Beyond the same field – Will cricket slip to second place ever?

The cricket religion is quite a tough one to convert to in a country that worships it unabashed. Gods are created and burnt over various formats of the game at near gunpoint, being adjudged at micro seconds. Coming of age, a new leap of faith is being chanced upon and those on forefront of these attempts are slowly sealing silent and sometimes loud but assured victories. Hockey, Soccer, Tennis and Badminton have slowly seeped into TV playlists of a cross section of consumers in league formats knocking more doors in Indian households by the day. Parallel to the movement are other lesser known games that are gaining foothold in the otherwise known cricket gallis. 

In a revolution of sorts, the movement is getting a kick with some highly accorded names conjoining together to alter winds in India’s sports scene. Kunal Kapoor who had successfully panned out a crowd sourcing initiative last year is back to tighten the laces and get people to notice the unsung, lesser known sports persons and put them under the glitterati. In association with the most celebrated Indian Badminton phenomenon, Prakash Padukone, Kunal is creating a short film on the mavericks in the field of shooting and discuss throwing who deserve their share of red carpet. The first print shall be webcast, raising important questions and an urge to shift gears in the games field. The critically acclaimed Chandan Roy Sanyal of Kaminey fame lends his impeccable voice to the film leaving one ponder over the near monopoly of one game in a country that celebrates so many religions.

I vote for all religions to co exist in high accords, even in games, do you?

Tuning into the right spirit – Vasuda Sharma

“Chandu ke chacha ne Chandu ki chachi ko….” rings a familiar bell? The quartet who famously made us all dance to the tunes of this Indian tougue twister. Yes, ‘Aasma’ was it!! From what may make for a resurrection moment into something as beautiful as one an imagine is the gorgeous Vasuda Sharma from the same team coming of her own and commanding a well deserved comeback on the scene. She stirs my senses with her new album ‘Attuned Spirits’ that spells Nirvana of sorts on making its way to the ears. Needless to say, it called for a hearty chat.

Vasuda Sharma

  • What kept you busy after Aasma’s astounding success?

After Aasma, I was exploring what I wanted to do for myself. I did not have a set plan as I was trying everything that came my way. Tried a bit of acting but realized it wasn’t for me or to be precise, I wasn’t for it 🙂 I soon started working on creating music for theatre and films. That included composing music for a play at Prithvi theatre in Mumbai and a Bollywood movie called ‘Shahrukh Bola Khoobsurat Hai Tu’ directed by Mr. Makrand Deshpende which gave me an opportunity to experiment with the music I was creating. That led way to working with legends like the Late Jagjit Singh ji and Shankar Mahadevan, a dream I had cherished for long. I got appreciation for my work and this gave me a chance to meet Govind Nihalani ji, a much acclaimed and respected senior director who gave me a chance to compose for his animation movie. Even though Aasma as a band was doing love shows, we had branched out to find out our respective individual callings.

  • Briefly highlight the underlying theme of your new album, ‘Attuned Spirits’.

The album is very close to my heart. My idea behind naming it ‘Attuned Spirits’ was coming together of musicians from different backgrounds, countries, cultures, languages and playing music in sync and in tune with each other. What was amazing about this experience was that in spite of language being a barrier, all these musicians understood the emotion behind every song and played so beautifully on the album. It was music that brought these spirits together.

  • How did you weave your current collaboration on the album?

I had honestly not even planned an album. When I went to study at Berklee College of Music for a year, I met many wonderful musicians from across the world and we became friends. We would often jam together and exchange ideas in music. Over time, a couple of us formed a band and we played my songs that I had written and arranged for college events in Boston. It engaged a very positive response. And when it was time to come back, I wanted to keep a memory of my wonderful experience there. So I booked a studio and decided to record all the songs we had played together. That’s how the album came into being.

  • With many avenues of expression now open to indie artists, where do you see your kind of music going?

Indie scene has come up in a big way over the last few years with a larger canvas available for the kind of music one wants to pursue. My debut, ‘Attuned Spirits’ is a mix of Indian raag and folk based composition married with western contemporary music. Such associations are seeing acceptance in a big way. I am currently dabbling with Ableton and producing some electronic pieces. The evolving avenues are leading the way for a bigger audience.

  • How did formal education at Berklee College add to your already burgeoning talent and would you recommend the same to anyone seeking a career in music?

The decision of going to Berklee at a point in my life when I was already active in the music scene in India was a big and a tough one but I took it because I yearned to learn. It was not just formal training in western music and its theory that drove me but also the opportunity to meet wonderful and dedicated musicians who work hard each day to better themselves that fermented my decision. And that, indeed did become the core of my stay at the school. The whole idea and approach to music is completely different there. It not only pushed me to aim for the better but also made me realize how important it is to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself each day. I strongly feel anyone who wants to pursue music should experience what a formal training has to offer.

  • Your dream project would sound like?

Writing, arranging and recording a capella album with 50 plus vocalists!

  • Do we see Aasma reunite on a venture? Audiences would be thrilled.

Yes, we have been planning this for sometime now. May be a single soon 😉

Tune your spirits and set them free with this song from her collaboration. It is sure to take you on a high! And for the rest of the album, you will indeed see yourself making way for it into your playlists.

Why pulling this chain is worth it – Saad Khan

Saad Khan

 

I can hear the homecoming of the next train…the sounds are getting louder. I am ‘stationed’ at PVR. The honking set of metal compartments halt and out steps the man of the season, Saad Khan *with a warm smile*, director of the latest independent film to hit the 30 mm – ‘Station’. I decide to hear his story and proudly present to you the important pieces of our valuable exchange.

  • Pre ‘Station’, you were dabbling with?
Bunch of things from finishing a Film and Media degree from the United States to working with Ashutosh Gowariker to starting Centerstage in Bangalore.
  • Broad outline of the film making process on ‘Station’. From its seeding days to its full blossom this Friday.

It has been a mad joy ride. Seeding days go far back as September 2011. Lot of young people have worked on Station, and its been quite a journey. It makes me proud as a custodian to finally see it hit the screens which in my case is a big deal. It is raking good reviews from noted personnel and audiences alike and we are positive that people will sit up, take notice and watch this film for its content. Its a complicated plot and requires people not to take their eyes off the screen.

  • The experience of being nurtured by a phenomenon like Ashutosh Gowariker and finally breaking the shell to bask on your own.
Ashutosh Gowariker is the most modest person I have met. He is unassuming, kind and always pays heed to what you have to say, a mark of an exemplary creative person. His commendable attention to detail is something I too have imbibed. Above all else, the one thing I have taken forward from my experience with him is that no matter what, always respect people around you irrespective of their work profile on and off set.
  • Berlin, Cannes, Venice Festivals v/s Commercial runs?
Both please. Seeing returns for a film is crucial. Maybe a set number of people SHOULD be made to watch a film till it breaks even 🙂 Why? Films, according to me are made for viewing. Who views it? People. If the film is even decent, should/can more people watch it? Yes!! That helps filmmakers stand up again and move forward with some sort of relief.
  • Your bucket list for independent cinema?

Like what kind of independent films I would want to make? Multiple genres driven by edgy, unusual content to begin with, working with ‘stars’ as ‘character actors’, working with diverse technicians, marketing the film commercially and making people go to the multiplexes to watch it.

  • We know how audiences have come to acknowledge cinema that speaks a new voice. What could be a possible shortcoming of this large pool of amazing stories?
Compromising with the talent pool sometimes and not having known performers in your film affects the way people choose to see it or not.
  • What lies ahead for Mr. Saad?
Just ‘Station’ for the next few days. We are talking to strangers now and informing them about the film because we cannot afford high spends on publicity. This has become my new project now. Hopefully, there will be light on the other side of this tunnel.

 

We leave the platform hoping for many more travelers to visit the ‘Station’.  The pace shall leave you juggling between catching your breath and edging on your seat indeed. Catch a glimpse right here:

Juhi Pande – Love Hallmarked

Part of me is still a proponent of old school and I love to reminisce my growing years in the 90s. So much so that if hitherto found a piece missing from my jigsaw, I begin wandering in thorough search. Up until Channel [V] made a breakthrough shift to youth entertainment, it had caught the fancy of all those growing in the 90s as the go-to place  for all things music. Important embellishments of that territory have been some Video Jockeys that set out a cult status in the ever dynamic scheme of things.

One such face was Juhi Pande, the gorgeous VJ on a sugar rush, always channelizing miraculous amounts of energy towards all those watching added with a dash of positivity and a fabulous ‘X Factor’. I’d kneel to accept I had slowly started to miss her presence wondering what had caught the wonder girl’s eye between dabbling on various media. It all came to rest in the Feb of 2014 when out came her new baby, ‘Things Your Mother Never Told You About Love’.

My local library too suggested the read but up until then it was Juhi’s penned project did not hit me, the same girl I had admired forever.

The vulnerable journey of transforming from a girl to a woman with all the love that consumes things in between added with the learning the phase brings makes for a breezy yet practical journey. At no point is it preachy and the touch of humor to the author’s experiences makes it worthwhile your time and etches out well in your head. A book for girls and boys alike, it adds a dash of Purani Jeans to our otherwise quickly rotated lives in the present speeds.

She’s currently on a mission to rediscover India through her show, Sound Trek on Fox Traveler. Her journey only vows to surprise you each time but the contentment at each juncture is to die for.

5 Reasons why not to make it to Raaga Factory

1. If Munni and Sheila are your favorite roomies, then the morning hangovers would be redundant, almost non-existent!

2. If principles of music are clearly etched in your head and you cannot see one genre married to another, you’d well be on your way to a massive break up. *Ouch! that’d ache*

3. You love the open air with jarring sounds being fed to your ears? Alas! they believe in feeding your soul.

4. Paintal ji has been providing free entertainment from next door at pitch-not-perfect voices. You’re up for a disappointing affair.

5. Weak hearted music enthusiasts and proponents of adulterated does-not-deserve-to-be-called-music will not be able to afford such rich music seeping into the deepest columns of their heart and mind.

For the uninitiated, Raaga Factory is the coziest music setting on the Dubai map with regular buffet served each month. You’d always have your plates full with refreshing sounds, instruments and artists alike willing to dish their signatures and a lot more with each setting. Its a beautiful coming together of the classic with contemporary. By creating a platform of expression for independent artists to create a melancholy of melodies is a commendable effort and we applaud Mitun De Sarkar along with Jyoti Karmali for tirelessly gifting the local music expression scene with such serenity. So does that leave you uneasy on your chair? Are you ready to be swept off your feet? Head to their next offering LIVE in Dubai this 29 March at The Q Underground, Holiday Inn Al Barsha from 8 pm onwards.

Tickets priced at AED 100 available at the entrance.

Raaga Factory