Friday, August 28, 2009

Back Ache, Books & Bakbak

Suffering from Back Ache for almost a week now.

Tied up with a lot of things. Spending my time reading, writing and contemplating. I really don't have much to say or tell...
Detached from everything and away from the discussions, plannings and 'we can do this' conversations...I want be in this zone for some more time...

Doing what I am supposed to do and working on what I really want to do...

Inner Peace...Inner Peace, as master Shifu chants in Kung Fu Panda.

Meanwhile, I just finished reading Crying Freeman Vol.1 By Kazuo Koike (Writer: Lone Wolf & Cub) with beautiful art by Ryoichi Ikegami. The story reads like a fast paced crime thriller film. Really impressive but I doubt if I'll be following this title like I am digging Pluto Series (already on Vol.5 of 7). But I would definitely be watching the 1995 film adaptation Crying Freeman directed by Christophe Gans.

Also read over the last week:
Fables 1 (Vertigo) - I really liked the set up but the climax of the whodunnit story in Vol.1 was pretty predictable. Anyway, its a good series which I am gonna follow for at least next 2-3 TPBs before coming to a conclusion. You can download the 1st preview from Vertigo Site.

Hellboy Vol.7 - Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others : Which collects Hellboy short stories from many other collections from the Dark Horse Stable and one unpublished story by P.Craig Russel & Mignola.

Divine Right : The Adventures of Max Faraday Vol.1 (Wildstorm/DC) : Written & Drawn by Jim Lee, this book blown me away long back when I read it for the first time in Gotham Comics Library. Was it the story or the art...I don't know.

Ordered it from Flipkart to re-read it and find out. This time, I really find it a run of the mill Image Comics Plot where all the characters keep on coming up with one wisecrack after the other...all of them have very shallow personalities. The progression of the story suffers a lot because of the long (sometimes meaningless) dialogues. Jim Lee's writing can't catch up with his art where he is exploding the pages with super energetic spreads. And yep! like all the other Image Comics from that era, there are long legged beauties with Guns.

DISCLAIMER: These are my personal views and thoughts on the books as a reader, please don't take them seriously and read the books before making any opinion on them.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dhen Te Naan The Original & A Zee TV Promo

Dhen Te Naan has become a nationwide rage just like Emosanal Atyachar. But did you know Dhen Te Naan was the name of a story directed by Vishal Bharadwaj for TV Serial GUBBARE which used to air on Zee TV some 10 years ago. Here is the song, and yep that's Sharman Joshi dancing to the beats of original Dhen Te Naan, and accompanying him in floral red shirt is Teddy Maurya, national award winning Art Director who also art directed the latest hit Love Aaj Kal & many other movies. This song shows if the product is good it will find a market sooner or a decade later.
Lyrics by Apne Gulzar Sahab, music Vishal Bharadwaj Ka, ye lijiye original Dhen Te Naan:

On a different note, long-long ago, I did the visual scripting for some Promos on Zee TV. Stumbled upon this one for their Women Only Stand Up Comedy Show - Ladies Special : Hasya Ka Divya Tonic, (a show which was in making since the stone age, but saw the light of the day this June).
It was the second promo where they wanted to introduce all the contestants and I suggested to spoof Sansani & introduce the contestants, have a look:

Though my personal Fav. is the first promo. A silly, funny, spoofy limerick script I wrote introducing the show. The script was liked by everybody in the channel and was shot and broadcasted before this one, I am yet to see that one, if I find it, will share it with you guys.

Reading the Pluto Series and some more classic Manga Titles like Tezuka's Astro Boy, Crying Freeman...I think Japanese story tellers are far more evolved and smarter than their western counterparts.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

PLUTO 001 : Urasawa X Tezuka

Disclaimer : Well for most of you, this post might sound like the usual useless rantings of a fanboy, but I can't help sharing the magical experience of reading this wonderful book : PLUTO 001 : Urasawa X Tezuka
I came to know about PLUTO when Skottie Young (one of my fav. artists whom I follow on twitter) was tripping over it for over a month. With so many trashy manga titles around in the market, I generally keep a safe distance from most of them until its by my favorite artists, publishers or referred by somebody I can trust. Last it was (almost 2 years back), when Vikram introduced me to Lone Wolf & Cub series, which is really awesome. Before that it was Osamu Tezuka's Buddha series and some more titles by the maestro.

Anyway, after Skottie's non-stop praises and numerous reccomendations for the series, I really wanted to read it. Wiki said its Naoki Urasawa's take on one of the very old Astroboy stories by Tezuka - Astroboy and The Greatest Robot on Earth. A contemporary take on my most favorite manga artist's story! this one reason was more than enough for me to search for PLUTO. When I wasn't able to find the book at any bookstore, I ordered it from Flipkart (last entry).

I wanted to save the book for Sunday, but once I started flipping thru the pages, I couldn't help but finish it in one reading.

A wonderful book, which thankfully is presented in its original form (unlike other mirrored mangas published in America), so reading from right to left was a unique experience. Wonderfully planned narrative structure which takes a classic story and twists it with a contemporary story telling style. Brilliant use of imagery, compelling characters and careful selection of words while translating it from Japanese have made the book a worth read for anybody and everybody.

Urasawa is a master storyteller with very evolved sense of visualization which makes the book look as good as any aesthetically shot good movie. His command over emotions and dialogues is just outstanding and this humane story says it all. I can't wait to read more of his stuff especially - 20th Century Boys (which Skottie is tripping over these days) & his Monster series, along with other volumes of PLUTO.

Junot Diaz, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (Brief Wondorous Life of Oscar Wao) aptly said, "Urasawa is a national treasure in Japan, and if you aren't afraid of picture books, you'll see why."

Now I am looking forward to read the original story by Tezuka and rest of the PLUTO Volumes, as and when my pocket allows.

Went to Landmark this afternoon, just to check if they have the Astroboy Story, which sadly was unavailable with them, but I ended up buying The Art of Up:

Yours Truly,
The Fanboy
(High on Books, Low on Bank Balance)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Books, again :)

Bought some more books. Can't help it. I am addicted.

Sometime back I was searching for the book - Directing the Story, when I stumbled upon

After having some real bad experiences and some unimaginable adventures in online shopping, I am always a little skeptical about these kind of 'Bookstore at your doorstep' websites. Besides there are a couple of Book importers in Mumbai where you can order these books (that's what I did for this one).But the collection of Books (esp. Comics & Graphic Novels) on Flipkart was irresistible (which these book importers don't import comics for some reason known only to them. Finally when I couldn't resist the 'urge', I decided to give Flipkart a shot, by ordering just two books.

I am really impressed with their service. Flipkart is as good as amazon. (Wish they pay me for saying this).

It has all the features (which actually work) like tracking your order and getting prompt replies to your queries (which is very rare in the case of Indian Websites) and above all your order arrives in a neatly packed courier within the promised time (mine arrived much much earlier than the expected delivery date).

I was so excited with their prompt service (and the two comic books I recieved), that I logged in again to place an order for other comics I have been drooling over for a long time. Sadly most of them are out of stock now :(

RIP - Gulshan Bawra

Gulshan Bawra passed away today (7th August 2009).

A poet/ lyricist, who gave us memorable songs like - Mere Desh Ki Dharti (Upkar), Yari Hai Imaan Mera (Zanjeer) for which he also got the Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist.

He mostly worked with Kalyan ji -Anand ji, and penned less than 250 songs in a career span of 42 years.

I still remember his interview with Ameen Sayani on Radio, where he told how Distributor Shantibhai Patel gave him the title 'Bawra'. Gulshan ji, who was in his 20s wrote some real meaningful songs for his 1959 Film Satta Baazar (Music:Kalyan ji - Anand ji) like - Tumhein Yaad Hoga Kabhi Hum Mile The (Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar), when Shantibhai came to know that these deep meaningful songs were written by this crazy looking young guy, who sports long hair and flowery shirts, he named him 'Bawra'.

Long back I was playing 'Chandi Ki Deewar Na Todi...' on my two in one. When I asked Papa ji about the lyricist of the song, without a second thought he said "Gulshan Bawra...self pity se bhare kisi song ko aise interesting way mein aur kaun likh Sakega.."

Multi-talented Gulshan ji sang couple of lines for Pyaar Humein Kis Mod Pe Le Aaya (Satte Pe Satta, 1982). He also did small roles in many films, out of which the Harmoinum Playing street singer's character from Zanjeer (1973) deserves a special mention, as full song was featured on him, he also wrote the lyrics for the song, Music : Kalyan ji- Anand ji. Have a look at Duble-Patle Gulshan ji with that heavy weight Harmonium :

RIP Gulshan Ji...

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