Au Revoir.. Hope, Optimism and Indian Cricket


Before writing this post, I wrote a 3 page long post about Indian cricket team. And then realized that I was seething with anger. Like a true Indian fan.

And like a true Indian, I am opinionated. Here are 10 things that I think should be done –

  1. We, as a nation, need to go back to celebrating one off victories and stop looking for grandiose performances. We should act like minnows of international cricket and save ourselves some heart wrenching moments.
  2. We should stop calling our batting lineup the best. We have dogs that don’t bite or bark.
  3. Our batsmen should be paid on the basis of the amount of time they spend on the crease and the number of runs they score. Dada will win the race given the amount of time he takes the score the runs that he scores. Hmmm, let me revise the metric – A function of absolute number of runs scored, and runs per minute. Strike rate is meaningless. Its like counting the number of girls you hit on without having any affairs.
  4. There should be a pay per win policy. Tournament wins would get you more money. If you beat an Australia or SA, you get 3x, if you beat SL and Pak, you get 2.5x, if you beat England, NZ etc, you get 2x, for beating minnows, you get 1x. Bangladesh has just been promoted to 1.5x.
  5. Sehwag should be given a Titan watch (TCS and Tata Group company style) for long service and be given a subtle hint to retire.
  6. Utthapa should be given a frying pan. Flash in the pan brilliance, which comes and goes like a flash. He can also be given lifetime supple of the Rs.2 Nepali batteries also. That will help him keep flashing cheaply (pun unintended) all his life.
  7. Agarkar should be asked to take motivational sessions for MNCs. How to make money by being just 66.66% accurate. His knack of being back in the team despite bowling only 4 decent bowls every over is not a skill that can be replicated easily. He can think about Patenting his Agarkarizma (If Miracle?)
  8. Tendulkar can start a TV show – Who wants to be a Tendulkar? The reason I am saying that is that it’s a fading business opportunity. He needs to cash out. Soon, there wont be anyone wanting to wear the shoes of one of the greatest batsman ever, who never led India to any important series win (well, except that one innings in Sharjah!)
  9. The entire team should be made to watch Gunda at least a couple of times. There should be a quiz on what they learnt from the movie. Things like “Nothing is impossible” (Mithun is a coolie at the Airport), set yourself real and achievable targets (Do Char Che Aath Das- Bas!), you don’t need to confirm to the conventional standards if you want to win (Gunda is a commercially viable venture), etc. are only some of the lessons!
  10. And yeah.. one big request to the media – Lets start focusing on other games. PHL is nice. Sania Mirza looks good even when she is losing. Narain Karthikeyan can do with some support. Our chess players are great. And we have soccer fan clubs in every city. Its time we grew beyond a lost cause!
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Inzing Away Into The Sunset

The tall monolith, moving with a poetic gait, cause of many a silly runouts and executioner of many a great innings in the world of cricket, Inzy Bhai called it quits last night. In the face of great shame (Pakistan ousted out of world cup, beaten by Ireland), and lots of despair (death of Bob Woolmer), he waves goodbye, but the Pakistani team will miss his services and his on-field composure for years to come.

1992 World Cup, where a great captain Imran Khan brought Inzamam’s heroics to the fore, and the world saw him mark his stamp of arrival into the cricketing world (the great innings against New Zealand in Semifinal), 22 year old Inzamam was all about grace, style and ease when it came to batting. I have never been able to figure out how he managed to have so much time to play his shots (especially, with his bulk).
His 378 matches, 11000+ runs, 39.72 average and 10 centuries don’t tell you the real magnitude of his impact on the game. Usually the smiling Buddha of Pakistan team, Toronto is the only place where someone saw him loose his temper.

Faras Ghani talks about his 5 best innings, while Osman Samiuddin bids him an emotional farewell. But nobody talks about one of the biggest banes of subcontinental cricket – the enormous pressure it puts on all cricketers. Houses are vandalized, effigies burnt, and slogans shouted everytime they lose a match. Why? Because they bring shame to the nation? Those slogan shouters forget that these are the players who put a lot of heart and soul behind those matches. That it hurts them as well when they lose. That when you lose, you want your supporters to rally behind you, urging you to keep the chin up. Inzy has lived through his own set of pressures and boiling moments. And has come out calmer all the way.

And if he seems soft, lets remind the cricket world about the walk-off Pakistan team did under his captaincy at the Oval. It takes a lot of courage to take such decisions.

So Long Inzy Bhai The generation of cricketers to come would not forget that batting might be science, but it’s the artful craft of players like Inzamam-Ul-Haq that makes cricket such a delight to watch. We will not forget those effortless sixes, delicate late cuts, fearsome pulls and elegant drives.

(c)RICKETY Affair

It takes a lot from refraining from commenting on the World Cup and the Indian Cricket Team. and I have done that a bit here with my previous post on cricket being about the fight between Gavs and Ponting. That fight took multiple dimensions with the entire Aussie team trying to defend their on-field behavior by not referring to it even once, but talking about how Gavs should not have brought Hooksie in this discussion! Well, hmm.. hmph!

But thats not what this post is all about. This post is about India, the WC and the Indian team..

1. We lost to Bangladesh. Greatbong rips our performance apart here.

My biggest grievance. If you have a wound, you treat it. If you don’t, it becomes gangrene. After a while, you need to remove that rotten part of your body because the infection starts spreading to other parts of the body. At one point in time, the Indian team (even though it was administered a little brutally) did this to good effect by letting Ganguly go. The left and the deft hand of Indian cricket for a good time, Ganguly, did come back with a vengeance.

Sehwag’s situation is worse. Its affecting the whole team. The recklessness that is considered the bane of all sports became style. Sehwag was joined by Dhoni. And now it seems to be the flavor of the season! Even the perspiring Dada [who is not ready to get off the wicket in this stint of his career, even if it means scoring once in 6 balls (the last deliver, to be precise)] played a reckless shot at 67 (and later on, against Bermuda).

Bowling was petty at best, and streetside on an average.

2. We thrashed Bermuda. I should be happy, right? Am I? not quite! After reducing them to 50-odd runs for 5, we still let them score 150 odd runs. That tells me that the body language is still not one for the kill. The batsmen were having fun making records, and that explained the 400+ score. Bowlers, too comfortable after getting the top 5, started reveling in that glory!

Dada was still perspiring. Two back to back half centuries against (presumably) below average bowling attacks would air a picture of a dada dancing down the crease to clear the stands far too many times. I would have wanted to imagine a dada slashing through the gully region and driving through the covers. Not this time. It was a hard toiled effort. But still, hats off to him for perspiring.

Some of the media folks have started reading too much into the comeback of Viru! But Mumbai Mirror has got it spot on– back all swell, against Popatwadi XI. Those who saw the match yesterday would recall the umpteen hit n miss shots played by Viru. The number of times he did not get out was more than the times he would get a chance from any other team.

Yuvraj still seems to be the best bet. Zaheer remains the pick of the bowlers, ready to bend his back, slog it out.

Movie Review: Hat Trick

All right All right. Yes I am on a blogging binge. But this is part of the series of stuff I wrote over the weekend but never managed to post because of my erratic internet connection at home.

And so, here I am, trying to review another below average movie which I shouldn’t have watched in the first place.

Anyways, Hat Trick is another useless attempt by a seemingly good director (Milan Luthria) to weave multiple stories together without there being any common thread. One story is that of a rather acidic doctor (Nana Patekar) being brought to life (humor, fun n all) by an ex-Cricketer (Danny). Second – of an obsessive cricket fan (Kunal Kapoor) being brought to his senses by his wife’s (Rimi) love for Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Third- of an airport janitor (Paresh Rawal) in UK desperate to get citizenship.
Why is the movie called Hat Trick? Well, I will exhaust two guesses-
1. Three wicket taking deliveries, three audience killing stories!
2. Hat Trick requires you to really pull some magic out of thin air. Here, the crew is trying to pull a story/movie out of thin air.

Paresh Rawal, the great actor that he is, has taken his greatness too seriously. He is overtly loud in this movie. His character required a certain desperation, an ABCD kinda mentality, a clear generation gap, and a personality for whom nothing really is going right. What he does is similar to what Amitabh was trying to pull off in his “Jadugar” and “Toofan” era. Dish some crap. People won’t realize because my crap stinks better than cK Eternity!
Paresh Rawal is so loud in this movie that you are almost about to shout at the theatre guys for being in love with him and turning up the volume every time he comes on screen. But of course you realize that these guys are not DJs who turn the volume down almost instantaneously when his wife/daughter is talking. And the tragic nature of his character can be bettered only by Ekta Kapoor’s K-series.

Nana Patekar, typecast long back, sleep walks through his role with ample ease. It’s a character that he is used to playing – angry with life for some weird reason, but a gentle and nice person at heart, extremely righteous, has fun towards the fag end of the movie, etc etc. Danny shines as an ex-cricketer. But then, there is no point wasting ink and space on these two guys unless they do something that they are not used to doing – acting badly! (Which Paresh Rawal has done in copious amounts)

Kunal Kapoor is good, ok, decent, etc. But is not the same he was in movies like Minaxi or RDB. His pairing with Rimi in the movie adds a lot of absurdity to the movie. Though there are a couple of comic moments, but barely so. The pair could have been dispensed with. And while I think about it, the movie could have been dispensed with too.

The song Rabba Khair Kare is nice (situational, in the backdrop, and interspersed throughout the movie). Harsha Bhogle, in his movie cameo, is not as natural as he is otherwise. But he is better than Paresh Rawal.
And Milan Luthria, after Kache Dhaage and Taxi No. 9211, and even movies like Deewar, is expected to make a slick fast paced movie. The pace of Hat Trick is sluggish, snailish at times!

Overall – Rating 3 on 10. Avoidable! Unless, you are in love with Kunal Kapoor who does pull a Salman Khan for a couple of minutes (not the receding hairline bit silly! The bare all Salman!)

One of the finest renditions of our National Anthem

Ek Ghazal

TeriI SadiYOn meIn jii rahaA hooN maaiN

SAans lene ki kise fursat haii

MujhKo hairAani se mat dekhaA karo

Mera visAal hi aE dost merii furqat haii..


JAane do lamhon mein kyaa kyaa yahaan bikhraa paaya

JAane kis kis ki tamanNaon ka silaa paaya

Do ghadii ruk gaya to waQt badal jayega

Ajnabi aasmAan merii pehchan, merii jaroorat haii


Baandh lo mujh ko merii Umr ke viraAne meIn

TumSe firr mil sakooN bas itni merii hasrat haii…

Theatre Watch: "One Small Day"

I happened to catch a performance of One Small Day at NCPA. Not quite sure if it follows the mood of watching an idyllic sunset at Marine Drive with special someones, but the play was good in some parts, and average in some.

Backdrops first – Directed by Jayant Kripalani, Produced by Anish Trivedi, and enacted by Dipika Roy and Anish Trivedi himself, the play traces the interaction between two very different, yet similar people, caught in a room together where the lady has come to kill the gentleman (in a self-redeeming effort of avenging her sister’s death).

First, about the cast and the people. Jayant is known for his wit, timing and acting, right from the days of the TV Series – “Khandaan”. Truly a man of great theatrical skills, Jayant lends his credibility and touch to this play. Anish, an ex-Investment Banker turned playwright, with his previous play “Still Single” going off the streets after an year of performances, started the Banyan Tree production company, and has a radio show on 92.5FM. Banyan Tree is one of the largest radio programming companies in India. Theatre, has been a recent foray for Anish and Banyan Tree. And for encouragement, the previous act (Still Single) did win him some good and some bad press. Dipika Roy has also been around in the theatre circuits for quite some time and has a list of impressive plays to her credit. Anish’s partner at Banyan Tree, she is Anish’s muse for sure given her role in Still Single as well as One Small Day.

Trivia: In the initial running of the play, Jayant was acting and Anish was directing. But for some reason, within a month or so, the roles were reversed.

Back to the play, which apparently is an inspired play. The original required people to take sides, define things as right or wrong, while Anish and Jayant’s effort is more on the humorous side. It’s not an intellectually challenging play, and plays for approximately 2 hours on the humorous/ satirical side of things.

Sheila (Dipika) barges into Bollywood Producer Hari Kapoor’s (Anish) office to kill him. His crime – Sheila’s sister Seema has committed suicide, after Hari failed to live up to his promise of casting her in a role. A heartbroken Seema ends up taking her life, but not before telling her sister why she is doing it. Having had a troubled childhood (after losing her mother at the age of 18, and father at the age of 22, Sheila raises her 14 year old sister all by herself. She has lived her life by the social norms of right and wrong, doing all the right things and sacrificing her “life” in return. She blames Hari for having lost the most important person in her life- Seema. Hari, over the course of a long conversation which fairly wittily tries to address the question of different personalities, insecurities, actions, motives, reality, people, emotions, individuality, sacrifices, choices, careers, and most importantly, the futility of it all, end up liking Sheila, and making out with her (not on the stage, of course! Indian audiences are not ready for that real a play as yet!). Sheila, however, having been pulled out of her shackles in the first half of the play, digs out Hari’s insecurities in the second half, and shooting him (not fatally, though) towards the end.

The play continues to hit upon the broken dreams and failed aspirations of each of the characters (Sheila, Sushma and Hari) and the roles they played in making them the kind of people they were. And the undertone used is –humor and sarcasm. The play is quite funny, with its wisecracks. However, the essence of a powerful script is that the audience should carry the play with them when they move out of the theatre. That does not happen here!

Background score used in the play is quite involved and in sync with the theme. The stage handling is very apt, and so is the use of the stage. The two actors have played their parts well. However, some of the estrangement and grief that two torn lives should have was missing in their performance.

Overall- a good effort. Can definitely be watched. Much better than spending a weekend on movies like “Just Married” or “HatTrick”

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