Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dada - the skipper!

It was July 13, 2002, Natwest series final - India vs. England. I remember it so vividly not only because India had pulled off one of the most sensational run chases but also because I turned 16 that day. My father, who idolised Sachin's humility, Dravid's discipline and Kumble's gentlemanly conduct despised Ganguly for his unabashed arrogance. Fed on a regular diet of down-to-earth cricketing idols, he could never come to terms with Dada's pride and aggression.

Coming back to the final, India had lost the preceding nine consecutive finals and were well set to lose the tenth one. Nasser Hussain scored a century and pointed to his shirt while gesturing to the press box. My dad spoke about the skipper leading from the front. We had to chase a huge record total of 326. In those days, 326 was almost impossible (Now even Bangladesh can score that) And when we began our run chase, we faltered. When Sachin was cleaned up by Giles and the scorecard read 146/5, my father switched off the television set and began to mourn. (My father and I are hardcore Sachin fans) As for me, it was my birthday and I switched it back on praying for a birthday miracle.

As the chase gathered momentum, dad returned and we both were glued to the TV set until Zaheer and Kaif scampered for the winning runs from the overthrow with an ecstatic Ravi Shastri shouting in the commentary box, "India have created history here." And then they showed Dada. There he was - brash, proud, waving his shirt wildly yelling at the top of his lungs. My lipreading skills told me that I should be looking anywhere but the screen. You see, I did not want my parents to know that I'd learnt new vocabulary. When I turned to my dad, the look on his face said it all. It was a look of joy.. admiration.. pride!

And then it struck me. Of course, he'd never want his son to idolise someone who yells 'fuck' from the Lord's balcony after a victory. But he sure admired him for his aggression and arrogance.. the way he inspired and marshalled his troops.. the way he led from the front.. But he never showed his admiration. Neither did I.

Dada stood for everything which a middle-class Indian would not want to see in his son - he was a rebel who defied every norm. When he was made the skipper, he injected the Indian team with loads of enthusiasm and self-belief. Fearlessness and team effort were the mantras and the media, noticing the changes, coined the term Team India. Team India captured the nation's imagination with our aggressive attitude. Suddenly, cricket was no longer a gentleman's game. May be that is why, although we had some new found admiration for the Prince of Calcutta, our loyalties were unmoved.

That night, after the presentation ceremony, I took a playful jab at my dad, "He's not a bad captain after all." My dad's reply was an expected one, "Well, if he could be less arrogant, he'd go on to become a great captain."

Dad, if he could be less arrogant, he wouldn't be Sourav Chandidas Ganguly. Sensational, dramatic and yes, arrogant. Hats off, Dada!

"I dont know whether one duck made my career more dramatic. It was dramatic in any case."
Sourav Ganguly on what his last Test innings signified

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Not even a quantum of solace *no spoilers*

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain little description of the movie. Hence, if you've watched the movie, then you can afford to read the rest of the post. However.. and this is a big however, if you've not watched the movie yet, then I'd strongly recommend you to read the rest of the post and then take a wise, life-changing decision of whether you want to watch the movie or not. Amen.

So we decided to go to Crown theatre to watch James Bond's latest flick "Quantum of Solace". For the uninitiated, Crown is the only theater in Calicut to screen the latest English movies. Since we could not get the balcony tickets, we had to settle for the second class tickets. Now for second class tickets, you do not have seat numbers. The seats are allotted on first come first serve basis. So there was a mad rush when the gates were opened and since we are not really big fans of rushing, (unles we have to rush out of classes) we ended up getting front row seats.

Before the movie began, the usual commercials were being aired. But surprise surprise! A Kohinoor condom commercial was aired and the entire crowd sat there in complete silence and attention. I was stunned by the idea of playing a condom commercial in a theatre. Playing the national anthem is perfectly fine with me, but playing a condom ad?? Which genius came up with that idea? But what came as a bigger shock was the crowd which sat there watching and listening to everything. I had not expected such a decent crowd in Crown! If it had been Hyderabad, people would have gone crazy and vocal showing their approval.

After the ad ended, they played the Dostana trailer. AB Jr in shades and Priyanka in a bikini got a few claps but when they showed a bare bodied John, the theatre erupted! There were whistles, howls, shrieks, comments (which thankfully I could not understand) and claps.. only from men! Only men!?! I did not really understand why a Priyanka-in-a-bikini is not a more attractive proposition than a John-in-shorts. Did I say decent crowd? Crowds here are really messed up!

And finally the movie started. And with great regret, I say that the movie failed to provide me with even a quantum of solace. The title track was long and boring. The editing was horrible. I think a monkey decided to chew down half the script and the director decided to shoot the movie anyways. And the English accent at places is completely incomprehensible. I dont really get this - these guys invented the language! How can they speak in such gibberish accent? Somehow the ladies find the accent a real turn on. Strange. Coming back to the movie, the stunts were cool, not too many technical gadgets were used and the lead female was not that great looking. And finally when the movie ended, the crowd was howling - I think they were thankful that the director decided to end the movie halfway. So to all my friends in leading metros, do not waste your 100-150 bucks on this movie. I'd rather sit at home and watch repeat telecast of Sachin-Sourav partnerships on Star Cricket. Sigh.. am all nostalgic now!

Status message of the day:
"The black man is called in to clean up the mess. What's new?"

- An Egyptian blogger on Obama's election

PS: Watch Deshdrohi - from what I saw in the trailers, the male lead has a funny way of mouthing off dialogues :D Dr. Eddie Murphy meets Bhagat Singh.
PS2: Twin setbacks to the Indian cricket team in this series. No Jumbo.. no dada.. Watching cricket will not be the same again :( Lets hope we win the series 2-0! :D Go India go!
PS3: Hope to blog more often.
PS4: That's the 3264th time I've promised myself to blog regularly.

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