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Archive for August, 2007

The Full Circle

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My article on Anil Kumble’s latest exploits, written specifically for and crossposted here.


There are a couple reasons why Anil Kumble comes to my mind every time I walk around M.G.Road in Bangalore. First, there is this road intersection named after him right in the heart of the city. When I first came to know of it, I was amused to find something like it. Cricket administrations and associations have a habit of naming stands in the stadium on state cricketers who made it big but this is an altogether different way of showing gratitude.

Second, not very far away is Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium. The sixteen runs Kumble made here, in company with Javagal Srinath’s equally valiant thirty, that made India defeat Australia in the third league match of the Titan Cup back in 1996, cast a shadow on an innings that was perhaps one of the best, if not the best, of an illustrious career — Mark Taylor’s only century in One Day Cricket. I like to think that the unbeaten innings of 16 runs that Kumble made that very night was his greatest contribution with the bat to the shorter version of the game. In Delhi that night, how I wished I was at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. The four towering flood light towers of the stadium are something that I envy to this day for they have been witness to such glory.

In Delhi’s Kotla, when Kumble got his 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan, his first reaction had been that India had won. It took a moment or two for the feeling to sink in, that he had got all 10. It must have been a typically modest Kumble, dealing with yet another achievement. But the Oval test, in many ways, has shown us a side of the man that we have never come across.

This is probably why I have a feeling that for Kumble, his only century at this level must rank higher than his 10 on 10. Think like a bowler and you would probably discard a possibility of taking 10 wickets in an innings. A feat like that, if it ever came one’s way, is served with a big slice of luck. Furthermore, one does not plan for miracles. But deep inside, you won’t discard easily the feeling of hitting the cherry all over the ground like a top order batsman and contemplate hitting a ton. And if you happen to be one of those in the pavilion who shoots the defining moments on an SLR, while the Sachins and the Dravids raise their bat, the wide open arms towards the sky and say a silent prayer — you probably have played the sequence in your head and tried to live the moment countless times.

Moments after Anil Kumble tucked the bat while coming down the track on the London Oval, it seemed like Kumble had not, for a change, come of age. Instead, the man had turned into a child, a 16 year old child who had somehow made it big finally. His helmet came off as if it were the biggest but the last obstacle to a celebration marking the realization of a personal dream that he had been secretly nurturing for years.

And that is why, after what was witnessed on 10th August 2007, “Anil Kumble Circle” — that intersection at Bangalore’s MG Road, will mean more than one thing to me. Not only will it indicate one of the busiest traffic intersections in Bangalore named after India’s greatest matchwinner, but it will also mark a life that has finally come full circle, for a man who has played the role of an unsung hero for most of his part in Indian cricket.

Written by aditya kumar

August 15th, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Chak De India

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No Spoilers Ahead

I would have watched Chak De India even if the Friday reviewers had torn it apart.

Shahrukh Khan. A dozen women. And no love story. Not even close to it. I mean, if this does not ignite my curiosity maybe nothing else will.

I reached the 11 am show just in time and was lucky enough to get a ticket. I have never had a problem getting the Saturday morning movie show ticket because I have always believed that guys who watch the first show on a Saturday morning and that too alone, have nothing much to do in life. Never mind if I happen to be one of them. But today was different. Seeing the crowd discouraged me but for a gentleman who was kind enough to give me one of his surplus tickets for a discount.

Chak De India is a challenge of sorts for everyone associated with it. It sounds like the filmmakers ultimate gamble but with a twist. I mean, in a film industry where films based on sports are as rare as honest politicians in the country, serving to an audience that has always thought of cricket as the only sport and feasts on it for the most part of the year – a seemingly plain dish of women’s hockey is Gamble with a capital G. Add to it a string of unknown cast (well, for the most part).

The hits just keep on coming, don’t they.

But here’s the twist — it just might pay off.

One might expect Khan to carry the movie on his shoulders and being the saving grace. The good news is that Shahrukh khan is not the only one who pulls this off. Instead, he delivers a controlled, rare blend of acting and on-screen persona that makes this movie a must watch. I loved Khan in Swades and I thought that Ashutosh Gowariker, if I may use the word, “handled” him the best. Shimit Amin, the one who dished out “Ab Tak Chappan”, may have taken a cue from Gowarikar on this. The dialogs, an ingredient that assumes even more importance in a movie dealing with patriotism, are to the point, apt. The camera is excellent. The hockey games are realistic, probably the most realistic any sport on Indian cinema has ever been (I say this keeping in mind “Iqbal“); and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that most ‘players’ in the film were real hockey players.

Besides, this is a shot in the arm for the game in India. Indian hockey needed something like this.

Watch Chak De India for India. Watch it for a game that happens to be our national game. Watch it for a brand of cinema that you have never watched. And if you still need a reason more, watch it for the beautiful girls and the almost impeccable Shahrukh Khan.

Written by aditya kumar

August 12th, 2007 at 2:02 am

Posted in Cinema

Lift kara de

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In the midst of a phase of life where everything apart from your profession takes a backseat, I am trying hard to balance out things here. Since “instinctive” writing is not my way, the only thoughts that inspire me to write something here occur to me while I am at work. One such observation here — about the people I come across while traversing across the four floors in my office. These are the people I meet in the lift (or elevator, as the Americans say):

1. They wait without patience at the lift lobby and as soon as the lift door opens, try to barge in — without realizing that there could be people in the lift who may want to come out. Not surprisingly, they keep colliding with people.

2. These people go together, mostly two in a group. They are so much into the discussion that once inside the lift they forget that they have to go somewhere and do not press any floor button. Minutes could go before wisdom dawns.

3. Then there are the over-cautious ones who always want to make sure if the lift is going in the direction they intend to go. Funny, when on the top floor, they ask the occupants — “Sure this is going down?”.

4. In contrast to the last type, these people enter the lift simply assuming that the lift is going in the direction they want it to go. Once inside they realise that they have reached the 4th floor instead of the 2nd.

5. The last kind, once in the lift, are usually deep into a thought process. Lift stops and they get out. It is later that they find out that its not where they wanted to be.

Written by aditya kumar

August 9th, 2007 at 11:14 pm

Posted in Personal