Friday, June 29, 2007

Indian Cricket team bitten by Vadivel bug??

Yes, we have credible evidence to believe so. The first hint was given by a report about Dinesh Karthik's unexpected call up to the Indian team for this world cup. The report says that Karthik, on receiving the news was so surprised by the decision that he refused to believe it. On the insistence of his parents, though , Karthik called up Vengsarkar and asked him "neenga enna vechu caamedy geemadi pannaleye??". Shortly after this we chanced upon a video of an interview of Karthik's opening partner Wasim Jaffer. When asked to reflect on his successful run of four consecutive non-zero single digit scores all he had to offer as a reply was a cry, Vadivel style ("Auuuwwwwwuuu").

Another incident which came to light recently only strengthened our suspicions. This time it was an incident from the 2003 WC. The first over of that final would forever be remembered for the flare up between Hayden and Zaheer Khan. When contacted about this earlier, Zaheer Khan had refused to divulge any details. However, recently when a reporter caught up with Mathew Hayden the whole matter came tumbling out. Apparently, after the first ball Zaheer Khan walked up to Mat and told him "Idhuvaraikum yaarum enna adichadilla". Amused by this preposterous claim Hayden shot back saying "Adhaan Ponna match adichen la??". Zaheer Khan, whose wit is reportedly quicker than his bowling, retorted "Adhu ponna match.. Na solradhu indha match"!!! The rest as they say is history ,for ,that would remain the only battle India would win on that day. Talking about World Cups, one man whose fortunes took a 180 degree turn between the two world cups was Pepsi Airtel Tendulkar. The joke in the dressing rooms around the world on this, also has the inevitable Vadivel touch to it. During the 2003 WC, whenever Tendulkar walked to the crease the opposition would be moaning "Vanduthaaya vanduthaaya". However the vicissitudes of fate so have it, that during this world cup, as soon as Tendulkar walked out of the pavilion into the ground, the opposition started celebrating the imminent fall of his wicket with cries of "kelambitaaaya Kelambitayaaa".

With our sights firmly set on what to do we decided to do delve deep into the matter. The first person we contacted in the Indian team was the swashbuckling Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He said that Vadivel had contributed a lot towards whatever little he had achieved so far. However, that's all that he would reveal. Next up was India's perennial hope for the future and Mr. Undependable, Yuvraj Singh. He too supported Dhoni's statement and was very much appreciative of the help that Vadivel had provided to them. And as if on cue he also refused to disclose much else. That kindled the investigative fire in us and as respectable journalists we had to get to the bottom of the issue. Sources, who did not wish to identified, (they wore monkey caps and mufflers while talking to us) came up with a couple of incidences which threw some light on the matter. On one occasion when Vadivel was visiting the camp Dhoni was, as usual, trying to show off his long locks to a couple of good looking females in the crowd. (Yes, we Indians ought to be the most stupid people to go watch a team in practice). Obviously miffed at Dhoni's behavior Vadivel walked up to him and taking out his comb said "enga kittayum mudi iruku, naangalum seevuvom". Taken aback at such a rebuke Dhoni decided to cut short his hair and lengthen his stay at the crease.

It also transpires that Yuvraj had gone to our man Friday and asked for advice. Vadivel in his usual inimitable style told him point blank "Un starting la nalla thaen irukku, aana un finising seriyille pa". These pearls of wisdom helped transform Yuvraj's batting more than what Greg Chappel and his team of biomedics and psychiatrists and physiologists and software engineers and chauffeurs could. What followed was a record breaking run of 17 consecutive victories while chasing a target and at the forefront were Vadivel's two protégés Dhoni and Yuvraj.

Even the seniors in the team do not seem to have escaped from this phenomenon. They were all praise for Vadivel and said they drew a lot of strength from him. When asked to elucidate, one of them said that despite some hard hitting and constant humiliation Vadivel still held his head high and took it all in his stride, and that is what they had also learned to do. They seem to be confused between movies and real life, which is only too obvious considering that they spend most of their time in front of the camera. Besides, their stint at the crease lasts just about as long as the ads that they star in. Ganguly for instance has resorted to the comedians hit line every time he gets hit while ducking for a ball pitched three yards in front of him. Totally believing in the adage "laughter is the best medicine" he looks at the bowler and says "Vendam!! Vallikudu!! Azhiduduvaen!!". But as with most things else, he seems to have misunderstood the saying. You need to be the one laughing for it to help and instead, not have everyone else laughing at you. In fact, that will add mental agony to the existing physical pain. But no one dare question Dada, for the fear that Calcutta might burn. (No! They do not have the practice of video taping it.. We'll leave that for Vivek to do)

Even the most senior statesman and always straight faced Kumble seems to like resorting to the comical punch lines. Young Piyush Chawla all eager to learn the tricks of the trade came jumping with enthusiasm to Jumbo. And guess what Kumbls says to him?? "Annen bomma trainnum, bomma planum vaangi vechuriken.. Adha vechu velaaandikittiru". A thoroughly bemused Chawla had no option but to join in in the boisterous laughter around the dressing room. The other bowlers too seem have at some point faced this treatment. A case in point being a match against South Africa. After Sreesanth got hit for 18 runs in the first over Dravid walks up to the batsman and pleads with him saying "No, Sreesanth paavam", Keeping this request in mind the batsman chose to play the next over from Sreesanth with totally unnecessary concentration and restraint. However, since the scoring rate had to be helped along they decide to go after India's number 2 bowler for the past decade, Ajit Agarkar. Having plundered a dozen runs in the over the contended batsman stroll towards each other for a mid pitch conference. Now, Dravid in a desperate bid to gain some respectability for his bowlers once again beseeches the batsmen, this time, not to go after Agarkar. Totally annoyed at these constant cries of the Indian captain they decided to go no holds barred and ended up with a total of 350 odd. At the end of the innings Dravid was left shaking his head remarking "Indian Bowling, total damage!".

Just when we were about to go to print with this unique story of comedian inspiring 11 other comedians, we got our theories confirmed. It came from the mouth of Dravid himself. At a post match conference after yet another loss (of face) in the World Cup, Dravid explained his team’s performance thus " padinoru peruma.. Summa suthi suthi maathi maathi adichaanga.. naangalum rosham vandhu adhikalaaamnu ponnapa avanga onnu sonnanga .. " ,a pause, raising expectations, "engala paarthu nala vanganu sollittaama". The dialogue delivery was so outstanding that all the press reporters ( and there were more of them than the crowd at the match) stood up and applauded. The resonating cheers reminded one of the atmosphere at Eden Gardens and for sure Dravid would have felt at home, in the otherwise hostile atmosphere.

At the end of all this we decided that we'll leave the final word to the hero of the story, (Vadivel's second such outing after 23m pulikesi). We put forward the question on how he felt to be respected and revered so much by the Indian cricket team. For once, even he seemed at a total loss of words and all that he (m)uttered was "Enna kodhuma Saar idhu??".

Friday, June 22, 2007

Political Mess(age)

This is an era of political messes. Not just in India but everywhere across the globe. We have gaffes being committed by politicians cutting across nationalities. Recently, Obama was forced to apologize after his campaign team had distributed videos which showed Hillary Clinton in bad light. Another incident involved Sarkozy denying allegations that he was drunk while attending a press conference, besides stirring up a controversy with his holiday on a yatch, immediately following his victory.

Back home in India, blunders would be a more apt term for the acts that our politicians have time and again, showed they are capable of. Be it openly speaking against their own party policies (some might put it down to freedom of expression) or throwing baseless allegations against anyone who shows a semblance of opposition, they just about manage to take the cake.
But then as always one could with some introspection before jumping to any conclusion.

The media, which oscillates from playing helpful sidekick to dirt thrower, plays a major role in playing up these little bloopers. Ever ready for a sound byte and even more willing to get their hands on anything they seem worthy of a "Breaking News" tag, they follow absolutely no standards. With the number of news channels on the bloom the fight for the TRPs only get tougher. So, when anybody who's barely a somebody, says or does something that the society in general would not expect him/her to say/do, it's blown out of proportions. And in a media dominated world, the leaders and the hopefuls can seldom hope to neglect it. With this in mind they happily go on with their spin doctoring ways. But then with almost everyone more than eager to jump onto this bandwagon, space becomes a constraint. What follows is a merry go round, with today's favorites becoming tomorrow's whipping material.

Here's where it becomes difficult to pin point the actual defaulter. Is it the politician who commits the gaffe, mostly unintentional, or the media which is only too eager to highlight every such act?? After all, the politician is also another human being, despite his mostly debauched ways, and is entitled to make a mistake once in a while. The media on its part does its job of reporting news, though sometimes they are guilty of creating their own news.

A tough decision as it maybe, but like most things else ,the best way to settle the issue will be to put the blame on the politicians!!

All's Fair in Love and War

A guy is spotted in a ladies hostel trying to get his hands on a Fair and Lovely tube. Another is "thankful" that there is something to take care of him or rather the colour of skin while he's at work. Whats' all this fuss about? Frankly it gives me a complex. Isn't brown a respectable and acceptable color anymore??

When a leading actor decides to play brand ambassador, its a surprising turn of events in a culture that has had a song extolling black, a national award winning one at that. It is only now that we men can possibly feel the angst that so many millions of women across the nation would have felt time and time again, when color was the reason for rejection and dejection. No, I am not playing feminist here. It's just the complex getting to me. Its pretty scary actually. Long gone are the days when men were referred to as dark and handsome. Its now dark and therefore not handsome. Songs like "Fear of the Dark" take on a totally new meaning. In all fairness, this is truly a dark age for colored people.

In a couple of generations people will be seen grafting white skin and couples will be altering the genes of the child in the womb, to make sure that it is born fair. A couple of centuries later kids will be queueing up in museums, to get a glimpse of the preserved body of the "dark" uncle. And maybe that's when the darker shade will make a spectacular comeback, for only when something goes totally out of vogue will it stand a chance to storm back into fashion. Isn't the seventies celebrated now in terms of fashion and culture. For all that you know, the Europeans might be first to convert to blacks and browns, tired of the homogeneity in their environs. And then we will try to ape them and start converting too. Maybe that's what it will take for colored people to be respected, for the native Americans and British to be colored themselves.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

SIVAJI - The ????

Eight hours,time taken to fully recover from the effects of watchin unfold on the giant screen, the most hyped tamizh movie of all time. The trailers were watched, dissected and analyzed for a clue as to what the movie would hold for us millions of expectant fans. Trust me, even after watching the movie I am clueless about the happenings in the movie.

It all started wonderfully well, the stylized super star logo and some hep music to go with it. And just when we were expecting him to air drop from a plane straight onto the picturesque landscape and start dancing to his intro song, Shankar surprises everyone with a drastically different intro scene, one of the few pats on the back that go to him. And then of course, all the hooting and whistling came when the super star made his first appearance on the screen.

From here till the interval its a Rajini-Vivek show. The superstar's comic timing standing out and Vivek providing perfect foil makes for some hilarious moments. And in the meanwhile our supposedlly "urbane" villain enters the film. One wonders what on earth made Shankar pick him for this role. It's frustrating to see Shankar totally mismanage his villain. The dialogue delivery is stupendously poor and the cooling glass seems to be there to do a cover up act of Suman's expressionless eyes. And one does have to say, the cooling glass does its job to perfection unlike Suman.

Shreya looks absolutely stunning and adds more than the requisite dose of glamour in the songs,which ooze class. The sets for Vaaji Vaaji and Sahana are mindblowing!! And the efforts that Rajini makes, with the help of his "mama" Vivek to capture her heart gives rise to some of the best moments in the movie. A special mention needs to be given to the banner which welcomes Shreya's family on their visit to our hero's place. In the midst of these light moments a teaser of the actual story is thrust in, lest one forgets what the movie is supposed to be about. The court scene where Rajni admits to his guilt makes absolutely no sense that too considering his defence attorney costs 20 lakhs . Either, the super lawyer doesn seem to have breifed Sivaji on how to face questions in a court of law or Shankar tries to give an image of Sivaji as next only to Gandhiji and Harischandra in trusting the power of truth. Nothing wrong with that, but coming as it does after all the tribulations where truth and correctness has done more harm than good to our hero, we would atleast like him to have some common sense.

The scenes leadin upto to the interval manage to create quite big expectations and the first scene after the interval only seems to convince us more that there are great things to come. On the contrary, the movie goes on a downward spiral that too after promising dizzying heights. What follows are a sequence of events which are very hard to put into words and even harder to digest.

Sivaji hits a goldmine by cashing into the black money of our leading politicians, industrialists, their personal secretaries etc etc. Now, he comes up with a scheme to convert all this black money into "white" so that he can put it to good use through his Sivaji foundations for constructiong hospitals, educaitonal institutes and industrial parks. Honest intentions but pathetic treatment by Shankar makes the whole matter seem like a stroll in the park. Also in the middle, rajni displays dazzling skills on his laptop, to uncover black money details, that would make Vijaykanth's antics with Widows Media Player look like childs play. It was never more easier for our Ministers,MLAs, Thalukdars and naatamais to be bashed up. The office room sequence is barely enjoyable once, but when its done thrice over it gets to the nerves. The fight sequences deserves special brickbats. One wonders whether scenes from Sultan. the upcomin animation flick about our Super star were flicked and a garb of reality tried to be cast on it. Though the first fight sequence manages to raise a few laughs the rest would barely deserve a mention.

By the time the climax arrives, weariness has already set in and Mottai Sivaji's irritating mannerism of playing percussion on his tonsured head is the final nail on the coffin. One wishes the director had used his head better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The tale of two goals

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the following video is worthy of an epic.