Om Shanti Om Soundtrack rocks!

November 2, 2007

It has been almost a month since I first heard the soundtrack from Om Shanti Om and I’m still listening to it. The soundtrack has kept me company mostly while unit testing my code or writing those mundane DAO classes at work, so I feel obliged to write (or should I say croon) about it here. Interestingly, I unwittingly chose to write about OSO today, it being Shah Rukh Khan’s birthday. Happy Birthday Shah Rukh!

Alright, about the music, I think it a good mix a soft-sweet songs and racy item number. Of the 12 songs, 4 are remixed (faster pace with disco-ish feel), and one is the instrumental theme. In the version I received, Ajab Si is the first song, a very sweet, pleasantly haunting number rendered by KK. It is the kind of song you can listen to with your eyes closed and feel at peace. One refreshing thing about this song that I feel obliged to comment on is that there isn’t much of that distracting electronic music. I will guarantee you that listening to this once will have you humming it endlessly. Another tidbit I can’t resist holding back, it was this song that featured in the Headlines Today segment (speculating about the MS Dhoni and Deepika Padukone link) that I wrote about earlier.

In total contrast to Ajab Si is Dard-e-disco, a racy one by Sukwinder Singh; after the title song in Chak de India, he makes magic again with this song. I loved this one and its remix. Dewangi is a happy number full of energy and has woken me up from a good number of naps at my desk in the afternoons :); here again the ‘original’ and the remix don’t fail to please. Mein Agar Kahoon and Jag Soona Soona (the next two songs) are more of the wistful-sounding ones; my only issue with the latter is with the beginning where the female lead seems to drill through your ears; the rest of the song is worthy of listening a good number of times. What follows is another happy number Dhoom Taana. Here again the blaring instrumentals that are used at the beginning seem to ruin the rest of a good number. Song number 7 Daastan-e Om Shanti Om, is a moderately paced darkish song by Shaan is also done very well. My guess is that this features when the Om played by Shah Rukh from the 70s gives way to the one from the 90s. The remix numbers of Dard-e-disco, Dewangi, and Daasthan all impressed considerably in that order with Daasthan-remix being a distant third. The mother-of-all-remixes appears under the name of ‘Om Shanti Om Medley‘. This is basically a mix of all the songs (except Ajab Si) with a disco-ish feel to it. The concluding piece is the ‘Om Shanti Om theme’ which is an instrumental version of the medley mix with a few variations thrown in.

In summary, a very good soundtrack album, in fact the best I’ve heard since Dhoom 2; having said that, I must add that I think this one is way better than Dhoom 2 with the balance and variety it offers. I will give it a whopping 95 out of 100. If you haven’t heard it, you’re missing out!


The T20 World Champions prevail: India beat Australia by 7 wickets

October 21, 2007

The Bradbourne stadium came alive as India, the T-2o World Champions took on Australia in the much anticipated 20-20 clash between the teams. The South African atmosphere was replicated here with the hip music and dancing girls which added spice to the already curry-hot up series. If one needed more, yes there was: starting from cricket veterans like Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavasakar, and living legend Sachin Tendulkar, to Bollywood’s best and “lucky-charm” Shah Rukh Khan who came with Deepika Padukone in tow (if media reports are to be believed, she was the captain Dhoni’s guest).

With Australia winning the toss and batting first, I was wary: the only match in the T20 World Cup that India lost (against New Zealand) was one in which they chased. Although that match included Ajit Agarkar, the run gift-giver, and this one did not, anything could happen in a 20-20 match. However, that was not to be. The first over was full of excitement, with Gilchrist slamming 3 fours and R P Singh bagging his wicket with a beauty of a yorker. More Aussie action followed with in form Ponting flourishing and runs flowing, but Harbhajan pulled some back when he struck early to send Mathew Hayden back to the dug-out. The manner in which MS Dhoni handled the bowlers here must be lauded; that, and some good fielding restricted the Aussies to 166-5. Although the Indian fielding did not live up to the high standards that they set from themselves in the South Africa during the T20 World cup, some brilliant efforts like that of Yuvraj/Harbhajan running out Andrew Symonds and a few saves from Uthappa and Yuvaraj made the difference. Everybody did their part: the bowlers bowled well, the fielders for the most part did well, and the batsmen mauled the Aussie bowling.

There are many good things for India to take from this victory. Most importantly, it proves, as captain Dhoni said in the presentation, “… that World Cup victory (in South Africa) was not a fluke”. There was energy in the field, the fielders were pumped up applauding each others’ efforts, the batsmen belligerent, and the captain bravely innovative. Secondly, they played as a team and beat the opposition comprehensively; I’m tempted to say that they pulled an Australia (although this is 20-20 and India are ruling at the moment): when Sehwag failed, Gambhir and Uthappa shone, when Sreesanth struggled, Pathan, RP Singh and the spinners compensated. Attitude was key. In the batting, although Gambhir set the foundation and Yuvraj helped see India to through, for me, Uthappa was the pick of the batsmen; the way he danced down the track to hit out speaks volumes of the confidence that he and this Indian outfit share. When Dhoni hit the winning stroke for six, I felt a rush of happiness, pride, and awe. In Mahendra Singh Dhoni, I think, India have found a great captain: he is not fearful of the unconventional yet is capable of pulling out some almost boringly traditional stuff (like his innings from the Lord’s Test earlier this year) and most importantly, his game strategy is as fearless as his words. With some patience from the selectors, the media and the fans, this man could turn out to be one of the most successful Indian cricket captains.

Here’s to the new victorious India and to many more victories!


Anticipating a thriller: Australia vs. the T-20 World Champions

October 19, 2007

That sounds good doesn’t it? For once, Australia are playing in a format in which they are not the best. Right, its time for party-cricket: the 20-20 encounter that will conclude Australia’s tour of India.

For once it is the Indian side doing the ‘bahaduri’ talking with Uthappa taking Ponting’s place with the word-campaign and captain M S Dhoni’s coming up with a new tag-line for an automobile company. Robin Uthappa oozes confidence in this T-20 team “..You want to think of the positives, go out there and give your best. Everyone in the team has been absolutely positive.” Dhoni on the other hand seems cautiously positive yet upbeat and seems to have more confidence in this successful young line up: “I want 14 players who, if I ask them to, will stand in front of a truck.” Check out the match preview article from NDTV.com for details. This statements makes me think two things: firstly, this T-20 team will be one with very little team-politics, where Dhoni will be captain in all senses of the word; after all it can’t be as straight forward in the normal ODI side with  3 ex-captain egos clashing; secondly, after hearing some the recent statments from MSD, I think if he didn’t end up in cricket,  advertising would have been a good fit :). A few days ago, I though my favorite Dhoni quote was the one on the Bangalore one-dayer: “Bahaduri aur bevakufi ke beech bahut kam fark hai [There is a very thin line separating bravery from foolhardiness]”, but it seems to be getting better. Check out quote-unquote from Cricinfo for the entire context.

Having said all that, the reality check is that the T-2o game can be a little bit of a gamble, where the toss can matter big time. One bad over can cost you the game; a few good overs can win you one. This is where I think nerves play their part, and the T-2o World Cup proves that India can indeed hold nerve. Go India! You’ve done it before, do it again! Chak de!


India win cricket World Cup: anecdotes from an electrifying final

September 25, 2007

Long time since I blogged; reason: 20-20 World Cup. Initially I was very skeptical about this (see my post earlier this month), however, many matches turned out to be good entertainers. This post is dedicated to the finale, so detailed T-20 tournament comments will follow in another post.

 So, it was 4:30 PM IST when offices around where I work started to empty; “It’s at five” said some passers by as they nervously checked their watches and buzzed off on their vehicles; there were traffic jams on the road; people rushing to get home or to a TV. If you ask why, then I dont fancy I can explain it to you. What else could get all these people so excited other than an India-Pakistan cricket match; and its not a one-off match, a league match, or just any tournament; this was the 20-20 World Cup Final and there is no denying that fans of neither countries would not have expected to see this; at least not when they arrived in South Africa for this “little giggle” as Aussie Captain Ricky Ponting puts it.

As millions of supporters for both teams watched, hearts beating audibly, the anthems of the countries played, as the slightly teary eyed team sang along. The toss had been won by India, and Mahendra Singh “MSD” Dhoni opted to bat first and post a total of around 180 on the Wanderers ground that has seen 400+ runs being succesfully chased. But that not to be. The drama began a little earlier, when Virendar Sehwag, the explosive Indian opened was declared unfit; it started to unfold when Yousuf Patan, walked out to open the Indian innings on T-20 debut!

India had a good first three overs, before Pakistan started to put the breaks. The men in blue could get mostly only singles and those that got near the boundary were well fielded. The loss of wickets without too many runs on the board, saw Yuvaraj Singh, the danger man in the Indian lineup, come in early and knock the ball around for singles rather than hitting over the top. As the run rate only inched up by tenths each over, Yuvraj went for the kill only to sacrifice himself to Umar Gul, the pick of the Pak bowlers. As more hearts raced, Dhoni came and went without much ado; another star batsman falling to Gul. Credit must be given to Gambir, who hung around long enough to take charge and dance down the wicket to hit a few very useful boundaries. The last few overs saw some useful runs from Rohit Sharma who finished unbeaten for 30 from just 16 balls. India had finished their 20 for just 157 runs. This seemed OK to the Indian fan, who at one point (after the wickets of Yuvraj and Dhoni) were wondering if India would get to 140.

Pakistan seemed to quite pleased with themselves, having restricted to India to 3 less than their target of 160 and started to smell victory and to break a 16 year jinx of losing to India in a World Cup match; and what an occasion for that! The Indians interestingly were not distraught, neither were they jubilant. What was apparent however was their hunger for victory and “never-say-die” attitude.

As the Pak batsmen took their ground and the first ball of RP Singh, went for a wide, my heart started to beat a little faster; some jubilation was found in the 1st over as RP scalped Hafeez seeing Pak one down for only 2. So I sat up with a brave heart, only to see Sreesant give away many from mediocrely pitched balls. The next over, saw another wicket fall to RP Singh and Kamran Akmal, promoted up the Pak batting order was walking back with only single figures to his name.

Then the see-saw began to sway back and forth taking a million hearts affluter with its sway. This India-Pakistan match was not for the faint hearted. Superstitions seems to running wild now; I refused to move from my seat, for it seemed to bring good luck. As Pakistan wickets fell, I heard the entire neighborhood scream “Yay” and I could swear that my exclaimation of “Yessssss” on Afridi’s wicket was one of the loudest! India seemed to have victory in their grasp now.

 However, so typical of an India-Pakistan match, just when you would think one team had the upper hand, another would recover and grab the hand with a jab. This time it was Misbah Ul Haq and Sohail Tanvir who togather scored over 30 runs in two over seeing Pak from 100-7 to 131-7. Hearts started to thump as Sreeshant came in to bowl the penultimate over. More runs followed, but Sreeshant got Tanvir, the ball after he was hit for a 6 and dismissed him with an expletive which I can imagine coming from the mouths of many Indian fans!

The last over, who would bowl? Pak needed 12 runs, with only 1 wicket in hand. Another surprize came in when Jogindar Sharma, the rookie bowler was brought on. Some wondered if the Sharma misfortune from the Sharjah cup years ago, would be seen again. First ball, wide; second 6. India seemed to lose hope. Something needed to happen, a wicket, definitely; it didnt matter how. Pakistan were one stroke away from breaking their 16 year jinx again thier arch-rivals in the World Cup final. India were about the bowl the four most important balls for many years to come. This was the very ground they played in the 2003 World Cup Final and lost. Now, it seemed like history might repeat itself. Sharma ran down and bowled the thrid ball of the 19th over and Misbah walked forward to execute a cute paddle shot to see Pakistan only 1 run away if not through. But a strange form of luck seemed to be with Sreeshant, as he pouched the catch of the World Cup and a distraugh and shocked Misbah collapsed on the field. India had won the T-20 final by 5 runs!

Shock and disbelief seemed to be the emotion on the field and off for many fans from both sides. Had India really won this time in a tournament final? Had Pakistan really lost this?

No words can describe this moment; one that many Indians would give anything for. To see the World Cup lifted in their lifetime; a historic moment that would be cherished by every Indian cricket fan for a lifetime.

In retrospect, T-20 has been much more than just a giggle; it seemed to be a test of temperment, team-spirit, nerves, skill, and self-belief. Two fearless teams with nothing to lose reached the final after being laughed off for being in the “underdog” group; the one with more presence of mind won. The test of nerves proved India T-20 Champions and let that not take away anything from the talent of these young lads. I have much more to say about the final, the reactions of the players, the tournament and what it will bring, but I’m afraid will have to wait a few days. Until then, pump your fists and sing along “Chak de, India!”