Friday, July 28, 2006

Great birthdays

Todays the birthday of two great men Sir Gary Sobers and Sachin Dev Burman (his 100th to boot according to The Hindu).

The former is arguably the greatest all rounder to ever play the game of cricket while the latter was one of Indians all time great music directors. A curious co-incidence is the fact that one of the best batsmen of my times Sachin Tendulkar is named after Sachin Dev Burman.

First Sir Gary Sobers, 8000 odd runs at 58 and 235 wickets at an average of 34 says something about this master of the game. He is one of the players chosen in Bradmans XI of the best players the Don has seen play and fills the crucial all rounders slot along with another of my favourite cricketers Keith Miller. Sir Gary got 90 votes out of 100 for the five Wisden cricketers of the century second only to the incomparable Don who got all 100(nothin less was expected from him).

But then Sir Gary was more Keith Miller than the Don. Probably his best innings was the 254 that he played against the Australians while playing for the World XI. In the first 3 innings he was something of a bunny against Dennis Lillee. He didnt earn any sympathy from Lillee by bowling short to him in the second match's first innings at the MCG. Lillee is supposed to have said "That little bastard, I will show him ... I haven't really bowled at him yet'." What followed the next day in the second innings was pure vintage Sobers, he just thrashed them. 254 superbly compiled runs which led him to remark : "Every attacking shot went to the boundary and Dennis, as inexperienced as he was then, was bowling too short." There is one shot that will always remain etched in my memory (courtesy all those Saturday special couloumns that I would read in The Hindu by Nirmal Sekhar and co.) a yorker to which most batsman would have thought of defending off the front foot to a pacer of Lillees pace (Abdul Razzaq found out too late yesterday against Steve Harmison of not going forward) just lent back and sent it crashing into the long off fence. Lillees views "went down in my follow-through to try to stop it; by the time I was down, I was looking back and the ball had hit the boundary fence and bounced back. I have never witnessed a shot of such power and grace. I thought to myself, `We are in for some,'".

The Dons comments: "Having seen all the players of the last 50 years, I believe that Sobers' was the greatest exhibition of batting seen in Australia. I have seen nothing equal to it in this country."

He also commited some blunders mostly as a captain, declaring against England setting them a target of 200 in 165 mins resulting in a loss. But then thats the way he played his cricket, for him it was just a sport and there was no fun in no result test matches.

Heres a much better account of the meastro : To Sir With Love

What can one talk about a musician of the calibre of Sachin Dev Burman, well all one needs to do is watch Bandini to realise his mastery, suffice it to say that each composition just kept getting better as the movie went on and listening to "O Re Maajhi" I was transformed into some other dimension, a higher state of living. I will leave the rest to my Musician Friend.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Every day in every way I am becoming more and more Bitter

Sjecas li se, Dolly Bell (1981)

How do you like a movie? In general, I believe there are three kinds of movies: the kind you hate in the absolute sense, the kind that you can watch once, and the kind that you can watch many times (which is usually because it has a lobby scene, the lady herself, or maybe the great chain gang talks about sailing into the uncharted international waters of high finance)

Movies directed by Kusturica seem to fall into the last category. No fault of his, though. Somehow, with a small-name cast (well, no-name, but I was curious about Dolly) he manages to bring down that rare bird: an enjoyable movie.

The story, itself, is not very unique: a "growing-up story", crammed into the post-Sputnik era in that most bombed of Bosnian cities, where young Dinosaur learns that he is a special person: He has been empowered by the Baba of the earth above and sky below as his prophet in Jugo. His mission (which he chose to accept) is to preach the wonders of autosuggestion and hypnotism to none other than Mandrake the Magician.

Unfortunately, real life intervenes. Dino is a great musician with an appalling taste in music (as clearly demonstrated by an Italian love song that he sings. Another proof: when his uncle belts out a snappy Servian number on the local guitar, he chooses to have an impromptu session of all-in wrassling with a brother of his, who is only too happy to oblige.) The local Kommuneastern Hauptkampgruppefuhrer, affectionately referred to as "four-eyes" by the subtitles, is obliged to organise a band to rock out said Italian song. Band gets led by the young saurian himself, which naturally cuts into his prophetic works.

Incidentally, there is this almost amusing incident where one of the more fervent followers of the deputy baba tries to hypnotise his girl (judging from earlier remarks he makes about her, and his later behaviour, I have no hesitation in claiming they are the "made for each other" type.), only to have the hypnosis succeed all too well. He is so surprised by that that the baba resolves to punish him for his thoughtcrime.

All stories about growing up inevitably tend to involve a certain type of female love interest. This seems to be a reasonable truth. When in doubt, remember la bella's second least horrible role, in Malena. (While I am sure that Caulfield did not have any such thing, what do I remember? Maybe the reference passed right over my head. Anyway.) The dinosaur meets his companion from the ark when she gets rudely dumped at his window, with instructions from the local mafiosi on what she is to be fed when kept in his zoo. (Literally a zoo, since he feeds pigeons and hypnotises rabbits there.) The usual sort of stuff happens, followed by the usual sort of denouement when said mafiosi recollects that he had left a package c/o the saur. Incidentally, this female interest is Dolly Bell, and she gets this name from (another!) Italian "actress", whom she does her valiant best to impersonate, with the full and compleat package consisting of a blond wig and not much else.

Interspersed with this moving and touching and feeling story are the inevitable subtexts, such as on the evils of smoking, and the problems that hospital life causes to your devout scientist.

The finale consists of le Saur reading out the least efficient plan to cause a permanent summer on the earth to his father on his deathbed (not Dino's.) Everyone knows that moving the earth's plane of rotation is silly: a nuclear war is the fastest way to cause that particular type of summer. It beats out the closest competing plan - that of burning fuel like mad - as it is much faster.

Actually, no - that's not the finale. The finale is the usual "moving on, better times, better places" kind of stuff. But by then, the audience tends to wait in a sick dread for the inevitable discussions that follow such movies. They reminded me, rather clearly, why I considered the great zentral schule board's move to replace traditional english textbooks with "communicative "english"" to be somewhat less than optimal. Remember your english classes in school? People who couldn't recognise an original idea if it gave them a lap dance would proudly declaim original "explanations" for the chocolate cream soldier's cowardice.

In conclusion, the movie leaves us with two thoughts:

  1. What the hell happened to Dolly Bell?

  2. Ingrish classes are injurious to health

And yes, dark chocolate is nice. As is coffee without milk.

Monday, July 17, 2006

C.S.R -- Korporate S**t Review

I Nightwatchmen dont believe I am doing this (shamelessly inspired from this). Reviewing a movie filled with so much stupidity that it does not deserve a review, but then again I dont do too many things I believe in.

Basically think of the director as a IIT-ian who like all male IIT-ians is totally deprived of any sort of female company for 4 years when his hormones were in over drive. Now he wanted to make a porn movie but then he realised to get into Page 3 you needed to do something else (no puns intended). So then he wields the camera and derives vicarious pleasure(s) by making actors and actresses play out what he would have been fantasising about when he was in a class of Applied Geology on Friday afternoons in the sweltering heat of April.

1. As one of the guys on the board who screws his underling and gives her a "out of turn" promotion.

2. As the chairman of a big company who has a news reporter for confidante who arranges for young nubile nymphomaniacs for him. (Just to releive his guilt he calls the confidante a "bloody pimp" sometime in the movie when I was not muttering "what the f**k is going on ?").

3. As the COO of the rival company who keeps giving lecherous glances at anything that has a hole and moves.

4. As the finance minister of the state who gets to screw the top notch(all the notches were really at the top) item girl. (By the way please if the item number bandi does have weight in all the wrong places it is not the best thing to make her bend and film her in profile, it sort of shows that gravity actually exists....)

5. Again as the COO of the rival company who is first seduced by the bong COO(bherry bherry komplikated name) of the rival company only to refuse to sleep with him but in the process causing a spurt in his testosterone generation. Later on going to a disco and finding a model with big whatever (surely not brains) who literally performs lots of jobs and once our COO is asleep only to see the bong COO back, use a USB to download data from the hard drive of his laptop (this is getting dirtier and dirtier) which shows all the promos of the latest ad campaign to be run by his company. Passwords anyone ??

6. And then of course how can I forget the loser of the world who screws the heroine only to jump off a building and die and leave the heroine all alone with his kid.

There are 2 good things to look out for

1. Designer shades of the heroine (and no there are no shades of grey here)

2. Her designer watches, absolutely fabulous.