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Showing posts from March, 2007

Bollywood's Cassidy and Sundance

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Okay, so you probably think all I do is watch cricket and movies; more hindi movies than English, too.

You're right.

While sitting at work entering some tour diaries and covering the latest update in the Woolmer murder, one of the production chaps chose Sony Max to try out some new video recording stuff, and mixed work with pleasure by recording the better half of Ram Lakhan. A classic Subhash Ghai (no, I'm not a fan of his, this is just coincidence) potboiler from the Eighties, this movie had it all. This was the biggest hit that the Anil Kapoor-Jackie Shroff combo had, though they combined for many better movies.

Watching the two of them, young, handsome, fit and in their prime as heroes, made me wonder about their longevity. Both debuted well over 25 years ago (Kapoor in '79 with a bit role in Hamare Tumare, Shroff in '82 with a similar role in Dev Anand's Swami Dada) and are still ticking in 2007, though in very different modes.

Kapoor is at the top of his game, …
An interesting piece in The New York Times about the Red Sox's signing up Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Malinga, Malinga! [or How South Africa nearly choked again]

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Chasing 210, South Africa need four bleeding runs from 32 deliveries with five wickets in hand. Jacques Kallis batting on 85.

Would a fool bet on them to win?

Probably. Enter Lasith Malinga, who'd bowled seven overs for close to 50. Over 44.5, he slings a slower one that pegs back Shaun Pollock's leg stump. Okay, no sweat, Andrew Hall is in, he's got a Test hundred to his name. 44.6, another slidey, slingey, slowey thing, that Hall lobs straight to cover. Hmm. Heart rates increasing in the South African dressing room?

Over done, the South Africans manage one run from the next over.

Back to Malinga, on a hat-trick. Kallis on strike. Three runs to get from 24 balls now. Easy. The ball is full and furious outside off stump, Kallis goes for a square-drive and nicks it behind. A loud appeal. Kallis stays rooted. An even louder appeal follows and umpire Daryl Harper raises the fatal finger. HAT-TRICK.

Just two wickets left. Sri Lanka on fire. Hang on a second, they can actually wi…

The Shotgun Show

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At 2:48 in the morning, one of my flatmates bangs on my door like the Chinese have invaded, all because Lasith Malinga took four wickets in four balls. Lovely stuff, except I couldnt get back to sleep. And I had to be at work by 8. Ended up staying awake.

Anyway, another surfing session brought me to the opening scene of a film called Vishwanath on Sony Max. Its probably the first Shatrugan Sinha flick I've sat through. Its a decent film, veteran film-maker Subhash Ghai's second. Apparently it was a big hit when it released in early 1978.

Ghai has always turned out potboilers, with big stars, lavish sets and hit music. It proved to be his downfall as a director as the years turned over and Indian cinema awoke to the benefits of technology and professionalism on the sets. To sum up, Ghai realized this too late and his last few films have been pathetic. He was a master of the VHS era; he couldnt keep in touch with the DVD generation. In 2005, he opened a center called Whistling …

Apocalypto

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Just watched Apocalypto. Stunning movie, visually and aesthetically. Gruesomely violent, but that’s how life was back then, you're meant to believe. Many will say Gibson loses credibility when he tries to manipulate historical facts to prove a political point. That’s what critics are there for. And come on, its an unabashed story, not a factual documentary.

I left the theatre disgusted on some level but stunned on another. The film may be growing on me.

The film is, to put it bluntly, pure adrenaline. The action sequences are stunning. Rudy Youngblood, who plays the main character, Jaguar Paw, is really a find. The other actors don’t get much scope – in fact, there’s a lot of grunting and growling, and the native characters aren’t as deep as the ones in say The Last of the Mohicans - but its not a movie relying on histrionics. It’s raw, and has to be, given the brutality inflicted on the villagers and in the insanity that plagues the massacring tribe. You’re made to feel the shock …

Cricket buzz

Lets play ball

And so, with a lack of interest in the World Cup - barring, of course, my ranking in the office Super League standings - I turn back to baseball and the Red Sox.

Down in Ft. Myers, Curt Schilling had a good outing in a 3-2 win over the Orioles, Jason Veritek hit his first homer of spring training, and Jonathan Papelbon will return as closer for the coming season. Schilling tossing hard in seven innings, in his most extended start of the spring, is a great sign for the Sox.

Varitek, who turns 35 on April 11, ended an 0-for-17 drought and has stated that he wants to go back to a more simplified approach that helped him rise to All-Star status in both 2003 and 2005. More power to him.

Remember, Papelbon suffered a serious shoulder subluxation last September, and at the end of last season, the Sox announced that he'd be best suited, at least in the short term, to go back to starting. Thankfully, he's progressed faster with his conditioning program than the club expected.

And then the…

Bye bye blues

So this is what Greg Chappell's 'Vision of Excellence' came down to.

India out of the World Cup. Two innings and not one score in excess of 200.

Sri Lanka crushed an Indian side miserably low on confidence. The two crafty veterans, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, ripped the heart out of a brittle batting order.

Pretty numb right now.

Just hope all the ads stop. No Sachin selling glucose biscuits. No Dravid riding mobikes. No Zaheer and razor blades.

Rabbi da jawab nahin

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I first heard Rabbi Shergill over a year ago, when I came across his "Bulla Ki Jaana" on B4U one night while surfing the channels at some ungodly hour. The video was interesting, and the music was sufi-ish, but sung by a Sardar, which I'd never seen before. Interesting, I thought. I don't speak Punjabi, but having listened to so many different songs over the years and admittedly, having gone through a Sukhbir phase - there, I've said it - know enough to get the jist of what's being sung. There was a reference to Bulle Shah, who I've always been intrigued by, which I suppose also drew me to the song. And the video was pretty neat, with scribbled words flashing roughly across the screen while this sardar, clad in white, travelled through Bombay.

Anyway, I think I downloaded the song later on, but that was it. Then, when in Mussoorie, by good friend Tashi asked me if I'd heard Rabbi. I said I had, and he asked me if I'd heard a song called "Tere…

Woolmer's death 'is suspicious'

To feed the appetite of those who think Bob Woolmer's death was more than what it seems, comes the news that the Jamaican police are treating the unfortunate incident as suspicious.

Mark Shields, deputy commissioner of the Jamaican police constabulary, said there was sufficient information to continue a full investigation into the death.

The Pakistan team are now discussing whether to pull out of their World Cup match with Zimbabwe, a spokesman said.

When the investigation is completed, Woolmer's body will be taken back to his home in Cape Town, accompanied by team trainer Murray Stevenson.

The ICC is expected to hold a press conference later today.
Bob Woolmer is no more. The former Kent and England Test batsman, and recent Pakistan coach, was found unconscious in his room at the Pegasus Hotel in Sabina Park yesterday morning, a day after Pakistan's World Cup defeat by Ireland, and was immediately taken to a nearby hospital but he did not recover.

The cricket world mourns his loss.

Still sick, still wrong

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The loss to Bangladesh has given India a major headache and highlighted the frailties plauging this side. It didnt' hit me until a few hours back, when I observed a few friends reacting and dissecting the game, how pathetically India had played, and how it would effect the World Cup, and their interest.

As my colleague and friend Anand Vasu pointed out today, here's what India need to do to stay alive in the tournament. Have a look, it makes for painfully interesting reading.


















The immediate task at hand is to beat Sri Lanka on Friday. Then, they have to beat Bermuda by a heavy margin - I'm talking thrash/pulverize/decimate them - to improve their run rate. Assuming India achieve even that, the passage to the Super Eights is still not assured; all eyes will then turn to Bangladesh-Bermuda match on March 25. That's the last match of the first round of the World Cup. Who'd have thought so many people would pay attention to it?

Meanwhile, you can hear the knives sharpenin…

Khalbali hai khalbali!

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On the very day that Ian Chappell criticized the World Cup participation of minnow countries, in his column for Cricinfo, Ireland knocked Pakistan out of the World Cup and Bangladesh shocked India in their first game with a five-wicket win.

Bangladesh aren't minnows anymore, as wins over India (twice), Australia, and Sri Lanka prove, and the dedication with with they approached yesterday's game was immense. Its a telling statement on the hard work done by the untiring Dav Whatmore.

You had three kids - 17, 18, and 19 - scoring valiant half-centuries. You had Mashrafe Mortaza, 2006's highest wicket-taker, bowling some great deliveries and getting four; you had Syed Rasel backing him up in an unbroken ten-over spell; you had the great Mohammad Rafique, getting Rahul Dravid with his first ball; and you had the ever-improving Abdur Razzak, teasing and turning the ball. This was the best I've seen Bangladesh play.

Before this game, they'd only once beat India in 14 meetin…
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Okay, so I'm clearly not getting around to blogging about the World Cup everyday. One reason is that the interest just isn't there yet. Odd, I know. India hasn't played yet, so that's one fickle reason. But just seeing the size of those ridiculous grounds in the West Indies, and the number of minnows, and Australia, just dampens it all.




Still, a round-up of the first week's games is a must. The West Indies beat Pakistan comprehensively in the Cup opener; Ricky Ponting scored another hundred as Australia overpowered Scotland; captain Steve Tikolo led by example as Kenya began their World Cup campaign with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Canada; a ruthless Sri Lanka beat Bermuda by 243 runs, the second biggest margin of defeat in World Cup history (and big man Dwayne Leverock so wasn't worth the hype, despite breaking into a little jig after a wicket); then we had a tie, as Ireland marked their first World Cup appearance with a come-from-behind salvage effort…

Warm-up woes

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The best thing to happen ahead of the World Cup was the five consecutive defeats Australia suffered at the hands of England and New Zealands. It broke the aura of invincibilty that surrounded them.

Warm-up games, especially those against minnow nations, don’t tend to be taken too seriously but we’ve been given a glimpse into how things will pan out in the World Cup.

India beat the Netherlands and West Indies, but Virender Sehwag still hasnt impressed one bit. He would have been tempted to have a bit of a biff against Holland's unthreatening band of slow medium-pacers and spinners, but he restrained himself only to throw it all away. He got a duck against West Indies, chasing 86 for victory.

Then there's Irfan Pathan, who hasnt bowled anything out of the 105-115 kmh range. Against West Indies, he sprayed the ball around, overpitched to the extent that some balls bounced well past the stumps, and generally, appeared to do his cause no good. India have some worries.

There was ple…

Appreciating Amitabh Bachchan

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I just saw Nishabd while in Hyderabad, and was again impressed by the range of Amitabh Bachchan, at this age and in this phase of his career. It’s a sensibly handled movie, with Bachchan towering above all else. The complete understanding with which he essayed a 60-year-old man infatuated with an 18-year-old girl was excellent. You don’t need to understand his character’s nature, or the details of his 27-year marriage, or why his passion is photography.

Critics have panned the film’s abrupt ending, where we see Bachchan’s introverted character lost for all good; the man has severed ties with his wife and daughter, cannot erase the girl from his memory and even contemplates suicide. He just wants to live out his days thinking of the tender moments with the girl. The story ends on that note. What, did you expect his wife and daughter to accept him back into their hearts? No, he went through some emotions that were never going to be understood by anyone but himself, he made a mistake and…

Cricinfo article update

The Old Monk fan club

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Rum is good. Old Monk rum is very good. Seriously, leave the beer, gin and bloody marys be - this stuff is the best. You're going to have your white rum gang - Bacardi is good now and then - but for sitting around and doing jack, or to get the convo going, stick to the Monk. Its just got a different taste. (FYI: its the world's third largest selling brand of rum.)

I've tried various types of Bacardi, as well as Royal Stag and Captain Morgan's, and though I like some Jameson when I'm in the States, my loyalties lie with Old Monk. After I first tasted it, there was no going back. Its a religion. If straight up's your poison, drink up, but a little Thumbs Up or Coke ain't bad. Pepsi, nah. Too sweet. If you're up in the hills during winter, have it with hot water. If you're adventurous, add a drop of lemon squash. Nice.

I just recently came across a more expensive and better quality type called Old Monk Gold Reserve. Good stuff.

Whenever I'm up in Mu…

Mussoorie

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Just got back from a very, very short break in Mussoorie. Went up with three friends from work - Sriram, Sid and Monga - and an old friend from school, Ronjoy, and his girlfriend, Farrah.

Had a great time. My cousin Shibani was up there as well to add to the madness. Weather was nice and cold, it rained too, and we did nothing but eat, drink, play cricket, gamble, hit the old haunts, and eat at char dukan every day. Awesome.