Friday, October 29, 2004

Obituary of The Indian Cricket team

I have refrained from writing about cricket in this space. Mostly because so much cricketing stuff is written everywhere, by so many people. I can't see myself adding a new perspective. Plus most of my readers really find it boring.

I guess today is an exception. Not because I have found a new perspective to add. No I am just another Indian cricket basher. However, I am surprised to see this attitude (the basher attitude) somehow get transalated as "lack of patriotism" towards our country, our land, and our "bhooma devi" . I sometimes can't stop laughing when I hear people talk about patriotism and Indian cricket in the same breath. They should listen to Mr Ranbir Singh, president of the Indian Cricket Board. He has only recently said that this team represents the Board and not the country. So I am thinking of the dorks who keep waving the tricolor in a cricket ground. Dude! Whats the relevance? "Amavasya + Abdul khader" comes to mind, but lets not get into that.

The most important thing for the board is "how much money will I earn ?". If the answer to that question is " A Lot!". Then everybody associated with Indian cricket will do anything, sell any of their values, break any ethical barrier to earn that money. They will be prepared to kill their mothers, disown the country, if thats what it takes to make a lot of money. Take for instance our board. To win a court case against television companies, they have said that the team is a private team that represents a private club called BCCI. Cool! then what does playing for your country mean?

I generally have very low opinion on people who keep harping about "being an indian" or being "a patriot". This opinion is further re-enforced when such things happen. I'll tell you what? people who really really care about their country, won't talk a lot. They'll shut their trap and let actions speak for themselves. They wont go talking about patriotism or "mera bharat mahan" to just about everybody they see. People who really care won't drive like madmen on the roads, will show some courtesy and atleast some trace of manners. You see Saurav Ganguly kissing the Indian flag ( i dunno whats it doing on a helmet of a club team) ? you see him removing his shirt and run amock doing all sorts of gimmics. He is supposed to be passionate. Thats not passion. Passion is what you show to yourself by doing whatever you do, very well. I can't recollect Ganguly being in form for the past 8 years.

The whole "Final frontier" Thingie.

"Space, the final frontier!! These are the voyages of Start Ship Enterprise..." These are, ofcourse, the immortal lines spoken by Capt. James.T.Kirk. at the start of every Start Trek Episode. Kirk popularized the term "the final frontier" in the US. Later, Steve Waugh outsourced it to India when he commented that it is not space that is Australia's Final Frontier but India. The Final Frontier is about to be breached.

Okay I am digressing. So I am writing something about cricket(well at least I am trying to) because, I guess we are going to lose to Australia in about couple of hours (or much much sooner than that). This defeat could probably be the biggest margin of defeat for any team in test history ( not even bangladesh has been beaten by such margins). I am writing this obituary because, I really think, this is the end of our golden era. Moreover, I feel the need to critisise a few people. Between 2001 Australian tour to 2004 Australian tour, the Indian test team performed much better than most other Indian teams of the past. The era is over! finito! I do not think saurav's captaincy will survive until this new year, and without captaincy he does not have a place in the team.

The normal thing that happens in this situation is that people call for heads to be dropped. Drop X, axe Y etc. It is normal because it is a good thing to do. Very very Sucky Laxman needs to go out of the test team for at least 6 months. Patel will be dropped, nobody gets to win anything for that prediction. I think its time John Wright left, along with Mr. Leipus and the whole "phoreign" contingent. Its the change of guard. Except Dravid and Sachin, the other half of the famed middle order can be sacked.

I dont have anything to say about Sachin. he scored 11 runs in this game, which was 11 runs more than what I expected him to score. He is a good player and all that but he hasnt clicked for a very long time. This is not the Sachin I loved. This is a Mohinder Amarnath + Gavaskar combination that Sachin is putting out there. He might have made a difference if he was fit, but not much of a difference. I dont think he will play an innings that will put him in the top ten centuries list. VVS played one but I don't think many Indians will every be on the top 10 list. He may hang his boots as a batsman with a big record, who played for a team that didn't support him when it was required and vice versa.

During the last decade, Jagmohan Dalmia ruled Indian Cricket ( lets say Indian Cricket board). He made sure cricket didn't get in the way of him making money. For 2 years he made the mistake of handing over the reins to A.C.Muthiah and to everybody's horror Muthiah began to do sensible things. Appoint foriegn coach, trainer etc. Suddenly these cricketers started playing better. There no such spoilsport as good cricketers and there sat Jaggu Dalmia frustrated at this sudden lack of mediocrity. Mediocrity is what he craved for during the last decade and after a gap of 3 years he has finally managed to pull it back.

In a crucial tour, he conducted a sham election, made himself a "patron" and threw the board into a crisis. When it rains it pours doesn't it? So When facing rampant australians at home, we had no sachin, no board, no administratin whatsoever. To add to the woes the internal politics that came as a result of the election fall out , made sure that the Nagpur track was green and kangaroo friendly. I am really proud of the "patriotic Indians" in that Vidharbha Cricket association who put the team in its place. hats off to them. They were the first to realize " hey! this is not a national team playing! Its the our competitors team" So, they made their priorities clear by stabbing the BCCI team in ther own backyard.

I remember the Karnan movie. It's my favorite movie and nobody can play Karnan better than Sivaji did. I am not even sure if the real Karnan was this majestic. But When Karnan lies dead in his mother's lap and Arjunan gets to know the Karnan is his elder brother. He tells Lord. Krishna that he might have made a great sin by killing his own brother. NTR who plays Lord.Krishna like a natural, would reply " you have killed a dead snake Arjuna, he was killed 6 times before your arrow pierced him. Indiran , Kunti , Parasuramar, His father-in-law and myself all killed him much before you did"

This defeat will not kill the team, its been dead for some months.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Bride & Prejudice and other movies

I am not doing a movie review this time. It’s been a few weeks since I watched any movies. I am sure I may not have the time to watch one for the next few months. But I have a feeling most readers are like me. They see these posters, reviews and some odd clippings of a movie and form a quick impression of the movie. So writing about these quick impressions should be a cool idea.


Bride & Prejudice: The title is tries to refer to Jane Austen's classic. I read Pride and Prejudice middle of 2003. Some chapters kept me awake in Chennai- Bangalore mail until midnight when some really annoyed passengers asked me to switch off the light. Some chapters (especially in the beginning) just didn’t move for days together. I'd sleep before I turned one page. But in all it was a good book. Reflecting Jane Austen's adroitness with the English language (ya.. its her mother tongue). I liked the way she bought out the thought process of Liz Bennet. But such a story is locked in time. Women don’t feel that way about marriage now (at least not that desperate). Will Darcy was a well developed character and cheekily enough I could identify with him.

Now what’s this story got to do with Bride and Prejudice? I don’t know! I haven't seen the movie yet. However, I have seen Aishwarya Rai's interview in MTV. I have seen a few clipping and read some reviews. All this really hasn't provoked me to buy a ticket. But something I caught in Aishwarya Rai's interview irked me a lot. She drew a parallel between Jane Austen's book and the movie. Let me tell you this; I like Aishwarya Rai. She is an incarnation of a goddess and is probably the most beautiful woman to appear on Television. But that’s where it stops. She blabbers like an idiot. And is really more suited for an Austin Powers movie than and Jane Austen character. She has not read the book and I can vouch for that.

Now about what she actually said: The book essentially tried to bring about the difference of opinion between how women perceived the world and how men did. It brought out class differences. It showed the kind of people the sisters approved and whom they did not, their purpose when attending balls and dances. The conflict between Darcy and Liz is not so much about idealism as much as their opinion of society structures. There are english majors writing thesis on this book. Now little Aishwarya comes and says the conflict between Lalita (her character) and Darcy is about Indian idealism Vs American Indifference and arrogance. Seriously man.. I quote somebody when I say " Bollocks mate". I think these movie people are feeding on the India public's mentality to feel good about them. Everybody wants to hear "India is right on ethics and every body else is wrong". If you have a movie that preaches poor westerners on ethics values morals and what not (DDLJ crapped me out on this concept). You have a hit. I call this hypocrisy because I seriously think we are just as bad as everybody else. We are as good as everybody else but we really need to think twice before giving a lecture an any sort of values. I am watching drunken husbands beatup wives in their neighborhood. There are adulterous people in India. There is corruption, deception and any other 'tion' that exists anywhere else in the world. Bottomline , we may not so special as Bollywood claims us to be.

The righteousness and smugness with which Aishwarya was generally dismissive about all other cultures irritated me. With her travels to all parts of the world; She should seriously be more matured than this. Is this what her diversity has taught her ? A few of the naval showing dance clippings I saw on TV made me think. Is this a Jane Austen character? Jane must be turning in her grave.

I have come to the conclusion that Indian patriotism is defined more by chest beating shouts by people with Indian flag paint on their faces than any other sensible approach. Bollywood is a main contributor towards such trash. Stop spitting on the read, clean your trash and learn to drive cars properly. Stop talking about how bad other cultures are. Don’t distract the public from internal problems by quoting other countries. Do the right thing and clean your own house. For example Aishwarya Rai can’t do a belly dance to woo Darcy and then talk about idealism and other things in the same 30 minute interview. It goes against Austen’s theme. I may not see the movie unless in some weak moment Aish comes in my dreams and begs me to do so.

Around the world in Eighty days: Now this could be a Jackie Chan cartoon. Yet another spoof of an old classic. I saw 30 minutes of the movie on a VCD and I didn't hate it. I think the children will love it. The movie is self-referential. makes fun of itself and probably feauteres Arnie's last appearance in movies.

Terminal: I didn't like the story. I may still watch the movie. But I have constantly felt Spielberg is too caught by this feel-good bug that he may lose touch of reality. I still like him and all that but he doesn’t spin the fantasy as he used to. It will do him good if he changed his cast and crew. Just hold on to Jamnuz Kaminski and ditch everybody else. Especially Tom Hanks!

Bose: Now god old Srikanth has kept chugging at it, making medium budget movies for the mega serial audience. He has attempted to move up big time with Bose. I heard its a technically stunning movie. The graphic content is good etc. I just have one comment about Tamil movies. Ya! some techniques are good. There are visionaries with innovative minds. But Stop this intermix of slow-mo and fast forward. Ever since Shankar introduced this slow motion interlaced with fast forward scenes technique in Mudhalvan, everybody is following it. You have a fast forward clip of people doing things fast and then the image rate slows down to regular speed when the hero walks in. This constant altering of movie frame rate was interesting initially but irritating to the eye now. Stop it.

Catwoman: Now seriously people! This is a cleavage show. I am big batman fan! I criticize Bruce Wayne’s negative moods often but I like the setup and the Gotham City charm. But Catwoman is stretching the batman market too far. I have seen a thousand interviews and clippings from this movie and frankly I think people just go to watch Catwoman. Not the movie but just the woman. And that’s a sad way to sell a movie.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Blast from the Past

Now we all know abt the controversy saurav chanidas 'dada' ganguly created in 1992 when he refused to carry drinks to the cricket field.

guess who the "Mr.Ranbir Singh" that ganguly is talking in this interview below??... :-). this is from an old rediff interview..

Is it true that you refused to carry drinks onto the field early in your career?

I don't know where this story has come from. We had a manager on the trip to Australia in 1992, Mr. Ranbir Singh. He is probably the worst guy I have ever seen in my life. It is a shame that we have had managers like him for India on long tours. He was a shame, a shame to Indian cricket.

Luckily we have much better people now. That is the reason things like this don't happen against youngsters. I think he had some problem with Dalmiya (Jagmohan) and since I was from Bengal, he took it out on me.

Even schoolboys don't behave like this. I thought it was a shame to have him on the tour. For such long tours you need people of strong character and mind to look after the boys.

he is the President of the Indian Cricket Board. gues who appointed him ? Jaggu Dalmia

its a beautiful life isn't it ?