Browsing All Posts filed under »Music: Indian Cinema«

Happy 90th birthday, Lata Mangeshkar!

September 28, 2019


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: The singer’s greatness is taken for granted (and rightly so), but is the “Lata era” still a thing? Or is it just for older listeners and nostalgists? Hema Mangeshkar. After 90 years, the name doesn’t just sound off, it sounds wrong, like calling a rainbow a […]

The contentious nature of the National Awards

April 14, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Musings on the country’s most prestigious film awards – and this is not about whether X deserved to win over Y. Another year. Another set of arguments over the National Awards. For instance: Did Sridevi deserve Best Actress? Indeed, under normal circumstances, would her performance in […]

A king and his times

May 21, 2016


Looking back at the Ilayaraja era, which began forty years ago, with the release of ‘Annakili’ on 14 May, 1976. So Ilayaraja’s music and I, we’re both in our forties. This doesn’t mean that his is the only music I grew up with. The songs on radio and television came from the 60s, 50s, sometimes […]

Master of Arts

October 17, 2014


Kamal Haasan talks about how music came into his life. And dance. And everything else. Baradwaj Rangan listens. Forget the actor. That was the brief. After fifty years of acting, that’s the only facet of Kamal Haasan people think about. Sometimes, maybe, they think of Kamal Haasan the writer or Kamal Haasan the director. But […]

Coming soon…

October 6, 2014


Other links related to this book: Reviews… The launch…

I candy

September 17, 2014


Thoughts on AR Rahman’s gloriously fun and wholly individual soundtrack for the new Shankar film. You know that familiar Tamil-cinema contrivance where a prisoner in handcuffs is being led away in a police van, and the van stops at a crossing, and the prisoner looks around furtively and sees a chance, and as the cops […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Highway robbery… or happenstance?”

February 28, 2014


A few days after the release of Imtiaz Ali’s wonderful new film, the Internet is abuzz with accusations of plagiarisation. But is that really the case? I liked Imtiaz Ali’s Highway a lot, and when rumours began cropping up on the Internet that the film was a copy of The Chase – a 1994 action-comedy […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Poems, with beats and a great tune…”

January 31, 2014


Vairamuthu’s Padma Bhushan honour is a reminder (if any were needed) that the lyrics written for films are sometimes on par with the best poetry. We all read prose, some of us write prose, but when it comes to poetry, we excuse ourselves from the table, suddenly remembering something more important. I don’t think it’s […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Dancing about architecture”

October 11, 2013


Thoughts on the background score in the movies, and the difficulty in writing about them. One kind of response you get used to as a critic is the but-how-could-you-not-mention… This usually comes from aggrieved fans of an actor who is not mentioned in the review (or mentioned only in passing, in a pair of parentheses […]

The last of a kind

May 27, 2013


A tribute to TM Soundararajan, the voice of a generation. To know why TM Soundararajan, TMS, was the last representative of a certain kind of playback singer, you’ll first have to consider that he rose to fame in an era where not everyone could become a playback singer – not even if you had a […]

‘What else can I do?’

May 2, 2013


AR Rahman isn’t in the mood to talk about his music for ‘Maryan,’ but about everything else he’s happy to hold forth. AR Rahman seems to like having his picture taken. He’s seated at the edge of a couch in one of the many small office rooms at his Kodambakkam studio, and the harsh lights […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “A fanciful notion of what’s real”

January 25, 2013


The question around the underwhelming ‘Les Misérables’ isn’t how realistic a musical should be but whether musicals need be realistic at all. Mere days after Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Les Misérables was festooned with Academy Award nominations, it has sailed onto our shores – but this isn’t the first time Victor Hugo’s novel was set […]

Bitty Ruminations 73 – Aaha kaadhal

January 6, 2013


Every time we trot out the melody-is-dead argument, there comes a number that’s nothing but melody, effusive swirls of it, and seduces us into endless-loop listening. I love how Nandini Srikar sings this song, with its profusion of La and Zha words — she touches on them just enough, without turning into an didactic schoolmarm […]

‘My films are not star vehicles’

October 13, 2012


Chatting with filmmaker Vasanth about rule-breaking, lyrics, and the music of his forthcoming feature about three people and three love stories. At one point during our conversation where we try to fix up a time that works for both of us, the filmmaker Vasanth ends up sounding slightly sheepish. Tuesday, 3 pm, I say. He […]

‘I call it the Raja genre’

June 16, 2012


The soundtrack of ‘Neethane En Ponvasantham’, which has been picked up for a record price, is due on July 1. Gautham Vasudev Menon talks to Baradwaj Rangan about working with Ilayaraja for the first time. There’s something Quentin Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly magazine about Martin Scorsese. “If I say [his] movies are getting kind of […]

Yesterday Once More

November 14, 2011


A tribute to a golden era of music was a treat for lovers of nostalgia, even if lovers of music were left wanting more. Towards the end of her tribute to the songs of Lata Mangeshkar, titled Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh, Sadhna Sargam brought in a note of self-effacement. “It’s really tough to sing her […]

The Rahman Effect

October 8, 2011


After nearly 20 years in the business, is the Mozart of Madras likely to be concerned by the reactions to ‘SuperHeavy’ and ‘Rockstar’? We think not.

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “Regions of Disinterest”

August 26, 2011


Despite a multitude of regional-language channels, we’re largely clueless about other cinema in India.

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The Resounding of Music”

August 19, 2011


Why do we remember stars through their songs – and sometimes only through their songs?

The Biscuit Shakers

July 29, 2011


English-speaking Hindi filmmakers are mangling the film song beyond recognition – not that there’s anything wrong with that.