Sunday, December 9, 2012

Life of PI (3D) - Beautifully Crafted !!

After a long time, here is a movie that is really simple in its storyline and yet has a powerful impact because of the style of narration and visual effects. I would strongly recommend you to watch it for those light moments which are so simple yet really deep.

Here are some of the wonderfuin moments:

Pondicherry has been described exactly the way it is. Anybody who has spent a reasonable amount of time in Pondicherry would be able to relate to the description of "Southern France" on one side and "the Indian Pondicherry" on the other...

Piscine Molitor Patel
The idea of an Indian being named on a French swimming pool itself is reason enough for a good laugh ! Adding on to the humor is the resemblance of the name with 'Pissing'. The moments in school are wonderfully shot.

'Piscine Molitor Patel' to 'Pi Patel'
The humiliaiton from his name drives 'Piscine' to rename himself as 'Pi'. He links his name to the mathematic number for 22/7 (~3.14). He introduces himself in as creative a fashion as he could have in each of the classes. The maths class introduction surely deserves a mention - he wins the hearts of his fellow classmates when he writes the entire sequence of decimals that follow '14' in Pi (3.14).

Catholic Hindu !
Pi's encounters with religion throw some very important questions.. Is religion the only way to God and if so, which religion is right?. Adding to that complexity is 33 million Gods in Hinduism. His introductions with Krishna, Jesus and Allah are nicely captured in simple moments.

Introduction of Richard Parker
The movie would not have been complete without the character of Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger. Be it the first encounter with Pi or the ensuing battle of survival in the pacific, the bengal tiger adds a new dimension to the whole story. And the description of how he got his name is funny too.

Fully lit pacific
This is one of the scenes in the film that would linger in your minds for a long time. It is one of those long nights on the ocean and the midnight ocean is as calm as a new born baby. The oceanic creatures illuminate the bed of the ocean just like billboards in 'Times square' in NY. This moment is exceptionally captured and you are left with the feeling of wanting to be there.

There are many more exquisite moments which leave an impression on you and also make you think long after you leave the theater.. Whether you watch it in 3D or 2D (i've watched both!!), this movie is certainly not to be missed.

Actors: Suraj Sharma (Pi), Irfan Khan (Adult Pi), Tabu (Pi's mother), Rafe Spall


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Strings and Indian Ocean @ Esplanade, Singapore - Live Concert

This was my first concert in Esplanade Concert Hall. And i must say that the moment you enter the auditorium, you are spellbound by the architecture. It pumps up the adrenaline even before the show begins... I did attend the 'Sufi Gospel Project' in the open air theatre. That was an awesome performance too.

All these events were part of 'KalaaUtsavam - Indian Festival of Arts' - A wonderful compilation of Indian music and art. I attended only 2 events ('Sufi Gospel Project' and Strings/Indian Ocean) and both of them were outstanding.

Back to the live concert of Strings and Indian Ocean.

My room mate had booked tickets right in the center on the ground floor - it was possibly the best place to sit in the whole auditorium. The atmosphere was electrifying. I was reminded of the Yanni concert at Bell Center, Montreal.

I have been listening to Indian Ocean for more than ten years now and it has been a dream to attend one of their live concerts. Today was the day of fulfillment.

Rahul Ram (Guitar and Vocals) first arrives with his famous 'sadhu like' beard and introduces the band. He makes good fun of Amit Kilam (Drums and Vocals). Susmit Sen, the Guitar maestro is the calm and composed lead guitarist.
Asheem Chakravarty's death in 2009 indeed gave a blow to the band as they had lost their lead vocalist. The depth in his vocals in Kandisa can never be re-created. In the concert, his vocals were done by Himanshu Joshi and Tabla by Tuheen Chakravarty.

And then, they started.. Ma Rewa, Kandisa and the instrumentals by Amit Kilam stunned the audience. Although Joshi tried to do his best, he could not match Asheem's vocals in Kandisa. 

Even those who were listening to them for the first time were amazed at the mix of folk and rock. We had hardly heard five songs when they gave way to Strings, the rock band from Pakistan.

Both these are so distinct in their genre. Indian Ocean is more of a folk-rock, sufism based band whereas Strings is a traditional pop band.

Strings too played some of the audiences' favorite like Dur and others. The ones in the front row were on their toes most of the time..

The grand finale was a joint performance by both Strings and Indian Ocean. This was the first public performance of the song. It is about India-Pakistan and the sentiments of 'aam Janta' on either side of the border.

I am thoroughly satisfied with the performance of Indian Ocean, although i would have liked them to play more.. But, i guess, that feeling would have persisted irrespective of the length of the concert.

I really cannot wait until their next performance !!!