Friday, April 01, 2011

Great Expectations

No, I am not reviewing and dare not review the Charles Dickens' classic. I am thinking about the Cricket World Cup 2011 finale like all my fellow Indians.

Though a cliché, I cannot resist saying that this is 'as big as it gets' but I want to include 'in cricket, every four years' :). For the two countries participating,

the event is the biggest opportunity in sporting history since 1996 for Srilanka and for since 1983 for India. There is no other sport which gets the fans roaring and media going crazy in both the countries. Regardless of which side wins, history will be made. Both teams are fighting for their second title of World Champions since its induction in 1975.

A win for India is all the heart wants and a win for India is what the brain predicts but predictions like mine are dime a dozen. Any follower of Indian cricket and a religion called Sachinism, will predict the same and want the same. Nothing will give us more pleasure than Dhoni holding the cup aloft and Sachin smiling from ear to ear.

The day comes but rarely,
when the brain doesn't think clearly.
The heart skips many a beat,
for thats the cricket fever's heat.

This one goes for the two greats,
who play their last world cup.
Off field, they may be mates,
on field, they can cause a stirrup.

A certain God of this game,
whose willow can make any ball look lame.
His innings are nothing short of wonder,
and can tear any bowling attack asunder.

A magician called Murli for his team,
can cast a spell and take the cream.
A magical turn of his wrist,
can bring an end to any batsman's tryst.

It is said that the World Cup deserves Sachin as much as Sachin deserves the world cup. It is going to be impossible to control the adrenaline and goosebumps tomorrow if India becomes the world champion. I will not be angry at the Indian team tomorrow if they lose but applaud the opposition for they would have deserved it.

But then again, I cannot help but imagine the time being frozen when Dhoni lifts the cup and the victory roar from India reaches the heavens.

That will be the moment I will refer to as 'where were you when India won the world cup' moment of our generation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Of Ego Inflation and Popularity Quotients

Every human being will have an inflated ego quite a few times in his life. This is a fact that many will concur with. Amazingly, this leads to a brilliant way of increasing one's popularity quotient. It has been used by celebrities, movie stars, authors etc. for ages and it still is as effective as ever.

We Indians are one of the most eager lot to lap up the praise unabashedly when someone doles it out. We barely care about its truthfulness or the reason behind; we just need to get a dose of it. It is a form of ecstasy, a form of bhang which fills us with hot air and takes us to cloud nine. We become putty in his/her hands and are led like a magician leads a hypnotized volunteer.
Jeffrey Archer writes a book, comes to India, and praises the Indians and his popularity quotient sky rockets. Taking nothing away from his literary genius, the ego inflation strategy is at work here. It is brilliantly used by the publishers and the author himself to get the sales soaring in one of the biggest English speaking populations. To top that, our journalists are nothing short of putting words in his mouth, just to get him speak good about us. Questions like 'Do you think Indian readers are one of the best in the world?', 'Do you think India has a good chance at the World Cup?', 'Do you like to come to India often', 'Do you want to stay in India' etc. His answers, of course, are all positive and brimming with incredibleness of India and we wallow in pride! Shouldn’t we be asking the author about his latest book and not about his interest in paneer tikka masala at bobby da dhaba?

Our movie stars go to all the cities to promote their movies. Claims like 'I love you all'; 'your city’s crowd is the best in India' and 'This city is my second home' etc. are not uncommon at all. These claims are repeated in all the cities they visit and it is not difficult to make out the fake smile and the reason behind their admiration for you. Still, we believe them. We go and watch their movie. Many do because Akshay said we are the best and SRK threw out a kiss and said he loves our city! There is no denying that popularity quotient touches new highs for the celebrities with those city dwellers. Till it fades, the tickets are sold, movie’s over, concerts are sung and money has been made.

It’s not just regular common Indian man who gloats when extolled, we have some known people too. There are men who could have been successful if only they could have kept their heads on their shoulders. There are many examples in the Indian cricket team. Press puffed up Parthiv Patel's ego when he got selected in Indian cricket team when he was less than 20 years of age. Soon, he had his big head filled with hot air when sledged Steve Waugh in a match! He would have been way better and seen in international squad more often had he tried making his game better rather than sledging greats, double his age and caliber. Sreesanth was praised for aggression by commentators and press and he took it too seriously and it keeps landing him in trouble. Not everyone can be Sachin and that is not the point of these examples. When someone extols us, we take it at face value and get big headed.

The praise is not always fake and not always for a gain. Nevertheless, I cannot disagree to the fact that inflating someone else's ego definitely raises your popularity quotient.
Now, that I have started blogging after a long gap, I need to get my readers back! You guys are the BEST blog readers ever, in the whole World Wide Web!! How can someone ever match your blog reading skills and commenting talent? I love you make the writing all worthwhile. Go ahead, comment and do come back for more posts!! :)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Restart...or so I think

There, I go again. Out of the blue, one fine day, something tells me...Go, update your blog.
Maybe, I will heed to it. In the past 2-3 years of blogging lethargy, I do not know if I can write anything at all. Even if I do, will it be interesting, simple and read by someone other than me? Well, I don't give a damn!

Or do I?

Hmm..I can be sure of my wife reading it and can coax/force a few friends to do so too ;) And now that my friends keep clicking on all the links I post on facebook (I do post interesting ones!!), I think they will read this too!


I am in Chicago now,
enjoying the intermittent snow.
I have no clue what I wanna write,
I am still trying to find an idea, bright!

I once said, I'll always update the blog,
Its more than just my daily log.
I soon realised, its not a simple job,
like eating the corn and throwing the cob.

Now, I am going to glug a beer,
maybe that brings in some cheer.
I'll string some words and make them rhyme.
and writing nonsense won't feel like a crime!

I know no one's forcing me to write,
but many will know a blogger's plight.
I will write with all my might,
just don't tell me to get out of your sight!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Schumacher Reloaded

Schumi, now an occasional motorcycle racer, gets an additional pair of wheels.Michael Schumacher aka Schumi is making his foray into Formula 1 yet again. This time too, his chosen steed will be a Ferrari . Ferrari wants Schumi to fill Massa's spot for a while.

Felipe Massa has established himself as one of the top drivers in the world with all the glory he has achieved after joining Ferrari last year. The Brazilian was hit in the helmet by an errant from another car and crashed into tyre barrier at about 120 mph during qualifying race of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

While Massa recovers from the skull fracture and concussion, Ferrari announced that Schumi will replace the former till he is fit to race again. Schumi will have an intensive training session before the European GP and once again have a go at points. He will have to undergo a fitness test after the prep programme before he can be entrusted with the car in Valencia. Schumi, being a Ferrari loyal, was more or less present in all the GPs post retirement as a Ferrari consultant and is abreast with team strategies etc. Though he may not be in the thick of things, for a talented driver like him, it should not take more than a few test sessions to vroom away in the F60.

Interestingly, there are quite a few top drivers who entered F1 after Schumi retired in 2006. The Vettels and Hamiltons have a lot to look forward to. Michael was one of the youngest to win a title when he was 25. Now, time will tell if he can become the 'oldest' to win a race atleast! Though, he may not be able to win immediately, but this mototsport icon will definitely hunt down the chequered flag before the end of the season.

Lance Armstrong won the Tour De France after a gap of three years. Michael Jordan came back and won after he had hung up his boots once. Can Schumi repeat the feat in F1?

Lets hope that atrophy has not set in and celebrate this return of the legend.

Hail the German speed God!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Movie Review: Jodha Akbar

Movie befitting a Shehaeshah! Ashthosh Gowariker has delivered this jewel by simplifying the elaborate complexities in the royal love story. In his unique way of movie making, he has taken care of all the nuances to give it the most authentic feel without overdoing any bit of it. The couple were betrothed only for political reasons but thereafter cupid sets to work and Ashutosh Gowariker portrays very well.

Like Lagaan, this period film, starts with Amitabh's baritone setting the story in motion with 15th century India's map on screen. After Baadshah Humayun's untimely death, Prince Jalaluddin had to accept the weight of ruling Hindustan on his early teens. Bairam Khan, the fiercely loyal general of Mughals, set his eyes on expanding the Mugahl Empire for Jalal. Hrithik (born to play Akbar), lights up the screen as the teenage prince becomes the Shehenshah.
The youthful Jalal intends to take his own decisions after a battle with the Rajputana Kings who refuse to surrender their kingdom. Bairam Khan is sent on 'exile' to Mecca and the vanquished Rajput king spared to rule his kingdom under Jalauddin. Its been a long time in Indian cinema that we saw war sequences so elaborately set. The number of people marshalled to recreate the Mughal force was a treat to watch. Another Rajput king, Raja Bharmal, played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda, visits Jalal and proposes him to marry his daughter to save his kingdom from his nephew Sujamal's conspiracy.

The taming of a wild elephant scene by Jalaluddin is fantastic and one of the many 'not to be missed scenes' in the movie. It was very well shot and depicted the bravery Mughal Emperors possessed. Very unlike the usual Bollywood, the hero did not have 'extraordinary abilities' to jump as high as an elephant but used his mental ability to jump atop the animal.

When fate gets Jalaluddin and Jodha betrothed, the political drama ceases and gives way to the romance which blossoms in an unconventional way. Jalal, being a just Emperor gives his wife the honour she deserves and also allows her to follow her religion inside Agra fort. This leads to vehement opposition from one particular Mullah/preist in Akbar's court whom he later sends to Mecca (was it Akbar's hobby? :)). The love blossoms within the walls of Agra Fort though it pricks the eye of many including Jalal's foster mother, Maham Anga, played villianously to the core by Ila Arun.

The movie ends with a hand-duel between Sharifuddin, Jalal's vile conspirator brother-in-law. Though, the villian is shown to be more muscular and well sculpted, Akbar's dialogue sets his intentions straight even before the fight begins - 'Hindustan ko mein galat haathon mein nahin jaane de sakta'.

A.R.Rehman cannot stop making good music relevant to the theme. Though the music is not catchy from the moment you listen to the songs in the movie, you will have it on your tongue sooner than you think. The Sufi song Khwaja Mere Khwaja, is shown without slightest pretense of being what it is not (a regular movie song). The Sufi singers wear the authentic clothes complete with upturned flower pot like hats and sing as if they were the real Sufi singers of 15th century(or so it makes viewers feel). 'Kehne ko jahsn-e-bahaara hai..' is another cherry in the cake baked by Rehman. The lyrics are well written too. The entire kingdom hails Jalal and confers him the title 'Akbar' with the song 'Azeem-o-shaan shhenshah', which is the catchiest song of the movie. It is complete with aerial shots of dance sequences (a la Replublic Day parade by different states of India).

The pure urdu and chaste hindi used in the movie is not very easy to understand for everyone but does adds to the charm of the love story. Hritik looks as handsome as ever and Aishwarya is unparalleled in beauty on screen. This might be the one of the best performances of the duo.

I am unsure if Ashutosh Gowariker has taken any historical liberty and modified facts but the movie is an entertainer. See it for Hritik, See it for Aish, see it for Mr.Gowariker's direction and see it for the love story -see it for yourself.

If 5 stars is the scale you prefer, I would give it a 3/3.5 undoubtedly.