Tuesday, June 10, 2014

M F Hussain -----India's Guilt

I have always believed that our nation is being held to ransom increasingly by the incarnataion of our 'emancipated media' . Anybody from the 90's and 80's would remember that at that doordarshan was the only channel availaible,the media of our times was not availaible, or rather was lying in the mind of some willing businessmen thinking on how to leverage his thoughts in a cost effective manner. The Media went all ballistic in mourning the death of a great painter, a great artist, a treasure trove of Modern Indian Art and the eloquent praise transcended from necessary to grandiloquent excess. Praising a great painter is one thing but to take it to stratospheric levels the eyeball seeking media was keeping in tune with the excessive thematic and materialistic evolution of India post the 90's. I am not going into the merits and demerits of Hussain but he did not turn out to be an exact secular doyen by playing in the hand of the hate brigade. The citizenship of Qatar was probably an exercise in studying the after effects of senility. You don't make a deal with the Devil for making a point with a sane though flawed mind. Flaws are acceptable and universal, bigotry and fanaticism are not. Qatar, a typically fanatic Islamic nation was the last place a supposedly secular and broadminded Hussain should have sought refuge in. Maybe we were wrong in hounding Hussain, but he played into the very hands of the people he was opposing.It raises a question on the selective secularity that maybe all Indians practice. This closet conformance to certain ideologies while vehemently denying it in public has been the norm of our practical brigade. The norm for our media should have been to practice restraint and critically evaluate his death and let the debate be open. Not "Newshourly" or "Stopping the buck" , but critically , analytically and bias free.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

RCB vs Deccan Chargers : Ishant's pace

Is there something wrong with the speed gun ? Ishant is clocking 150 kmph on a regular basis . I think i saw some 10 to 12 deliveries above the 150 mark with the fastest being at 153 or somewhere. This has to be jotted down as a memory , you never know when you will see such pace from an Indian bowler again.

Just hope Ishant continues with his form and retains this kind of pace , which made him a hot commodity three years ago.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Whatever I might have thought in my disgruntled ,drunk and dizzy moments , my darkest thoughts and desire for revenge at a toss so deliberately miscalculated has been wiped off by this great victory.

Yes !! India you have done it for the great little man of Indian cricket. Dhoni for all his faults in selection has proved that a man with courage is better than ten intellectual , calculative wizards. Yes! Dhoni you proved that Valour has its place in today's world.

In a sense it is poetic justice that India won this cup , this was the team that challenged the might of the Australians throughout the last decade , it was a team which played tough cricket in its quarterfinals and semifinals and won at a critical stage. For someone of my generation who has no memories of the 1983 victory , it is a great sense of pride and achievement.

Time to soak in the moments of pride!!

India -Sri Lanka World cup final (Timidity of Indians)

First of all it's important to discuss certain issues first. I have not posted a follow up to my first article on Indian Pacemen dropping pace. I wanted the madness surrounding the World Cup to die down a little before posting an opinion on this perennial weakness of Indian teams.

Watching the final has been a tumultous , heart-aching exercise in futility. It requires no genius to guess that Sangakkara pulled up the coup of the century by bluffing beautifully at the toss. It shocks and saddens me to see an international captain resort to 'Ghetto Tactics ' to gain any kind of advantage in the final. It is a well known fact (TV replays proved it) that he lost the toss in the first go and then capitalised on the sleepiness of the match refree and the ongoing confusion created there on.

However expecting anything different from 'Sanga' was preposterous , the man is a downright phoney who fakes everthing from his accent to sportsmanship. What should irk Indians and their fans is that Dhoni did not stand his ground , he knew that he had called correctly , he should have stood firm and told the match referee in no uncertain terms about his call. The fact that the Indian captain budged was the only reason that the sleepy Jeff Crowe called for the coin to be tossed the next time. Now one can argue about sporting spirit, ethical behaviour and ramble endlessly; this still doen't prove the fact that our captain showed extraordinary timidity in accepting an unfair call.

The boggling fact is that India is the powerhouse of World cricket today and its captain should have told the referee and the Sri -Lankan captain to bugger off in no uncertain terms , I am sure that the ICC would not have had the courage to do anything on this and for once we would have had a genuine Badass captain who would have got under the skin of the opponent. (Sourav : We miss you mate)

The crux is that India lost a Golden opportunity to bag the cup and most probably will stifle in a chase , as i am writing this i desperately want to be proven wrong.
It would be a crime if Sri-Lanka won and then dedicate this victory to a man with a questionable bowling action , ask any self respecting cricketer and he will tell you that the man has not bowled a single legal delivery in his career , medical studies and all that Jazz be damned.

It is only through the support of Mera Bharat Mahaan that the 'Javelin thrower' as referred by our famous (cricket sardarji) has survived so long in international cricket.India have thrown their heavyweight behind the man everytime the ICC came close to banning this man , Jagmohan Dalmiya was the ICC head honcho when the spinner was first called in Australia and India supported our neighbour with an eye on future votes and position in the ICC.

If not for anything else India and its captain owe a World Cup to Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar for his unbridled genius , passion , technical superiority and being a thorough gentleman. I just hope that the lure of IPL and its moneyed thugs have not stolen the most crucial thing of our cricketers --------Their Heart.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dropping Pace: A Fashion (World Cup Woes)-Part 1

Among all the brouhaha of the cricket world cup , one goes through a lot of analysis , comments , write-ups and columns regarding the strengths and weaknesses of teams . You will find sundry cricket experts pontificating on the various merits and demerits of teams playing. The funny part is that these same qualtities or the lack of thereof are known to everybody who follows cricket , however the diktats of commerce has ensured that you are force fed the same banal tones time and again.

One comment which however sounded somewhat true and also gave rise to many sour memories is Harsha Bhogle's description of Indian fast bowlers dropping pace as a fashion. Now you can count on the fact that Bhogle always writes and speaks his mind even if he has to taper it down sometimes maybe due to commercial obligations of channels or portals.

The reason why I wanted to bring up this issue was the unrelenting mass orgasmic frenzy of our channels in projecting a quite ordinary Indian side as favourites even before the world cup began. Yes! we are number 1 in test cricket and probably second in ODI's , however one look at the squad selected for the world cup should have told all the pundits enough about the capability of this team to progress further.
And No! there was no need of an ecstatic Krishnamachari Srikanth making the prediction about the best team being picked and all that for people to believe otherwise.(Should have put suspicions in the minds of fans already).

Why that great fast bowler Praveen kumar was picked was beyond my understanding? In fact the 'legend' has been continued in the team for the past two years on basis of two or three mediocre performances and 'Baba Dhoni's' umpteen blessings on anybody from Maya's territory. It obviously escaped our selectors minds that the man cannot surpass 125 kmph in his dreams and would have been cannon fodder on Indian wickets.

The other pick was our perennial old man with a stoop "Ashish Nehra" , I am sure we will be blessed with a Tushar Kapoor hit before Nehra achieves full fitness. I am not going to talk about Harbhajan for this is a post about fast bowlers and the man obviously wants to ditch spin since he darts his deliveries at batsman foregoing the art of spin when the collar gets hot. (A seperate post therefore should come on the most overrated player of our generation)

Now the crux of the matter is pace , show me an Indian who says he doesn't care about an Indian tearaway bowling at 150 kmph consistently and I will show you an impostor. Do we have such bowlers the problem is yes we had! What happened to Ishant Sharma when he was bowling above 150 in Australia in 2008? if he dropped pace was there a system which took him under control? Our captain obviously has 'Alti-Plati De Ghumiake ' on his mind so you always find him rooting for great talents like Chawla and Praveen.

It is another ingenuity of our system that we call a gambling captain a brave captain , see! it keeps the money tickling in.I don't think Ishant ever found any support from the captain or the team management and we have squandered a golden opportunity of breeding a thoroughbred.What do you expect from a person who publicly criticised Sreesanth for his agression and made his displeasure clear. This treatment was meted out to a bowler who was outstanding in South africa.

There is obviously a rotten stink of parochialism in our selection as the above selections would point out. The end result was that Sreesanth came under tremendous pressure to perform in the first match and got hammered. Our great saviour and leader needs to purge his cricket brain of all cobwebs and learn about effective leadership and for heaven's sake chide a player behind closed doors and not in front of everybody. The behaviour is all the more surprising considering his affection for a certain Chawla again from 'Maya's territory'.

Obviously the captain sees more to Chawla then even his state teammates see in the legspinner who makes Narendra Hirwani look like Shane Warne.

What was the harm in trying a partnership of Ishant and Sreesanth along with Zaheer for the world cup , the theory is at least we had three bowling spearheads and not 'put the ball there' kind of bowlers like Munaf whose grunt is more effective than his bowling.

Yes! dropping pace has become a fashion but when you ground your thoroughbreds to dust you don't expect them to have the same thump in their hooves. A case here over the IPL overkill and too much unnecessary cricket.

This is a long post with a second part.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Celebrity bloggers and Vanity: Anil Wilson

Any intelligent observer would be able to judge the wheat from the chaff. In case of the blogosphere there seems to be an epidemic of bloggers trying to bask in some glory that their professions have bestowed on them. If there is an Amitabh Bachchan writing his generally pompous and somewhat pontificating blog there is no dearth of some people in 'Traditionally Respectable' professions indulging in the mundane.

One such blog I recently came across was of Mr Anil Wilson , erstwhile principal of St. Stephens and also Vice Chancellor of H.P University at one point of time. If academicians are considered a breed of knowledge bestowers than somehow the writings have to reflect that. In the case of Mr. Wilson sadly this is far from the truth.The recent post has been "To Chemo or not" a poem depicting a dying man's dilemma to undergo chemotherapy . The verse couldn't have been more puerile , the whole attempt has been to pass off mediocrity as something noble, exemplified by the note at the end(Hope this does not turn Shakespeare in his Grave.)One certainly expects better from somebody with a doctorate in Literature , considering the fact that the man also headed an institution which produced some of modern India's brightest and enlightened minds.

The rest of the blog is also pathetically rudderless with a lot of self praising entries depicting a callow nature fed on some grandiloquent flattery. There is an entry where Wilson describes an encounter with Amitabh Bachchan in Shimla , again the post reeks of a mind filled with preconceived notions and fallacies. The whole blog points towards a mind which has got undue attention due to heading a prestigious institution. Institutions should be ranked as per the calibre of their academicians , seeing Mr. Wilson's pop academic theory and carelessly written entries, one wonders on the procedure and rigour applied to choose people heading our elite institutions.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire : Review and musings.

Cinema is a medium where a lot of life's happenings like misery, happiness ,sorrow are captured in their various hues. Literature does not have any obligation on society to act as a medium of change. It can depict society as it is, without a coloured view on right and wrong. Literature and cinema are alike in their ability to tell a story , however enchanting or dull depending on the whims and the talent of their respective creator.

I had heard a lot about this movie before I finally got a chance to see it , agreed there were a couple of scenes which were disturbing however, the essence of the movie did not diminish. I also failed to understand critics of the movie for their consistent nitpicking on its alleged catering to western stereotypes. One of its celebrated critics who later withdrew from his comments,being India's new favourite blogger who uses his blog to shed light on his day to day activities and has found a new pastime in celebrating certain movies and downgrading others, however i do not intend to delve into that area as of now , this movie is good and their are reasons which should have been obvious for any cinema lover.

First of all Slumdog Millionaire is a superb story of a downtrodden youth and his journey through the first half of his life. There is a touch of Magic Realism in the movie which many Indian Filmakers , actors and critics failed to pick up due to their fixation with the message theme. Danny Boyle is a filmaker and it is his right to show the movie as he wants without carrying any burden of moral education. Jamaal wallowing in shit for an autograph is not depiction of a slum dwellers hard life as a Metaphor of a child's fascination with his childhood hero. Similarly the depiction of violence and shifts from one situation to the other is a journey of a protagnist struggling for his identity . This treatment of the extraordinary circumstances of an ordinary child is a beautiful mix of cinematic and literary traditions of magical realism. Danny Boyle's 'Trainspotting' was again a brilliant film and for people to understand Slumdog Millionaire , one has to look into his earlier work to understand this filmmakers craft.

This movie does not bother with explanation centric cinema of bollywood. It allows us to use our own intelligence to interpret its happenings.It does not go into a long paen where Irfan Khan has a guilt of conscience and he releases Jamaal to take part in the show , It does not go into overt messages on right and wrong , it is a mystical journey of a weather beaten , callow but hardened youth and needs to be looked at in the same fashion. I was actually not surprised when 'Aamir Khan' said that the film did not work for him . For all Aamir's sincerity and hardwork , subtlety has never been a part of the actor's cinema and acting. He is not a natural actor and potrays emotions in the typical bollywood syle of grimacing and lighting up for sad and happy scenes. His movies tend to be message heavy including the revered 'Taare Zameen Par' I always wondered on why could that movie not be more subtle. Ishaan's dilemma had to be explained time and again , the explanation part should have stopped after the discovery of the Kid being a Dyslexic. Unfortunately the fimmaker kept on piling us with tears and more tears to bring home his point and ultimately had to make the child a winner in the end for popularity.

Slumdog too has the phenomena of ending as a feel good movie however the craft is at another level altogether. Yes it suffers from some typical caricatures and is not Danny boyle's best work , yet the movie is brilliant disregarding some of these flaws. This is cinema working on the platform of magical reality much like Pan's Labyrinth and should be appreciated for that. Viewing 'Slumdog Millionare' is a visual treat and is food for an appreciative intelligent viewer,as for the Amitabh's and Aamir's of bollywood , let them bask in their message theme glory. Bollywood's actions and its actors have never basked in subtle colours.