Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Over the past three weeks or so, I have seen three good movies, genres as diverse as they get, but with such beautiful souls that it makes me jealous, that these thoughts were not thought up by me, the kernel of idea to make such a lovely story out of a small occurence had not come to me.. I too could have thought along those lines, couldnt I? Hmmm..perhaps not, because many thoughts that we have never get crystallised into ideas...if everyone had that innate talent to pour forth what was in the head and mind into words for others to ruminate over it, how marvellous it would have been? Ok...now to the movies...the first one was a dark film called Eastern Promises by David Cronenberg...story of Russian immigrants living in London...dark, foreboding but in more ways than one compelling...Its difficult to explain the emotions that you are forced to go through during the course of the narrative...You cringe, you cry, you ache for unrequited love, I was repulsed too...But at no point could i tear myself off the film... www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq_M8EOC4zA The second was a film, that only a true blue Malayali like I would have watched, but someday I want to subtitle it, and do it in such a fashion that everyone marvels at the craftsmanship of the artist, who could think up such a mundane story but crafted so fine, that it cant be but a masterpiece... the movie is by Srinivasan, called Kathaparayumbol.....a story about a barber who is gradually losing his business to a more modern salon which has opened up in the village...he is considered a loser by many, nearly don quixotish, who cant even stand up for his own cause, which is to raise a loan so that he can buy a better shaving chair and equipment to lure customers back to his shop...loans fail, he slashes down prices, but thats just temporary relief...but his fortune changes when the sleepy little village he lives in gets to know he is the friend of an actor, considered the biggest living star by one and all...and when he remains rooted to his principles not to milk his friendship, the villagers make him the laughing stock...its a predictable end, with all ending well...but by the end of the film, you have already used up so much tissue paper, that you are glad you get to go home with a smile, that alls well with the world.... and then there is the movie i watched today, Reservation Road, the story of a father's anguished hunt for his son's hit and run killer.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVJJ7Dxcncs the storyline is fresh, the actors are brilliant and the anguish of each one, is so well etched...theres no villain, theres no one you want to crucify, unlike many films where the black and white are so delineated... I came back wondering what I do, if my son died in a hit and run in front of me and I was left powerless to get him justice....But then again, if his killer is in purgatory himself, how much more can i ensure he gets punished...isnt living each day with the guilt gnawing within the biggest punishment...Hmm...guess its all credit to the cast and crew that I have thoughts that i brought home with me and now am so restless that I cant help but write it down....

Monday, January 07, 2008


The series down under is rapidly deteriorating, so much so that you end up wondering if cricket tours are about the game or about the politics behind the game... The happenings during the Sydney test force me to believe that cricket is played less on the field and more off it...The chess like maneouvres of cricket administrators seemed to be the deciding factor in the course that a match takes... How can Harbhajan be handed down a ban for 'racism' when there is just the words of two Australian boors? Is the BCCI really toothless to make their clout felt down under, or are there bigger monetary ties with ICC, thats binding their legs from leading the Men in Blue back home....after saying a warm thank you to the Aussies for their warm hospitality so far? We'll know soon enough what the deal is, but like many die-hard fans would readily attest, money has taken the sheen off the Gentleman's game...Whats the point in one team playing fair, like Captain Kumble said? Wouldnt that be called being dumb in our day and age? Anyways, like one really harried viewer who called in for one of our shows on Sunday when the Indian collapse happened...They arent Australians...they should be called Australiars.... Dont think theres any shred of doubt in the collective conscience of the Indian media that this is now war...theres no chance of a truce without atleast drawing some Aussie blood to avenge the treacherous defeat....You think my words are strong, well Im trying to mirror the industry's super slugs....the hindi media has won the contest hands down...english does not seem to rend itself to the emotions, cricket inspires in us.... Over this week, for sure, cricket will take up more time of the nation than a multitude of otherwise interesting issues put together...unless theres a terror attack...No TRPs to beat that... Eeps..I bring everything back to the TRP baseline, right? But what to do...Thats become the bottomline...the only definitive yardstick...thats redefined journalistic quality...

Saturday, January 05, 2008


BOORISH AUSSIES THINK THEY KNOW ALL? Imagine being in Australia, opening a paper of the Sydney Morning Herald and guess what you are confronted with? http://www.smh.com.au/news/cricket/a-class-act-opinions-differ/2008/01/04/1198950076545.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2 A piece that reeks of Aussie ‘sublime’ class….called A Class Act…..on guess what, the casteist overtones in Indian cricket…yes, you heard that right…the way the Indian team is divided into the Brahmins and the non-brahmins and how theres just one Muslim and one sikh in the cross section…and what more, a majority of the players are Brahmins…and they even have managed to get quotes from Indian players, ex-cricketers like Gavaskar, commentators like Harsha Bhogle, who I’d like to believe was as flummoxed as I was, to read how he has been quoted…as for Vinod Kambli’s quote, Im hoping he never said that…For if he did, I think he is doing a disservice to Indian cricket, which gave him leagues more than his poor and whimsical temperament warranted…. Imagine on a day when VVS Laxman took the fight to the boors called Aussies…they were busy working on a story on how the united India front shown by the team when they do the now famous ‘huddle’ is but an act…the so called ‘class act’ meant to keep the Brahmin unity, for aren’t they the preferred Indian choice….for the said ‘lower castes’ and the other lowly castes are a fringe minority….Did u as an Indian know that Yuvraj Singh was a Jat and Mahendra Singh Dhoni was a Rajput? Did you know that the rest of Indian team down under were Brahmins? Im not going to try and be a hyprocrite and say that caste system pays no more of a role in Indian society, but I know I speak for our country of a billion and more that no one would accuse Indian cricket of working on the lines of which caste the cricketers belong to….I can understand regional politics or even to a point economic stature… considering how proud we were of our Twenty20 heroes, most of whom belonged to small towns and even impoverished families… I still don’t know what Virender Sehwag’s caste is, nor do I think I care a damn, as long as he hits those lusty blows that had made him a must have in the Indian line-up not so far back…. Just where will the Aussie bossiness stop? Will they tell us the kind of biases we nurture too? I mean aren’t they the ones to talk about Andrew Symonds coloured background…or did the Indian media rake up his insecurities over his ethinicity? Is this the latest psychological warfare from an Aussie arsenal? If it is, its too petty to waste reams of news print, analyzing the caste breakup of the Indian team….Let them whip up a storm over the lack of sportsmanship in their wimps on field!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrr….

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


The quintessential ‘Material Girl’ is in India….and guess what the paparazzi are rubbing their hands in glee…Its their best chance to rake in the pounds…after all, its not often that you have a Hollywood personality of Madonna’s stature on India darshan… And clearly going after our rather ‘political correct’ film stars isn’t enough to keep all the tabloids in good business…

So there was the golden egg laying goose…or rather atleast a golden opportunity….Madonna with her adopted and biological brood and husband in tow…roaming in the sandy dunes of Rajasthan… Perfect ‘back-of-the-book’ piece for a story-starved media…after all Indian media might not totally shut itself during the looong Xmas-New Year break, but the stories tend to dry up totally along with your skin in the chilly Indian winter.. So there were headlines screaming “ Where the hell has Madonna disappeared to?” Well, the read between the line is…. just how the hell do you, Madonna, think that you can come to our rather populous country…where in every inch of space, you have atleast two noses bumping into each other.. and expect to just disappear without a trace? Just how dare you?

We make a lot of money selling our country as a nation of freaks, all the foreign agencies we happily accommodate here, with the generosity that only a huge hearted democratic nation can show, and look the other way, when the only way we are portrayed to the rest of the world, is as the biggest third world nation, constantly looking for any and every form of aid…For that we show our snotty, malformed children in dusty villages without water or electricity that dot our map, talk of the mosquitoes and flies that cannot be kept under control and constantly give statistics about how this India needs the world to get on the fast track to development… Ok, now that slight deviation apart…we get back to the headline….

If Madame Madonna had come to India in search of yoga, half naked sadhus and her new found Jewish rediscovery path….she would have been in for a shock.. She would have had a shock when she realized that far from the rather under-developed country, she had to tackle little wannabe paparazzi cameramen popping their flashbulbs in her face…while she tried to get to some non-descript, unheard of village some 150km away from Jodhpur….

So much so that the shock, I imagine, sent her, with family in tow into the swirling sanddunes, to hide like a little ostrich family, eyes tight shut, with their heads deep in the sand, hoping that the camouflage worked when the foreign paparazzi led by their Indian counterparts working as their ‘friend- pocket pop-philosophers and guide’ all rolled into one…trooped behind them on camels hired at the rate of xxx pounds per hour… Well, she would have thought she had mastered the ‘Great Indian Vanishing Act’ to a T (that is if she knew how desperately she was being tracked using western GPS systems and our indigenous human and astral trackers) BUT she thought wrong!

One enterprising cameraman with his little handy cam caught a fleeting glimpse of a fleeing Madonna…I mean…her skinny butt was caught in a slight blur… But he would have known he had managed to reel in a prizewinning catch… After all, one glimpse would warrant atleast a five minute chunk on a one hour bulletin…and even if the foreign media haggled over its quality, the Indian market was large enough to keep him fed and clothed for a month…For even regional hindi channels here want to let their loyal viewers have an update on Rani Madonna’s Indian Daura…. So to each channel that he was ‘exclusively’ catering to, he would have peddled his less than ‘half minute’ sighting..so that they could all ‘simultaneously’ broadcast the pictures with competing bands of EXCLUSIVE splashed all across the screen in differing sizes and shapes…and still insist that their anchors claim rather cockily that their channel alone knows about Madonna’s whereabouts…

Wonder how gullible our TV viewing janta actually is….and do they really give a damn about what madonna’s Indian schedule was really like? But on second thoughts maybe they do…atleast that’s what the ratings guys would have us believe….There apparently was a spike in the viewing of all those channels (English, Hindi and other regional media that did cover such stuff) which had unending footage of Elizabeth Hurley’s numerous visits to India leading up to her by now famous the Grand Indian Marriage circus, where even a really really long shot of Liz in a boat somewhere on Lake Pichaula, if I remember right, was treated as BREAKING NEWS, EXCLUSIVE FIRST PICTURES…and those, who didn’t have it within the first five minutes of the other, had their reporters running helter skelter to ‘arrange for the visuals’… Ditto with the Brangelina visit during the shooting of “The Mighty Heart”…How we reported their every move, followed them so much that in running away from us, they nearly ran over many….

So do the antics of Madonnas, Brangelinas and the Liz Hurleys of the world really excite a true Indian hearts beating in the wheat fields of Punjab or the dust bowls of MP or even the backwaters of Kerala? I doubt it, I doubt if they even knew who we were so excitedly talking about…But just at the times when we think the interesting story is the one that has the potential to reach out to the masses of India…the rural Indian heart…our media moguls decide that the urban Indian is the decider…the point one percent who follows Western films, music or even fashion trends is the King of the TRPs..

So spend a king’s fortune on tracking their skinny butts as they ‘explore’ the VIBRANT INDIA…the ratings will keep the show going…and the Indian paparazzi growing….It rhymes, doesn’t it?