Review: Bombay to Bangkok

January 21, 2008 at 8:20 am

Nagesh Kukunoor is back. There is an automatic association with sensibility when you think of NK’s movies. None of his movies could be labelled as ‘typical Bollywood stuff’. NK compelled us into thinking that he was always going to maintain his track record of making good movies. And the best part was that he made us think out of the genre mindset. We, his fans, always thought any movie by NK will be worth every penny we pay for the ticket. Unlike some famous directors who sometimes don’t deliver but faithfully attempt several genres. NK’s track record has been impeccable. Has he managed to keep it up? Or has he let us down? Is it possible that the Shreyas-NK combination fails? Let us find out.

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Darsheel refuses award

January 19, 2008 at 6:45 am

When I wrote this, I did expect a lot of flak. And one particular comment particularly caught my attention. And that was from my good friend Biju. He said and I quote “and would suggest a small correction.Best actor(male) should go to Darsheel” And trust me I was seriously thinking about it till it so happened that Darsheel refused to accept the Star Screen Award given to him for Best Child Artiste. He has apparently said that he should be nominated in the Best Actor category.

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I eat my words

January 19, 2008 at 6:15 am

Most of the times when you have to eat your words you are embarrassed. But not in this case. I was apprehensive of India being able to handle the bounce of the Perth pitch here. And also suggested that Ishaant Sharma be dropped! Obviously I would make the worst cricket analyst! And if that helps India win then I am ready to take on any such tag.

I also have to admit that at every point during the test match when India dominated thoroughly I was waiting for that familiar session of play where we would gift the game to the opposition on a silver platter. Though I was showing optimisim throughout the match that India would win (despite my predictions to the opposite) I had this thought somewhere at the corner of my mind that we would give it away when it mattered. But the best part of this match was that, the session that ‘mattered’ never came. India dominated the Australians completely.

Winning at Perth is special. It is the Australians’ Eden Gardens. To beat them in their own den while battling the demons of Sydney and playing the pace quartet, India came out tops on all fronts. And it was a complete team performance. Sehwag’s positive approach opened up the match. Dravid and Tendulkar showed the way with their invaluable knocks. Then came RP Singh’s four for that is worth watching a million times and am sure Star Cricket won’t let any opportunity of showing this spell or the test match to us repeatedly. Pathan got both the openers in both the innings. I don’t know how many times that has occured in Test cricket before. VVS Laxman showed us again why he has not got his due yet. Second innings seem to bring out the best in him. Pathan, Sehwag and Dhoni made contributions that were worth noting. But it was RP Singh who again impressed with his big-hitting skills at the end of the order.

Then came the ultimate exhibition of fast bowling in the form of a 19-year old – Ishaant Sharma. His spell against Ricky Ponting is stuff that should be distributed on DVDs to youngsters to learn about fast bowling. The way Ricky Ponting, considered to be a demolisher of pace attacks, struggled against Ishaant Sharma tells us that Indian pace attack is in safe hands. Sehwag’s artwork with offspin made for stuff that is often seen in the greatest of test matches.

Overall, I am convinced that this Indian team is capable of squaring the series now. Again with that faint feeling somewhere that they might again capitulate in the Adelaide test though History suggests otherwise! I am sorry that I feel that way, but years of watching Indian cricket has made that feeling a permanent one. I am ready to eat my words again though! ;)

Nagesh ready with his next one – B2B

January 17, 2008 at 12:28 am

Nagesh Kukunoor was a name nobody had heard a decade ago. ‘Hyderabad Blues’ came along and changed something in Bollywood that people always thought was ‘parallel cinema’. Singlehandedly Nagesh Kukunoor made this ‘parallel cinema’ merge with the mainstream with his subsequent offerings like ‘Bollywood Calling’, ‘Teen Deewarein’, ‘Rockford’. ‘Iqbal’ and ‘Dor’.

Comedy has always been a part of Nagesh’s cinema. He has not consciously used a seperate track for comedy except for Shreyas’ role in ‘Dor’. Even in ‘Hyderabad Blues’ the comedy was sewn within the situations of his usually strong storylines. ‘Bollywood Calling’ was entirely tongue-in-cheek. This time round he has gone ahead and entered the genre of the season – comedy with ‘Bombay to Bangkok’. Will it work? Let’s wait and watch.

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Decide for yourself

January 13, 2008 at 3:22 am

Read this:

“The Sunday Telegraph” painstakingly collected and collated official ICC data, which shows India having faced more sanctions than any other Test playing nation in the past 10 years.

The daily also took a jibe at former India captain Sourav Ganguly, dubbing him “the game’s undisputed problem child, being hauled over the coals by cricket’s governing body a record 12 times in his international career.”

“Overall, Indian players have been charged for 43 infringements since 1997, for offences including intimidating umpires, abusing rival players, ball tampering, time wasting and widespread dissent,” it said.

The report pointed out that of the current touring party, five Indians players — Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh — have either been fined or suspended in the past.

And now, this is what the famous umpire of yesteryears, Dickie Bird, had to say about Indian teams: [Link]

“I have always found Indian team going back to Gavaskar, Chandrasekhar, Prasanna, Wadekar, when I umpired them, as gentlemen and I mean in all sense of the term. They all have been credit to the profession and credit to the game of cricket”

Like Navjot Singh Siddhu likes to say, ‘Statistics are like mini skirts. They show a lot but conceal the significant part”. The Australian media is dealing with numbers. Australians seem to be obsessed with statistics and rules. Because of which Ponting and the erstwhile umpire Darrell Hair did what they did. Human touch is absent in their dealings and that could sometimes work against them as it has now. Indian cricket team might not be tame anymore, but they are not certainly ‘worst-behaved’ as they would like us believe. This tour is getting murkier by the day.

2007 Hindi film awards

January 11, 2008 at 3:10 am

The year 2007 ended on a brilliant note with the release of “Taare Zameen Par”. It started off with a highly successful film in the name of “Guru”. We had the hutke movies like “Chak De India” rake in a lot of moolah as well. At the same time we had typical masala movies like “Om Shanthi Om” and the comedy flicks like “Welcome”, “Heyy Baby”, “Partner”, “Bheja Fry” and dare I say “Cheeni Kum”. We also had duds like “Nishabd” and “RGV ki Aag” from the usually reliable Ram Gopal Varma. Even Yash Raj films came up with a dud like “Jhoom barabar jhoom”. There were the critically acclaimed commercial failures like “Ek chaalis ki last local”, “Dharm” and “Manorama six feet down under”. There were those that were neither critically acclaimed nor were they ever poised for commerical success “Eklavya” is one I can clearly remember.

Let us look at who takes away the honours for the 2007 Hindi film awards as decided by me!

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The noise about Nano

January 11, 2008 at 12:32 am

There is one thing that I don’t understand. Are we those critics that change our fundamentals everytime we make an argument? Are our rules different for different people? At times like this, my thoughts are confirmed.

Tata releases their Rs. 1 Lakh car named ‘Nano’. ‘Nano’ means the small one in Gujarati. It looks good. 624cc engine; 20+ kmpl mileage; 20% larger than Maruti 800; own one today and pay Rs. 2200/- per month for 5 years (there must be a downpayment clause that I must have surely missed); satisfies all safety norms; obeys all emission norms (Euro IV and BS III).

Everything sounds too good to be true. And maybe that’s the reason there is so much of argument about this car increasing road congestion, pollution (apparently sheer volumes will push up overall pollution), making roads uncomfortable for pedestrians and others.

But please help me understand one thing: Why blame Tata Nano for this? What about the automobiles that have been sold till now? Are not they creating congestion? People make me sound like an idiot when I ask these questions. They go “C’mon, it’s because of the congestion that those cars have already created that we are asking ‘Nano’ not to make it worse”. This is like punishing the best because he did not enter the market earlier.

And coming to the problem on the roads and the Nano there may be an obvious link between the two, but the responsibilities for each are with different entities. The Indian Government must wake up and take measures to avoid further congestion. As citizens, I guess there is a need for mass agreement to obey traffic rules. And as far as I can see, both these things don’t seem to be happening in the near future. If I am wrongly informed, please correct me. Handcuffing corporate organizations with country’s economic problems and asking them to stop developments on innovation and cost reduction does not sound necessarily right to me.

No SRK, No Aamir, it’s Rajni all the way!

January 9, 2008 at 3:35 am

Shankar arrived on the scene with “Gentleman”. Followed it up with “Kadhalan”, “Indian”, “Jeans”, “Mudhalvan”, “Boys” and “Anniyan”. Each one of them is a blockbuster in its own right. And maybe when the collections from all these movies are aggregated together they might equal the collections of his last movie “Sivaji”. It was the Rajnikanth factor that made the movie bigger than it probably deserved. Superstar Rajni, as he is affectionately called by his fans, can make ordinary films into a one-film-industry.

The rumours are that the collections of “Sivaji” have crossed Rs. 250 crores whereas the highest grossing Indian movie was somewhere near the Rs. 100 crore mark and that too was a Superstar Rajni movie. The nearest in collections by a non-Rajni movie was Rs. 60 crore. Imagine a single man churning out two movies that combine for revenues of about Rs. 350 crores. There are crores of companies with hundreds of people trying hard to generate that kind of revenue per year. Here, you have one man single-handedly ensuring that the movie will attain blockbuster status.

And people ask me why does it make front page news whenever he signs a new movie, ha!

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PS: Updated the ‘About’ page

January 8, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Well, I decided that there is a lot that has changed since I started this blog. And hence, even the ‘About’ page [link] ought to change. I have made the changes. Please do let me know if there is anything that needs to be added/ edited.


January 8, 2008 at 12:45 am

I have been away from blogging for almost 3 months. Lot of things crept up and I had to deal with each of them individually as well as all at once. Not exactly a crisis, but just a situation that required that I managed my time better to carry out new activities by cutting out the old and dearer ones like blogging. Anyways, am back now. I expect myself to get back to regular blogging gradually.

Watched this movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’ twice already. I think it’s a movie worth watching on the big screen. Don’t watch it for Aamir, don’t watch it for Darsheel (the kid), watch it for the issue that it handles – dyslexia. The way the society looks at it or rather overlooks it in the race to be the best. As Nikhumb (name of Aamir’s character in the movie) says, “Agar race main daudaana hi tha, tho breed race horses damnit, bachche kyon paida karte ho?” (If all you wanted was someone to run in races then breed race horses, why give birth to children?) The movie is a fantastic take on how we as human beings want our children to fall into the framework that the society has derived and push them, knowingly or unknowingly, into it. I am in love with the movie. And recommend that everyone watches it. On my scale it is a * * * * *

Coming to what I am, and the rest of the country apparently is, following now, almost obsessively, the Indian tour of Australia. The Sydney test was a fatal blemish on the so far good resumes of Benson and Bucknor. I think they will meet the same fate as Darrell Hair did. In my personal opinion, the ICC needs to atleast ask for an explanation of their decisions. But what has happened is there for all of us to see. Their explanations can almost be anticipated. “I didn’t hear the nick because of the crowd”, “I didn’t think it was necessary to check with the third umpire because I was sure that Symonds’ foot was inside”, and so and so forth. So, what is the solution to this? Nothing. We must stop venting our anger on these umpires and just carry on as if it was a bad day at office. That will really put us up there as the only team to have played in the ‘spirit of the game’.

And the ‘monkey’ issue. I agree with what Steve Waugh says. It is a culture issue. Here, in India, we just can call anyone a monkey and that wont mean anything offensive on the contrary might be taken as a jovial remark and laughed away. I think what Symonds wants here punished is the ability to talk back to him. He admits to having provoked Bhajji and Steve Waugh says that Australians always thought that he was the easiest to get a response from. So, what we are seeing here is actually a well-laid trap that Bhajji has walked into. I am not getting into whether he said “monkey” or not, all I am saying is that the Aussie players could have very well evened the matter out on the ground itself, as they usually do, rather than crying out to the umpires and the match refree about it. This act of ganging up against a single player of the opposition combined with the royal ignore that Sachin got during the hearing simply points towards the disrespect of the opposition team down under. And I don’t know who the legal counsel was for Mike Procter. He/she must have been sleeping during the hearing. There is something called conclusive evidence that needs to be produced for a decision that extreme to be taken. Obviously, they haven’t heard about it. Neither has anyone. So, what’s the fuss all about? Just carry on.

Here is what the Indian team should do now. Play the practice match at Canberra and the Perth and Adelaide tests. I don’t see them winning at Perth going by the tradition of bounce that the pitch has. Adelaide has been a happy hunting ground for India and we have done well there. Maybe we should look at coming back with a 2-2 scoreline but if it was not Perth in the way I would have said we could do it. But still, with these kind of things running at the back of the players’ minds I don’t think we will be able to avoid a 4-0 whitewash either.

News just trickling in suggest Bucknor being pulled out of Perth test. That should increase our chances by 50% ;-) Am just being nasty here. The nature of the pitch is going to be such that we will have a tough time negotiating it rather than thinking about umpires and such. We should include VRV Singh and drop Ishaant Sharma for this test. And maybe try to get Pathan also in at the cost of Jaffer. That would widen our bowling and batting options as well. I feel sorry for Jaffer if this happens, but then we need to have our best bowlers at Perth. We need to get Australia out for less than 300 in any one innings if we want to stand a chance of winning.

And if the board decides to abandon the tour, for whatever reason, then it would be the saddest thing to happen. According to the ICC, Indian board will have to pay USD 2 Million for not abiding by a pre-signed contract. Well, it should be the National honour on which the boards makes a decision and not money. It already has a lot of it! :)