Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ek Purana Mausam Lauta

As we have previously indicated we are big fans of Rohit Brijanth's writing. And so we link to yet another article of his courtesy a friend from school P. It talks about one of our favorite batsmen Mohammad Azharuddin.

Circa May 1990 :

Nightwatchmen then is in a summer camp fast nearing its end. We are being coached on the game we love to play and watch from then till today. A time when we would laugh so much while Appa was tossing and lobbing his slow off breaks that we would inevitably get out bowled. A very thin slightly tall for his age NW is coached to bat but also to bowl left arm spin. Today is the last day of the camp and to sign off we have Azhar and Maninder Singh coming over. So NW bowls a spell to one of the most beautiful players that the great city produced. At that point in time life was worth living and we were on top of the world.

Later in 1992 we see India playing Australia in the world cup. India lose the match by one run but one shot stands out. McDermott pitches one in short slightly outside the off stump, Azhar shuffles across and with a flourish of the wrists plays a back foot drive over the bowlers head for four. To generate that kind of power with wrists off the back foot was a sight to behold.

Fast Forward to the 1997 tour of India to SA. India are 58-5 in reply to SA's 529. Out walks Azhar and in the company of the greatest batsman of my era plays the kind of innings most batsmen can just dream about. First there was a cut that was played behind point off Allan Donald (and for all those who think Shoaib Akhtar is quick, they ought to take a look at white lightning). Not a single fielder on the off side moved. And Donald moves his point finer to where the ball sent. Next ball and the shot is played oh so squarer and again the result the same, all fielders left static almost admiring the shot. The look on Allan Donald's face was quite the look of incomprehension usually reserved for a Class IV student getting quizzed about Maxwell's equations.

(Image Courtesy :

Rewind to December 1996. The Eden Gardens where for some reason Hyderabadi batsmen seem to find their best touch. India are 119-6 in reply to South Africa's 429. Out walks an injured Azhar and proceeds to play the sort of knock only he can. With Anil Kumble for company by the time he is out India's score is doubled and Azhar has made 109. It also included an over for the poor debutante Klusener (he made up for it in the second innings) who got hit for five boundaries.

The same series the third test match is at Kanpur and it is a square turner of a pitch. First innings either team does not pass 250 and India has a lead of 60 runs. India are at a tricky 121 for 4 when Azhar starts batting. The way he batted and the rest of the batsmen plodded was to use a cliche chalk and cheese. Top scoring in the match and remaining undefeated he put paid to any hopes that SA entertained of winning.

One of his Derbyshire team mates I forget who once had this to say about his batting "There was this bowler who bowled him a half volley on off stump, Azhar opened the face of his bat square drove him and scored 4 through point. The next ball was a similar one but this time Azhar chose to close the face of his bat and flick it through square leg for four. It could hardly have been done by any other batsman in the world".

For the right reasons he became a much hated player towards the end of his career. We believe that his career and life took a down turn the day Raj Singh Dungarpur told him "Miya captain banoge"

But to us he will always remain a player who was very easy on the eyes (when the bowling was not directed short and at his body) and one of the main reasons we took to the game.

P.S : We could not get the photo that we took with Azhar on our camp since by the time the snaps came we were leaving the city to go to some other place where Appa was transferred to and Appa did not have the change for the photo and neither did the organizer have the change for 100/-

P.P.S : If you are a fan of Jagjit Singh and have not listened to the ghazal in the title of his post, do not miss it. Make sure you somehow listen to it right away.

P.P.P.S : There is also a review of an excellent biography of him by Harsha Bhogle here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stranger and Strangest interpretations

We have been listening to this song from a movie called Super Star.

Youtube link here.

Lyrics go something like this :

Ajnabi khwaab main dekha ta jo, ho tum wahi.

Well the object of this post is whether there is a comma after Ajnabi.

Now the usual interpretation of pretty much everyone has been that it is actually:

Ajnabi, khwaab main dekha ta jo, ho tum wahi.

Which sort of translates to "Stranger, you are the person we dreamed about"

We think the comma is not there.

We believe it actually means that "You are the person we saw in a strange dream", strange dream being "Ajnabi Khwaab".

Now we have no takers for this interpretation amongst the people that we talk to. Instead we have gotten lot of suggestions for psychiatric counseling.

We hope of the people who read this blog that if you do agree with us, please to comment so. Even if you do not let us know why ours is not the better one :)

Either way, whatever interpretation you do follow, it really is a great song isn't it......

P.S : Ever wondered why hurricanes are named after Bollywood actresses Katrina and now we have Nargis ? (Well maybe actress is paying too much of a compliment to Katrina maybe, what say ?)

Monday, May 05, 2008


We watched a Korean movie called Chihwaseon (Painted Fire) on the Thursday of last week. The movie is about the life of a painter called Jang Seung-Up. Born in poverty he is noticed by a noble man as a child. He mentors him and makes sure he gets the training an aspiring artist gets. But the need of his to gain acceptance while at the same time not conforming to what the artists think "art" forms the crux of the story.

This inner conflict is bought out quite excellently in one scene. The artist has just finished copying a painting by a Chinese artist. His mentor and some of his friends who are connoisseurs of art (or at least think of themselves that way) are at a loss to differentiate between the original and the fake. But there is a difference, the fake has an extra sparrow in the painting. "Alone and desolate", isolated and then they cut to a close up of the artists face which reflects precisely the same emotions. (We would have rather preferred not to have the close up since we figured that the point was made). Almost the whole movie is spent in the artist trying to re-concile himself between being popularly accepted and to follow his own heart and develop an individual style of his own. And it is this that makes the artist go on drunken binges and shout at the top of his voice from a roof top. We would recommend that you not miss this scene when you watch the movie.

Also woven very well into the script are the loves of his life. From the perennially ill younger sister of his mentor, to shall we say "the-ladies-of-the-night" and a flute player as well. If you are a romantic you would love the scene where he paints a grand screen for his lady love #2 when on the verge of breaking up with him she asks him for a painting that will have good market value.

With the artist's mentor being one of the prime movers behind the reformists, we are also given an insight into the political upheavals happening in Korea in the latter half of the 19th century.

If you are a painter, a writer or even a techie who has had to face the sort of questions and make the choices that Jang Seung-Up had to then you will be able to truly appreciate the movie.

(What is the question for a techie you might ask, Well to choose between what you believe in and what your manager believes in ???)

(Images Courtesy : Cinemania and

Friday, May 02, 2008



This was originally going to be a post about an obscure little gem called Pants of Fire (sadly, no, it was "Painted Fire", though I like the UK title better). Fortunately, sanity intervened in the form of a surprisingly good movie by Abbas Kiarostami, whose only other movie we watched had more Epic Fail Guy per frame than a Pshaw rooke ad for the kolkroaches. All right, no more links to E.Dramatica. For a few more sentences, at least. Particularly considering the alternative (just search for India). Mind you, the State names are hilariously funny enough to make me wonder if an Indian wrote it. If so, may we express the opinion that India's search for its very own Dave Barry and Art Buchwald has ended.

Now, on the surface of it, Ten is not precisely the sort of movie that ought to expect rave reviews: it's shot in a car, with cameras aimed at the occupants. For some reason, we see only one of them at a time, though as the movie goes on, we do get to make a catalogue of the rings worn by the driver. It also starts off with the sort of effortlessly irritating spoilt brat that makes you weigh seriously the pros and cons of genocide. As the movie progresses, though, it provides small glimpses of the lives of a certain number of Iranian women, in a way that actually makes you want to watch the rest of the movie. On a highly unrelated aside, why weren't the feminists born to write in sandland? That may have been where they could have done the most good, and it might, just might, have spared us some amount of ghastly reading brought about by an overactive curiosity.[1]

This sort of a minimalist approach to filmmaking was last panned in the Bleary-eyed Bitch Project. Leaving apart the fact that we consider minimalism essential in only a single subject, the minimalism works - and surprisingly well - for Ten: you actually want to hear the stories being narrated without the usual Amitabh-voiced sanctimonious prig. Starting right from the appropriately named Mania's messy divorce and subsequent remarriage, and her discussions with her bratty son, the sister, the old lady, the prostitute, the heartbroken and the hairless woman (whoever is absent, pleej raije your hand) their stories are presented, with plenty of reading between the lines (or watching between the frames, as you prefer). The net result was that the movie was never boring: a considerable achievement since all you can see is either whiny brat or whiny woman, the rings or other assorted jewellery, the (chaotic) traffic that reminds us of a certain hellhole - all of which are subjects guaranteed to bore us out of our tiny skull within seconds. The fact that it does not do so is both a credit to Kiarostami, and a reason to watch this movie.

(an aside: did you know that Bheja Fry was never a dish of exotic ganglia cooked in oil and served in a neatly trepanned cranium of the enemy? And here we were, having such pleasant dreams. For the record, 300 is reviewed in a highly better way by Ruthless - go and read it there.)

[1] For the record: we have no quarrel with the aims of the femi knists (apart from considering them irrelevant in an ideal world) but do have quite a few objections to their methods. Was it Holmes who had madness in his method, and method in his madness?

Edit: 10+4? 10+4!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The First rain

So while we were playing Badminton on Tue night suddenly we felt that the roof would cave in on us. Such was the din that the first rain of the summer was causing.

With much trepidation we left office once the rains abated since there is almost always a huge traffic jam once it rains in Bangalore. (There are jams on only two days in Bangalore, the cardiac-arrest-inducing ones on days it rains and the merely frustrating ones on days it does not)

Photo Courtesy : Google search that led to a flickr user by the name Jace.

And so it turned out to be. Traffic was clogged horribly till we crossed KR Puram bridge and as we took the flyover to get onto the traffic free zone we were praying that the radio plays a song that we like, and so it turned out that as we joined the Outer Ring Road a personal favorite "Maula Mere Maula" from the movie Anwar was played.

YouTube link of the song here.

There is something about Sufi Music that is so uplifting, as if one is transported to an alternate universe.

And onto home after a great dinner, we were sitting in our room with the balcony door open and the cool winds blowing in (since ours is a west facing balcony and the summer being hot by Bangalore standards at 38C cool winds are not so common) we find that a friend who is now in the US is online and wants to play Scrabble on Facebook.

We have played maybe thrice on Facebook with A and lost all three times. But on this day everything was going our way and we had a string of firsts. Our first bingo on Scrabulous (83 points at that), 400+ points for the first time in Scrabble. And this is how the board looked at the end of the game :


NightWatchmen : 454
A : 263.