Monday, May 25, 2009


Well, this one is the Indian Premier League!! If you thought the political league threw a big surprise, this one was huge!! No one would have given Deccan even a slim chance at the beginning of this edition, but to see the underdog triumph is something we all enjoy.
Most of the matches were closely fought and pretty interesting this time around. But, empty stands and lack of the electrifying atmosphere like back home took some sheen off the entire event. Commercially, we still don't know if this was a successful event, but the commentators did all they could to help the sponsors. In this context, I don't really know what to make of Chris Gayle's comments, but it seems as though once you wear the hat of the West Indian team captain, indiscipline and lack of tact sets in automatically (we saw Brian Charles Lara, didn't we!).
In a few years from now, (if and) once T-20 repeatedly proves its money spinning power, it is not unreasonable to expect big players announcing early retirements to play just the lucrative form of the game. Gone are the days when we saw players retire from the shorter version of the game so that they could play test cricket for longer. An over dose of T-20 will most certainly be suffocate the flow of money, but in the right dose, clear signs are that it will be a big money spinner in the future.
Starting from Shilpa Shetty's googly to Sidharth Trivedy to Katrina Kaif performing at the closing ceremony, glamor was something that was not deficient this time around-even the cheer leaders seemed to have shed "more" thanks to the fact it wasn't happening on our shores. Kolkata had one 'hell' of a tournament this time! With the fake ipl player becoming a rage on the world wide web, he generated more interest than most of the games they played. In some ways, I was happy to see them lose after the shoddy treatment meted out to Dada, it did seem like natural justice at play. Buchanan will be out of favor with even the D level clubs in his home town after the showing here. The shocking multi-captaincy theory drew flak all sensible cricket lovers, but Sharukh Khan thought otherwise! Good that he didnt waste money returning to SA once again.
Some of the old guns like Gilly, Kumble, Hayden performed exceptionally well and I felt especially happy for Kumble (being a huge Jumbo fan myself)! Though I support the Chennai Superkings, Deccan is my second favourite team (no, not after this win) and it was good to see them take the cake.
Mumbai clearly under-performed inspite of boasting of the best opening pair in the IPL. They tinkered with their batting line up too much in a desperate attempt to produce results and unfortunately for them, it didn't work. After Sreesanth's newly christened name, Punjab is perhaps more famous for having 'Appam' in the team than their performance!! Rajasthan looked a mere shadow of last year's team, Yusuf Pathan being the only saving grace.
IPL-2 had its elements no doubt, but will the T-20 fever continue to have this frenzy it has generated in its formative years? Only time will tell, but I do hope test cricket weathers this storm because after all its the ultimate TEST!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Indian Political League

Its election time once again, the biggest festival in a democracy. Elections 2009 have been quite a long exercise, what with 5 phases spread over almost a month. The blistering heat of the Indian summer only worsened matters for both the politicians and the 'other' minority-the voter alike. A lot of high profile media campaigns aimed at coaxing the lethargic and apathetic (urban) Indian to come out and vote bit the dust, quite literally. From Varun Gandhi's (still "alleged") hate speech to the much publicized split in the EC, this election has had it elements.
All indicators seem to point to a badly fractured verdict on the 16th of May. But, nothing is certain till the last vote has been counted! With the hegemony of the regional parties growing (whether for good or otherwise), the seat share of the big two seems to have nose dived. If the opinion polls are to be believed, both the Congress and the BJP seem to be well short of 200 and their pre-poll alliances well short of the magic 272 mark. This search for an alternative to both the Congress and the BJP is perhaps a manifestation of a very restless electorate.
During a casual chat with one my friends today, he made the point that this election is probably not a bad one to lose!! He had his reasons and it did seem to make some sense indeed. A hung parliament is an fertile breeding ground for horse trading. Ideologies are thrown out of the window, foes turn friends at the blink of an eyelid and partners are ditched for short term gains. The sole motivating factor is the over powering drive to be in power at all costs. An alliance cobbled up solely on political opportunism will not be a stable formation in the long run. With each constituent trying to further its own personal ambitions, national interests often take a back seat. The dark years of the UF government in recent political history should bring shivers to every sensible Indian at the sheer thought of such a formation emerging in the post May 16th scenario. Like what happened to the fate of the UF government, such an alliance could well mean another election in 2-3 years.
If there is an election again within the next 2-3 years, the disenchantment with an unstable formation at the Centre, the people of India may well give a decisive mandate for some pre-poll political formation. Two years from now, the national parties may have new leaders at the helm. It would be interesting to see who they are and their "acceptability" quotients, but all pointers are towards Rahul for Congress and Modi for the BJP. We are indeed getting ahead of ourselves, and its best to take it as it comes. For now, May 16th holds the key and post Saturday, the bartering abilities of the political parties will decide who becomes the next Prime Minister of the biggest democracy in the world.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sab log on Picasa!

It was a funtastic trip!! Over a 1000 miles of driving taught me a lot about how to drive, rather
how not to!! Getting myself 'photographed' for over speeding, being pulled up by cops on the freeway for alleged drunken driving, slapped a
fine for parking at the wrong place is sure to teach a lesson or two isn't it??!!

It was a well deserved break! After a semester and more of a routine life, it was exciting to move out of the four walls of my apartment. It took three cars, four days and fourteen people (oh yes a few thousand dollars) to make the trip to Las Vegas and Grand Canyon!! It was great making the trip with some wonderful people, better still meeting a friend after a long time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A proud moment for every Indian

What a night at the Oscar's for Indians. At this point in time, as I scribble a few lines here, 4 Oscars have come our way. 2 to ARR, 1 to Resul Pookutty and 1 for 'Smile Pinki', a documentary based on a small girl living in rural Uttar Pradesh.
For the common man, it was ARR representing India at the Oscars. When he came up on stage, I felt a deep sense of pride and I am sure every Indian would have felt the same. It was quite a short speech. The message conveyed was very profound, his humility dripping with every word. It was a speech much like the one he made at the Golden Globes. He thanked everybody who has been associated with the film and its music. He thanked his mom, what a proud moment for her!!!
Coming from humble beginnings, ARR has reached phenomenal heights. The Oscars notwithstanding, his music has made him an internationally known figure. Personally, I wouldn't rate Slumdog even close to his best. But, for those who are not familiar with his compositions, Slumdog would have simply swept them off their feet. May more such laurels come his way.

Above all, it was great to hear a line in Tamizh at the Kodak Theatre. Thank you Rahman!!
எல்லா புகழும் இறைவன் ஒருவனுக்கே !!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Is it the end of an era??

When was the last time you saw (or read!) about Australia losing badly. Not so long ago I am sure!!
If the way they played against South Africa wasn't puzzling enough, the series versus New Zealand has been inexplicable so far. The targets have been modest at best, the bowling pedestrian and fielding mediocre. Having set low standards in every department it may not be such a huge over statement to say that the Kiwis did outplay the Aussies in 'every' department of the game.
As far as I can look back, I don't think there has ever been a weaker Australian team. Their A team was much better until a couple of years ago!! Former players have gone on record and said that other teams have actually started closing in on Australia though their standards have not fallen per say. This rule may be just fine for India and South Africa, to sing the same song for the Kiwis is taking things ridiculously far.
If you have managed to catch a highlights package of the first one day against the Kiwis, you would know for sure that both teams were desperately trying to make the other win. But there came point when the Kiwis lost their patience and decided to win it themselves.
Unfortunately for Australia, the poor runs of Hayden, Hussey, Clarke (to a certain extent), Symonds' problems, injuries to Watson, Clark and Lee coincided. With more than half the side unable to perform for one reason or the other, it was a huge burden for Ponting to carry on his shoulders. To his credit, he has done reasonably well so far. The form with the bat is the sole reason he is still leading the side. Or is it? The truth is that they can't afford to lose Ponting at this stage. I am pretty certain he would be in this team even if he had an extended poor run. How else can you explain the selection of David Hussey? From over ten matches he doesn't have a single three figure score. For a batting alrounder that's appalling by Australian standards. Remember this bloke called Bevan??
I am no Australian fan, as you might have guessed. But, the way they have gone about their game has been meek. It seems as though they have already resigned to defeat. Where is that indomitable Aussie spirit? This may well be just a phase in their cricket. The serious issue is that there appears to be a genuine dearth in the talent-the pool is drying up. As a result, four season old 'babies' are trying their hand at international cricket. Gone are the days when you needed to be over 25 to be in the national squad. Australia was one team that has never believed in precocious talent, Gilchrist, Hayden, Hussey, Martin, Bevan, Ponting, Clarke are all examples. They all went through the grind of the first class games for about 5 years before they could break-in to the ODI team, let alone the test team. The reasoning was that they had to be seasoned and mature enough to handle the pressures of international cricket. Fair enough.
I wish to make one more point. Contrast the Indian team of the mid nineties to this Australian team. India depended on Tendulkar just as Australia do on Ponting. Ponting is taking a "well-deserved" break, so that he can be fresh for the South African tour. Imagine Sachin's plight. Could he have afforded such a break? Granted there is far too much cricket these days. Think of how long Sachin has been carrying the side and the hopes of an entire nation on his shoulders. Now that's a legend for you!
To conclude that Australian cricket is on a downward spiral and that their dominance of world cricket is over might be a little pre-mature now, the signs do look ominous.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Truly aaxion jothi!!

My steadfastness in keeping myself up to date with almost all tamil movie releases is something I am 'very proud' of. Tiruvannamalai-action jothi would probably be the last on the 'to see' movie list of all Indians alive, with the exception of those who made it. I beg(gged) to be different. Thank GOD for the fact that I wasn't put off by this.
Coming from this immensely talented director named Perarasu (I had a tough time spelling it out!!), it is natural that expectations 'so(u)ar'. The introduction scene of our own Action King is thrilling to say the least, though he does test our patience by reviewing his counting skills a la 'BABA COUNTING'. What you witness in the first half is a battle of the brains between the hero and the villain. But the director makes up for the lack of thrills by introducing a 'few' more villains to ensure there are enough actions blocks with a lot of comic interludes. The chief comedian, I mean apart from the director himself, is our heroine. I am sure the girl would go places, a great 'find' no doubt. Arjun's comic timing is a revelation of sorts and this pilim exploits yet another dimension of his acting repertoire.
Another high'light' of this movie is the music. Srikanth's rich musical lineage is well known and his music would make (only) his daddy very proud. The generous use of drums and trumpets is soothing to the ear and lesser mortals like ARR and Raja would (un)learn a thing or two by apprenticing with the family's tro(o)up.
I am pretty sure Kavithalaya would be raking in the moolah. The fiim is a huge hit with the A,B and C segment audience.
A few noteworthy cameos: (WARNING:list is not exhaustive)
Sai Kumar the main villain, MLA plays his part as an intelligent baddie beautifully. Full marks.
Chitti Babu: I am a big fan of his comic abilities. He plays a lackey to the MLA and his facial distortions and histrionic abilities have been maximally utilized. Yet another great performance.
Arjun and Arjun: You must be wondering if it's a typo. Arjun plays a double role and the difference he brings out in them is so much I had to write down the same thing twice. His best performance to date.
Perarasu: Most reviews I read did not even carry a mention of his cameo, what a grave injustice to this man. He comes only for a couple of scenes, but the impact he creates is so profound that you cannot but wish he does bigger roles, may be even that of the protagonist.
Last but not the least, I thank the ALMIGHTY for giving me the patience and will to see this movie and more importantly for g(L)orifying it. I also wish to thank my reader(s) who has/have read this patiently. I pray to you GOD that my worst fears that I would be the only one reading this, should not come true.
The sole purpose of this is post can be summed up as நான் பெற்ற இன்பம் பெருக இவ்வையகம்.
Translated roughly as Let the world enjoy the 'bliss' I have 'enjoyed'