Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Harry Potter and the art of writing fantasy

Finaly after resisting for so long, I read through all the six Harry Potter books at a go.

Few points to ponder

1. The number of pages in the series keeps on increasing, i.e. HP6>HP5>HP4>HP3>HP2>HP1

2. From the fourth book onwards, situations become more grand and cinematic. Probably because JKR now knew that all her books would probably be made into movies, so why waste time writing a screenplay all over again.

3. Some of the word plays are really good
Diagon Alley - play on "diagonally"
Knockturn Alley - play on "nocturnally"
Severus Snape - play on "severe" meaning harsh (which he is, to Harry) and "snake"
Hagrid - play on "haggard"
Slytherin - play on "slithering"
Malfoy - play on "malicious" and "foe"
the list could go on and on....

4. Without the movies, the books would really have been also-rans and not global bestsellers. Actors like Alan Rickman who plays Snape and Robbie Coltrane - Hagrid are so very good in their roles that they actually make the characters come alive.

Anyone who has watched Alan Rickman in "Galaxy Quest" and "Robin Hood - prince of Theives" will understand why I am saying this.

Also watch Robbie Coltrane in the James Bond movies "Goldeneye" and "The World is not Enough"

And the films just keep getting better and better.

5. Maybe I am getting the whole plot wrong, but somehow Ron and Hermione do not make a very good "couple". Or maybe they do- it's just that Rupert Grint and Emma Watson don't look good together ;D

Next stop....The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, before I watch the movie (Could only manage to do that for Charlie and the Chocolate factory)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thanda Thanda Paani

Three days back, I was humming my way back from work when suddenly I started to hum a long forgotten song "Thanda Thanda Paani".

And then the chain of thought led back to Baba Sehgal, the electrical engineer at DESU (Delhi Electrical Supply Undertaking) turned rapstar who introduced us to rap much before EMINEM and his ilk became a rage.

Harjit Singh Sehgal a.k.a Baba Sehgal has 22 albums to his credit, of which five have been super platinum (I do not know what that means in Indian terms).

He was also for a long time, hosting the show Superhit Muqabla, hugely popular Countdown show on DD Metro.

His height of fame came when he made his own version of Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" called "Thanda Thanda Paani". Critics and the media ripped him apart by calling him a plaigiarist. Not to take one lying down, he hit back saying that Ice had infact copied the tune from Queen's "Under Pressure", which was infact true.

He also hit back with his album "Main Bhi Madonna" which went on to become a huge hit.

Baba can alos be credited to have the first hit music video. The song "Dil Dhadke" form his album "Thanda Thanda Paani" was made into a video by Ken Ghosh, it was his first probably, telecast several times on MTV, which had a half to one hour band of Indian music at that point of time.

The video featuring a wet and hot Pooja Bedi and a wet but not so hot Baba was ....for want of a better word - pathbreaking.

He in fact was the torch bearer for a new genre in Indian Music - Indi Pop. Companies like Magnasound promoted him and other artistes like Anaida, Shaan and Sagarika, Alisha , KK, Shankar Mahadevan, Daler Mehndi, Bali Brahmbhatt etc. Music Videos were being made and telecast first on MTV, then on the newly formed Channel V and on various shows including Superhit Muqabla.

Baba was not only all about rap. His albums had all sorts of numbers and lyrics which were funny yet meaningful. Compared to other rappers of his time like Stylebhai and Voodo Rapper and probably Bali Brahmbhatt (though he insisted he was a reggae artiste), he was eons ahead.

Then came his big mainstream success. He sang "Rukmani Rukmani" for the film "Roja" with Shweta Shetty, another Indi Pop icon. Although panned by critics for corny lyrics and not so great singing (including the film's director Mani Ratnam and music director A R Rehman, who apparently was not consulted for the music dubbing), the song was a huge huge hit as was the film, so both Mani and Rehman kept silent, even admiring Baba and Shweta for their great vocals.

Baba then probably made the worst mistake of his life. He teamed up with Anu Malik and Venus to make a movie called Miss 420 starring him and starlet Sheeba. They came up with inane songs like "Memsaab" and "Aaja meri gaadi mein baith jaa" and "Jhoom Jhoom re baba". The movie where Sheeba and Baba played secret agents, bombed and Baba's career nosedived.

He did try to redeem himslef with some good albums later but I think he knew that his time was up and he also bid a farewell and Indian music missed a fine performer.

Now I hear that he is back!!....Read Baba Sehgal is back!
and Baba Sehgal comes back in a new avatar

But I think he sahll be forever remembered for his great song "Thanda Thanda Paani"

So here are the lyrics of the "great song"

Aap sab mere dost, my friends
jab bhi kisi 5 Star hotel mein jaate hain,
ya to khaane ke liye, ya kisi se milne ke liye,
ya kisi aur kaam ke liye,
jo aap hi behtar jaante hain.

Lekin mer doston main aaj aapko apna anubhav sunaata hoon
jisse sunkar aap bhi gungunaynge

THanda thanda pani
THanda thanda pani
THanda thanda pani

Main 5-Star hotel pehli baar gaya
maine dekha paani se bhara swimming pool
aaya manager, bola baithiye please sir sir sir
aapki sewa mein haazair hoon
kuch farmaiye, boliye kya aapko chahiye?

THanda thanda pani
THanda thanda pani
THanda thanda pani

Waiter bhi aaya,
aur cold drink laya,
mera sar chakraya,
bola hai kya laaya,
aur gurraya
"call the president"
staff ghabraya
jab president aaya
dekha soni soni kudi, lal sari waali aage khadi hai
madam" Kya samasya hui hai?"

ha ha ho ha ha ha ha ha

woh boli aapne bulwaya mujhe
kya problem hain sir?
kuch nahi nahi
yeh chalta rehta hai bas yun hi
nahi nahi sir
hum hotel ki taraf se aapse maafi maangte hai
confession bhi karte hai
kya aapko chahiye?

THanda thanda pani
THanda thanda pani
THanda thanda pani

Paani maine piya aur bola shukriya
madam ne bhi yeh bola please aate rahhiyega
hamari iss bhool ko bhool jaayiega
love tata maine kiya aur vaada bhi kiya
phir nikla hotel se dheere dheere
thinking madam madam,
thinking madam madam,
thinking madam madam

yaad mujhe aaya maine poocha nahi naam
maine chhi chhi chhi kyun poocha nahi naam
kaise bhul gaya main, kaise bhul gaya main
maine ek ladki ka naam nahin poochha
freinds yeh sunenge aur hasenge
kahenge" oh what a shame yaar!
tune ek ladki ka naam nahin poochha"

rib bab bab ribbabba rib bib bib ba ba
rib bab bab ribbabba rib bib bib ba ba
rib bab bab ribbabba rib bib bib ba ba

bhag kar main phir dobara gaya hotel
seedha madam ka "Presidents Room"
aur zor se chillaya
Madam aapka naam kya hain?
Madam ne bhi dekha mere maathe ka paseena
boli naam bhi bataoongi,
pehle kuch lenge aap??

THanda thanda pani
THanda thanda pani
THanda thanda pani