Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Routine news updates - Dec 2008

In what is certain to be the last post on this blog this year, some minor tidbits about Vishal that have appeared online:

Kaminey apparently progresses, though there's not much to report, if you discount the tabloid press's fascination with the lead actor's mysterious hair-style (sorry about that). On a more serious note, the crew were shooting on the day of the Mumbai terror attacks close to some of the assault sites and had to pack up in haste.

Ruskin Bond, whose The Blue Umbrella" was adapted on screen by Vishal, is apparently "workin on two scripts" for the director.

And finally, the gossip-vine has it that Vishal got involved in a fracas with Shah Rukh Khan. Yikes. The things we have to discuss when there are no new movies or music to talk about.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Taking stock

There hasn't been much to report on Vishal's upcoming films Kaminey or Ishqiya, unless you consider news items like Vishal drives Vidya crazy, or Shahid Kapur's six injuries.

The only salvage-able bits of interest are that Kaminey is reportedly being shot in and around Pune, and that once again, Naseeruddin Shah is conducting a workshop before a Vishal film. With that kind of preparation, hopefully, the results will be like in Maqbool (ok, with that fan-gush, we'll end this post).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The (already forgotten) music of Haal-e-Dil

Perhaps the fates that govern the musical birthchart of Vishal Bhardwaj ordain that several of his works are intended to be criminally under-heard. A more earthly reason for hardly anyone noticing the music of "Haal-e-Dil" could be attributed to it being an under-promoted film featuring a bunch of not-so interesting newcomers in an average script. This album is also one of those multi-composer efforts, featuring Raghav Sachar, Pritam, and Anand Raj Anand in addition to Vishal.

(I'll restrict myself to Vishal's double-header in this post, but a brief review of the album can be seen at Karthik's MilliBlog.)

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan re-appears in a Vishal song after that superbly rendered cautionary ode to love in "Omkara". "Haal-e-dil" begins with what sounded to my untrained ears as the digderidoo (perhaps just some electronic consort), and fits into the category of songs usually classified as "soulful". Also featuring the backing vocals of Shreya Ghoshal, the song is melodious and measured, with a hint of a Sufi influence. Typically for Vishal, the arrangements are interesting with a couple of eclectic interludes (is that a mandolin we hear in the middle, or just a guitar?). With Rahat leading the way, the elements of the song come together wonderfully.

The other Vishal credit on this album is a reprise of the title song, by Rekha Bhardwaj. It's a more modern, rock-ish version, rendered in characteristic fashion by the talented missus who can zig-zag the registers nicely. It does come in second to the Rahat version, but these Munna Dhiman lyrics (also a variation of the other song) are perhaps a touch better here ("tere kohre me.n dhuup ban ke kho jaau.n"). And there's some nice guitar backing all through.

In all, a cameo by Vishal and gang which, though it won't set any cash registers or weekly top 10s ringing, is worth a devoting a quiet moment or two if you can catch it.

Crossposted here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Perils of being named Vishal

Since 'De Taali' is a comedy and its cast comprises youngsters, the movie's music director duo Vishal-Bhardwaj has provided the music while keeping these in mind.

so says this music review.

Being confused with the more mainstream Vishal-Shekhar is common, but I've never seen it take such a hyphenated form before. IMDB and Wikipedia used to have lots of cross-references between Vishal Dadlani and Vishal Bhardwaj, but these seem to have gone away now.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Amol Gupte in Kaminey

Abhishek Toraskar writes in to point out reports that Amole Gupte (currently, more famous for having created "Taare Zameen Par") is to make his film acting debut playing the villain in Kaminay" (still don't know the official spelling). The film, Vishal's directorial next, seems to have a MaraaThii flavour, making Gupte's choice seemingly apt. First plus points for the casting, because we're still a little worried about the stars in the film. Unless Vishal can pull off what he did with a similar cast of stars in Omkara.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vishal wins National Award #3

Vishal Bhardwaj won a Special Jury Award for his film "Omkara" in the 54th annual National Awards announced today. The awards are running about 2 years late, which explains why a 2006 film is being feted now.

This takes his personal tally to three, the list being:
1999 - Best Music Direction - "Godmother"
2005 - Best Children's Film - "The Blue Umbrella"
2007 - Special Jury Award - "Omkara"

Konkona Sen Sharma also won Best Supporting Actress for the same film. These awards keep intact Vishal's record of having at least one National Award associated with each movie he's directed so far. Recall that Pankaj Kapur won Best Supporting Actor for Vishal's "Maqbool", while Shweta Prasad won Best Child Actor for his debut "Makdee".

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

will Hamlet be the third?

Rumours offered two possible works as sources for Vishal's next edition in his adaptation of the Bard's works, King Lear and Julius Caesar. Yet, a recent news bit suggests that it might be Hamlet starring none other than Hrithik Roshan. Is it to be or not to be? Ay, there's the rub.

Monday, May 19, 2008

shahid kapoor, priyanka chopra in "Kamine"

Is it Kamine or is it Kaminay? Shahid Kapur has reportedly been signed on by Vishal B for this film to play a double role. Priyanka Chopra's been roped in for this "romantic musical," that she describes as "being more of a romantic-comedy [that] also has lots of action." Shooting begins in August 2008. As the days go by, one awaits more tidbits on what might well be Vishal's first film that has nothing to do either with children or the Bard.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Arshad Warsi and Vishal Bhardwaj

An April 16, 2008 interview with Arshad Warsi beats about the Krazzy 4 bush for the most part and ends with an interesting note: Up next are Golmaal Returns, Shortcut, Munnabhai Chale Amreeca and a film with Vishal Bhardwaj. An April 20, 2008 TOI scrap has another tidbit: The Vishal Bhardwaj film that I'm a part of is a bit strange in terms of language and behaviour.. The only film that seems to match right now is Ishqiya and that has VB as a producer with his long-time associate Abhishek Chaubey making his directorial début.

Friday, May 2, 2008


This may well turn out to be the year with the most Vishal music releases. After "U, Me, Aur Hum", up for the shelves is "Haal-e-Dil". It's not a surprise that behind the (as yet) low-profile film is Kumar Mangat, with the film primarily designed as a launch pad for his daughter Amita's acting career. IIRC, a year or so ago, Mangat and the star he's closely associated with, Ajay Devgan (Mangat is or used to be Devgan's secretary) were involved in a contest to select the male lead for this film .

The film has the lyrics of Munna Dhiman. Now interestingly, the film was initially slated to have music by Anand Raj Anand and Raghav Sachar, so it's not clear how much of the soundtrack is by Vishal. Anyway, the brief trailers on air feature a Vishal song. The film is not expected to be any great shakes, so write this off for friendship.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Casting the net for Vishal's next and "Ishqiya"

Film websites are almost certain that Vishal Bhardwaj's next directorial venture will feature the likes of Shahid Kapur and Priyanka Chopra. This may raise a few eyebrows among Vishal's fans (), but one will give him the benefit of the doubt, considering the same happened with "Omkara" when the unlikely casting of Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, and Ajay Devgan was announced.
Source article: Bollyspice.com

More certain is that Vishal, in addition to Shantaram, also has another music score being written. This time, it's for long-time associate Abhishek Chaubey, who has been with Vishal since "Makdee" and also co-wrote "Omkara". Billed as a crime-thriller, Vishal is also co-producing the film, while Gulzar will pen the lyrics.
Source article: Mid-Day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

'Shantaram' - music watch

There's been a dearth of reliable information about what Vishal really is upto next, but if this Rediff article is anything to go by, at least Mira Nair's Shantaram has finally been spotted on the radar.

If you leave aside the typically silly Rediff headline-grabbing speculation, this line from Vishal is promising:

"We will have two Sufi songs and one item number in Shantaram."

Vishal has had success with both these styles in Hindi films (remember "tu mere ruubaruu" (Maqbool) and the chart-ripping "biiDii jalaile" (Omkara) of course). One doesn't really care if Johnny Depp is doing a number or not!

Monday, March 3, 2008

'Does Vishal know about this?' department

Well, if news reports are to be believed, Vishal Bhardwaj is making a lot of movies this year. This time, a vague news report about a likely casting of Kareena Kapoor and Aamir Khan, which probably is just recycled news from the days of the shelved 'Mr. Mehta and Mrs. Singh'. It was Shahid Kapur a few days ago, but as Vishal says in this interview: "The markets make my films way before I do".

We wish we had the services of a wee birdie who could tell us what those two scripts he alludes to are about. Anything to keep the speculators away. It doesn't help that Vishal's been part of quite a few shelved projects.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Personal thoughts on the music of "U, Me, aur Hum"

I'll admit that I would not have ordinarily looked forward to the music of a film with an orthographically-challenged title such as "U, Me, aur Hum". But with Vishal helming the baton, here is what I thought.

This film is the most 'urban' of Vishal's output. Though not spectacular in any way, it presents enough points of interest to merit a couple of repeats through the playlist. The lyricist isn't a certain stiff-kurta'd maestro here, but Munna Dhiman steps in to produce a couple of interesting poetic fragments. His highest point is the clever "Saiyaan", where Vishal graciously steps into the background to let the lyrics shine. With "nai dilli me.n bareilly jaisaa saiyaa.n" and "saara din afvaaho.n saa phirtaa udtaa-phirtaa hai galii-galii", this is a great track. Vishal adds the right amount of musical embellishments and gets Sunidhi Chauhan to do the same. Though I didn't like this the first time I heard it, it "chipkoo"-ed on from the next one.

Adnan Sami features on 3 tracks as the male voice. Shreya Ghosal and he combine for "Jii Le", a peppy Spanish number with the usual kind of arrangements (Spanish guitars et al.) that make it so. It's a very nice melody, especially the opening piece. I also liked the guitar riffs and the use of the accordions here. Decent track.

There are two version of the title song. Shreya Ghosal does the female solo, while Vishal himself steps up to the mikes for the male version. The tune has all the trappings of a soothing romantic tune and the English pop-lyrics don't distract as in some other songs. With all due respect to the composer, I really think Vishal ought not to sing. His version, in some places, sounds like a scratch track. Music directors are given the benefit of doubt as long as they have something distinctive to offer. However, as yet, Vishal's voice does not have the earnestness of A.R.Rahman, the zaniness of R D Burman, or the folkishness of S D Burman or Ilaiyaraja. He sounds very flat as well as heavy, especially with a female version to compare against. Nice lyrics again.

I didn't like the heavy Punjjaabbee numbers, especially the very noisy (to me) "Phatte". "Dil Dhakda" is slightly better, again with Dhiman's somewhat offbeat takes. However, on the whole, I haven't bothered to come back to these two.

At the end, I'm still playing four of these tracks, especially "Saiyaan", so that's not too bad for a digression on to the mainstream for someone who hasn't always been given his due in that part of public consciousness.

Update: Lyrics can be found at the Gulzarfans egroup.

Also posted on my personal blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Shahid Kapur? Really?

So this news item that came in through RSS feeds says that Vishal Bharadwaj has signed on Shahid Kapur in a "a virtual stamp of approval of Shahid's capabilities". Um, OK. My money says this one's made up.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"U, Me Aur Hum" - Music reviews

The music of "U, Me Aur Hum" has finally hit the stands. A collection of music reviews, most of whom seem to like it without necessarily raving about the songs. Until we manage to get our hands on the album and give it a good listen, listen to it online and read some of these early reviews:

Rediff, Milliblog, Sify, Ramanand.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"Julia" on hold?

News is that "Julia", Vishal Bhardwaj's next planned venture, is in some trouble. The news report could not pinpoint what the problem is, which is variousy attributed to problems with UTV or with dates of some of the leads. The film, rumoured to be based on yesteryear star "Fearless" Nadia was also to star Franka Potente.

"Julia" would have been a change for Vishal, whose 4 directorial features have been children's films or Shakespearean adaptations. We'll watch this item in the coming days.

Previously on "Julia": George's post on the announcements.

Update - 3 Jan 08
Sudarshan points to this Rediff page which suggests that the film's production may be stretched, but there's no mention of shelving the film, which is good news.

Update - 8 Jan 08
Put the shelf back up again. This article says Julia is not happening, talks (rather scarily of an Omkara prequel), and says Vishal is in Pune to write. (I could go find out if someone knows where he is.)