Harsha`s mighty pen..

24 10 2005

Came across this from one of my favorite cricket writers, or favorite writer even , and this definitely has to go down as a classic for one of the most politely worded dressing downs ever coined .. hats off Harsha 🙂

The Editor
The Afternoon Despatch and Courier

Oct 01,2005

Sometimes the truth is boring, sometimes fantasy is alluring. Sadly you succumbed to fantasy for the truth in your lead story today is boring; very boring.
On the third day of the test match we were to do a normal post match interview with Sourav Ganguly who had scored a century that day. While we were getting ready for it, our reporter Gautam Bhimani was in the press conference, his role being to bring Ganguly to where our camera was. And so, purely by accident, he heard Ganguly being asked at the press conference about whether he had been asked to step down.
On hearing Ganguly’s answer, Gautam told the producer and me about it and so when Ganguly came along to our interview I merely asked him a question that had already been asked and which he had already answered. I knew nothing about what had transpired between him and Greg Chappell at the time.
Sadly, that is all there is to it. I am sorry to disappoint you and the writer but that is it. There is no plot, no subterfuge. I can see why fantasy was the more interesting option.
“Pawn” therefore was an unfortunate word to use for it suggests moral weakness. And the headline, given all this is untrue and a bit rude.
So can we all be decent people, learn to differentiate between truth and fantasy, ignore those that cannot and apologise if we have made a mistake? On the very page on which the suggestion was made? Suitably bold so that people can see?

Sd/-Harsha Bhogle


Of ears and pierces..

20 10 2005

What is it with gals and peircings ?? (ok, so i do know a coupla guys with their ears peirced, but hey , me`s a guy and this is MY blog so i`m entitled to the prejudice 😀 ) ..Now , why would any1 in their right mind actually want to punch a hole thru their body, or any part of it thereof ?? and actually pay for it , for crying out loud ! hell, i know people who`ve been to jail for punching holes thru bodies ..

Ok, so tradition decrees u got to have 2 piercing for ur ear-rings, that much is fine..what better way to attract a predatory male than send out light signals by the sun reflecting off your dangling dongles ( note: i talking abt ear rings, nothing else).. But why in gods name, wud u want any more??I actually know a gal with 6 holes on each ear, and the assortment of ornaments adorning each one makes it look like she has barbed wire running over them..mabye its her idea of symbolically saying “keep out , u words ! i`m not letting u in my ear” :D..
But i digress, getting back to holes in heads, now what could possibly drive this strange species called females to it ? Something tells me it couldnt possibly be in the interests of comfort .. hmm, let me ponder.. I wud have said these things were a means for the catty bi- , um, girls, to show off ( dont get it ? more holes => more sockets for gold trinkets => “ha ha, i got more jewels than u do” syndrome) , but considering the fad these days seems to be revoltingly colored bits of plastic rather than expensive gold ( parents would be heaving sighs of relief at that no doubt), thats one theory down, and i can think of any other, so my guy magnet theory holds ( until the unlikely event of any specimen of the feminine breed perchance happening upon this blog and deigning to let me in on one of their trade secrets)..so until then, let me smirk and amuse myself observing how far these demure desperate females go to attract us desirable males .. 😉

Anniyan- Et tu Shankar?.

1 07 2005

Anniyan is the story of sickeningly sweet, Mr. too-nice-to-be-true guy, Ramanujam who transforms into the blood curling bass voiced avenger, Anniyan, and finds time to be a cloying, annoying, supposed-to-be-romantic-but-plain-silly-playboy, Remo inbetween.

The director, Shankar, seems to have got his facts mixed up. Someone seems to have told him getting affected with multiple person disorder is the equivalent of landing on a small rocket from the distant planet of Krypton. Before the movie released, there was a sms doing the rounds that Anniyan is the story of a scientist who finds Vikram lying in a ditch and implants a microchip in his brain which gives him magical powers. “Hyuk, hyuk, yeah right “, we went when we read it, “not Shankar “….Sadly, post-movie, the second story sounds much more appealing and hugely more believable…

The movie starts off with the sickening-sweet Ramanujam doing goody-goody deeds and lamenting the lokam that doesn’t help him. “Aha”, u goes, “so that’s the story. So this is a tale of him taking a straw too much on his back, and taking out the bad guys, a la Indian”. Well, almost right. Then, the crying (‘bawling’, actually), comes across a flyer promoting “anniyan.com” where u supposedly have to give the details of the villains and the anniyan will take `em out. Well, our hero logs on, finds a totally incredible website complete with CGing and 3 dimensional graphics, oasting of a darn good Artificial intelligence engine too. Macromedia, go hide in shame !

Well, our Ramanujam reports, the snarling Anniyan takes out the bad guys in a variety of different ways, and pretty gruesome ways too, I might add. Prakash raj, in 1 of his more meaningless appearances, does his best to add color to the 2 dimensional police man investigating the crime .Vivek plays his crony and vikrams buddy..

Though, every1 and his aunt is an expert on MPD these days (courtesy ‘Tell me ur dreams ‘ for the erudite few and Cmukhi for the rest), “hold on “, u think, “this is Shankar, maybe we’re being subtly deceived and the real story line is bound to be something original and unexpected”. Nope, just wishful thinking. The director thoughtful relieves us of that misconception, even before the interval, showing Ramanujam rise up as anniyan, leaving no option to explain it other than MPD. So much for the suspense..

The third gruesome murder comes and goes, and then comes the much awaited portion of the movie. The interval..

Post interval, we’re introduced to the supposed-to-be-romantic-but-plain-silly-playboy , Remo ( guess that’s supposed to be a ahem, clever take on ‘Romeo’) . To Shankars credit, he has imbued all the Vikram characters with at least one common trait. Total unbelievability ! ..This Remo guy takes away the roof tiles from a house and manages to place them back in 4 seconds flat, makes roses droop by telepathy, makes the very stars move away and hide! Beat that Superman!

Now we get to the turning point of the plot. The heroine, Nandhini, commits a faux pas by suggesting she register her land for less than the market value, and Ramanujam expresses his profound regret. And of course, she becomes the latest target for Anniyan. The viewer may be forgiven for being reminded of shades of Indian, where oldie kamal takes a knife to young wastrel kamal. But from the same director who imbued that scene with such credibility that we were in a quandary about which kamal to support, sadly misses the mark by a country mile this time. After Anniyan chases her down the road (in broad daylight no less) she enters a karate (or whatever) school, and this is where the fun begins .The viewers credibility which had been stretched as humanely possible till this point, now reaches its apex..

Enter: the hero, dark locks astray.

Heroine: covering in fear behind a monkish dude.

Background: About a 100 people trying out their martial art moves

And wonder of wonders, our hero single handedly rips through them!! (Captain, are u watching?), in a totally shameless rip-off of the matrix scene where Keanu fights off the army of clones. In fact, rip-off is an understatement, for everything right from the camera angles to the scene where he’s buried under a 100 people and gets up throwing them all off, has been a carbon copy of the original. But while we watched the original version spellbound, this one has neither the originality behind it nor the credibility lent by the knowledge that this happens in a virtual reality land, to inspire anything like the same reactions. Shame on u Shankar!

Anyway, back to the action. He busts up the martial arts people, and captures Nandhini.

He lights a fire and is just about to throw Nandhini in. He carries her with effortless ease, brutal eyes fixed firmly on the fire in front, she a huddling, whining ,pleading bundle, covering her face, and then…..

Would have been interesting if he did throw her in, vikram would then have had enough scope to show his acting prowess to win a national award (mind u, he still might), but sadly, once again the predictable occurs. He has a sudden change of mind (literally 😉 ), becomes ramanujam, and wonders what he’s doing with her in his hands. Normally that would be enough to make u roll your eyes, but this far into the movie, you are just glad he didn’t say “I love u”…

In more mindlessness, the heroine, now aware that she has a serial killer with her takes him to a hospital instead of a police station for some unfathomable reason. Nasser, the consummate actor and vikram then walk through the scene replicated from “Tell me your dreams” with ease. Childs play. Turns out, the multiple personality was because vikram`s sister died in a roadside accident due to some negligence on the part of the authorities, when he was 10.Begs the question, has he been murdering people ever since?? Nasser then asks “did u commit the murders?”… The intelligence of the question almost deserves the famous “athu naan than..aana naa ella” line thrown back at him, and brickbats don’t get any harder than that comparison.

Nasser tops nandhini in mindless acts and releases the murderer to the public, helpfully adding that he is nor curable. The hero then promptly organizes a public press conference in the jawarhal lal Nehru stadium, no less. Beat that for nerve. The police get a formal invitation too, duly attend and wait with bated breath patiently sitting through our hero’s lengthy monologue. Lest the murderer loses his victims attention, he thoughtfully provides a video clipping of one of his vendetta acts where he murders a guy for the heinous crime of sleeping on a park bench instead of working. He better not come near a “principles of communication” class! The public, all press in full attendance, compound it by cheering him on. Give as a break Mr.Shankar, we aren’t that dumb (readers who applauded that scene kindly exempted”)

The show gets over, prakash raj duly gives the obligatory “surround all exits” command ,rushes forward and gets with arms reach of the hero, and wonder of wonders , Anniyans no longer there !! and the director doesn’t even deign to tell us how he managed that particular piece of impossibility.

The rest of the movie is about how prakash raj arrests him, tortures him, he faces trial and how Ramanujam is cured. That forms the only interesting part of the movie so I’ll do people who haven’t watched it a favor and desist from mentioning it here.

The movie does have its strong points though. Vikram does a commendable job of acting. The background score is awesome and the songs rock. Satha doesn’t have much to do but looks good doing it. And the last half hour of the movie almost makes up for the rest of it. In fact, like having a good sweet after a bland lunch, the climax does make u almost forget the rest of the movie and leave a good taste in your mouth. But somehow you expect more from Shankar.

So that, is Anniyan in a nut shell. Well, maybe a bit more than a nutshellJ. Shankar, who got scalded with his earlier release ‘Boyz’ seems to have got a bit cynical. He seems to have stopped trying to be original, and made a masala mix-max of all that the public loves and thrown it at the public`s face with a derisive smirk , without even bothering to smoothen the edges or cover the cracks. The saddest part is that Anniyan does rock the box office, putting one up for commercialism over originality…

Super Dad and Super ME..

21 06 2005

Personally, don`t belive much in any of the ‘days’ other than Birthdays ( though guess can make an exception for Valentines day 🙂 )..
As far as i`m concerned most days are just greeting-company intitalised propoganda..I mean , saw a banner at Archies proclaimin ‘doctors day’ sometime last month.. humph, next thing we know we`ll be havin politicians day and world beggars day for Petes sake !.. provided we dont already have them that is :D..

Anyway, didn`t expect others to share my point of view, and i owed dad a lot anyway so worked out this as a Fathers Day gift..pretty good, if i do say so myself 🙂

And of course, could`nt resist doing the same onto meself.. Been one of my childhood fantasies actualy, dress up and pretend to be batman r super man :)..whee… to infinity and beyond !!!,.

4 Adults, 1 Child Killed in Wis. Bus Crash – Yahoo! News

17 06 2005

4 Adults, 1 Child Killed in Wis. Bus Crash – Yahoo! News

this news item, the lead story from yahoo headlines, and in many other tv new channels around this yankee land i bet.. To someone accostomed to making monthly sojourns thru ECR, all this headline does is make u pause a sec, and wait for the next line.. ok,4 people died..so ? And whats funny, for want of a more appropriate term , is that there IS no next line.. An accident with 4 casualities is deemed worthy of a news item in itself..

Another part of the same story says “The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating ” ..All for a van crash, the driver of which, incidentally ,was 78 years old !

Now, i dont want to sound like one of those uppity nit picking nris turning up their noses and picking up nits at India, but i do wonder, whats so drastically different between ECR and and the US higways? The ECRS in great comdition, as far as indian roads go, so nuthing much different on that front..could it be the cars? more second hand cars ply on the roads here than first hand ones, so i dont think thats it either..so is it the drivers? blame it on the corrupt license officials , as is the norm ? the greater traffic on the roads? or a sheer disregard for traffic sense ? Or on a wackier note, is it just mother natures way of maintaining balance in the ecosystem , ie offsetting the ever growing indian population :D?

A Pisa Party..

15 05 2005

After Venice,we decided to check out a world wonder while we were there. The leaning tower of Pisa seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.So we board the famous Eurostar ( running at a whopping 380 k/hr ), we get there and find we have to take another bus and travel for half an hour to get to the actual tower. Doesn’t make sense, if you ask me. If the only thing your town has to offer is a world wonder, you’d want the railway station to be as close to it as possible wouldn’t u ?

But I digress. Anyway, half an hour of travel later, we get to the famous tower. At first sight, its partly blocked by a couple other buildings, one of which is a museum and the other a prayer hall (I think. Entry fee to each building cost Rs.700 so naturally I didn’t bother going in to make sure)

Anyway, the actual tower is, well, not too impressive. Prejudiced i might be , but i would say its about 25% taller than the Anna nagar tower near my house. And i`m told the tilt is because of the ground breaking up under the foundations. Whats the big deal about a tower some architect screwed up is beyond me.

We figure the least we could do to make this trip worthwhile is at least climb on top of the tower. Entry tickets cost around 17 euros (Rs 975) per head and turns out people were only allowed in in batches. Pretty sensible, Too much people get in, climb to the top, the tower gets top heavy and boom..no more world wonder !

The earliest ticket we could get was for 2 hours later and we amused ourselves (well, stopped ourselves from drifting off to sleep through sheer boredom actually) by walking about the lush lawn all around the tower. Now that turned out to be a much better pass time than looking at a crummy old tower. Europeans everywhere seem to have a curious affinity with lawns. No sooner do they spot one than they proceed to strip off (yup, you read right), to various stages of undress and expose their nubile forms to the nourishing rays of the sun. And of course to gawking tourists, yours truly included). Maybe i should ship some of them over Chennai. My college does have a good collection of well maintained lawns. And theres no lack of willing eyes either..

Well back to the world wonder, climb up the tower we did, and it was no mean feat let me tell ya. I mean, the height and the distance weren’t really a factor. But thing is the higher you go the more the angle of inclination of the tower, so the harder it is. Some places you end up hugging the wall and moving one foot step at a time (at least i did). About 3/4ths of the climb climb is within the tower and the rest outside its circumference which was scarier or more thrilling depending on your point of view. The view from the top was worth the whole thing though. You could even spot a football match going on a in a distant stadium, and if u get a pair of high powered binoculars. So you know know where to head if u don’t get tickets to the next AC Milan game ..

Of Glass and Lace..

15 05 2005

When u look a map of Venice , it looks pretty huge.. the railway station , when we looked at it on the map seemed miles away from the hotel where we stayed..but turns out it was just a 10 min walk !.. so, if u take a long walk, u might just end up going from one of the map to another 🙂

Venice also has 3 main islands, murano, burano and isle of Maggiore..murano and burano house 2 of Italy`s speciality industries glass and lace respectively..Makes sense to have the pollutng industries away from the city.. Now we get to the interesting part..Turns out Maggiore`s the graveyard for all of Venice !! as in no matter who dies where , they`re taken ( yup, hearses are boats too ) and buried in Maggiore..Talk abt ghost towns ! :)..Wonder y horror movie directors haven`t gotten wind of that fact yet?..

Venice is Famous for two things, glass and lace..But if u think at least those two items would be cheaper there, nope think again..the glass pieces on display in the shop windows are absolutely esquisite..but also totally expensive 😦 ..but still that doesnt stop shoppers from just standing at shop windows gawking..believe it or not , the picture on the right is an actual photo of an glass article on display.. and belive it or not, i costs 15,000 !!.. but its a nice pic, so credit to the photographer, me 🙂