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The ustad's doing ghazals

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan wants to experience the joy of words. And so he's collaborating with Gulzar on an album of ghazals.

It's their first album together, although Gulzar has filmed a documentary on the musician's life. "I've been playing music without words on my sarod for a long time. My heart now longs for the joy of poetry," he told a magazine.

The compositions are all raga-based and will be sung by Roop Kumar Rathod and Sonali Rathod. The album is called Subha Saans Legi.

Amjad Ali Khan also said he had been turning down offers to act. Kamala Hasan was keen to give him a role, but he declined. Earlier, a French director had asked him to play a guru with long hair.

Honour for Ram Narayan, C R Vyas, Jagjit Singh

Pandit Ram Narayan, among the handful of sarangi greats this century has produced, has been chosen for the first Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikar Puraskar.

He will receive a memento and Rs 1.5 lakh from Sangeet Kala Kendra, which has set up the award.

The Tansen Samman, awarded by the Madhya Pradesh government, goes this year to C R Vyas.

The vocalist, who is also known for the bandishes he has composed, gets a citation and Rs 1 lakh.

Meanwhile, the Dayawati Modi Award for contribution to Indian music has been announced for ghazal singer Jagjit Singh. It comprises Rs 2.5 lakh, a silver shield and a citation.

Fragrance of music fetches Rs 3.5 lakh

You've been reading about the perfume named after Lata Mangeshkar. The first bottle, auctioned in November, sold for Rs 3.5 lakh.

Bharat Shah, producer of big Mumbai movies, outbid all others at the launch. Lata was present to hand over the prized bottle to him. A 60 ml bottle of Lata Eau de Parfum costs Rs 1,700.

Lata has also just been nominated member of parliament.

The government has announced the names of four people who will sit in the Rajya Sabha. The others are actress Shabana Azmi, journalist Cho Ramaswamy and RSS leader Nanaji Deshmukh. Distinguished people who don't stand for elections are invited to become MPs directly so that parliamentary debates benefit from their wisdom and experience.

The Beatles are still No 1

Who's the role model for today's bands?

The Beatles, according to a survey covering 1,400 bands. The 'fab four', as they were called, broke up three decades ago, but continue to influence '90s bands.

The survey was conducted by Peoplesound, a website that mediates between bands and talent scouts.

"It is amazing to see tomorrow's stars are still looking to the Beatles for inspiration and direction," Ernesto Schmitt, president of Peoplesound, said in a statement.

Agency reports said recently that remastered songs of the Beatles-inspired movie The Yellow Submarine would be available on CD and cassette soon.

Rajnikanth's megabash begins Dec 12

The big bash to mark 25 years of Rajnikanth in cinema begins in Chennai on Dec 12.

It's called 'Rajni 25 Millennium Show' and will include the release of a tape of his hit songs. The ceremony on December 23 will witness Ranikanth's wife Latha singing on stage.

Rajnikanth has announced he will give away all the money he earned from his latest hit, Padaiyappa, to a charitable trust.

That's about Rs 3.5 crore. He has also willed away half his life's earnings to the Raghavendra Public Charitable Trust, which he says will help the poor conduct weddings. The trust plans to reach all districts in Tamil Nadu.

Shivajirao Gaikwad, who began life as a bus conductor in Bangalore, took on the screen name of Rajnikanth 25 years ago, and is today the most popular star of Tamil cinema.

The taped medley of his film songs will also contain a message in his voice.

Tamil Nadu waits with bated breath to see if he'll enter politics and become the next MGR. "My route is like no one else's," he repeats every few shots in his latest blockbuster Padaiyappa, but cinema to chief ministership is a time-honoured route in this state.

Watches, gold coins and posters will be among the commemorative merchandise on sale, and their proceeds will go towards the school Latha runs for the poor.

L Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurthy got married on Nov 11 A marriage of musical minds
L Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurthy got married in Bangalore on November 11. They announced it to the media only on November 15, and newspapers splashed the news, with a colour pic, on their front pages.

Kavita Krishnamurthy, Mumbai's top playback singer, told reporters they had been planning to get married for some time but had not decided when. The Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram gave them a date that left them only four days for the arrangements, or they would have to wait till January.

"Doctor saab", as Kavita calls L Subramaniam, impressed her with his "perfectionism, hard work and melody". And the composer of music for fusion orchestras and movies like Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala finds his bride caring about children and "untouched by her celebrity status". Subramaiam has four children from two earlier marriages.

Both Kavita and Subramaniam are from the south; they enjoy national popularity thanks to their association with the Mumbai film industry.

The surprise wedding took place in Bangalore in the presence of just 25 relatives. The star couple plan a reception for friends in January.

Kavita and Subramaniam had met at various concerts and recordings since early this year.

Nowhere in site: The news of his wedding is all over the media but Dr L Subramaniam's website is oblivious to all the excitement.

His simple site, done up in black and burgundy, gives no details about the event, but it does offer a short profile of his career and one-line excerpts from press reviews of his concerts. By the way, did you know Subramaniam made his stage debut when he was just six? Or that he completed his degree from Madras Medical College and almost became a registered medical practitioner?

Subramaniam's label is called Viji Records, after his earlier wife, who was also a musician. The link to his online store is not functional yet.

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