Pick This Flick 17:Paanch  

Posted by Praveen in ,

With respect to hindi filmdom, 2009 has been the year of Anurag Kashyap. The release of Dev D and the much delayed Gulaal ensured that there was no talk of competition. People were glad to be liberated from the clutches of larger than life movies and big production houses headed by eunuchs. The new age winner version of the loser Devdas and the red pride of the Rajputs were enough to prove this man's class. But there was one thing which saddened his fans. Kashyap's first movie 'Paanch' which was completed at the turn of the millennium was still lying in the cans thanks to the censor board which thought it will corrupt the young Indians. And so it was a surprise when a preview copy of the movie surfaced in torrent sites during the second week of this month. The uploader also added that the movie was given to him by Kashyap himself. There must be some truth in this considering the fact that he was bound to get frustrated due to the long wait for clearance and might have wanted his fans to see the movie.

At the outset, let me make it clear that 'Paanch' doesn't glorify violence. On the contrary, its a take on the futility of crime. Also, there's no in your face violence, the pools of blood or the manufactured gore. All you get to see is the atmosphere. 4 guys and 1 girl, members of a rock band, living, jamming, drinking, fighting and smoking in a shady godown. In the room, you see wall graffiti , Jim Morrison posters, beheaded dolls with red ink splashed all over, empty bottles and much more. The 5 live a wasted life and each moment passes with thoughts on how to waste the next moment. They live bang in the middle of Mumbai city, where people are busy every minute of their lives and yet these five waste day after day. They may be outcasts or they may have chosen to remain so. Nothing is said about the backgrounds. They dream of making it big as rockstars and the only thing that is holding them back is lack of money. And thats exactly where the problem starts.

Luke played by Kay Kay Menon is the centre point of it all. My respect for Kay Kay which was already at its heights breached all limits after watching this performance. There are moments that he will scare the hell out of you. Its such a well-etched character, a man powered by greed, ruled by his anger bone and totally unpredictable. The graffiti on his door reads "Tresspassers will be beheaded". Those scenes were he fools his friends into thinking that he's in a fit of rage when he's not, are pure class. And when he actually gets into a fit of rage, you will just stare with an open mouth. Then there's Aditya Srivastava playing Murgi, the same guy who played the cunning Karan in Gulaal. He seems to be the most sensible of the lot. Pondy is the perpetually scared guy who does whatever Luke tells him. His attempts to break free only lands in him more trouble. Joy is the perfect 'chamcha' who supports anything Luke does(including murder) thinking that he's a true friend. And then there's Shuli played by Tejaswini Kolhapure, the ultra modern girl who lives in with four guys and smokes and drinks with them. Its a surprise that this talented lady hasn't acted in many movies after this.

The story is loosely based on the Joshi Abhyankar serial killings that happened in Pune in the 1970s. The first killing is a result of Luke's uncontrolled rage. Its a classic scene where the act is hidden from us. The camera focusses on Luke in all his fury and the rest of the four looking horrified. Only a distant shot of the act is shown in between. Luke casts a scary spell on all of them and they all become accidental criminals. Each passing scene subtly indicates that, the fivesome are getting used to the cycle of violence and at some point they are even hungry for more. Its a cycle into which any alienated soul in any of our metro city can fall into. Sky high ambitions, joblessness, greed, envy, all can lead a slightly frustrated youth into this downward spiral. And no, dont expect the movie to provide any lasting solutions. Its just a document of what can possibly happen or what has already happened, with a little bit of thriller element thrown in. The narration at the police station adds to the drama. The eerie background score by Vishal Bharadwaj, with techno and rock elements increases the tension in the scenes.

Though made almost a decade back, it doesn't have that dated look. But it was made at a time when 'being bad' was not in fashion, unlike today. What really baffles me is why the censors have prevented this movie's release. Reportedly, they demanded some unkind cuts and Kashyap saab said 'NO'. I really dont understand the attitude of the censor board. Obviously headed by some outdated brains with heavy orthodox sensibilities, the board is doing a disservice to movie buffs by preventing the release of such movies. We are bombarded with trash movies on illicit relationships and what not, and here's a movie which sits out for no reason at all. Agreed there's strong language, but dont many of us use it in real life? Also, killings like this happen every day around us. What does we achieve then by preventing the depiction of those realities in our movies? Does denying the existence of such maliciousness around us serve to eradicate it? And do you really think that a person watching a murder on screen will get inspired and go out and kill somebody? what is the purpose of such mindless censoring, its time for a rethink. Censorship of this kind doesn't suit a democracy like us.

So...Download Paanch...kick the censors..

your crusader Praveen

Porcupine Tree: Live in IIT Bombay  

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Steven Wilson- 'way out of here'

Note-All pics taken in my LG mobile cam...

Porcupine Tree is a band which I fell in love with 2 years back, after my old band's bassie Mahadevan handed me a cd of all their albums till date. Me being a heavy metal addict and not much of a progressive rock fan, I never heard even the name of this band before that. But that day changed it all. Once I finished with my first set of 20 odd songs, I was sure that those who classified them as progressive rock was not giving full credit to the band. Most of their songs were so refrshingly different that each of them could find mention under different genres. Though am not much of a genre classification fan, I would say they are turely genre benders. Last year, I added their name amongst bands which I wanted to see live. And so when IIT Bombay announced that PT is gonna headline this year's annual fest, I was sure I'll be there.

So, we 4(me, Raja, Nikhil, Sabarish) set out from Bangalore on Dec 18 Friday and reached Mumbai on 20th night after a short trip of Pune and Lonawala(detailed photo posts on those trips coming soon). Unlike usual rock fests, this one was on a monday, thus making sure that I maintain my zero leave balance. We got into the venue after some serious adventures and altercations with the organisers, about which I'll write at the end of this post. Thanks to a strict rule, I had to keep my camera outside in safe custody of my friend Meenu, who's studying there. And thanks to her, we could fill up our stomachs as we waited in the long queue. By the time we got in, all the opening bands had got over and Parikrama was half way through their set. My sincere thoughts on them is that the vocalist Nitin Malik should refrain from opening his mouth when he's not singing. He has this quality of rubbing the crowd the wrong way with his tongue(no pun intended :P ). The crowd which was waiting for PT had welcomed them with 'BC,MC' chants. It was understandable and he should've kept his cool. Anyway, thanks to the brilliant violinist Imran Khan and guitarist Sonam Sherpa, they did put up a good show. By the end of their show, we were slowly moving ahead in the crowd. Dead centre front being our destination..(special mention-Guitarist Sonam sherpa's T shirt with SC-ST printed in AC-DC font)

Time flies

Wilson at arm's length...no zoom used..

The venue was very small for a concert of such magnitude. And the crowd also numbered to less than 7000, partly owing to it being a monday. But the crowd that had turned up was no less in spirits. Chants of 'PT, PT' and 'steven, steven' were heard from all around and we also joined in. As expected everyone wanted to be in the front and this resulted in many people being jammed against the front barricade. The atmosphere was heating up with anticipation as the stage was being setup for PT. And then suddenly it all went dark and the crowd let out a loud cheer. The strains of 'occam's razor', the opening track of Porcupine Tree's new album 'The Incident' were heard. In came Steven Wilson and his band of British rockers. Magic was set in motion. They followed it up with the 2nd track from incident 'Blind house'. For a minute, we thought they are gonna play the whole album in its entirety. The next song 'The sound of muzak', describing the fall in standards and the hypocrisy prevalent in modern music, put to rest any such thoughts. The old classics began to flow. And then there was this funny scene of the organisers unnecessarily unleashing cops amongst the crowd. They behaved like jokers there and normalcy settled in once they left. 'Hatesong' was going on then.

Then came 'Time flies', my favourite from the new album. Wilson perched himself on a chair and strummed on his acoustic. As the lyrics went 'I was born in '67, the year of sgt. pepper', we realised this guy's 42. But he looked so young that he could pass off as a college student. 'Lazarus' was one of the highlights of the concert with almost the whole crowd singing with him. It was heaven to listen to those sublime keyboard work from Barbieri. A little known fact is that opeth's vocalist mikael akerfeldt has sung backing vocals for the original track. As the song concluded, my friend remarked, 'i was tripping on the song'. It couldn't have been said better. A writeup on this concert is not complete without a mention of the visuals in the background. Some songs had visuals exclusively made for concert and some had the actual music videos projected on the screen. The most notable among the videos was the one of 'way out of here', about 2 gals who were fans of porcupine tree and got crushed under a train while they were taking pics on the rail. Many of the videos were mysterious and confusing but just watching those were sheer pleasure. The only problem was concentrating on the artists and the video at the same time. By this time, we were right in front, hanging on the barricade. Steven wilson was at a hand's length as he came right to the edge of the stage a couple of times. His eyes glowed like those of a saint's as he sang those profound lyrics. Infact, lyrics is one of the highlights of the 'PT' experience. Also suprising was the scene of him playing barefoot.

Most of the familiar songs like 'blackest eyes', 'open car', 'start of something beautiful' and 'russia on ice' were played. Two stalwarts whom I didn't mention till now are drummer Gavin Harrison and bassist Colin Edwards. Precise,complex,thumping...these are words that fit both of them. But they were at their unassuming best and all happy that Wilson was in the limelight. Rhythm guitarist John wesley also did a great job. In between the old classics, the band mixed some more new tracks like 'octane twisted' and 'the seance'. I was surprised that there were many who sang almost all lyrics perfectly, especially one beautiful girl standing behind me. At the end of these songs, they stopped abruptly, said thanks and left. And as expected they were back for the encore, which was surely THE best part of the concert. As Wilson played the evergreen 'Trains', the crowd roared in delight. It was followed up with a mindblowing rendition of 'halo'. And that was the end..Impressed by the crowd, Wilson said they'll be back pretty soon. Yes, we are waiting... If you still haven't listened to porcupine tree, do it right now...

about the organisers- Frankly speaking, I haven't seen a more arrogant bunch of organisers at any of the rock fests in India. We reached there at 4 15 PM to exchange our print outs with tickets and they coolly told us that they wont let us in since we are late. They told us about their rule that passes wont be given after 4PM. This, after we had already paid money online for 3 tickets, thats 3000 bucks. We begged to him, telling him how we came there 1000km away from Bangalore after taking 2 leaves. The arrogant guy asked us such stupid questions like, "why cant you take more leave and come early?", "if you love the band so much, why cant you sacrifice your time for them", "we gave you enough time". For about 30 minutes, we had a big fight. He even went to the extent of saying that we wont even get our money back. Losing all my temper, I called him an MF. But as it happens usually when you are losing your temper, it all came out in malayalam. Anyway, he got the message and he was shouting to the security to throw me out. Thankfully they didn't. More losers of his ilk showed up to tell us we wont be let in. By then, more people having the same problem gathered there. Then the main organiser, an young lady tried to cool down the situation by offering to sign in all the sheets and let us in. And, there comes another bloody loser advising her not to jump into trouble. After so many such negotiations, they let us in late through the VIP entry. A big thanks to those sensible souls among the organisers. And a big finger to the bespectacled guy wearing an Iron Maiden t shirt who seemed to have shitted his senses off during his last visit to the loo. Guys, its ok if you dont respect your guests. But atleast dont mistreat. These are the things you should learn in nursery, not in IIT. Better take some of those lessons now. To end it all, thanks to those wonderful guys at IIT Bombay who made this landmark concert happen. Barring this ticket fiasco and the late admission of the crowd, it was a well conducted rock fest.. CHEERS!

your crusader Praveen

The last song  

Posted by Praveen in

a tragic love story...
***************The last song************
You came, out of nowhere
taking me by surprise
I wondered silently,
where u been hiding ,all this while?

I was in a heavenly bliss
as it grew between us.
You slowly started to invade,
my thoughts and my secret dreams.

I fell for you, and you for me
knowing full well, its not gonna end well.
I waited for each day to rise,
to hear your call of 'my sunshine'.

those few days, time came to a halt
as we lived this lovely dream.
moments to cherish, moments to laugh
life never seemed so good.

we were like two perfect notes,
so in harmony
And creating a wonderful symphony
Never was there an odd note.

the mountain air ran with us,
the waves danced with us,
the starfishes smiled with us,
we seemed to be God's chosen ones.

Then it came as an unseen tornado
we were left wondering what hit us.
our sand castles came crashing down,
shattered, we cried, together..

Got our dreams crushed
under the wheels of fate.
we used to complete each other,
But now our lives remain, incomplete.

Shed not tears, beloved.
we have those memories
Of those moments together
to relive and to see us through.

One of those days, down many years
we may meet, at some crossroad.
I wish, we manage to smile
And drop a silent tear.

You loved my words,
but now those very words desert me
when I need those for my best song,
a last song for you..

with love...
your crusader Praveen

The legends-Sivamani, U.Srinivas,Ustad Zakir Hussain,Shankar Mahadevan,Selvaganesh

There are some days on which nothing can go wrong. And there are some days on which just about everything goes right helped with loads and loads of luck. This Tuesday was one such day.

As me and Raja started from office on our way to Chowdaiah Hall, we were sure to lose way as we usually do when going to places in the vicinity of Palace grounds. Our luck started here. We reached there without ever losing way, at the right time for the concert. And, we were in for a shock. All the tickets except the ones for 3000 were sold out. Considering our IT beggars status and the diminishing market for 'high quality peanuts', we decided to give in to our fate and leave the venue. But something told us to stay back and roam around the venue. We looked around for ways to get in. Atlast, left with no choice we were starting to walk back when we saw a guy with some tickets at the theatre entry point.

Me- got any tickets?
the guy-yea. take this. 2000rs per ticket.
Me- No. Please give me the rs 500 tickets.
the guy- No No. You don't have to pay. Its free.
Me and Raja(with open mouths)- WHAT!!!!!!!!

Yeah, as it turned out this guy from nokia had few complimentary tickets with him. Since no one turned up, he decided to give it away for free. May God bless him! And, we ended up in a seat close to the front row with a vantage view. The stalwarts trudged in, one by one..Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, U. Srinivas, Sivamani and Selvaganesh, names which require no introduction. Once they settled in, it was pure magic for the next 2 hours. The enduring image of the Ustad and his Tabla that we've all grown used to in the TajMahal tea advertisement was here before our very own eyes. As his deft fingers churned out Wonderful Talas, the others blended in to produce those soulful melodies. Effortlessly moving from Hindustani to Carnatic, Shankar Mahadevan gave us a show of his vocal range which is never used to its fullest extent in film songs, except maybe by A.R.Rahman.

U.Srinivas who was quiet for the first session came into his own during the duet performance with Sivamani. Slides, Sweeping, Tapping, hammer on, pull off...just about every technique was on view as he moved around the tiny fretboard of the mandolin. Sivamani was his usual self using everything on view to come up with beats. Right from the suitcase to the bisleri bottles and even his own thighs. The Sivamani-Srinivas duel was a high point of the concert. Soon, the others got back to their positions and we were given no respite as we were taken from one heaven to the next. Then came the awesome solo performance of Selvaganesh on the 'Ganjira'. While in college, I've seen and tried to play with this same instrument and failed miserably at Raja's home. Then, little did I realise that this small thing had so much possibilities hidden in it. SelvaGanesh, the son of famous ghatam artist Vikku Vinayagam, proved himself to be as brilliant as the legends on stage with him. The vareity of sounds that emanated out of that should be heard to believe. Later, Zakir Hussain played 'Happy birthday' on his tabla(yea, u read it right...tabla) as it was Sivamani's 50th birthday(another unbelievable fact considering how young he looks). As Ustad Zakir started his solo performance, Sivamani left his drums and took a seat beside him and was seen watching in absolute amazement, like an obedient student. It was a sight! A master percussionist watching the Ustad in full glory.
Sivamani watching the Ustad in amazement

The end came faster than expected. And as expected we were left craving for more.
And this is exactly were our second run of luck started. Yeah, with a lot of 'perseverence', we got the autographs and clicked pics with all of them except Sivamani. Need I say more! This is my idea of a perfect day. Couldn't click much pics of the concert as Zakir bhai told the audience to refrain from clicking. I still dont understand why artists as big as him should be concerned with few people clicking and few others taking videos. Afterall, its just because they love his music and want to preserve these memories...

me and Raja with Shankar Mahadevan

with Zakr Hussain

with U.Srinivas

with Selvaganesh

your crusader Praveen

Deccan Rock Fest '09-Amon Amarth & Textures  

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Amon amarth on stage

Indian metaldom is hot and happening. Many of the top billing bands seems keen on visiting this newest addition to the metal map. And, this saturday saw 2 more additions to the growing list of international acts to have performed in India. Textures from Netherlands and 'Amon Amarth', the godfathers of viking metal from Sweden performed in Bangalore this Saturday. Titled 'Deccan Rock', the fest featured 6 Indian metal bands and the 2 headlining acts.

The fest got to a delayed start. I was supposed to shoot for the band 'Eccentric pendulum', who got a chance to open the fest after winning a competition. As the start got delayed, me, Pappu and Nikhil decided to take a walk outside in search of ATM, a loo and an eatery. Let me confess that I was the only one who was in dire need of all the 3 items. We walked on and on and on, almost 4-5 kilometres in random directions until we got all 3. And by the time we finished it all and got back to Palace grounds, 4 bands had already finished playing, including EP. Thanks to Nikhil from 'Eccentric pendulum', I managed to sneak in my camera. And it was a new experience, shooting from the midst of a pretty violent crowd. More than a dozen times, I was hit badly thanks to a non-stop moshpit just near us. And it was pretty hard to focus which is evident in the 100s of snaps I deleted.

Coming to the concert, I've n't heard much of textures or Amon prior to the concert. But I instantly liked both bands for their raw energy. Though I found headbanging to textures a tough ask considering their constantly changing beats. The star of the night for me was Johan Hegg, the vocalist of Amon amarth. With his booming bassy vocals, flowing beard and king like stance, he just stole the show. It was a night of metal mayhem that will be remembered for a long time. Only bad thing was that the headlining act got to perform only 7 songs.
Now to the pics


Amon Amarth Pics

your crusader Praveen

When news is paid!  

Posted by Praveen in ,

Imagine the scenario when the news you read are nothing but advertisements masquerading as news. What if they are paid for by people with vested interests and twisted in the way they like and printed without the mandatory 'advt' tag at the bottom? That is exactly what happened during the Maharashtra elections. Through an investigative article in the hindu, P.Sainath has pointed to this new menace. It all happened during the recently concluded Maharashtra elections when an article praising congress leader Ashok Chavan appeared in many of the regional newspapers. The story was published with the credits attributed to a 'special correspondent'. And proving his case that it indeed is paid journalism at its worst, Sainath points out that you can't have the same special correspondent writing for all these papers. More than blaming the politicians or parties, here the blame rests solely with the concerned media houses for such an act which goes against the basic tenets of journalism.

After incidents like this, how much can one trust the newspaper that you read. Barring a few of them like 'The Hindu', rest are all owned by business houses with an eye on profit. To be precise, just on profit. As fake stories become the order of the day, we will find it hard to separate the real news from the advertisement campaigns. Tomorrow, if I want, I can have a nice article written on me provided I've enough money. Newspapers are slowly becoming propaganda machines for those with fat pockets. Its almost as scary as the thought police that we all read in George Orwell's '1984'.

your crusader Praveen

[Do drop in to my photoblog for the latest updates]

The theory of improbable probabilities  

Posted by Praveen in

(also known as the theory of free interchangeability)
Warning-Can cause brain damage due to its unending possibilities...

Those who have seen Pranav Mistry's insanely brilliant presentation at this year's TED talk in Mysore will be knowing the unlimitedness of human imaginations and possibilities. His 'sixth sense' invention is one of the greatest ideas that I've heard in recent times. Viewing that video yesterday night(and with some gentle reminder from a good friend on the phone), I remembered about the 'theory of improbable probabilities' that I developed in college. Its a pity that the guys at TED missed this idea considering its far reaching implications. This theory is as flexible as the elastic of a 1995 model 95 inch VIP frenchie and can be applied in any field.

It all took birth in my elephant sized brain about 3 years back on an exam eve. As usual, we started our studies on the evening of the day before the exam after a day full of teen comedy movies. The time was past midnight. There were almost 10 of us at Raja's home. Everyone was worried about the pile of notes remaining to be read. Some were half asleep. I was staring at the ceiling. Suddenly it struck me and before thinking much more on it, I blurted it out to the world for the first time- "Guys, What if today was tomorrow and tomorrow was today? Our exams are over now...Rejoice!!!" As they say, every great mind was ridiculed during his time. Socrates was stoned, Copernicus was beaten up...same thing happened with the brilliant me. But this didn't deter me. I came up with more theories on the same line which were well recieved with brickbats. Some more on the same line...

*"What if work was salary and salary was work? We would be getting salary every day and work only at the end of the month"

*"what if land was sea and sea was land?We would've so much more space to live and in turn real estate prices will be at their minimum, say 1 rupee for 1 acre."

*"what if India was pakistan and Pakistan was India? Today would've been Kasab's 1st death anniversary and lashkar would be referred in past tense"

*"what if rock music was carnatic and carnatic was rock music? Kirk Hammet and his likes will be sitting on the floor with a guitar on their laps and M.S.Subbalakshmi would've been headbanging."

*"what if face was ass and ass was face? Everyone would be a member of assbook. And kicking ass won't be a thing which everyone can do. And the dialogue- your ass looks so awesome- wouldn't get your ass kicked"

*"what if Bal thackerey was Manmohan singh and Manmohan singh was Bal thackerey during 26/11? Nothing would change. Maximum we can expect is a useless article in his yellow saffron mag saamna"

Many more applications of this theory are there. Not posting it because of its highly adult nature. Do contribute your own ideas of this theiry :P

your crusader Praveen

Stitched shoe & human nature  

Posted by Praveen in

These days am obsessed with human nature, the way people behave differently to a particular situation. This started after watching the Charlie Kaufman movie 'Human nature', although the subject matter of the movie is entirely different. So, what do you think is the situation or object that I selected for this interesting and confusing study? Yes, its none another than my stitched woodland shoes. People who have met me might have noticed 2 ugly stitches on top of my shoes. How it came there is a story that goes back almost an year, around the time I bought the shoes. One day I woke up to see this shocking hole on top of my shoe, kept in a shoe rack. Obviously, a rat attack. Me not being a crorepati, I didn't throw away the shoes. Instead got it stitched from the cobbler. Some months later the other shoe met with the same fate. Now it started looking like an intentional stitch with both shoes sporting almost the same stitch. Anyway, my unclean shoes with those 2 stitches looks highly repulsive and doesn't like anything like an office goer's shoes.

So, let me get into how this is related with human behaviour. Its how people react when they see this particularly repulsive thing I proudly wear on my legs. When I walk along the street or stand somewhere or sit at the foodcourt, I've caught almost everyone passing me looking at the shoe. I'll classify the various reactions.

1. The slow and secret look- This is my favourite. These people strain their eyes and steal a glance at the shoe out of the corner of their eye. Some try too hard that their eyes almost go inside their ears. Some people end up with a look of contempt. Some just laugh privately at this beggar wearing a tie and listening to an ipod. These are the introvert, sometimes narrow minded people. They keep everything to themselves and form their own opinions without knowing the complete facts.

2. The In the face look- These people are mostly strangers to me. But they don't think twice before staring at the shoe and giving me 'The look'(called 'neglect look' in our local dialect spoken by a maximum of 10 people). They are the people who think themselves as perfect(while themselves wearing a torn socks or u/w) and appoint themselves to judge others.

3. The loudmouths- 'Man, what the hell are you wearing?', 'Is this professional?', 'Can't you buy a new shoe?' are some common reactions from loudmouths, mostly people I know. The trick is just to avoid the questions with a sweet smile. Its the same in everything in life. Just avoid this loudmouthed people. :)

4. The BBCs- If your mother-in-law's auntie's daughter's long lost friend rings you up and asks you about your torn shoe, chances are that your shoes have been noticed 1 minute back by a BBC(Bitching broadcasting corporation). These are the people who will tell whomever they meet about your torn shoe.

5. The straightforwards- They just ask "what happened to your shoe?", hear what you say and leave the matter behind. As simple as that.

6. The blabbermouths- They ask you about the shoe and gives you a history lesson on their own torn shoes. The talk will end with some 'gyaan' on the shoe thrown at George Bush or P Chidambaram.

People who find themselves in a classification they don't like, please forgive me. Its not your fault, its all because of my torn shoe. More studies will be done using more such objects. And now you know the reason why am still wearing that one year after it was torn. Here's a snap of the legendary shoe..

PS- I feel this is a very boring post. I was dying to write something and could come up only with this. Anyway I posted it...

your crusader Praveen

Octoberfest:motherjane,TAAQ n Indian Ocean! A Treat!  

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Octoberfest 2009, the annual rock rock fest of Bangalore modelled along the lines of the famous German Ocktoberfest was a veritable treat this time around. 23 of India's best bands were in town to give a treat to Bangaloreans over 3 days. Due to my trip to Manipal for another rock fest, I could catch only the last day of the fest. I missed out on bands like avial which played over the first 2 days. But that one evening was enough to satisfy my apetite as 3 of my all time favorite bands played on the same stage one after the other on the final evening. motherjane, Thermal And A Quarter(TAAQ) and Indian Ocean made palace grounds the place to be on oct 25 and left the audience craving for more.

I've no more words to say about motherjane. They've used up all my words with show after show of unparalleled brilliance. The story was not much different here. We, the janeheads, went with our faces half painted and wearing our custom made 'AMAJANIAC' T shirts. motherjane's following has increased manifold over the past year and it was evident from the big crowd which was there screaming out their names and singing along the lyrics. As always, it was a clinical performance peppered with their trademark friendliness and warm vibes. There were many moments when I thought of hurling the camera away and jumping to the middle of the crowd. Yes, concerts are best enjoyed when you are right in the middle of the pandemonium rather than just walking around clicking from inside the press box. Towards the end of motherjane's show, vocalist Suraj came down from the stage to meet the audience.

motherjane on stage

motherjane-suraj-chasing the sun

motherjane fans in high spirits

suraj with the crowd

The second band of the night was Thermal And A Quarter(TAAQ). Bruce Lee Mani and his funky band is easy on the airs. Be it the song that describes the life of a software engineer or the funny drinking song sprinkled with bruce's burps, they had the audience in a 'forget-everything-else-and-chill out' mood all the way. Their regular bassist was not available but the replacement guy was also as precise as a machine. A highlight of this year's fest was the visuals that accompanied each song in the background. motherjane's visuals were a shade better than the others because it was mostly exact representations of the song's theme.

TAAQ-Bruce Lee Mani

TAAQ-Rajeev Rajagopal

TAAQ-Bruce, up close


The final band of the night was Indian Ocean. From the time I heard Kandisa many years back, its been a dream to watch this socially conscious band live. And that long wait was worth it. They were missing their lead singer cum Tablist Ashim Chakravforthy rom the line up because he suffered a heart attack and was in a coma back in Qatar. His deep vocals were surely missed in this show. But the stand in vocalist and the tablist did a good job. Rahul Ram was oozing with passion as he sung his throat out and at the same time churning out those majestic bass lines. Hearing him sing the lines 'kise kaafir kahega...' from the black Friday song 'Bandeh' gave me goosebumps. Anyone who has ever heard Indian Ocean won't have any doubts on the brilliance and uniqueness of their guitarist Susmit Sen. All those legendary solos were reproduced to perfection on stage. And Amit Kilam, the drummer sometimes left his drums to play some weird percussion instrument(the name of which I dont know), most notably in the song 'maarewa'. And, he proved to be an allrounder as he played the flute in one song too. The crowd went berserk for the most popular song of theirs, 'Kandisa'. Surely this was one of the best ever nights of Indian rock in Bangalore.

Indian ocean- "Kise Kaaaafir Kahegaaaaaaaaaaa"

Indian ocean-Amit Kilam,Rahul Ram,Susmit Sen and the 2 stand in artists for Ashim

Indian ocean-Amit on the flutes, Rahul Ram taming the bass

Indian ocean-Rahul Ram...intensity personified

Indian ocean

The only bad thing was that the 'great indian rock fest' also happened on the same day at the same venue. We could hear the sounds from there when the music stopped here. And sometimes the lights too. The GIR also had a great lineup including international bands from Norway and Sweden. But it was never hard to decide which fest to attend. Yes, Indian rock is too hard to resist. And it has begun its much awaited rise...

Now to the posing part!!!I switched off the cam and gleefully posed with the stalwarts!

me,Raja,Navi and Nikhil with Bruce Lee Mani of TAAQ

me,Sanjeev Thomas(Guitarist-A.R.Rahman,Rainbow bridge),motherjane Clyde,John,Nikhil,Navi

janeheads with Amit Kilam, Indian Ocean's drummer

me,Navi,Nikhil with motherjane Baiju and Benny Dayal

Nikhil and me with Rajeev Rajagopal of TAAQ

with Indian Ocean

Sorry to bombard you with such a big collection of pics. Forgive me until the next big rock fest :)

your crusader Praveen