Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Indian nomination to the Oscar

Anti posted on this here
i had heard that the kannada movie haseena was up for it too. don't see it in the rediff list too. atleast it had a screenplay which was fresh.

i think the day sankar's movies make it to the oscars, either the indian industry will need a rethink or the oscars will!

i don't agree with anti's original screenplay bit, especially since foreign movies have only one category. for ex, if you had a venezuelan movie which was an outstanding remake of another uzbek movie of 1990s, what would you care/know?! if they had licensed it from the original script owners, i guess i would be ok. besides i don't think the oscars are it either! the cannes are perhaps a better bet. after all pulp fiction won at cannes, not at the academy! but that's another story.

i have my reservations about Black. i think it was way too pompous. and the less said about mangal pandey the better.

haven't seen most of the others in the rediff list either. i have a bias against SRK anyways. liked page 3, but i guess there have been too many movies of the sort in the west already. guess i'd have liked to select HKA

in recent years, shwaas has been the most outstanding movie representing india. it is in the tradition of pure genius - simple, realistic, lingering in the mind & heart, long after you have left the theatre.

guess we will have to wait for the indian movie tendlya!


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Goran and the boy from Bowral!

In these days of Mahesh planning on leaving the Indian Davis Cup team and Paes not getting any younger (and I have loved Paes for his contribution to Indian tennis and his spirit), I came across this article where the loveable self-destructive eccentric from Split, Goran is challenging another younger player to play on the Croatian team. See here

And then more on amchi Sachin. Ok, ok, its actually about the boy from Bowral, but one barely needs a reason to start talking about the man who singlehandedly changed the way one looked at Indian cricket matches. Earlier one used to wince like a kid trying to apply tincture to a wound (You know half close your eyes and don't look at it, but it has to be done!). Then Sachin came along and it was more like, "Kick their butt, Tendlya, ..."

Sadly, in the last couple of years, the little genius has not really been fit enough and in the form one would have liked. Ganapati bappa, isko theek karde! I really want to see Sachin leave like Keyser Soze!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Beyond a Boundary

When I read Ramachandra Guha’s « In a Corner of a foreign field » I thought it did fill in a gap in my understanding of the evolution of Indian cricket. Guha also mentions « CLR James’ classic cricket work 'Beyond a Boundary' about cricket in the Caribbean.

However there are a few differences between CLRJ’s work and Guha’s. While Guha’s excellent work is built mostly on painstaking research, CLRJ’s work is written in the 1st person and derives largely from the author’s own involvement with cricket, CLRJ having been a respectable cricketer in his own right. Guha writes mostly as a cricket historian might. CLRJ writes with the typical literary swagger (if one may so coin the expression) of someone who’s been there, befitting of say a Viv Richards, if one could translate his walk to the crease into words. (Until India was blessed with Sachin, there was not a single cricketer I admired more than Viv. Tragically, I ended up learning only the onside shot! And CLRJ does talk about a cricketer who lifts the spirit of a country, but that shall wait.)

BAB is at once a literary delight, for its numerous quotes from literature, including Hamlet and a cricket-lover’s collectible. CLRJ is gifted with the written word and writes with a flourish. And Indians must have several moments of joy and identification with the book’s description. It’s almost like India, except its displaced in time/space. Although the book barely talks about Indian cricketers (except for Ranjitsinhji, who according to me and Guha too, was as much an English cricketer as he was Indian, since he didn’t seem to do much about the Indian political struggle, despite his royal background), it does have its parallels.

The Queen’s Park Savannah in its time could host 30 cricket matches with no player nudging another! The passionate Indian is instantly reminded of Shivaji Park. The choice of clubs before the young CLRJ while he was a promising cricketer reminds one of the teams in the Quadrangular and Pentangular in pre-independence India. Especially the Shannon club reminds one of the talented Hindu team. When CLRJ describes how he and his friends including Learie Constantine the WI legend argued incessantly about cricket – the facts about their favourite players, their records, whether they drank whisky or rum, one is reminded of one’s own obsession with cricket.

An interesting perspective is provided on the Chinese element in WI cricket. One must read the book to understand how the Chinese have been a part of the WI cricket (since the early days), if not WI itself.

The book is peppered with colourful personalities, not least of which is the fast bowler John, whom CLRJ describes as « could have been named Furioso » had he been an Italian ! Then there’s the expression describing an angry John « … a man who is uncompromisingly angry is one of the most effective works of God ! » There’s the reference to Australia in difficult times, which relied on the Don for reasons to live happily despite the misery of ordinary life crippled with the Great Depression. And did the Don provide ! I was quite touched by this as I think Sachin made a similar difference to a billion sad lives, whose spirits were sagging with the burden of tame performances.

Again CLRJ while describing the beginnings of his movement to England describes his experience thus, « … not to lose focus is the devil’s own job and the devil pays great attention to it !.. »

(Amidst all this, I did find what appears to be a typo – CLRJ refers to « Chambertin » as the man to whom we owe the Olympics to, I thought that was Coubertin. Can someone correct me ?)

Then there is the reference to Roger Bannister’s 4 minute mile being described by Bannister himself as a mental barrier and one that has been broken repeatedly after the feat, being used to demonstrate the difference between approach of ‘safe-playing’ cricketers (Welfare Staters) and the WI approach. CLRJ takes pains to explain why Welfare Staters can’t thrive in the WI.

And then, we come a full circle to his take on crowd trouble in 1960 in particular (although there were a few in 1953, 54, etc). He tries his best to put things in perspective referring to a similar incident in 1903 in Melbourne. The critic of the Indian crowds would do well to gain some historical perspective in this regard.

There are also the references to Worrell’s captaincy in Australia and WI cricket coming of age and CLRJ’s support for the campaign for a black captain for WI, but they are the parts you could find better described elsewhere, perhaps in Worrell’s own account.

If I were to rate this using a metaphor from cricket, I would put it alongside Mark Taylor’s memorable triple century, not as much for the feat itself, as for the man’s respect for Australian cricketing traditions. CLRJ’s work is as much about the game as it is about its traditions and origins in the WI.


Mr. India & Shahenshah

Mr. India & Shahenshah

What’s common to the heroines of Mr. India & Shahenshah (both Hindi movies for the uninitiated) ? Amongst several other things that one can think of, the one that struck me is this -> Both characters are hopelessly in love with real characters in the guise of heroes, who do something that the real characters couldn’t do as themselves.

Which brings me to this, what would happen if one ended up getting married to someone whom one was fascinated with, due to certain attributes of that object of one’s affection (OOOA) or due to some actions of that OOOA.

I will try and avoid repeating myself and point the interested reader to an older blog, where I was raving about women.

What happens when, (to paraphrase using Mr India) one looks at the object of one’s affection through the red glasses!? Does he/she turn into one’s Sum of All Fears ?

We had this friend of ours, whom we called « Dil Fake » from the Hindi for « someone who loses his heart (dil – heart, fake – Hindi for throw) too quickly, from the guy’s tendency to lose his heart, rather too quickly to someone who appealed to him. I know perfectly what the guy must have been thinking each time (reminds you of Saif’s character in Dil Chahta Hai, doesn’t it ?) ! I mean how much is enough to know about a person to fall in love ?

And why am I writing this ?