Sunday ‘baithak’ with Ashwini Bhide Deshpande at Mumbai’s NCPA

It was a Sunday morning well spent listening to a Hindustani classical recital by vocalist Ashwini Bhide Deshpande at Mumbai's National Centre for the Performing Arts. In a small, but cosy, musical gathering, Deshpande presented the different styles of the Todi raga that is traditionally sung during the morning hours. Todi is believed to be one of main parent scales in…

Like Vidya Balan, this melody from ‘Tumhari Sulu’ stands out too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS-0jES79d8 A composition rendered by independent artist Ronkini Gupta in new Bollywood film 'Tumhari Sulu' (Yours Sulu) is being rated as one of "finest pieces" heard this year. That may not be an overestimation, considering Bollywood's contemporary repertoire is mostly cacophony masquerading as music. "Rafu" (which means darning) has been composed by indie musician Santanu Ghatak,…

Piku’s sarod notes

For me, the introductory lilting sound of the sarod set the tone for “Piku”. The film, directed by Shoojit Sircar, is about Piku (Deepika Padukone), and her cantankerous and forever constipated father Bhaskor Banerji (Amitabh Bachchan). It's a funny film that portrays conflicts, emotions, silences, and just the right amount of music. Irrfan Khan is…

In Agra, thinking of Prabha Atre

I took this photo last November in Agra during a trip to attend a family relative’s greh pravesh or housewarming. The sun was about to set. We had had a long drive from Delhi. Before the housewarming began, family and friends got together over tea and some snacks. Standing at the balcony, they talked about…

Thumris of Krishna Bhakti

After writing about Prabha Atre’s Mira bhakti in my earlier post, I return to the theme of devotion with the singer’s another Krishna thumri – “Kaun gali gayo shyaam.” But before we look at the song and its many other versions, let me share a few thoughts on the form of thumri. Patiala gharana singer…

Prabha Atre’s Mira bhakti

What is bhakti? Prostrating yourself before the gods to ask for a favour, again and again? Or taking arduous pilgrimages only to come back home to your misery and sufferings? Can bhakti mean devotion to something or someone for purely self-less reasons? Bhakti could be less and less of yourself and more and more of…

Why blogging?

I am a 28-year-old online journalist living in Delhi since my birth. I took to blogging because I needed a language that broke boundaries of a regular news story or feature, where I could record my impressions about places and experiences that necessarily didn’t need a ‘peg’ or a concrete idea. Where there are no…

Pakistan’s Meesha Shafi Dazzles in This Noor Jehan Song Remake

http://vimeo.com/107788905 "What nonsense! Someone tell this idiot that she cannot sing. No breath control, poor voice projection, tinny voice thanks to the pitch corrector, fake expressions, annoying tone, uneven timbre, feigned accent, and no feeling. Horrible! Horrible!" "Tafu's tabla is awesome but the mixing is awful” “... Was that music? Noor Jehan just flipped in…