Saturday, June 09, 2007

Food of love, and the love of food

My good friend the Uncut One (India’s most popular blogger … sorry, second-most popular, since my other friend now holds the palm by public poll) has spent quite some time on the current Indian Idol series. Analysed trends, made predictions. Which is very commendable, I daresay, but also a huge waste of time.

Because the really good amateur singing is not on ‘Indian Idol’. Thanks to the Better Half, I’m quite au fait with the current series. Large Bong contingent, including a constable from the Kolkata Police. Apart from Eamon / Iman, however, not one singer combines grammatically correct singing with verve. Not the girl from Calcutta who won hearts by sadly blaming her own looks, not the baby who sings flawlessly but without any life in her performance.

And does anybody else think that Javed-saab has suddenly lost it? He’s trying to be a genteel version of Simon Cowell. That’s best left to Anu Malik (maybe not the 'genteel' part). What ails that man anyway? Can’t have the man-we-love-to-hate earning sympathy through sickness. On your feet, man!

The real performance, ladies and gentlemen, was on a different channel, on a show called ‘Voice of India’. To begin with, Abhijeet is a judge and I’m a fan of his gayaki. And last night, Sumitra Iyer, an Infosys techie, sang Hare Rama Hare Krishna, doing both Asha Bhonsle’s and Usha Uthup’s parts, switching between voices and scales with an élan that rivaled Kishore Kumar’s in that song from Half Ticket (Aake seedhi lagi dil pe jaise katariya) To quibble, she mainly showcased her ability to sing in different octaves, there isn’t too much gayaki in that number anyway. But her real-time switches between octaves was jaw-dropping, her performance was flawless, confident. She communicated a sense of enjoyment, a rapport with her listeners. THAT is a performance. Goodbye, Indian Idol.

About that Kishore Kumar number. Any aficionado knows the story of how Lata Mangeshkar was supposed to sing the part for the on-screen Kishore (in drag as a ­rather hefty ­banjaran). How she fell ill and Kishore suggested to Salil Choudhury that he sing both parts. How he rehearsed it once and then pulled it off in one take. People appreciate his effortless switch from falsetto to baritone, the sense of fun. What freaks me out is the way he mimics Pran’s voice, keeping the song alive while going faintly off-key in places, perfect vocal acting of an amateur singing. Close your eyes and listen to him when he starts in the male voice and you’ll believe it’s Pran singing. (By the way, Pran was apparently quite a sex symbol in his heyday.)

In breaking news, the Most Popular Blogger is recovering from a strange affliction of the innards that apparently got so serious he had to delay his return to the US. Sad, how living in the USA debilitates the proud Indian intestine. The good news is that, out of consideration for his adoring public, GB has risen from his bedof pain to shoot off a post. However, as I remarked to him, what profits a man if he gain a green card and lose his immune system? My own innards (knock on wood!) stood up manfully to a week of processing pork, squid, guavas, lemon grass et al from street vendors in Bangkok. But, as GB just said on chat, wait for the post. (GB and I also agreed that the chances of Mallika Sarabai starting a blog, then attending a blog meet, then falling for either of us, are so low as to be negligible. I heaved a deep doleful sigh. And went back to my cuppa, faintly relieved.)

**** ****

5 comments:

Greatbong said...

And as I told JAP,

1) I do not have a GC.Not even one in processing.

2)I have always had stomach problems in India. it kept me slim, supple and irresistible to women. Well slim and supple at least.

greatbong said...

Mallika Sarabhai?(You typed Sarabi--Freudian?).I thought you meant Vikram Sarabhai.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Corrected, saar.

J.A.P.

Tabula Rasa said...

now it's "sarabai". you're right, zapda, she indeed is a lady :-D

W-B said...

e-b