Thursday, November 5, 2009

In awe of the man called Sachin Tendulkar!

(I'm writing this just after India (347/10) lost their match against Australia (350/4) in Hyd.)

Just a while after India lost the match, I get a message from one of my good friends, who says "more than winning, we lost because of Tendulkar". And that was the last thing I thought anyone who had watched the match would say...

I wrote back to him telling the same and adding in the end that it is time for Sachin to retire... we Indians don’t deserve him after all...

It is sort of impossible for me to understand how someone can blame him for this loss. How easily we forget that he is human at the end of it. Even he can play a wrong shot; even he can have a lapse in concentration.

But no, he is not allowed to, coz he is Tendulkar! He is expected to score a century in every match. He is expected not only to score a century, but even a double century (which he almost did) if that is what it takes for the team to win. We so conveniently forget that there are 10 other batsmen too in the team!

Well, I guess it is but natural that people expect so much from him. We are so used to, aren't we? More so because he has been living up to the expectations for so many years now. Many would argue that that is not true. But again, as I said most would forget that even others in the team are supposed to contribute!

I wonder how his heart must have sunk to see the team lose in the end. There was so little they could have done wrong to lose from where he had left, and they did exactly that!

Considering the kind of innings he played, they should have at least won it for him. May be Jadeja should have shown some maturity, may be Praveen Kumar could have dived in the end and then may be Munaf could have hit a boundary off the last ball...!

Coming back to Tendulkar, I couldn’t help being in awe of the man! He was in the groove today. I could see the Tendulkar of yore again! And felt as happy as I had felt as a child! And suddenly remembered how I couldn't wait to get back from school when there was a cricket match! What if India was more likely to lose, we had hope...we had Tendulkar!

Really, he is the greatest, isn't it? There is very little reason to believe otherwise. The times that he has played in, the kind of opponents he has played against, I don't think there ever was or will be another one like him!

His amazing consistency, undying dedication, child-like enthusiasm, insatiable hunger for more, combined with down to earth simplicity ... really, not many of us can relate to him.

We can only look up to him and be in awe of the man he his... and proudly say that yes, we lived in the times of Tendulkar, Sachin Tendulkar!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mumbai Meri jaan: deserves applause!

I was surprised to find that this movie has been written about quite emphatically on IMDB. I thought I may be one of the very few who loved it (as it doesn't fall in the commercial bracket)...for the simplicity and honesty with which it has been made.

All the characters in the movie are very well thought about. The main character of the movie has to be Paresh Rawal's and believe me, he is in his finest touch here! This has to be rated as one of his best, falling only next to Hera Pheri... Let it be his dialogue delivery or his portrayal of an apathetic constable who has surrendered to the ways of life, he has done it so beautifully that I think he deserves a national award for it!
His dialogues although funny, reflect the point of view of a common man so very well. The one that I cannot forget is when he says, "meri tho zindagi guzar gayi, tum apni jawani mein kuch alag karneka sochogey ke nahi"... with the kind of honesty that only he can express...

KK's character has been explored very well too. The sequence where he finds fault in Muslims even when they listen to "desh bhakti" song reveals how deep rooted and how blind the hatred can get. (I could relate to that dialogue really well. It actually made me laugh...I've heard my dad say that so many times...Only if I can make him watch this movie..!)

The way Soha's plight (a reporter in the shoes of a common-man) has been portrayed is really praise worthy. It shows the insensitivity of our media and to what extent they can go in the name of TRP.
Madhavan does well as a common man who 'thinks' he can bring about a difference...
And of course, Irfan Khan is excellent in the role of a poor tamilian 'lost' in Mumbai!
Although there are so many characters in the movie, you'll never once feel that any of them are a misfit. They all have been thoroughly explored.

There hasn't been such a good movie made in Bollywood for a long time with such thorough characterization of true to life characters. This movie is one of the latest classics and I think every Indian should watch it. Although Mumbaikars would instantly feel at home, it is relevant to the rest of the country as well and every Indian will be able to relate to it. And with all the bomb blasts around us, the timing of the movie has been immaculate.

It is one of those movies that will stay with you long enough after you have left the theater. And the way it ends, you can only smile about it. And if you are as touched as I am, you wouldn't mind standing and applauding for it either.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sarkar Raj: almost a let down...

Sarkar, the first one in the series didn't impress me much. So I wasn't expecting this one to be any better. And I was almost proven right...

The first half was a major let down. I got an impression that Ramu was yet to get out of Aag's hangover. The movie was lacking in so many ways...overly loud background score, hollow characters, badly written screenplay, unconvincing acting(by Abhishek) and poor direction!
I wonder what the personal conversations between Abhishek and Aishwarya were supposed to be for! There was hardly any chemistry there... it was as though she was speaking to a robot who has no feelings but just pre-fed data in its memory, fitted with a poor processor, pausing to answer every time she says something to him!

And the background score 'deserves' a special mention! It was so gaudy, it looked as if it was competing hard with the plot in trying to grab the audience's attention! After every dialog you hear the background score blasting out of no where , trying to make sure you do not think of what the dialogue was supposed to mean!

That was the first half... But then, it does end on a promising note...And that's when I think the movie actually starts...

The second half does live up to the promise, though.
Ramu pulls off a stunt that I don't think many other director's would have dared to. That's when you finally realize that you are watching RGV's movie - Bollywood's Martin Scorsese - who is supposed to be a master in this genre. And that's when you know why he is considered a master.

I feel he has been let down by Abhishek. He just doesn't live up to the standards he set in Guru. Here his character is so much like Ajay Devgan's in Company and Abhishek doesn't even come halfway close when it comes to performance. He seems lacking in most of the departments, be it looks, dressing, body language or dialogue delivery. He is required to portray a character who knows what he is doing and is in control of the proceedings. He isn't wee bit convincing and he looks anything but in control!

But Amitabh is just the opposite... he blows you over with his performance. He just plays it to perfection. Less said the better. It needs to be seen to be believed. His fans are going to cherish this role of his. And if at all the movie goes on to be a hit, it'll only be because of him. He shows he is still THE Sarkar when it comes to acting! He is the only saving grace. (All those protests against him in Mumbai might just come to a halt after this convincing act of his for the goodwill of Maharastra! ;-) )

Aishwarya doesn't have much to do. But what ever little requires to be done, she does it well. She still looks pretty good, BTW!
But the way her character takes shape in the second half wasn't convincing. It was obvious that it was done just to have her in the forthcoming movies in the series.

Ramu does go wrong again... but it must be admitted that he finally manages to get back his touch, although late in the movie. He had a promising plot to play with, which could have been portrayed way better.
The last half hour which is by far the best part of the movie, he sort of makes up for it... but it might just be little late....or who might save the movie for him as well!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sydney Test: Indian team will be remembered for their cricketing spirit

All is fair in love and war they say. If not war, this poor display of sportsmanship by the Australians can probably be attributed to love…love for the record of highest consecutive wins!

This isn’t the kind of Cricket expected from the world’s best team and definitely not the kind of Cricket we are used to watching in the Border-Gavaskar series, which has given the world some of the most hard-fought Test matches of highest quality in recent times.

That said I’m not sure to what extent the Australian players need to be blamed. Most of the players in world Cricket do appeal wrongly in the heat of the situation. And I guess the Australians were more excited this time around as they were on their way to equal the previous record of 16 consecutive wins.
And very few players in world Cricket when they have nicked the ball walk without waiting for umpire’s decision. Even some of our most senior players don’t do so.
So I don’t think the Australians can entirely be blamed for it…although I do agree they didn’t play with the right spirit and they got away with it quite easily.

By all means it is the umpires' responsibility to make sure that they don’t give in to the emotions of the players and make sure the decisions given are fair. But in this case, the decisions were anything but fair, most of them biased in favor of Australia.
Seems they were trying to rule out any possibility of an Indian win or even a draw…and looked to make sure Australia wins.
They showed height of indifference when Clark/Pointing was consulted on whether the catch was taken rather than referring it to the third umpire… Of course, the limits were already crossed when even the third umpire had erred the first day!

I think India should play the remaining matches only if the offending umpires are fired for the rest of the series. And they should present a strong case in front of the ICC to declare the match unofficial.

On the other hand, it was really heartening to see India come back so strongly and dominate the match to a good extent after such a bad performance in the first test.
The class of Laxman, the fluency of Ganguly, the maturity of Sachin and the genius of Anil Kumble… it was all so good to watch.
Indians thoroughly deserved to win this one… and by no standard did they deserve to lose!
It was extremely disappointing to see them lose… and very sad to see Kumble walk back helplessly in the end after having put in such a gallant performance with the bat.

Overall, Indians definitely showed great character. The easiest thing for them would have been to walk out of the match with all those decisions going against them. But they ignored all that and still showed a spirited display and almost saved the match…
Australians on the other hand showed poor cricketing spirit overall, and by filing a case against Harbhajan, they have proved to be poor hosts as well.

Sydney test will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, and Indian team I’m sure will be remembered as the one having played with the true spirit!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Selectors' impulsive moves taking Indian Cricket backward

Indian Cricket team selectors, they do surprise us at times with some rare inclusion or exclusion, but they are mostly known to be predictable. But this time, they gave a real shocker!

Rahul Dravid's exclusion sure came as a shock. Although some sections of the media had been debating on it, no one really thought it would happen, because this is not how good players have been dropped. They did drop Ganguly, they did drop Sehwag. But they persisted with them long enough and dropped them only after they were consistently inconsistent!
But Rahul Dravid! That too after a form slump in just one series? That was something totally unprecedented.

Agreed Dravid was looking out of sorts in the series against Australia. He seemed to be a little down on confidence too.
May be he was just finding it a little tough to come to terms as just another player in the team, considering he was captaining the team for last couple of years. And a break for a few matches may only have been good for him.
But if they are serious about bringing him back, they should have done it in consultation with him. He should at least have been informed of it beforehand. Suddenly dropping him only would dent his confidence even more.

Poor guy didn't have a form slump for ages. Now he doesn't play well in a series and he finds himself dumped so unceremoniously!
It sure was harsh on him since he has served Indian cricket so arduously for almost a decade now. Considering he has been our most consistent performer, he definitely deserved more chances.

And do we have anyone as a replacement for Dravid, since he has been our best bet in a crisis situation? 50 over matches cannot be won with plane hitting. You need players who build the innings. And if he is to be brought back, I wonder what the criteria is gonna be, since he isn’t playing any domestic cricket either.

Although Ganguly has also been 'rested' after his return, it will be interesting to see if he'll be 'dropped' too if he doesn't perform in a few innings.
And Tendulkar's is another interesting case (with all due respect to the master, he still remains my favorite). They persisted with him for over a year when he was going through a form slump.
The double standards and favoritism are difficult to comprehend.

Sehwag's inclusion was even more surprising considering we already have enough openers/hitters in the team. That apart, he has been given enough chances already and has been found grossly unsuccessful at the international level for a long time now. One good knock of 70 at the domestic level doesn’t justify his return. Agreed he is one of the most aggressive batsmen we have, but he should have at least been made to prove his consistency before recalling him back. And tomorrow if he turns out to be inconsistent again, it’ll be interesting to see how they justify this move of theirs.

And one wonders what happened to Bhadrinath? He seems to have been included in the previous series just to fill an empty slot. If they really thought he had the capability, they should have persisted with him instead of bringing back Sehwag.

It's tough to understand how the selectors take their decisions and whether they follow any process at all. I hope sanity prevails again and they understand they are selecting a team which represents the whole nation, and will do their job by keeping favoritism aside and by selecting the most deserving candidates. Else Indian Cricket will only go a step backward with such impulsive moves which can only be termed as irrational.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dravid, back to doing what he does best!

Rahul Dravid didn't impress me so much when he had initially arrived...
Although technically gifted and a stylish stroke-maker that he was, he didn't score his runs fast enough for me to feel entertained while watching him!

BUT over a period of time, since the time he has 'transformed' into a one day player...since he started being a solid force against the Aussies... a guy dedicated to the team cause... doing whatever it takes in the best interest of the team (keep wickets, go bat at any position the captain wants you to... stay for as long as it takes on the screeze...)...I've really found it hard not to admire him.
He has GROWN INTO A CHAMPION, mostly due to his hard work and dedication.

Even as a captain he started off promisingly... he looked aggressive (always trying something new), didn't really seemed to care for records over wins (declaring an innings when Tendulkar was on the verge of getting a 200), didn't really mind dropping non-performing seniors (Ganguly, Zaheer)... supported all-rounders consistently(Pathan, Dhoni)...encouraged playing youngsters more... leading from the front most of the times and batting even better. Indian cricket hadn't seen that sort of aggression for a long time.

It was all fine till his experiments were working and winning matches for India. But the moment they started failing, and India lost a couple of series while getting close to the world cup, the selectors gave into the media pressure, brought back the older players, showed no faith in the captain or the coach and things were back to square one in a hurry-burry!
I guess bringing back of Ganguly, who the media portrayed as a scapegoat of Dravid/Chappel's strategy only messed up things more, adding to the confusion in the dressing room.
It's tough to believe that Dravid, a simple man that he is, had anything against Ganguly. He was probably just doing his job. And Ganguly anyway didn't warrant a place in the team solely as a batsman at that time.

And of course the world cup was one (un)forgettable affair...first round exit... something no one was prepared to witness...

By then, Dravid must have realized that the fans are supportive only as long as you win...couple of losses and your wins are all forgotten...
He must have realized that any further experimentations will not be taken positively and if at all they fail (which is likely when the team is on a low), then he'll have to take the entire wrath. That's why I think we saw a change in his strategy after the world cup. He was more of a planner, sticking to his regular batters, bowlers and not really doing anything drastic and staying away from any sort of risk, being too cautious at times.
When before he used to lead from the front, now he was seen going down the order. There was no doubt that he wasn't being himself any more...

Unlike his batting career which only got better and better, his captaincy had been on a sudden decline. It was obvious that he wasn't enjoying it anymore and was probably waiting to be let off the hook and get back to concentrate more on batting, which as per his high standards, had also hit a low for some time.

When former Indian captains were known to be sacked from captaincy, I'm glad he resigned honorably, that too on a winning note and showed what a gentleman he is.
Of course, the irony is that he'll always be remembered for not enforcing follow-on rather than for having won a historic series in England!

Now Rahul Dravid is back to doing what he does best - serve the team with his batting. He still being as youthful and fit as ever, for the next few years that he has left in international cricket, I hope he hits his peak again and gives the younger players a lesson or two on consistency.

Good luck to you, sir!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tomorrow never comes...

I've wondered how to get out of boredom...
I know I aint doing enough to feel excited...kinda stuck with the daily routine...kinda bored with the mundane living...

It isn't so tough to break the routine, it isn't so hard to feel excited again... but I feel like waiting for tomorrow... to feel live life again...

I chalk out a plan, I schedule my day well.... but the plan remains a plan and it hardly gets executed...!

It's so easy to live like this...the longer I live this way...the tougher it is to come out of it...
I know all that, but I still wait for that elusive 'tomorrow'....which I keep pushing a day away...!

I keep reminding myself that this isn't how I want to be, this isn't how I care to live....
I get a 'sleepy' response from inside... which says 'it isn't tomorrow yet' so chill and relax!!!

Reminds me of an inspiring quote I heard in my previous office which was something on the lines of:
"Look around... smile at your friends today, talk to them now... don't wait for tomorrow...tomorrow is a myth...
All you have is today...all you have is now...there is nothing called tomorrow and it never comes..."

So wake up my friend and start living...coz you know you are not so boring!