The Mahabharata Quest - The Alexander Secret : Book Review

Too many co-incidents happening. First when I started reading a lot about mythology, I came across Devdutt's Shikhandi. Then Blogadda came up with 7 Secrets of Goddess. That one, had a chapter about Gods from various parts of the world. Majorly, Greek one. That made me curious to dig more into the subject. And just when I started doing that, Blogadda came up with this (although fiction) one, The Mahabharata Quest : The Alexander Secret. Written by Christopher C Doyle, this thriller is based on the events ranging from 334 BC to present day. Interestingly weaving in the secret of Mahabharata into Greek legends of Zeus and Alexander. I immediately jumped in for this book. (As till now, reading a hefty amount of myths made me want to escape to fiction once again).

And Doyle didn't disappoint me as I expected it to be an engaging affair. After a mysterious prologue, the story starts with an excavation site at Greece. Continuing the team from previous adventure, Vijay, Radha, Alice, Colin and Imran gets tangled in yet another secret. A secret they couldn't think can be connected in this way. A secret that has twists and revelations. (Though I have the previous book lying on my shelf, I don't think reading this book directly will harm. Nothing connected between the two except some sentences referencing to previous book).

The research of Doyle shows at many parts of the book. Despite of being a fiction, it holds a lot of authentic and honest amount of writing that makes you awestruck. The route of Alexander during his march towards Indus, the ongoings in Greek politics and even the detailed description of viruses, bacterias, organisms and even DNA and RNA. So authentic it is and not written just for the sake of it. Though the fact is, the medical description made me lose the attention, distracting from the flow of the story, of course it was needed to be there.

As mythological-fiction is becoming one of my favorite genre by the time, this one is definitely has that intriguing plot. Making you think what lies ahead for the team. For reserved Vijay, for courageous Radha and supportive Alice and Colin. Making you curious about how the riddles get solved one by one. The writing style of Doyle is compelling. It holds your attention most of the time without deviating to silly details, dialogues or monologues. And again, I would like to mention, the research and timing how each chapter from past is placed. Right incident at right time. No 'flashback' kinda chapter for events of past, and not even overdone now-and-then pieces of past. Just perfect balance. And by the time you reach towards climax, you yourself get into search mode. I actually started Google-ing things which one of the character did in the story. The unusual backdrop for the climax adds more effectiveness.

All in all, this is a really commendable effort by author Christopher C Doyle. The Mahabharata Quest needs to be read for the stunning amount of research went into it. Smooth connecting links between Greek and Indian myths. And the thrills ! Go for it.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

PK : Music Review

Ajay-Atul's Tharki Chokro is as functional as a Rajasthani track can be. With all the deja vu, it still works well with catchy title loop. While childish Nanga Punga Dost makes an interesting listen with its violins. Lovely short violin tune repeats thru the track making it stuck in head sound. What is more interesting about these two songs is its lyrics. Getting our curiosity higher for the storyline.

Next set of songs are nice change from regular set of singers these days. Shaan's Chaar Kadam with Shreya is that typical-Moitra-Love-ballad-template. And I am not complaining there. Next is Sonu with Shreya. Making a fun duet in Love is a waste of time. Reminding of Pal Pal (Lage Raho...) though. Amitabh Varma's mushy words with a twist makes it more fun. But Sonu's next disappoints. Bhagwan hai kahan re tu is rather an ordinary, strictly situational track. Similarly, PK Dance theme. Lastly Dil Darbadar by Ankit Tiwari - feels totally out of place. No where it contains the theme of rest of the album.

Barring two tracks and despite template-ized sounds, PK works well in the borders of the movie. PK will work more effectively after watching the movie perhaps.

My Picks : Love is a waste of time, Chaar Kadam 

PK Music review, shantanu moitra, ajay, atul, aamir khan, ankit tiwari, rajkumar hirani, alien aamir.

7 Secrets of the Goddess : Book Review

Earlier, when I was busy reading the most popular mythological fiction trilogy, I sidelined Devdutt Pattnaik thinking 'he is just another writer who wants to cash in the increasing popularity of mythology'. Extremely wrong I was. I felt so when I read his latest 'Shikhandi' and awed by the fact how satisfying the experience can be while reading his works. Co-incidently Blogadda came up with this giveaway I couldn't resist. 7 Secrets of Goddess - by Devdutt Pattnaik is extremely rich and informative, almost falling in 'Refernce' genre. 

In times when we are still keep talking about women empowerment, the writer takes us back to the times of Vedas and Puranas when Female domination was seen in altogether different way. When she is Lakshmi, she empowers Indra - the king of Gods. When she is Kali - she empowers Shiva, God of the Gods. And when she is Sita, she is rather tamed and support avatar of Vishnu, Rama. The scenarios changed, so is the role of female - the Goddess. Devdutt takes help of various scriptures, poster and calendar arts, temple idols and even the folklores. Weaving together, he smoothly presents his own point of view. His own dissection about how the perception changed from BCE to CE. From Bible to Tantra. Talking about Bible, in the extremely details opening chapter, writer wins you over with awe inspiring details and connections from various corners of the world. Including the story of creation of the land of Japan, Greek mythology and Egyptian mysteries. 

Personally, it felt like I am a child again, while reading this. I remember visiting my ancestors' home back in village, where all the copies of Puranas lie there in cupboard. I used to dust off them and enjoy the illustrations and the tales (whatever little I could understand). Skanda Purana, Brahmavaivarta, Shiva and Bhagvat Purana, is all I can remember. Pattnaik lured me to revisit those Puranas again, as now after reading his works I realized how rich our literature is. 

The real highlight of this book is how each left page has illustrated information with inputs from the writer. Some unique and unseen pictures to the most common ones which we regularly see but ignore. For example, numerous times I had seen Bahuchar Mata's picture but never thought who the horse-rider behind her, is. Now I know he was her husband ! Also, how Durga has various forms, most of them are created from simple piece of rock ! The excellent print quality and bigger-than-normal size of font, and the book adds more premium value to the contents. The pictures make the book really a worthy of lifetime keep. 

Have had complaints from people who overlooked this book and passed it on saying 'it is using sex to sensationalize'. I disagree. It is 'us', the so-called sophisticated people who has made it a big deal. When you are talking about feminism, women, creation and pro-creation; you have to talk about sex. After all that is a part of life cycle you can't deny. Our ancestors never shied of such things, but it is us who took censorship in our hand and made everyone read what looked 'good' and made us 'happy' that we have 'clean sanskruti'. 

Keeping that cribbing aside. After reading just two of his works, (and Jaya, lying on my shelf) Devdutt Pattnaik, is really a writer worth following. Surprising how he served a total different industry till now. But have taken turn on this way. Re-telling the things we keep hearing since our birth. And 7 Secrets of Goddess can be an excellent start of this journey. It is worth every page. A must read.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! : Book Review

Have rarely read stories that involved Love and affection. Never had I thought that would be so interesting. Having always loved fairy tale'ish fiction stories, I never thought I would actually like reading something that deals with the topic I always have ignored. Thanks to Blogadda, now I am leaping genre to genre. And oh, thank you for autographed copy ! This time, its all about love. But not just a regular mushy stuff. But an interesting plot one would have never heard of.

'' by Abhimanyu Jha is an interesting account of life of Veeru. A techie who runs failed startup and does freelancing along with his buddy. One day, they challenge each other and things end up as a matchmaking website for ghosts ! Yes, ghosts. To his surprise, the site has its first registration as well and that too by a ghost who is looking for her love that will help her find oblivion ! Add to this, a mysterious lady in her fifties, professor at a college, who can see and talk to ghosts.

Proceedings go quite interesting way as the quest begins as Veeru and Maahi goes in search of the guy. From funny to mushy. Even, mysterious at places. The story proceeds pretty fast and that is actually a good thing for a story of this genre. Lead character Veeru is someone you may love to fall in love with. The way Jha describes him, the carefree young lad falling in love with Maahi-the ghost. And Maahi, the lovely lady - whose search for her lover forms crux of the story - is equally an interesting character.

The angle of mystery attached with the storyline keeps you glued to it. How the dream of Maahi is decoded, how Maahi meets a mysterious character which leads to more questions. And above all these, the lady in question. Professor lady. All of this creates interesting mix for this search. Equally, the lovelorn character of Maahi makes you want to believe her pain. Though Maahi and Veeru's conversations are occasionally fun and occasionally endearing. Still, I felt there is something missing there. Something, that could have been better. Sometimes the attachment of the two, seems fragile, because of the peppy things maybe? Or, the writer has done so for a purpose?

Another thing I wasn't much comfortable with, is the style of monologue'ish story telling. Turn by turn we get to hear encounters with the eyes of Veeru and Maahi. To certain level, its well done. But sometimes, the scenes get recreated when another character tells it from their angle. It seems duplicated and overtly long. Similarly, the tale of Marquis' flashback, gets into too much detail, almost irritating. Again, is that done for a purpose? Who knows.

Given all those grudges,I would say this one is really an interesting tale. Dashed with one of my favorite genre (ghosts !!) Abhimanyu creates a really interesting storyline that keeps you glued and wanting to know what will happen next. Why the things happen this way with Maahi and who is the professor. Occasionally fun moments add relief to serious on-goings. And without being too literary mushy, you can feel the love. Love of Maahi and Veeru. 

I would recommend this to lover of both genres. Romantic and Horror. Not actually a 'horror' story is this, but it charmingly merges both worlds together.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Private India : Book Review

So, what makes a good thriller? When it comes to a book, things are different than the movies. Movies, its easy to keep viewer glued to the screen. Help being in form of background score, the camera movements and a lot more. But books, has only one power in them. The word power. So its a tough job to fuel a book thru words that will keep reader immersed in the ongoings. Stuck in the scenarios. Unputdownable-as often said. (very common word I know). Naturally, a tough job. And Ashwin Sanghi, have mastered it. As far whatever works I have read written by him, he definitely scores higher. To be frank, I don't know about James Patterson and this 'Private' series of him. But after reading this, definitely it enticed me to read the series. 

Very well known investigation firm - Private has its own operations in India. Obviously in the commercial hub, maximum city Mumbai houses its headquarter. After solving some key cases including IM induced serial blasts, they are now in big picture. And not just a simple detective agency. So, when they come to know about this murder investigation at an international hotel, Santosh Wagh-the head of organization, knows they are going on a relentless roller coster ride starting from now. And how this ride goes further in a series of killings and surprise revelations. Connections, motives and the secrets, forms the story.

What makes this a really good ride is its pace. I thought I would read some 50-60 pages a day and will complete this by the week. (being 470 pages). But I surprised myself with the reading speed. Despite of my busy schedule, I managed to read 200 pages a day and the book got completed in just three days ! Because, its written so well, in simple language, avoiding fancy phrases. Avoiding unnecessary detailing. And that's how a thriller should be. So fast that there is no point in putting the book down against distractions.

Though, this took toll of the characterization. The book falls flat on that front. Despite of each character having a back story, you can not feel for them and they don't make a lasting impression. They just make a good part of ongoing events. Maybe this was intentional so that it won't mar the thrill. On the other hand, Ashwin Sanghi in his own style, sprinkles mythological elements in the story. Though in a lesser quantity. but effectively he uses this theme. (Don't know how James is attached in project. Did he also co-write the chapter, or he is credited for use of 'Private'?!). Also another thing left me confused about is - unanswered questions. A certain character, who is blamed for the things going on, is left sidelined by the book progresses. And the questions about him, hang right there. otherwise, the description of the city, Mumbai, impresses. The typical elements - smugglers, dance bars, beggars, high profile people, politicians, actors and the police. Everything is weaved in perfectly.

I would rate it as 'should' read for readers who love thrillers. A few hours, well spent reading this. But if you are looking for another Krishna Key, this is not it. This travels a very contemporary genre, but doesn't disappoint. With this, Ashwin Sanghi definitely concretes his position on the must read list.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books !

Ramayana-The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince : Book Review

Since childhood, I have heard, read and seen stories of epic - Ramayan. One of the two biggest epics of India. Seen - in numerous adaptation by tv, cinema and plays. Heard - through grandparents. And read, the versions best suited for kids. Never have I read extensive, sincere and detailed works on the epic. So whatever I knew about Ramayan, was limited to such sources. Thankfully, this series is going to change it completely. Ramayana : The Game Of Life series by Shubha Vilas, is an extensive effort. Part 1 of the series 'Rise of The Sun Prince' kick starts the experience very well.

Rise.. tells the story of earlier phase of Ramayan. The prelude. Where all the forces in heaven, conspires to let the avatar of Lord Vishnu - Rama, walk over the earth. How the kingdom of Ayodhya gears up to welcome him, how he spends his childhood, boyhood and how he leads to marry Sita. Everything in so much detail, yet as concise as possible. And what is so different about this book? How the writer choose to impart wisdom through footnotes. The nectar from the fruit. Almost all pages are sprinkled by such thoughtful notes. Giving lessons on leadership, life changing aspects, divinity, loyalty and much more. Very swiftly the notes give you the best lessons. Also there, in footnotes, some well researched bits about the ongoing is put. Making each page worthy information to read.

It seems really in depth research is done by the author. Taking clues from Valmiki Ramayan as well as Kamba Ramayan (tales from South India). Amalgmation of the two is done in a way one can't detect it. Moreover, it goes into backstories every now and then. Making one's knowledge about things enriched, things we rarely knew.
Sample -

- How vast the city of Ayodhya was, be it area or the infrastructure. How rich its people are, spiritually or physically.
- Detailed life history of Vishwamitra. How he has this life long fight with Vasistha Rishi.
- How a simple wish of Lakshmiji made Lord Vishnu do incarnation of Rama, and her as Sita.
- How Dasratha has to marry as much as 353 times.
- Rama's age during various important stages of Ramayana. (Did you know he married at the age of  12 !!?)
- How did the island of Lanka originated?
- Origin of many holy rivers.

The writing style is fluid. Never you feel it heavy or giving too much of life lessons. At places Shubha describes ongoings so well, it overwhelms you. For example few scenes that are my favorite - when Luv-Kush tells the story of Ramayan in front of Rama himself. Or the times when Dasratha hears stories about braveness of Rama and the proposal of him marrying Sita. Despite of the fact, everything is writen in past tense, you feel you are watching this in front of your eyes and move with it. My only complaint is how the names are written. With extra 'a' in the end. Rama, Dasaratha, Janaka, Lakshmana. I mean, it doesn't at all look authentic. Otherwise, the book is surely a keeper, so must the series. To tell your kids the tales of one of the greatest person walked on this earth.

This is the first time I am seeing this publishing house - Jaico Books. And am surprised to see such perfect work. Starting from the beautiful covers to the printing quality and the paper quality. Everything is just too good. The footnotes fonts are not too small that it makes a comfortable read. Overall, a worthy job.

I would recommend this work - for you to know how detailed our history is. How not everything is known to us and that needs to be told.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books !

My Black-list : Five black things I desire

Obviously my favorite color. Black. Mysterious, stunning, sexy and what not. Everything around me, I try to first own in black color. (Well, being practical ofcourse). So when Blogadda got this initiative out, I instantly came up with a list. Here is the first installment from the list of things I desire, in Black. 

HTC One M8 - Black

Nothing beats HTC One M8 when we talk about killer looks merged with equally killer specs. And this beast packs both in it. Just one thing it lacks - Black. There is still no black color and that is the one I desire. How utter sexy it will look with that metal back and amazing UI. This phone is black, is sure to get envy from everyone around.

Black iPod Touch - 1TB
Tell me it is possible, isn't it? 1 TB for the huge song collection of mine, is still insufficient. But carrying all of my favorite songs, that too, in suave black design. Black headphones will add yet another charm. I would never let anyone get hold of it if it becomes a possibility

Black wardrobe
From black t shirts to black tuxedos. Shining black shoes to swanky black watches. Everything black is something that I would love to have. Always. In fact, my present T shirt collection reflects the same. But still, how awesome it would be to have everything black. Dashing looks naturally comes alongwith that color. Isn't it?

Black Cat
A cat. A real cat. Not the commando. Cats have always fascinated me. Have always wanted to have one as my pet. Even though black cats are counted as evil force, back here in India. But no pet as cuddling, as mysterious, as gorgeous as a black cat is. And when those eyes shine in pitch black night - priceless expressions from people - guranteed ! Would love the cat roaming around brushing smooth silky black fur over my feet.

Black Diamond Ring
Just look at that pair of rings. That mysterious black piece of stone looks stunning. Would love to get a pair for us. Paired with my favorite metal - Platinum (again, dash of black), this Black diamond  can never go off my sight.

So, this is my 'black'list. Part 1. What's yours?
This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at

Sita's Curse : Book Review

Desire. The subject that often raise eyebrows. Especially when used as a topic in literary works. Don’t know why but people tend to believe literature can’t be based on that one thing. That forbidden lane everyone fear of walking from. And when someone walks through it, showing mirror, people tend to criticize like anything. Personally, I don’t think Erotica, works depicting desire, are bad. (and no, I haven’t read Gray series yet, but if I get some time, surely I am interested in that). Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s second novel – Sita’s Curse, travels the same lane. Exploring sexuality, especially women’s sexuality.

Sita’s Curse – is about Meera. A village belle, beautiful, living in her dreamy world as all girls of her age are. Married of at age of nineteen, she finds herself trapped in a dead marriage and soulless relationship. Both, physically and mentally. How she go through her days pass bringing memories along with her. Searching answer for her desires. searching for soul-mate, trying, to get free.
What I liked in the book is how exquisitely detailing it has describing characters. Describing how beautiful Meera is. How the males around her, are so desirable. It is the first time for me , where one get a chance to peep in women’s mind, her intimate thoughts. What she actually is going through while struggling with daily chores.  Its interesting how the story movies the timeline. From the times of late 70s when Amitabh Bachchan was a favorite of all, to the modern ones when Salman Khan is a heartthrob of all. From the times of telephones in neighborhood, to the times of dial up internet connection. Sreemoyee quite neatly weaves the things together. Add to that, description of Byculla’s chawls and even, the flooding tragedy – wonderfully written. And let me add some words about the erotica part – its steamy. Detailing each moves, not being vulgar, yet being hot, she pens down interesting encounters. That too, by the woman protagonist, now that is something I never have read before. Also, the part when Meera gets free, gets to hangout with 20 something kids and enjoys her life their way, is a nice surprise. Though somewhere that whole scenario reminded of the movie English Vinglish.

What got me confused (say disliked) was the constant mention of Kartik. (You will know who he is after reading the story). Yes, he is one important character, but how Meera sees him in everyone seems more fictional and unreal. Because anyone, in such long time, can move on without such trauma. This is me perhaps. Other thing that bugged me that at a few places, the erotic encounters seem repeated, monotonous. Not frequent, such parts are, and that’s good that it doesn’t hinder the overall story.

The cover actually took me by surprise. So well it is designed, I checked twice if it is printed in India itself. ;) The darkness is captured beautifully on cover photo. The printing is quite good too. Overall, if I were to summarize the book in a few words, it should be : Hot, engrossing & honest. Would recommend for those who like it hot. Read if you don’t get offended by that important part of your life.
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books.

Hawaa Hawaai : Movie Review

What a man ! Amole Gupte - that rare someone who refuse to deviate from what his heart says. Staying true to his story and show us the best on the silver screen. After Stanley Ka Dabba, his Hawaa Hawaai is one such movie that melts your heart from first to very last frame. Fortunate we are to have such a movie made in today's crore clubs.

Yes, its just another 'achievement of an underdog' story. Yes, it has same old elements of child labor and poverty. But still, its Gupte's own touch that makes it an experience. Story of Arjun who works at a tea stall, dreaming of flying on skates. How his four friends and the coach makes the dream come true is such a heart warming tale.

Written and directed with all his heart Amole at many places, extends his trademark sequences previously seen in TZP and SKD. But no complaints there. How sweetly he gives us bitter dose of reality ! The team he employs for this adventure, is one of the best ensemble of recent times. The 5 kids - Partho Gupte, Ashfaq Bismillah Khan, Salman Chhote Khan, Maaman Menon & Thirupati Kushnapalli. (Surprisingly there is a backstory of this team. Apart from his son, all four are from Gupte's theatre workshop for underpriviledged children-Aseema ! Respect.) Each kid has timing so perfect that can put any superstar to shame. Add to that brilliantly penned lines, harmless genuine fun the proceedings are. Partho is such a gifted boy, even at this age, such a mature performance without any glitches, such a natural actor ! On the other hand, Saqeeb Saleem as the coach, charms you from the very first scene. Making the enthusiastic coach's character totally believable. Wonderfully he portrays the transformation by the time he reaches the goal. Neha Joshi, perfects her part as worrying mother of Arjun.

I was a bit sceptical about the movie, blame it on poor publicity or as always my ignorance for sports movies. But now I am in love with it. This is such a little movie with big heart. Which should not be missed at any cost. I don't understand why critics don't come out of there 3/3.5 stars rating. Movies like this, should be rated highest. Must be watched, for the love of cinema.

The Hunt For Kohinoor : Book Review

To be frank, have never been a fan of thrillers in backdrop of political boundaries. Have always ignored such plots. But, now I think the view is getting changed after reading this brilliantly paced thriller by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar. Her latest - The Hunt For Kohinoor, is such superb amalgamation of a political plot and history lessons, aided with thrilling 96 hours journey of the female protagonist - Mehrunisa.

Being the second book in 'Mehrunisa Trilogy', I was quite apprehensive on reading the second part without reading the first one. But thankfully, there aren't any continuing storyline that can make you clueless. The only connecting dots between the two parts are its characters. Rock solid spies - Harry, RP and Raghav. And the art lover and restorer - Mehrunisa who can switfly turn her side as a spy and still continue to connect the present world with a Renaissance mural or even a Mughal painting. And still, she is a woman, and know her boundaries and has her own fears and limits. Very well written the character is. As she is not out and out a daredevil which would lead one to start believing it as a 'fiction'. And the spy team - RP, Raghav and the 'Snow leopard'. Each one gets a perfect caricature by the writer's pen. That you can imagine the exact person what writer had in her mind.

Extreme detailing doesn't end with the characters alone. The backdrop of Afghanistan, FATA, POK, Pakistan and places around - are given in so much details that it leaves you stunned. Add to that, the political history, the games that USA, Russia and Pakistan played on playground of Afghanistan. How and who got the benefits of those. And how India is thrown in the picture with what connection. Everything looks so well researched and that makes the journey more authentic. You feel transported to those sandy deserts of Afghanistan, those killer peaks of Hindu Kush and even those dark, cruel caves.

The pace - is essence of the tale. It is not easy to hold reader's attention in a book, especially. And when you promise a tale that is going to last only 96 hours, that too in first few pages. You have to bind the reader to the ongoings. And this tough part is done with sharp finesse.Though at places, nearing to finale, I felt too much detailing of few new characters, did mar the pace for a while. But that again, after reading further pages, you feel it was the necessary devil. Another complaint is how everything falls conveniently in place while finding the cryptic clues. Or may be, because this is not a 'mystery' but a thriller. May be, its just me.

Unputdownable - the word is used n'times. But this one surely is. Because of its pace. Because how it takes you on a ride that goes from cliffs to caves, barren deserts to chilling peaks, museums to terror camps. Would certainly recommend this.

Don't be surprised it this gets converted into a film. My vote to play Mehrunisa goes to Bipasha (of course, as a 'fit' spy, who else suits?) or Deepika (remember her 'art restorer' role?).

Tags : hunt for kohinoor book review, manreet sodhi, book reviews, kohinoor secret, mehrunisa trilogy, priynka chopra

Valentine's Day Playlist : Pritam Chakraborty

The hit machine - as we know him better. Improvising year after year. Shedding all those blames of plagiarism (which I hardly do care about). Pritam - churns most perfect tunes when it comes to make songs of love. And here, are some of my favorites. In chronological order. Please share yours too in the comments. 

Older playlists here : Vishal Bhardwaj                          Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

1) Phir le aaya dil - Barfi : The Ghazal'ish track with unimaginable arrangements in background. Add Arijit's voice and Kirkire's words. The song takes your senses in another world. Truly, gem of a song.

2) Tum Se Hi-Jab We Met : This had always been on top whenever I made favorite Pritam songs list. (and then, Barfi came). Shahid-Kareena's chemistry, brilliant picturization and Mohit's voice. The song is just perfect in all senses.

3) Raabta-Agent Vinod : Numerous 'reprise' versions. And still, you won't skip even one. This, minimal track is just so gorgeous - be it the singers (Shreya, Hamsika, Arijit, Joi, Aditi) or the words (Amitabh Bhattacharya), you can't help but fall in love.

4) Tera hone laga hoon-Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani : A shallow movie, and a pop song. Yet, sounds fresh anytime I hear it. (not to mention my love for Atif ;)) Alisha and Atif pefects the duet despite that bit annoying 'angrezi' phrases by Neeraj.

5) O Meri Jaan-Life in a Metro : Not a single track in this album that is not 'awesome'. Tough to choose one from it. But this, again for its words (Sandeep Shrivastava), makes it in this list. And the chords, the way it moves rocks its way to peak. Love, totally. 

6) Tum mile-Tum Mile : Another album where picking up a single mushy track, is crime. The album is all time favorite. (forget the dreadful movie). This one, again with various 'reprise' version, stays in heart. Upbeat version by Neeraj or soulful by Javed or, rock one by Shafaqat, this touches heart.

7) Yeh dooriyaan-Love Aaj Kal : Prelude whistle that gets stuck in your head. And Mohit Chauhan singing for Pritam. Nothing gets better than that. Irshad's words gets best tune that keeps the pain alive, for long.

8) Bin Tere-Woh Lamhe : Underrated song for an underrated film. Have never heard Jawed Ahmed before this (and not after this too). Just love how Sayeed Qadri's poetry gets peak in second stanza 'Tere saath jiye jo pal....'.

9) Jaane kya chahe mann-Pyaar Ke Side Effects : Wonder why there is no other Pritam song in this template. Zubeen was introduced in Hindi by him, but no other song came out after this one. Pritam used Garg's variations at right places, even the concluding piece with sarangi. Longing feel, can't get better than this. Whattay !

10) Tumhi ho bandhu-Cocktail : And nothing gets better than this when we talk about upbeat and peppy yet different. Kavita Seth in different avatar with Neeraj. The track you can't ignore, sure to make even your heart-dance.

And the list doesn't end there. Given record of Pritam, giving hits after hits, many of them the mushy mushy tracks. Here are some more that are not in top ten, but still, my favorites.

Kya karoon-Barfi
I love you-Bodyguard
Pee loon-OUATIM
Bheegi Si Bhaagi Si-Raajneeti
Tu hi haqeeqat & Dil Ibadat - Tum Mile
Teri ore-Singh is King
Kahin Na-Kismat Konnection
Zara sa - Jannat
Lamha Lamha-Gangster
Baatein Kuch Anakahee Si, In Dinon-Life in a metro
Aaj Din Chadheya-Love Aaj Kal

Tags : Valentines day songs list, valentine's day songs, love songs, pritam best of pritam, pritam's hit songs list

Highway : Music Review

Patakha Guddi (Female) - the very first release from the album which I fell in love with, instantly. Nooran sisters (Jyoti and Sultana) who rocked in Sound Trippin', gets a fabulous bollywood debut with this song. The odd sounds, of strings, sounds actually good over the time. And the 'clap' like theme that is present throughout the track, marks surprising presence in two other tracks too. Maybe it symbolises the continued journey of characters. What makes you fall in love is the words. Maine to tere utte chhadiyaan doriyaan ! As if she and the almighty has become one, so much that she need not worry of anything coming her way. And the same tune, goes startling makeover and ends the track with fab humming by ARR. Lovely. This is again after Phir se udd chala (almost) where we do not have the first stanza getting repeated.

And the same formula is used in Mahi Ve as well. First lines stay at first only. And doesn't get repeated. Even more (sweet) surprise is how the track ends without the tune with which the track starts. A song, perfect for journeys, objects passing by your window, and soaked in the musical journey. (personally, love to shout-out along with while riding bike) Irshad Kamil's words get perfect voice as ARR sings this wonderfully penned song. (Don't know why ppl finding the tune average!). Ah, and the last stanza where he sounds so different, backed by trademark violins, and brilliant words. Goosebumps - meri khamoshiyon mein hai tu bolta - and first class concluding violins. Sigh.

Kahaan Hoon Main : this, despite being 'heard before' Rahman song, took time to grow on me. Jonita Gandhi's lovely crooning perfectly creates picture of a girl, lost in her thoughts, in a new world. Alongwith lovely background of piano, loved how the song rises from 1: 40. Tunewise it reminds me of Kahin To (JTYJN). Soothing listen this one is. (Wondering if Jonita has sung any other songs or this is the debut?)

Wanna Mash Up : When I first read the title, instantly thought came to mind about mashed-up songs. (blame it on Tseries). Thankfully though, this is totally different than what I expected. 'Shout it out loud' it says. And it is - a track worth it. Dubstep induced rap by Kash, krissy and Suvi, instantly takes you to Endhiran. Even at one place you go and sing 'r u just a robo toy'.. Despite, this one - is so much fun.

Sooha saaha : Lauded as Alia's debut as singer. I was a little apprehensive about this one. Not a fan of her at all (and I know that fact is going to be changed after watching her Ali-powered performance, oh and I won't say a bit about autotune, as I am technically illiterate ;)) Beautiful humming start and minimal arrangement - vintage Rahman ! Zeb excellently put her voice in a continued manner, without a pause. And in second stanza, you realize why ARR chose Alia to sing. Childlike innocence reflects here, which was required by the song. By the time the track reaches its climax, those silent violins makes it altogather a serene experience. (At places it reminded me of Sakhi Piya - Khoya Khoya Chand, same Raga maybe?)

Patakha Guddi (Male version) : Sweet surprise how this one starts. I thought - if the first version is so perfect then how different another version can be? But Rahman proved me wrong.  (Only later I knew that this - is the original version that was planned for the film, and later on he chose Nooran sisters as the story is about a girl !). At first listen, honestly I found his pronounciations really funny, that I even tweet OMG what is this ? But by the time the track progressed - and you know how he adds his variations. His trademark crooning - here 'ali ali' + new stanza in between +  big rocking surprise + how it comes gradually to main tune + the 'Jugni rukh peepal da hoi' stanza (especially how he says 'koi' in Ghar bhi rakh sake na koi), saai re... o mere saaiyaaan, maine to tere tere utte chhadiyaan doriyaan. Gosh, there is so much to love in this track. (That complaint about his pronounciation goes invisible by the time I repeat this every time, finding new layers in just one song). Still, I so wish if Rahman had sung it as a duet, with Sukhi or Kailash or even Javed ! (Interestingly, milliblog posted similar status, with names of Hans Raj Hans and Gurdaas Maan, if happened, this Patakha would have been more awesome) And did i forget to mention interesting use of harmoniums?

Implosive Silence : Silence can be musical. Who else but Sir can make you convinced on that? This one, hummed by Jonita, takes you to a different world. Close your eyes and you are there. Open your eyes and still you are there. Reaching there, while objects passing by (that sound, just like one by one pillars on side of the track, are passing).

Tu Kuja : Another one that did get least attention by me, initially. Thought its typical (even lyrics). But I was wrong. When heard in silent atmosphere, with headphones, the electronic arrangment is killer. Add to that Sunidhi's flawless rendition. Kashmiri folk gets Irshad's touch with some typical words, this takes time to grow. And when it does, it gets stuck in your head. And the humming of Rahman (right before second stanza) haunts you for long. This, is something Sunidhi deserves from ARR. Wish we can hear more from the duo.

Heera : Vintage Rahman. Yet again. This one, is goosebumps galore. Shweta Pandit sings Saint Kabir's verses in such a low key, almost whispering voice. Sounding extremely effective for the theme the song has. And the arrangements - sigh. This is Rahman, we have loved since years. Minimal, piercing, rich and gorgeous. A sound we heard in Zubeidaa (Door kahin..) and Lagaan (Spirit of Lagaan humming). That - divine touch.

Running out of words, but, yes, this is experimental Rahman. But still, he touches all the right chords. Touching corners of your heart.

My Picks : Patakha Guddi, Tu Kuja, Heera, Sooha Saaha, Mahi Ve.

Tags : A R Rahman, Music Reviews, Music review of Highway, Highway music review, Highway songs list, Highway songs, Alia Bhatt debut singer, Zeb Haniya, Tu Kuja meaning, Tu Kuja means, Kashmiri folk, Heera by Saint Kabir, Sant Kabir, Jonita Gandhi songs,

Filmfare Awards 2014 : Winners

Best Production Design : Acropolis Design (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag)
Best Sound Design : Bishwadeep Chatterjee and Nihar Ranjan Samar (Madras Cafe)
Best Cinematography : Kamaljit Negi (Madras Cafe)
Best Editing : Aarif Sheikh for D-Day
Best Costume : Dolly Ahluwalia for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Best Action : Thomas Struthers and Guru Bachchan for D Day
Best VFX : Tata Elxis for Dhoom 3

Best Background Score : Hitesh Sonik for Kai Po Che
Best Choreography : Samir and Arsh Tanna – Lahu muh lag gaya for Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela
RD Burman Award : Sidharth Mahadevan
Best Playback Singer Female : Monali Thakur for Sawaar Loon (Lootera)
Best Playback Singer Male : Arijit Singh for Tum Hi Ho (Aashiqui 2)
Best Lyricist : Prasoon Joshi for Zinda - BMB
Best Music : Jeet Ganguly, Mithoon & Ankit Tiwari for Aashiqui 2

Lifetime Achievement Award : Tanuja

Best Actress in a Suporting Role : Supriya Pathak Kapur for Ram-Leela
Best Actor in a Supporting Role : Nawazuddin Siddiqui  for The Lunchbox

Best Screenplay : Chetan Bhagat, Abhishe Kapoor, Supratik Sen and Pubali Chaudhari (Kai Po Che)
Best Story & Best Dialogue: Subhash Kapoor for Jolly LLB

Best Actress (Critics) : Shilpa Shukla for BA Pass
Best Actor (Critics) : Rajkumar Rao for Shahid
Best Movie (Critics) : The Lunchbox

Best Debut (Male) : Dhanush for Raanjhanaa
Best Debut (Female) : Vaani Kapoor for Shuddh Desi Romance
Best Debut Director : Ritesh Batra for The Lunchbox

Best Film : Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Best Director : Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Best Actress : Deepika Padukone for Ram-Leela
Best Actor : Farhan Akhtar for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Tags : Filmfare awards 2014 winners, winner list 59th filmfare awards

Sooha Sahaa [Highway] : Meaning, Translation

Well, that is the next track from A R Rahman's Highway soundtrack. Surprise is that - Alia Bhatt sings this lullaby ! Now this - is getting interesting day by day.

I googled a lot to find the meaning of this weird sounding-rhyming words. Took help of theBollywoodFan-as he masters the language. But still, no conclusion on the exact meaning. Lets wait for the full song to be released.

Meanwhile, I zeroed on following meanings -

One -
Sooha - Red
Saaha - Rabbit

Does it make sense? Well, lets see, if its a lullaby - yes it does.

Another one -
Sooha - Overlooked
Sahaa - Endurance

Again, this one makes sense too. Looking at the storyline.

Now over to the Highway team, when they will release the film.

Update : Yes, its red rabbit. Irshad Kamil tweeted it. 

Tags : Sooha Sahaa meaning, translation, sooha means, sahaa means, suha saha meaning, highway translations songs, rahman, irshaad kamil, alia bhatt first song. 

Filmfare Awards Nominations 2014

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Chennai Express
Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

Aanand L Rai (Raanjhanaa)
Abhishek Kapoor (Kai Po Che)
Ayan Mukerji (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani)
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag)
Rohit Shetty (Chennai Express)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela)

Screen Awards 2014 winners

Best Actor (Jury Award)
Farhan Akhtar for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Best Actor (Popular)
Shah Rukh Khan for Chennai Express
Best Actress (Popular)
Deepika Padukone for RamLeela and Chennai Express
Best Actress (Jury Award)
Deepika Padukone for Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela and Chennai Express
Best Director Award
Shoojit Sircar (Madras Cafe)

Patakha Guddi (Ali Ali) : Highway : Song, Lyrics, Translation

Haan, Mitthe paan di galauri,
Lathha suit da Lahori,
Fatte maar di billori,
Jugni mel mel ke, kood faand ke,
Chauk chakaute jaayein..

Just like sweet 'paan' (leaf) of betel,
Wearing a long Lahori suit,
With cat like gaze (full of inquisitiveness) roaming here and there,
Jugni - leaping one place to another, meeting people,
Enjoying the fascinating new world.

(Jugni - often used in Punjabi folk, means innocent observer, here used as innocent-carefree-firefly like girl)
Maula tera maali,
O hariyaali jungle waali, 
Tu de har gaali pe taali,
Uski kadam kadam rakhwaali,
Ainweyi lok-laaj ki soch soch ke
kyun hai aafat daali,

God, is your gardner,
oh queen of the jungles and greeneries,
You give high five to any abuse coming your way,
His (God's) protection is at your every step,
Worthless thinking of what the world will think,
Why that tension should be on your mind?

Tu le naam rab da, naam saai ka
Ali Ali Ali Ali
Just chant name of your God, your Lord,
Ali Ali Ali Ali
(Ali-was cousin of Prophet Mohammad)

Sharf khuda ka, zarf khuda ka,
Nobility of the God, Wisdom of the God,
Ali Ali Ali Ali

Ali ho, Ali ho, Chali aur chali, chali, chali oo,
Ali Ali, teri gully, woh to chali, Ali Ali
Teri gully, chali oo..

Taking all that with her,
Here she goes to the place of God.

O Jugni oh, patakha guddi oh,
Nashe mein udd jaaye re haaye re
Sajje khabbe dhabbe killi ho,

Oh Jugni, you firebrand girl, (Guddi literally means a Kite-carefree flying)
Intoxicated you are flying,
Left, Right, up and down-all over the places around.

Maine to tere tere, te chhaddiyan doriyaan,
I have left everything on you (Oh Lord)
(as in, as a kite or a puppet, I have left all strings of mine in your hands)

Tu toh paak rab da baanka bachha
Raj dulara tu hi,
paak rab da baanka bachha
Uska pyaara tu hi
Maalik ne jo chinta di to, door karega woh hi

You are fearless kid of holy God,
His most favorite,
Fearless kid of holy God,
You are his lovely kid,
If he,God, has given the tensions,
Only he, will get them solved (so don't worry).

Naam Ali ka le ke tu toh, naach le gully gully
Le naam Ali Ali, Ali ho, Ali ho,
Tu le naam rab da, naam saai ka, Ali Ali Ali Ali

Chanting name of Ali, just dance all around
Just chant Ali Ali,
Just chant name of your God, your Lord,
Ali Ali Ali Ali

Jugni rukh beparda hoi,
Jis nu pooje ta har koi,
Jisdi fasal kisi na boyi
Ghar bhi rakh sake na koi..

Throwing away all restrictions, bare faced,
(still) everyone is worshipping her,
No one has seeded this plant,
and no one can keep her at home.

Rasta naap rahi marjaani,
Bhatti baarish da hai paani,
Jab nazdeek jahaan de aani,
Jugni maili si ho jaani..

Going places, she-the darer,
Water of the heavy rainfall,
When she will come nearer to the actual world,
She is going to get stained. 

Tu le naam rab da Ali Ali,
Chal khalle rann chali,
Naam rab da Ali Ali,
Har darwaja Ali,

Just chant the name of Lord, Ali Ali,
Lets go to the barren land,
name of Lord, Ali Ali,
At each doorstep, Ali.

Sai re... Sai Re..
Oh my beloved Lord, Oh Lord.

Maine to tere tere, te chhaddiyan doriyaan.
I have left everything on you (Oh Lord).

Tags : Patakha guddi meaning, translation, ali ali highway song translations, irshad kamil, nooran sisters, sultana nooran, jyoti nooran, sharf khuda ka meaning, jugni meaning

Screen Awards Nominations 2014

Best Actor (Female)
Chitrangada Singh - Inkaar
Deepika Padukone - Ram-Leela/Chennai Express
Nimrat Kaur - The Lunchbox
Parineeti Chopra - Shuddh Desi Romance
Shraddha Kapoor - Aashiqui 2
Sonakshi Sinha - Lootera

Best Actor (Male)
Aamir Khan - Dhoom: 3
Dhanush - Raanjhanaa
Farhan Akhtar - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Irrfan - The Lunchbox
Ranbir Kapoor - Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Rajkummar Rao - Shahid
Shah Rukh Khan - Chennai Express