Notes to Myself


October 2009

Mock The Week on BBC Two

Mock The Week was my favorite comedy show on BBC Two – followed it regularly when I was in the UK. Even now I do follow clips on Your tube…

Here are some I liked…

Stewart Francis on Family:

Frankie Boyle

Frankie Boyle on Thatcher’s Funeral

Frankie Boyle on Scots (i.e. Himself)

Scenes We Would Like to See

~ Kaustubh


असेच काही तरी…

’स्थळा’साठी फोन केलेली एक बाई (म्हणजे मुलीची आई) सारखी ’आत्ताचा फोटो पाठवा…पण…अलिकडचा फोटो पाठवा बरं का…शक्यतो लेटेस्ट फोटो पाठवा’ म्हणत होती…त्यामुळे वैतागून मी ’लेटेस्ट’ फोटो पाठवला, (मूळ फोटो मुद्दाम दिला नाहीये…थोडा ’स्पेशल ईफेक्ट’ दिला आहे…)

त्यावर त्यांचे आत्ताच उत्तर आले आहे – ’थोडा जुना फोटो पाठवला तरी चालेल’…

चला…मी माझ्या बारश्याचा फोटो scan करायला जातो 🙂

~ कौस्तुभ

Colours of India













Courtesy: Sanjeev

~ Kaustubh

Most spoken languages worldwide

I recently found an interesting statistic/ image about ‘Most spoken language worldwide‘…

The size of circle in the image below indicates the relative rank of that language (in terms of number of speakers worldwide) – Click to enlarge:

I found it a bit surprising to see so many Indian languages in those big circles…it means the so-called ‘regional’ or ‘native’ languages too rank higher than many other ‘national languages’!

Now just out of curiosity I researched this a bit further and found that there are 2-3 different versions of these ranks (and similar versions of number of speakers too)…and that is bound to happen because no system can measure this to the exact level of details.

So here are few of these links:

Though the ranking and estimate of no. of speakers changes according to every list, one thing is for sure – that Indian languages rate very high among the list; many of the languages are in top 30. My mother tongue Marathi is ranked 16th, 18th and 23rd respectively according to three different lists, with an estimated 71 million speakers worldwide…

71 million!!! That is a lot…to put it in perspective, it is higher than entire population of countries like France, the UK, South Africa, Spain, Canada and many more (Ref:

So ‘Marathi manoos’ (Marathi speaking person) need not feel inferior or subservient to anybody else…he should be proud of speaking one of the most spoken languages in the world!

Is Raj Thackeray aware of these stats? He could do a lot with this info…

~ Kaustubh

ताजी ताजी ग्राफिटी…

ताजी ताजी ग्राफिटी… (सचिनच्या सौजन्याने)

~ कौस्तुभ

A R Rahman on ‘Jai Ho’ song…this is what makes him Great…!

2 times Oscar winner A R Rahman on his Oscar winner composition ‘Jai Ho’:

See, Jai ho became Jai ho because it was apt for the film, not because it was a great song. It was the right song and that’s why it worked out so well.

This is what makes Rahman great! …that he knows [and publicly accepts] that ‘Jai Ho’ was not one of his best compositions…very few people have the guts and humility to do so…Anil Kapoor should take a lesson or two from A R Rahman, and understand that Slumdog Millionnaire did not win Oscars because he played a small (and unimportant) role in it – in fact he had nothing to do with SM getting the accolades.


The complete AR Rahman Interview | The Telegraphindia ,October 2009
Interviewed by : Pratim D. Gupt | The Telegraph, India

You will be performing in Calcutta after more than six-and-a-half years. Has the Rahman sound changed in this period?

I have never changed my sound intentionally. Most of my soundtracks reflect what film I am doing. It’s only that. It’s never like I want to beat this sound or I want to do something better. But I do change myself. I do not want to do the same thing. I want to keep my job interesting to me.

There have been reports that you have been hiding in Los Angeles…

The three months immediately after the Oscars were hard to handle. Everyone wanted to felicitate me and have me over at social functions and congratulate me in ceremonies. I went to Los Angeles and went back to my music. Now, life is back to normal.

Why did you choose the Vince Vaughn rom com Couples Retreat as your first Hollywood project after Slumdog Millionaire?

I got that offer before I got all the awards for Slumdog Millionaire. Vince Vaughn came to me much before the Oscars. He just saw the movie and he became very emotional and he said: “I want your music for my next film!” I was contemplating whether to accept the movie or not. Then after the Oscars, I went and saw the movie. I felt that it wasn’t a musically sympathetic movie but it was a comedy. And nobody would ever think that a person who did Slumdog would do a comedy next. And I just wanted to experience the whole process of Hollywood. It was a great experience.

What makes it a great experience?

You know just the opportunity to go and work in studios where Mary Poppins and Star Wars were recorded, it’s a great feeling. Also, it was fun working with Vince and with the director of </span
><span class="Apple-style-spa
n” style=”font-size:small;”>Couples Retreat
, Peter (Billingsley). He’s a new guy and it was good.

But Couples Retreat the film has been very poorly received there and the reviews say your music has been under-utilised…

It is a comedy… it’s not a film where there were extraordinary musical situations. It’s also a complicated movie about four couples, who all have resolutions. And some of the score, which is significant in the film, is licensed stuff… like Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…. I know that this would happen but I had the opportunity of doing a great CD. And the CD is being liked by everyone.

Of the work that has been offered to you in the West, are they all asking for aSlumdog-like score from you?

No. Because they would never want to repeat the same thing. I am in a very extra-ordinary situation where I can do songs and I can do background scores. I have not been typecast… like “He’s a background score guy” or “He can only compose songs”. So, I have been trying to expand on that. Even in Couples, I have done three songs and then I have also done the background.

Do you have a wishlist of producers or directors you want to work with?

No, I don’t want to have a wishlist. Because some things look very small in the beginning and they become bigger in the end. Like Slumdog. And some things look very big at the beginning and end up really small. So I don’t have any wishlist.

Was Slumdog ever small?

Honestly, I would have never sent the score to the Oscars. The makers did. I composed the soundtrack in three weeks flat and didn’t think that it would go on to do what it did.

Do you think it was all because of that one song, Jai ho?

When I saw the film, they had put another song (Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s Aaj ki raat fromDon) and all that dancing was part of the film. At that time, it looked like a mockery of our song and dance. But when they used it in the end credits with Jai ho, it looked really nice. See, Jai ho became Jai ho because it was apt for the film, not because it was a great song. It was the right song and that’s why it worked out so well.

So, you haven’t given any brief to your Hollywood agent?

He is always surprised by my decisions. He said: “It’s (Couples) a comedy! Don’t do a comedy!” I said, why not? So, it goes like that.

How do you plan to balance your work here with your work there?

It’s difficult choosing. I want to keep that little chain of interest of people wanting to hear my music. I don’t want to overdo that. Also, I don’t want to underplay that. So there will be Tamil films, Telugu films, Hindi films and there will be English films too. I want to choose the best projects that complement my music.

Now when you compose for Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, is it like a return to roots because you started with his Roja?

It is, in a way. Also, Mani always surprises me. I think that now I know Mani Ratnam. But he surprises me. He keeps pushing me to a place where I am challenged and that’s a great creative spirit. And that’s what I need to keep going, rather than taking each other for granted. There’s something we always want to achieve as a team.

What motivated you to sign this Friday’s big release Blue?

I signed it before the Oscars. New people are really unpredictable. (Blue is directed by debutant Anthony D’Souza.) You never know. Sometimes they are great and sometimes they let you down. Blue also had a big production house like Ashtavinayak supporting the film. Then when I saw the visuals, it seemed like something genuinely interesting, something passionate.

What about the Kylie Minogue experience?

It was all finished in three hours (laughs). She was very fast. Actually it was also one week before the BAFTAs and I also had to finish recording the song.

Why didn’t Farhan Akhtar sing for the Blue<span class="Apple-style-span" sty

le=”font-size:small;”> soundtrack, as you had wanted?

The song changed from what we wanted to make it. And he wasn’t very sure that the song went with his style of singing and whether he would be able to pull it off. Whether it would be right for him. So I said, okay, we will work on something else later. The song was Fiqrana, actually. And I was happy that Vijay Prakash got a huge opportunity.

What are you planning with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame?

We are planning a lot of things actually. He is a dear friend whom I know for more than eight years now. We are trying to put up a band together, like a super band. Also, he is doing a movie for Nokia and I am helping him out on Indianising it.

What about your own English album?

I am currently working on it. It will have a lot of pop musicians. I am not sure who at this stage. But it is definitely the project I am really looking forward to, after doing so many film soundtracks.

If a director from Bengal walks up to you with his script, would you do the music?

If it’s something special, I would love to do it. If I find it inspiring, I would do it. I have seen a lot of great work coming from here.

But will you charge him a bomb?

Charge is never a problem (smiles)!


~ Kaustubh

Politics in the Maldives sinks to new lows…for a better cause!

Maldives holds first underwater cabinet meeting

The Maldives held world’s first underwater cabinet meeting today…I really liked the concept…India should hold entire Parliament session underwater…only with one change – that no one should wear the scuba gear!

I think that would be quite an innovation 🙂


The complete news:

The government in the Maldives is holding its first underw

ater cabinet meeting on Saturday to attract international attention to the dangers of global warming, a spokeswoman said.

President Mohamed Nasheed, dressed in full scuba gear, will preside over the half-hour meeting at a depth of six meters (20 feet) just north of the capital Male from 0500 GMT, event coordinator Aminath Shauna said.

Most of the island nation, a tourist paradise featuring coral reefs andwhite sand beaches, lies less than one metre (3.3 feet) above sea level and scientists have warned it could be uninhabitable in less than 100 years.

Shauna said the ministers had already signed their wetsuits, which would be auctioned on the website, due to be launched later on Saturday, to raise money for coral reef protection in the atoll-chain.

“All arrangements are in place for the underwater meeting,” she said.

The government has arranged a horseshoe-shaped table on the seabed for the ministers, who will communicate using white boards and hand signals.

The Divers Association of Maldives (DAM) said the ministers, who had trained over the past two months, felt confident about the unprecedented meeting.

Of the 14-member cabinet, three ministers will not take part in the dive, two of whom have medical conditions while the third was currently in E

The Maldives, located southwest of Sri Lanka, has become a vocal campaigner in the battle to halt rising sea levels.

In 2007, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that a rise in sea levels of 18 to 59 centimetres (seven to 24 inches) by 2100 would be enough to make the country virtually uninhabitable.

More than 80 percent of the country’s land, composed of coral islands scattered some 850 kilometres (530 miles) across the equator, is less than one metre (3.3 feet) above sea level.


~ Kaustubh

ओबामा, नोबेल, भारतरत्न आणि माध्यमे

ओबामाला २००९ साठीचा नोबेल शांतता पुरस्कार मिळाला. आणि त्यावर जगभरातून प्रतिक्रिया येऊ लागल्या …बऱ्याचश्या टीका/ आक्षेप, काही आनंद व्यक्त करणाऱ्या. बहुतेकांच्या मते हा पुरस्कार ओबामाला देण्यात थोडी घाईच झाली…कदाचित तो त्याच्या आश्वासनांची पूर्ती करतो का ते पाहून अजून काही काळाने हा पुरस्कार देता येऊ शकला असता.

आपल्या वर्तमानपत्रात आणि मिडियामध्ये पण यावर बरीच चर्चा झाली…पण ते फक्त विशिष्ट लोकांपुरतेच मर्यादीत असते…बाकीच्या लोकांना त्याच्याशी फारसे घेणेदेणे नसते.

परवाच आमच्या ओळखिची एक बाई तिच्या दंगा करणाऱ्या ८-९ वर्षाच्या मुलाला समजावून सांगत होती: ’असा दंगा नाही करायचा बाळा, शांत बसलं ना की लोकं शाबासकी देतात, बक्षीस देतात…तो ओबामा बघ…शांत बसल्याबद्दल त्याला केवढा मोठ्ठा नोबेल शांतता पुरस्कार मिळाला…मग, बसणार ना शांत आता?’

’बाळा’ नी पूर्ण दुर्लक्ष करून त्याला जे करायचे होते तेच ह्केले…पण मला शांत बसण्याबद्दल हे असे ’incentive’ पाहून गंमत वाटली…

पण कुणी सांगावे, त्या नोबेल कमिटी सुद्धा कदाचित असाच विचार केला असेल…म्हणजे आधीच्या जॊर्ज बुश पेक्षा ओबामा “बराच शांत” आहे…अध्यक्ष होऊन ८-१० महीने झाले तरी अजून एकही नवीन युद्ध सुरु केले नाही…आणि तसे काही करायच्या आतच त्याला नोबेल देऊन टाका…म्हणजे एक जबाबदारी म्हणून तरी तो असे काही करणार नाही!

अन्यथा, ओबामानी असे अजून काहीच केले नाहीये ज्यामुळे त्याचा नोबेल साठी नुसता विचार सुद्धा केला जाऊ शकतो. एक तर नोबेल ला नामांकन द्यायची मुदत ही तो अध्यक्ष झाल्यानंतर केवळ २ महिन्यांनी होती, म्हणजे आत्ताइतके ८-१० महिनेही नाही…केवळ २ महीने. त्यामुळे त्याला नोबेल देणे ह्यात राजकीय विचारच जास्त आहे असे वाटते.

पण आपल्याकडच्या मिडियानी ह्याची दखल घेऊन चर्चा करावी याचे मात्र मला फार आश्चर्य वाटले. नुकतेच मी ’भारतरत्न’ पुरस्कारांवरचे एक चांगले आणि माहितीपूर्ण पुस्तक वाचले. भारतरत्न पुरस्कारातही अनेक वादग्रस्त विजेते आहेत हे बऱ्याच लोकांना माहितीच नसते. आणि आपल्याकडचे विचारवंत, व्रुत्तपत्रे ई. त्यावर कधी बोलताना, टीका करतानाही दिसत नाहीत.

कदाचित ओबामावर टीका करणे सोप्पे असेल कारण त्याचा ह्या टीकाकारांना काही त्रास होणार नाही, आणि ओबामाला तर नाहीच नाहे! पण तेच इथल्या राजकीय पक्षांवर, नेत्यांवर टीका करणे म्हणजे उगाच आपला ’पोटापाण्याचा’ धंदा बंद पडायचा…असा सोप्पा विचार ही मंडळी करत असणार. त्यामुळे कोणी त्या विषयावर जास्त बोलायला धजावत नसेल.

राजीव गांधी, एम. जी. रामचंद्रन या आणि अशा लोकांना जेव्हा भारतरत्न दिले गेले तेव्हा त्याबद्दल चर्चा, वाद व्हायला पाहिजे होते…असे का केले याचे स्पष्टीकरण सरकारला द्यायला भाग पाडायला पाहिजे होते. पण तसे झाले नाही. राजीव गांधी यांना तर ’भारतरत्न’ का दिले हे मला अजून समजलेले नाही. १९८० साली ते (अनिच्छेनीच) राजकारणात आले…१९८४ साली इंदिरा गांधी यांच्या हत्येबद्दलच्या सहानुभूतीमुळे पंतप्रधान बनले…लगेच १९८५ साली त्याच सहानुभूतीचा फायदा घेऊन विक्रमी संख्येनी त्यांच

The legend of Sachin…

A nice article on Sachin Tendulkar by Harsha Bhogle in the India Today magazine…Here are few beginning lines:

Of the many constituents of greatness, longevity is the first to be cast aside. The connoisseurs will talk of grace and beauty and finesse; the fans will talk of numbers, Test runs, majors, grand slams, Olympic medals; the storytellers will regale you with legendary battles won and the romantics might slip in a word for brave efforts that just fell short.
But longevity? That’s for machines, isn’t it? Surely you can’t say Sachin Tendulkar is great because he played for 20 years, can you? How boring!

And yet that is my thesis. That longevity assumes all the qualities that everyone else finds dear. If you are good enough to play at the highest level for 20 years you must possess virtually every quality in a sportsman.

So you can look back at all of Tendulkar’s great innings, you can recall all the snapshots you have stored in your mind, you can trawl through his statistics but the fact that he has put body and mind together and existed as one of the brightest in our pantheon for 20 years is, quite simply, staggering.

It means he has competed against the best in the world across different eras; against grizzly pros when he was a kid and brash, irreverent young men now; he has played on feverishly seaming pitches and on raging turners, on cold, cloudy days and blazingly hot ones; at home surrounded by family and fans and away amidst loneliness; when the body is obeying all commands and when pain and fatigue bring you to your knees.

And he hasn’t just survived, he’s left his imprint on every situation. It is a colossal achievement. On his first tour of England he batted against Eddie Hemmings who had made his first class debut seven years before Tendulkar was born. He now shares a dressing room with kids who were having their umbilical cord cut when he was scoring his first century.

You can read entire article here.

Also check Sachin’s interview:

~ Kaustubh

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