Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Love in the Movies

Raj and Simran celebrated 20 years last week....the 20th Anniversary of the release of DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge). And a true celebration it was as SRK and Kajol are currently together on Rohit Shetty's 'Dilwale'.

DDLJ was the most successful romantic flick of the 1990s. And it was not just Bollywood that was smitten by romance. Love, Romance and Marriage was all over Hollywood as well.

One particular 'pretty woman' of Hollywood was seen in not one but three romance movies in as many years. In 1997, she was in "My Best Friend's Wedding" and a lovely maid of honor proposing a tear-jerking toast.

She returned in 1999 with not one but two romantic movies released in a space of two months - "Notting Hill" with Hugh Grant and "Runaway Bride" back again with Richard Gere. 

Happy Birthday to Julia Roberts. And for all of you looking for the perfect match, remember "You Can't Hurry Love"

Share your favorite movie about Love and Marriage.... comment below.

If you've found your love and planning a wedding, 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Singing Priest

Haven't we all encountered a singing priest? I have encountered many of them over the various parishes and choirs I have participated in over the years. But there is one who has had a very special role to play in my life. 

My Dad's eldest brother was based in Allahabad and made frequent trips to Mumbai. And everytime we would meet him he had a special collection of songs/hymns up his sleeve. When I was in my early teens, with my voice undergoing a change, a song that I heard him sing won me many a prize at singing competitions that I participated in. I even sung this song as a special at various Church services. 

"Somebody Bigger Than You And I" was sung by Elvis. I learnt it from Fr. Eric. And I dedicate it with a special prayer for his soul on his '80th Birth Anniversary'.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Red Roses... On A Ruby Wedding.. (Four about Forty)

Sometime last month, the video of a 4 year-old's wedding conversation with her dad went viral. I did share it on FB a few days ago. 

Exactly forty years ago today, another four year-old (yours truly) attended the first wedding I can remember. It was definitely the first wedding in my dad's immediate family since I was born, possibly making it more memorable and special.

In the run-up to the wedding, there were errands to be run - and I would look forward to accompany dad as he set out on his travails around Mumbai in this respect. 

The pre-wedding ceremony (called the 'Roce') was held at my grandmother's (Nana) place in Everard Nagar, and the coconut juice was dripping down the long moustache of the groom (which was the style in the day). Traditional vovio were sung during the ceremony. And afterward when the groom was all cleaned up, the senior Pinto family singers took over. While they continued singing till the late hours (characteristic of all family parties), the sit-on-floor traditional meal on banana leaf was truly memorable.

The wedding day arrived. My elder brother was the page boy and dressed in a navy blue waistcoat and matching trousers. We arrived at Nana's place for blessings, and then headed to Don Bosco's Matunga for Mass - possibly in the crypt. After a Mass celebrated by Dad's priest brother and graced with music by the family choir, we headed out to the reception. 

The reception was an energetic celebration, and I possibly was running all around the place. The band-in-attendance was "Crimson Rage" - who also played at the first wedding that I compered a good 14 years later. After the customary entry and the toast came the Grand March where the "Tunnel of Love" resulted in smiles and grins galore. The evening was filled with music and a floor full of dancers in the bell-bottomed suits, traditional saris, dresses - minis and maxis, shaking their legs and more. There was a new dance called "The Bump" and all the guests were enjoying bumping their hips to each other to this song. 

One minute there were doing the twist and at another they were "Kung-fu Fighting"

But the best song of all I remember is the duet by the bride and groom, that I've heard them sing many many times in over the past 40 years. "Encosta Tua Cabecinha" is Portuguese for "Put your little head on my shoulder". I don't really know the meaning of the song, but I'd say that it sounds melodious as ever, even 60 years after its release.

CONGRATULATIONS to a lovely couple... May your love grow with every passing year. Wish you many many more years of togetherness.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Guitars, Cadillacs....and Parodies

We've always had a guitar in our household, and often more than one....

Daddy always played the guitar and would pull it out for all the family get-togethers and over long holiday weekends to teach us a song or two. Every year during the Christmas season, we'd participate in the singing competitions at the St. Anthony's Club...and he would come back from work, straight there to play for us, as we performed the popular songs he'd taught us. 

When I went to college, I realized there was no more Daddy to play for me. And if I wanted to sing, I had to learn to play. The little piano I had learnt could not take me far enough. So I requested for a guitar as a gift for my 17th birthday. 

I started on the basics by myself, and then joined a class with the best lead guitarist in the parish where I'd accompany his lead on songs like 'Tico Tico', 'The Girl from Ipanema', 'Strangers in the Night'...and the like. The best country musicians we did know of were 'John Denver', 'Kenny Rogers' and maybe 'Glen Campbell'. 

But then my eldest sister got engaged to a guitarist, and that's when we got a broader introduction to the world of Country Music. Heard songs from our #MusicalBirthday boy - Dwight Yoakam - on my first trip to the UAE, and that's also where I first saw the Cadillac. 

I've ridden in the Cadillac owned by my company director to meetings - the Brougham at first and later the Escalade. Although I never realised what it had in common with guitars and Hillbilly Music. I don't know what a Hillbilly is, do you?

A search on Google explained hillbilly as a kind of a country person, who could be a little 'weird' - a term that #MusicalBirthday boy 2 has made his showname. 'Weird Al' Yankovich shot to fame with "Eat It" - his parody on Michael Jackson's "Beat It".  

Happy #MusicalBirthday Dwight (59) and 'Weird Al' (56). Look forward to the best of entertainment from the both of you. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful...and You're Sweet

Those of you who know my family, know that I am one of six siblings - four girls and two boys. The next generation also has four girls but many more boys. And today is the 4 x 4 birthday of the eldest of my 4 nieces.

So today, as a special dedication to Bianca, here are 'Sixteen' Songs that I can think of.  


A brother to sister dedication - I'm sure you received your own one today. And you probably will get many boys saying this line..."You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful and You're Mine.."

So enjoy your cake and the Sixteen Candles on it.

And be "Sweet Little Sixteen" all through the year.

Singing "Sweet Little Sixteen" is Chuck Berry who is 89 today. You know anyone else with a birthday?

An Indian actress with international films...and she has the same surname as your mum's maiden name.

Yes, Bianca... Have a wonderful day... And may you be blessed today and always...HAPPY BIRTHDAY... 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Country Cars and Reggae Trains

If you grew up in India in the 70s the only cars you'd know would be the Fiat (Premier) and Ambassador. While Maruti brought Suzuki and Japan into the country in 1983, today we see almost every car from every part of the world on the Indian roads - from Germany, Korea and of course, the USA.

The global automotive markets are topped by Toyota (my first car) and followed by the Germans. The American Auto Action has been always the battlefield of Ford, GM and Chrysler. During my CRM stint in Dubai, I had the opportunity to work on all of these brands at some point or other. And something that caught my attention is that these automotive companies have serious connections with Country musicians. Is this getting too serious? Let's listen to a song. 

My elder son who is 12 is quite a fan of cars. While travelling in the school bus in the UAE, he would play a game with his friends on who would see the most exclusive car on the day. My profession of Marketing and Communications also seems to be rubbing off on him. He tends to notice 'Product Placements' in every music video we watch, while I tend to pay more attention on the audio aspect. 

Alan Jackson (a #MusicalBirthday boy today) is a legendary car collector owning a diverse collection, with a lyrical bias towards Ford. 
The Greatest Hits Collection has even a song called 'Mercury Blues'  - and 'Mercury' has been replaced by 'Ford Truck' in one of their commercials.  

While Alan is a Country 'car'boy, the other #MusicalBirthday boys are Reggae artists. First on, the Prince of Reggae (the son of the King of Reggae) is more into trains - 'This Train'.

I've worked with this song preparing and accompanying a group of fifth graders of Our Own English High School Sharjah (Boys) to a winning 'Train' performance.

Another reggae singer who also shares the #MusicalBirthday is Wyclef Jean and here he is on a jazz trip, "Take the A-Train".

While I have enjoyed riding in the best of cars - the BMW, Audi, Porsche and my own Toyotas and Honda...I'm back in Mumbai riding what the guy who sits right next to me at work called the limousine - the 12 car one - the A Train. Today being a Saturday, I missed my train ride. Will get back to the squeeze right after the weekend. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Wedding Pullav and Lagan Nu Custard (A Musical Wedding)

Do you have weddings lined up in the next few weeks or months? I'm sure you do.... I do have a few friends getting married...and my calendar of occasions to emcee is fast getting filled up....

Over the past few months, my Facebook page has carried posts on some extraordinary musical weddings, including one like this.

25 years ago today, I attended a truly musical wedding. And I thought I could use this blog to wish the couple "A Happy Silver Wedding Anniversary", with the prayer that Silver turns to Gold and Platinum.... 

My cousin M is the first person in my generation of the family to sing on TV. She sang on a show on DD Mumbai called 'Young World' that was hosted then by Bikram Vohra. In the 80s, when bands played at most weddings, she would always be requested to come up and sing a couple of songs on stage. But her own wedding was truly exceptional since she managed to sing from the centre of the floor at the Willingdon Catholic Gymkhana with accompaniment from the band on stage (Was it the Bonnaventures?). 

Congratulations. This is your song. (I could only find the Cliff Richard version on YouTube. Maybe you need to upload your own version there too).

Bollywood joins me in wishing you...They've released a special Wedding comedy on your Silver Wedding Day. Do watch and enjoy Wedding Pullav. Here's the title track. 

And for all you wonderful people out there, make sure you're invited to many weddings this season... Enjoy the wonderful celebrations including the Wedding Pullav and Lagan Nu Custard (or any other dessert served).

If you need help with a Wedding, Anniversary or any other occasion, please feel free to call. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

From Scarborough Fair to Graceland....

"Where Do I Begin?"

13th October 1934 when a beautiful future singer was born in Greece. 

Happy Musical Birthday 


She sang in Greek - of course. And also in English, Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese.

Her vast repertoire of songs also include some from the birthday boy whose 74 today.

Happy Musical Birthday 


Teamed up with Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon sang some of the best folk duets ever in the 1960s and 70s. While I wasn't born then, I've sung many of these songs in later years in harmony for competitions and performances with my brother 'The Boxer', in college - 'Scarbourough Fair', 'Mrs. Robinson' from The Graduate (1967), and this favourite that I've sung as a group at the parish Summer Camp singing competition - 'The 59th Street Bridge Song' aka 'Feeling Groovy'.

Time has passed by. Pack your bags. We're going to Graceland. If you'd like, "You Can Call Me Al" - that what he sings. 

And to sign off, here's a song he sang 40 years ago - and it's about numbers - '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover'. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Strawberry Fields Forever

Let me take you down... to 75 years ago. 

9th October 1940 is when John Lennon was born in Liverpool in the UK. He grew up there and teamed with 3 friends to become the most successful band of all time - The Beatles. 

John, Paul, George and Ringo toured the world with their music, their inclinations and their lives. He penned many of their songs - for fun, about love, even religion.... As part of the group and even solo, he rallied for peace...And called us to "Imagine"

If you're in NY, visit the Strawberry Fields (memorial) at Central Park.

If you're in Liverpool, fly through the Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Anywhere else in the world...turn on the radio...they will surely being paying tribute to a great artist or you can listen to a channel dedicated to the master musician. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mars but not Martian...Meet Mr. Musical 30

He's called Mars but he's not Martian. 

Singer, songwriter, record producer, voice actor and choreographer Bruno Mars has got more songs to his credit than you know of.

Happy 30th Birthday Bruno. 

We look forward to lots more music like these songs. 

Just the Way You Are

Count on Me



Sunil Pinto Entertains


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gandhi Jayanti and more Birthdays

Enjoyed a nice holiday weekend - thanks to the National Holiday for Gandhi Jayanti on the 2nd of October. Also birth anniversary of India's third Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri.    

Besides the lot of friends, colleagues and clients who celebrate birthdays this weekend, I must wish a great woman of musicals "A Happy 80th Birthday to Julie Andrews"

From the hills to the desert with one of the most versatile musicians ever. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist...I was lucky to see him in action on stage in Dubai on my birthday in 2001. A full orchestra and a fantastic repertoire of true music. "The Englishman in New York" - Sting with "Desert Rose"

Another birthday boy this weekend is Youssou N'Dour paying tribute to the Rastaman.

That was Reggae. And now for Country....70th Birthday this weekend for the 'American Pie' singer - Don McLean

Having been around the world, let's get back to where we started. 

The Sound of Music... and a prayer to bless our homeland forever... May the Mahatma live in our hearts....

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hallo Oktober

We're at the start of the last quarter. And while that's important for business to make the best of the numbers, this is also the most festive quarter of them all. 

In Germany, they've been celebrating Oktoberfest since over 200 years. Partying away and singing songs like "Hey Baby..."

In India too, October gets everyone in the festive mood that goes on through to the end of the year. In a few days most of Mumbai will be getting into a dandiya beat as part of the Navaratri/ Pooja festival. 

And at the end of the month, there is another day to be marked. We'll talk about it then. 

October also is the time for exams. So wishing all my student readers, All the Best.

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