Monday, October 29, 2007

The Wall is being pounded

No this is not some wall on the Indo-Pak border. This Wall is India's most valuable match-winner till date. Match after match, series after series, Dravid has been the only player apart from Tendulkar to score against any opposition, on any pitch and under every clime.. He might not be your bludgeon wielding mass murderer of the Tendulkar-Lara kinds - but he was much more effective. His knocks have won more matches than the sum of Sachin's and Lara's match winning knocks. And he has been dropped from the team for the sake of a flat track bully, who can't say 'boo' to a cat on a pitch which has a tinge of green on it, on present form (which is pretty much constant over the last 2 years). And the other thing about this gentleman, Mr. Dravid is that he is one of the most self-less players, at least from those whom I've seen. Dravid would get a penciled No.3 slot in any team - yes, any team including Australia. He averages close to 60 in the tests at No. 3, which is next to only to - behold, a certain No.3 batsman named Sir Donald Bradman. In the one day arena, where he averages a shade under 40, his performances need to be put in perspective of the fact that after being with the team for more than 10 years, he STILL doesn't have a standard batting position - and this is not because his skills are suspect. In the time he was the captain, he could have made sure he gelled his position in the batting order, which was always taken for granted by the previous captains. Sample this, with the ever so inconsistent Srinath heading a young pace attack was not able to accommodate a keeper and Dravid had the guts to take up keeping and did a pretty good job of it in the WC 2K3. And I think he would be the only player to have played in all the positions from opening to No.6 for India and inarguably, he has done well in any position. And to make it better, Dravid is one of the better fielders in the Indian team, especially in the slips and formed a 'Taylor-Warne'-like combo with the Bangalore Bamboozler, Anil Kumble. Its a pity that when sub-standard players are giving a 20 match period to regain form, the Wall is being dumped after ONE poor series.

For those interested, this what Cricinfo has got to say about Mr. Dependable.

Highlights from Cricinfo's Dravid profile:

"Unusually for an Indian batsman, he also averages more overseas - around 60, again - than at home. But impressive as his statistics are, they cannot represent the extent of his importance to India, or the beauty of his batsmanship."

"As a New India emerged, so did a new Dravid: first, he put on the wicketkeeping gloves in one-dayers, and transformed himself into an astute finisher in the middle-order; then, he strung together a series of awe-inspiring performances in Test matches, as India crept closer and closer to their quest of an overseas series win."

"As India finished off the 2004 Pakistan tour on a winning note, on the back of Dravid's epic 270, his average crept past Sachin Tendulkar's - and it seemed no aberration."


For those who know me personally, having heard me ranting and riling against Dravid, if its Sachin Vs Rahul, I support Sachin for many reasons - but having followed Indian cricket for much of my 23 year life, I cannot deny that Dravid is one gift for Indian cricket after Sachin Tendulkar.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Takkunu oru Tale - 2

Anand and Arvind were looking like a pair of man-eating tigers who had been ordered to go on a strict vegetarian diet by their doctor. Their team, Rockets were staring at a mammoth target of 221 in 20 overs against arch-rivals Thunderbolts in the Tennis Ball series final at the IIT Chemplast grounds. More importantly, Kavya was there amongst the spectators - a friend of both Anand and Arvind, Kavya was the girl both of them really wanted to be in love with. She was beautiful, tall, intelligent and was an engaging conversationalist. Their class-mate till high school, Kavya was now a student in the National Institute for Law and had the makings of a successful lawyer already. Arvind and Anand were no losers either - they were mechanical engineering students in IIT-Madras and were accomplished extempore speakers. They were favorites to make it to the IIM - A/B amongst their CAT class students. And not to forget, Anand had received an acting offer from Mani Ratnam's assistant for a Mani production while Arvind regularly did photo shoots for those glossy fashion mags.. Anand and Arvind, adjacent roomies, used to regularly call Kavya to their hangout on-campus and had had many 'gyaan' sessions, almost always ending the sessions with an ice-cream and a movie at the nearby theater. Six months into their course at IIT, Kavya's father was transferred to Pune and when she moved in to an apartment just on the edge of the IIT campus, both of them were convinced that she was in love with one of them and there started a game of one-upmanship. Whatever Anand did well, Arvind sought to do better. Whenever Arvind came up with a witty remark, Anand stunned his twosome audience with stunning repartees. Amongst the local populace, it more or less became a matter of debate as to who would be the guy to walk the aisle with Kavya. The odds were more or less even and it was more or less agreed that it was going to be a tight thing between A & A. It was in this situation that the tennis ball competition came up - Anand and Arvind, the twin souls they were, decided that this was the moment - they were pretty decent blokes when it came to cricket - win the tournament and propose - that was their plan.

The chase began well - Rockets openers flashed and flashed hard and soon they had 35 runs on board in 3 overs. The fielding team made a bowling change. They brought Samanth, who was more a fruit than an actual fruit itself. Generally recognized as a dork, Samanth, though a topper in Ocean Engineering, kept to his books, labs and laptop. But here he was an instant success. He had the openers and the captain coming in one drop - all dismissed at the wicket in a space of balls, after which he was mysteriously taken off the attack. The next wicket, fell on the face of pressure, being run-out and that brought Arvind and Anand to the middle. Each knew the other was trying to use this an opportunity to gain leverage with Kavya. Arvind tried to play to his strengths - play with a straight bat and avoid the cut shot which was his bane while Anand used all his improvisation skills to pierce the tight field set with unfailing regularity. From a position of rebuilding, Arvind and Anand went in to the attacking mode and with 5 overs left, they had 41 runs to corner glory. And this is when, Samanth was brough back and he was again bang on target. Giving no room to play their shots, Samanth intelligently cramped them for room and it was only by hitting off the bowler at the other end, Anand and Arvind brought down the equation to 10 of the final over, to be bowled by Samanth. The first three balls were scored off and finally it was 4 off 3 balls with Anand on strike. He tried to force one over the infield only to pick the man at long on. He knew he had failed the crucial aspect - he had failed to complete the kill. The batsman had crossed over and Arvind was facing. Anand was praying that somehow Arvind should be unable to score off the next two deliveries - after all, all was fair in love and war. And Samanth bowled a peach of a delivery which left Arvind flummoxed. So it was down to a boundary off the last ball. Samanth bowled a yorker and Arvind blocked it and scampered for a single, but Samanth fielding well off his own bowling took a shy at the stumps and the ball went for four overthrows! The Rockets had won and Arvind was the man who'd made it happen. Samanth sunk to the pitch and Arvind couldn't help taking a peek at Kavya and Anand. Anand was downcast and didn't hide his frustration when he shook hands with Arvind. "So you have the advantage, eh?" quipped Anand and as they turned around, they saw Samanth coming in with Kavya! "Guys, meet Samanth - my boyfriend - wanted to tell this to you guys a long time back, but wanted to keep it as a surprise - We have been seeing each other since last year and my decision to rent an apartment here was basically because Samanth can't afford to get a bike to visit me during weekends. As you may have known, he is studying on a scholarship for economically backward students - Samanth - meet Arvind and Anand - they are my buddies since preschool days..............."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Takkunu oru Tale - 1

Sriram quickened his pace - just to make sure he didn't miss Lakshmi at the temple. He had a fascination for Lakshmi since the first day he had seen her, 5 years ago. With the passage of time, he had come to like her more and more. The only reason for him not trying to meet Lakshmi was Ramappa who accompanied her to the temple everyday. Ramappa looked tough, with stern eyes, an imposing height and above all, a hirsute which made Sriram wary of approaching Lakshmi. Everyday when Lakshmi and Ramappa passed their house en route the temple, Sriram would be on the terrace, lost in the elegance of Lakshmi's gait. He was taken in by her ornaments and wondered how long would it have taken to set her up like that for someone. Of particular attraction to Sriram was her ears - he felt they were rather cute and desperately wanted to have a closer look at them. This had happened for years and yesterday when Sriram was talking about this to his friend Srinivas, Srinivas had revealed to him that Ramappa was a very nice - the chummy kinds - and was very nice person if you approached him with your parents. This seemed strange to Sriram, but anyways asked his mother to accompany him to the temple the next day to meet Lakshmi. It didn't help that amma was busy in the kitchen all day long and finally when she came out after her evening bath and lighting the lamp for the gods, Sriram was almost crying out of impatience.

And so, there he was, running with his mother with what he had to give to Lakshmi clutched in his hand. And at last, he saw her - right outside the temple, at the flower-seller, where Ramappa was in deep conversation with the flower-seller. Lakshmi was there, and Sriram's heart skipped a beat as he went closer and closer. Would he be brave enough to do what he wanted to do? Or will his courage give up at the last moment? He couldn't help notice that her ears looked all the more attractive from closer-up. Finally he was there, standing right behind Lakshmi and Amma said to Ramappa "En pa, Kuzhandhai yaanaiku vazhapazham kudukka aasai padaraan, konjam yaanai-a vangikka sollu" (for the tamizh challenged, it means "this kid wants to offer a plantain to the elephant, please ask the elephant to accept it")

Azhagiya Tamizh Magan - Audio

Did A.R. Rahman do this album? After Parasuram, this is one album where ARR has had the rarest of rare falls. Even more surprising is that the Maduraiku Pogadhadi number sounds very very similar to Dhina Dhinam Deepavali song in Varalaaru. And the introductory number with totally over the top lyrics (it IS over the top, atleast for Dr. Vijay) has recycled beats of Balleleika and Vaji Vaji from Sivaji and some beats from Katril oru Varthai from Varalaaru, once more. And the remix version of the Pon Magal Vandhal is in the same level as those of Yuvan Shankar Raja's in Kurumbu, Vallavan and recently, the one in Polladhavan, composed by Yogi B. There are rumors doing the rounds that a certain Krishna Chetan (ARR's website says so too) having come up with the remix version - is very bad with the standard computer effects and some inane rap music. Agreed that Dr. Vijay rarely does anything original, but even then a remix with literally zilch reworking is bad! A popular online tamizh film hub, had a senior member say this about the ATM album, which just about sums up my thoughts too!

"An embarassing slip for Rahman after SOK and atleast a couple of fresh numbers in Sivaji. A lot of techno garbage, repetitve voice processing and lots of deja vu. Remix- inexcusable,no matter who does it. Hopefully this is the last time Rahman does it. But thats what you get when you choose to do a Vijay film. PonmagaL vandhaaL is such a classic. The Marilyn Monroe song flat out sucks. It would befit a Harris Jayaraj to compose something like that. In fact the style of singing and the chessy thanglish words reminded of kannum kannum Nokia. The so-called melodies dont fare much better either. Atleast Udhaya had "udhaya udhaya uLarugiren". This is an album that sounds like as if the sound engineer at Rahman's studio put it together.
I was initially disappointed when I heard that Rahman was going to do a Vijay film which I thought was a poor choice for him at this stage, and hearing the album has only confirmed my apprehension. This is pretty underwhelming stuff which can be shelved along with Parasuram, Baba and other such albums."

And another member has this to say about the Maduraiku Pogadhedi
"ABCDEF, Sivaji was a mass album as well but adithadi had a lot of style to it. So did the style song and the main theme. So I dont buy this excuse. Looks like Rahman wasnt interested much or was busy with his overseas assignments and just phoned it in. He is capable of much better stuff than this. A kuthu song can be tastefully done too. It need not be mediocre. Even the Gummi adi song in SOK and the Ballelakka song in Sivaji had more pep and life than the so called mass numbers here. The pallavi of the intro song alone impressed me with its energy. But then the tune falters in the stanzas.Madhuraiku pogadhadi is Immaan/Dhina stuff."

I think Rahman has come out with an uninspired music album for an actor who gets inspired once too often! :P And Dr. Vijay, with his penchant for Gaana, Kuthu and other forms of music which are generally associated with B and C centers, needs to go in for his usual Mani Sharmas, Srikanth Devas rather than make ARR compose like this.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lessons from the India - Australia Future cup....

1. India can lose a ODI in series without Agarkar too.

2. 20-20 was one flash in the pan. Indian middle order consisting of Yuvaraj, Dhoni and Uthappa can't hold a candle to the Symonds - Haddin - Clarke juggernaut.

3. தாத்தா Tendulkar, who in recent times, walks with his bat as a walking stick, still proved to be miles ahead of guys like YS, MSD and others when it came to putting mind over matter.

4. Sreeshanth [see this video] is undoubtedly the Vijaya T. Rajendar of the Indian team. He has talent, no doubt, but his பேச்சு is too much. And it seems he is paying Aussies in their own coin it seems - B.S! - Aussies talk and then they match it up with superlative performances - here Sreeshanth rarely manages to get one of the six balls of his one over spells on the stumps and even when he does manage that with superhuman effort, it is a half volley and is blasted to the cow corner. To top it all, he dropped Symond's catch, who for enduring all of Sreeshanth's rants and riles, gifted Sreeshanth with a match-winning century, making Sreeshanth the real man of the match - for dropping the catch.

5. Dravid, poor guy - what a fall for the wall! (TR effect seems to have rubbed off on me too ) . He is still Mr. Consistent - in scoring single digit scores. He was much better off as the captain!

6. Harbhajan Singh is one impostor. On the same wicket where Kartik takes 6 wickets, Harbhajan gets scored off at 4.5 rpo. More than being Kumble's successor, I think Harbhajan is more of Vekatapathy Raju's successor - in taking wickets in some godforsaken match against 2nd standard students and then living in that glory for a couple of years.

7. Dada is a SODHA - as shown in the game where he scored 86. He was living off Tendulkar when தாத்தா was there in the middle and after தாத்தா got out, Sodha wasn't able to force the pace and his running between the wickets could rather be called 'not-running' between the wickets. The final margin of defeat - 18 runs - could be very well attributed to sodha.

8. Greg Chappell is a P.S Veerappa for Indian Cricket. His decision to drop தாத்தா down the order, in retrospective, seems to the be the most villainous act in Indian entertainment industry in recent times, competing with Kareena Kapoor giving Shahid Kapoor the biscuit (mama biscothu!).

9. Sharad Pawar has the power of invisibility - the guy who was in the middle of the winning team in the T-20 tournament, was nowhere to be seen in the 7th ODI in Mumbai, his operational base.

10. Agarkar must be worried man, what with Sreeshanth, Powar and some others trying to his claim his rightful place of match-winner. His terms and rates with teams with Aus, SA, Pak are falling as these teams have found the afore mentioned guys to be much economical match-winners.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Minnale Quiz

For Minnale Maniacs like me....

1.Collegla, Maddy ku evlo arrears?

2. "You know what I'm capable of" - Who says this?

3. In the last college scene, which color jacket does Maddy wear?

4. Maddy in office in chennai - "We're now going to consider _____ and ______ setup menu.". Fill in the blanks.

5. What is Reema Sen's "out of focus" friend's name?

6. Madhavan bike dome mela irukra sticker number enna?

7. Vivek lorry joke - lorry number enna?

8. What is Reema sen's veetu phone number? From that, vivek tells the house is at _______ road.

9. After Iruvizhi Unadhu song, what soup do Abbas and Reema Sen have at the restaurant?

10. When Maddy send flowers to Reema Sen, who is the second delivery guy? (Very easy one)

11. "Bon Apetite" - when does this dialog come?

As usual mail answers to karthik[dot]sriram[at]yahoo[dot]com

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cine Quiz - 6

This is another new idea I've come up with - its not novel - I have seen it in some quiz shows - but thanks to a friend of mine, HR, for giving me the inspiration by challenging me with a single guitar note to find a "Mike" Mohan song - which, me being a Tamizh Cinema PhD from the Rajni Kanth University, took almost a day to find. This set me on a thought train to make people guess songs from interludes/intro bits/etc to find the original song. I have made 10 bits from some popular songs. But my hunch says that any decent tamizh cinema fan must be able to find them all without much ado. From my regular readers, I expect Blogeswari and Deepa to guess all of them - mainly because they are two(!) years "younger" than me (I can hear some of you saying "Enna Kodumai Saravanan Karthik Sriram Idhu?") - Blog Vaazhkaiyil poi sollvadhellam sagajamappa! :P

Regular readers know where to reach me and for those who don't, mail me your answers to karthik[dot]sriram[at]yahoo[dot]com

Question 1:

Question 2:

Question 3:

Question 4:

Question 5:

Question 6:

Question 7:

Question 8:

Question 9:

Question 10:

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Memorable Songs in Tamizh Cinema - Song 1

Songs, whether they come from the Mozart from Madras ARR or the Maestro IR, make an impact on people only if they are backed up by superb picturisation - especially in these times where the TV channels rule the viewership charts. There have been some songs which have really helped a good song become super duper hits.

I want to pen down some of my favorite songs, which I would love to watch any day.

The songs are discussed in no particular order.

Pachai Nirame

A real ever'green' song if I can say so. Superb locations, amazing camera angles, extraordinary music (this maybe one amongst Hariharan's best 5) and simple yet effective choreography makes this one my favorite song. The fact that Alaipayuthey is one of my most favorite movies might have also played a part in making this song special. Also, the chemistry between Madhavan and Shalini really makes this song good. There are lots of songs which are those cloyingly sweet/saccharine kinds (where the hero and heroine act like two 'cho chweet' kinds which make me puke on the song - a very recent song, with super duper music from ARR, vocals from Shreya Ghoshal was an utter letdown in the video with totally no chemistry between the hero and his love interest - and they had pathetic locations too!) which put me off, but here the song reflects the situation in the movie - Madhavan tries to flirt with Shalini and gets a 'bulb', but as is the case with lovelorn guys, manages to see a positive that Shalini has smiled at him - the song starts here. It was a very good ploy to have the male only vocals as it makes it slightly believable (after all, its the usual dream song) - making us see the song as a manifestation of Madhavan's mood and happiness. The lyrics are very catchy too - with the standard of tamizh film lyrics going so low as to have water packet and the like in them, this song has much better lyrics - in fact, this is one song which I can sing in public without having to muzhungufy (mute out) some words in the middle.

The cinematography and choreography is really the biggest factors in making this song click - locations which are picture perfect, awesome natural lighting effects - Sriram, take a bow!! The way the colors have been integrated is also innovative - the milaga being dried, the yellow sheet in the rain - wow! And Farah Khan, shows her class by not having some cheap and vulgar actions/dance steps, manages to show the chemistry between the actors in a splendid manner.

Some Stills from the song:

Download Link:

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Travel Travails - 1

Being a 6 foot plus-ser might have a 1001 advantages to it, perhaps, but one place you wish you were of normal dimensions is in the economy class seats of all those passenger airlines. I don't know if that was the case, but Boeing seems to have designed seats with either 10 year olds or pygmies in their mind when they designed the seat arrangement in the economy class. Being one grad student doesn't allow me the luxury of the business class and so there I'm, doubled over and having to be in a posish resembling a tiger which has been beaten to death by a mad elephant. And bless the sweet heavens if you get the window seat. If you sit there and with a German 40 something paati in the next seat, you will definitely get an idea about how those 23 hours a day solitary confinement (awarded to the deadly criminals) will be like. These paatis most often than not will have some hand baggage which will fit only under the seat (thereby making your the range of foot movement to approximately 1.2mm) and after the 45 seconds after they have sat down, they will go into a kind of stupor/slumber/coma, from which they will come back alive only when they hear the stewardess asking for their choice of food or when the Pilot calls for landing. So stuck between a comatose senior citizen and a dumb double glassed, tempered glass window, you get so much to think about everything from what you wore on the day next to your 7th b'day to what you should get your wife for your 40th wedding anniversary!

And what's with the magazines in-flight? Why do those dumb people managing airlines think that anybody would be tempted to buy an overpriced cologne, 30000 feet over the ocean? Is there a mile high club for shoppers too? And not stopping with irritating you with sticking up this piece of dumb literature, the airline adds further insult for good measure by having the flight safety information in a gizillion languages apart from a cartoon only version and an enactment of the procedures by its on-board staff. And talking about entertainment, the films they show you - either some inane chick flick or some kids movie and that too, the audio quality is so pathetic, especially because of snoring matriarch by your side that you might as well try listening to Tendulkar talking in the midst of a Death Metal concert.

Then comes to the food - well, being a vegetarian, I strictly have no likes/dislikes when it comes to food and I don't mind living on cow food for the 26 hour travel, but I'm at a loss to understand since when turkey breast sandwich and salad with fish became vegetarian. The first time I was coming to US in August 2005, I was already disoriented (lack of sleep and of course, missing home kinda senti reasons) and added to that, the stewardess gives asks me whether I was an asian vegetarian and handed me a tray of food not quite unlike the way how you give yesterday's leftovers to a raapichakaran (night beggar). And when I open the wrapping I stare at 2 pieces of bun with something red in the middle which I surely know is not what a cow might eat even if starved for 21 days. I call the stewardess and ask her what it was and she coolly says "Oh! There must have been a mistake" - some mistake it would have been - all 21 years of rigidly practiced vegetarianism would have been down the drain due to some vellakari! But one good thing is that they keep stuffing you with something or the other that you never feel hungry and for those of the makkal who aren't practising abstinence, you get a wide variety to choose from too!

And the award for the most irritating co-passenger would go to any desi family consisting of M,F and one infant kid. The kid will start to blare its life out right from the moment the plane starts taxiing and your patience wears thin after half an hour. And the parents being what are, they do everything other than walk - its common sense that you walk a crying child unless its crying for food. And so the baby cries till it realizes that before its parents understand what they gotta do, it may kick the bucket - so the baby shuts up and then finally peace descends and you try to catch a few winks when the pilot calls for you to wear your seat belts for landing!

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