Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Just read something in today's newspaper:

"The Rajasthan government will now issue licenses to all slow moving vehicle drivers, including bullock carts and camel carts."

What next - license to ride a bicycle followed by licenses for pedestrians???


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Chiranjeevi Zindabad!

No easy job this. Writing about Shankar Dada Zindabad (SDZ) is about as tough a job as Prabhudeva had remaking Lage Raho Munnabhai. Reproducing the flavor and feel of the original movie is never easy, putting in words the euphoria of watching a Chiranjeevi movie first day first show is also never easy. Me and my friends managed to catch the first day first show of the movie thanks to some connections to the film industry. One of the heros of the younger generation who acted in a small role in the movie sent us tickets for the movie as we were friends with his brother. Thank you Rohit, you were great in the movie by the way!

The movie was everything a Chiranjeevi fan could ask for. Agreed, the flavor of the original was in no way reproduced here, but afterall the original came without any baggage. It was a movie that no one of us had any clue about, or any expectations from and the feeling of pleasant surprise was overwhelming enough for us to overlook what minor flaws it had. Here, I knew what the story was, how it would proceed and everything else, yet SDZ managed to keep me engaged. The first half was decent entertainment. All the three songs were a riot. The second song in particular, with a number of stars making guest appearances, made the audience go berserk. The movie progressed at a fair clip and it was intermission time before any one of us could complain. Now came the tricky second part wherein it was obvious that the proceedings would get heavy. This needed good handling and Prabhudeva proved himself upto the task to a large extent. He did manage to put in the right elements that the crowd would expect, the last song with Yana Gupta being a masterstroke. Just when the movie got dialogue heavy, he put in a song, one with enough verve to get the best out of Chiranjeevi. Chiranjeevi, the master dancer almost seemed to be competing with Yana Gupta for honors in this particular song and the climax with yet another guest appearance rightly rounded off the proceedings.

Chiranjeevi as usual excelled in all departments. It was definitely great to see the energy back in his dances. Srikanth was able as his sidekick, able and nothing else. One major negative point was the heroine Karishma Kotak. How one wished they would have taken a more identifiable face, instead of a dolled up face which was covered in so many layers of make up that the expressions were hardly discernible! Another thing missing was the lovable villian that Boman Irani played to perfection in Lage Raho. Sayaji Shinde was ok, but the dimension that Boman added to his role was simply outstanding. The rest of the cast did well enough for themselves. Worth mentioning is Devi Sri Prasad's music. He has yet again proved that he can rock young and old alike with his tunes. Good Morning and Aakalesthe will stay in memory for a long time...

Technically though, the movie looked like it was shot ages ago. Old cameras, older camera angles, inconsistent cinematography and the worst thing was the couple of scenes that were a direct lift from the original. Could he not have reshot them? The amount of money spent on a Chiranjeevi movie is huge and the least that a producer can ensure is a technically superior product that adds gloss to the proceedings. Time Chiranjeevi tried out a new set of technicians instead of sticking to the old and tested ones.

A couple of months will herald Chiranjeevi's son into the big bad world. Maybe it is time for the Megastar to reinvent himself! He still has a few years to go before he can graduate to the Big B kind of roles, but he will have to make his choices carefully now!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fitting Finale!

I cant believe that it is over. Having collected my copy early in the morning from Odyssey(a pleasant aside was that Red Bull was having a promotion - as I was leaving a pretty gal walks up to me and asks me if I wanted a free can of Redbull - who would say no???), I reached home and sat down with it. Non-stop fever pitch reading and I finished it in 11 hours. And then, when I finally put it aside, it took me a while for the feeling to sink in. Without any spoilers, all I would like to say is that Rowling has delivered a fitting and rousing finale to the incredible yarn she has woven over the last decade.

There was one description that I read recently which said 'ROWLING’S REAL TRIUMPH is in rooting all this fantasy in an instantly recognisable reality, in setting this magic amidst the mundane'. Her Hogwarts is reached by train and a lot of contemporary english children will remember their first train journey. I personally heard one such recollection, down to the school houses and their sorting (not with the sorting hat of course!) and how getting into a particular house was a very very important family tradition. The magic world has the same values that keep the tapestry of civilization whole - love, friendship and trust. The kids go through the same phases as do all muggle kids. The parents are all the same, fussing over the kids, the couples are all still the same, the quibbles that affect them very identifiable. I could go on and on but Im sure the general drift is clear enough!

Having spun so intricate a yarn over the course of the last six books, it was obvious that somewhere along the line Book 7 would become more of an exercise in answering the questions that have been posed so far than a bit of exciting straight forward story telling. Rowling left herself loads of loose ends to tie up in Book 7 and does an incredible job of answering the unanswered. She delves deeper into the magical world, explaining the world of house elves, goblins and other creatures that she has created in satisfying detail. The fact that Hogwarts would not play host to the finale was a minor groan that I had lurking in some corner of my mind, but the battle at Hogwarts more than compensates for that. That one chapter set the adrenaline pumping like no other.

Most of the characters had their moments, though some of it contributed to making the book sag for a few precious pages. Im still soaking in the detail, need to read it one more time so I can fully appreciate the fact that it is over finally...Hats off to JK Rowling, for having put the reading habit back in vogue and for giving us a tale to remember for generations to come!

PS: The last chapter did seem like an afterthought, but it was brilliant neverthless!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tendulkar - yet again!

Imperious Tendulkar saves blushes - so went the headline for yesterday's bulletin on Cricinfo.

Merriam Webster defines imperious thus:

1. befitting or characteristic of one of eminent rank or attainments

2. marked by arrogant assurance

3. intensely compelling

Enough said!

Friday, July 13, 2007


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The rest of India can burn with envy...Hyderabad's Prasadz IMAX is the only theatre all over India that is showing Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix in the 3D - IMAX version. And what they miss by seeing a normal multiplex version is something that they can only experience by seeing the 3D - IMAX version. Spectacular does not even begin to describe the experience.

The latest installment exceeds its predecessors in every manner possible...entertainment, magic, emotional appeal and every other angle you could conceive of. Harry Potter fans will agree that the book is not amongst JK Rowling's better works. Seeing a bitter Harry being troubled to no extent by Prof. Umbridge was not a really enticing option in terms of the movie too. But all credit to David Yates for having converted what was the longest book in the series to the shortest movie of them all. The thing I carried out of the movie hall was that all the whoop worthy moments in the book were intact and elicited the loudest cheers from the audience. Dumbledore escaping, Fred and George leaving school, Fred and George apparating, Neville's successful spellwork, Hermione getting excited about breaking a few rules, Sirius's spectacular entry into the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore's two spectacular entries, one at Harry's hearing and the other one in the grand finale, the climax face off with the fear showing on Lord Voldemort's face...everyone of these moments had the required buildup and perfect execution in the movie (Im pretty sure that Ive missed out on a number of others, but I might as well write out the entire movie in that case). Every person who sees this movie will walk out of the theatre very very satisfied by what they just saw.

The cast that seems to be getting better all the time is in full form as usual and the additions to the cast are delightful, to say the least. Imelda Staunton puts in a fine turn as Dolores Umbridge, her mannerisms, exactly copied from the book are so natural, it almost seems impossible to like her. Helena Bonham Carter is impressive as Bellatrix Lestrange oozing menace as the death eater. Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood puts in a performance one would expect from a seasoned actor and shows every bit of insensitivity in dropping in unexpected lines as written in the book. Daniel, Emma and Rupert are as reliable as usual. Gary Oldman plays a wonderful Sirius Black and one really wished one could see more of Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks - the two or three mischief filled scenes that she has leave us longing for a lot more.

Over and above all this, the part where the movie succeeds is the way it shows the warmth in those relationships. When Sirius says Harry Potter and Harry rushes to give him a hug, you can see that these are two people who connect at a much deeper level. When he gives Harry that imperceptible wink, you can see that 'kid stuck in an adult's body'(to quote a friend) facet to Sirius's personality that helps him connect so well to Harry. Whenever Harry is teaching a spell to Cho Chang, you can feel the chemistry and when Ginny excels at all her spells, Harry's gaze lingers on just for that much longer, for you to know there is something in the offing. When Hermione tells Ron that he has the emotional range of a teaspoon (one of the best lines in the movie) and they both break out into guffaws, you can see the warmth that Harry feels seeing two of his friends bond together so well. When Neville does manage to disarm one of his opponents, the moment is not lost, all the lookers on rush to him and congratulate him. When Neville looks at the photograph of the original Order and Harry tells him that he will make sure Neville becomes a worthy son, I could almost see James and Lily beaming down from the pictures (these wizard pictures, wonderful things with all the moving people in them). When Mr. Weasley raises a toast to Harry, the camera focusses for a brief instant on Mr. Weasley and you realize that he means what he just said.

I could go on and on and on, but I will rest my case here. Brilliant movie and the 3D effect in the climax was outstanding. Prasadz Imax, bow down to thee for bringing us this spectacle and making it one of the best movie watching experiences ever. Im dying to see the movie for a second time, but the movie is all booked up until tuesday, well, next weekend is as good a time as any, I guess!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Copy - Paste

The following post has been completely lifted from here.

The original article was actually a comment for an article on

My love for Sachin Tendulkar and the fact that his Genius has always been punished for the mediocrity surrounding it is what is reiterated by this post. Hats off to the original poster.

As an aside, it was sheer pleasure to watch Tendulkar tear the South African attack to shreds in Match Two of the Future Cup. Does that name indicate that the Future of Cricket lies with India and South Africa???

When many people say how many of Sachin's hundreds have come for a winning cause, I decided to check the Cricinfo stats and here are the results.

Out of the 41 hundreds, 11 hundreds have gone in vain.

I will try to analyse each of them.

1. 137 off 137 balls Vs SriLanka at Delhi in 1996 World Cup.
India scored 271/3 in 50 overs. The only other 50 score was from Azhar. SL made 272 in 48.4 overs. Manoj Prabhakar had 4-0-47-0. He also opened in the innings with Sachin and scored 7 of 36 balls.

2. 100 of 111 Balls Vs Pak in Singapore- Apr 96.
India 226 all out in 47.1 overs, When Sachin was out score was 186/4. Pak had a reduced target of 187 from 33 overs.

3. 110 of 138 Balls vs Sri Lanka In Colombo - Aug 96.
Again India 226 for 5 in 50 overs, Only other 50 score from Azhar (58 of 99 balls).Sachin has also bowled 6-0-29-1, the second most economical bowler and the only wicket taker (SL were 230/1 in 44.2) of the match next to Srinath. 7 bowlers were used by Azhar.

4. 143 of 131 Balls Vs Aus at Sharjah, Apr 1998.
This was chasing under lights. The qualifying match before the final. The whole world knows about this match. Still one interesting point, when Sachin was out India were 242 at 5 at 43 overs. Target was 276 in 46. Still India finished at 250/5 scoring just 8 of the next 3 overs. Great performance by Laxman and Kanithkar indeed.

5. 101 of 140 Balls against SL at Sharjah in Oct 2000.
Indian score was 224/8 in 50 overs. (No other 50 score). SL got 225/5 in 43.5, Sachin also bowled 5-0-22-0, better economy rate than everyone except Srinath.

6. 146 of 153 Balls against Zimbabwe at Jodhpur - December 2000
India made 283 / 8 in 50 overs. Sachin was the last man to be dismissed, score was 235/8 at 46.3 overs when he was out. Agarkar and Zaheer Khan propelled India to 283 in the last 3.3 overs. When Sachin has scored 146 of 235 in 46.3 overs, you can guess what the other 8 great batsmen were doing against the World class Zimbabwe attack. Second Highest scorer was Zaheer Khan with 32.
Zim got 284/9 in 49.5 overs. Agarkar bowled the last over. Sachin also got 6-0-35-1

7. 101 of 129 Balls Vs SA at Johannesburg - Oct 2001
India got 279/5 in 50, Ganguly made 127 of 126 balls. When Ganguly got out, the score was 193-1 in 35.2 overs. Sachin was the last man to get out at 263. SA got 280 in 48.4 overs. Sachin bowled 9-0-51-0, second best in economy rate next only to Agarkar (10-0-45-1)

8. 141 of 135 balls Vs Pak at Rawalpindi, March 2004.
India were chasing 329 and were 317 all out in 48.4 overs, 8 balls to spare. No other batsman made even a 50 (when chasing 300 ) and when Sachin was out, India were 245-4 in 38.4 overs. They needed 85 from 68 balls with 6 wickets in hand.

9. 123 of 130 Balls vs Pak at Ahmedabad, April 2005.
India made 315/6 in 48 overs (48 over match), again no other 50 score. Second highest was Dhoni 47 of 64 balls, (third highest was extras - 39). Pak made 319 in 48 overs. The three quicks (Balaji, Nehra and Khan went for 188 runs from 26 overs between them taking only 2 wickets). Sachin bowled 6-0-36-1. No Harbhajan and no Kumble.

10. 100 of 113 Balls Vs Pak at Peshawar, Feb-2006.
India were 328 all out in 49.4 overs. Pathan and Dhoni got 60 each. When Sachin was out when India were 305-5 in 45 overs. Managed only 23 in the last 5 overs.

Pak scored 311/7 in 47 overs and won by D/L method. Could have been anybody's game. Sachin did not bowl.

11. 141* of 148 balls vs WI at Malaysia.
India made 309 /5 in 50 overs. Sachin was not out. Pathan was the only other 50 scorer. WI made 141/2 in 20 overs and won by D/L method. Again could have been anybody's game.

In the other 31 instances India has won 30 times and once there was no result.

Now, please think again when you say sachin's 100s were in the losing cause and that he is not a team player. It is a fact that for the entire 90's India played International cricket with 1 player and 10 jokers.