Monday, August 31, 2009

Tribute to Michael Jackson concert

Sunitha Sarathy the singer, is an old friend of mine. We go way back. KG days in school. As we grew older, in our teens, we would sing together and won many competitions mostly because she sang wonderfully whilst not overpowering the rest and our band had instrumentalists, which was quite rare for girls' schools to have. Her solos even then, clinched the prize for us am sure. Later, she pursued singing and has a truly gifted voice -- sings very very well. Am not convinced that she has got all the accolades her singing deserves, but that's another matter.

When I heard that she was singing in a tribute to MJ concert, I was quite kicked. As it is, i consider myself a major MJ 'appreciator' and now this. So, I paid a thousand bucks to attend this concert, with the proceeds going towards a cause. I knew there were others as well: Shankar Mahadevan, Benny Dayal, Blaaze, and so many others, but the main attractions for me were Sunitha, Shankar and Blaaze.

As we walked in to take our places on Wesley Grounds, my friend remarked: "You know, MJ has not yet been buried so if these guys don't sing well, he will get up and come and slap their faces!". Hmmm. Something to think about.;)

At the concert, I found out just how tough it was to have even dared to do a tribute to a performer like MJ. Clearly we are grossly challenged in the dancing department, but it was a shock that we were challenged in the singing department too. Honestly, not because she is my old friend or anything, but Sunitha Sarathy saved the day! She can sing and her passion for MJ was evident in her body language too. Other saviours were Blaaze, Timmy and Naresh Iyer. Anu was not bad either.

The rest of the female singers other than Anu were like some hotel/nightclub singers. RJ Suchi as Radio jockey and playback singer Suchitra is better known as, sang Beat It and it was ...nothing to get excited about. She should have just sung it in her bathroom and been done with it. Oh and the actress Andrea who sang did not do wonders, but no blunders either. There was just not enough MJ in her singing, that's all.

Other singers were 'pitchy' too. Benny Dayal was soooo insipid in his rendering of MJ songs, it was an outrage. Why sing when your heart is not in it? Especially when it is NOT a free show? Nee maduraikkey poidu pa.

The others like Kavitha, Suvi, Roshni, etc. whilst not particularly pitchy, gave very hotel-like and nightclubby performances. Ok for an evening out with nothing to do but drinks and eats. Not Ok for a tribute concert, dearies.

Naresh Iyer was good. Did justice to the songs he sang and is a sincere singer. Sincere to the music. We need that. Haricharan also seemed sincere but sadly, a bit pitchy. Was most enthu and anyday, i can forgive an enthu singer who makes a few mistakes when compared with a know-it-all who ...just does not cut it.

Shankar Mahadevan: The great attraction and wonderful singer. Came on stage, raised expectations to the sky and sang 'aaaaaaaaaa' for a MJ number (did not recognise it but assume MJ number) Indian ishtyle, which was nice but not nice enough. Tribute to MJ, remember? And then, he introduced his son to the audience and got HIM to sing the song. Ummm, hallo? Pulikku pirandhadhu poonai aagumaa and so on is so NOT impressive when you try to shove the poonai down our throats. You, Shankar, made a mark on your merit. Allow your son to appreciate that. Don't hoist him onto your golden platform, cos we do not appreciate it. Let him sing his way up and not ride uppu mootai on your back. Capiche?On top of that, there was a nephew of his also around. Puh-lease.

Blaaze I quite enjoyed. He is cool and the chorus of his own composition as a tribute that went "one: I like Michael, two: you like michael, three: WE like michael" was slightly childish but at least something refreshing. Plus the rap style and 'yo'yo' business was quite perfect.

Then there was a powerful performer called Timmy who was very good. Not GREAT for MJ style, but otherwise great. Thank you, sire for being there. One of the saviours of the tribute.

A young girl sang a childhood number of Michael's and she too fitted the bill. Forget her name.

Blink and you'll miss him was Karthik. Frankly, the nightclubby singers quite put me to sleep that I had to rouse myself for the better numbers with difficulty. Why then did I stay for the entire show? Oh, because it was tribute to MJ and not about these various singers with only 4 out of a dozen worth a 'watch and listen' that night.

At the end, predictably, we had 'Heal the World' and 'We are the World'. Both were fine because we, the audience, sang along.;)

The music was produced by Pravin Mani and whilst it was a good effort, it was not good enough. The dancers should have practiced better and if a singer was not cutting it, he or she should have been cut out. Please, people! When are you going to give credit ONLY where it is due? Why does everything have to be diluted by pleasing this bozo and that? There was one dancer who stood out with a cool moonwalk to his credit. Very smooth. MJ would have been proud. Another good thing was they had a screen as the backdrop that had many an MJ still. That was cool and a great respite from much of the singing!

At the end, I have to say that MJ is inimitable and thankfully, we have the many videos and music recordings to listen to that will finally be the real tribute this golden performer deserves.

Immortal music and performances.

Now, you other so-called MJ fans-cum-pseudo singers out there, just BEAT IT!

The Film: Kandaswamy...hmph. REALLY.

After the review at, a wonderful read, you would think I would have nothing to say on this film. But I have to vent. Had I not been warned about the film, I would have been dumbstruck to see one of my most favourite actors -- Vikram, acting in this film with its sheer lack of substance or whatever it takes for a film to be at least 60% watchable. But I had been warned and still crept into the theatre at 9 am on a Sunday (great feat for Teesu. Only other time that saw such an effort was for a Harry Potter film), armed with a chilli cheese toast for breakfast!! Free tickets they were -- please note.

And so it began.

My immediate reaction to Vikram's get up as a rooster was (I hope it was a rooster!) ...why? It just struck me as a weird bird to choose for a superhero getup. Or is there something I am missing? Anyway, after a point Vikram's prancing and rooster-like postures and behaviour were indeed good enough even for the most critical eye.

Then came his super-CBI officer getup. I just wanted to launch myself out of my seat to wipe that smug smile off his face! Did n't know one had to have a smug mug to come across as a sharp guy. I mean even Kamal Hasan had smug looks only whilst romancing his heroines and that, in a man's Kollywood world (HMPH) is normal. C'mon Chiyaan Vikram, greater things are expected from you.

And then there was this woman-getup of Vikram's where he is to entice some jokers and then whack the daylights out of them. So, when I saw Vikram in a white jill jill saree trying to act all coy and seductive, I was shocked. Taken aback. And not in a good way. Vikram on screen is a man -- all man. A man's man. A woman's man. You get the picture. His innate manliness is a great part of his charm. Dressed as a woman, he looks frightening. True, his body language was superb as were his expressions and moves. But his body and face are so very SQUARELY in the male zone that you do shake your head and say 'tsk tsk, NOTHING like Kamal' who even in Avvai Shanmughi as a woman in her late fifties, could pass off for ultra feminine and bashful-o-bashful. Kamal has the advantage of a certain softness in his big expressive eyes. Yes, the eyes might have done poor Vikram in as well as his overly developed upper body -- sideways that is. Big biceps and enviable shoulders et al.

For this absolute STAR from films like Sethu, Dhool, Pithamagan and Anniyan to have acted in this mostly rubbish film is like a slap in the face. Please! Choose a better basket for your eggs next time. (heh heh, no pun intended. After all roosters don't lay eggs...I know that!)

Shriya. Oh dear. Shame shame, puppy shame! Now, now, NO cattiness here at all -- am highly OK to say Simran was sexy or Jyothika was cute or even Trisha is appealing, but Shriya's face just reminds me of MN Rajam's. No insult to the latter though. Villi-ish face and just because of her body, she gets these meaty roles? Kollywood needs to to grow up.

Shriya seriously needs to try wearing clothes and see if they suit her. I mean what else does she have going for her? Certainly not acting and CERTAINLY not dialogue delivery even in mere lip sync. DISGUSTING.

The film, such as it was, was disjointed. I actually felt sleepy somewhere in between which is truly a first for me. Why do the scenes shot in Mexico have to be yellowish? Why did the songs have to be so blah? (save one or two?) Why does Vikram have to overdo expressions like macho-pride-smugo so? Very disappointing. I can only think that this is a phase for this hardworking actor to have gone through and that he should be clear of the dark tunnel now!

After Anniyan, really...Bheema was a chappai matter but all was forgiven -- aftr all you cannot deliver a super duper hit EVERY time, but now this? REALLY.

Oh and Chiyaan Vikram must have really been talking through that feathered hat of his to have said that this movie is one for kids, etc. Which parent in his or her right mind would want their kid(s) to watch this unnecessarily sleazy flick replete with a drug-addicted, sex-addicted villain running rampant on screen? Huh?


Ok, stop rant Teesu! Idhuvum kadandhu poyaaachu. (This too has already passed)