered. He was speaking after his son and nephew got convicted in the six year old Nitish Katara murder case. He said that he is poor illiterate farmer with no connections who has been framed by very powerful politicians in connivance with the bureaucracy!

It is true of some farmers and some illiterates, but not of the all-powerful D.P. It is just an initial victory for the Katara’s but nevertheless a milestone, a reminder that if justice plays truant, an honest determination can bring it home.

Sharon Stone of we-all-know-what fame uttering and stuttering that China’s earthquake is all courtesy – bad Karma. My grandmom also talks like this although she is no Miss. Stone. Some of us do believe in Timberlake’s ‘what goes around comes all the way back around’ etc but how foolish and childish and un-courteous of her to say it during a humanitarian crises.

News Anchors of N-24. I am forgetting their name. The two – 1 male and 1 female were interviewing Mr. Pinaki Mishra, the lawyer of Mr.Rajesh Talwar, accused by the Noida police of murdering his daughter.

Time and again they were asking questions of a sub-judice nature that no lawyer, even completely mad, will ever answer. Were the 2 anchors willfully displaying their ignorance or was it an elaborate ploy to trick the lawyer into admissions which will shame him, his community and harm the doctor’s case? Your guess is as good as mine.

Strange mise en scene of the NDTV newsroom. 2 achors, 1 male and 1 female at the newsdesk. Every half sentence they look at each other and nod their heads as if asking for each other’s approval. Then the grand reveal of another anchor who is to their right and the viewer’s left. He or she in front of a screen introduces the feature of the day. Later he/she will also ask a question – the graphic of which is so dutch / canted that you will have a crick in your neck trying to read the question. By then who wants to answer. After the cover story/feature introduction, we cut back to the main anchors who nod more to each other!

The On / Off Journalist – Interview with The Strings May 17, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Entertainment, india, Mass Media, music, Writing.
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6 comments

I once was a journalist. Studying in Delhi (1994-99), it was one of the earliest potshots at a career. Writing in college for a newspaper also meant having arrived in one’s meager opinion. So, I wrote a couple of articles for The Statesman for their college beat; one on the relevance of Gandhi and 2nd and final one on the ‘never-changing’ English Literature syllabus of Delhi University. The syllabus was eventually corrected, reflecting 20th and 21st century literary trends and developments, after some 35 odd years!

After that I landed in Mumbai. Tried to make a short film, failed and then the imperatives of survival seduced me once again…to journalism. Dotcom was the buzzword in 1999-2000 and a million start-ups took birth. I joined Dhadkan.com.

It was a place of 4 people. Sidharth (Taparia) owned it. There was Sarika who wrote on Indian classical music and Ghazals. I covered Hindi films and Indi Pop, Purshottam was the techie and Santosh was the peon. Sarika left to be replaced by someone whose name I forget. Later on we had Koshy and Prashant as the graphics guys and a couple of data entry operators. I was a part of Dhadkan from Jan 2000 to March 2001.

In it’s early days we used to have a small office at Fort; it was behind the Handloom House/Bori Masjid. I used to travel from Versova village in Andheri (w) to the station and then catch the local train to Churchgate. Get off and then walk to the office buying a vada pav along the way.

My job was to review new and old Hindi film music and the recent upstart – Indi Pop. During this time I also met or spoke to a number of the old timers, for interviews. Some of them were memorable.

I quit Dhadkan and it too shut down after another year or so. Its search doesn’t yield any results. All my work, I thought, had disappeared. Recently, I discovered to great happiness, some features, interviews and reviews that I had done for Dhadkan.

I have decided to upload some of the interviews so that everybody can read them, again and I don’t lose them. Hope nobody has a problem.

The Strings

Strings still reverberate in the ears of the early 90’s generation. The Pakistani band made a remarkable entry in the still nascent Pop scenario with the help of a single song ‘Sar Kiye Ye Pahar’. Inexplicably they took an eight-year break before the studios beckoned them once more.

With the release of Duur (Distant), their Indian debut, the duo of Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia has arrived. At the right place at the right time. With the slow decline of Bhangra and an ambiguous genre called ‘Hindi Rock’ trying to survive, Duur is the proverbial ‘knight in shining armour’. Seamlessly assimilating the western structure with sub-continental lyrics it stands sure, independent and most importantly – INDIVIDUAL.

The answers are given both by Bilal and Faisal, mostly Faisal.

Q. I liked your video. What’s the format?

A. Thanks. It was shot in DG – beta.

Q. And who is the director?

A. It’s our friend Jami. We shot the video in the deserts of Baluchistan. The place is called Gwadar. Close to the Iran border and the cleanest seas that one would ever see.

Q. Where was the album recorded? Excellent recording.

A. Entirely in Pakistan. Most of the people who worked were our friends. Jami is a student of film and mass media. We also knew the others.

Q. What is the pop scene in Pakistan?

A. Very good. The college circuit is brimming with bands. Unlike India where films exert so much influence, Pakistan doesn’t have much of a film industry. Indi – Pop is the only big entertainment market there. It has a huge following and there are some very good bands there.

Q. What have been your musical influences?

A. So many. Both of us (previously we were four in number) have a varied background. Indian Classical has played an important part in our upbringing. Ustad Amir Khan is my favourite. Then the Hindi film songs have had such an important influence on everybody in Pakistan. We were brought up on them. Plus western music with their styles and attitude, so it’s been a very collective influence.

Q. Why did you take so long to release this album? ‘Sar Kiye’ was a famous song when I was in the 11th or 12th?

A. That was in 1992. It gave us a huge fan – following, success and fame. We were big then all across south – east Asia. Then we had to settle down personally and gradually everyone got busy during this period. We however were doing music, but not commercially or to release an album.

Finally we got together again one and a half years or two years back and started working together. Now we were just two. It was never our intention of making it a eight year break, but that’s how it happened.

Q. Would you compose for Hindi films given an opportunity?

A. Oh yes! We are big fans of Hindi film music and have grown up on a staple diet of it, so it would be exciting to compose for any Hindi film.

Q. How would you define the music of Strings? What is its USP?

A. We can’t say much about our music, it’s difficult to be objective. But we have a distinct style that doesn’t sound imitative. Its touches you, at least us, because it is straight from the heart. The melody, instrumentation, and lyrics they are all of a certain kind, mood that appeals to everybody across genres. Not just the romantic sort, boy – meets – girl type of crowd.

Q. What are your views on remixes. Do you want to do them?

A. Personally we don’t favour remixes. Most of the attempts are to just cash in on the existing popularity of the song. Over a period of time, a beautiful song might get completely corrupted and the original will be forgotten. We stay away from it.

Q. O.K. then given a chance what would be the one song that you would like to remix?

A. Faisal: Very difficult to say. (Thinks for a long time, confabulate amongst ourselves) The song from Guide, S. D. Burman’s ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ by Mohd. Rafi. That would be the one song I would like to remix.

Bilal: (Again a lot of talk amongst ourselves to find the name of the song) Another S. D. Burman song. The last song from Abhimaan ‘Tere Mere Milan Ki Yeh Raina’ is my choice.

Q. How did you get the Magnasound deal?

A. We recorded the album and the music video was made we approached the music companies with the album.

Q. And you were accepted without any censorship in the form of creative inputs from the audio companies?

A. That’s the reason we don’t sign contracts and then work under its binding. From the very beginning we have recorded the album first and then approached the record companies. The reaction of our college audiences and fans to songs makes them aware of what is good and is being appreciated, so we know where we are going.

Q. Do you think the otherwise you would have had to face some bother?

A. Of course, that’s inevitable. Everybody has his or her own idea of what will work and what will not. This is the only way we can work and it’s working.

Q. How did you hone on Magnasound?

A. They had the reputation of bringing new artistes and some of the most successful Indi – Pop artistes have come from their rooster, so they were the natural option for us.

Q. What was the reaction in Pakistan when Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan collaborated so extensively with western music, the remixes with Michael Brook, Pearl Jam and other such artsites?

A. There was not a hue and cry about it. People appreciated his hand in popularizing the Qawwal in the western world. Sufism became popular and a whole new audience grew accustomed to the wonderful music he produced. Even his serious Qawwalis grew in audience across the world.

Q. Who among the Pakistani bands do you consider closest to the roots of Pakistani music?

A. Junoon according to us is the closest in that aspect. They use lyrics that are more of Pakistan, like that of Bulle Shah and other Sufi saints. They incorporate more such elements local to Pakistan than most other bands.

Q. How have you grown in these many years?

A. First and foremost and which I think is the most important is song – writing. When we were young we used to write almost anything as long as that sounded good to us. As we grew we became more cautious of it. Then my father, Anwar Maqsood was given the responsibility of writing the songs as we thought we would not be able to do justice to it.

Q. He writes just for you?

A. He is an acclaimed playwright in Pakistan and has been writing for a long time. He has penned all but one song in the album so he plays an immense role in our music.

Q. Do you think that as the aesthetic of music has changed, now we see music instead of listening to it, the music video has damaged the song in itself?

A. Frankly I don’t like the music videos that are being made in India. Jami’s video for ‘Duur’ doesn’t have a story line. The music videos have their own story, and most of the time they are tangential to the song. They have no link with each other and that in my view makes you lose concentration. ‘Duur’ has a mood that is typical of the song and the video too is like that without a narrative or plot.

Q. Are you working on your next album?

A. Yes, we are.

Q. Not eight years this time?

A. No, not this time.

Interviewed at the Magnasound offices by Srikant Malladi circa 2000-01

Schadenfreude February 27, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, Entertainment, Ideaology, india, Mass Media, Media, Schadenfreude, Television, World, Writing.
Tags: , , , , ,
4 comments

German word meaning ‘pleasure taken from someone else’s misfortune’. Commentators are of the opinion that all REALITY TELEVISION works because of human kind’s innate desire to see others suffer or get humiliated.

The wiki link to all this real and unreal