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Archive for January, 2006

The Can Conquer Cancer Initiative

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Uma’s post has won the first prize for the the “Can Conquer Cancer” Initiative. My post and Dave’s writeup here, won the second prize (it was a tie :) The results can be seen here.

I wish to thank the people involved in this initiative. It has been an effort, full of positivity. And, as I have said before, to conquer this disease, being positive is half the battle won.

As you may have noticed, with the results announced, I am in such fine company. I am honored, and I don’t know what more to say. It was a surprise, my name there!

Thank you, everyone.

Written by aditya kumar

January 28th, 2006 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Blogging,Personal

Rang de Basanti: Worth a watch

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NO Plot/Story Spoiler ahead, so read ahead, don’t worry :)

I watched the movie, first day, second show at Goa’s Inox multiplex. Rang De Basanti (the title of the movie name constantly reminds me of the Radiocity Bangalore DJ, Basanthi),like the other, new-generation, “good” movies carries most of those attributes that one relates the modern times with — Slick photography, Brilliant cinematography and camerawork with awesome music score (well, most of it) but lacks where it matters — The story.

I don’t know what’s up with these new-age directors. Screenplay, music, camerawork, all top class. They can make anything look so good! If you consider movies like Swades, Paheli and now, Rang de Basanti, you will see that how much they have stressed on India, it’s values, it’s people, the culture. Just when we thought that the focus had almost entirely shifted on urban India, we see the Indian countryside and the villages and they look refreshed like never before. Colorful, full of energy. And suddenly you want to be there. The next coming weekend, you want to explore the outskirts of the city, maybe go on the highway, find a dhaba and eat lunch.

But then where do movies like these go wrong? They mess up with something very basic. Most of the times, the casualty is the storyline. Making everything look beautiful and modern, they try a little too hard and in the process, go off the basics of movie making. It’s like eating special bhelpuri with almost no salt. Get what I mean? Rang de Basanti (RDB) is no different. But then again, it’s not at all bad.

It is clear that the makers of RDB want to give a message to the youth, in the youth’s own language, own style. In that sense, I thought it is very similar to Maniratnam’s Yuva. I thought RDB falters because the message to attain a purpose is given alright, but the means to achieve that purpose is wrong. A few more details, and I would be spoiling your movie, so I stop here :)

Final verdict: Even though most of the story actually happens post intermission, it’s a movie to watch. It has got enough positives to buy a ticket and watch it in the theatre (with Dolby!). AR Rehman’s music adds a whole perspective in itself. And one more thing — The perfomances by the actors are worth not just to be seen, but experienced. (Another complaint though, I thought the much acclaimed, Atul Kulkarni could have done with a more demanding role. He is such a delight to watch and he makes most of the screentime that he gets). RDB is not a “just-Amir-Khan-all-the-way” movie. Watch it.

Written by aditya kumar

January 28th, 2006 at 12:32 pm

Posted in Cinema

BCCI: Show me the money

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So, the BCCI is finally considering having its own channel. Old readers might recall, this is exactly what I had mentioned here, in a post written in 2004.

BCCI, now wants to promote “Brand” BCCI. The channel is a step in that direction. What does the channel mean to the common man? Will it be available free-to-air? You gotta be kidding if you think that would be the case, how will the BCCI earn money then? So stupid of me to even think on those lines. Afterall, BCCI is the richest of all cricket boards in the world (and also was once stupid enough to suggest that ‘Team India’ is actually not representing India, but BCCI…and I think that was one of the early signs of success and money going into BCCI’s head)

Let’s take a closer look on how does the cricket television rights war hits the “common man”.

For a cricket fan, the only question that matters is — Will s/he be able to watch cricket on a free-to-air channel (read DD) or not. Whether the cricket is on at Ten Sports, Zee Sports, ESPN or Sony – it does not make a difference.

In the cases when cricket can be viewed on Doordarshan, it is usually a “sharing” arrangement between the Cable Channel and DD. When that doesn’t happen, it is the common man’s cricket that looses.

What will BCCI’s new channel add to this? Fuel to the fire.

BCCI will just retain the allocation of the cricket feed rights to itself. Whether it would be available for Prasar Bharti (DD’s momma company) is going to be decided, most probably, in one of the courts in our country, a few days before each tour begins. Back to square one. I hope I am proved wrong.

Cricket, in India, is a big cow that milks money. BCCI is the owner. They certainly have started acting as if they are the owners of the game worldwide. Example, they say that India shall not participate in The ICC Champions trophy. Why? It’s not economically feasible. According to Cricinfo:

“BCCI made fairly clear signals that it did not support the ICC fund-raising concept which it believed reduced its own earning potential.”

” ‘We’re not free in October in 2007, 2008 or 2009,” BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi told reporters on Monday. “We have made our position clear to the ICC many times. If others want to play, they can, but why should we play in October?’ ”

So the Governing Body of the Game can go to hell. I believe that ICC has always been a very weak body. But BCCI has made a mockery of what remained of The ICC.

Want more? BCCI shall not host Bangladesh in India for a test series because it is not “economically feasible”. So will India be playing Bangladesh? Yes, India would be touring Bangladesh next year. More From Mr.Bindra:

” ‘They make more money by our going there. If they come to India, they will get only meal allowance. If we go there they make huge television revenue and title sponsorship.’ ”

More here

It’s a clear case of making money at the cost of Cricket. The BCCI has decided that it does not need to venture into anything that doesn’t bring them money. Money is the name of the game. (BCCI’s former president prefers to call it “Professionalism”) So, by that logic, they should stop organising first class matches altogether. After all, first class cricket is not known for generating revenue.

Where does the money go? Our first class cricketers play to empty stands and still travel by train you know. Uhh.. there was some talk about “transparency” too, when Mr Pawar came to hold the BCCI reigns, err…what about it?

Written by aditya kumar

January 17th, 2006 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Cricket

Voting, Blog Voting

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This is late, in fact I did not even know that today is the last day for blog-voting at Indibloggies. Awards for the best of Indian Blogs for the year that has just passed by. I have just voted :)

And I shall be clear about whom I have voted for. Here are the categories, and my choice:

The best Indiblog of 2005
Uma’s Indianwriting

Select the Best Topical IndiBlog of 2005
Sonia Faleiro

Select the Best Group Blog of 2005

Select the Best IndiBlog directory/service/clique of 2005

I did not have to think twice while making these choices, the people associated with these blogs are wonderful people and write inspiringly well. I know that.

If you are a blogger as well, then please, please go and vote! Today is the last day!

Written by aditya kumar

January 10th, 2006 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Blogging

Sonia Faleiro’s Debut: The Girl

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And finally, Sonia Faleiro, makes her debut, with her novel, The Girl. This, I am sure, is another reason to look forward to the offerings of Modern Indian Literature.

The story is based in Goa. As I was reading the extract from the book here, the words painted a picture in my mind. As far as I could make out from what I read, Sonia has brilliantly captured the standstill life of Goa.

The prose is intense in its own way, yet captures the most important aspect of Goan life – Stillness.

Please read more about the book on Sonia’s website. Read the extract. In fact, read the book.

About the Author
After linking to her blog and being under the impression that she is a journalist, it came as a nice but big surprise, to know that Sonia is Assistant Editor, Tehelka, and her non-fiction writings have appeared in India Today, The Indian Express and The Hindustan Times.

Written by aditya kumar

January 5th, 2006 at 1:52 am

Posted in Blogging,Writing

New Year’s Day and Truman Specials

with 9 comments

My New Year was no celebration at all, I was browsing the internet on my computer at home. But yes, music is an important aspect of anything that I do on days like these, so I played U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire” and “New Year’s Day”. I needed Bono’s reassuring, full-of-hope voice.

Bono’s like an old friend to me now. So even if he sings a sad song, I manage to pull out some hope everytime I hear him.

We all have our problems, small and big. It has been a tough year for the World as well. The Tsunami aftereffects, The London bombings, the Delhi bombings, the Kashmir Earthquake, to name a few. People have lost, people have grieved. For me, there has been a personal loss as well.

The New Year is hope for all of us. It’s that time when we have the opportunity to start over, to wipe the slate clean and to give everything a fresh start. I hope that it turns out to be a year that is good and full of hope for all of you, the readers of this blog whom I know, and those who choose not to comment and decide against letting their presence felt.

It would be naive to believe that problems shall go away. They will persist, like always. Here, I wish that the “fine balance” is achieved. Its something that is explained below in the post, so please continue reading.

Meanwhile, A Very Happy New Year.

On a lighter note, the Truman Specials for this year. In no particular order.

1. The Best Album Truman listened to

Without doubt, U2’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”. It grows on you, and finally gets you! What an album this!

2. Errr.. The Best (Non-U2) Artist/Album Truman listened to

I feel it has to be Coldplay’s X&Y. Oasis comes a close second with “Standing on the shoulder of Giants”. Figures say a little different story though. In the second half of the year, I listened to 285 songs of Oasis and 197 songs of Coldplay. (U2’s count for the second half of the year? 694 songs)

3. Best Hindi movie Truman watched full screen

Iqbal. But do I have a choice? Hardly good movies released this year! (I liked “Sehar” too)

4. Best Hollywood movie Truman watched full screen

Cinderella Man. No doubt. But Harry Potter comes a close second. “Finding Neverland” comes third.

5. “If-only-I-could-see” movie for this year

Anniyan. I wish to see this movie. But I can’t understand Tamil. I wish I could!

6. Cricketing action of the year

The Ashes, what else? But then again, the England-Pakistan series was such a downer.

7. Arrogant Cricketer of the year

Andre Nel of South Africa. Click on the link to see his face and you shall know who we are dealing with.

8. Best place Truman visited this year

Home :)

heh, actually, Kasauli. And I intend to visit it again. A close second comes, Karwar

9. Last but not the least, The Best Indian Author book Truman read this year

Difficult. Very, very difficult. Hmmm.. I would say “A fine balance” by Rohinton Mistry.

This is the “Fine Balance” line I was talking about, something that applies to all of us: “You cannot draw lines and compartments, and refuse to budge beyond them. Sometimes you have to use your failures as stepping-stones to success. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair…In the end, it’s all a question of balance Pg 231, ‘A Fine Balance’ “.

Dr. Amitav Ghosh’s “The Glass Palace” comes very close. These books are very moving, in their own ways. Essentials of Indian Literature, these.

But the common factor in these books, is this feeling that overwhelms you, that is reflected in the words below:

‘Holding this book in your hand, sinking back in your soft arm-chair, you will say to yourself: perhaps it will amuse me. And after you have read this story of the great misfortunes, you will no doubt dine well, blaming the author for your own insensitivity, accusing him of wild exaggeration and flights of fancy. But rest assured: this tragedy is not a fiction. All is true.’

— Honoré de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot

The best thing for me, at a personal level, has been the literature I have read. The treasure is endless and it is priceless. The year gone by, has been the year of the Indian Authors. And no, I am not just talking about the Authors who write books. Just as important, are the Writers who exist in Blogosphere. I want to thank you, to each one of them, for Writing. Writing for a cause, Writing when provoked, Writing to Inspire and more importantly, Writing with responsibility. They know who they are.

Thats it for now, signing off!

Written by aditya kumar

January 1st, 2006 at 11:09 pm