Sunday, December 26, 2004

HRV's Top 5

Like you're interested. But still...


1. Kill Bill Vol. 2
Quentin Tarantino's follow-up is slower and heavier than Vol. 1, but it's a juicy bite all the same. 'The Cruel Tutelage of Pai-Mei' and 'Face to Face' had me squirming with pleasure. And Tarantino's liberal usage of Western (read cowboy) type
film score brought back memories.
The Official Site

2. Big Fish
Now my favourite fairy tale. And favourite moral story. Hansel and Gretel moves to second place.
The Review

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
The pulpiest pulp film I saw last year. Sheer mayhem. Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly and Geoffrey Rush ooze character.
Many Reviews

4. The Incredibles
Takes the whole superhero comic genre another step...what if your superhero was forced to adopt his normal alter-ego as full-time persona and junks his superness? (Of course Bill in Kill Bill points out that Superman's alter-ego is Clark Kent, and his normal self has x-ray vision and all those wonderful stunts up his cape).
How does Pixar make an animation film?

5. Lost in Translation
Even I felt wonderfully middle-aged, out of place, balding and paunchy after this one! And Scarlett Johan Johansson is special.
The Scarelett Johansson site!


1. Dante Club - Matthew Pearl
Great tale of intrigue, with a peep into Boston in the 19th century plus insight into the Divine Comedy.
The Official Site

2. Education of a Wandering Man - Louis L'amour
A sort of autobiography. Only this one talks about the books L'amour read on his way
to becoming an author. Wonly for hard-core fans.
An Introduction

3. City of Djinns - William Darymple
Made me understand Delhi after staying here for almost two years. Now I think I even
love the place.
Buy it

4. Broken Music - Sting
Mesmerising prose from the master lyricist - Broken Music is also a great tale.
The Review

5. And Why Not? - Barry Norman
Film-critic Norman's glittering sarcasm on screen comes to life on paper along with real insights into famous movie personalities.
Norman's Top 100 films


1. Andre Agassi beats Andy Roddick - Cincinnati Masters
The 34 year old master with creaking bones vs protege with fresh legs and a thunderous serve. Agassi displayed complete control over Roddick, making him run from one end of the court to the other, even though A-Rod kept them comin'. Both displayed vintage stuff, and in the end experience won.

2. Portugal beat England - Euro 2004 Quarterfinal
6-5 on penalties; we were a sharply divided group and I kept shifting allegiances much to everyone's irritation.

3. Australia draw India in Sydney
Steve Waugh's last dance was a treat. And Anil Kumble bowling his heart out to win India the series was almost heart-breaking.

4. Pakistan beat India by 3 wickets in Birmingham
I was there. Watching cricket in England for the first time...the crowd was just fabulous.

5. Australia draw India in Chennai
This wasn't the first test I saw live, but this was where I really learnt to read the game properly. And interviewing Shane Warne was nice.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


M S Subbulakshmi passes away after about 80 years of utter devotion to Carnatic Music. To my disgust, not a single TV news channel plays out a proper obit. All of them are content with just a story announcing her demise, and another tracing her life chronologically. Being a TV professional, I know how much time that would have taken - not more than a couple of hours.

Where was the stuff talking about why MS is considered so great? Was it because she was the principal exponent of an art form, or because she redefined it? Was MS special because she took Carnatic music from the Brahminical domain to the masses? The answers to these questions could have been addressed in a story not longer than a minute and a half in duration. But no, we don’t care, even if some of our viewers do.
Forget journalism, MS was also an opportunity to wean traditional viewers onto our channel.

In the same session of channel surfing I came across Tom & Jerry. In an ad for a mosquito repellent. So now even they have fallen prey to commercialism, after Garfield and Mickey Mouse. Next we’ll even have Calvin fighting Hobbes for your friendly neighbourhood space toy, available for just Rs 99.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Nature of the Beast

The hunt for soundbites and 'exclusives' has turned many budding tv journalists into slobbering piles of goo. Here's one example - On the day the Indian bowler Anil Kumble bagged 434 wickets, equalling Kapil Dev's record - one 'reporter' managed to corner Chetana Kumble (Anil's wife) for an 'interview' at the airport. The following is a literal transcript - so all the typos are because our reporter spoke that way. All the italicized comments are mine.

Reporter: Ma'm big day for you as Anil keeps sayings that you have supported him. How big a day is it for you?
Chetana: This is a very big day for me and I'm really very happy that Anil broke the record.

Now, the first question doesn't yield a juicy enough answer so here we go again.

Reporter: Now that Anil is the best bowler in India, how does it sink in to the wife of the best bowler in India?
Chetana: (Polite bewilderment) It really hasn't sunk in yet. (Smiles)

It isn't long enough, answer needs to be atleast 20 seconds long.

Reporter: Was he tense like he was not getting wickets in the last three days and like he was very close to the record but yet so far...
Chetana: No he was very calm, he was really not thinking about the record. (she runs out of things to say) He's just thinking about making India win...probably.

Reporter: How you inspired him? (other reporter butts in)How you inspired him after a long 13-14 year in international?
Chetana: (Suddenly realises she has something clever to say and starts jerkily) I mean I don't know how I have inspired him, you have to ask him that.

Reporter is bemused; usually people are happy to speak, speak and keep speaking, but this one's just sticking to monosyllables. So he tries again.

Reporter: But he always kept sayings that while and during the shoulder injury you were a big support to him. Can you tell us something about that time to us?
Chetana: No, I mean, I've just made it known that I've been I'm going to be with him that's all. I don't know...

Chetana seems to have misunderstood the question - and anyway the innocuous questions are getting uncomfortable; she's awkward and unwittingly sheds light into Anil and Chetana's life before marriage (she was getting out of an unhappy marriage)

Reporter: Were you happier today, or when he took the 10-wicket haul?
Chetana: No each moment is different so you can't compare one with the other.

Reporter knows he's got something, but here's one last question just for luck's sake.

Reporter: When did you come?
Chetana: Ah. I came about a couple of days ago.
Reporter: Thank you.

This 'interview' was edited into one 24 second bit after the reporter filed it. It consisted of three chunks interspersed with white flashes.