Tag Archives: Prasanna

Ravichandran Ashwin – Overseas Blues?

Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin is India’s premier spinner and needs to be backed.

Ravichandran Ashwin has played a grand total of 5 tests overseas, 4 of them in the “Subcontinent” spin bowler’s graveyard Australia. Many greats from the subcontinent in the past have struggled to pick up wickets in Australia. Anil Kumble first visited Australia during India’s 1999/00 series when he had already played around 7 -8 years of International cricket. He picked up 5 wickets in 3 tests at an average of 90 and SR of 175.

Mastering the overseas pitches hasn’t been easy for subcontinent spinners especially Indian spinners over the last couple of decades. Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh are the two major spinners who played for India during that time and both of them struggled overseas. Anil Kumble was never effective overseas until the 2000’s after almost a decade of international cricket. Harbhajan Singh except for few games here and there never mastered the art of bowling on overseas pitches. So why are we expecting Ashwin to be great before he has even played 10 tests overseas?

India isn’t in the Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Venkat and Prasanna era anymore, those days are long gone. Ravichandran Ashwin’s career is similar to how Anil Kumble or Harbhajan started their careers with team India. They were Match winners at home but ineffective overseas. Anil is an Indian legend and you don’t pick up 600+ wickets without being one but even his craziest of fans would accept that his performance in the 90’s overseas was largely underwhelming. The Indian spinners have struggled to master the right length to bowl on pitches in Australia, England and South Africa especially.

The Indian spinners are used to bowling on Indian pitches which assist them a lot. They don’t have to bowl too full on Indian pitches as bowling short of a length is more than enough as the bounce and turn on Indian pitches will take care of the rest. The reason why most of the overseas spinners struggle in India too is because they bowl too full. The Indian spinners when they go to Australia or England struggle to find the right length. They bowl the same short of the length which they bowl in India and it becomes too short on those pitches as there is no help for them. Batsmen easily pick them off of the back foot. If you look at Anil Kumble’s footage from the 90’s in Australia you will get the gist.

As a good spinner you are supposed to adapt but again you need time. Spin bowling is a difficult art, especially in conditions which isn’t helpful. You need to be able to adjust your line and length according to the pitches you play on. Also spinners mature later than the fast men. It took 10 years for Anil to find the right way to bowl overseas. Once he figured that out he started winning games for India overseas.

I am not saying give Ashwin 10 years to learn the trade but don’t discard him just after 5 tests. He can be an incredible asset for the Indian test team. He bats very well and averages almost 40 with the bat and is a good slip fielder. The Indian team needs to give him confidence and allow him to mature a little bit overseas. Unless he bowls on such wickets he is not going to learn. Anil Kumble got the chance to learn and we should not deny Ashwin of the same. We know Ashwin can pick up wickets; he just needs to know how to do it consistently overseas. It is unfair for the critics to expect magic from him when our last two major spinners had the same trouble overseas.

Ashwin has the talent and that needs backing. He has been brilliant in home conditions and now needs to translate that success to overseas games. He will do that and needs to be persisted with. I hope that the think tank play him on this tour as he would add amazing value to the team and if there is even a little help in the pitch he is bound to provide you with better attacking option.

Hariyudan Naan, Super Singer – What happens to the non winners?

Over the weekend I caught up with Hariyudan Naan after almost 4 months and it hadn’t moved that much, not surprisingly though. I saw when they had top 12, now they are at top 8. Also simultaneously on Vijay TV we have the Airtel Super Singer taking place which has barely begun at this point. I don’t expect a result on that until 2012. While watching the episode this weekend, one thing which struck my mind was most of these contests are winner takes all format, so what happens to the others?

I know that Vijay TV gives some opportunities to prior participants to sing in their tours and programs but would that be enough for someone wanting to make a career out of music? I have noticed that some of the contestants keep jumping from one talent show to the other. Like Gopalkrishnan, Barghavi, Aruna who were part of Airtel super singer 2008 participated in Hariyudan Naan and did quite well. Except for Aruna, the other two are now in top 8 but if they don’t end up in the top 5 what’s going to be their future. Do they keep shuttling between TV shows? Santosh who was also in the super singer 2008 is again back in this season.

All these competitions are judged by famous singers and some music directors too come in at some point, so it’s a surprise to me that the contestants at least the top 10 don’t land up with some chance in music. The contestants go through grueling selection process to reach a particular level like a top 8 or top 10 and when they get eliminated at that point they have to go through the same process again in a different channel or competition or just give up. This is actually really sad and must be heartbreaking for these contestants who might end up making top 10 in all competitions but not win it to make the cut.

Ajeesh won the Airtel Singer 2008 and in 3 years he has sung like 3 songs but what about the 2nd and 3rd place finishers in 2008? Where are they now? Are they getting any chances? Are they even pursuing music as their careers? No one knows.

Probably these channels should do a show every year like American Idol in the US does, where they tell us where the Idols are and what they are up to right now. The viewers watch these shows for almost a year and get involved with these contestants and when the show is over we have no clue what goes on with them except for the winner who gets to sing couple of movie songs. It will be great to know what Renu, Ranjani, Ravi, Vijay, Prasanna, Raghini (Even though we see her in Koffee with Anu) and others are doing after the super singer and whether they are still pursuing their musical dream. Probably the channels should consider doing something like that after a year of each season. Pick the top ten of the previous season and have an interview with them.

These contestants shouldn’t have to keep jumping from one show to another as at some point frustration will creep in and they will give up. The fact that some of them are able to make it to Top 10 in all the channels and competitions in front of different judges says quite a lot about their ability. So it will be great to learn what they thought about the competition and how that has helped them in their goal. Probably the channels like Jaya and Vijay should think about this. Don’t you think it will be great if these singers are invited on Vijay TV to talk about their post 2008 season life? Wouldn’t it be great? I had written exclusive reviews of Airtel super singer 2008 and would surely love to know what the contestants are doing right now.

Ajeesh wins the Airtel super singer 2008

Airtel Super Singer top 6 (Before the Recall round) Top (From the left): Ranjani, Prasanna and Renu; Bottom (From the left): Rohit, Ajeesh and ravi

Airtel Super Singer top 6 (Before the Recall round) Top (From the left): Ranjani, Prasanna and Renu; Bottom (From the left): Rohit, Ajeesh and ravi

Well at last the Airtel Super Singer winner was declared yesterday here in the US after almost a year of the competition. The week began with Prasanna being eliminated and the final three remaining were Renu, Ravi and Ajeesh to compete for the title. It was a really good run for Prasanna and he surely won many hearts with his entertaining performances.

Monday and Tuesday of the competition was basically a tribute to the top 22 contestants and awards were given to best performances in a particular genre. Ironically all the award winners were from the top 10, Santosh, Prasanna, Raghini, Vijay and Ranjani. Even though the others did not win any awards, it was nice to see all of them together in the Airtel super singer set for one last time.

Now coming to the actual finals which happened on Wednesday there were three contestants and it was good that the results were announced on the same day. I unfortunately was not aware of the change in timings and missed the entire performances of the contestants. I just saw the final song sung by Ravi which was from Dasavatharam.
Yuvan Shankar Raja was there along with other celebrity singers such as Chitra, Mahati, Karthik, Krish, Sunitha Sarathy and few others to grace the live event. Finally after few performances from the other super singer contestants the results were announced and Ajeesh was declared as the winner based on the viewer votes. Ravi came second and Renu ended up in the third position.

Personally I would have preferred Ravi to win the competition as he was a better all round singers but Ajeesh wasn’t too far behind. I am not that disappointed with the actual result as Ajeesh also has had a wonderful super singer 2008. Renu for me did not make the cut and I did not expect her to win the crown. I know that I have been really harsh on her in my previous articles but to be frank she did not possess the variety the other two brought to the table. She is a good singer but one dimensional but I think she will be successful in play back singing in the Sujatha mould.

Coming back to Ravi, he is a fantastic talent and has a great range. He has proven his caliber in western as well as folk and classical and would be very successful in the music industry. I wish him all success and hope to hear him sing in the movies.

So the Airtel Super singer 2008 winner was Ajeesh, a fantastic singer with a great voice. Had some issues with the open singing at the beginning of the competition but overcame the same with the help of the voice trainer Ananth I guess. Great future ahead as he is guaranteed a song in Yuvan’s music.

All in all it was an incredible journey which lasted for almost a year. I enjoyed watching the same and I hope that everyone following Airtel super singer had a blast too. I think next we have the super singer juniors and hope it’s also as entertaining as the senior version. Till then this is Giri signing off.

Airtel Super Singer Finals – Round 2 – Ranjani goes

The first day of the round two began yesterday here in the US the show began with the elimination of one contestant who got the least votes after the round 1 of the finals. Surprisingly Ranjani was the one to receive the axe. Airtel super singer never ceases to amaze me. Ranjani is one of the best singers in Airtel super singer this year and I have told this numerous times that she is much better singer than Renu. In spite of that she got the lowest audience votes. I guess she isn’t a very popular singer among the viewers.

The fact that she received around 4 times less votes than the third placed Renu is hard to believe. Anyways the initial part of the show was a tribute to her and a much deserved one at that. All the other contestants spoke about her and Ranjani bowed off in style singing “Maiyya Maiyya” song from Guru. Good luck to Ranjani and I am sure that she will be singing in movies soon.

Prasanna was in the bottom two along with Ranjani and I heard that he is the one eliminated next week. Even though he is my favorite contestant, I don’t think that I can complain on his exit. Ranjani’s exit was more shocking than Prasanna’s. Well good luck to Prasanna as well as he was one of the most entertaining contestants in this show and won many hearts with his brilliant performances on stage. I am sure that he has a bright future in the music field as he has started learning music already.

Okay now coming back to yesterday’s competition, unfortunately I was just able to see the performances of Ajeesh and Ravi, the top two voted contestants from round 1. Both gave brilliant performances and especially Ravi’s performance was out of the world. He was able to get the entire audience involved and everyone enjoyed his performance. Ajeesh was also very good. He sang with an open voice and sounded very good.

I was not able to see both Prasanna and Renu’s performance yesterday as I had some issues with my internet but probably will try and catch the same on YouTube some time later. Anyways that ended the day one of the finals and it seems like the Airtel super singer will be crowned next week (This week in India). So that’s good news. At last the organizers have decided to end the competition. Best of luck to Ranjani who unfortunately got eliminated in round 2 and good luck to the other contestants.

Airtel Super Singer – Finals week1 – day 3

The week 1 of the finals completed here on Wednesday and the third day was very impressive. It was a round where the contestants had to sing classical compositions in movies. The two contestants who I was very interested in were Renu and Prasanna as they were the least trained in classical music.

It was a brilliant night with Sudha Ragunathan as the chief guest. Ravi was brilliant in this round as expected. This is his forte and he did not disappoint. The judges were all praise for him and Sudha Ragunathan said that he has a bright future in music.

Ajeesh was also brilliant. I would say that this was better than the new song round on day 2. Even though the judges were over the top and praising Ajeesh on day two, I thought that it was a okay performance. But in the classical round he was brilliant. He was rightly appreciated by the judges and the chief guest.

Ranjani was good too. Ranjani is a versatile singer and is a trained classical singer like Ravi and Ajeesh. She gave a good performance too. Sudha Ragunathan called is great and so did the judges.

Okay now for the interesting part. Before the round began I knew that the above mentioned three singers will not have any issues in this round as they are all classically trained but Renu and Prasanna were not. I was very interested to see how they would perform.

The first one to perform was Renu. She sang pretty well. Sudha Ragunathan said that her voice was sweet but she had some issues with the classical part of it. She felt that all the Sangadhi’s did not come out well. The judges too felt the same but they kept on saying that her good voice masked the errors. I have never heard more absurd comment in a talent show. The judges are there to judge a singer in comparison with the other singers in the competition. Yeah it was a commendable effort from Renu considering her little training in Classical music but that does not mean that the judges find excuses for her.

I am fed up of Srinivas saying that Renu has a good voice. I think we have heard that thousand times and I am basically fed up of that line. Anyways it was a good performance by Renu.

Next came Prasanna, who like Renu has limited classical training and he sang a not so classical song. The judges rightly criticized him but said that he is a good entertainer. Srinivas also said that it’s not easy to dramatize a song in front of an audience as Prasanna does so successfully. This time I totally agree with the judges and the chief guest that considering how the other singers performed, Prasanna’s song choice was little bit off. Anyways that ended the week 1 of the finals.

I saw few rushes of the performances from the week 2 and the notable absentee is Ranjani. It seems like the contestants are going to be paired with a playback singer. Karthik, Harini, Tippu and Mahati seemed to be the play back singers. Anyways the rushes seemed brilliant and I am really looking forward to week 2 and I hope that the competition crowns the super singer pretty soon as I think that we are nearing 1 year since the 2008 auditions began.

Airtel Super singer – Finals – Day 2

Well at last I got to see the finals and it was the “New Songs” round and what a great night it was. 5 finalists performed with professionals providing music around them and it was absolutely brilliant. Especially Stephen on Piano was unbelievable.

Coming back to the competition itself, the first singer of the night was Ravi and he started off with “Uyirile” (Movie Vellithirai I guess) and he was brilliant. It was one of his best for me. Expressions were so good and the way he carried the entire song was awesome. Overall it was a mind blowing performance and the judges were all praise for him.

The second singer was Ranjani who sang “Ulundhu Vithakkaiyilae” from Mudhalvan. She gave a good performance. The judges liked her performance and called it brilliant.

The third singer of the night was Ajeesh and he sang “Poi Solla” from Run and gave a good performance. I for once thought that it was okay and nothing extraordinary but the judges though gave him a standing ovation. Well I would say that in comparison to Ravi, Ajeesh’s performance was just okay. But that’s my opinion.

The next singer was Renu and her performance was ordinary last night. I don’t even remember what song she chose. She had severe breathing issues and it was very obvious that she was nervous and it did not sound that nice to me. Srinivas was honest in stating that this was not one of Renu’s best performances.

The final singer of the night was Prasanna and he sang “Piraye” (I don’t know the movie) song and gave a soulful performance. The judges were all praise for him and Sujatha took a cheap shot at him saying that he could have avoided the humming at the start. Unni though said that he liked the performance overall and Srinivas said that he could feel Prasanna’s sincerity towards music in this performance.

All in all it was a brilliant night with some great performances. I would say that Ravi’s was the best performance of the night and Renu’s was the worst. All in all looking forward to the day 3 of the finals as Ananth said that it’s going to be better.

Airtel Super Singer – Finals week 1

So we are in the finals week at last. American Idol which started way after Airtel super singer just crowned their winner last week. That shows how fast AI has moved since it began. Airtel Super Singer though has been stretched a bit too much and I did not even bother watching the show last week where the contestants met Yuvan for the first time.

Coming back to this week, the competition is going to be interesting. To be honest with you guys I did not get a chance to watch the show on Monday as I was not in town. I heard from one of the regulars to my blog that Ranjani has been eliminated after the classical round which is rather surprising and shocking to say the least.

Ranjani is one of the better trained singers in the pack and it’s rather surprising that she has to leave after the classical round. Well I will be watching the show from the second day and will comeback with a better post tomorrow. The singers left in the show are Renu, Ajeesh, Prasanna and Ravi. Even though Prasanna is my favorite, I would like Ravi or Ajeesh to win the competition as they are the most talented of all the finalists.

Anyways best of luck to all the singers for this week and let’s hope the best singer wins.