Category: Music, Entertainment and Books



The audio of the much awaited Power Star Pawan Kalyan’s Panja is out in the stores and there are high expectations from the film and a personal expectation for Pawan Kalyan himself following the debacle of his last two movies – Puli and Teen Maar!! Here is my review of the music for the movie given by Yuvan Shankar Raja.

1.  Panja – Artiste – Yuvan Shankar Raja; Lyrics – Ramajogaiah Sastry

Rating – 3.5/5; Repeatability Factor – High

The number Panja, pipped to be the concept of the movie which would have (or expected to have) Pawan Kalyan performing some stunts is the opening song in the album and gives the required “Panja” to the album. The number is all about energy and Yuvan’s voice is just the right attribute. The album has tones of rock music in between and gives a glimpse of Bryan Adams or Bruce Springsteen in some places.  A sure repeat number and I am sure the listeners would love this song!!!

2. Ela Ela – Artistes – Hari Haran, Shweta Pandit; Lyrics – Chandra Bose

Rating – 4/5; Repeatability Factor – Very High

Now, why do always the second songs in the album the best ones?? I still can’t understand the reason. Yet another amazing number from Yuvan. This is a number which can be emulated by none and a typical Yuvan specialty!! Hari Haran and Shweta too add a lot of energy to the number. Simple and yet sweet lyrics by Chandra Bose, which again is possible only to him!! The song is expected to be shot amazingly at beautiful locations. If there is a number which would make this album a special one, this is it!!!

3. Veyira Cheyyi Veyira – Artiste – Saloni ; Lyrics – Ramajogaiah Sastry

Rating – 3/5; Repeatability Factor – Little

Just like the sauce in the noodles item songs adds the taste and spice to the movie. These days hardly find the movies without item songs.  Veyira Veyira song is such a mass song of this movie. There are a lot of similarities with “Gajja Ghallu Mannadi” from Khushi, this is not a fast beat song but would definitely be a favorite song for mass audience.

4. Kshanam Kshanam – Artiste – Shweta Pandit; Lyrics – Chandra Bose

Rating – 2.5/5; Repeatability Factor – Very Little or No

A short song, rendered by Shweta Pandit, is the female version of Ela Ela. The number could have been great if the artiste was different as the song requires better understanding of the language to emote as heroine expresses her feelings in this song.   The song is too short for the audience and the listener to remember.

5. Anukoneleddhuga – Artiste – Belly Raj, Priya Hemesh; Lyrics – Chandra Bose

Rating – 3/5; Repeatability Factor – Fairly Ok

A sweet song!! Belly Raj and Priya Hemesh have done a wonderful justice to Chandra Bose’s lyrics. The simplicity in the lyrics is the uniqueness of Chandra Bose, which he has mastered over the years and is always successful!!  One line in the song goes – “Aidhu pranala sakshi ga,naalugu kaalala sakshi ga,moodu pootallo rendu gundello okate prema ga”, is my personal favorite.

6. Paparayudu  – Artiste – Hemachandra, Sathyam; Lyrics – Ramajogaiah Sastry

Rating – 3/5; Repeatability Factor – Good

The Mafia Don story completely turns to a village backdrop movie in second half. Brahmanandham is playing the one of the main role in this movie. After a long time Pawan again opened his mouth before a mike as a singer with his excellent voice. This is completely a funny song which praises Brahmi’s character. Pawan kalyan dance is expected to be the highlight of this song. I promise you will definitely listen this with a smile on your face.

Overall Verdict

The album on the whole is good with a few numbers which are going to create a buzz in the charts. Though Yuvan does only a few films in Telugu, his understanding of the expectations of Telugu listeners and particularly Pawan Kalyan fans is worth a praise. Considering that Pawan Kalyan never had a bad album in his career, this album is sure rock the charts soon. My picks are Ela Ela, Panja and Paparaydu in the order. Good luck team Panja !!

Overall Rating – 3.5/5


Ra.One – the prestigious international project starring the Badshah of Bollywood, King Shahrukh Khan took five long years to complete and is ready to hit the screens soon. Directed by the talented Anubhav Sinha and music rendered by the dazzling Vishal-Shekhar duo, who, time and again have been giving amazing albums to us. With star credits like Akon singing a number and the usual hype that surrounds an SRK movie, let us see what the music has got to offer….

1. Chammak Challo – Akon & Hamsika Iyer; Lyrics –  Lyrics: Vishal Dadlani & Niranjan Iyengar – 3.25/5

There are four versions of the song in this album. Ah! the song has become an entity by itself. Simple lyrics, probably penned to make Akaon at ease while singing in Hindi, but I must say, Chammak Challo is a sure-shot winner. It’s refreshingly different and sets a euphoric mood. Less said, the better, and Akon is at his best in the International Version of the song with no female co-singer to steal the show. The international mix comes very close to the leaked version of Chammak Challo. It’s not jazzy, quite unlike the original.

Anyway there is even a Punjabi Mix of the song, served with Bollywood tadka. Expect a smattering of words like mahiya and nakhre! Hamsika Iyer’s sassy voice does full justice to this smashing track.Chammak Challo Club Mix with little variation is made suitable for disc consoles. But when the original is so good, who needs the club mix anyway! It’s a Chammak Challo vicious circle! Enter at your own risk. Still the album has a proper Remix Version for you. Now we get why Shahrukh Khan so fondly called his fans the Chammak Challos. The heady remix will stick in your head.

Overall, a very good mix of beats to match the desi style, some arabian touch with an international flavor!! sure will be played on FM and may music players for the time to come!!

2. Dildara (Stand By Me) – Shafqat Amanat Ali, Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani & Clinton Cerejo; Lyrics – Kumaar – 3.5/5

As I said in my last blog too, why is that the second number in the album, always the best song and my personal favorite???  The second song, Dildara Dildara, I do not know why the makers were saying that the song is a rehash of a classic number Stand By Me by Ben E. King, when it sounds so unique and in essence is a pure Bollywood love track. Shafqat’s rendition of the song makes it a regular but very much lovable song. May sound templated on Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s patterns, but it’s great to listen to anyway.

3. Criminal – Akon, Vishal Dadlani & Shruti Pathak; Lyrics: Kumaar & Vishal Dadlani – 2.5/5

Criminal, with the vocals by Akon again, with Shruti Pathak and Vishal Dadlani, sounds addictive. Addictive again, though the album seems to be getting a bit repetitive here. If you think your energy level has waned, then do listen to this track. Akon has also lent his voice to this song and Vishal Dadlani gives him a good company. Both have belted out a track which can even wake up the dead. I think the song is too noisy, unless you are a heavy metal freak!!

4. Bhare Naina – Nandini Shrikar, Vishal Dadlani & Shekhar Ravjiani; Lyrics: Panchhi Jalonvi – 3.25/5

Now is the time to clamber down after partying enough. Ecstatic mood of yours will feel a lilt with the melancholic strain of Bhare Naina. If you have been to the rock fests quite often, this song would not come as a nice experiment. The fusion works when its dramatic crescendo hits the highest pitch. And right at that moment the song will take you on a musical ride. Kudos to the singer, Nandini Srikar, for rendering this quasi-classic, rock number. But we would have loved the track more if it had been a soothing, somber track touching our hearts.

5. Right By Your Side – Siddharath Coutto; Lyrics: Anvita Dutt Guptan – 3/5

Now the Ra.One album gives out the message of G.One, who comes with a promise to be Right By Your Side. This is a musical example of Bollywood music gelling so well with the contemporary international music. We can get the feel; the track would look and sound incredible on big screen. Just wait for the show.

6. Raftaarein – Vishal Dadlani & Shekhar Ravjiani; Lyrics: Vishal Dadlani – 3/5

Raftaarein is the 21st century version of Aa Dekeh Zarra and Duniya Mein Logon Ko!! Full of energy which reaches the peak with the rather unconventional voices of Vishal and Shekhar turns into a full fledged background song for the superhero. Not really a musical thing to listen to until the video comes, but I hope the song would get much more meaning with the movie. The fast-paced number perfectly suits the theme of our superhero, who is not sluggish in saving the world in time of crisis, and dazzles like a luminous celestial body.

7. Jiya More Ghabraaye – Sukhwinder Singh & Vishal Dadlani; Lyrics – Lyrics: Anubhav Sinha & Vishal Dadlani – 2.5/5

Why does it happen that any Vishal-Shekhar and Vishal Bharadwaj movies always have a Sukhwinder Singh number? Not that he is a bad singer, but I think this is becoming very predictable for the director duo!! Anyway, the number is a little  Rap and  more of Sukhwinder Singh’s alaap and is very drab to me – not up to the mark!!

8. I’m On (Instrumental)- 2.75/5

As far as the themes are concerned, didn’t find anything too attractive in Comes the Light, while IM On looks like good ringtone material because people are already familiar with the track as background theme. Song of the end is effective, though it sounds like a typical ‘end’ tune of movies, a little older ones I’d say.

Overall Rating – 3/5

Final Verdict

Overall, Ra.One is not something usual. If you’re looking for a regular, nice album with melodious numbers from Vishal-Shekhar, you may be in for a disappointment. But then I don’t think that was the aim of the album or the movie from the very start. It’s more of an experiment with at least some amount of English in every song, even the very Indian bhare naina. And as an experiment, I think it’s quite successful, as many of the songs are definitely going to be addictive, and hence popular.


Oosaravelli, directed by the stylish director Surender Reddy has a very strong star cast – NTR jr and Tamanna. Tamanna riding high on the success of 100% Love is very confident of giving another hit, and a first one with NTR. On the other had, NTR who has let his fans down with Shakthi is pinning a lot of hopes that this movie would be a grand success. Here is my review of the audio which was launched in a gala even at Shilpa Kala Vedika. 1. Brathakali – Singers:- Devisri Prasad; Lyricist: Chandrabose – 2.25/5

The opening number in the album, rendered by DSP himself has done an average job. The lyrics are very ordinary and nothing special. Given that this would be a background song, or even maybe the introduction song, a lot could have been done for this song. The song is just passable.

2.Nenante Naaku – Singers:- Adnan Sami; Lyricist: Rama Jogayya Sastry – 3.25/5

Why is that always the second song in the album is my favorite?? This happened to me for Dookudu, 100% Love, Dum Maro Dum….!!! Again, the song is my personal favorite. I think this is the USP of the movie and would call for a repeatedly repeat button. Adnan Sami did an amazing job like how he has done for Infatuation!! in 100% Love. A very pleasing and lovely track, wonderously penned by Rama Jogayya Sastry where NTR would be wooing the heroine. Me thinks that this song reminds of another hindi song rendered by Vishal-Sekhar – wonder what it is??? Nevertheless a good number, listen and enjoy while driving!!

3. Yelango Yelango  – Singers:- Jaspreet Jasz, Chinmayee; Lyricist: Rama Jogayya Sastry –  1.75/5

This Jaspreet Jasz, Chinmayee’s Yelango Yelango track is a fast beat number with a folk touch. However the track fails to engage you in listening to it and makes you reach out to the fwd button. If picturised well, it may appeal to the audience otherwise it would be a tedious number.

4. Love Ante Caring  – Singers:- Francois Castelleno; Lyricist: Anantha Sriram – 2.5/5

This number written by Anantha Sriram describes the thin line between love and friendship!! Simple lyrics and easily understandable!! DSP used all his skill on the instruments and his choice of the singer – Francois (perhaps his first song in telugu) has done a good job!! Another song which will be repeated again and again!!! Listen to it for lovely lyrics…

5. Sri Anjaneyam – Singers:- M.L.R. Karthikeyan; Lyricist: Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry – 3/5

The track starts off powerfully with NTR’s dialogue followed by this devotional track. All credits to Sirivennela Sitarama Sastry who has devoted the lyrics to Lord Hanuman. Sri Anjaneyam seems to be situational track and DSP’s good composition makes the song intense to listen. It is sure the song will be shot greatly which provides the same intense on screen. Karthikeyan lived upto the expectations.

6. Niharika – Singers:- Vijay Prakash, Neha Bhasin; Lyricist: Anantha Sriram – 3.25/5

A romantic duet with a good sense of music and lyrics!! Good job by Vijay Prakash and Neha Bhasin, who rendered this number. I must say both these are making a quite an impression on me with their voice!! I see them going places in the future!! once gain Anatha Sriram proves that he is very good at romantic songs. I must say that Neha Bhasin mesmerizes with her rendition while Vijay Prakash’s voice elevated the spirit of the song. The music is foot-tapping and DSP’s background instruments have rhythmic music. Niharika is beautifully written and tuned. Go for it!!!

7. Dhandiya – Singers:- Mukesh, Suchitra; Lyricist: Anantha Sriram, Suchitra[English Lyrics] – 3/5

A very peppy, fast and a definite dance number!! Perhaps a first telugu dandiya song and this will sure be used this dasera in and around Hyderabad for the dandiya fests!! The track has rocking beats with foot-tapping music. Apart from rendering the vocal, Suchitra has also penned lyrics joining with Ananth Sriram. Expect good number of steps from Jr.NTR on this number and it is sure to turn as a dancing number in theaters for the front-benchers. Well-composed mass number by DSP.

8. Oosaravelli – Singers:- Ujjayinee Roy; Lyricist: Ramajogayya Sastry, Devi Sri Prasad(English Lyrics) – 3/5

Devi ends off the album with the title song which is short [2and half minute] yet entertaining. The director has come up with heavy beats which might be used in elevating NTR’s characterization. The lyrics are quite different and it would be interesting to see how Surender Reddy has captured NTR. Ujjayinee Roy has done a good job in rendering this number.

Album Rating – 2.75/5

Overall Verdict

All in All, Jr.NTR’s Oosaravelli is a decent album with a couple of good melodies and youthful tracks. On the other side, the album lacks mass appeal which is NTR’s strong base. Dhandiya is the only mass number in the album. Nevertheless, Oosaravelli has its own elements in engaging the listeners. It’s a well-mannered album by DSP, though not his best… We will have to wait and see what the film has got to offer!!


Prince Mahesh Babu and Ye Maya Chesave and Brundavanam fame Samantha Prabhu starrer Dookudu is scaling new heights of expectations with each passing day. Directed by none other than the successful Srinu Vytla and produced by Ram Achanta, Gopichand Achanta and Anil Sunkara, Dookudu is pipped to be made lavishly on 14 Reels Entertainment banner.  The music for the film is rendered by Thaman and the the filmnagar sources claim that Dookudu is the best album till date in Thaman’s career. Let’s wait to see how Dookudu songs are… Here is my review of Dookudu audio…1. Nee Dookudu – Singers:- Shankar Mahadevan; Lyricist: Vishwa – 3/5

Nee Dookudu, to me sounds like the title and introduction track of Mahesh Babu in the film.  Though the number sounds more of Shankar Mahadevan shouting than singing in telugu, the number makes a definite mark with the start because of the perfect drumbeats and interludes. A soon-to-be dance number for all competitions and parties. Vishwa’s lyrics add power to the umber and depicts the hero’s character.

2. Guruvaram – Singers:- Rahul Nambiyar; Lyricist: Rama Jogayya Sastry – 3.5/5

My favorite in the entire album is the, melody track Guruvaram March Okati… is lyrically and musically pleasing to ears. The lyrics give a cool, peppy, refreshing, romantic and relaxing feel, which about the hero falling in love with the leading lady and sings the number recalling her. Great job by Rama Jogayya Sastry but to me the let down is Thaman, who, despite giving a soothing number gives a tinge of his redundancy in rendering music, this number reminding of O.. Sanam from Veera… nevertheless, an enjoyable track…

3. Chulbuli Chulbuli  – Singers:- Karthik,Rita; Lyricist: Rama Jogayya Sastry – 2.5/5

Perhaps the weak link in the entire album. The starting lyrics are totally an alien language. Though Rama Jogayya Sastry penned entertaining and youthful lyrics for the rest maintaining good rhyming words like buli, mali, puli, allibulli etc, it would be very tough for the director to maintain the audience inside the theatre unless the cinematography is extremely excellent. A definite “cigarette break” song in the movie.

4. Poovai Poovai  – Singers:- Ramya.N.S,Navin Madhav; Lyricist: Rama Jogayya Sastry – 2.5/5

Pipped to be another USP besides the start-cast and director, the song would be performed by Parvati Melton, who is set to make a come back to Tollywood with this number, Poovai Poovai is tuned in western style yet brings the mass feel with its lyrics. The track starts off high on energy and enjoyable by front benchers. As per the audio, it is just passable.

5. Dethadi Dethadi – Singers:- Ranjith,Divya; Lyricist: Bhaskar Bhatla – 2.75/5

This is a mid-tempo duet that starts off with a high pitched vocal from Divya and the rhythmic sounds and drum beats are appealing to ears. The track turns energetic with the playful vocals of singers Ranjith and Divya. Lyrics penned by Bhaskar Bhatla are okay and nothing to boast of. You might like this number on repeated hearing…

6.Adara Adara – Singers:- Karthik, Ramajogayya Shastry, Vardhini, Ranina Reddy,Megha; Lyricist: Rama Jogayya Sastry –  2.5/5

This is the family song of the album… Thaman has roped in Karthik, along with the lyric writer Ramajogayya Shastry to lend their vocals while the female singers Vardhini, Ranina Reddy, Megha accompanied them. This seems to be the wedding song of the lead pair and it reflects the festive mood. Going with the lyrics, the number recalls ‘Ninne pelladukuni…’ track from Srinu Vytla’s Ready.

Final Verdict

Positives – Songs are full of energy and lyrics are targeted at the mass audience, deadly combo that attracts the youth and masses today

Negatives – Repetitive style of music, one expected Thaman to give something fresh this time considering it’s his first album for Mahesh Babu who has terrific music in his films. His recent Tamil album for actor Jeeva, Vandaan Vendran has much more variety and melody compared to this album. Just listen to the single song ‘Anjana Anjana’ from that album, you will know that difference.

Verdict – The album doesn’t have that uniqueness that would make it memorable or standout from the rest, it’s just another run of the mill album from S Thaman, and only the hero has changed. All in all, Thaman has failed again by scoring a mediocre album for Mahesh’s Dookudu. While the Tollywood biggies are running after him, Thaman is just delivering average albums with less novelty. Though a couple of songs are good in Dookudu, Thaman failed to live upto Mahesh’s fans expectations compared to the Super Star’s earlier outings. Dookudu is not a music album which will stay with music lovers for long, at the same time it is not totally bad either. Do listen to the tracks and you might enjoy few of them.

Overall Rating – 2.75/5


Nandamuri Bala Krishna will soon be reaching the big-screens in the role of Lord Rama in the  legendary Bapu directed magnum opus Sri Rama Rajyam. While Nayantara will be seen as Goddess Sita, Akkineni Nageswara Rao is essaying a very important role in the movie. The expectations on Sri Rama Rajyam are very high as it is inspired from Lava Kusa and has been made with rich technical values.  Adding to that is the magical film making skill and artistic depiction of movies by the Bapu-Ramana duo. Maestro Ilayaraja scored the music. Here is the Sri Rama Rajyam music review… Take a look!!!1. Jagadhananda Karaka – 4/5; Artist(s): SP. Balasubramaniam, Shreya Ghoshal; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Jagadhanada Karaka is a melodious number describing the glory of Lord Rama and his rule where the kingdom is filled with the happiness. Ilayaraja has used the right mix of classical instruments that enhanced the melody of this number. The literary values of the song are high and SP. Balasubramaniam, Shreya Ghoshal are excellent in rendering their vocals for this number. Melodious Start!!!

2. Evadunnadu – 3.25/5; Artist(s): SP. Balasubramaniam, Akkineni Nageswara Rao; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Evadunnadu is a bit track which is a conversation between Valmiki and Naradha Maharshi. The song takes off with A.N.R’s voiceover followed by SPB. This time, Ilayaraja has used Tabla predominantly along with the violin so that the instruments do not dominate the singer’s voice. The track goes onto explain the traits and nobleness of Lord Rama.

3.Sita Rama Charitham – 3.5/5; Artist(s): Anitha, Keerthana; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Yet another melody based number rendered soulfully by Anitha and Keerthana. The song is all about the fundamental episodes of Ramayana right from Ravana planning abduction of Sita Devi in Panchavati forests to the latter facing the Agni Pariksha. Jonnavithula has penned powerful words which are an additional asset to the number.

4.Sri Rama Lera – 3.5; Artist(s): Ramu, Shreya Ghoshal; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Ramu and Shreya Goshal make an impressive take at this number with a soothing rendition. Sri Rama lera is rendered with classical Indian music which is delightful and inspiring. The number yet again describes the qualities and traits of Rama along with his bond with wife Sita, which are penned beautifully by Jonnavithula.

5.Devulle Mechindi: – 4/5; Artist(s): Shreya Ghoshal, Chitra; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Devulle Mechindi is rendered beautifully by Shreya Ghoshal and Chitra with mellifluous vocals. Sung with a lot of devotion, the number might be the picturised on Lava and Kusa while describing the importance of Ramayana in the song. The fine composition of glowingly devotional lyrics with impressive vocals makes it a brilliant soundtrack.

6.Gaali Ningi Neeru – 3/5; Artist(s): SP. Balasubramaniam; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Ilayaraja has scored this number in a commercial style with modern instrumentals that will leave one in surprise. Jonnavithula has tried his best in scripting the song with different words of pain and misery of Lord Rama while Sita Devi is being sent to forest. Special praises for SP. Balasubramaniam for singing this song beautifully capturing the emotions.

7.Ramayanamu Sri Ramayanamu – 4/5; Artist(s): Shreya Ghoshal, Chitra; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Ramayanamu Sri Ramayanamu is a brilliant number explaining the highlights, dharmas, sacrifices and philosophical elements of Ramayana. Well rendered by Chitra and Shreya Goshal, the song has extremely beautiful and moving lyrics by Jonnavithula. Ilayaraja has made it even more interesting with good use of classical Indian instruments.

8.Dhandakam — 3/5; Artist(s): Surabhi Sravani, Keerthana; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

The bit track is about 1 minute which goes praising Rama. Surabhi Sravani and Keerthana have done justice to the track.

9. Sita Simantham – 3/5; Artist(s): Shreya Ghoshal; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Sita Srimantham as the title suggests appears in the episode of Sita’s baby Shower. The track is situational just like the earlier ones and the music sounds familiar to Ilayaraja’s old hits. As per the audio, it has nothing to boast of.

10.Rama Rama ane — 3.5/5; Artist(s): Swetha, Anitha; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

The number is all about Rama’s childhood acts which are enjoyed by Vasishta maha muni and others. The song makes an interesting listen with pleasant lyrics from Jonnavithula and classy rendition by Ilayaraja. Listen to it!!!

11.Kalaya Nijama – 3/5; Artist(s): Tippu; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Kalaya Nijama is about Lord Hanuman expressing his sadness and helplessness for his divine Rama. Tippu has rendered the song well with out missing the emotion. Let’s wait to watch it on big-screens.

12. Idhi Pattabhi – 3/5; Artist(s): Swetha; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

The track has a folk touch and carries in a distinct tune. The song is all about the young Lava and Kusa during their infancy. The song has been tuned in folk style with classical instruments and it has its own literary and music values.

13.Shapthaswaradhamarudam: – 3.25/5; Artist(s): SP. Balasubramaniam; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

The track is a short prayer to divine and SP. Balasubramaniam has sung it with lot of devotion. He seems to be the perfect choice.

14.Mangalamu Ramunaku: — 3/5; Artist(s): Anitha, Keerthana; Lyricist: Jonnavithula

Mangalamu Ramunaku is probably the climax song of the film and Anitha, Keerthana did a great job in singing this number.

Final Verdict

Sri Rama Rajyam is a mythological film and true to its genre, the songs are classical with high literary values. Every track is situational and has its own importance in Ramayana. Ilayaraja impresses the listeners with the devotional album by delivering the needful to the listeners. Sri Rama Rajyam audio raises the expectations even more on the film and if the film proves to box-office delight then this mythological album will be a big surprise in devotional music world.

Repeats – All; Skips – None

Positives – Pure Telugu sounding sounds and songs after ages;

Negatives – None in particular, but this type of songs may not be liked by the youth and masses, not their type

Overall Rating – 4/5


The Beatles are one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands in the history of popular music. They are a cultural icon, and an inspiration to thousands of musicians who followed in their footsteps. This is a list of their  greatest songs.

Nowhere Man

This is a timeless classic that can still bring a chill to anyone. There is something about the harmonies on this song that was missing from most of the other British bands of the period. As great as the Rolling Stones were, they would never be able to honestly match the songwriting skill of Lennon and McCartney. When you combine that with the booth work of George Martin, musical magic happens.

With a Little Help from My Friends

This is a very strange song for The Beatles. It has a fine basic melody but a very boring chorus. Ringo’s vocals sheer bread and butter while the other band members go into stylish high notes on the backing track. It’s Ringo’s heartful vocal performance that make this big (yes, he can actually sing). And don’t forget to listen to his brilliant drum breaks too.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

It is said that this was written because John’s son drew a picture of a cartoon named Lucy. I guess we’ll never really know, but the results of this song were outstanding. Many think that Lucy is a bit too strange even for The Beatles (right…listen to Revolution 9) but I enjoy every little weird thing about it.

We Can Work It Out

It’s easy to forget amid the shower of psychedelia that what The Beatles really did best were perfect, three minute pop songs. We Can Work It Out is short but sweet, but it’s compositionally exceptional too. That time change for “fussing and fighting,” that transforms the song into a brief waltz is an unexpected and sophisticated switch that alters the entire context of the tune.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

This was George’s first use of the sitar and Ravi Shankar cringed in jealousy. The sitar doubling the guitar works great with the song and the riff is very memorable. John wrote this one about an affair he had with a very peculiar woman, and he provides some great vocal work. In the end, Norwegian Wood is just a cool laid-back tune with amazing lyrics; it’s great poetry set to great music.

Day Tripper

Otis Redding inspired song; this one’s about sex and drugs, simple as that. The Beatles were producing great riffs at this time and this was certainly one of them. Unfortunately, this song is marred by dropouts in two places to cover up vocal errors. Still, the vocals in the chorus are fantastic (in my opinion, one of the best by Lennon).

Come Together

The Beatles do swamp music, and it turns out great. Yet I just don’t know why I love this. The lyrics are total nonsense and composition isn’t so great either, but it’s just so damn good. Perhaps it’s just the intro. I mean how did they do that weird ch-ch-ch noise? The song also features some great drum beats by Ringo, and a nice guitar solo by George.

Hey Jude

Yes, it has been a little overplayed, but there is a reason for that. The song, supposedly written as a ‘keep your chin up’ song for Julian Lennon after the break-up of his parents, contains some of McCartney’s best lyrics. The line “The movement you need is on your shoulder” was almost removed when McCartney thought people might think he was talking about a parrot, but Lennon insisted the lyrics be left in. Lennon felt it was one of the best songs Paul ever wrote and I thoroughly agree.

Revolution 1

Whether they’re rocking it or doo-wopping it, Lennon’s message is always crystal clear – anything for change except violence. It was during this period that Lennon was undergoing a revolution of his own. He was discovering that he enjoyed jamming with others outside the Beatles. This was the inevitable beginning of the end. Brian Epstein was dead and so were, in John’s mind, the Beatles. In less than two years, his thoughts would prove to be true.

Baby You’ re A Rich Man

From the rumbling, accelerating-decelerating bassline upwards through Lennon’s falsetto questioning in the verses. “Baby You’re a Rich Man” isn’t The Beatles’ most renowned, popular, fun, or unusual song, but I love it. The arrangement features an array of instruments but still maintains a slight simplicity, reliant on the bass guitar and occasional abnormal stabbing hooks.

Eleanor Rigby

Beautifully written, beautifully sung, and especially beautiful instrumentals. This is one of those songs that just grew on me the more I heard. I originally was not a big fan of this particular song, but it has now become a favorite after listening to it more and realizing just how interesting this song really is. It was such a different feel for The Beatles, but in my opinion, it came out great.

Happiness is A Warm Gun

This is probably the most analyzed Beatles song of all time. Deciphering the meaning can be a bit tough since there are so many different opinions about what it is that John is really talking about. Sometimes the tempo changes too quickly and there are minor flaws throughout the song, but this is a great tune besides those little things. But no one cares about those things anyway. It’s a great song, and that’s all you need to know. From the nonsensical lyrics about lizards and hobnail boots to the somber guitar solo, this is one of the most solid Beatles songs.

Strawberry Fields Forever

Another song that is a bit experimental but the end results are amazing. George Martin’s arrangement is full of brilliant effects. The vocal distortion and sad lyrics are great, but I also really like George’s little guitar bits here and there. This is another depressing yet uplifting song that never gets old.

A Day In The Life

There is so much accomplished in just this one little song (instrumentals, lyrics, vocals) that it still amazes me every time I listen to. The way John starts out slowly and Paul falls in (moving into a more upbeat rhythm), and both bringing their own lyrics from previous songs to combine it into this one song makes this piece just outstanding. A strange fact though: in the end there’s a super high note which only dogs can hear.

Let It Be

What a great hymn! This is such an absolutely perfect rock ballad. Touchy melody, fine chorus, somehow roughly sophisticated arrangement, and slightly weird and religious lyrics about “Mother Mary”. Is she Mother Mary Magdalene from The Bible or Paul’s mother (whose name is Mary too)? This is such a great song that even today, over 30 years after it was released; it can still lift anyone’s spirits. A great song with a great message: just let it be!


This is in continuation of an old post where I have received a comment on my knowledge of the Rock Bands in India. I did some research and followed quite a few bands on their albums and songs. The final conclusion on the best Rock Bands in India is presented here. Essentially not in the same order but definitely worth their place in my list. The pictures and the information has been collated from various sources, so for any discrepancy I stand corrected.

Pentagram

Randolph, Shiraz, Papal and Vishal came together in 1994, with a strong need to play individual, original, unique music. Pentagram is one of India’s biggest rock bands playing rock/ electronica. Pentagram has released 3 original albums. Their album, “It’s Ok”, “It’s All Good” spent 6 weeks on the Planet M national charts, a first for any Indian band. Pentagram were the first Indian band to play at Glastonbury Music Festival in 2005. (http://pentagram.in)

Parikrama

It is but a way of life for these six, going this way ever since that summer afternoon in Delhi, 17th June 1991. They named it PARIKRAMA… literal hindi means revolving around… encircling etc. Parikrama is amont the oldest and most popular Rock and Roll bands in the country. They have several live performances and original songs to their name. “But it rained” is one of their most popular songs and is dedicated to the kidnappings that occurred in the Kashmir Valley during the nineties. (http://www.parikrama.com)

Avial

True to their name, Avial (a mixed vegetable Malayali delicacy) blends Malayali poetry with contemporary alternative rock music. With elements of Indie rock and folk music and an underlying electronic feel, Avial’s music has overcome language barriers drawing fans across the sub-continent. Their self-titled debut album. released by Phat Phish Records, speaks candidly about the band’s views on the political scenario in the country. At times idealistic, at times rooted in reality. Avial transcends genres, coining the term alternative Malayali rock. (www.myspace.com/avialmusic)

Raghu Dixit

The Raghu Dixit Project, founded by Raghupathy Dixit, is an open house for musicians and artistes from different genres to come together, collaborate and create a dynamic sound and expression. Raghu Dixit released his highly acclaimed debut album in February 2008 through the Mumbai based record labels Vishal & Shekhar Music set up by the popular Bollywood music duo Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani in association with Counter Culture Records. (http://raghudixit.com)

Mrigya

An Indian band in a global village. Mrigya’s music is sans geographical barriers, yet represents the vibrant face of a new India, where tradition coexists in harmony with modern philosophy.(http://www.mrigya.com)

Advaita

Advaita is an eclectic music group from New Delhi. They borrow their name from an ancient philosophy, which translates to mean Non-Duality. Since the  group was formed in 2004, Advaita has steadily grown to become one of the most respected acts on the Indian music scene. Their sound is a melange of the styles, moods and textures taken in from different cultures and different music systems of the world. (http://www.advaitaonline.net)

Swarathma

Swarathma is a Bangalore based Indian folk fusion band that represents the sound of today’s India, rooted in traditional values while being open to the best of what the world has to offer. Blending Indian and Western influences effortlessly, their songs have themes as varied as personal journeys to socially relevant ones like the Cauvery dispute and religious hypocrisy. With a UK tour and album on EMI under their belt they are on their way to becoming one of India’s premier live acts. (http://www.swarathmwa.com)

Punkh

PUNKH – A cult outfit, combines energy in sanctimonious harmony, having a phenomenal range, of doing flying, bluesy tracks to hip new metal rap, all in one breath… PUNKH features Deepak Nair a.k.a Dean on Lead Vocals, Robin Joseph on Raps, backed by Yanger Sangir on Guitar and DJ Kunal Shourie on Groove Boxes and Turn tables. PUNKH describe their highly popular ballad “Yunajaa” as an anti-suicide track written in 2007 for their self titled debut album out on EMI music. (http://www.punkh.de)

Para Vayu

The rock band VAYU was formed by their guitar player, Ravi Iyer way back in 1997. VAYU started off as a classic rock band, with influences of the vintage classic rock sound and now is popularly known as PARA VAYU, which has evolved with a contemporary sound that caters to a wide range of generics from Blues, Funk, Jazz, Rock, alternative et al. (http://www.vayu.co.in)

Something Relevant

Something Relevant is a Mumbai based band with an eclectic seven member ensemble. After a whirlwind tour of Indonesia and South Korea in the summer, the band got into YRF studios with producer Shantanu Hudikar to record and release it’s first album, “Feels Good To be Live” 2009. (http://www.somethingrelevant.org)

Thermal And A Quarter

Variously described, widely admired, often imitated and never confined to the limitations of genre, Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ) is a pioneering Indian Rock Band. TAAQ has independently produced four albums and their last album was “This Is It”, mixed at A.R. Rahman’s studios by Grammy winner Jeff Peters, was released at the Java Jazz Festival (Jakarta) in 2009. (http://www.thermalandaquarter.com)

Soulmate

Inspired by the roots and groove sounds of the Blues, Blues-Rock, Soul, Rock ‘n Roll, Funk and R&B, SOULMATE came together in Shillong in February 2003 playing their first concert at the “Roots Festival” at the Water Sports Complex in Umiam. Since then the band has performed many concerts all over The Northeast as well as in different parts of India. Internationally, they performed at the International Jazzmandu Festival in Kathmandu for two consecutive years 2004 and 2005, and they were the only Indian band who played at the International Blues in Memphis, USA, 2009.  (http://myspace.com/soulmateshillong)

Junkyard Groove

Over the years the Indian Sub-continent has been brewing quite a few underground rock bands and in the summer of 2005 Chennai gave us Junkyard Groove. Ameeth Thomas, Siddharth Srinivasan and Craig Maxworth got together almost randomly and realized that they had something to contribute to the world of Indian Rock and Roll. (http://junkyargroove.net)

Menwhopause

Internationally acclaimed as one of India’s most original bands, Menwhopause is perhaps one of the better known faces of New India in the music arena. With a career span of nine years packed with three international tours, one concept album and numerous awards, the band has been credited as being one of the forerunners in the new wave of Indian contemporary music. Menwhopause’s first major release titled “Easy” hit the stores in 2009 on EMI-Virgin Records. (http://www.myspace.com/menwhopause)

Medusa

Medusa is a live alternative electronic act from Mumbai. The band comprises of – Rakshit (Vocals/ samples), Rahul (Guitar/ samples), Siddharth (Bass) and Vinayak (Drums). Medusa uses drums, bass, guitars, vocals and samples to make songs that lat for 3 minutes or infinity.(http://www.myspace.com/hellomedusa)

Indigo Children

Indigo Children is a Delhi based band known for its well-crafted compositions. The band has generated a buzz in the Delhi rock scene, no doubt catapulted by their success as the winners of the 2007 edition of Channel [V] LaunchPad. Some of the bigger competitions they won over their first few years include Campus Rock Idols in 2005 and the Great Indian Rock Festival 2006. They were also one of the four bands chose to record with the world renowned producer John Leckle as a part of the British Council’s Soundpad. (http://www.myspace.com/indigochildrenmusic)

Them Clones

Them Clones were created sometime in 2000. The name reflects the general attitude of the band which was to look after their stage personalities as clones of their selves. They were the chosen ones at Channel [V] LaunchPad in 2005 and also got voted as the “Best Band” at JD Rock Awards twice in 2006 and 2007. (http://themclones.com)

 


I got this album – Dum Maro Dum with a lot of expectations. The USP of the album being the hype created and surrounding around it. Ever since this Rohan Sippy-Junior Bachan starrer film was announced and went on floors, there was a lot of news and talks about the kind of sound track the film would offer. Music Director Pritam who (though has a knack to “get inspired” by foreign tracks) has a reputation for giving some of the amazing tracks in the past and lyricist Jaideep Sahni were expected to create wonders and they stood up to the challenge. This in addition to one of the most recognized cult classics of modern hindi cinema  – the original “Dum Maro Dum, Mit Jaaye Ghum” in a new package made me more excited to check out what really is in the store!!!. The film is pipped to be a crack pot thriller with the likes of Deepika Padukone, RaNa Daggubati, Bipasha Basu and Prateik Babbar, expectation on the album is also on the same lines!!!

The album opens with a lot of anticipation with the song “Mit Jaaye Ghum” (“Dum Maaro Dum”). Well I felt the song to be “different”. Comparing to the likes of “Munni Badnaam Hui” and “Sheila Ki Jawaani” would be gross injustice to this song. Well, once you get into the groove, the song is nothing less than scintillating and one is likely to repeat the song in the player again and again. Such is the feel in the song. I have played the song like a million times so far in my car stereo!!! Right from the arrangements to the lyrics to the way it is sung to an overall treatment; “Dum Maaro Dum” (with original lyrics and music by Anand Bakshi and R D Burman) is indeed different.

This is one song in fact which should have come with an ‘adults only certificate’ and though a section of moral police may go about calling it as cheap/vulgar/crude, the fact is that ultimately it is the choice of a listener to grab it or ignore it. One can be rest assured though that this effort by Anushka Manchanda behind the mike and Deepika Padukone on the screen would definitely make heads turn. As for its popularity, rest assured it is going to be the talk of the town for the next couple of months at the least and would burn the dance floors.”

The second song after the scintillating start is the love song – to have been shot with RaNa and Bipasha is “Te Amo” meaning I Love You in Spanish. The feeling of you loving the song sinks in your senses with amazing voice credits by Mohit Chauhan and Sunidhi Chauhan. There is an original, two individual solo versions by Sunidhi and Mohit and a “remix” by Ash King. The song is just so amazing like silk. Pritam has produced a superb song in the lines of “Bheegi Hote Tere” (Murder). This is the only love song –duet in the entire album. But again, it turns out to be one of the many such melodious urban compositions that Pritam has composed in the past as well which means ultimately it settles down as a good track, though not memorable. “

‘Jaana Hai’ which follows next is again a solo track with vocal credits to Zubin Garg who renders it. A situational track, it has a decent tune but the impact is not as strong as it could have been, courtesy the way it is sung. I have a feeling that Zubin Garg is stillcaught in the ‘Ya Ali’ (Gangster) mode and he has tried to bring in a similar feel here as well. Hence while one would have expected something which was indeed high voltage here, it doesn’t turn out to be the case with ‘Jaana Hai’, despite it’s potential of being a little better, turns out to be barely average. Not that the song is bad, but then well, one expected more here.

Thankfully these expectations are much more than just met with ‘Thayn Thayn’ turning out to be a rocking track. A rap number rendered by Abhishek Bachchan, it makes a statement on the socio-political state of the country though in a much lighter vein. Also, the tune and the overall arrangements are such that it hooks you on totally within one listening itself. Ayush Phukan and Earl are the supporting vocalists behind the mike but it is Abhishek who leads the show all the way. After his ‘Ek Main Aur Ek Tu Hai’ (Bluffmaster), this effort by him is all set to be chartbuster.

Newcomer Papon sings ‘Jiyein Kaun’ which actually starts off in a way that makes one believe as if it as a jamming session amongst college students in progress. Jaideep Sahni’s lyrics too are plain, simple and conversational that only makes one wonder that how does a love song like this indeed fit into an edgy thriller Dum Maaro Dum. However, as the song progresses, it starts picking up tempo and eventually half way through, it totally changes track. This is the time when ‘Jiyein Kaun’ takes a turn for the better and gets into an Atif Aslam zone where passion and intensity rule. Expect the song to make a better impression when seen on screen as it has a situational appeal to it.

The Verdict:

Dum Maaro Dum has two potential hits in the form of its title song and ‘Thayn Thayn’. Though one expected at least one more chartbuster here to give an all around popular appeal to the album, one is still reasonably content with what Dum Maaro Dum has to offer. Now it has to be seen that with these two tracks in hands, how far do the makers and the music company go to unleash them in the biggest possible way and make Dum Maaro Dum an album that would make the best use of a relatively open season ahead.

I would give it an Impressive Threeand a half out of ‘Five’ stars.

My Picks from the album: ‘Dum Maaro Dum’, ‘Thayn Thayn’, ‘Te Amo’


So, there is marginally no investment in the production of desi rock albums, mainly due to two reasons – Lack of money that labels wish to put in; and Bollywood!! But then again, looking at the increasing number of gigs taking place, one can safely say, a large following of the desi culture has somewhat arrived. Apart from the biggies who have somehow managed to grab some record labels or have managed to catch the eyes of producers, there really hasn’t been a way to promote this music as such – except of course, free downloads and giveaways, piracy and Myspace.

For psychedelics and headbangers like me, there has been hardly any decent compilation of Indian Rock songs for quite sometime, until I bumped into ‘India Rocks’! Released by EMI, ‘India Rocks’ is a cool collection of seventeen of the hottest Indian Rock bands that will surely leave you asking for more. The album boasts of big daddies of Indian Rock such as Parikrama, Pentagram, Thermal And A Quarter, Menwhopause, Indigo Children and Them Clones to name a few. These finest bands in the circuit enthrall you with their adrenaline rushing and soul stirring music. Get ready to Rock and Roll!

‘India Rocks’ opens with Pentagram’s ‘This is for My People,’ an eclectic composition by Randolph, Shiraz, Papal and Vishal that sets the mood for a Rock fest! A true blend of Rock/Electronica, ‘This is for My People’ is an energetic number that swallows you straightaway into some real action!

The second track is Parikrama’s ‘But it Rained,’ one of the most popular songs from one of the oldest and the most popular of all Indian Rock bands. The song is dedicated to the mindless abductions that took place in a terrorism struck Kashmir Valley during the nineties. Powerful music and soulful lyrics are the essence of this number. Complete with anthemic riffs and solos, this number is an all time favourite among Rock aficionados.

The third number of ‘India Rocks’ ‘Nada Nada’ is taken from Malayali band Avial, which blends Malayali poetry with contemporary Rock and a dash of Electronica – quite true to its name! A fast emerging name in Malayali Rock, Avial transcends genres with its unique sound space that transports you to a different level. Exquisite bass works, powerful hooks and electrifying solos with effective vocals are the underscore of ‘Nada Nada’ – a metalhead’s delight!

The fourth song includes Raghu Dixit’s ‘Khidki,’ a Hindi number with a Bluesy feel. Essentially a love song, ‘Khidki’ is a sweet number that narrates the yearning for a loved one! Well, after a heavy dose of Rock, let this mellifluous romantic ballad do its magic!

The fifth number ‘Ganga’ is taken from Mrigya, an Indian band that represents a global village sans any boundaries. True to its identity, in ‘Ganga’, Mrigya composes a unique song that blends East and West. A song that harmonized Western Rock and Indian ragas in a soothing fashion, the cadence of ‘Ganga’ is truly inspiring.

The sixth track of ‘India Rocks’ ‘Ghir Ghir’ is taken from Advaita, an upcoming band from New Delhi that has become one of the most respected acts in the circuit. ‘Ghir Ghir’ essentially is a mélange of various textures, styles and moods that beautifully evoke the magic of dark clouds and monsoon which all of a sudden stirs up the pining for a beloved. ‘Ghir Ghir’ is truly a wonderful song that infects you with its positive energy.

The seventh song is Swarthama’s ‘Pyar Ke Rang,’ a Folk/Rock number that is a smooth blend of Indian and Western influences. Celebrated for its electrifying live acts, Swarthama’s ‘Pyar Ke Rang’ will instantaneously pull you out from the shell of despondency, making you jive to the sound of music, breaking a smile on your face.

Eighth number is Punkh’s ‘Yunajaa’, a Bluesy Hindi number that opens with a stirring solo work and a whiff of metal rap. The band described ‘Yunajaa’ as an anti-suicide track written way back in the year 2007. Bordering on hope and faith, ‘Yunajaa’ is just about okay.

The ninth track of ‘India Rocks’ is Para Vayu’s ‘Rush Hour’, a song that brings back the classic Rock sound and merges it with Blues, Funk, Alternative and Jazz Rock. Essentially a guitar piece, ‘Rush Hour’ sets the tempo with a clean riff that breaks into an amazing heavily distorted solo of great legerdemain.

The tenth number is Something Relevant’s ‘Aha.’ A seven-member Mumbai based band, Something Relevant’s ‘Aha’ is funky Jazz number – a groovy ballad to which you can let your hair down, even while its music grows on you.

The eleventh song ‘Words and Pictures’ is from Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ). A melodious Jazz number, ‘Words and Pictures’ gradually takes control of your senses, while its steady pace and foot-tapping rhythm works its wonders!

The twelfth number ‘I Am’ is a popular song from Soulmate, a Shillong based band whose inimitable sound space is heavily inspired by Blues, Soul, Rock and Roll, Blues-Rock, R&B and Funk. ‘I Am’ instantly takes you into the zone with its contagiously hip Blues-Rock intonation while setting the pace for an enthralling experience. Enjoy the thrill!

The thirteenth song is Chennai based band Junkyard Groove’s ‘It’s Ok.’ With ‘It’s OK’, Ameeth Thomas, Siddharth Srinivasan and Craig Maxworth create a good old Rock and Roll song. A sprightly number, ‘It’s Ok’ is a catchy and hummable song that oozes with warmth and zest for life.

The fourteenth track ‘Fly Away’ from Menwhopause opens with a drum roll and rhythmic guitar effects. An exceedingly spirited number, ‘Fly Away’ is packed with punch that incredibly suits Rock and Roll addicts. And hey, don’t forget the awesome guitar shredding at the end of the number that simply blows you away!

The fifteenth song is Medusa’s ‘I Become I.’ A Mumbai based live Electronic act that mainly uses vocals, drums, guitars, bass and samples to create the magic of music, Medusa’s ‘I Become I’ is a short and breezy track.

The sixteenth number is Indigo Children’s ‘Irresistible.’ True to its name, Indigo Children’s ‘Irresistible’ is truly an enticing number by the Delhi based Rock band renowned for its deft compositions. ‘Irresistible’ offers unique experience with its Rock and Electronic feel. ‘Irresistible’ is one of the popular numbers by Indigo Children and a must listen track!

‘India Rocks’ album ends with a wonderful track, ‘The Bomb Song’ by Them Clones. Written by Gucci Singh and music by Them Clones, the song is a heady mix of profound lyrics, anthemic hooks and soul stirring vocals that reverberate with ‘Long Live the Dead!’ while you gasp for breath; in all, a great number to end this great album.

Overall, the album is a great compilation and a much-needed one – for those who love Indian Rock and those who wish to know more about them.

So, does India Rock? Oh yes, it does.


And … action! We’ve reeled in a cast of green-themed flicks; pop some popcorn, see what made the cut, then play critic in the comments section at the bottom of the page. This is a list of all those movies made with environment and environmental issues as the backdrop.  There were several others which I wanted to list out, but again the order is entirely subjective.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)


Mr. Gore went to Washington, and we all know how that turned out. But when Al hit Hollywood, it was a different story altogether.  An Inconvenient Truth let the former veep shout his climate message from the proverbial rooftops. Who would have thought a documentary about a politician with a whiz-bang computer presentation would make such an impact, let alone win a couple of Academy Awards? But Gore’s star turn changed climate conversations forever.

Erin Brockovich (2000)


Julia Roberts lends star power — and plenty of cleavage — to this based-on-a-true-story epic of wronged Californians rallying against a shady corporate polluter. The title character, a stereotype-bucking, working-class mom, transforms her professional inexperience into an asset, helping to coordinate one of the largest class-action lawsuits in U.S. history.

Winged Migration (2001)


Before penguin peregrinations became all the rage, this documentary captured the grandeur of nature by following the migrations of more than a dozen bird species, spanning four years, 40 countries, and all seven continents. French filmmaker Jacques Perrin, working with a 450-person crew, used planes, gliders, helicopters, and hot-air balloons to capture the impressive journeys, which make waddling across ice look like child’s play.

The China Syndrome (1979)


Released just two weeks before the infamous Three Mile Island meltdown in Pennsylvania, The China Syndrome tells the fictional story of a reporter who stumbles on a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant. The film stars Jane Fonda as the determined TV journalist and Jack Lemmon as an earnest whistleblower, roles that earned them Oscar nominations for best actress and actor.

Silkwood (1983)


More nukes and news outlets: Based on a true story, Silkwood delves into the circumstances surrounding the suspicious death of Karen Silkwood, a metal worker at a plutonium processing plant who was on her way to meet with a New York Times investigative reporter about negligence at the plant when she died in a one-car accident. Meryl Streep and Cher reaped Oscar nominations for their acting, and Kurt Russell got critical acclaim too.

A Civil Action (1998)


Call it Erin Brockovich, East Coast style: A gripping true-life legal drama about polluted water, corporate malfeasance, and one Boston lawyer’s personal and professional gambles to take down the bad guys, A Civil Action won over audiences and critics alike, and was nominated for two Academy Awards. Plus: John Travolta as a suave legal eagle. What’s not to love?

Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey (1988)


Shedding the shoulder pads of the same year’s Working Girl, Sigourney Weaver plays naturalist Dian Fossey in this based-on-actual-events film. Fossey studied and passionately defended Rwanda’s mountain gorillas for more than 20 years before she was mysteriously murdered. Weaver won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)


Audiences around the world clung to the edges of their seats throughout this big-budget summer disaster flick, wondering if Dennis Quaid would be able to trek through a climate-changed, storm-ravaged landscape to find son Jake Gyllenhaal. OK, that’s not true — they mostly chuckled at the overblown drama and bad script. Nevertheless, the film was a rollicking good ride that acted as a catalyst for climate discussions in the mainstream media two years before An Inconvenient Truth.

Chinatown (1974)

A Roman Polanski film-noir detective flick starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, Chinatown, was adored by critics, won an Academy Award in 1975 for best original screenplay, and was nominated for 10 other Oscars. In addition to the expected murder, adultery, and deceit, its plot revolves around dams, drought, agriculture, land grabs, and L.A.’s precarious water supply.

Hoot (2006)


Based on a young adult novel by Carl Hiaasen that earned the prestigious Newberry Honor in 2003, Hoot, centers on the lives of three kids who are willing to do whatever it takes to save a local population of endangered burrowing owls, facing down crooked politicians, land developers, and bumbling cops. Jimmy Buffett produced the film, and Luke Wilson stars as a bumbling cop.

The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream (2004)


In a year dominated by the ultimate fantasy film, Lord of the Rings, this clear-eyed, frighteningly prescient documentary took a real-life look at the impending end of cheap oil. The End of Suburbia explores how dry oil wells will impact the U.S. economy and the much-cherished, resource-intensive American Dream. It’s enough to make you want to move to Middle Earth.

Blue Vinyl (2002)


This acclaimed documentary begins with filmmaker Judith Helfand discovering a severed ear in a field — no, wait. Wrong movie. This one starts with Helfand trying to convince her parents to get rid of the blue vinyl siding on their house, sending Helfand and fellow documentarian Daniel B. Gold on a journey to the U.S. vinyl capital in Louisiana, then to Italy and beyond to talk with experts, doctors, and activists about the ubiquitous and harmful plastic.

Happy Feet


A hit with the kids, this Oscar-winning animated film capitalized on the penguin-mania inspired by the staggeringly successful  March of the Penguins. Its heavy-handed message (human activity is messing with the food chain) was made digestible with the help of a whole lotta foot-tappin’ fun.

Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)Narrated by Martin Sheen, Who Killed the Electric Car? is part murder mystery, part documentary, tracing the rise and premature fall of the electric car in the United States. The must-see for alternative-transport enthusiasts features interviews with Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, ex-CIA chief James Woolsey, and others.

Fire Down Below (1997)


A fast-paced action flick starring Steven Seagal and Kris Kristofferson, Fire Down Below features big-time polluters frightening rural townsfolk into shutting up. That is, until undercover federal agent Jack Taggart (Seagal) comes to town to expose the truth and kick some — um, sense into the dirty corporate scofflaws.