Dethroned!

King Roger of Wimbledon has been dethroned. After the five-setter with Falla on Day 1, and another hiccup in second round in Court no. 1, we all could see that coming. But just when Fedex was getting in to his good, old habit of three set walkovers, this was a jolt. Never before since 2002, the King has quit the Championships this early. I should kick myself for thinking that except for Nadal vs Soderling match, everything will be an one-sided affair. Something in me says that it is going to be Murray’s year, in which case I promise not to go anywhere near the sports pages in the newspapers for the next few months.

This is a nice tweet about the match: Perhaps fitting that Tomas Berdych, whose father was a train engineer, has knocked out the Fed Express.

Ravanan

When I read the reviews on this movie yesterday that said ‘unforgivably boring’, it was unbelievable. How could a director like Maniratnam dish out a movie like that, although I made a similar comment for his ‘Uyire’. Despite the fact that every child brought up in India knows the storyline, we went to watch the movie (the Tamil version) at Cineworld, Feltham. Story is not a big deal, it is the screen play and the treatment that counts. Isn’t it? After all, don’t we believe Maniratnam is different from Ramanand Sagar.

One issue with Maniratnam is his past performance. He has set the bar so high for himself that one starts expecting so much in three hours, comparable to fans expecting Sachin to hit a century everytime he walks in to bat. One must commend the manner in which the film opened. No filmy introduction of hero, heroine or villain. Mani came straight to the point. Locales were great. Kudos to whoever chose them and full marks to Santosh Sivan for handling the camera. Scintillating scenes all through the movie, as his camera traverses through the mountains and jungles, most of the time in rain.

For some reason, may be because we know the story line – the film was not gripping. Especially the first half, where we always seem to know what is going to happen next. Who doesn’t know that Aishwarya is going to survive when she jumps off the cliff? In my opinion, that is biggest setback for the film. The thing that was sadly missed is a riveting screenplay like that of Roja’s (again, a known story treated with brilliant screenplay).

Vikram’s characterisation was just okay. Did Mani want to differentiate his hero by making him utter rubbish like ‘dan dan dannn…’ and ‘Bak bak bak..’? That was simply annoying. Aishwarya looked good and a lot better than any of her other Tamil movies of the past. In my opinion, she acted too. What to say of Prithiviraj? Apart from looking like Aishwarya’s younger brother, he was totally clueless about his role in the movie. Shouldn’t one show some emotion when his wife is kidnapped? A total misfit. Perhaps Surya, or may be even Arya or Vishal would have done a better job.

How about the Oscar winner? Good, if not great. Perhaps, Maniratnam is missing the services of writer Sujatha. He could have turned to pros like Balakumaran or Jeyamohan, rather than letting his better half handle that responsibility. That was another big let down. Comparitively, the second half was a lot better than the first and the manner in which the film ended was also nice.

Overall, the movie was worth watching once for its visuals. If you watch it as one another Tamil movie, it is a lot better than so many masala stuff that come out every other month. But if you go expecting one another stellar performance from Maniratnam, you’ll be disappointed. Watchable once, certainly not ‘unforgivably boring’. Forgivable, for it is Mani who taught us to expect class in Tamil movies.

BP and Bhopal

Watching Tony Hayward, the beleaguered BP Chief testify before the US Congress on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it was clear how annoyed the Americans are when their lives were shattered due to the spill. Borrowing our new boy David Cameron’s words, I can ‘understand the frustration of Americans’, but at the same time, don’t you think that they were over-reacting. If they feel so much pain and sorrow at the loss of eleven lives and the huge damage to the environment, how could they not feel any remorse when more than 20,000 people perished in Bhopal and the environment was contaminated in equal measure?

Well, I started this post with the intention of writing more. But, more I think about this, more annoyed I get. Let me end here and I promise that this will be my last post on Bhopal.

An Officer and a Gentleman

As mentioned in my previous post, I volunteered as a ‘marshal’ for the annual carnival held in our town. As part of the carnival, there was a procession across the town that included floats decorated by various schools. Each of the marshals were assigned a road and at the appointed hour, we have to put up a barrier with ‘Road Closed’ sign and be around until the last float passes that point, after which the barriers and the signs should be removed. Not a big deal at all.

For Health & Safety reasons, we were given the high visibility vests. As I walked on the street wearing one such vest, an elderly gentleman approached me and asked, ‘Excuse me, Officer! Can you tell me if the buses will be plying today in view of the procession?’. I turned around to ensure that he was addressing me and indeed, it was me he was talking to. Perhaps, he took me for a police officer, who were also present in the vicinity sporting high visibility fluorescent coloured vests. Needlessly, I got reminded of the comedy sequence in the movie ‘Indian’, where Goundamani would sarcastically wish Senthil ‘Good Morning Officer’. Even while I was answering that gentleman, I couldn’t control my laughter and was really hoping that the guy will move away soon. He did, but not without a parting shot – ‘Thank you very much Officer. You are very kind’.

Snippets

** I was unable to access my website for a while as the company I work for placed my site among many others as having inappropriate content. For whatever reasons, the decision was reversed and my site is having one extra visitor since yesterday – me.

** After a long gap of 6 years, we had a family holiday to Switzerland. The break was great and it was really refreshing. More importantly, Anirud enjoyed every minute of the trip about which we are more happy about. Already, we are looking forward to the next great break.

** I started blogging 7 years and 41 days ago. Time sure flies in the relative sense too that I started this blog exactly 42 days before I got married.

** There is going to be a carnival in our little town of Chesham. Each school in the town will make ready a decorated float with children on it. Anirud’s school too is sending one and that bugger is going to be on it. I have volunteered to be a marshal regulating the traffic. Have been given instructions, high visibility jackets etc. Getting excited about that.

** Something that disturbed me deeply in the recent times was the verdict in Bhopal Gas Leak case. It is one thing to say that US is having double standards by refusing to extradite Anderson and it is another to think that successive Indian Governments lacked the political will to get justice for its own citizens. Seems that the extradition laws with US are one-sided everywhere. It is the case even with UK.

** In a matter of a month, David Cameron suddenly looks very tired, old and ageing. Result of Power Pressure? Perhaps that is why India always elects aged PMs.

** Discovering more and more school friends in Facebook. Feels good when we recollect our activities of adolesence age, many of which appear very silly now.

** Met a nice man called Ken Woodward, who lost his sight in an accident while working for Coke. His case is a warning for everyone to stay safe. Here after, whenever I hear the word ‘safety’, I think I will remember Ken.