Saturday, July 31, 2010

Manathodu Mano - Part 2


Kilimanjaro, a duet with Javed Ali. I was quite tickled and was giggling about the lyrics. Really fun lyrics I thought. Javed Ali is a soft spoken, sweet person. And really loved his style of rendition. The session was super fun through and through. From the time I stepped in to Rahman sir's studio and recorded this song I have been praying for it. 
Its hard to describe how do I spell the "tcht tcht" in the song? Well I guess you ll know what I am trying to write about once you hear it. And that I think is my favourite portion in the song. 
I presume this is the song that was shot in Peru / Machu Pichu with all the fancy headgear. And Superstar's style - Thalaivaaaaaa!!!! I cannot wait to watch the film and scream all through the FDFS. 
I think the first ever FDFS of a film in my life was Shivaji. Cannot forget that day. Whatte-n experience. I couldn't hear a single dialogue. But that is not the point is it? All we can do is cheer and scream every time Thalaivar came on screen.
And now to wait for the film... 
Please do buy the original CDs.

Friday, July 23, 2010


the way the show came out today. One of the rarest shows where the sound came out right and I am happier as a performer. By the time I get the sound, I actually never do, most of the channels don't give me a proper monitor, neither do most of the shows that I have been a part of. I like the way somehow singers from everywhere else sit for even 2 hours, impatiently and get it done. I remember the concert in IIT, when a visibly upset Sonuji ask "Who put the monitors here" and proceeded to physically move them himself. And right then and there for the next 10-15 minutes or so, he got the sound rectified and went on with the show. I wish I can learn that from him. I always used to think if I asked too many times then the sound engineers will get pissed and screw it all up, so I ll grin and bear it. And will always be dissatisfied with how the sound turned out. I must probably learn to do that in some studios while recording too. I haven't got the guts to ask for what I am entitled to yet. Anyway, just got a tweet from someone which said I am going to be in 3 channels over the next week. Star Plus, Sun TV and Jaya TV. 
Also read an article that language seems to be one of the biggest topics of discussion on the sets of Chote Ustaad. Small wonder there, especially with Omi and I. We are giving everyone nice gags :D

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Manadhodu Mano

with me as the guest will be telecast tomorrow on Jaya TV. It was quite a demonstration of most of the songs that I have sung and also there was this point in the show when Mano sir asked what is it that I wanted to share about my life. I also finally got to say what I really felt about Rahman sir and how that opportunity was to me. Rahman sir, at the time when he gave me Kannathil Muthamittaal showed us the beacon of hope, like a farishta, lit a path when there was only mai iruttu around. So many times I have spoken of my mother. So many times have I been criticized, called names by comments in this very blog by anonymous dumb-behinders who so easily type whatever comes to their minds. Time and again am I reminded of what Sri Bhimsen Joshi said a couple of decades ago on this Marathi show called Chehra Aani Mukhavata (In Marathi, means the face and the profile. FYI - I grew up in Mumbai, my early childhood was spent there and at that point in time I could speak no other language other than Marathi and some Hindi. Of course a lot of people told me that I should have publicized this, jocularly, so that I could have become more popular ... hehe. I also wonder how my grandmother understood me. She spoke no English/Marathi/Hindi. Only Tamizh...well that's for a different post) wherein, he said if someone had to walk the path that he had, gone through the experiences that he had, the jagged stones and thorns that were laid out to him,  then no one would ever want to be him and even remotely wish to live his life.
And the very same way if someone had to have gone through what my mother had or what sometimes, I got a glimpse of while peeping through the shield that she had become, once in a while, I am not sure if I could have withstood all that. Some day and perhaps some day soon, I shall write about the life of this lady who had the gumption. This lady who is my mother. Very few people I know have that gumption. About the people she met. About the people she met, no thanks to my career and the blows she had to take.
Yes, time and again and again, I would ask, if I were given one wish, I would change the 18 years of struggle my mother went through. I would change her life.
Because like one of the music directors I worked with said, the only way that someone can disturb you is when they can hit out at your family member. Especially the one they think are closest to you. Are most important to you.
So here is my word out to you. When someone makes a family member of yours a target, remember the actual target is you. Not them. And if you have a talented child in your family and you want to take them to glory (parent/sibling/anyone else) - remember the world is not out there to spread the red carpet out for you. And if you are plain-speaking and the no-nonsense type, it is going to be tougher.
We have walked out of a lot of places which no longer walked their talk. At the end of the day, like my mother says I stand in front of God with a clear conscience. I can still sleep well (That is, if I am not too excited to sleep that is.. :)) I can look anyone in the eye, honestly and challenge them for what is righteous. Even if God had to stand in front of me, I can fight with him. That is if I want to fight. A lot of us read that nice guys finish last. Maybe. Maybe not. But that is a life that is worth living.
To everyone who is fighting a battle, keep the faith. Like Rahman sir showed us the light, there will be someone for you too. Keep the faith and may God bless you.

An award and a nomination

Won Best Female Playback Singer award for Varayo at the Isaiaruvi awards. Happened to perform there as well. Since this was all over Twitter and was also published in papers I thought I might as well publish it here.
Have also been nominated at the Filmfare, my second nomination after Sahana. The other nominees are Rita for Allegra, Suchitra for Oru Chinna Thamarai, Harini for Hasili Fisili and Shreya Ghoshal for Oru Vetkam.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hosting Chote Ustaad on Star Plus

The show starts beaming from July 24. The Judges being Sonu Nigaam, a singer and a performer that I have admired from the time I was in school and the legendary Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab. 
Right now you must be thinking that Anandha Vikatan got it right. Or maybe they were an oracle. This show and my going there got discussed in finality and confirmed as of 5 days ago and all that I knew was I had to take the next flight to Mumbai for a day. And thanks to jet flights, I go in the morning and come back in the night once work is over to my own home in Chennai. 
The show has kids from Pakistan and India participating and am amazed at the talent and more importantly the attitudes and the mindset of the children there. An ocean of difference from lots of kids that I have seen so far. Also for the first ever time, or maybe its the way Sri Gajendra Singh functions, I saw everything on paper, on what will happen when, a proper run order and a discussion with the directors thankfully a day before the show and there are no surprises. A lot more methodology, discipline and professionalism in the way of functioning. Work starts on time. Nothing is forced and the kids are just the way they are. The kids definitely have the tameez as they say and I am seeing the genuine respect to music and they are there for the sake of music. Not for anything else. Also did not see contestant badmouthing the judges, as I have seen before. Which was also telecast I guess. Not for cars and houses and money. And more than anything else, I love the concept of the jodi between a Pakistani child and an Indian child as a team making up 10 teams altogether, thereby ingraining the message of brotherhood and love in them through music. As I left Mumbai, I read a quote by Raahat Khan Sahab in the newspaper which said that Pakistan has too much terrorism to encourage budding musical talent and that he is glad that the opportunity to showcase them is given by India. After meeting the kids, I wonder why any country would do, indulge in, or promote practices (I think if something like terrorism is not nipped in its bud by any country then they are indirectly encouraging it) that would actually adversely affect the future of their own children, their own future. And every parent of these kids in the show says that perhaps through this show, through music, the message of unity and brotherhood will come through. What better way can there be when the messengers of peace are children? I, like all others that dream, wish for that peace, hope and love for all the children starting from Kashmir to Pakistan to Afghanistan to anywhere were guns are louder than the laughter of happy children. 
As a singer, as a musician I am getting to hear so much of music that I have not heard before and I see that most of the really popular Hindi songs are all borrowed from the traditional tunes of India. 
My co-host on the show is Omi Vaidhya, better known as Chatur Ramalingam of 3 Idiots and he is a total riot. He brings an element that is absolutely ingenious in a show like this.
Sonu ji gave me several pointers on presentation and how to go about certain things in the process. Loved listening to him in those few minutes I got. 
When the judges go about explaining a lot of things to the contestants, I am learning along with them. In addition to so many musical ideas my vocabulary in Hindi and Urdu is growing. Urdu is one of my favorite languages to listen to. It has a mellow and lovely sound. In addition I am getting to listen to Rahat Sahab and Sonu ji sing a lot which, for me as a rasika, is beautiful to experience. 
The show will go on for only about 12 weeks. By the end of 10 days of total work, I know I ll be a completely different person. Richer in experience. And God willing, richer in Music.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Performed at

The Tanjavur Brhadeeshwara temple yesterday. I had visited the town a few weeks ago for another performance and was told to go and visit the Vaaraahi Sannidhi at the temple. I was given to understand that the Chola king always sought her permission before embarking on anything new and also, legend has it that he was cursed to not enter the temple through the main gate and had to use an alternate entrance by which he visited the Goddess first. (Correct me if I am wrong though). I had gone there and the Pujari at the sannidhi said they had looking for my contact details to arrange a concert during Aashad Navaratri. Right then and there the concert was fixed and the said concert happened last evening. Had been looking forward to this and sitting right there in the temple premises and singing was an experience that I will cherish. 
I sang a few Abhangs and Bhajans in addition to a few Tamil compositions and somehow the locals sat through the entire rendition of about 2 1/2 hours +. I did my bit of explaining what the lyrics meant and somehow, I experienced the fact that music really does not know language and the thought is communicated regardless of anything.
I would think of so many things to ask before I went to a temple but once I step in, I forget the list I make. The last time I went there I was given a special darshan of the Gopuram. It just happened somehow. I guess that is where I count my blessings. 
There are times in our lives where, in spite of all the everything that happens in and around us, a sense of nothingness and emptiness does envelop our being. Not in a melancholy sort of a way but I find it hard to explain this. As I went in for the Darshan before the concert yesterday, I got an SMS from a friend who arranges tours in the Himalayan regions of a trip planned and this is the one thing that is still elusive. I yearn to go to the Himalayas and somehow it just does not materialize. Dates clash with professional commitments. And my Himalayan sojourn gets pushed once again. Wonder when the mountain Gods will hear me out.
But for now, I am thankful for the graces bestowed on me.
To you, the reader, I wish for you that you be happy. Truly.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Had quite an amazing time there. I guess more than anything else I had made one of my first trips with a group to a certain destination. Its amazing how you learn things from someone who would have been a total stranger and over the course of a few hours, if you have a mind open enough and ears as well, to listen and truly listen, there is a lot that one can learn. Something that I have learned from my mom and Rahman sir time and again. To keep our hearts and minds open and not draw all these imaginary lines with "this cannot be done", "that cannot be done" and stuff like that. This was reinforced yesterday when I met Suresh Sambandam of Orange Scape, Pravin Shekhar of Krea and Samuel Eddy. Kiruba Shankar has been a mentor of sorts over the years and he has an amazing knack of getting people together and we become the sole beneficiaries and Kribs becomes, like Lakshmi Pratury said at TEDxBlr yesterday, a millionaire of moments. 
Its also amazing how much you can learn from people who have open minds. I somehow feel its infectious and if you spend enough time with them, its an infectious thing altogether. Also relearnt that sometimes you get the best ideas from someone outside of the industry you work in.
We got to know that TEDxBlr was arranged and put together within 4 days and should give it to them for the effort. An event of this stature is difficult to execute within that time frame. The venue was interesting - Opus in the Creek and the post event Karaoke singing, which I think somehow the gang from Chennai dominated was so much fun. It was about 20 hours of learning and fun. Personally, the journey was a lot more important to me than the destination yesterday.
So looking forward to TEDxChennai which happens on 10-10-10 and I am darn sure that this journey would be special to a lot more people too. 
If you are new to TED, I would urge you to check out and give some time to watch and listen to the talks that are uploaded. 
And to you, I wish for you that you meet people that make you feel that the world is a truly wonderful place; people who remind you that the mind and the universe are too amazing to put restrictions on. 
And I wish for you that you lift some of the restrictions that you may have inadvertently placed there and open your eyes today to a new vision. 
God Bless.
P.S.: If you are already familiar with TED, do visit TEDxChennai and you could recommend speakers for the event too. "Ultimately, TEDxChennai is our opportunity to help make a difference by unleashing new ideas and inspiring the community to help shape the future in Chennai and beyond"

Monday, July 05, 2010

Latest in

Vandae Mataram composed by Imman and sung by Imman, Harish Raghavendra, Vijay Yesudas, Krish, Ranjith, Haricharan, Mathangi, Shalini, Srilekha, Kalyani, and I. I am just *hoping* I have not missed out someone.

And in Vamsam, Marudhaani Poovumela composed by Taj Noor and remember that I was unwell and still recuperating from the fever and sore throat an entire set of us got during the shoot of Sangeetha Maha Yuddham. This would have to be the fastest time from recording the song to release.. I think the album has released within 20 days of my singing the song.
Do let me know what you think.

TEDxBangalore Tomorrow

And absolutely looking forward to it. And again all thanks to @kiruba for having brought this to my notice. Would have totally missed it otherwise. Interesting line up of speakers and its not a day-long event as I expected it to be. I like the "Best Brain Spa in the World" description.
I would suggest you be there, if you can get the tickets, that is.
Lost our phone and along with it the umpteen contacts for which we did not have a backup thanks to the Windows Android-Apple non-sync issue. Eventually planned to write down the contacts but well, destiny had other plans. Got a replacement sim from Airtel and it took them 48 hours to reactivate it and that too only after a friend stepped in and escalated the process this morning. Thanks @amaravind.
Daunting task ahead with rebuilding that phone book. 
So here is to you - may you never lose a phone. 
And may you always have backup of all the numbers. 
God bless.

Madhno features in the top romantic songs of 2010

as of end of June. Happy pappy when I heard about it. I also hear that the album as such is getting amazing reviews and the Midday in Mumbai gave it a rating of 4 stars, which is not happenstance. 
As said before it was amazing to sing for Mithoon and as an admirer of his work, this is wishing him more accolades. Like is written in a lot of reviews, he is a guy to watch out for.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


to hear/read from the latest Anandha Vikatan that I am shifting to Mumbai. Amazing I say. This, most definitely is news to me as well.
Thamizh magazines (I guess all publications that come out with stuff like this are) Unbeatable.

P.S.: I read your comments. But in this particular post a few will remain unpublished.

P.S.: +1 - Anandha Vikatan apparently does not say I am moving to Mumbai. This was based on the phone calls/tweets/mails that I got saying "Anandha Vikatan says you are shifting base". Hence this post. But usually when someone writes that I will be hosting a show, it leads to assumptions that I am shifting too, naturally.  Nevertheless, it was interesting giving a lot of "No I am not moving to Mumbai" replies the past week.