03 November 2010

How to Craft an Unforgettable Song


First, the most important thing.

Don't buy a book on how to craft an unforgettable song.

Chances are, the authors of these books have never come close to creating the shadow of a hit tune (even a minor one) in their lives.

So no surprise, there isn’t a single "golden book" that skilled songwriters embrace as THE source of guidance and divine inspiration.

In other endeavors, something akin to a "bible" exists.

Books on "positioning" or "how to advertise" - for example - for the advertising industry.

And there's Syd Field's iconic books for screenwriters eager to be bestowed that elusive green light.

But expert songwriting?

Zilch. Nada. Zero. Wala.

The best source of information on how to craft unforgettable songs?

People who have crafted unforgettable songs.


Or musicmakers like me who attack the activity with amazing perseverance. (I have been writing songs since God wore short pants.)

With hundreds of hits and misses, I have learned that there are things you can do to minimize the misses.

I now propose to impart this knowledge to songwriters (veterans, as well as ‘would be’) who genuinely want to improve their craft.

If you learn something from my discourse... that’s great.

If you don't... at least, you've been given a starting point to correct or improve any flawed theory.

The magical mystery tour is waiting to take you away...

1. A song is a 3-minute movie. It should have a beginning, a middle and an ending. And like all good movies, the story should be riveting.

If you write a song about waking up in the morning… taking breakfast… and watching TV, it may interest you. And you alone. Ho-hum.

If you merely string nice rhymes together… but have a generic, wallpaper, worn-out topic… you’ll lose everyone’s attention faster than you can say “boring”.

Like all good movies, a song should be endowed with conflict – something that gets in the way of a character achieving something… whether it’s a guy much handsomer than you who’s getting all the attention of your ‘crush’… or a bully in school who’s tormenting you like crazy… or a girl who will only entertain suitors from La Salle.

In my song “Pers Lab”, the listener experiences the excruciating pain of a young woman who falls for a guy who doesn’t even know she existed.

In this new song “Makita Ka Lang Muli”, listeners are slowly conditioned to sympathize with the main characters who are now ‘attached’ but desperately yearn to link up with someone new (or a loved one from the past, perhaps) who may have unintentionally ignited the proverbial flame: “Wala sa plano ko ang umibig sa iyo… may nauna na sa puso ko”.


Then the conflict is introduced: “Pero bakit ganito ang puso ko? Sinisigaw ang pangalan mo…”. Shades of ‘it’s complicated’.

So we learn that what we have has progressed beyond infatuation… it has grown into an obsession.

2. The title of the song is the summation of the story. If crafted well, the title is the AUTOMATIC takeaway of the listener after hearing the song for the very first time.

To make sure this happens, I normally situate the title of the song in the chorus part. Something that can be repeated (but in moderation please). In this case, “Makita ka lang muli… makapiling ng sandali… ang laking saya ko… makita ka lang muli”.

Now that wasn’t annoying at all… but quickly summarized the “movie” and etched the title of the song in the listener’s mind.

Reserve the best and most memorable melody of your masterpiece for the title. You will be amply rewarded by people humming the song. In great numbers. “Bongga Ka, ‘day… Bongga Ka, ‘day… Sige lang… Sige lang… Itaas ang kilay”.

3. Write the way you talk. Your song will seem more real, more sincere.

And be inventive.

Scratch the phrase “it’s never been done before” from your vocabulary. (Using “tagyawat” and “behh buti nga” in a song was never done before… but I took a little risk and it paid off… handsomely. I have since added "labatiba" to the list despite the mild protestations of a singer.)

Instead of merely saying “I can’t forget you” in our featured tune… I opted to declare: “Pangalan mo’y sa aking labi… magdamag binubulong – kahit ito’y mali”. So the “cannot- forget-you” part was established but the added dimension of a tinge of guilt was introduced as well. It makes for song characters that are more fragile, more human… more “like us”.

4. Disarm and charm.Marami na akong nahalikan… marami pang labing matitikman.” Be as unpredictable as possible… put twists and turns a’la Hitchcock in your song.

One of my unreleased songs talks about a young girl’s love for her much, much older boyfriend. Her litany goes, “I love you… kahit mas bagay ka sa mommy ko… isang mama ka na noong hindi pa ako tao… I love you… I love you… I love you PO”.

Just one two-lettered word spelled the difference between just another song… and a blazing ‘don’t-you-wish-you-wrote-that’ homerun.

5. Putting the ‘loved one’ on a pedestal. This has got to be the easiest, most popular route to success in songwriting.

Most of the songs the world loves follow this path. For example: “Just the Way You are”, “You are the Sunshine of my Life”, “Ikaw ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko”, “My Cherie Amour”, “My Love”, "Thank You For Your Love"… and I can go on forever.

Your tune should never be shy about showering positive and glowing thoughts about the person the song is pertaining to.

The listener almost ALWAYS subliminally puts himself/herself in the place of the singer’s object of affection. So it’s a big turn on when the singer professes something as romantic as this: “mga mata’y ipipikit… didilat nang saglit… sasaya ng husto… makita ka lang muli”.

6 . If you ain’t got a good melody, you ain’t got a song.

Everything we’ve talked about so far are of no consequence… if your melody sucks. If you have a melody in mind, give it the third degree. Listen to it again and again and again – at least fifty times.

If you don’t get tired of listening to it… if you can whistle it effortlessly… if it gets better with every replay and minor tweaking… you have got a hit in your hands.

The best melodies are simple and heartwarming… but never sophomoric or moronic. Like most Beatle songs, they have the uncanny ability to haunt you in a good way.

Never force a complicated, hard-to-remember tune to become nice and likeable. It will never happen. Ever.


7 . Finally, be unhappy. Trash your initial drafts. Write and rewrite. Tune and retune your melody.

And practice, practice, practice.

A great songwriter never stops honing his skills and perfecting his craft.

Think of it this way: you want to be a champion driver like Schumacher… but you only drive on Sundays – when there’s no traffic. In your village.

That’s like putting a huge unmissable sign in front of your dreams.




14 March 2010

A "Simple" Wedding in China

ShanXi was traditionally a very poor region of China until the discovery of vast coal deposits.

Have a look at a wedding involving one of the coal boss’ family.

OMG !!!



Latest Bentley


A Ferrari here can only be the escort car!


Wedding limo: Rolls-Royce Phantom





Lamborghini




The Groom’s house


Part of the dowry (cheque, gold bars and gold rice bowl set)


The Lambo (second one) is also part of the dowry!


Groom with the best men “team”


Picking up the bride


Bride’s home


The lucky bride








Part of the escort team


A ¥3,000 manicure, forget the diamond ring.


Giving the “Open the Door” Red Packets


Receiving the red packets on the other side


Bride’s family




The wedding hall
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This is one fleet for a wedding on June 20, 2009 in Datong, a major city in Shanxi.
Of course, involving another coal magnate.



F360


4 RR phantoms at one of the rallying points that day.

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40 Porsche Cayennes, Range Rovers, BMW X5 and Audi Q7 are not counted as the wedding fleet, only escorts.

< Classic Ferrari 575M




Rare pearl while Bentley



20 Audi A8-W12 quattro, and 2 S8



F430 all the way from Taiyun, the state capital. Notice the S65 AMG at the side.






The escort team’s job is to go ahead of the wedding fleet to “clear the road”!



The camera team

<

6 Jeeps as camera team
4 Ferrari leads
4 Rolls Royce main fleet
6 Mercedes
6 Bentleys
20 Audi A8s
Hummer at the back
Cayennes for “odd jobs”!!!!!!!!

25 October 2009

Itsura ng Mamma Mia

Almost every other week for the past 1000 years, friends have been egging me to put together a musical a'la Mamma Mia or Across the Universe or Moulin Rouge using the songs I've written for Hotdog. (Along with the kulit was the request to include such classics as B.A.D.A.F Forever, Sa Isip Ko, Ikaw Pa Rin, and other tunes people are unaware that I also wrote and produced.)

Nice idea. But easier said than done.

One day, I got a bit crazy... and decided to do something about the increasingly unstoppable requests.

I grabbed my videocam and my niece and set forth to do a rough sketchpad of such a musical. After spending the princely sum of P3,000 on the shoot... I took my footages for a spin and dusted off my pirated copy of Toon It.

The results are extremely encouraging. If I may say so myself.

Net-net, it proves you can weave a story (or stories - not necessarily this one) around the songs.

Now to pitch this to Imee.


video

16 June 2009

Maricar making love...

Want to be the first to view intimate moments?

Here's something for perverts who spend an enormous deal of time looking for the latest scandal photos/videos... checking web links, 24/7...


I will give in to your prurient curiosity... but only this once...


04 June 2009

ConAss' 1109 is the new 9/11


20 million Glorious 'thank yous' to the people who made it happen...


ABANTE, BIENVENIDO M. "BENNY"
6TH District Pandacan

ABLAN, ROQUE R. JR,
Ilocos Norte, 1st District

AGBAYANI, VICTOR AGUEDO E.
Pangasinan, 2nd District

AGYAO, MANUEL, S
Kalinga Province

ALBANO (III), RODOLFO T.
Isabela, 1st District

ALFELOR, FELIX R. JR.
4th District, Camarines Sur

ALMARIO, THELMA Z.
Davao Oriental, 2nd District

ALVAREZ, ANTONIO C.
Palawan 1st District

ALVAREZ, GENARO RAFAEL M. JR.
Negros Occidental, 6th District

AMANTE, EDELMIRO A.
Agusan Del Norte, 2nd District

AMATONG, ROMMEL C.
Compostela Valley, 2nd District

ANGPING, MARIA ZENAIDA B.
Manila, 3rd District

ANTONINO, RODOLFO W.
Nueva Ecija, 4th District

APOSTOL, TRINIDAD G.
Leyte, 2nd District

AQUINO, JOSE S. (II)
1st District Agusan del Norte

ARAGO, MARIA EVITA R.
3rd district, Laguna

ARBISON, A MUNIR M.
Sulu 2nd District

ARENAS, MA. RACHEL J.
Pangasinan, 3rd District

ARROYO, DIOSDADO M.
Camarines Sur, 1st District

ARROYO, IGNACIO T.
5th district Negros Occidental

ARROYO, JUAN MIGUEL M.
2nd District of Pampanga

BAGATSING, AMADO S.
Manila 5th district

BALINDONG, PANGALIAN M.
Lanao del Sur, 2nd District

BARZAGA, ELPIDIO F. JR.
Cavite, 2nd District

BAUTISTA, FRANKLIN P.
Davao Del Sur, 2nd District

BELMONTE, VICENTE F. JR.
Lanao del Norte, 1st District

BICHARA, AL FRANCIS C.
Albay, 2nd District

BIRON, FERJENEL G.
Iloilo, 4th District

BONDOC, ANNA YORK P.
Pampanga 4th District

BONOAN-DAVID, MA. THERESA B.
Manila, 4th District

BRAVO, NARCISO R. JR.
Masbate, 1st District

BRIONES, NICANOR M.
AGAP Party list

BUHAIN, EILEEN ERMITA
Batangas, 1st District

BULUT, ELIAS C. JR.
Apayao Lone District

CAGAS (IV), MARC DOUGLAS C.
Davao Del Sur, 1st District

CAJAYON, MARY MITZI L.
Caloocan, 2nd District

CAJES, ROBERTO C.
Bohol, 2nd District

CARI, CARMEN L.
Leyte, 5th District

CASTRO, FREDENIL H.
Capiz, 2nd District

CELESTE, ARTHUR F.
Pangasinan, 1st District

CERILLES, ANTONIO H.
Zamboanga Del Sur, 2nd District

CHATTO, EDGARDO M.
Bohol, 1st District

CHONG, GLENN A.
Biliran, Lone District

CHUNG-LAO, SOLOMON R.
Ifugao, Lone District

CLARETE, MARINA C.
Misamis Occidental, 1st District

CODILLA, EUFROCINO M. SR.
Leyte, 4th District

COJUANCO, MARK O.
Pangasinan, 5th District

COQUILA, TEODULO M.
Eastern Samar, Lone District

CRISOLOGO, VINCENT P.
Quezon City, 1st District

CUA, JUNIE E.
Quirino, Lone District

CUENCO, ANTONIO V.
Cebu City, 2nd District

DANGWA, SAMUEL M.
Benguet, Lone District

DATUMANONG, SIMEON A.
Maguindanao, Lone District

Dayanghirang, Nelson L.
Davao Oriental, 1st District

DAZA, NANETTE C.
Quezon City, 4th District

DAZA, PAUL R.
Northern Samar, 1st District

DE GUZMAN, DEL R.
Marikina City, 2nd District

DEFENSOR, ARTHUR D. SR.
Iloilo, 3rd District

DEFENSOR, MATIAS V. JR.
Quezon City, 3rd District

DEL MAR, RAUL V.
Cebu City, 1st District

DIASNES, CARLO OLIVER D. (MD)
Batanes, Lone District

DIMAPORO, ABDULLAH D.
Lanao Del Norte, 2nd District

DOMOGAN, MAURICIO G.
Baguio, Lone District

DUAVIT, MICHAEL JOHN R.
Rizal, 1st District

DUENAS, HENRY M. JR.
Taguig, 2nd District (2nd Councilor District)

DUMARPA, FAYSAH MRP.
Lanao del Sur, 1st District

DUMPIT, THOMAS L. JR.
La Union, 2nd District

DURANO (IV), RAMON H.
5th District, Cebu

ECLEO, GLENDA B.
Dinagat Islands, Lone District

EMANO, YEVGENY VICENTE B.
Misamis Oriental, 2nd District

ENVERGA, WILFRIDO MARK M.
Quezon, 1st District

ESTRELLA, CONRADO M. (III)
Pangasinan, 6th District

ESTRELLA, ROBERT RAYMUND M.
ABONO Party List

FERRER, JEFFREY P.
Negros Occidental, 4th District

GARAY, FLORENCIO C.
Surigao Del Sur, 2nd District

GARCIA, ALBERT S.
Bataan, 2nd District.

GARCIA, PABLO JOHN F.
Cebu, 3rd District

GARCIA, PABLO P.
Cebu, 2nd District

GARCIA, VINCENT J.
Davao City, 2nd District

GARIN, JANETTE L.
Iloilo, 1st District

GATCHALIAN, REXLON T.
Valenzuela City, 1st District

GATLABAYAN, ANGELITO C.
Antipolo City, 2nd District

GO, ARNULFO F.
Sultan Kudarat, 2nd District

GONZALES, AURELIO D. JR.
Pampanga 3rd District

GONZALES, RAUL T. JR.
Ilo ilo City

GULLAS, EDUARDO R.
Cebu, 1st District

GUNIGUNDO, MAGTANGGOL T.
Valenzuela City 2nd District

HOFER, DULCE ANN K.
Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd District

JAAFAR, NUR G.
Tawi-Tawi, Lone District

JALA, ADAM RELSON L.
Bohol, 3rd District

JALOSJOS, CESAR G.
Zamboanga del Norte, 3rd District

JALOSJOS-CARREON, CECILIA G.
Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District

JIKIRI, YUSOP H.
Sulu, 1st District

KHO, ANTONIO T.
Masbate, 2nd District

LABADLABAD, ROSENDO S.
Zamboanga del Norte, 2nd District

LACSON, JOSE CARLOS V.
Negros Occidental, 3rd District

LAGDAMEO, ANTONIO F. JR.
Davao del Norte, 2nd District

LAPUS, JECI A.
Tarlac, 3rd District

LAZATIN, CARMELO F.
Pampanga, 1st District

LIM, RENO G.
Albay, 3rd District

LOPEZ, JAIME C.
Manila, 2nd District

MADRONA, ELEANORA JESUS F.
Romblon, Lone District

MAGSAYSAY, MARIA MILAGROS H.
Zambales, 1st District

MALAPITAN, OSCAR G.
Caloocan, 1st District

MAMBA, MANUEL N.
Cagayan, 3rd District

MANGUDADATU, DATU PAKUNG S.
Sultan Kudarat,

MARANON, ALFREDO D. III
Negros Occidental, 2nd District

MATUGAS, FRANCISCO T.
Surigao del Norte, 1st District

MENDOZA, MARK LEANDRO L.
Batangas, 4th District

MERCADO, ROGER G.
Southern Leyte, Lone District

MIRAFLORES, FLORENCIO T.
Aklan, Lone District

NAVA, JOAQUIN CARLOS RAHMAN A. (MD)
Guimaras, Lone District

NICOLAS, REYLINA G.
Bulacan, 4th District

NOGRALES, PROSPERO C.
Davao City, 1st District

OLAñO, ARREL R.
Davao Del Norte, 1st District

ONG, EMIL L.
Northern Samar, 2nd District

ORTEGA, VICTOR FRANCISCO C.
La Union, 1st District

PABLO, ERNESTO C.
APEC Party List

PANCHO, PEDRO M.
Bulacan, 2nd District

PANCRUDO, CANDIDO P. JR.
Bukidnon, 1st District

PICHAY, PHILIP A.
Surigao Del Sur, 1st District

PIñOL, BERNARDO F. JR.
North Cotabato, 2nd District

PUNO, ROBERTO V.
Antipolo City, 1st District

RAMIRO, HERMINIA M.
Misamis Occidental, 2nd District

REMULLA, JESUS CRISPIN C.
Cavite, 3rd District

REYES, CARMELITA O.
Marinduque, Lone District

REYES, VICTORIA H.
Batangas, 3rd District

ROBES, ARTURO G.
San Jose Del Monte City, Lone District

Rodriguez-Zaldarriaga, Adelina
Rizal, 2nd District

ROMAN, HERMINIA B.
Bataan, 1st District

ROMARATE, GUILLERMO A. JR.
Surigao del Norte, 2nd District

ROMUALDEZ, FERDINAND MARTIN G.
Leyte, 1st District

ROMUALDO, PEDRO
Camiguin, Lone District

ROMULO, ROMAN T.
Pasig City, Lone District

ROXAS, JOSE ANTONIO F.
Pasay City

SALIMBANGON, BENHUR L.
Cebu, 4th District

SALVACION JR., ANDRES D.
Leyte, 3rd District

SAN LUIS, EDGAR S.
Laguna, 4th District

SANDOVAL, ALVIN S.
Malabon-Navotas, Lone District

SANTIAGO, JOSEPH A.
Catanduanes, Lone District

SANTIAGO, NARCISO D. (III)
ARC Party List

SEACHON-LANETE, RIZALINA L.
3rd district of Masbate

SEARES-LUNA, CECILIA M.
Abra, Lone District

SILVERIO, LORNA C.
Bulacan, 3rd District

SINGSON, ERIC D.
Ilocos Sur, 2nd District

SINGSON, RONALD V.
Ilocos Sur, 1st District

SOLIS, JOSE G.
Sorsogon, 2nd District

SOON-RUIZ, NERISSA CORAZON
Cebu, 6th District

SUAREZ, DANILO E.
Quezon, 3rd District

SUSANO, MARY ANN L.
Quezon City, 2nd District

SY-ALVARADO, MA. VICTORIA R.
Bulacan, 1st District

SYJUCO, JUDY J.
2nd Dsitrict, Iloilo

TALINO-MENDOZA, EMMYLOU J.
North Cotabato, 1st District

TAN, SHAREE ANN T.
Samar, 2nd District

TEODORO, MARCELINO R.
Marikina City, 1st District

TEODORO, MONICA LOUISSE PRIETO
Tarlac, 1st District

TEVES, PRYDE HENRY A.
Negros Oriental, 3rd District

TUPAS, NEIL C. JR.
Iloilo, 5th District

UNGAB, ISIDRO T.
Davao City, 3rd District

UY, EDWIN C.
Isabela, 2nd District

UY, REYNALDO S.
Samar, 1st District

UY, ROLANDO A.
Cagayan De Oro City, Lone District

VALDEZ, EDGAR L.
APEC Party List

VALENCIA, RODOLFO G.
Oriental Mindoro, 1st District

VARGAS, FLORENCIO L.
Cagayan, 2nd District

VILLAFUERTE, LUIS R.
Camarines Sur, 2nd District

VILLAROSA, MA. AMELITA C.
Occidental Mindoro, Lone District

VIOLAGO, JOSEPH GILBERT F.
Nueva Ecija, 2nd District

YAP, JOSE V.
Tarlac, 2nd District

YU, VICTOR J.
Zamboanga Del Sur, 1st District

ZAMORA, MANUEL E.
1st District, Compostela Valley

ZIALCITA, EDUARDO C.
Parañaque, 1st District

11 May 2009

3 News Articles that absolutely make you want to shout...



Pullout of Edu Manzano’s LBC ad sought
By Fernan GiananInquirer Southern LuzonFirst Posted 17:16:00 05/10/2009

VIRAC, Catanduanes -- The provincial board of this province has passed a resolution calling on the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Movie and Television Classification and Review Board (MTRCB) to cause the correction or pullout of what it said was a “misleading” and “improper” television advertisement of a remittance company.
In his privilege speech during the regular session last week, Board Member Ariel Molina said the LBC commercial, in which game show host Edu Manzano asked the boy to spell the word "remittance" and the boy answered “LBC,” was not a good example for children.
“The education department, particularly Secretary Jesli Lapus, should immediately take steps to correct the wrong message of the ad,” Molina said.
His colleague, Joseph Mendoza, Liga ng mga Barangay (League of Villages) Federation president, called on the MTRCB to ban the TV advertisement outright by ordering TV stations to stop the airing of the commercial.
Board Member Shirley Araojo-Abundo also supported the move, saying the alarming LBC spot was similar to a powdered laundry soap ad in which a mother said that one was greater than two.
“Hindi po ito maiintindihan ng mga bata [Children will not understand this],” she said.
Board Member Edwin Tanael, acting vice governor, warned that the advertisement, which have been aired on prime time, would corrupt the minds of thousands of children usually watching at these hours.


RP citizenship sought for Pacquiao coach
By Lira Dalangin-FernandezINQUIRER.netFirst Posted 18:31:00 05/11/2009Filed Under: MANILA, Philippines --
It’s time for the man behind Manny Pacquiao’s legendary triumphs in the ring to take center stage.
Just as everybody appeared to be in awe of the Filipino boxing champion’s feat, a lawmaker has proposed to give due recognition to Pacquiao’s long-time coach, American Freddie Roach.
In filing House Resolution 1142, Congressman Edgar San Luis of Laguna called on the House of Representatives to confer honorary Philippine citizenship on Roach.
”Behind Manny Pacquiao’s legendary boxing triumphs is his 49-year-old American coach Freddie Roach, who over the years has masterfully sharpened the skills of the Filipino boxing icon to become one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport,” the congressman said in his resolution.
Roach, who has been Pacquiao’s trainer-coach for years, “has equally shown his deep understanding of our people . . . that he has easily become a part of the local community without as much raising any negative issue,” San Luis said.


Pacquiao is DoJ chief's 'intelligence' aide
By Tetch TorresINQUIRER.netFirst Posted 18:10:00 05/11/2009
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said he has tapped boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as his “special assistant” on “intelligence matters.”
Gonzalez said Pacquiao’s position was “honorary” and that the ring idol would not receive compensation.
"No salary. It is an honorary position in honor of his achievement. He can help the Department of Justice in any manner he can, I can ask him for information as well," Gonzalez said in a phone interview on Monday.
Earlier Monday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she appointed Pacquiao as “ambassador for peace and understanding.”As justice secretary Gonzalez said had the authority to appoint confidential agents, therefore, Pacquiao's appointment was within his powers.
Gonzalez said Pacquiao was also recently appointed as head of the environment department’s Task Force Kalikasan (Nature)."There is nothing wrong with that," the justice chief said.



09 April 2009

Just what we need: zero hypocrisy - politicians that embrace corruption openly

Indian comedian starts pro-bribe party
Agence France-Presse

NEW DELHI--A prominent Indian comedian is taking aim at the country's notoriously corrupt political elite by starting up his own party that promises to bribe as many voters as possible.

Jaspal Bhatti, known for his biting satire on Indian TV shows, unveiled his new party and field of candidates on Thursday -- saying he hoped to give the big parties a run for their dirty money.

"The world is talking of economic slowdown but there is no recession for our politicians, who are spending millions to win seats in parliament," Bhatti said.

He said his new "Recession Party" did not have enough cash to outspend the big political players, but would instead handsomely reward contributors if elected.

"The Recession Party will not spend a single cent but anyone who funds our campaign will share the profits after our candidates become MPs and start earning. It's a business proposition," the humorist said.

If campaign money does become available, he added, "we will offer liquor and money to bribe voters and we will do it in a transparent manner."

India's Election Commission confirmed it had received a request from Bhatti to contest the polls and that it was looking into the application.

Politicians in India from all parties are widely viewed by many voters as being fundamentally corrupt, with a seat in parliament considered to be a ticket to personal enrichment rather than an act of civic duty.

According to the Centre for Media Studies, a private Indian think-tank, at least 100 billion rupees (two billion dollars) will be spent on the campaign for this month's general elections.

It also says as much as 25 billion rupees of the outlay has been earmarked for "unofficial" cash purchases of votes.