Dec 31, 2015

Year-End Special: Top 30 Bollywood Songs of 2015

Hello all!

Here's the FINAL Bollywood blog post I will be posting for the year. These are my 30 favorite Hindi songs of this year. I must admit, this was a tough ranking to come up with, as there were plenty of great Bollywood tracks this year, so there were some tough choices to make.

Moreover, I don't really like the concept of "ranking" tracks - some songs just cannot be compared with each other, as the genres differ. So please see this more as a "list" than a "ranking" - although the Top 5 are probably my five most favorite songs of the year.

So here goes, the Top 30 Bollywood Songs of 2015, with a Youtube playlist at the bottom.

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Dec 28, 2015

2015 Year in Review for Bollywood, and Releases in 2016

Hello all!

As it is almost a "yearly practice" for me on this blog, this post will be a comprehensive review of the year that was for Bollywood. Thankfully, this time I was in Bengaluru till this month, which means I could catch most of the year's biggest blockbusters in the cinema.

(Sidenote: I am back in Geneva, as I decided to leave Bangalore. Will post a Lifeblog post on this topic soon.)

On the whole, I must admit, 2015 has been a really good year for the Hindi film industry! There have been quite a few great movies, to watch on the big screen.

This mega-post will be divided in the following parts:
  • 2015, Year in Review
    • Watched, and liked/loved
    • Not watched, but highly acclaimed
    • Special mentions
  • 2016, the Releases to look forward to
  • Concluding Note
So here goes! Hope you enjoy this post! Do leave a comment, if I have left out any movies, or if you agree/disagree with my choices.

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Nov 22, 2015

Music Review: Tamasha (2015)

Soundtrack Credits

MOVIE: TAMASHA

MUSIC: A.R. RAHMAN
LYRICS: IRSHAD KAMIL
MUSIC LABEL: T-SERIES
YEAR: 2015


(The link to the soundtrack of Tamasha is featured at the end of the post)

Review


Mika is behind the mic for Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai, singing a genre that is different from his dance numbers. Not too fond of this one, very average, despite many listenings.

Sung by Sukhwinder Singh, along with Haricharan and Haripriya, Chali Kahani is a very impressive composition, but not a track that is very "enjoyable". Very situational, so it would obviously be enjoyed fully when watched on the big screen.

AR Rahman comes up with an instrumental titled Parade De La Bastille which is extremely well done. Lots of interesting elements used and blended in, also featuring the tune from Matargashti (will come back to this track shortly).

The album's "better side" starts off with Wat Wat Wat. An infectious and catchy beat, with superb vocals from Shashwat Singh and Arijit Singh - the latter having two great songs in this album. The album also features a remix version titled Wat Wat (Vengeance Mix), which doesn't add much value to the soundtrack.

Matargashti is a very peppy song, with great vocals from Mohit Chauhan. Whacky lyrics by Irshad Kamil, goes well the feel of the song. The Mohit-ARR combo working well yet again, and not surprising at seeing this song being used a lot in their promotions.

Always good to see Lucky Ali's name in a song's credits, because he tends to sing brilliant tracks in Bollywood. And he does it yet again, with the breezy Safarnama. Extremely pleasant composition by Rahman.

My second most favorite song in this soundtrack is Agar Tum Saath Ho. It features Alka Yagnik (yes, you read that right, Alka Yagnik) and she manages to ace this one. But the highlight for me: Arijit Singh's vocals which add a magical touch to the track. Only AR Rahman could think of the unusual blend of Alka Yagnik and Arijit's singing, and end up with such a great track.

Tu Koi Aur Hai is the last song in the album, and the best one of the lot, for me. AR Rahman ends the album on a high, singing a haunting and deep track, bound to give you goosebumps, and which features a lot of great instrumental portions.

What is the Verdict: Ishq Waala LoveLoveLikey a lotLikeySo-soBadReally BadHorrible?

My Verdict: Ishq Waala Love

Final Word: This year has seen some really good Bollywood soundtracks, and Tamasha is yet another successful product coming out of the AR Rahman-Imtiaz Ali-Irshad Kamil trio. Even though it's not Rahman's best out of the 3 albums (I still rank Rockstar as his best for Imtiaz Ali, and Highway a tad higher than this), it is still a very neat album. When you have 5 "awesome" songs in a line-up, you know you're in for a treat! Go for it!

Oct 20, 2015

Lifeblog: On Smiles and Distance (Bangalore, October 2015)

Hello Readers!

Hope you guys are doing good. To begin this post on a "happy note", I just realized a while ago that I recently completed 5 months here in Bengaluru! As you may have realized through my last Lifeblog posts, the last few months have been nothing less than dramatic, crazy, or eventful. But then again, call me old-fashioned, but I still look at the many positives which came out of them, despite the "negatives" having outnumbered the "positives".

But my life goal of "sustaining Happiness" (which happens to be the meaning of my name, something I keep obsessing in almost every blog post these days) is something that keeps me motivated, and I will obviously hope to have a happier set of "Bangalore Days" in the coming months! This blog post will be divided in 3 parts: Smiles, Distance, and key Takeaways from the previous two parts.

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Aug 5, 2015

Music Review: All Is Well (2015) - Bollywood



Yolo is the first Himesh track in this soundtrack (sung by Sreeramachandra). Decent, catchy, but gets monotonous after a point. The English rap, however, is top stuff.

You ask for a Himesh-Arijit collaboration, you get Baaton Ko Teri. The Himesh fan in me is super happy! What a soulful song – the kind you can imagine Himesh singing, but Arijit does the job for him.

Himesh’s best one in this album is Tu Milade. Take Ankit’s energetic vocals, and Himesh’s powerful tune, and goosebumps are sure to follow!

Mere Humsafar is “old wine in a new bottle”. The Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak hit song now has a soulful feel, thanks to Mithoon who nails it (yet again!). Tulsi Kumar does great too.

The second-best track of the album is Nachan Farrate. I never really got the “Baby Doll” hype (song was great, but was it worth that much hype?), and “Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan” was very poor. But this one is PERFECTION. The Meet Bros rope in Kanika Kapoor one more time, and deliver their best song till date.

Chaar Shanivaar gets my vote for the best one in this album. Amaal Mallik is slowly making a mark in the industry, and he does it with great music, catchy lyrics, and powerful vocals. His formula is easy to recognize, but hard to describe in words. Maybe FRESH would describe his music the best? (And I cannot believe his age – what a genius!)

What is the Verdict: Ishq Waala Love? Love? Likey a lot? Likey? So-so? Bad? Really Bad? Horrible?

My Verdict: Love

Final Word: All Is Well (2015) is one of the best soundtracks of 2015. Himesh fans have a lot to be happy about. You have a Mithoon reboot, a “Kanika and Meet Bros” hit song
, and an Amaal Mallik chartbuster to dance on. That adds up to one superb Bollywood soundtrack! Don’t miss it!

Jul 15, 2015

My two cents on the #IPLVerdict by Justice Lodha

Firstly, congrats to Indian Judicial System. I am saying it with a HEAVY HEART. But it was a brilliant decision. Not perfect, but needed. Ideally, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals should have been terminated for good, not only for 2 years. But our country needs their money, however black it is... let's face it. So yes, 2 years is not a perfect sentence, but it is fair enough.

I was the biggest fan of Chennai Super Kings. Having followed it since Season 1 till this year, it is heartbreaking to know that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will not be seen in the famous Yellow Jersey for the next 2 years. I cheered my heart out, and those owners cheated all their fans. And involved a Legend like MS Dhoni in this mess. That can't be taken lightly, and will not be forgiven by fans.

Here are some key personal thoughts of mine on this whole issues, and some of my wild wishes for the future:


  • Corruption should be punished. Always. And in some way.
  • Two years are not enough. Chennai Super Kings will come back in a new avatar in 2 years from now. I am extremely sure of that.
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni should show respect to his fans, and to HIMSELF, and leave the Chennai franchise. Being associated with a tainted name is bad for his image and for HIM. I am saying this as his BIGGEST fan.
  • MS Dhoni should ideally be part of the auction pool again
    • And heart wants him to be part of Mumbai Indians...
    • .... or Kolkata Knight Riders...
    • ... or Sunrisers Hyderabad...
    • ... or IDEALLY SPEAKING, my selfish wish (being a Keralite), a new and revamped Kochi side in the next IPL
  • Dravid should also leave Rajasthan Royals. He has been misused and abused by those crooks
    • He should be ideally part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad coaching and management team. They have great bowlers, but they need a batting coach. Imagine Dravid guiding Darren Sammy or even Shikhar Dhawan, to make them better captains! Or Dravid practicing batting with Dale Steyn or Trent Boult!
  • Sanju Samson should go back to the auction pool
    • Ideally speaking, he should be the captain and icon of the eventual Kochi side
    • Or at least get back with his very first squad. Under Kolkata Knight Riders
    • ...but definitely leave Rajasthan Royals! For the same reasons as for Dravid and Dhoni!
  • Whatever said above, next year's auction will be massive!
  • And all this being said, the Indian Premier League will be even more MASSIVE next year. Mark my words. Be it Bengaluru or Mohali or Kochi or Mumbai or Pune... the fans will come in an even larger number.
My dream, being a Keralite in Bangalore: to see the Royal Challengers Bangalore side play with a Kochi team, in Bangalore itself... and see Kochi thrashing my fellow Bangaloreans. Gayle, Kohli and De Villiers and all that.


So yes... my two cents. Or should I say RUPEES? I mean, this is a currency which has Gandhi on its notes... using one of the faces of  "Truth" to do such illegal activities is extremely outrageous... but I'm glad that justice has been done! Only hoping Dhoni doesn't get associated with a Chennai franchise again... but let's see what happens in the next IPL season, and let's see if Chennai will come back in 2 years (with or hopefully without Dhoni).

Jul 13, 2015

Lifeblog: On soon completing two months in Bangalore

Hello Readers!

So here I am... publishing this blog post on 13th July 2015, with tons of pride. I am two days away from completing two months in this "loveable chaos" called Bengaluru.

I remember using this analogy many years back, when I had first started this blog in 2009: "Life is a rollercoaster ride". To be honest, I cannot think of any other analogy even now. My two months here have been nothing but an "emotional rollercoaster".

Every single day has been a learning curve for me. It was very difficult, initially. But currently, I am honestly loving the vibes (good and bad) I am getting all around me! Coming from a tiny and quite boring city called Geneva, moving to the "larger-than-life" Bangalore was never going to be easy... but I am pleasantly surprised at the unexpected changes I have been going through.

In Geneva, I was very lazy, not very driven, and not too outgoing.

Now in Bangalore. I am one of the first ones to wake up in the building. I cook almost every weekend, do a lot of my laundry myself. I am a workaholic (and I love being one!). I enjoy the presence of people. I love going out by myself, I love roaming around using cab services, discovering new places. I am a safety and hygiene freak. I have turned very bold, if and when someone crosses their limits towards me or my loved ones. I am able to manage my resources well. So it's been quite the learning curve!

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Jun 28, 2015

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Views on Phase 2, Ultron, Ant-Man and Daredevil

Hello all fellow Marvel fans!

The journey has been amazing, hasn't it? It had all started off with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in 2008. Now Marvel is owned by Disney, and they have made themselves probably the largest superhero franchise in the history of cinema!

There is a reason for this blog post, and it is an awesome reason. I had written about the Avengers, what seems to be ages ago. My thoughts on all the movies that were before, before building up for the big release that was "Marvel's The Avengers" in 2012. You can check out that blog post here http://santhosh-geneva.blogspot.in/2012/04/avengers-2012-im-part-of-hype-oh-yes-i.html

Since that epic release in 2012, Marvel entered what they called "Phase 2" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Just a quick recap of Phase 1 for those who are totally lost:

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel's The Avengers (2012)


So Phase 1, got done and dusted. Then comes Phase 2.

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Apr 8, 2015

The Big Preview for IPL-8! (2015 season)



And IPL season is here again! This looks to be a massive one! And it will be quite a mood-fixer for the disappointed Indians after that heart-breaking World Cup. It's indeed one of my favorite sports tournaments, where you see Australians, South Africans, and players from other such big cricket-playing nations, fighting alongside Indians in Indian franchises.

And we see some usual big names performing, but we also see some relatively "unknown" Indian faces come up and do good, which is also very good to see!

This post will give a quick preview of each IPL side, to see who all are playing, and what we should be expecting from each side. Will also give my personal predictions and thoughts for each side.

Enjoy the read!


Mar 30, 2015

Final thoughts on ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 (Following India's exit, and Australia winning it)

So the ICC World Cup is finally over. Firstly, congrats to Team Australia for the big win! Well deserved, no one can deny that!



Personally speaking, the way this World Cup ended, made me more sad than happy. To elaborate more on this, and other aspects, I have divided this blog post in 4 parts. One part per semi-finalist. Will speak of my thoughts on each of the teams which made to the semi-finals, including the one I supported, India. Hope you enjoy this read!

Thoughts on India's exit

This was truly sad, for myself, and I'm guessing for Indian fans all over. I honestly didn't expect the Men in Blue to be rolled over by the Aussies, to end up being "thrashed" so badly in the semis.

© AFP


All that having been said, we had a fantastic World Cup! Kudos to the whole Team and Management for having played so beautifully till the semi-final! Our batsmen were good, and the bowlers were excellent. Fielding from the Indians was also brilliant, we were clearly among the best fielding sides! And extra points for MS Dhoni. His captaincy was superb, and his tactics looked very "aggressive". I think without a leader like him in charge, we wouldn't have played so well to reach the semi-finals!

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Feb 12, 2015

Quick thoughts on India's chances in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Introduction

Hello dear readers, and fellow cricket lovers! Well... we're just 2 days away from that big eventful day. Wait, what? Valentine's Day?? No silly, I meant the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 *insert dramatic echo*



This is cricket's biggest tournament, and it indeed does look promising! This post will mainly cover Team India, and my personal thoughts on it, and its chances.

This post is coming late (as of now, 2 days before the tournament kicks off), because I was waiting to watch the warm-up matches to have a better idea of what to expect from each team in this tournament.

The Indian players have been in Australia for around 2 months (or more, I think). They're exhausted, away from their families, and have been winless throughout their entire stay in Australia. Despite being World Champions, it will be a tough ask for them to defend the title - no doubt about that!

I agree that our Indian team is mainly dominant when playing at home, and that our "Away" record is not that great. But all that being said, you just can't discard this team away from the top contenders for the title. They're still among the tougher opponents.

Plus, with a true star, and a fantastic leader like Mahendra Singh Dhoni leading this side, I think we still have our chances.

So here goes, my preview and sort-of-predictions for this World Cup! Enjoy the read!

Jan 14, 2015

2014, Year in Review for Bollywood

Dear Readers,

First and foremost, here's wishing you all a very Happy New Year 2015! May this be a good one for all of us!




For those who have been following my blog for the last few years, I have had this habit of doing a big massive review of the year that has gone by, at the end of the year. More specifically, I tend to do a "Maha-Review" of Bollywood for that year. And since I have been doing this from 2010 onwards (I think?), I guess it's only fair that I should continue to do this, as it is also one of the posts that gather among the most views on this blog. But apologies for this post coming so late. "Better late than never", and all that, I guess?

In the "Year in Review" posts for previous years, I used to split the article by putting the movies in three categories. Now I have changed that to only two main categories:

  • Watched and Appreciated (Liked or even Loved)
  • Highly recommended (Not watched, but recommendations based on critical reception, and general buzz)
The category I will omit this time, is the category for the "Bad/Horrible/Avoidable" kind of movies. Firstly because I don't want to spread too many negative vibes, but mostly because it will save me time. (I'm writing this while smiling sheepishly)

So here goes...the YEAR IN REVIEW, for 2014 Bollywood movies!

*DRUMROLL*

Introduction

So 2014 was a rather "quiet" year in terms of the amount of "really good" or "exceptional" movies in Bollywood. More than that, there were too many disappointments in the same year. As mentioned above, I have decided to stay mum this year, regarding the numerous movies that would have normally featured in my personal "Wall of Shame".

Despite the abundance of disappointments, and the seemingly small number of good or "great" movies, 2014 still was a year of some really nice releases! So let's have a look at those movies, those watched and those I recommend based on what I read and heard of them.

The movies are NOT listed in order of preference, but rather in chronological order (going from early releases of the year to the year-end releases).

And I'm ending this blog post on a very optimistic note, looking forward to the big 2015 Bollywood releases (or at least the ones that I'm personally looking forward to).

I may have missed out on movies here and there, so don't hesitate to let me know in the comments where I could have included other movies!