Wednesday, November 27, 2013

You can sing, so can I!

June 16, 2013 was a regular Sunday for me.  As a sub-editor of a daily, I work on Sundays, from 4.30 pm to 11.30 pm. But that day, I was going to sing. It was beyond the humming in my bathroom and the antakshari sessions. I was about to get my voice recorded in a studio. And I did, thanks to techie-turned-singer Sunil Koshy and his initiative, “From Mug to Mike”. 

His idea was simple –– get interested “bathroom singers” to join the community that was set up as a Facebook group in April 2013, provide them a basic introduction to professional singing, and give a chance to record their voice in a professional studio. For those interested to continue, Koshy would conduct advanced training sessions.

He had the support of his associates in the music industry and his loving wife. Sa Studio in Banashankari, Bangalore became the venue, with the first workshop in April 27. I joined the crew in June.

What unveiled in the following months was beyond the dreams of the organisers.

Word spread fast as friends of the aspiring singers took note of their smiling photos taken the studio. “Over 400 bathroom singers have recorded in a studio for the first time ever in their lives, in a span of less than six months. People came from other cities in Karnataka and even from Pune, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram just to attend our workshops,” says Koshy, beaming with pride. 

Participants came and attended the advanced sessions repeatedly, giving Koshy and team the confident to hold a stage show for amateur singers. The first show, on August 18 in Bangalore, became an assembly of enthusiastic singers stepping out of their privacy, receiving tremendous appreciation. 

“There was a stream of messages and enquiries,” remembers Koshy. “Rotary Club of Kochi invited us to conduct workshops there.” Thus, ‘From Mug to Mike’ crossed the state orders on October 19 and 20, 2013. Next year will open with their entry in Chennai, on January 5.

“There have been many people writing to us from around the world, including US, UK, UAE and other countries,” says Koshy with pride. Koshi is yet to acknowledge it, but going by the number of participants till date, ‘From Mug to Mike’ is currently the largest recording platform of amateur singers in India.

I am happy to be one among the hundreds. As of my recording, well, it was mediocre. But, hell, it’s my first recording in a studio. And I am happy that I could sing!

(Illustration: From Mug to Mike)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You 

This is my first participation in the Weekly photo challenge. This week’s theme is "The Hue of You."

You have to present a photo taken by you with a predominant colour that represents you, your mood or your state of mind.

I am happy, looking forward for good days. So here goes...

Friday, April 05, 2013

When the dino came in 3D...

This happened 19 years back. We––Achan, Amma, Chinnu and yours truly––were in a theatre. All children waited with bated breath. The first thing that came to screen was a globe, slowly rotating. We were looking keenly to see whether there were any dinosaurs. Instead, alphabets came around the globe. “UNIVERSAL,” I read. The movie was “Jurassic Park”. 

I had seen that movie umpteen times, later in life. The park, the children and the tremors in the glass of water still fascinate, but nothing could match the experience I had years ago. Not until last week, when I walked in to see the dinos in 3D.

Officially, it was the 20th anniversary edition of Jurassic Park, which released in 1993. Not here. In India, the film came a good one year later, in 1994. And what a release! That was the biggest opening ever for a Hollywood movie in India. We just loved the dinos.

It was the pre cable-TV era. We were yet to get used to the graphics dished out by Hollywood. And it became the first ever Hollywood experience for an entire generation. For the first time, an English movie ran for more than 50 days in my small town. In bigger cities, Jurassic Park crossed 100 days.

Jurassic Park cast: then and now

There was an avalanche of change in the 19 years that followed. The children grew up, so did the Indian market for Hollywood movies. 

Like the dinos that tore open the park’s fence, Jurassic Park was a game changer. Many Hollywood studios followed suit. And in 1998, a huge ship sank in our screens, beating every Indian movie in that year’s box office collection. Interestingly, Titanic also released during a summer vacation.
From movies that came a year late, things have moved up pretty fast. Last May, The Avengers released in India before the US. This April, GI Joe did. Dubbed prints of Hollywood productions get premiere release these days. Video cassettes became history. Now, DVDs are facing extinction due to online piracy.

With time, or rather growing up, the charm of the movie has surely faded a bit, like the charm of the logo of Universal Studios. For quite a few years post Jurassic Park, the mere sight of the globe on screen would trigger in my young mind an anticipation of something as grand as Jurassic Park.

Now the child is no longer there, and the adult knows about Hollywood.