The Water Cooler
  • Today is Rahul Dev Burman's 72nd birth anniversary, and if you are tuned in, you will hear almost all his big hits on radio and television special shows.

    You will also hear interviews with people who knew him and worked with him. These annual tributes give us an opportunity to hear his songs as they were originally recorded (and not remixed), but they have also become a bit of a ritual. The uncritical praise is now so predictable you might be tempted to skip the shows even if you were a RD Burman fan.

    Perhaps it is time we asked why some music lovers consider Pancham, as he was called, an intelligent innovator but an artistic failure. Sceptics of his music exist, even if their voices are drowned out in the din about his greatness. As for the media, we find it easier to locate people who say respectful things than people who would stick their necks out and talk about how a successful artiste's work is flawed.

    Two years ago, I attended a film-screening organised by RMIM

    Read More »from Any RD Burman sceptics out there?
  • The Unsound of Music Part 2

    In continuation of our 2-part series on some music greats whose lives came to an abrupt, tragic halt, here's part 2. Part 1 of this 2-part series can be found here.

    Janis Joplin - Jan 19, 1943 - Oct 4, 1970

    Janis JoplinThe seventies can be accused of being the cruelest decade in the world of music. To add to the list of musicians whose lives ended in their 20s, there's Janis Joplin. Known for her quirky wardrobe and hairdos as much as for her music, this Queen of Rock and Roll finds mention in the best of the All Time Great lists.

    Her wild and wanton ways provided much grist for her musical endeavours, and she was a known heroin addict and alcoholic. Many female artistes have tried to copy her bluesy vocals, with little success. In those years itself, she was allegedly shooting about $200 worth of heroin everyday. She was found dead by her bed by her manager, with the official cause of death being cited as an overdose of heroin.

    Nick Drake  - Jun 19 1948 - Nov 25 1974

    Prolific songwriter and

    Read More »from The Unsound of Music Part 2
  • The Unsound of Music Part 1

    Two years after Michael Jackson's death, there are still no answers - no concrete ones, anyway. There's endless speculation, skeletons continue to tumble out of the closet and in the most ironic of twists, the estate of MJ is raking in posthumous profits - lack of money was something that plagued him in his final years, with Neverland foreclosed, debts that kept on mounting and the out-of-court settlements on pedophilia lawsuits that left him almost bankrupt.  He wasn't the only troubled entertainer in the world of music, though - the history of music is laden with many troubled souls who made beautiful music but turned to drugs or suicide to end what seemed to be lives not worth living. Here are some whose legacies live on in their music.

    Elvis PresleyElvis Presley: Jan 8, 1935 - Aug 16, 1977

    The man who gave leather pants and sideburns 'sexy' status, this original 'rebel' died at the age of 42 owing to prescription drug abuse. For someone who'd tasted wild success in his career, could hold the

    Read More »from The Unsound of Music Part 1
  • AR Rahman had good reason to thank the rain gods after his concert in Bangalore on Sunday (May 29, 2011) . The last time he was in this city, a downpour had ruined his show. That was 2005. Six years on, as he performed at Palace Grounds again, he was able to pull off a show that was spectacular in a Bollywood-awards-nite sort of way. It rained heavily a day after his show; the rain gods had indeed been kind to him and his fans.

    The show, organised by the UF Group, was scheduled at 7 pm, but got off to a start half an hour late. Rahman made a grand entry as an instrumental medley of some of his older themes was played (Roja, Duet, Bombay). He then launched into Tere bina from the film Guru, following it up with Dil se re from Dil se, saying a customary local-flavour greeting ('Chennagiddeera?' in Kannada, in this case) to acknowledge the 10,000-strong crowd.

    The cheering came from the packed and overflowing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 sections, where fans had to stand. The Rs 2,000 section

    Read More »from More razzmatazz than rock: A R Rahman in Bangalore
  • In the Land of Power and Money

    Today morning, Dominique Strauss-Khan, currently embroiled in a sex attack case, resigned from his role as the IMF head honcho, following unrelenting global pressure to quit. Touted to be France's presidential candidate during next year's elections and as some say, chief opponent to Nicolas Sarkozy, whose star seems to be on the wane, this imposing man was nicknamed 'The Great Seducer' for his ability to see any kind of 'deal' to its very end.

    Post the sexual assault allegations, two women from his past have come up with their own stories of abuse and involvement - one woman, then a 21-year-old, and the godchild of his second wife, claims she was invited to his house on some flimsy pretext and was subjected to sexual abuse. Another, a subordinate who had an affair with him, claims he's incapable of discharging duties as the chief of an organisation as big as the IMF.

    Though these can be seen as two women cashing in on the furore, no one can argue that they can well be supplementary

    Read More »from In the Land of Power and Money
  • If it was choice that made Saudi Arabian billionaire Osama Bin Laden a terrorist, his ascension to the status of most wanted fugitive was a result of America's vacillating policies. The US, like a self-proclaimed Messiah, has long been perpetuating the values of democracy propagating its ideals beyond their boundaries. In theory, this way-too generous attitude of Uncle Sam sounded perfect. But in an attempt to create the so-called free societies, many of their missions did derail, failing their calculations, often ending up in catastrophes.

    Insurgencies and revolts against the ruling power had been there since centuries. But in the past couple of decades, it has spread across the globe at an alarming rate like cancer. The catalytic evolution of Mujahideens - which started as an upheaval against the communist regime of Afghanistan and the occupant Soviet forces to what we see as today's al-Qaeda has surpassed imagination. It has a new face and new mission now. Today it's not something

    Read More »from Osama: A Frankenstein’s monster created by the US


(137 Stories)

Columnist Profiles

Follow Us on Facebook