Monday, February 20, 2006

We may have defeated...

...Pakistan 4-1 on their turf, but we had to face the music in some other departments. The under-19 cricket team lost to its Pakistani counterpart in the U-19 World Cup Final at Colombo. The Pakis were shot out for 108 but retaliated by limiting the Indians to just 71! The Pakis retain the World Cup as a result. By the way, I also came to know that erstwhile 'medium pace' bowler Venkatesh Prasad is the coach of the U-19 Indian team. I can almost recall Kumble and Prasad bowling at the same speed :)

We also lost the hockey series at home 3-0 to Pakistan. Three more matches will be played in Pakistan, and I for one, wont be surprised if they make it 6-0. Can't help wondering why there is such a huge gap between the quality of the Indian and the Pakistani hockey teams. Is it all the fault of Gill baby, or is the apathy rampant in the organization. Maybe someone who follows hockey, and more importantly, its politics, can throw some light on it?

Meanwhile the dreamer in me thinks many a times, what would have happened to the subcontinental sports scene if the country hadn't been partitioned. Would we be an even stronger cricketing force? Probably. Squash? Definitely. How about hockey? With the Gill monkey at the helm, heck never!


Update: We are going to host Pakistan for the Davis Cup playoffs in Bombay in April. Isn't there too much of Indo-Pak sports going on nowadays (Not that I am complaining) ?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Return of the King

Solzaire writes about the return of his biggest role models since childhood, the one and only Mithun-da, to the silver screen. You may remember him (Mithun-da, not Solzaire) from such memorable movies as Gunda, Military-raaj, Dalal and other such brain-smashing masterpieces.

He got the Asterix Lifetime Achievement Award for his all-round performance in the timeless classic "Gunda", where he played the role of a coolie in a trolley-deprived airport with the characterstic aplomb that is now synonymous with his name. His lesser achievements include a handful of National Awards that he received a few years back.

Until I saw Gunda, my knowledge of the Supreme Lord was limited to movies such as Disco Dancer (with the famous song - I am a disco dancer..teenu eeennu...I am a disco dancer...teenu eeenu.. zindagi mera nauseum) and Agneepath (haaaii saalaaa). Like an ignorant impatient movie goer, so far I had dismissed the God without witnessing the gamut of performances that he had under his sleeve. I was but a fool in darkness.

And so my friends ordered me to watch Gunda. And therefore I saw Gunda. And then there was light. And God was happy. And I was his blind disciple thence.

Like Hobbes eating his first can of tuna, and an adolescent watching his first porn flick, I wanted more. So I scoured the web for news about Prabhu-da and single-handedly pushed "Mithun + movie" to the most googled query on the web. And at last my patience was rewarded by Chingaari.

Chingaari. What a word. Apart from the reference to a possible arson sequence in the movie, the word also has sexual connotations. Remember the song, "Chingaari koi la la ...sawan jo aag lagaye use kaun bujhaaye?". So far it seems like the movie was being released only to pander to depraved souls like me, who have just lost their Prabhu-virginity and are clamouring for more of such action.

However, more googling and active surfing led to some disturbing news. Chingaari, it seems, is directed by a woman director Kalpana Lazmi. Well I have two serious issues with that. Not that I am a sexist. Heck! I fully support sex in all its forms. Well, my first problem is that a woman director may develop moral issues while directing a Mithun-flick that obviously requires one to shed his/her inhibitions at the front door. In layman terms, it means (a) no blouse ripping (unless it is done tastefully) (b) no assaults on any women-folk (read - Mithun's dear sister) unless the story cannot move ahead, and (c) absolutely no double entendres and crass dialogues.

Now a person like me can live without the first two. Ok not completely, but I will live to fight another day. But what good is a Mithun-movie without the rhyming double meaning waale dialogues ? "Hi, I am Bulla" doesn't quite cut the cake when you compare it with "Mera naam hai Bulla, main karta hoon khullam khulla". And Bulla's orgasmic "Main tujhe maar doongaaaaaaaa" beats "Tu mere haathon marega" hands down.

My second problem is that being a serious director, she may actually try to inject some sense into the script. I mean what the hell man! First she will take away the skin-fest, then the dialogues, but now she will also take away the comical element of the movie which is the only common theme in an otherwise incoherent script. It is ok with me if she doesn't show the villain laying his dirty hands on Prabhu-ji's sister. But atleast let the sister say that she was on her way to college, when clearly she is in the middle of a 100 sqkm patch of grassy meadow.
Well, with a name that rhymes with Shabana Azmi, what else can you expect other than rhyme and reason. Correction. Make that just reason.

So with all hope of a good comeback movie lost beyond retrieval, I read this article about the "behind the scenes" dealings of the movie. Rediff reported that during the filming of a rape sequence in the movie, my dear Lord Shree Shree Mithun-ji (Calcutta-waale) inappropriately touched Sushmita Sen. Now I was delighted. Not because Sush was touched, but because the skin-fest was back on! The irony of the unsolicited touching in a rape sequence was however not lost. The reporters went to town about this sleazy piece of news and digged up dirt about Mithun's B-grade movies, which therefore explained his B-style behaviour. However, as a loyal fan, I wish to defend his position through this open letter.


Shat Shat Pranaam.

Just read the groping news in the tabloids. Journalism at its worst.
In my mind, however, the picture is crystal clear. Oh Lord of all Lords, if you are testing my belief, then be assured that no amount of your touching any woman (or man) will cause my faith to waver. However, I do know that in all probability, you were so immersed in your character, as the rapist and wot-not, that you forgot where the boundaries ended. Such a pioneer of method acting! How will these imbeciles understand, what it takes to be a multiple National Award winner? Haaaiii saalaaa !!

O mighty king! this news has bolstered my faith, and pretty soon, I shall witness thy rock-solid performance in Chingari on the big screen. That, my sire, is my dream.

I have given my heart to thee, and my brain to the gutters.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Delhi revisited

Finally back from a 3 day visit to Delhi. Delhi. Motherland. The only city which I love as much as I hate. Much has been said about Delhi and Mumbai, and I will not add anything to it.

This was my second trip to Delhi in less than a month, and an air-trip at that, which is still a big deal for a lot of Indians. As is obvious from this template of a conversation I had with lots of people before I left for Delhi:

Me: I am leaving for Delhi on Thursday.
Friend: Kya kaam hai ?
Me: Delhi Marathon
Friend: Oh, tu 42 kms bhaagega ?
Me: Kya meri shakal par likha hai ki meri 42 km ki aukaat hai?
Friend: Then the half marathon ?
Me: Nahin, 7km.
Friend: Sirf saat kilometre. Sahi sahi bata kis kaam se ja raha hai ?
Me: Sirf bhaagne
Friend: Ladkiyaan dekhne jaa raha hai kya (as in arranged marriage) ?
Me: Nahin
Friend (with a "your are definitely not among one of us" look) : Bada paisa hai yaar tere pass!!

Any attempts at proving that my Air Dhakkan ticket costs less than a Rajdhani ticket was met with a "nahin nahin, theek hai yaar, bahut paisa hai tere pass" type of answer. Damn my friends!

Khair, I did reach Delhi and much to my disappointment found that the stupid organizers could not procure proper road permits and stuff, and so the 7km was trimmed to 5kms.

Swallowing my pride and my month long practice, I still showed up at the stipulated time (after looking around for car-parking for 30 minutes). With the typical "nothing-can-go-right" attitude, the race was postponed by further 30 minutes and then started 15 minutes before time without any announcement. Since we (me and my 7-8 friends) were too enthused to run, we didnt give a damn and ran away to glory. After around 17 minutes, I saw the "finish" sign and was very proud of myself for a full 2 seconds before reason kicked in. Realised that the dumbass organizers had further trimmed down 5 to 3.5 kms or so. I guess no other buffon flew 800 miles to and fro so that he could run 3.5 kilometers in 17 minutes.

A pathetically organized event , when one compares with the awesome Mumbai marathon in January.

Ofcourse, with a nadir like that, everything else was ten times better - be it getting drunk after a long time (and being able to enjoy it too), playing on my PS2 after a long time, checking my official email after 3 weeks, driving on 3+3 lane roads, watching India win against Pakistan, eating matar paneer and kadhai paneer together, or listening to Rang De Basanti's musical score again and again on the car stereo.

"Thodi si dhool meri..dharti ki mere watan ki...." .. how can one not help liking the movie. Hell, I am in des, and I felt like I was missing India (kinda weird feeling only expatriates can feel, I guess).

Well Monday came, and I am back in Bombay now. Bombay. Motherland.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Flushing the TOIlet

I wonder what the hell is going on in the minds of the simians who manage the tabloid known as The Times of India, whose creative nicknames include Slimes of India and the TOIlet Times.

My parents have always been a follower of the Indian Express for as long as I have been able to read the alphabet. Even then, they used to acknowledge that TOI, though partisan, and a butt-kissing servant of the Govt. of India, did used to have real news on its pages.

Somewhere in the early nineties, I had my first serious look at the TOI. I was shamelessly mesmerized. The thickness of the newspaper could only mean one thing - more probability of a cartoon somewhere in side. Infact, I forced my parents to subscribe to the Sunday Times of India so that I could enjoy Mindsport (a puzzle column) and Hagar the Horrible. The front pages never interested me that much because I was getting the daily dose from IE and the good old Doordarshan.When I moved to the college hostel, my long attachment with IE was broken and a new one with TOI was forged. And believe it or not, it was still because I read only the cartoons and nothing else.

Then one day, I began noticing the supplement "Delhi Times". Nothing much, a collage of photographs of forty something socialites, semi-naked movie stars, insipid interviews, pointless articles. Needless to say, I was hooked. Delhi Times used to be the paper we used to carry to the toilet for timepass reading. What we didn't realize that it belonged there, and thus, we shouldn't have brought it back. Nonetheless, my fascination waned pretty quickly.

Until they snatched me back with The sleaziest tabloid I have seen in my life! After watching some utterly crappy (I am really out of adjectives here) 'news' and raunchy photographs, I sensed a strong sense of deja vu.

Just have a look at the 'headlines' posted at the beginning of the post.

An Egyptian ship carrying 1300 people sunk in the Red Sea, but Aishwarya's compatibility with Abhishek is more important I guess.

By catering to the basic desires of the masses, the TOIlet times has succeeded in raking loads of moolah. Like Microsoft, it has some top notch businessman in managerial positions. Who possess the skill and the audacity to sell mediocre stuff to me, just because it looks jazzy and is all shiny and glossy! And the sad part is that there is hardly any newspaper left (apart from Hindu) to provide us with real news. Even Indian Express is a shadow of its previous self.

I guess until things improve, I would never have to worry about the shortage of toilet paper in the country.