World Cup 2007, the most bloated, insipid, one-sided World Cup ever, ended appositely in pitch darkness (reminding old hands of that match in Sharjah which for the first time brought into focus the farce that cricket had become in the land of the Sheikhs) with a comical faux-finish and such utter confusion and mismanagement that one felt one was watching an interdepartmental match in Jadavpur University rather than the climax of the premier showcase tournament for cricket.
“Welcome to “Yellow Very Yellow“, GBTV’s current affairs program where we analyse the most significant events taking place in today’s world: events that will shape your future as well as of your grandkid’s. Tonight our topic of discussion is the Abhishek-Aishwarya wedding and our panel consists of noted style guru Ritu’s Berries, historian Ramleela Thappad and socialite Bushel Seth.
First Ritu’s Berries. What the Bachchans do today, the Khans do tomorrow. So what is your assessment of the style quotient at the Abhi-Ash marriage? The hits, the misses and the blunders?”
Ritu’s Berries: “Dahling, it was one blundah aftah another.
Firstly look at the picture to the left….what gaudiness. I think they took that background off the sets of Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana. I know that this is a Ram-Sita jodi with even a Amar Hanuman Singh being present but why this garish strip-club-ian dÃ©cor?
And what’s with the green jellybeans Abhishek is wearing? And the beard —was that to hide the double chin? “
Turning to the crowd that had thronged to watch his last innings, Brian Lara, trying in vain to hold back the emotion asked:
” Did I entertain you?”
A roar of affirmation confirmed the obvious.
As cricket has become increasingly commercialized over the years, the overwhelming focus of those who play it has become “to win”, putting in shade the original intent of the game: that being to entertain. Craft has become slave to science as modern cricket has come to be dominated by “per centage”cricketers whose success is based on performing the basics correctly match after match, with minimal failure.
Brian Lara however was different.
What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you’re that pissed that so many others had it good.
As Good As It Gets
As I laboured through Cho Seung-Hui’s final video testament of how all those rich kids with their trust funds and Mercedeses and their debauchery had brought this divine retribution on themselves and how he like Jesus Christ was going to inspire generations of the weak and defenceless, I felt revulsion and pity for that asshole in equal measure.
It was afternoon, in the middle of hectic shooting for the Hindi movie “Teen Sau” , that I caught up with director Anil Sharma and Sunny Deol. Resting underneath two mammoth umbrellas and with a Patiala peg in their hands, the atmosphere was most relaxed, once you overlooked the trickle of blood flowing down Sunny Deol’s upper brow and the fragments of human bone and flesh that seemed to cover his knuckles.
” So Mr. Anil Sharma, how did “Teen Sau” come about?” I asked.
Sunny Deol smiled and interrupted.
“Let me tell you. This was just after the release of my movie ‘Big Brother’ where I played a violent man called Gandhi who buried people in the sand with just one blow. Having vanquished all villains, I was looking for creative new ideas when I chanced upon this “changa” film: ‘300’ “.
Whether you appreciate or feel indifferent towards “The Namesake” depends solely on how much empathy you feel towards its protagonists and how much of your life’s own dilemmas you find reflected in its narrative. This is indeed the key to the appreciation of most non-fantasy, non-escapist films but it holds especially true for “The Namesake” dependent as it on the believability of its characters: if you cannot connect with them, you will just feel as if you are watching a slow mini-series built around a wafer-thin premise (that of an American Bengali coming to terms with the name ‘Gogol’ that his dad gave him) [As an aside: For
Karl Kal Penn, playing a character with the name Gogol is many steps up (or down) from his character in "The Rise of Taj" whose last name was Bada-Lund-a-bad) ]
Ravi Shastri walks into the Indian dressing room. India’s World Cup squad is sitting there; a few of them more than a bit nervous about the pep talk to come and the heads that shall roll, financially committed as many are to playing the game till they are 37.
Ravi Shastri: “Now look here boys. I am a no-nonsense guy and will cut straight to the chase. Many of you may be asking why I have been chosen to be coach. After all, I was an unexceptional batsman, a mediocre bowler and while fielding would go down on my knees and wait for the ball to roll into my hands.
However there is one thing I was the undisputed king of, and still am.
That being the art of seduction. The art of the fling.
That art is what, my dear boys, I, Shastri or “Sahasra Stri” (the one with thousand women), the king of the Mumbai party circuit, have come to teach you.
And lest I forget, if there are any doubts about my legendary chick-magnetness, let me remind you that I am the only Indian cricketer to have had a movie named after him (Still from movie: Ravi Shastri to the top left)”.
Flopping back into his “chief selectorial” couch, Dilip Vengsarkar lets out a sigh of relief. Looking at BCCI supremo, Sharad the Powerful he whines:
“This is going to be a tough day of interviews. The entire building is crawling with ex-Indian cricketers, each claiming to be the ideal person to be the next Indian coach. Just now, I was in the loo letting fly when I saw a hand trying to push in a resume underneath the cubicle from the adjoining potty enclosure. And judging from how slowly the hand moved, I am positive that was Venkatesh Prasad. On the way to this room, I accidentally bumped into Raghuram Bhatt, Bharati Arun and several other Indian ex-cricketers who I didn’t know even existed, each with a Vision 2011, hand-written on the back of old movie posters.”
Sharad Pawar opens one eye. “Are they from Mumbai?”
Vengsarkar nods. No they are not.
It was three years ago, when the DPS Dhamaka tapes finally opened our eyes to the licentiousness among today’s kids, that I wrote:
When I sing â€œNanhe Munhe Bacche Teri Mutthi Main Kya Hain?â€ (Innocent Kiddie, whatâ€™s in your hand?â€) and our innocent kiddies wink back and show us contraceptives (thanks to what they have learnt in school)â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.well that my friends would be the end of civilization as I know it.
Well now it is time to take back our heritage from these titillated tykes. In a development that gladdens my heart, the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have disallowed sex education in their schools thus taking a stance against the tide of decadence that seeks to sweep the nation.
Sex education in schools ! What is the world coming to? Soon children will definitively know that little brother was not picked up from a temple, that auto-manipulation will not make them go blind and that they should not get close to that uncle who insists on exploring them as they sit on his knee.
Needless to say, such knowledge cannot be allowed.
When the blame for India’s debacle at the World Cup is being apportioned, the easiest and most obvious targets are of course the players themselves. After all it’s ultimately they who dropped the ball. A few of them have their careers on the line, sponsors have dropped them from their payrolls, and no matter how much money the eunuchs may collect for Sachin Tendulkar’s pension, it won’t be enough to help Sachin, far less the other players who do not have the privilege of such universal adulation. The players are afraid of being seen in public. They have had their property damaged. Hell even their “duplicates” are afraid of being lynched.
The lookalikes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Mohinder Dhoni have been watching their backs in recent days. In the past, they made frequent appearances on television and were cheered by spectators during cricket matches.
“When Sehwag plays well, I am treated well by people. But when he scores badly, even the lives of my wife and child are in jeopardy as people threaten to beat me up for Sehwag’s bad performance,” The Times Of India quoted Yogendra Shah as saying.