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Music Channels and the Demise of Indipop

December 9, 2010 6 comments

These days, whenever I get to see old songs on youtube, I get pretty nostalgic. Music, in a way defines a generation.  I was fed on constant angrezi and Indipop for a long time. But the same does not hold true about the next generation (i.e lets say someone 4-5 years younger to me 😛 including many of my young batchmates at IIM C who were not in their TV viewing days. A lot of the music would be common of course, but you know, age does make a difference).

My earliest association with music and videos would definitely be CHITRAHAAR and CHAYAGEET on Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively on DD National and also Rangoli on Sundays. The songs were typically older songs. Some of them I particularly remember are Dev Anand in ‘Hai apna dil toh awaara ‘ from Solva Saal (1958), Shammi Kapoor in ‘Jaane mera dil kise’ from Laat Saahab (1967) , Asha Parekh in ‘Aaja Aaja Main hoon Pyaar Tera’ from theesri Manzil (1966)  and Helen in ‘Piya tu Ab toh Aaja’ from Caravan(1971). Of course we had a Black and White TV back then and the term ‘Shyam Shvet’ was pretty intriguing.

Then during the early 1990s some events took place parallely which led to the birth and popularity of what we all call INDIPOP. FM radio was privatized and DD 2 rebranded itself as DD METRO and introduced a slew of music programmes and countdown shows. While I got hooked to western pop like ‘ICE ICE BABY’ by VANILLA ICE because of the radio, TV shows like MIRCH MASALA kept screening Baba Sehgal , Shweta Shetty, Piyush Soni, Alisha Chinai and the likes.  My favourite was ‘Dil Dhadke’ by Baba Sehgal. I remember Alsiha Chinai specifically for her Racy/Sexy videos which were way too controversial for that era. ‘De de dil de de Mujhko’  being her earliest the video of which was a launch vehicle for Gautam Kapoor. Similarly Pooja Bedi featured in the ‘Dil Dhadke video’.

Also at about the same time 1992-93, (my 4th std 5th std) the ‘cable TV’ came to India and along came the STAR network of which MTV Asia was a part. MTV was still considered a taboo in most of the homes and I remember in class, the two of us who used to watch MTV were looked down upon. The songs being broadcast used to be rock, pop, reggae … everything. I still remember watching ‘I would do anything for love’ by MEATLOAF. Bryan Adam’s ‘Everything I do’, UB40’s ‘Can’t help falling in love’, U2’s ‘Numb’ were other favorites. And how can I forget ‘You Remember the time’ by Michael Jackson. The video alone was enchanting. Apache Indian also used to be there. His songs would feature on FM too. There were others like Mr BIG, AEROSMITH (whose CRAZY was a hit in 1994), a fully clad Mariah Carrey in ‘Dream Lover’ too. Pet Shop Boys and East 17 were also interesting. There was Metallica’s UNFORGIVEN and some Guns n Roses song, listening to which we used to wonder why these guys were shouting at the top of their voice.

In 1994, MTV asia’s contract with STAR network expired. By that time, MTV had started airing Indian songs. There were few shows – one of them being OYE MTV dedicated to indipop.  STAR network came out with Channel V and BPL OYE was started in place of OYE MTV.

The period between 1994 and 1996 was the best for Indipop. Mehnaz, Alisha Chinai, Baba Sehgal, Sanjay Maroo and most importantly Anaida pumped out regular hits. Daler Mehendi had also entered the scene with his songs ‘ Dil Mera Naal’ and ‘Bolo Ta ra ra ra’. Anaida with her seductive voice and innovative videos combining Arabic style of dancing with some Arabic music was specially popular.

At about the same time, what I remember of the western pop is SCATMAN, NO MERCY’s Where do you go and PETER ANDRE’s Mysterious Girl.  Michael Jackson was still there of course charting out hits like ‘Blood on the Dance Floor’ and ‘ They don’t really care about us’.

By 1996, music channels started losing their importance to some extent. Starting from 1996, which was heralded as the year of cricket, number of cricket tournaments increased a lot, which meant lesser TRP for music channels.  In 1998, with the soccer world cup, a phenomenal change occurred in the world of music. First time, Latino Music had become popular with the advent of Ricky Martin. The Puerto Rican’s first album was not in English but in Spanish. ‘MARIA’ and ‘The cup of Life’ were my personal favorites. Riding on the Latino popularity, Jennifer Lopez also joined in and though technically her songs were not latino, they were popular. Britney Spears also entered the scene with ‘hit me baby one more time’. Stereo Nation had also entered the Indian music scenario and were dishing out Punjabi pop.

The Indipop was at its peak by this time. Times Music favoured good artistes and DJs. DJ Akbar Sami’s remix of Jalwa and Abbey’s ‘Aye Sanam’ were my personal favourites. There was lot of investment made into these songs in terms of music video. ‘Ho Gayi hai Mohabbat tumse’ sung by Aslam and featuring Shibani Kashyap was another great song.

What killed INDIPOP?

The overkill of REMIX and REMIX videos is one reason I feel the Indipop died down. The DJs started minting money by remixing anything and everything. In a way, Remix had begun perhaps earlier than Indipop. The first one was Bally Sagoo who remixed ‘Choli ke Peechey kya hai’ back in 1992-93. The remix trend really picked up by early 2000s. Bin tere Sanam, Kya khoob Lagti ho etc. With Mehgna Naidu’s ‘Kaliyon ka Chaman’ started a trend of sexy remix videos with scantily clad models which went on from ‘Yeh Vaada’ ‘Chadhti Jawaani’, ‘Kaanta Laga’ etc. Parallely, a trend started in Bollywood where a single ‘Udit Narayan’ or ‘Alka Yagnik’ or ‘Kumar Sanu’ stopped being popular. Thus the Shaans, Sonu Nigams and KKs could sing a lot in Bollywood and did not have to depend anymore on Indipop. The Bollywood music directors also had become quite shrewd, I must say. The movie’s album itself had so many permutations and combinations of the songs in different versions that no further remix was possible. Already directors like Vishal Shekhar and Shankar Ehsaan Loy fused such complex beats into the song that it could not be remixed anymore. Can anyone imagine how a remix version of’Koi Kahe kehta rahe’ from Dil Chahta Hai would sound?

The remix business had almost stopped and the Indipop was done and dusted. What was left was the usual Bollywood chartbusters. But you could not play them all day long. And I don’t know why they stopped playing ANGREZI songs altogether. Coming back to western music, frankly speaking I have almost lost touch with the songs. The decade began with Enrique Iglesius donning the mantle of Ricky Martin as the promoter of Latin Music. I remember a bit of Eminem, a bit of J Lo, Black Eyed Peas, Darude, Fat Boy Slim etc. Juggy D and Rishi Rich kept the Punjabi Pop Alive for some time. There was also STRINGS, FUZON and JAL from across the border. As of now, I have completely lost touch. Now all I hear is some Lady Gaga and some guy called Akon but I have not listened to them even once. And strangely enough, I don’t bother to switch on to channels like VH1 which do show angrezi songs.

So what happened to the Indian music channels? They have now positioned themselves very differently. No more are they a music channel – with shows ranging from Roadies to Axe your Ex to Splitsvila, they are a Youth channel. As a result, I prefer 9XM these days where there are no boring VJs and you can listen to non stop Bollywood songs.

I will end my post here with YOUTUBE links to some of my favourite songs. Check them out. Some of them might already be your favourites, do listen to the others too and do enjoy.

Alisha Chinai’s De de de de dil de de Mujko

Aslam featuring Shivani Ho gayi hai Mohabbat Tumse

Abbey’s Aye Sanam

U2’s Numb

UB40’s Can’t help fallin in love with you

Ricky Martin’s Maria

Ricky Martin’s Cup of life

No Mercy’s Where do you go

Petre Andre’s Mysterious girl

J Lo’s If you had my love

Britney Spear’s Hit me baby one more time

Anaida’s oova oova

Alisha Chinai’s Made in India

Sonu Nigam’s Tu kab yeh jaanegi

Aerosmith’s Crazy

Meatloaf’s I would do anyhthing for love

DJ Akbar Sami’s Dekho dekho yeh hai jalwa

Sanjay Maroo’s Tu hi tu

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Number one test team, Really?

December 7, 2010 14 comments

Now this is a pretty controversial issue and die hard Indian Cricket fans might not agree with me. But the moot point is – Is the Indian cricket team really the number 1 test team in the world?

The ratings say so and so do the recent track record of WINS and LOSSES. But is it not just plain eyewash? A laugh in the face of those teams which keep touring different cricketing nations year round alternating between home conditions and hostile conditions? The ranking system is based on numbers, so to say and there can’t be much of subjectivity in it.  But I would like to use numbers again to prove the subjectivity existing in the current ranking system.

I would like to have a head to head comparison between the Indian and South African cricket teams.

The usual disclaimers – All stats are courtesy cricinfo.com. They are up to date as of 7th December 2010 and do not include data of any match played thereafter. The stats cover only the test matches and not the ODIs.

Let’s consider only the AWAY matches for both the teams. To have a bit of recency, we will have only the past 4 years record. The same could be done with the Aussies too. Remember they have been on a downward slide some time now according to most of us. Really? Well, they are not doing that bad when it comes to away matches. But let’s just limit ourselves to the Proteas.

Last 4 years –

South Africa

Won 11, lost 4 out of 21 matches….52% win rate and only 19% loss rate

India

Won 9 , Lost 7    out of 23 matches….39% win rate and 30% loss rate

Last 3 years

South Africa 52% win rate and 21% loss rate

India 40% win rate and 33% loss rate

Last 2 years

South Africa 50% win rate and 20% loss rate

India 50% win rate and 12.5% loss rate

The last 1 year, the record has been more or less the same for both teams, won 3 and lost a single match . While India drew a single match, South Africa drew 3

Now, the opposition or the venue

In the 11 wins, South Africa have beaten West Indies twice, Australia twice, England twice, India twice, Bangladesh twice and Pakistan once.

And India’s 9 wins have come thrice against Bangladesh, twice against the Lankans, once each against the Aussies, the Kiwis, the English and the South Africans.

Thus South Africans have won 5 times in the trying Sub continent conditions (considered hostile for them). Likewise India has won 4 times in non sub continent conditions (considered hostile for them). So far so good. But when did these results come about. How many countries outside the subcontinent has India toured of late? Just 1 New Zealand visit in early 2009. After that so many Bangladesh and Sri Lanka tours.

If India is considered the most difficult place for a touring side, then the South Africans have done that twice –winning in India – spread across two different series in 2008 and 2010 both times not allowing India to get away with a series win.

Another aspect that comes into play is getting accustomed to conditions. Indians just need to stay at home or play around the subcontinent. This way they get more and more accustomed to the dust bowls in the subcontinent whereas the SouthAfricans have to keep alternating between different types of conditions. Just for the record, Since Jan 2009, they have toured Australia, West Indies, India and the middle east (for Pakistan series) and have just had a single home series against the English.

Taking into account series wins…..

South Africa have won 5 away series in last 4 years NOT losing a single series  – One each in Bangadesh, Pakistan, Australia, West Indies and England and at the same time drawing twice against India and once against Pakistan.

India has won 4 away series in the last 4 years – twice against Bangladesh, one each in England and New Zealand. They lost against the Lankans, the South Africans and the Aussies, and narrowly drew the 2010 Tour of Sri Lanka.

A look into the future

With the highly rated middle order of the Indian batting lineup waiting to hang up their boots, India is not in a great position. Bowling has never been India’s forte and it has been the batsmen who have been saving India the blushes for some time now. Zaheer has been the backbone of the bowling line up but injuries have kept him in and out of the team. I am not sure for how long he will be continuing as a fast bowler has a limited shelf life. As far as Harbhajan is concerned, he has not been the match winner he was some years back.

Looking at South Africa, their main batsmen like Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith himself have a good number of years of cricket left in them. Only Herschelle Gibbs and Jacque Kallis are nearing retirement age and mind you, though they are great players, the team is not overly dependent on them. They have a battery of all rounders and so called bits and pieces players in Langevelt, Albie Morkel, van der Merwe etc. The spin department in the hands of Botha and Paul Harris has been looking promising.

So, according to me, if India is to prove its supremacy as the number one test team in the world it has to at least get away with a draw in the upcoming series in South Africa, which really speaking I am not very optimistic of. I am not sure what the numbers would say i.e. number of wins required to maintain the number 1 rank.  All we can do is wait and watch and as they say – LET THE BEST TEAM WIN.

Dekhi movie bade shaan se

December 5, 2010 4 comments

There comes a time in the life of every blogger when has got nothing much to write about but he keeps writing to maintain the continuous flow of posts. (Precisely that’s what I am doing right now). But the same applies to directors too. Directors of the caliber of Ashutosh Gowarikar have started making movies just for the heck of it or so it seems. ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’ is what I am talking about.

Personally, this would be my first movie post where I am putting down a movie rather than saying nice things about it. My personal logic for writing a movie review is that if some viewers have planned not to watch a movie, you should give them ‘n’ number of reasons to go watch the movie. Thus technically, they are not movie reviews but a very BIASED way of showing the positive aspects of the movie to its viewers.  So as I said earlier, I have nothing else to write and of course after seeing such a movie I need a punching bag to relieve my frustration.

There are some things I personally hate about Ashutosh Gowarikar movies :-

1)      First of all he is an out and out commercial movie maker who tries his hand at you know what – period films and realistic films. His first two movies Pehla Nasha and Baazi were really nice pop corn entertainers.

2)    His movies are a bit (really , ‘a bit?’ )too looooooooooooooong. What’s the point in making a documentary 210 minutes long.  Swades. The movie had a 2 sentence long story line and its is fit for being a documentary about a village. The movie could have been finished well under 120 minutes flat. This kind of length warrants umpteen number of visits to the pop corn counter and the loo. (Believe me, I like the look on the face of my fellow movie goers, who are perpetually being disturbed by my going  in and out. Wretched souls – curse me for not letting them watch a split second of the emotional drama or a very boring song, which is just 1 /12600th of the film.

3)      His movies do not lack content, I agree but they lack something very basic to hindi film making. You are right – Item numbers. How can one imagine sitting through a movie, that too more than 3 hours long without a single item number. With all Munnis and Sheilas around how can he even imagine that people will sit through his film without a single item number. Here I must point out that his reasonably successful films – Lagaan and Swades had Item numbers. (What do you think Makrad Deshpande was doing in Swades? Lagaan had at least Radha if not Munni or Sheila)

Then you might all ask, why the hell do I go to watch his films? (Ok, I must admit, I have not had the courage to watch What’s your Rashee?)

1)      I sincerely expect after watching Baazi and Pehla Nasha that he would ultimately make a good masala blockbuster.

2)      Most of my friends are a big fan of his.

3)      Me and my above mentioned friends ultimately enjoy the movie for a different reason. After the first half an hour or so, we all mock the film much to the agony of fellow film viewers. We crack stupid jokes. Laugh at seemingly serious (but believe me, stupidly hilarious) dialogues and have a gala time. A full PAISA VASOOL of 3 and a half hours.

Now, let’s get back to the current movie – KHELEIN HUM JEE JAAN SE.  The movie is based on the CHITTAGONG UPRISING that happened in 1930. The story is pretty much true to the facts. But the execution has been very poor.

1)      First of all, the revolutionaries have been shown really underprepared and amateurish in spite of mentioning the word PLANNING a zillion times. Though I agree the story is true, while making the movie, one could have easily done away with some of those scenes. The revolutionaries could have been shown in a much better light. Usually such films exaggerate the bravery of the protagonists. But here it seems just the opposite. In the Jalalabad hills, the revolutionaries were surrounded by over thousand British troops. Over 80 of the troop were killed but only 12 of the revolutionaries were killed. But from the scenes depicted in the film, it looked just the opposite.

2)      The ensemble cast was pathetic to say the least. Many of them were trying very hard for an Oscar. Hamming was crossing all limits. After Raavan, I don’t have a very good opinion of AB junior. Deepika Padukone was never any kind of actress. And unfortunately a period film does not leave much scope for skimpy costumes and sexy song sequences which she is best at.

3)      Editing. Was the editor sleeping ? The gun fight sequences were so long sometimes that you could take a quick nap in between.

4)      The back ground score and background music by Sohail Sen and Simaab Sen were not at all impressive and did nothing to make the flow exciting.

5)      Last but not the least, the dialogues. Dialogues were pathetic. Many clichéd dialogues, Scores of ‘Vande Mataram’ here and there whereever the dialogue writer could not find anything else to write and some hilarious moments like – “Aap logon ko pata hai abhi aapko kya karna hai” when Abhishek Bacchan and a group of revolutionaries enter a room to loot some arms and ammunitions. The dialogue sequence between the judge and Abhishek Bacchan during his trial was going nowhere. Compare that with Legend of Bhagat Singh – The best dialogues of the film were during the court sequences. In fact Guddu Dhanoa’s Shaheed starring Bobby Deol was also not that bad when it came to dialogues.

I have said enough – after reading this I do not expect any of you to watch this movie. As a matter of fact, I doubt anyone was ever interested in the movie in the first place and thus I thank you wholeheartedly to reach the end of my post. Please don’t waste your hard earned money on a movie like this. But yeah, if anytime later you get a chance to watch this movie when it’s aired on the small screen – do have a watch. You will literally see yourself laughing through the film.

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