White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More than an Average Middle-class Down to Earth Mustang Rider

Boise is blanketed by snow today, giving it that very northern European feel or maybe it is my mind humoring my pro-European sentiment. Idahoans in this part of the state went to bed last night (well some didn’t I guess since yesterday was Mardi Gras, but those that did) hoping to drive into the sun as they set about to earn their bread and butter for the day, and do the same roughly eight hours later when they got back home (assuming most people with jobs aren’t homeless). However, they woke up today to find everything white.

As much as I detest the snow, I cannot deny the fact that snow brings about certain calmness to the landscape. It’s almost as if the land has just smoked a joint and is fulfilling some long-forgotten vow of silence. As I was driving to work today, there was a very very very light snow falling. It was almost as light as rain. This uncovers a very sinister side behind the calm fa├žade I just referred to. Till I explain my theory you’ll probably safely assume the snow has frozen my brain. So here goes …

This a conspiracy between Snow (if you are a visual person, think of Snow as a spitting image of the architect of the Matrix, dressed in white sinister, spelt E-V-I-L) and the authorities whose job profile is to not salt the non-Highway roads here. They are out to get the average middle-class down to earth Mustang rider on the streets of Boise (if you are an aural person, think of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” playing in the background). The scenery is made all beautiful and stuff. Snow takes care of that, thus distracting the average middle-class down to earth Mustang rider, who of course, has a keen interest in aesthetic pleasures.

The very very very light snow makes the roads look just wet, not icy to the average middle-class down to earth Mustang rider, tempting him (yeah, I am not being sexually, thus politically incorrect here – they always are men) to rev the engine with the power of all the two hundred plus horses, as he would on a sunny day when the roads are as dry as Agastya Sen’s humor (no he is not a fourth cousin, but the protagonist of the book I am currently reading – “English, August”). However, being inherently observant, I noticed the ghostly white gleaming conniving ice waiting for the horses to roar and to see the underbelly of the Blue Lady (my Mustang). Also being inherently smart (read paranoid), I took my lady to Hasmukh Bhai (local Indian grocery store owner) to postpone death.

Hasmukh Bhai lived up to his name and gave me a pleasure-filled smile. Something told me that the smile was just a symbol of the happiness caused by beholding a customer this early on a weekday. For a moment, I was distracted by the pain with the realization that it wasn’t specifically my charming personality that had elicited the smile. However, focused as I was, unlike the average middle-class down to earth Mustang rider, I quickly told him about the attempt on my life. The smile vanished and I could see flashes of what I thought and hoped was determination in his eyes

Like all great leaders, Hasmukh Bhai spoke very little. You were supposed to decipher his mood from his many different smiles. Today, he just pointed to where he kept his rice to be sold. My mind, corrupted by capitalism, told me that he would only save my life if I were his first customer, but then, having inherently more vision than the average middle-class down to earth Mustang rider, I realized he was pointing me to refuge. So, I bought two ten pound bags of “Tilda pure Basmati” and placed them in my trunk, over the rear wheels. As I was pulling out of India Foods (Hasmukh Bhai’s den), I thought I noticed a twinkle in the eyes of the great man wearing that far away look when you know you have won the first battle in a long series of wars, when you try to be philosophical, not necessarily successfully, and a smile that seemed to say “Try harder Mister Snow”. What his pointed index finger had earlier reminded me in the shop was that Mustangs are rear-wheel drives. To the pedestrian, this means that riding fast in a Mustang is like running with your shoe laces tied together. Cool explanation, isn’t it? (I can’t really take credit for it. I heard this on Top Gear) Setting some kind of a heavy weight on either rear wheel unties the laces. So, I am alive, and writing this as an explanation to my boss for being late to work.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mani Ratnam is definitely the Guru

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to watch Guru. I think it is a fascinating story of a fascinating man told in a fascinating way. After all it is a Mani Ratnam film, a name that we have come to associate with excellence in Indian cinema for more than a decade now. You notice his eye for detail in the very beginning of the film when Guru’s childhood unfolds on the screen. The actor cast in the role to play the young Guru is tall with big eyes, with an uncanny resemblance to Abhishek Bachhan.

The scenes shot in Turkey are very classy, including the dresses of the characters, which are in keeping with the times portrayed. Mallika Sherawat looks sexy, yet classy as she swoons to a number from A. R. Rehman with a heavy Arabian influence. It makes the fact that a dancer in Turkey is singing a Hindi song a lot more believable. A special mention for the singers, who did a great job singing such a complex song. The characters’ joy at winning money despite their humble background is expressed very realistically by Abhishek along with Mohan Joshi and the other actor.

From then, the movie flows at a very nice pace, correctly showing the pace in which Guru progresses though the business world and though life. The songs are picturized very well even though most of them are not necessary in the film, and tend to drag the film. Ravi Mennon’s use of color filter in the solo dance sequence enhances the viewing experience and its refreshing to hear Bappi Lahiri’s voice.

The main strength of the film lies in the acting by its carefully chosen cast. Mithun is very effective in short bursts as the righteous enemy. Most people say that Vidya Balan is wasted, but I disagree. I think she has a very important and difficult role, though not necessarily a meaty one. Madhavan is wasted in his role as the young firebrand journalist, though he excels in the romantic scenes with Balan. I am not sure whether the editing floor is responsible for his meager role, or whether Mr. Ratnam lost his character in the midst of the other heavyweights. Arya Babbar plays the ineffective brother-in-law very effectively.

Aishwarya Rai gives a solid performance, just proving that an effective director can really bring her acting abilities to the screen (like Rituparno Ghosh in the past). In any film where the title of the film is the name of its primary character, there is a fear of the protagonist overshadowing the other characters, but Ash more than holds her own, being a rock of support for Abhishek throughout the film. Also, she looks ravishing in the first half, and resembles Kokila Ben almost a 100% in the second.

This is by far Abhishek’s best performance to date. I would put this above his performance in Sarkar, when he was still growing as an actor. He has done his homework very well on Dhirubhai, as can be seen by his nuances with his right hand, putting on weight for the role and a subtle Gujarati accent. Also, the pouting of the lower lip brings a certain credibility to the character. A special mention must be made of the scene when Guru has a heart attack. It looks so real that you actually want to call an ambulance. The court scene is very moving and inspiring though you can see a little bit of his father in him.

Overall an inspiring film and like all Mani Ratnam films, technically very correct, fulfilling the long due call for biographical movies in the Indian film industry. In his illustrious career, I would rate this film a notch lower than Vellunayakan and give it an 8.5/10.

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