Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Boggler Blogger's First Live Concert Experience: MILFF 2017

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There are two things everyone should do in their life. First travel alone to any part of the world and second, attend a live concert.” –Sukesh Pandian- 2017.

For those wondering who this Sukesh Pandian guy is, well he is no big shot or anyone famous. I am Sukesh Pandian, the writer of this article.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe that everyone should do these two things at least once in their life time or more if you can. That’s because the experience you attain from it is really life changing and you will thank me later for it.

I’ve been travelling alone many times before but I have never attended a life concert before. My goal was that the first ever concert I attend must be an A.R. Rahman concert but all that changed when I had the opportunity to attend MILFF 2017. I have to thank all my lucky stars for grabbing this opportunity to attend the event.


Malaysian Independent Live Fusion Festival 2017 or better known as MILFF 2017 took place on the 9th September 2017 at KWC Fashion Mall and was organized by Mojo Projects. After a successful outing in 2016, Mojo Projects brought MILFF 2017 for the second time.

For music lovers, the organizers assembled huge star cast to perform but for a music illiterate like me, only Vijay Prakash & Sid Sriram was the pulling factor for me and wasn’t aware much about rest of the cast.

Huge credit for Mojo Projects first and foremost for picking a location like KWC Fashion Mall because of its indoor setting and ample of car parking space. But most of all thank you for starting the show right on time. You did not take your audience for granted and I truly appreciated that from the organizers.

Shylu of Jatayu
The opening act was conducted by a band call Jatayu. For those
who are wondering what Jatayu means, the name Jatayu was inspired from the Indian epic Ramayana. The moment they started playing their music, the crowd was awed by it. Such brilliant and beautiful Carnatic fusion music gave me goosebumps from the start.

Sooraj Santosh
Then the ever amazing Sooraj Santosh joined in to perform with Jatayu and there was a treat for the local fans. One of our artists, Dan Shiv had the luxury of performing together with Sooraj Santosh & Jatayu. 

The crowd loved them and showed their appreciation with loud cheers and claps. By the time Jatayu ended their gig, I have already became a fan of their music. It was just that beautiful. It was perhaps the fastest one hour of my life. They left the stage taking away thunderous cheers from the crowd.


Aalaap Raju
Next gig was conducted by Aalap Raju and his band. If Jatayu’s performance was beautiful, Aalap Raju and his band’s performance were so energetic with a touch of beauty. They were belting out Ghana songs like “Kaasu,Dudde, Money Money”  and “Pettai Rap”. It was also great to see Stylomannavan sharing the stage with Aalap and his band.

Aalap Raju surely won the crowd when he changed his voice for Pettai Rap and crowd almost lost it. He was amazing. The point they touched people’s heart was the segment when the replayed Illayaraja’s BGM.

On screen they played scenes from film’s Illayaraja composed and they recreated the magic life on stage. “Sundari” from Thalapathy and “Thenpadi” from Nayagan were so beautiful it can move you to tears. Thank you Aalap Raju for instilling such beautiful memories in my mind.

Next came on stage was the great Vijay Prakash. I loved his personality on stage and the way he was engaging with the crowd. Throughout his gig he was connecting with the crowd and that drove the crowd even louder.
Vijay Prakash

Being a huge fan of “Hossana” I froze when he sang that song, but that wasn’t the highlight of the night. Shortly after that he sang “Om Shivam Om” from Naan Kaduval. My god, his performance for the song would literally send chills to your spine. Once again I had goosebumps and when he finished that song, the entire crowd stood up and gave him a standing ovation. Performance of the night hands down.

Sid Sriram
The next performance was perhaps the most awaited performance of the night. On comes Sid Sriram
and the crowd screams their lungs out. It is impossible to find a person who doesn’t like Sid Sriram and there is a strong reason why. The guy is blessed with an amazing voice and when he sings, you forget everything in your world.

Apart from singing the songs he had sang in cinema like “Thali Pogathey”, “Maruvarthai” and “Adiye”, his take on “Nila Kaigirathu” was so beautiful.  Once again it is another goosebump moment. The fans love him and he shows them his love with his voice. And then came on stage our local boy Balan Kashmir, previously shared the stage with Vijay Prakash and now performed together with Sid Sriram himself. Felt so proud seeing our home boy sharing the stage with two big artists.

Vijay Prakash & Balan Kashmir
Sid Sriram too has a great personality on stage with the way he interacted with crowd. He made KWC Fashion Mall perhaps the most positive place in the world yesterday with his songs an engagement with crowd. I love the fact on how he paid tribute to a musician who recently lost his life and also credit his success to his mum. It was blissful moment watching this great man performing.

With that, we came to the final gig of the night. It was almost 11 p.m. and they saved one of the best bands out there for the final performance. Before the show, if you were to ask music lovers who you are looking forward for the concert, apart from Sid Sriram and Vijay Prakash, the next name you will hear is AGAM. It is not surprising when Sid Sriram himself is a huge fan of AGAM.

Harish of AGAM
AGAM is a Carnatic Rock band and they are one of a kind. With every performance, the crowd grew louder and louder and I had such an amazing experience just sitting, closing my eyes and listening to them. Their performance on “Uyire” towards the end of the show was a huge highlight.

Just like that 6 hours passed so fast and I couldn’t believe my first ever concert has come to an end. It was such an amazing and beautiful experience. Thank you Mojo Projects for organizing this event and I am already looking forward to MILFF 2018. I end my post today with the same quote that started this post.

There are two things everyone should do in their life. First travel alone to any part of the world and second, attend a live concert.” –Sukesh Pandian- 2017.

** Photos of all artist performing during MILFF are courtesy of  Remnesh Kumar and Vishnu from Ark Photoplay 

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

In The Limelight: Aalaap Raju

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MILFF 2017 is happening this Saturday, the 9th of September 2017 at StarXpo Center in KWC Fashion Mall, starting at 5.30 P.M. Of the many talented singers that is going to be performing that day, I got the luxury of catching up with Aalaap Raju.  

Aalaap Raju burst into the limelight with the song “Enamo Aedho” from KO which also saw him fetch the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 2011.

Below is the transcript of the conversation between me and brother Aalaap Raju. Happy reading!

Question: Hi Bro, have you been to Malaysia before?  Is this your first visit here?

Answer: Yes I have been here numerous times for both personal and musical trips. This place is not new to me at all. Starting from so many venues like the PETRONAS Twin Towers and the other usual tourist spots. My favorite is also the local Malay food like Satay. I’ve got a lot of good memories in KL.

                                                        
Question: Can you share with our readers a little background about yourself and your music career?

Answer: I am actually from a musical family. Both my mom and dad are singers (Jayam Raju & Latha Raju). At the same time my dad is also a music composer while my mom was a dubbing artist too and actress too. This is my roots and music has always been in my blood but I only entered the music world very late in my life (around the age of 20-21). Despite coming from a musical family, I am completely self-taught on singing and guitar playing.


Question: Building from what you mentioned, if you weren’t into singing when you were younger, what was your area of interest and how did singing come along?

Answer: It was sports and mainly cricket. I had this big dream that I wanted to be a cricketer but things changed when I figured out what was deep within me. Actually it wasn’t me who figured it out but it was my friends. It was just like when you are hum a tune while having a conversation like this and someone hears you. It was that casual and my friends figured it out and said “Dude why aren’t you singing?”


That’s how it started and I began participating in collage cultural shows. With that my interest shifted to base guitar specifically and singing. I took it more seriously and put in a lot more work because it was completely self-taught and I had no one to tell if it is right or wrong. I had to figure all this out by watching videos or going for live concerts. It is OK now but I would love to achieve much more.


Question:  As you mentioned, you come from a musically rich family. When you were young, did your family ever pushed you into music and how did they react when you entered the music scene in your 20’s?

Answer: My parents are very chilled actually. They wanted me to concentrate more academically when I was younger. Unfortunately they have seen the sour side of things in the music industry from their stand point. So they didn’t want me to go through the same thing but when I got into music, they didn’t stop me. In fact they were surprised that one fine day this guy is singing and playing guitar. They were really surprised and when they first heard me singing they were taken aback. The fact they weren’t pushy as a parent made it all the much easier.


Question: How did your breakthrough happen?

Answer: I was working in the IT industry for 6 years and when I figured out and made the jump, I was welcomed in the music industry because people had start noticing me as a musician. I would work in the office and go for recording in formals with my ID card. It used to look stupid but it’s ok because I was trying to manage to prove a point. And when I finally took a 2 months sabbatical (unpaid leave), I worked on an album and made a demo. That demo fetched me a song like Enamo Aedho. That’s how it happened


Question: What pushed you to make the switch from Aalaap Raju, the IT guy to Aalaap Raju the singer? 

Answer: To answer you in a single line, what pushed me was pure passion. That’s it. NEVER EVER LET GO OF YOUR PASSION.


Question: Have you ever had a moment any embarrassing moment while performing life on stage.

Answer: To be honest, the embarrassing moment I had was on a musical front whereby it is acceptable to a certain ratio. The maximum I have done is that I swallowed lyrics. It’s like when your mind goes blank while singing a song which you may have sung a thousand times. It is so unbelievable that it can happen on stage. It is more like a word flipping not the whole line. Or maybe when I am trying to address the crowd and my mind goes blank and I somehow manage it by telling them to clap something like that.


Question: What is the proudest year you have had in your career?

Answer: I would pick 2010. I became a father that year and I sang two back to back hits with Harish Jeyaraj, which was “Enamo Edho” & “Engeyum Kadhal”.  On April 18 2010, I started my own studio. That year was full of jumps, bumps and surprises which started reaping benefit the next year. For me 2010 was a big year.


Question: Final question, 20 years from now how would you want people to remember you?

Answer: First and foremost, for me what is important is that people remember that Aalaap Raju is good person. It may sound very cliché but believe me good karma is everything. Anything above that is a bonus. That’s very important to me and I would do anything to be that person.

Boggler Blogger With Aalaap Raju
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Sunday, 13 August 2017

MILFF 2017: A Musical Journey Not To Be Missed

I think music, in my opinion, is not about motivation in the way it's - it's not a running base. It's art. And my whole philosophy of music is different. It's almost like cooking and serving to people, seeing them smile and enjoying the food, really.” – A.R.Rahman.
 
Just as god’s favorite musician said, music is indeed an art and it can liberate your soul when you hear to fantastic music. Especially when you have a band playing on stage right in front of you. Well, that is exactly what you are going to get when you attend MILFF 2017.

Malaysian Independent Live Fusion Festival or better known as MILFF is returning again this year for the very second time after a successful outing last year. This year it is going to get bigger and better. 
 
Sid Sriram
Happening on September 9th 2017, be prepared to be wooed with some musical magic from “Thalli Pogathey” fame Sid Sriram, the highly energetic Vijay Prakash with his ban. This two people need no introduction as they have been hugely successful in the cinema industry and have sung for A.R. Rahman before! Being a huge fan of Sid Sriram , it is no secret that he is the main reasons why I am attending this years MILFF. What an experience it would be to watch this great man perform live in MILFF.
Left: Vijay Prakash; Top Right: AGAM The Band; Bottom Left: Sooraj Santosh
Also the co-founder of Masala Coffee, Sooraj Santosh will be there along with AGAM the band. All of them are set to perform for you for a 6 hour musical festival from 5.30 p.m. at StarXpo Center in KWC Fashion Mall.

What makes this year’s MILFF a little more special compared to its previous edition is the fact that this time there is going to be an inclusion of TWO LOCAL ARTIST in the show. That’s right we this time we are going to have a couple of local artist sharing the grand stage and entertaining us.




Top: Balan Kashmir; Bottom Stylomannavan
And they are no other than Balan Kashmir, who recently burst into the limelight with “Start That Thiruvizha” and the very well-known Stylomannavan. It gives us all the more reasons to be part of MILFF 2017.

For those who are still in two minded to attend and would want to know how was MILFF last year before making the decision this year, well I've had the opportunity to ask a couple of people who attend MILFF 2016 to share their experience on how it was here is what they have got to say.

About MILFF 2016, well for someone with zero knowledge in singing but a whole lot of passion in it, I think it's a great concert. I truly had a blast there. No questions about whether I'll consider going or not, already bought my tickets. Said Thevaraj Raman, a student of University Technology Petronas.


"They started the show on the dot. The music was too good and it's really bad for our knees. We couldn't moving and dancing to the beats till we had sore foot and knees. I will definitely go back with a bigger group. Last year I manage to gather 8 about people. This year we have double the crowd already." Said photographer & former blogger Vicknes Waran.

"One of the best concerts I have ever been. Audience were not taken for granted. They started the show right on time. Perfect song selection and sound system was good. We Malaysians don't really get the chance to experience fusion, carnatic, raaga based music actually. MILFF 2016 was an eye opener to me." Said Venpa famed "Thirumbi Paaradi" singer Thanneer Narayanan.

With MILFF 2016 being a huge success, the stage is now set for MILFF 2017 to be bigger and greater. It is still not too late for you to grab your tickets. For more details visit www.mojoprojects.asia or get your tickets at www.airasiaredtix.com. Alternatively, call 016-3271557.

To know a little bit more about the performers of MILFF 2017, please click the following link below which was written Crappy Blogger.


Save the date guys! 9th September 2017, 5.30 p.m. @ StarXpo Center in KWC Fashion Mall and be prepared to go on a musical journey to a whole other world. I’ll be there & I hope you would be there too!

Monday, 7 August 2017

Apology

On 11th June 2017, I had written a post titled "RIP?: A film like no other before". The general theme of the post was about my review of the film. As I have always had a raw style of writing, I applied it in this post as well.

At the point of writing the post, it never came across to me that my writing could cause grievance and inconvenience to another party. I naively wrote with the intention of expressing my views. However it came to my attention a week later that my post has indeed hurt the film team.

Two weeks ago, this whole turned up to be a bigger controversy as I received an official notice regarding my write up and we had to engage assistance from 3rd party to bring an end to this issue. After a series of letters were exchanged, both parties (the film team & I) were able to come to mutual conclusion to put an end to this controversy for good.

Therefore as part of the agreement, I will delete the initial post of the film effective immediately and hand over a written apology letter to the film director. The handing over of the letter happened successfully today and below is an attached photo of it.


Two of my biggest passion are indeed cinema and writing. That was the reason why I started doing film reviews on my blog. As I do not make any money through my blog, all of the previous article was written purely based on passion and love I have on this two art.

Therefore to avoid a repeat of the similar controversy, I would like to used this space here to announce that, moving forward I will no longer write reviews on Malaysian Local Films. Meanwhile on Indian Tamil Films, I would temporary stay away from writing reviews as the last two weeks has cause me a lot of emotional  distress and I have lost the will to write reviews for now.

Nevertheless I will still continue to write other materials on my blog and hoping to see you guys soon with a new article. I would like to state again that I had no bad or ill intention when I wrote the film article and therefore have taken it down. I would also like to thank all parties who worked together in bring this to an end and we can all now move forward.

Yours Truly,
Sukesh Pandian
Boggler Blogger

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Under The Spot Light: AAA 1D

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Following the hype of Baahubali and Vishawaroopam, Anbanavan Asardhavan Adangadhavan (AAA) will be released in 2 parts, with the first part called AAA 1D, with 1D meaning 1 dimension. Following up on Simbhu success from Idhu Namma Allu and AYM and Adhik’s success of Trish Illana Nayanthara, much things was expected from this duo



Story Review

Usually my story review section will be long and detailed, but this time it is going to be really brief. Well that’s because in a 2 hour 20 minutes film, only 10 minutes of the film has some story to it.

AAA 1D is about how an old man aged 55, who is a Don or paid assassin in his younger days moves from Madurai to Dubai and now resides in Chennai falls in love with a 26 year old girl only to find out she doesn’t love him and someone else instead. He now vows to get his revenge on her in AAA 2D.


The story line is so thin and it doesn’t make sense to run the whole film for 2 hours. The whole Madurai portion seems to have no impact on the film and a waste of time. Hopefully in AAA 2D, they actually show what happens in Dubai.

Rating: 1.5/5.0

Director Review
Adhik Ravichandran

Adhik has to shoulder the responsibility on why AAA 1D is such a poor film. Let it be from the storyline, dialogues and screenplay it was all so horrible. Adhik stated doesn’t want to thought of a director who does films like Trisha Illana Nayanthara, but capable of much more. Well he needs to show he has that.

He also mentioned that AAA 1D is a film for youngster. Well just because it is for youngster, it doesn’t mean it has to have too many adult jokes and double meaning dialogues. The worst part was showing Motte Rajendran being nude. Like seriously why? Does doing a film for youth’s means it is all about sex, kissing and nudity. Certain portion were just too disgusting to watch.

In terms of dialogues, punch dialogues alone doesn’t make it a mass film or scene. It is everything that comes along in the scene that creates that feel. Self-glorifying dialogues alone won’t cut it. I could understand that if the dialogues were to glorify the character, but come on to glorify the real life Simbhu. It was more like it was a marketing campaign to make us think Simbhu is a great person in real life.

It doesn’t only stop with glorifying Simbhu, he even pushes it to glorify T.Rajendran. In terms of character design, once again Adhik’s fails miserably. Let it be the heroines or the supporting character, it was almost to no purpose and meaning to it.

In a time where many young directors are coming up with quality films, Adhik is not one in that list and needs to work extremely hard to be considered a decent director.

Rating: 1.3/5.0

The Cast
Simbhu

While I may not be a fan of Simbhu, personally I think he is a very talented actor. He has bags of talents and needs the right director to discipline him and bring the best out of him. Just like GVM did with VTV and AYM and Pandiraj did with Idhu Namma Allu. At this stage of his career, I would have thought that Simbhu would have figured out what kind of films work for him and what doesn’t.

Yet the boy never seems to learn. He continues to pick films which glorifies him so irrelevantly without contributing to the film. The same thing happens in this film. Simbhu plays the role of a young Madurai Michael and an elderly role of Ashwin Tata. They both are the same character.

I have no issues with his added weight, in fact I think the added weight plays well for his elderly character role. I was hoping Madurai Michael to be more like Thothi Jaya but the character seemed to be very lost and out of sort.

Meanwhile on the Ashwin Tata front, having white hair and wrinkles only does not makes you an old man. He didn’t seem to have any sort of body language resembling an old man. Maybe he could look at how Surya played the elderly role in Varnam Ayiram to be a little more convincing.

On a positive note, I did enjoy his look as Madura Michael. Especially the scene which he comes riding on top the car with and lighting the car up. If only the story with would been a little bit more mass and better dialogues, it could a character many people would have liked it very much.

It is hard to shoulder most of the blame on Simbhu as the story, screenplay and dialogue was designed by the director, and Simbhu was just executing the role assigned to him, unless of cause he influenced the director on that front.

However he needs to held responsible for picking such a poor script especially after doing a couple of good films. He has been on a little positive rise in his last couple of films and this is just going to crush all those hard work he has been doing.

I still rate him highly, but he has to stop doing roles which glorifies himself or his father and focus on doing actual real proper films.

Rating: 2.7/5.0

Shriya Saran & Tamannah

Shriya makes her comeback as a lead character in Tamil film after 6 years with Rowthiram being the last. Well at least on paper it can be considered a lead character, but in reality her role adds almost 0 weight to the film.

She maybe 34, but she surely does looking stunning and lovely. Sadly I couldn’t say the same thing about her performance. It felt very dull and 1 dimension and shows a lack of variety in terms of portraying emotions.


Tamannah on the hand looks like the bomb. Stunning and gorgeous and she has the moves when it comes to dance. Performance wise once again it well a little dull and 1 dimension.

Maybe it wasn’t a lack of talent from the actress but just the way the characters was design by the director. I’ll let you judge that.
Rating: 2.5/5.0

Mahat Raghavendra, VTV Ganesh, Motte Rajendran

Mahat plays the role of Madurai Michael’s best friend. It is a role which could so easily have a much bigger role, but due to poor writing, his character is almost forgettable.

VTV Ganesh is suppose the character that evokes laughter in you but the whole Simbhu-VTV Ganesh combo is so dead it is about time people stop using it. Does he plays any weight in terms of the story? Absolutely no.

Atleast Motte Rajendran’s role does make you laugh in a couple of places and the scene between him and Kovai Sarala reenacting Thali Pogathey was perhaps the best scene in the whole film. This concept of using Motte Rajendran to reenact songs or scenes of other films has been use many times and it is about to get bored very soon.

Rating: 2.0/5.0

The Music
Yuvan Shankar Raja

AAA 1D’s only saving grace has to be Yuvan’s music. The songs in the film doesn’t really create any magic for me and it is far of what Yuvan is truly capable in songs. A good director would have able to commend more out of Yuvan in terms of songs.



Nevertheless the area which Yuvan wins big time and perhaps rescues the film is his strong background score. Let it be more Madurai Michael Ashwin Tata or scenes in between, it is his BGM which creates magic in the film. Without Yuvan, the film would have been too unbearable to watch.

Rating: 3.3/5.0


Final Verdict: Awful, Agonizing, Atrocious

Final Rating: 2.4/5.0


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