Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Music Review- Ghajini(AR Rahman)

DISCLAIMER- The review is made by a person who didn t understand a sentence in the lyrics.So,this review will hopefully stay true to the pathetic ones who are yet to learn the national language.

Aye bachchu
The song begins with a radio remix effect,gets rocking in and comes to the point where Rahman proves he is still the King when it comes to guitars.Electrifying usage of the instrument really-in different ways each being exceptional .The rendition of Suzanne adds the spice needed to make the song an instant pick of the album.
It begins with Sonu nigam s hum, followed by a tune akin to airtel/idea adJ but any similarity ends there.With a constant soothing loop running in the background,the song flows non-chalantly.One for melody lovers.
This song wonderfully rendered by Karthik is full of vigor,jazz and razzmattaz.There is distinct usage of drums, sax that makes it very interesting.The sudden sax interlude involving the humming of Guzarish is a pleasant surprise.The song,somehow reminds me of Main aisa kyun hoon(Lakshya).
Kaise Mujhe
This one sung by Benny dayal and Shreya is a typical Rahman melody.With beats that donot distract,tune that is serene.Hard to miss a semblance to Yedho yedho onru from E20U18.This song will get into Rahman s repertoire that can spoil your sleep when you are alone.
Kaise Mujhe (Instrumental)
A fitting instrumental version to the original song combined with apt chorus humming.The flute interlude in the middle is a special addition.The way the song allows one s mind to meander between excitement and tranquility shows the Rahman stamp in it.
To me this is the laddoo in the album.A laddoo that I am not so impressed with.There s an exception-The ‘yaar,yaar’ part remains in mind even after the song ends.Some ilayaraja touch there.And some Harris jayaraj touch when guys utter ‘mazari mazara zimbabwe!’Shreya somehow holds this song together.

To sum it up, Ghajni will appeal to the youth for its vibrance,to the melody seekers and any Rahman fan would feel it a prized possession.Rahman continues his rich form that he got into,maybe,when he composed for Roja!Hail the maestro.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram Review

Vaaranam Aayiram is a good film. A honest attempt from Gautham well supported by Suriya s effervescent performance.

In contrast to many views, I liked the Son character played by Suriya.The role of a father was not particularly singular.There wasn’t much scope.But the weight of that character struck at the end when the family mourns.

Suriya has believed entirely on Gautham and has grabbed the opportunity given to him with both hands-Something that some of the other actors ignore these days.Simran plays a good supporting role throughout the film. The suriya sameera fable, though unrealistic was tasteful. Not so with Divya. That part was quite abrupt.

The rehabilitation from his addiction in the second half was fresh and took me by surprise.It was good. The scene where he goes to the extent of attempting to beat his father was special.

The young Suriya (schooldays) was brilliant.He looked the part.Yethi yethi song sema scene with Aboorva sagodharargal getup and set!

On the flip side, the sudden investment in a company,becoming an Army Major look impractical and are not logical.The flashback of Krishnan-Malini too looked a bit artifical but that is insignificant anyway. Graphics could have been better throughout the film.

On the whole it is an upper middle class urban family show that is enjoyable with some nice songs picturised wonderfully.A film of this kind needs to keep coming irrespective of whether it rakes the profits.

There have been a few comparisons of Suriya with Kamal Haasan. That is totally uncalled for.This could be suriya s best but nowhere near the Kamal classics. Maybe the physique and shades of Punnagai mannan in the second half made ppl think that way. But Kamal is in different zone.Among contemporaries Suriya has gone up front now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Rewind to 2006.. Headlines:Sourav Ganguly’s era is over. It is high time he quits without any delay. Opinion Polls:Should Ganguly quit? YES-82%;NO-18%. Should Greg Chappel remain Indian Coach? YES-68% NO-32%. There was one person in the tiny 18% loyal and unperturbed fans of Sourav.That was I. There should have been another important person in that 18%. That must have been Gangs himself. Thanks to that shut out given to him. For, that helped us witness the mother of all comebacks Indian cricket has ever witnessed.It also ranks as one of the best comebacks in world cricket.

Rewind to April 2008.. There were rounds of Ganguly s exit fast approaching.One Expert(Guys who have played 3 tests,7 odis etc qualify) were questioned on replacements for Dada(The Indian media is dead smart.When someone is performing and they want to use them,they call them by their beloved nicknames),the expert came out like a lightning with a reply.”Yes.He is there.He is waiting.His name is Suresh Raina”. I was surprised. 2 years back the same Raina was predicted to be the heir to king Sachin’s throne.Now,they have a right handed Rohit to do that job.So what next.He is a left hander and there is Ganguly!

Rewind to May 2008..Chennai Super Kings in action against Dravid’s Royal Challengers in the IPL. CSK requires 15 off 7 balls. Ntini steers one to get a single.Raina refuses to take it. Takes the onus to face the last over and bring CSK home.Net result was 3 dot balls,a single.Too much for a sincere young lad.

Same May 2008. Knight riders need 15 off 7 balls to win against Punjab Kings. Ishant steers one to take a single. Gangs doesn’t want it.Takes the onus to face the last over and bring KKR home.Net result..A SIX,Four,Two and a single!..

Where is that expert? Eating the humble pie at McDonalds?!

Main story..

After a dramatic win over Pakistan in the quarter final match,India was humiliated by Srilanka in the wc 96 semi final.Eden Garden cried. May be the city was destined to cry then.For, a home hero would emerge within months after the debacle.

Lords- the Vatican St.peters of the cricketing fraternity saw a new boy like man enter its hall of fame with a century on debut. Sourav Ganguly had arrived.His Siamese twin was christened Dravid. With another century in Trentbridge in the next test,Ganguly made even the sedated ones take notice of him.He was the find of that Indian tour.

I want to avoid the cliché of describing him being the god of off side,the one who found quite a few enemies with his ways,the one who had a spat with Guru Greg,the one who made Steve Waugh wait for the toss.So,this piece of blog will aim at looking at some of the best Innings of the former India Captain.

TOP TEST Innings:

Some of his best knocks in test cricket are:

  • 87 vs SA,Kanpur 2008

This might seem a surprising inclusion to many.But this was an innings that typically won the match for India,levelled the series 1-1 and in course opened the account of Dhoni’s winning captaincy record.After a tumultuous start to the series in Chennai,and a beating in Ahmedabad any team that won here had to be good. Ganguly knew that and played a reassuring Innings to take India home.In the previous game too he made the same 87 but that time the result was different as India had tumbled to a two digit score in the first innings.

  • 136 vs ENG,Nottingham 1996

One day wonder is a catchy phrase.Not only that.There are many paradigms to justify the existence of that term. Cricket has not escaped from the hands of it as well.There were/are a lot of one day or one time showmen. After the debut century,Ganguly had the duty of removing the addition of this tag against his name and voila!he did that in style didn’t he! A wonderful performance meant India had its eastern son.

  • 101 * vs NZ,Hamilton 1999

This was an innings that was made when the test match was considered a dead rubber.Maybe that is why it did not get the due recognition. India had to play two sessions to save the test.Sourav and Dravid did exactly that but not in the predictable defensive method. They took the opposition by surprise by caressing and thrashing the opponents registering vociferous centuries.Dravid had scored a double hundred too in the first Innings!

  • 102 vs Australia,Mohali 2008

Sourav Ganguly wanted to give a superb finishing touch to his career. His 102 at Mohali gave as good a final touch as a piece of furniture gets from an Alpine craftsman! In his press conference he had said “Hope I get a few winning knocks and we finish on a winning note”. With a 102,an 85 and a 2-0 series victory he had it all!!

  • 98* vs Srilanka,Kandy,2001

Another match winning innings.India went on to win the test match after conceding the first innings lead.Also this match winning knock ensured an equalizer from India to level the series 1-1.His reactions after the victory speak lots of what it meant to him.

  • 144 vs Australia,Brisbane 2003

Here it comes-The prized possession of Dada fanatics. This innings is one of the highly praised/prized! innings of a captain of a team that was considered not better than a bunch of novice tame laid back Indian sportsmen.The number 144 is so significant in India in terms of curfew laws.That is literally what Ganguly did at the GABBA that day. This was one occasion where Ganguly walked the walk and talked the talk.Net result – India retained the coveted Border-Gavaskar trophy when nobody gave them a chance

TOP ODI Innings

This is one form of the game where the Prince of Kolkata ruled till 2003.And as fate would have it, he was never able to score a century after his initial jet start.Nearly 12000 ODI runs is not a joke and that too when another from his team has 15000 runs!

One of the best things to have happened to Indian cricket in the past decade has been the Sachin-Sourav opening partnership combination-The best ever in terms of runs,Average staying pretty above the other combinations including the deadly Gilly-Hayden bonding.

One interesting aspect of this partnership was that both the champs were able to complement each other and read situations with the precision of a Tag Heuer. This was not an one way journey like in the pairing of Jayasuriya-Kaluwitharana in the late 90s.If Tendulkar came blazing,Ganguly would stay on playing the sheet anchor.There were times of the vice versa as well.The ODI series 2007 in England where India lost 3-4 stands testimony to the significance this opening combo had on Indian batting.India won the 3 games where the two had got a 100 run partnership and faltered in the other 4 games.

Some of his best ODI innings are

  • 127 vs SA,Johannesburg,2001

This big innings was not for a winning cause but is right up there for the elucidation of the fact that the Indians were ready for a competitive series in SA where they usually falter. India went on to lose despite centuries from both Sourav and Sachin thanks to the inept bowling attack and the century from the now India coach.

  • 111* vs Kenya,Durban(2003 world cup semi final)

The occasion was bigger than the opponent and a careless Indian team could have lost their plot if not for this big Sourav hundred. He led the team to its first world cup final since the 83 triumph.The wane in the final was another story!

  • 141 vs Pakistan,Adelaide Oval,1999

This innings is a programmer’s favorite for the star cricket ‘Super centuries’ crew. This was one brilliant essay of timing,strokeplay and even footwork appreciated by the likes of Richie Benaud and Chappell.The fact that it came against an attack comprising Akram and Akhtar makes it even special.

  • 100 vs Australia,Melbourne,1999

Australians had setup a big target of around 270.Ganguly was the lone battler in the Indian chase-a scene familiar in West Indian cricket these days where Chanderpaul plays Sourav’s role!- with only dravid providing some support. India fell short of 20 runs in the end but Sourav s lone article was a special one.

  • 141 vs SA,Nairobhi,ICC Knock out Semifinal 2001

This was his best ODI innings.He smashed the South Africans all over the park making a strong statement. He smacked a lot of sixes too in that innings. That series will also be remembered for his picking of new talents in Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj singh.

* 183 vs SL,Taunton,1999 World CUP

The innings which every Tom,Dick and Harry..(or should I say Amar,Akbar and Antony) are aware of. It was the day when The lords debutants stamped their authority against a predominant Sri lankan spin attack.An apt alliteration to that day would probably be Taunton Tantrum!!

The special ones

His knock of 60 off 43 in the Natwest trophy final where he tore apart Flintoff and the other bowlers to give India a perfect start and an impetus to chase an improbable 326 warrants special mention.The win meant a lot to him and India.The shirt swing saga is proof enough-is it not?!

His 239 and 91 against Pakistan was so special.When he was dropped unceremoniously in 2006,many columnists were amateurishly urgent to point that Ganguly probably had ended his career without a double hundred.But he added a lot of runs in both forms with a stellar comeback-So much for their nostradamus attempts!Only Vijay Lokapally thought he could come back and i have the paper cutting of that column of his ,for,i knew the man would be back and blaze again!

Ganguly is specially known for his eye for picking talented youngsters,grooming and backing them to hilt.-A quality synonymous of what Steve Waugh himself found in his chief mentor AB.A bunch of young talents owe a lot to the Ganguly John Wright combination. The team won games abroad under the astute and intrepid leadership of Sourav ably supported by the batting of the likes of Dravid-Ganguly owes a lot to this guy for his crafty batting displays-Tkar,Kumble,Harbhajan.Also his ability to bowl well in seaming conditions have earned him 100 ODI scalps.He was a handy all rounder when India were in need of one.

One aspect of Sourav s batting which many had missed in their tributes was his ability to churn out crucial partnerships in the middle order with Laxman,Yuvraj,Dhoni,Dravid and Tkar in tests.This was particularly frequent in his comeback stint.The left Right combination in most of these cases warrant the need for the selectors to find a south paw who can continue giving the middle order solidity to the batting line up.

With 7212 runs he has ended as the forth highest run getter for India.In hindsight he could have scored a lot more but two of his contemporaries belong to the elite 10000 run club and a third one was highly improbable. All said and done,the best Indian captain with 21 wins in 49 games has ended his career on a high at a ground where his downfall started against the same opponents 4 years ago.So the final chapter in the script was well written.And as if he wanted to say something similar to his ‘Just one last thing lads’ press conference anticlimax with his bat too, he went out for a duck in his final innings.That is Sourav for you.A highly inconsistent maverick who has fought against all odds to come out as the second most loved and probably the most recognized(taking into account the Ganguly haters) cricketer in India. As someone had wonderfully said, Ganguly s career started with a 131 and ended with a 0 with a rainbow in between.So will that mean there won t be rain when the sun shines for Indian cricket!We will have to wait and watch with Sourav Ganguly.