Thursday, February 26, 2004

Into the hills

Am going to Dharamshala, monastic abode of the Dalai Lama to cover cricket for 5 days.
As my friend would put it - Shambo...

Update when I get back.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Floatsam & Jetsam

It's 2:16 am in office, my shift is long over, but being a compulsive workaholicafterworkhours, I've been scratching about
at the sports desk (did I mention I work in TV?) eyeing the new shift people with karmic indifference and a satiated air.
My mind casts back to yesterday, when I saw two American war films in pre 20th century era...

The first of these was Cold Mountain, nominated for an Oscar this year in just about every category. Nice film, well-shot,
cleanly edited, nothing bad with the script and great performances. But somehow it failed to shake the very core of my being.
The other was The Patriot, winner of, what was it- 2 Oscars?? Anyway, the film irritated me. Typical Mel Gibson swashbuckler
without the swashbuckle.

What's happening to me? I normally love even crappy films. Am I getting to be like, discerning?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Who would you prefer?

When it comes to cricket commentary, who would you prefer, Mandira Bedi or Rameez Raja?
Mandira Bedi may sound like a simpering floozy. But she actually makes sense,
and even has the decency to keep her mouth shut most times. Added plus: she doesn not
grace the commentary box. But she won't be seen during the Indo-Pak series. Ten Sports has
decided to eschew Bedi in the interests of 'serious' cricket (clap clap).

We do have a problem though. That warped, evil man called Rameez Raja will be in the commentary box.
I suppose that's better than having Raja AND Amir Sohail together. The two of them together would make Richie
Benaud, the father of cricket TV commentary turn in his grave. Never mind if he isn't dead yet. And certainly it is
better than having Raja and Sohail with Shaqoor Rana umpiring.

But here we're just rationalizing the whole thing. Rameez Raja is plain bad and cannot give a straight view on anything.
When Pakistan is winning, they're the best team in the world. And when they're losing, he begins to play selector, which
he is being Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

It's quite disgusting. I'd prefer ad breaks.

Monday, February 23, 2004

The Cousin who came home

I was off for 5 days last week even though I didn't even leave Delhi.
It all began with my cousin (actually my as-old-as-my-mom-cousin's son)
announcing his trip from Bangalore, and culminated in me asking the boss
for a few days off. Here's what we did.

The Return of the King, the film
Watched Part three of Peter Jackson's movie on Tolkien's book
The Lord of the Rings. Amazing battle scenes. That's all I have to say.
Would like to say more, but I'm still trying to figure out if the movie did
justice to the book.

World Book Fair
Took us most of one day to wade through all the book piles in Halls 18 and
16. Couldn't even check Halls 8 - 14. I ended up buying one book, From
Bengaluru to Bangalore. More on that after I finish reading it.

Delhi Metro Ride
Went for a joy-ride. In an air-conditioned train from one part of North Delhi to another.
Sounds like London or New York? No wonder I didn't see signs of the average Delhi citizen's
favourite pastime - putting paan-stains on surfaces not covered by someone's feet.
They must be real proud.

Khakee, the film
Nice concept, crap direction. I had once taken a vow not to watch Rajkumar Santoshi's
films after a particularly bad experience - watching Lajja in theatre. Only decided to watch
it after someone in office insisted it was a great film. Never again Mr Santoshi.

Jantar Mantar

Took lots of pictures, had inane conversation about West Bengal's inept governance
with one visiting Bangla Babu who was shooting the breeze on top of the monument.
The good thing about being a journalist is you can talk with saying anything.

The Walk Through Chandni Chowk
Not so nice. Spent half the time avoiding hordes of fellow-pedestrians, and the
other half jumping clear of paan jets.

Light & Sound Show, Red Fort
Very nice, though it's time someone decided to change the voice-over
which refers to the 20th century as the present century. It's not even like
time stands still at the Red Fort. Each time, the voice-over goes silent, you can
hear traffic sounds from outside the walls.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Serious - John McEnroe unbound

If you loved or hated John McEnroe, you can read his new autobiography 'Serious'.
But if you can't be bothered to buy/borrow it, then this Guardian review is an interesting read - youcannotbeserious!!!

Write or wrong?

I just realized this whole blog is crap (Whoever said the truth will set you
free?) It's like this - I've forgotten to write well. Maybe I never even knew in the first place.
3 years of work ex in broadcast journalism, and I can write only in a certain
way. The formula goes like this:

First you think of a short sentence that will hook the reader, the shorter the better.
Then you qualify that, with another short sentence. Okay now that you have two lines,
writing the third, fourth & fifth line is easy. In five minutes, you've composed a couple of paragraphs.
Now you look for an easy ending. Once again, you seek refuge in that short sentence that will wrap
everything up neatly. If you can't think of something suitable, you finish with a self-deprecatory line
that need not be about anything specific. Even this entry is typical.
The whole thing won't usually take more than a minute and a half to read - just
like a typical broadcast script.

Maybe if I keep doing this I'll turn it into an art form, like haiku or something...


We've had many cover stories and news reports on the rise of broadcasting. We
know many new channels are going to launch in the near future. We know more
and more people are going to be employed in the TV industry.
In short, we know the boom is yet to come. We also know that you and I, are
going to stake a claim for ourselves in this booming, brave new world.
(loud ironical laughter in the background fades out)

If you want to know more read this article, written by the chairman of Reliance
Entertainment, no less. The link is here - clickmepleasethankyouverymuch

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Kannada or Sanskrit?

"Being the son of a Samskruta vidwan preserve the legacy of Samskruta"

A serious friend of mine gave me this piece of advice.
There was no short answer I could give to him. I do have a soft spot for Sanskrit, and wish
I'd studied it in college as well. Someday, I hope to read some of the literature. But Sanskrit
is a dead language, to put it bluntly.
Kannada, however is still alive, but only barely it seems to me. It has a rich literature as well.
But each day we use it less and less.
It is Kannada that needs saving, although Kannadigas don't take pride in their language, unlike
say the Tamils, Malayalis, Bengalis or the Telugus.

On the with the revolution!!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

And Why Not?

Barry Norman is probably the most famous film critic on the planet.
And probably the best too, but I can't be too sure of that.
He's certainly the best I've seen or read, but to be honest the only
two movie critics whose names I can recall are Pradeep Sebastianm who
writes for Deccan Herald (not sure if he's still there) and Khalid Mohammed,
editor of Filmfare.

Anyway, the point is, if you've enjoyed Barry Norman's film reviews you'll
enjoy his autobiography And Why Not?
And because the medium is not television, his writing is unfettered by the need to
write to pictures. Not only is his own life interesting, he sheds some light into the
personalities of some very famous people - from John Wayne and Arnold
Schwarzenegger (who he didn't like and who disliked him) to Richard Burton,
Elizabeth Taylor and even, Alistair Maclean.

Since we're all voyeurs, it makes for very good reading.
The book is also honest, and you get a good peek into Barry Norman, the person
as opposed to Barry Norman, the critic.

Monday, February 02, 2004

1 + 1 + 1 = 6

True especially when you combine your favourite activities. Like reading, eating and travelling.
Exactly what I did on my off-day.

It went like this - got up at 10 and started And why not? autobiography of
Barry Norman famous film critic who fronted BBC's famous film show.

Well into the book I had tea and toast at home. Then upped and left
for Connaught Place. Ate tomato soup and garlic break at Cafe 100
just as Barry got the boot from Daily Mail.

Then took bus to Priya complex in Vasant Vihar, the route was pretty scenic
through India Gate and Shantipath. Delhi in the clutches of windy winter looks
like Russia I swear. That is if you look at the sky and only include the tops of
trees and buildings in your frame. (Just for the record, I haven't been to Russia)

Okay onto lunch - Irish veg sandwich and hot chocolate. Barry is talking
about early childhood and World War II. Bus back to Connaught Place.
Bus from Connaught place to home (Old Rajinder Nagar).

Then French Fries at local McDonalds - where Barry is talking about his days
on Fleet Street. Polish off with Dairy Milk chocolate at home. Time to watch
Spiderman on TV. Barry can wait.

Epicurean. That's me alright

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Australian Open 2004

My second most favourite Grand Slam has endeth, with recently crowned
World No 1 Roger Federer taking the men's title, beating unseeded
Marat Safin.
Federer is definitely the most exciting player to watch - he's been
credited with bringing 'touch' back into the game, though he can
cook up a mean serve as well. To quote someone else, he's not another
double-fisted baseline basher like just about anyone else on the circuit these days.
His backhand is a beauty to watch.

But still, I wasn't rooting for Federer. Why? It's like this. I know he's going to win many
many Grand Slam titles and break a zillion records, so this one should have go to Marat Safin,
climbing back to the top of tennis after a year of injury.
That's why I was rooting for Agassi too - the man is 34 years old and how many days
does he have left in the game?

A year back when I wasn't following tennis too closely, the collective opinion
was that the golden era of tennis is gone. Forget Boris Becker or Stefan Edberg,
there's no Sampras even, can tennis get worse was the thinking.

But with Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Marat Safin, Lleyton
Hewitt and Rafael Nadal - all of them under 25, the stage is set for some
ferocious dogfights and rivalries. The best is yet to come.

Women's tennis - well now, that's a yawn. Its usually either sister vs sister
(Venus Williams and Serena Willams) or Belgian vs Belgian (Justine
Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters)

It was nice to watch Leander Paes and Martina Navratilova on court. Their
chemistry is amazing, like watching teacher and disciple playing together.