ANNIVERSARIES

Sanjay Subrahmanyan 21-Jan | Mukesh Desai 22-Jan | Richie Havens 21-Jan | Steve Perry (Journey) 22-Jan | Robin Zander (Cheap Trick) 23-Jan | Kuldip Sood 24-Jan | Onkar Nath Thakur 24-Jan | Rekha Vishal 24-Jan | Kavita Krishnamurti 25-Jan | Falguni Seth 26-Jan | Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen) 26-Jan | Chetanya Padukone 27-Jan | Preety (Preety Pinky) 27-Jan | Pandit Jasraj 28-Jan | Suman Kalyanpur 28-Jan | Sarah McLachlan 28-Jan | Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols) 31-Jan | Justin Timberlake (N Sync) 31-Jan | K.C. (K.C. and the Sunshine Band) 31-Jan | Anwar 1-Feb | Asif Merchant 2-Feb | S.Somasundaram (Madurai Somu) 2-Feb | Graham Nash (Hollies/CSN) 2-Feb | Mani Krishnaswami 3-Feb | K.K.Ravi 4-Feb | Alice Cooper 4-Feb | Corey Wells (Three Dog Night) 5-Feb | Axl Rose 6-Feb | Rick Astley 6-Feb | Garth Brooks 7-Feb | Jagjit Singh 8-Feb | Biddu 8-Feb | Sophiya 8-Feb | Carole King 9-Feb | Sanjay Tandon 10-Feb | Louis Bank 11-Feb | Sheryl Crow 11-Feb | Chitravina N.Ravikiran 12-Feb | Rama Ravi 12-Feb | Harish Bhimani 15-Feb | Ramanathapuram C.S.Murugabhoopathy 15-Feb | Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) 16-Feb | Sonali Raod 17-Feb | Khayyam 18-Feb | Dennis DeYoung (Styx) 18-Feb | Dr. Dre 18-Feb | Meena Jobalia 19-Feb | Seal 19-Feb | Smokey Robinson 19-Feb | Anu Kapoor 20-Feb | Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) 20-Feb | Shobha Joshi 23-Feb | Howard Jones 23-Feb | Johnny Winter 23-Feb | Naksh Lyalpuri 24-Feb | P.S.Narayanaswamy 24-Feb | George Harrison 25-Feb | B.V.Lakshmanan 26-Feb | B.V.Raman 26-Feb | Michael Bolton 26-Feb | Kunika 27-Feb | Sameer 27-Feb | Ravindra Jain 28-Feb | U.Shrinivas 28-Feb | Versha Usgaonkar 28-Feb | Brian Jones (Rolling Stones) 28-Feb | Cyrus Broacha 29-Feb | Rukmini Devi 29-Feb

Hot News

Cool Star

Gigs

Geetmala

04/02/2017

Mumbai

Janfest 2017

25/01/2017

Mumbai

Ganasaraswati in Concert

31/01/2017

Mumbai

Lo....Main Aa Gaya

03/02/2017

Mumbai

Aaj Mujhe Kuchh Kehna Hai

28/01/2017

Mumbai

Sahir Ludhianvi

21/01/2017

Mumbai

Jaya Chaudhari

24/01/2017

Mumbai

Symphony Orchestra of India

30/01/2017

Mumbai

Midem, the International B2B Music Market

06/06/2017

Mumbai

62nd Jio Filmfare Awards 2017

14/01/2017

Mumbai

Kaifi Aur Main

15/01/2017

Mumbai

Symphony Orchestra of India

30/01/2017

Mumbai

Times Sanskruti Arts Festival

12/01/2017

Mumbai

Naye Parinde Nayi Udaan

11/01/2017

Mumbai

Ragamala

19/01/2017

Mumbai

Osman Mir Live

14/01/2017

Mumbai

Meri Aawaz Suno

12/01/2017

Mumbai

Features

Music Therapy

“I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music." Billy Joel. Allopathy, (the most commonly used system of medicine) is fast on the wane, with most people wanting to try something new. And the good news is that today people can choose from more than a 100 alternative medicines, ranging from traditional Ayurveda to Naturopathy to Aromatherapy to Music Therapy.

Music therapy however, is not a new therapy and has been around for centuries. In the Bible in 1: Samuel: 16:23 we read: “Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him”

So how does Music therapy work? Experts say it does two things:
1. It acts as an alternative for a sedative, drug or tranquillizers which would be prescribed in allopathy.
2. It is believed to increase the metabolic properties of the human body. It is also said to accelerate our breathing and improve the body’s muscular activities, soothe the Central Nervous System and Circulatory System of the listener as well as of the performer. Music therapy is believed to heal both physical as well as psychosomatic disorders.

Music therapy can be divided into two broad categories: “Active” and “Receptive”. In active music therapy, the therapist and patient (after discussing the problem) get together, and the patients are actually encouraged to create their own music, using their voices, musical instruments, or even everyday objects like, spoons, bottles, pans and pots etc. Therapists say this allows patients to explore their creativity, shed their inhibitions and express themselves through the music they create. This therapy is said to work well for people who are introverted, facing mental blocks, personality disorders or those who have problems expressing themselves. 

It has also been said to have achieved good results with autistic children. Receptive therapy on the other hand, needs a more controlled environment and normally takes place in a more relaxed, soothing setting. It is said to work best when the patient is lying down in a dimly lit room and relaxed. Then the therapist plays pre chosen music, to which the patient is asked to listen to with eyes closed, or if they like they can doodle or imagine happy scenes in their mind.
The music used in receptive music therapy could range from calming ragas, classical western music or nature sounds (like waterfalls, wind in the trees etc) for people who are hyperactive, to peppy, happy, feel good uplifting music for people who are depressed or feeling low. Later, once the therapist determines which receptive music works best for them, patients are given recorded CD’s which they can listen to at home. 

Corinne Heline (1882-1975) once prophetically quoted: “…man is a musical being. One day he will recognize music as a vital factor in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth of the whole human race.”

I personally feel that the day has arrived.

- Noel Keymer

Trump Thanks Baba

The President elect of America in his speech on winning the elections after thanking his family, his team, the people of America, the only person non American he thanked was our very own Desi Rapper, Baba Sehgal.

Baba of course had been glued to the TV and when he heard Trump say out His name, among the people he wished to thank for his victory, he was totally trumped sorry stumped. So thrilled was he that he did a jig around the room ecstatically rapping Trump Ka Mania, at the top of his voice.

He was still at it when his phone rang and some was yelling at the other end, Baba you did it! Baba you did it. Baba said, Hullo who is this? This is Trump, shit man, the new President of the United States of America, thanks to you man thanks to you…remember we met at the golf course…your song did it man...Aakhir USA ne bol hi diya, Trump pam pam pam. Baba couldn’t believe his ears, Donald J Trump?, he stuttered, momentarily lost for words (imagine that). Yes man this is Trump, and Baba said, man this is a great honour, shit,  sorry…sir I knew there was something about you, I always have…but man well not US President material. Shit man, I know, Trump screamed, neither do I, but f*** who cares, we did it…you did it, you glorious rapper…Yes! Together we will make America great again.

And screw the Hispanics and the Muslim terrorists, the African-Americans and Beyonce and Jay Z and screw the IT Indians stealing American jobs and all the people who call me an imbecile and a bigot. You think I am huh? My IQ is one of the highest, you know it and I am now the President of the U S of America. I will build a bigger wall across the USA than the Great Wall of China and throw millions out over that wall. Taken aback Baba thought, I did say there was something about this guy, but I didn’t know it was maniacal.

As for you Baba, you are going to be my Chief White House Spokesman and Rapper and you are going to rap at my swearing in…Live to the world, from Mumbai to Kenya to Calif***infornia…and man we’ll grab some beautiful p**sy while you’re here, hey…so be seeing you soon. There, Baba said, he’s not such a bad guy after all.

Of course the news of Trump’s statement in which he thanked Baba, sent shock waves around the world. What did you expect? Even his closest friend Boris Putin sorry Vladimir and the Russian Parliament was dumb struck for a complete minute. India PM Narendra Modi was scratching his head, wondering how Baba beat him to it and Xi Jinping the Chinese President was brooding on whether to takeover Trump’s Business Empire or learn to play golf.

This news was a bigger shock than Donald Trump winning the election. There was consternation within political circles and government agencies, wondering, who is this Baba. This was something that needed to be investigated pronto and the Head of True Lies Department was called to immediately get to the bottom of the matter. And so, the chief investigative reporter of TLD was packed off to meet with our Baba Sehgal and this is what unfolded.

TLD: It was a scoop to the world to know that you knew Donald Trump? 
BS:
Yo, it was some time ago, I had gone to play golf and this guy comes up to me and tells me he is a big fan and kept singing Ba ba Ba ba Ba ba and he would love to rap like Baba and win over his Afro-American audience which Beyonce and Jay Z have mesmerized and gone over to that H bitch.
So I asked him, is he standing for Mayor, Senator, or what??? He tells me that he is he standing for the President of the US of A.

In my mind I was thinking what this old man with a weird hairstyle, can he possibly win? Ha. He seemed like a nice guy so I said I will help you out. He was so thankful that he flew me back in his private jet back to India. I told him I can't teach him to rap my style (which even those black dudes can’t do) but  I would make a monster hit video for him.

TLD: So you traveled in Donald Trump's jet?
BS:
Yes, he was so happy he opened the best champagne and invited me to grab some pussy. I looked over at Melania but then thought better of it. He promised me when he wins the election he would thank me and would also invite me to the White House.

TLD: Tell us about this monster HIT video you made?
BS: I told him when I make the song and video, there will be a Maniacal craze for Donald J Trump. He would be bigger than the biggest RockStars, bigger than the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Elvis put together. So I did the song and it was titled Trump ka Mania, and it rapped like this.

Just like I said, the Americans just couldn’t sit at home enjoying my rape music, Trump mania gripped them  and they came out and voted for him, it had an unbelievable effect, it changed the world .
My song…Changed the World.

TLD: Now that you have changed the world what's you next plans?
BS:
I am going to be his Chief White House spokesman and rapper, God, ah Trump willing and I will be advising him on when to rap and when not to rap. But, it hardly matters if he raps when I tell him not to and doesn’t when I tell him to, either way he’s gonna do his thing and the whole world is gonna get screwed. 
 Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to make preparations for the President's swearing in ceremony…get a new jump suit made in time for my performance and a tuxedo for the President’s Ball at the White House.
(These were the last words of the poet/rapper whose song, changed the World. Maybe we should nominate him for the next Nobel Prize for Literature).

- Stanley Paul

 

'American Idol' Winner Trent Harmon Defends Country Cred

Trent Harmon rewrites the ending to a real-life heartbreak story with his first country single, "There's a Girl." The American Idol winner once did just what the song says, going to great lengths – including driving hundreds of miles – to impress a woman, only to be rejected. But when hit songwriters Laura Veltz and Jimmy Robbins helped him put the story to music, their creative juices flowed a different direction.

"We were gonna write more like a sad country song and it just didn't work out," Harmon tells Rolling Stone Country. "I was dating this girl and did all these things that just didn't matter, it didn't work out. But the song took its own life and ended up being a happy song — which is even better."

"There's a Girl" is the first taste of the 25-year-old singer's upcoming album for Nashville's Big Machine Label Group, whose founder Scott Borchetta (also an Idol mentor) describes the project as what a Justin Timberlake country album would sound like. While Harmon admits that's a daunting description, he's also quite flattered and hopes to prove his boss right, as he continues writing and recording for the upcoming LP.

On Idol, Harmon proved an exceptionally versatile singer, tackling jazz, pop, R&B, soul and, yes, country. In fact, Harmon sang "Tennessee Whiskey" on the show and says that George Jones' version — and not Chris Stapleton's — was on his set-list long before trying out for the show. (He also sang Stapleton's "What Are You Listening To.") But standout, game-changing performances like his cover of Timberlake's "Drink You Away" and Sia's "Chandelier" have a lot of fans now asking, "Why country music?" Harmon, who grew up on a farm in Mississippi and got his musical start singing in church, goes back to his upbringing to defend his album's direction.

"Country has always been what I was most comfortable doing, because it's what I sang the most of when I was home," he explains. "You're kinda playing the game when you're on one of these shows. It was so expected of me to sing country, especially for the very first audition. . . When I walked in, they were playing "Green Acres." So I thought, OK, let's flip it. So I sang a jazz song."

Harmon is still working on his debut album and says that in addition to highlighting his country roots, it will introduce a side of himself that most fans haven't seen yet: his songwriting side. He's well aware of the importance of striking while the iron is hot, as the end of American Idolmakes its way out of the headlines. But he's also adamant about taking whatever time is needed to create surefire hits — and to make friends in the country music world.

"I want to get it out as fast as possible, but I also want a quality product," he says. "I don't want to get it out just to get a product on the shelf. With country music, you have to maintain and create close-knit relationships with radio stations. If I were to just put an album out, there's no one to play it! You have to pay your dues."

Watch Trent Harmon's "There's a Girl" video here. The fun-loving clip, which made its world premiere on Rolling Stone Country Monday, features the singer on a multi-vehicle road trip to see a woman — and meeting several other lovely ladies along the way.

D-Boy shares some Beats from his Heart

The year jumped to a great start for D-Boy with spins on the BBC Asian Network playlist for 'Dhadkan' without an official release or label. It is also currently the editor's choice on Hungama, one of India's largest music distribution networks. The song now has a new music video plus an official release with India's strongest independent label 'Artist Aloud'. D-Boy's 2nd Hindi/RnB fuelled track 'Dhadkan' uses heavy 808 drums with a soulful synth feel and vocal harmonies best described as a continuation of 'U-Desi' (Urban Desi). His last single and music video with Artist Aloud, 'Chain' was nominated as 'Best Video' in the Top 5 for the Artist Aloud Music Awards, missing the top place only by a whisker but included a highly reputable panel of judges from Universal Music, Song Music and Times Music India. The 2nd single hopes to achieve the same amount of noise and publicity, raising more attention to D-Boy's inventive soulful take on Hindi/RnB. He adds 'I'm just creating music from all my influences, I love Chaka Khan just as much as I love Ankit Tiwari, it's all a U-Desi journey for me'.

Inspired by the film 'Wall Street-Money Never Sleeps' The black and white music video was shot exclusively inside a city slick law firm in downtown Toronto , Canada and is a story based on the power struggle between two colleagues, one who happens to be the underdog and in love with his boss. The song performances by D-Boy were also filmed in downtown Toronto, featuring some scenic night time shots including the famous CN Tower.

Reviews

Ventilator (Marathi)

While ADHM and Shivaay are busy fighting their multi-crore battles at the box office, here comes a Marathi movie produced by a well known Hindi actress- Priyanka Chopra- with a well known Hindi movie director [and actor] Ashutosh Gowariker as the lead actor! True to its name- Ventilator- the movie infuses much need support and fresh oxygen to the listless rom-coms and action movies that have prevailed as blockbusters in recent times.

This movie is definitely different. For starters, it has 173 actors and as many characters without any romance or action. Almost the whole movie is shot in a hospital and yet it keeps you riveted to your seats.

Rajesh Mapuskar [Director] has done a casting coup by having Ashutosh Gowariker as Raja Kamerkar [RK] in the lead as an actor after almost 18 years. He is a well known director and plays himself in real life with immaculate grace. His uncle - Gajju Kaka- is critical in the hospital and cousin Prasanna Kamerkar[Jitendra Joshi] has always had a grudge against his father, while being involved in politics.

However, unlike the sober title, the movie is sprinkled with hilarious incidents which jovially portray 'death' as a routine lifecycle. The movie has many parallel tracks running in the story. It delightfully brings to the screen the middle class value system and the politics around them in the backdrop of a hospital and the impending Ganesha festival that is so important for the Maharashtrians. The relationships of Prasanna and Raja with their respective fathers is the main thread that binds the story. Whether it is the old uncle from Konkan with a hearing aid, the fat cousin who loves to hog, a relative who is obsessed with mango farms or a cousin's wife whose primary objective is having a toilet built in her house- the movie is replete with interesting and whacky characters that one can relate to. Sukanya Kulkarni as Prasanna's sister plays her role well as do many of the known and unknown faces from marathi cinema.

Priyanka Chopra has a special appearance as herself and also croons a song [with not so great pronunciations] mellifluously. Ashutosh and Jitendra Joshi are brilliant in their characters- controlled yet powerful. It definitely makes you cry- first with its laugh a minute riot and then with its strong emotional bonds. Music directors Rohan n Rohan have infused energy with the Ganesha songs. One of the most under-marketed movies this year, it is a must watch for all those who love genuinely made family entertainer. #indieyogi #madaboutmoviez #ventilator #priyankachopra #purplepebblepictures

Dear Zindagi (Hindi)

Its been a long time since you made Bollywood so subtle and thoughtful. Thanks to Gauri Shinde, Shahrukh Khan has again become an actor after losing his way as a superstar and a superhero. Alia Bhatt is becoming more of an intelligent actor contrary to her image in real life. Moreover she is excelling in her monologues, a trend for her after 'Highway' and 'Kapoor and Sons'.

You have successfully portrayed the successful yet emotionally confused youth of today. The on screen vibes between the young Kaira [Alia] and her psychiatrist Dr. Jehangir Khan [SRK] are refreshing. However, SRK tends to get in to his commercial self by flashing his dimples and using artificial tear drops as props between dialogues.

The men in Kaira's life [Kunaal Kapoor, Angad Bedi and Ali Zafar] keep popping in and out as she overcomes her childhood issues with her parents that have stopped her from having successful relationships. Her friends and their incidences are interesting and so are the music and punchlines.

But Dear Zindagi, you have really overestimated the Bollywood audience. The dialogues are too long and the film could be edited 15- 19 minutes shorter. You have created a miracle of sorts with SRK in a major role and no song where he is spreading his arms in his trademark style and crooning. Are we finally seeing him mature onscreen like AB did long ago and Salman threatened to do in Sultan? One really hopes he follows the path of Tom Hanks and not of Sly Stallone.

For my friends: Make sure you have plenty of patience on hand to deal with this 'psycho' movie. Good things come to people who wait and this one makes you wait for 2.5 hrs

Yogesh Karikurve,

Business Head - Z living (Asia Pacific)

Befikre (Hindi)

The opening credits of Befikre have different couples kissing in various parts of Paris. That is when you realize that this movie is unconventional. For starters, it is shot in Paris and the story line could have been inspired by a French or a Hollywood rom-com as the couple keep getting in and out of their relationships. This year seems to be a year for contemporary multi-partner romances in Bollywood -after ADHM and Dear Zindagi and now Befikre.

Vaani Kapoor is sensational as Shyra- She beats Sallu's record in taking off her tee-shirts and throwing it away in random scenes. Moreover, she seems to be the man in the movie; rumored to have gone under the knife after her last movie, though she denied it and attributed her terribly trembling lips and chiseled jawline to the 'Paris winter' effect. To her credit she dances amazingly well in her hip-hop and ballroom sequences and is superbly flexible- her moves can put even Hrithik to shame. Not to mention good acting.

Ranvir Singh plays himself as Dharam- a flashy, over-the-top, loud and crude Delhi boy. He acts well and tries hard to match his dance steps with those of Shyra. In terms of flashing his body he scores above her by even baring his butt once! I wonder how the censor board didn't cut any of the 50+ kissing scenes and more than 5-6 bedroom scenes. Maybe they believe only in quality and not in quantity!!

The story is not so original - it is about a lot of lust, not so much of love and every thing that a Yashraj film 'must'. Dharam and Shyra fall for each other in a bar and end up in bed multiple times, interspersed with them ending up in bed with other partners multiple times. The rest is history that has been repeated earlier multiple times in as many films. However the lead pair's chemistry, Parisian locations, good song and dance sequences and some good acting by all makes it a decent movie to watch. I only wish they could have traveled South of France too rather than focusing only on Paris.

Watch it carefree [Befikre]!

Yogesh Karikurve,

Business Head - Z Living (Asia Pacific)

 

Fever

The soundtrack of 'Fever' is nothing short of a surprise package. Ranjit Barot's music is not path-breaking but his curious sense of melody will impress you. The album opens with 'Bas Ek Baar' sung by Arijit Singh. The heavy use of violin in this intrinsically rock number is interesting and Arijit renders it beautifully. Next song, 'Teri Yaad' is a highly disjointed number. It impresses you immensely in places and yet, the balance of lyrics and orchestration seems out of sync sometimes, which doesn't allow the song to soar. The reprise version is slightly better but the fact that the same singer defeats the idea of a separate track. Singer Rahul Jain is adequate but his singing lacks an inherent style of his own. Shalmali Kholgade with her jazz experience nails the track 'Mujhme Kabhi'. Her voice is perfect for the song and adds sultriness to it. Neha Kakkar shows her versatile vein with 'Miley Ho Tum'. Her brother Tony Kakkarmanages to support her well. She keeps her voice subtle and sticks to the mellow meter. Tony's version is equally good but the instrumentation fails him. Alisha Pais and Alisha Baithe are superlative in 'Nahi Nahi'. Their voices complement beautifully and the catchy beats will be an instant hit with you. The next song, Besambhale, lacks depth. The very fact that Arijit literally sleepwalks through the number doesn't make it enticing.

Hardware

Sound Impression Series of Roadshows

The German audio giant, Sennheiser, took perfect audio solutions to Lucknow this year – The succesful Sound Impression series. The exclusive roadshow put up an exciting and intriguing session on sound systems. The showcase included Sennheiser’s range of wired and wireless microphones that’are designed to give you an experience you can never forget.

Editors Gyan

Music Movies Masti...

It was way back in 1998 that we established, RagatoRock, India's first all genre music magazine. After a spectacular run of almost three years, the print edition was discontinued in favour of an online version. The online version quickly established itself as the leading online music magazine for everything in music.

Through the years, we had our share of good times and down times but we have learnt and adapted and are still here unlike so many of our contemporaries and raring to go. The passion that started it all is still burning bright and today we are ready to once again reinvent ourselves with the same fire and undiminished passion.

Venues

Hard Rock Cafe

Located in a former mill, the Mumbai outpost of the US chain of resto-bars has a mixed reputation among the city's musicians. In the first couple of years after opening, in 2006, indie rock acts were often asked to include a stipulated number of cover songs in their set lists. These days, Hard Rock Café, which hosts gigs every Tuesday and Thursday night, sticks mostly to cover bands, with a couple of dates a month spared for indie groups. Skip these gigs, and come here only for the ticketed events, when one of the seating areas is cleared to make room for a larger stage, for performances by Indian indie icons (folk-fusion veterans Indian Ocean, electro-rock superstars Pentagram), international chart toppers (Wyclef Jean, Jay Sean) or club-packing DJs (Bob Sinclair, Paul van Dyk). Be warned, though: the waiters break into a synchronised jig every time the Village People's "YMCA" comes on.


Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Worli, + 91 22 2438 2888, Hardrockindiablog.com. Open daily noon-1.30am. Performance times and entrance fees vary

Games

Dead Rising 4

Zombies often herald the end of all things, but for Frank West, their reemergence marks a new beginning. Frank, former photojournalist extraordinaire, has been off the radar since the first Dead Rising a decade ago, and this third Christmas-themed sequel finds him eking out his days as a college professor teaching novices his craft. But when the dead come, he again finds life. Even in Frank's opening nightmare in which he knocks back zombies like a wrecking ball, there's a sense amid his snarky complaints that he wants this. And even though Capcom's approach here stumbles here in parts, I was surprised by how much I wanted this as well.
When Dead Rising 4 works, it's because it steadfastly refuses to take itself seriously. Frank is 16 years older now and looks and grumbles (thanks to a new voice actor) a little like Joel from the PS4's The Last Of Us, but even though he journeys back to fictional Willamette, Colorado with student Vick Chu, the lightweight but enjoyable tale is never weighed down with musings on surrogate fatherhood and hope. Neither is it entirely dismissible, even though it largely dumps the main conspiracy premise a handful of chapters in, as it handles its characterizations well. Frank drops lines about setting his balls on fire and other wisecracks, but there's enough gravity mixed in with the goofiness to make the relationships seem believable.
Still, this is a tale about blasting zombies with a gnome-capped staff called the "Gandelf" and gleefully plowing through literally hundreds of zombies in a city park with a lawnmower. It's about strapping on hulking (and rare) exosuits after zombies overrun the Willamette Memorial Megaplex after Black Friday and cutting down them with an electrified battleaxe or using blueprints to make quirky weapons like an "Ice Sword" from scattered items like liquid nitrogen and machetes. The melee controls are satisfying and intuitive, although the removal of throwable melee weapons stings bitterly and ranged weapons suffer from poor aiming. Never before has the series tossed the undead at you with such relentlessness. I'm inclined to believe there's no way a town like Willamette was home to that many people in the first place, but the crowds make the yuletide slaughter consistently enjoyable.
Frank's ability to handle those swarms comes with a price. Dead Rising 4 is never difficult, and even in a toque blanche and chef's whites I could shrug off piles of the undead about as well as Overwatch's Reinhardt might fend off a pack of yorkies. When I died and had a chance to check out the generous checkpoint and autosave system, it was only because I'd stepped away and forgotten to pause. There's not even a way to ramp up the difficulty besides sticking around for New Game+ or a separate multiplayer mode that's confined to a specific setting and steadily increases the difficulty. But even in the New Game, Frank can handle himself just fine. If you're specifically looking for a single-player combat challenge or any degree of tension, you won't find it here.
But you might find cause to stick around if your interests lie elsewhere. Capcom removed much of the series' previous urgency by ditching the timer, which frees up Frank's time to track down a sleigh's worth of blueprints and assorted collectibles, as well as stopping off from time to time to save survivors stranded in the undead sea. So heavy is the sandboxy exploration emphasis that Frank doesn't even have to head anywhere to craft his sometimes silly murder devices: he can cobble together firework-shooting crossbows or electricity-shooting go-karts right there in the field. The approach works well because the small-town setting is so well-realized, partially thanks to its Christmas theme that infects the core 10-hour story as thoroughly as the sickness infects the zombies. The holly jolliness adds a touch of flavor to exploring parts of town beyond the mall that might come off as boring during any other season.
There's so much to see, so many parts to use for an impressive variety of weapons, and so many combos to build that I usually had a cozy sense that I was in a zombie-themed take on Just Cause, taking similar pleasure in causing mindless mayhem with weapons and vehicles to the tune of "O Tannenbaum" and "Auld Lang Syne." Frank's camera even adds to the fun, not only by taking great shots to build a few extra experience points, but by stopping to take goofy selfies with the shambling corpses. It all makes for a nice change of pace, but I could never shake the feeling that Dead Rising had sacrificed much of its identity in the process.
Weirdly, there's no co-op option for the campaign, thus robbing the series of a big degree of its former fun. Gone, too, are the cutscenes that uses to boot up before what used to be called the "psychopath" minibosses. Capcom calls the psychopaths "maniacs" now, and they're sadly essentially irrelevant, being almost exclusively limited to sidequests and usually involving little more than regular zombies with big health pools tromping around in exosuits or Santa costumes. Sometimes I found welcome surprises in the form of fast, newly turned zombies, but most of the time the thousands I killed were as indistinguishable as bricks in a wall.
It's a strange game for the series, as it subtracts something for everything it adds, making it unlike anything we've seen for Dead Rising until now. It's the kind of design that might scare off veterans but bring in fresh zombie killers into the fold. But it's one that I generally enjoyed, even though it's marred with a first-launch crash bug that Capcom warned us about, but which it still hasn't fixed. For some players, though, I imagine that bit of bootup trouble won't prove as annoying as the fact that you can currently only download it for PC from the Windows Store. A Steam version is supposedly in the works, but by the time we see it, Dead Rising 4's cheeky Christmas theme will likely be long out of place. But now? 'Tis the season.

The Dwarves

The Dwarves, a new realtime tactical RPG based on Markus Heitz’s German fantasy novel series of the same name, is an uneasy adaptation. As an RPG, Dwarves wants you to make choices to explore the world of its characters, but as a slavish recreation of a well-known book, it is constantly taking choices away from you. It’s a novel stuffed into an ill-fitting RPG suit, straining at seams held together by threadbare patches of tactical combat.
There are a few different problems going on here, but if I smelt it right down to the base ore, The Dwarves has two main failings: its RPG doesn’t give you any freedom to make choices or grow, and its combat is spammy, tiresome, and not very fun.
Only a few minutes into my adventure—playing as Tungdil Goldhand, the young dwarf on a quest—I came across the first of many times that the plot of Heitz’s novel stomps on my fun. I’m travelling across an overhead map in the style of a board game, with pieces moving along a gridwork of paths and roads. At each grid intersection, a chance encounter, town, or event pops up.
On this occasion, the encounter window tells me I’ve found an abandoned camp and fire ring. Do I want to start a fire and bed down, or should I be extra cautious and climb into a tree? Not seeing any reason why I should be paranoid enough to sleep in a damn tree, I sack out. The next window informs me that an orc stabbed me in my sleep, and I am now dead. No ceremony, no preamble. Dead dwarf, game over.
I had to load my most recent save because, according to a friend who has read the series, Tungdil sleeps in the tree in the book. It may be faithful to the source material, but if I played D&D with a DM who concluded a short introduction with “...and a piano drops on you and you die; let’s start again,” I would not hang around that game for very long.
After reloading and sleeping in the tree, Tungdil wakes up to see an orc warband (surprise!) set up camp below him. After they leave, an encounter window gives me my options: climb down, or wait up in the tree to make sure the coast is clear. Well, you don’t have to stab this dwarf in the gut more than once to teach him some caution, so I wait in the tree. Nothing happens, says the encounter window. Do I want to wait some more?
I chose the option to wait in the tree a dozen times, waiting for something to happen. Nothing ever does; the plot didn’t move on until I climbed down. These false choices are everywhere: maybe saying hello to a traveling caravan will give me an opportunity to buy some supplies; maybe meeting a character in that caravan is absolutely critical, and walking past it is game over. An RPG is a game about choices, yes, but Dwarves is a game in which some choices are meaningless and some choices are momentous, and there’s no telling which is which. I found myself quick-saving every few minutes.
For being so devoted to the plot of the book, sadly, this is a rendition of The Dwarves that did absolutely nothing for me as an introduction to this world. Names washed over me, signifying nothing, as though I was making introductions at a friend’s family reunion: Vraccas, Tion, Girdlegard, Bo?ndal, Älfar. A narrator delivers some pretty talented voice work, including what sound like direct dialog quotes from the book, but not being able to understand the references pulled me out of the game. The whole story wraps up in about 11 hours, reminding me again and again that I was playing a Wikipedia-level summary of a much more interesting story.
When Tungdil isn’t clicking around, exploring this and that and getting quests to here and there, The Dwarves spends a lot of time in combat. It’s a standard party-based tactical RPG set-up: overhead camera, pause at any time, give orders, deploy special skill attacks set to cool-down timers. This design is serviceable in a lot of other games, but it stumbles badly here.
The members of your party automatically attack the nearest enemy and pound them steadily with a basic attack until you give an order to use a special skill, which is actually pretty nice to see. Unfortunately, the basic attacks are useless, so the special skill attacks do all the heavy lifting. After some trial and error, I discovered that using basic strategy and smart party placement isn’t nearly as important as making sure that all of your fighters use as many of their special attacks as often as possible. The best way to make it through a tough fight is to pause often, switch characters constantly, and throw around those special attacks the instant their timers expire.
If any party characters die, that’s game over (because the characters have to participate in the plot, of course), so it’s a real pain in the leather that there are very few ways to heal during a fight. This made difficulty spikes a real issue for me. Even on the easiest difficulty, I came up against several seemingly impossible battles, randomly placed before or after another fight that I found effortless. My success or failure depended entirely on how many bad guys level designers decided to spawn for that battle. If they added too few, I had an easy time. If they added too many, I had a horrific grind.
It’s at this point that I would spend some character points beefing up that basic attack or spend some gold improving my gear, but Dwarves doesn’t have even those basic RPG elements. There are a few inventory items, like enchanted pendants and such, but no way to upgrade armor or loot new weapons. The only way to grow a character is by advancing along a very simple, one-path skill tree (skill stick? skill line?) with half a dozen special moves to unlock.
After all the whining I’ve just done about this poor, battered game, it hardly seems worth mentioning, but: I had a lot of technical issues with The Dwarves, too. I only crashed to desktop once, thankfully, but there were other problems. My frame rate plummeted in every battle when a lot of enemies showed up, and moving around the map interface brought on screen tears and texture-pops. In combat, the camera is a real nuisance; I paused to find a camera angle free of tree branches and terrain almost as often as I paused to give combat orders. On one occasion, a corrupted saved game loaded to show a permanently frozen, motionless dwarf in the foothills around Blacksaddle. I returned to a previous save and started again.
Between the rocky difficulty curves, the linear progression, the forced petty choices, and insta-death penalty for veering away from the dictated plot—everything in The Dwarves made me feel like I had no real control over my journey across Girdlegard. I lacked any real agency as a player, and even for a short RPG adventure, that sucks. I wanted to go on a journey, but I ended up just watching a pretty good book as read by someone else.

The Walking Dead

If the Walking Dead TV show can’t decide whether it wants to be a dark, maudlin drama or a schlocky, gory thrill-ride, Telltale’s interactive adaptation has established a more consistent voice that allows room for a bit of both without leaving you suffering from tonal whiplash. Its problem is that between the comic books, the TV series and the games, the cyclical nature of its narrative has become ever more apparent. Still, if a riff is catchy enough then it can bear a certain degree of repetition—and though some of its scenarios are familiar, Season Three opens with a double-header that shows The Walking Dead at its best, with characters you can care about, a couple of genuinely shocking surprises and a clutch of well-staged set-pieces.
It certainly helps that Telltale’s new engine finally feels fit for purpose. While Batman still had its share of performance issues, there’s little to grumble about in Ties That Bind: everything runs that much smoother, with snappier transitions that give the action sequences a greater sense of urgency. Press a button to jab a sharp object through a walker’s skull and the only delay between tap and squelch is in the swing. Better lighting and superior cinematography enhance the visual storytelling, too: episode one’s terrific opening offers a shivery reminder of the time the dead first started coming back to life, following a wonderful corridor shot with a jittery handheld camera to heighten the growing unease.
It’s here that we meet new protagonist Javier Garcia, a disgraced former baseball star who quickly moves from absentee son to surrogate father as his story picks up a few years later. He’s now on the road with sister-in-law Kate and her two stepkids, the sullen Gabe and the more immediately likeable, level-headed Mariana. Theirs is the kind of dysfunctional family unit we’ve seen before, but there’s some solid character work here—and a winning line in gallows humour—that establishes the bond between them. Even as they snipe at one another, there’s a clear affection behind the barbs.
Then, of course, there’s Clementine. A few years have passed since the end of Season Two, and she’s now significantly more hard-bitten and distrusting than ever—albeit still fundamentally decent enough to let Javier hang onto an item of emotional worth. It’s startling to see her like this, but we soon come to understand why, via a pair of playable flashback sequences across the two episodes. The first draws a firm line under last season’s events, and for at least two of the possible endings resulting from your pivotal choice in the finale, the outcome here is especially grim. It’s a reminder that your decisions can only really shape your journey rather than its destination, but in a world where surviving is an act of defiance, there’s something to be said for a choice that lets you spend a little longer with someone you care for.  
These moments are slightly more problematic in light of the main narrative. As players, we want to know what happened to Clem between then and now, and so it makes sense for Telltale to fill in the gaps. But this isn’t an ensemble piece where each character’s perspective is explored; outside these flashbacks, the story is told exclusively from Javier’s viewpoint. Taking time out to explore the backstory of someone he’s only recently met feels strange, and it also leads to a certain disconnect in terms of your decision-making. We all know Clementine, but Javier doesn’t: though Telltale steadily establishes an uneasy alliance between them, there are key decisions we’re invited to make as Javier with knowledge he couldn’t possibly have. There’s a similar problem in a later scenario. After arriving at a new settlement, it’s not long before Javier indirectly causes a crisis, and yet characters are all too ready to trust him over companions they’ve presumably spent a good deal longer with. Still, that’s an issue from which the TV show also suffers, and at least Javier seems a less impetuous and unhinged leader than Rick Grimes.
Otherwise, there’s much to admire here, from a darkly amusing exchange between Javier and Clem about their different terms for the dead (“What do you call the ones that run?”) to a torchlit tunnel escape that concludes with a tense confrontation and a choice that threatens to have serious ramifications for the next episode at least. An optional DIY surgery scene is every bit as squirmingly grisly as Clem’s wound stitching in last season’s opener, while an appearance from a familiar face will delight fans of the comic and/or TV show. It’s clear that the 'graceful exit' imagined by one character isn’t going to happen any time soon for The Walking Dead, but Ties That Bind makes a surprisingly convincing argument for it to keep shuffling onward. 

Polls

Is Farhan Akhtar Good Singer?

Mobiles

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, a Flipkart Exclusive

Xiaomi is to launch the Redmi Note 4 smartphone will be exclusively available on Flipkart. In a clear marketing gimmick, Flipkart roped in cricketer Ravindra Jadeja to get the buzz started, the company compared the Redmi Note 4 to the all-rounder – claiming that the smartphone is also an all-rounder in its segment. The e-commerce giants states that the smartphone has ‘stunning looks, is lightning fast, has incredible stamina, and is the complete package’.
The highlight of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is its metal build and deca-core SoC. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 was launched in two variants – 2GB of RAM/ 16GB inbuilt storage model was priced at Rs. 9,000, while the 3GB of RAM/ 64GB storage model was priced Rs. 12,000.
The dual-SIM (Micro+Nano) Redmi Note sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) 2.5D curved glass display with a pixel density of 401ppi. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is powered by a deca-core MediaTek Helio X20 coupled with Mali-T880 MP4 GPU. It runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF (phase detection autofocus), an f/2.0 aperture, and dual-tone LED flash. The 5-megapixel front camera of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 sports an 85-degree wide angle lens. The smartphone supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 128GB) in a hybrid dual-SIM card configuration.The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 smartphone is powered by a 4100mAh battery, measures 151x76x8.35mm, and weighs 175 grams. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 smartphone was launched in Gold, Grey, and Silver colours. It bears a fingerprint scanner on the rear panel, and also integrates an infrared sensor.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro India Launched

Samsung’s Galaxy C9 was launched in China in October 2016 and the mid-range smartphone will be launched in the Indian market this month. One of the highlights of the smartphone is its massive 6GB of RAM. The device will be launched for roughly Rs. 32,000.
The dual-SIM 4G LTE-enabled Galaxy C9 Pro features a 6-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) AMOLED display. The handset is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 SoC with four cores clocked at 1.95GHz and four at 1.4GHz..
Optics include a 16-megapixel camera on both the front and back with an aperture of f/1.9. The smartphone is offered with 64GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable via micro SD card slot (up to 256GB).Additional features include a fingerprint scanner housed inside the Home Button and a 4000mAh battery with fast charging support.. The device measures 162.9×80.7×6.9mm and weighs in at 189 grams.

Coolpad Cool 1 Dual Launched in India

Coolpad on Wednesday launched the Cool 1 Dual in India, the first fruit of the LeEco and Coolpad combine. The smartphone will be made available in two variants – 3GB RAM/ 32GB inbuilt storage and 4GB RAM/ 32GB inbuilt storage – and both have been priced at Rs. 13,999. While the 4GB RAM model will only be available online, exclusively via Amazon India from January 5, the 3GB RAM model will only be available offline. In case of offline sales, the company will announce availability at a later date.

The Coolpad Cool 1 Dual will be made available in Silver and Gold colour variants in the country. There is some branding difference between the China variant and the India variant – the rear panel says Coolpad, not Cool – however, the rest of the specifications remain the same.

The biggest highlight of the Cool 1 Dual is its dual rear camera setup – it sports a pair of 13-megapixel sensors with an f/2.0 aperture and dual-tone LED flash. One sensor handles colour, while the other takes care of depth, detail, and brightness. Rounding off the optics, the smartphone sports an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with an f/2.2 aperture and an 80-degree wide-angle lens. The other highlight of the smartphone is its large 4000mAh (4060mAh typical) battery. It bears a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel.

The dual-SIM (Nano-SIM) Coolpad Cool 1 Dual runs LeEco’s EUI 5.8 operating system, based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display with a peak brightness of 450 nits and a pixel density of 403ppi – the company is also touting the display is capable of delivering 72 percent of the NTSC colour gamut.

The Coolpad Cool 1 Dual is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC (four Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 1.8GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz) coupled with either 3GB or 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and an Adreno 510 GPU.

Connectivity options on the Coolpad Cool 1 Dual include 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.1, infrared, GPS/ A-GPS, USB Type-C, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Sensors on board include an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, three-axis gyroscope, magnetometer, and a proximity sensor. The Cool 1 Dual weighs in at 173 grams, and measures 152×74.8×8.2mm.

Gionee P7 Launched

Gionee has launched the Gionee P7 smartphone in India, expanding its ‘P’ series. The Gionee P7 is priced at Rs. 9,999 and is available across major retail and online stores in India.The Gionee P7 is available in White, Latte Gold, and Grey colour options, and sports a glass back with ribbed pattern.

The Gionee P7 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based on Amigo 3.2, and supports dual-SIM slots. It features with a 5-inch (720×1280 pixels) HD IPS display with soda lime protection. It is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM. The smartphone offers 16GB of inbuilt storage with the option to expand further with the help of a microSD card slot (up to 128GB).

The Gionee P7, There is an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies and video chats. The smartphone packs a 2300mAh battery that claims to last up to 259 hours of standby time.

Poets Corner

Jehar Bhi Hua Be

Pilaho mujhe iss adha se pilaho
Phi janth bhi aaye nazar pithe pithe

Mila zakham aisa batana hai mushkil
Kate ambh tho shayad amar pithe pithe

Kissi ne kushi chin li jab se meri
Gujarthe hai - shamo-shaher pithe pithe

Ye sara shaher math kuda lag raha hai
Hua mujhpe aisa asar pithe pithe

Uss jab se rakh sat woh pe loon semere
kate mere aton pahr pithe pithe

Agar maut bhi aaye thohai ye mumkin
Atral ki bane hum safar pithe pithe

Music Psychic

Stars for Jan 2nd - 15th 2017

Aries (March 21-April 20): This week, Control your temper and keep patience, Wait for right time before taking any step. Even though you are doing well at work, you may feel dissatisfied with the results. You are perhaps becoming overly ambitious. There is no harm in starting a new carrier in film or music industry in this week  provided you are certain that you will be able to enough resources to conclude the same. Happiness is love is assured this week.


Taurus (April 21-May 20): Socially, a very active period is ahead. A close associate may back out of some promised help, this might halt your carrier development in music industry . This will be quite upsetting for you. However, this will help you to realize that you should not depend on other. Rest assured that through hard work you will achieve success. Gains are indicated this week, relatively for singers . Those in love can look forward to many exciting evenings with their beloved in this week.


Gemini (May 21-June 20): A quick turn over in business leads to sudden monetary benefits. Avoid fresh investments until you come across a real good bargain. Do not reject any of the projects related to singing and directing. Speculative ventures should be avoided. Those associated with the singing will sign new prestigious contract. Love life is sparkling this week.


Cancer (June 21-July 21): Overseas influence is strong for those who are in field of lyricists. Some of you will make plans to travel on work or on a special assignment. Others are likely to have a visitor from overseas who may have an interesting proposal for a joint venture in multimedia. Those in creative media or related fields are bound to be in the limelight.


Leo (July 22-Aug. 21): Financials gains are indicated but you are advised to hold on your profit and not to invest the same in new ventures. Do not in any case invest your money on the advice of associates who may have some ulterior motives. The married are likely to face a few problems on the home front, As you could not spend much time with them. Those who are  composers will be singing new prestigious contract.


Virgo (Aug 22-Sept 21): A busy work schedule could prove tiring. Those travelling on work related to music or film industry will face a few delays and hardships. It is quite likely you may have to travel again to conclude your task. You may hardly find any time for love and romance. A journey abroad will yield profits now and for the future. You may have to return a favor.


Libra (Sept 22-Oct 22): Organizers and playback singers will be given a special assignment to handle independently. The successful completion of this particular project will lead too a promotion. Home also comes under focus due to certain joyful celebration in the family. As you are a entertainer you will be entertaining a number of guests and friends visiting you from out of town.


Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21): Those living away from home and family are likely to return soon. Financially, a favorable period and you could make new investment in fresh projects like buying a music album. The singers who desire of changing job will receive suitable offers. Happiness pervades on the home front.


Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 20): Avoid speculative ventures for a financial setback is foreseen. You need to stick to routine work and not listed to the advice of those who are making proposal for some quick-money-making scheme. A change of residence or location is predicted for some of you. A deeper bond and can also help you to develop your carrier in music industry


Capricorn (Dec 21-Jan 19): Certain “Lucky” developments at work suddenly propel you to a position of eminence. You will get an opportunity to consolidate your position and also display your organizational abilities. Financially, your position is secured, But Co-operate with your seniors mood; it may bring good news if you are composer or singer. You will be organizing a large social get-together, Which will prove enjoyable.
Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18): Work wise a rewarding week. You will be able to consolidate your position at work and also make profitable investment in a deal proposed by a friend, as this can also help you to grab attention of your seniors if you are a producer or director. Love life is delightful and exciting. Some of you are likely to travel to your favourite holiday resort in the company of your sweetheart.


Pisces (Feb 19-March 20): You are greeted with a sudden surprise with the receipt of large sum of money. . The desire to journey is great, but don't take your eye off the professional ball, as there are chances of going out station for a shoot so you can do both things at same time, as things are moving quickly.

GUEST COLUMN

All That Jazz

It's been a long, exciting journey into jazz for me. I made a lot of friends as a musician and a whole lot of enemies. But I did meet a lot of people. If it wasn't for my music I would have been a lighthouse keeper on Andaman Island or what's worse, I would have been a doctor, lawyer or engineer. Yes, music helped me get out of my shell and face the world with a song.