Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Reviewing the reviews

Piping hot filter coffee on one hand and The Hindu's Friday review on the other, an awesome combo. I could no longer enjoy the first part when I left for NIT Trichy looking at 4 years of hostel life ahead of me. Then a couple of years later I lost interest in the second. As a matter of routine the reviews in the paper were becoming a farce. Any movie, barring a Vijayakanth(poor him) one, would be eulogized. Each storyline being touted as the next big thing in Tamil cinema. The histrionics of everyone from the lead actors to their parents and grand parents to the passerby who takes a curious peek into the ongoing fight scene appreciated to an extent even they would find too embarrassing. And then would follow the standard format of naming every technician and praising his role in the making of the movie. To be fair to the Hindu, its not just its reviews but those of the websites which seem to take this path.

The nadir to me were the reviews for the Thiruttu payale (Con man!!). To the unitiatated, it is a movie which at best entertains in parts. Mostly it turns into a display of skin rather than acting skills. With its share of twists and turns it made for a highly engrossing movie or so they said. What came to their rescue was the fact that the movie turned out to be a decent grosser at the box office. And this has been the case for quite a few movies that followed also, including another starring the same actor.

Now, where does this lead us to. When the reviews paint a rosy picture of any flick which releases, with the exception i have mentioned, it becomes difficult for the viewer to make a choice. In this melee even the movies which are actually good are not able to stand out in the reviews because of the same phrases and praise used here as with every other movie. Nowadays, when one wakes up Friday morning he can read the review with the same sarcasm as when viewing the flick endorsed in it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hairy Potter and his Earthly Hallows...

Rafael Nadal b. Roger Federer 81(82 balls).

Clean bowled if the scoreboard would allow it. Who cares though?!! It doesn't matter how you exit when you have set the stage on fire for the time you occupied it. Not often does an in individual dominate world sport in a manner that Fedex has. Well, what is a statement of praise for the swiss fizz doing in an article dedicated to Nadal. Simple, one cannot look at his domination of clay by isolating Federer's domination of the game. Sample this, today was the first time that Roger has beaten Nadal on clay, and he still has a losing record overall against Nadal.

My assurances, this is not going to peter out to a now much repeated and heated debate of who's the better of the two or anything of the ilk. This's just an attempt to put in words a mammoth achievement. Across sports you'd find winning streaks extend for a dozen games maybe a couple. But 81?? Staggering! Critics can claim it was his favourite surface and not the world number one's favourite either. Even if were to play our favourite games in our backyards against a four year old and set our own rules this is not a number we can dream of. What makes Nadal's achievement even more special is that he has in the course of this winning marathon, streak is too minuscule a word for this, beaten the past masters of clay. Players who would pride themselves on their ability to go on forever just to win a single point. Guys who's cabinets contain multiple French Opens, and even more Masters tournaments on clay. And ya, he's also beaten a player touted to be the all-time greatest, not just once but enough times to prove that each of the earlier victories were not of the flash in the pan kind, if at all anybody still harbored any doubts.

Now, we come to a pertinent question. Where does this place in history, a treasure trove and a labyrinth at the same time. No one who takes a journey back in history of any sport return disappointed nor can he come with a clear picture of what he wqas looking for. Every great achievement carries a unique weight of its own. With this in mind, the simplest thing to do is to cease to be the judge and just take in the moment and leave the tougher part to the generations to come. In the mean time let's just lift the glasses as high as we can and raise a real big toast to Rafa.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sleepless in Villupuram

It was a dark and stormy night.. or so goes the supposedly worst start to a book possible. The weather condition that night was drastically different but my experience not far from the worst possible.

The second week of may isn't exactly the time to look forward to a train journey especially if you are in the southern parts of India an that too in the midst of the hottest summers in a long time. Guess "global warming" too has its share of favoritism. And having just finished yet another semester, successful or not is a question to be answered only when the results arrive, the hero of the story , (warning: in most future blogs this habit of referring to myself as the hero of the story will continue) has a rather filling dinner before boarding the train to push off to his hometown.

The dinner proves to be thirsty in the same measure as it was tasty. What that means is that our hero has a dreadful time sleeping. Not only is he damn thirsty but is also haunted by thirst in his dreams. This means a highly disturbed sleep before he finally awakens to his now dominant need for water over sleep. Now using the cell phone as a torch he focuses it on a face believing it be of his friend's, hoping thus, to wake the poor guy up to demand some water. As it happens the person whom i am trying to wake up wakes up in one of the other berths. Lucky to have escaped the wrath of the stranger our hero quenches his thirst, or so he thinks, and goes off to try catch some sleep. The train comes jerkily to a halt and its barely two hours (3 a.m) since the previous attempt to sleep and the thirst still unsatisfied. So, getting down from the train i discover that the halt is at villupuram. At that moment a vendor arrives selling hot milk. Seeing that as a possible solution to quench this seemingly eternal thirst, not the knowledge kind, the hero quickly gulps down the glass of milk.

Five minutes pass and the dreaded thirst comes out on top again. I was certainly losing this battle. At this point an enquiry about the nearest stall selling water results in me giving up any hope of buying water for the stall is apparently located at the opposite end of the platform. Given that no train stops for more than ten minutes at any station, I deem it too risky to try get down to the other end and be back again. Now, the wait begins for the train to start and increase the possibility of getting atleast some cool,chill will be asking too much, breeze blowing into the face. Five minutes pass and no sign of any attempt to get the train moving. Another enquiry for water follows and this time the reply is more reassuring revealing the possibility of a vendor selling water just a couple of coaches away. The search for this "vendor" turns futile. The thirst just gets more dominating. Patience, cried the inner soul, urging me to wait for just a couple of minutes for the "cool breeze".

Five minutes pass and the theories of the driver having slept off are doing the rounds, in my now restless and half unconscious mind. This is when the hero feels the need to get things moving. Well, my mind in a state described earlier orders me to make a dash for the water stall. What follows is a full speed run interspersed with tense sideways glance to check for an open door for me to jump into in the eventuality of the train decided to move it. Arriving at the stall our hero quickly grabs a bottle of water and starts the return leg of his run. For the next thirty seconds, my thirst takes a backseat, and instead the thoughts of getting back into the still dormant train take top priority. Once back in the safety of my seat i take in what will remain for some time to come, the sweetest tasting gulp of water.

Now, I decide to go out once again and take in the wonderful "view" which was earlier distorted by the need for water. And just as i was about to doze off on one of the benches outside, the horn blows. To me it sounded like the sound of trumpets at the time of victory. And so, the ordeal which seemed to last for eternity, something the reader of this post can surely relate to, finally came to an end.


I would like to begin my new blog innings with a note of thanks to Google for ensuring that i would not have to look at my sins of the past each time i blog, by "forcibly" making me take to a new blog space. And one fervent wish too.. that Shastri be made permanent cricket manager, whatever that's supposed to mean, so that the cricket lovers can celebrate the comeback of ESPN Star into cricket broadcasting with a lot more happiness. Cheers!!!