Sunday, July 5, 2009

गब्बर की गैंग का recruitment

a wacky title for ur first ever role play. never enacted in one before and at the very least expected a serious topic. any way it made preparing the stuff very interesting. i think i love humour as making a formal ppt for presentation a day after was quite a chore. so hoping for a few more role plays like this i may decide to try my hand at comedies. wrote after a long time [ a disclaimer basically to hope any rustiness is forgiven though i daresay it elicited a few laughs when we performed though i am still not sure it was because of the play or a really madcap acting display by our team. i would let the readers be the judge of it. so here is how it goes. ]

GABBAR (enacted by me) is sitting in the interview room waiting for new bakras to recruit.

GABBAR : Yaar gang ki to band baj gayi hai. Jab se ye do launde seher se aye hain mere saare chamche dum daba ke bhaag gaye. Saala khana bhi khud hi banana padta hai. Chhamak Chhalo bhi unhi ke saath ho li aur mujhe bilkul akela chhod gayi. ab to no money and no HONEY. Bahut ho gaya ab to aur daake daalne hi padenge. Saale do chokre interview ke liye aayein hain. Mandi aur bhookh hali ke daur me inhi se kaam chalana padega. Saale jaise bhi lallu panju honge rakh loonga.

SAMBHA and KALIA are chatting away as they wait for the interviews to begin.

[WRITER'S COMMENTARY: WE HAD 3 CHARACTERS IN ALL AS WE WERE THREE MEMBERS IN THE TEAM. SAMBHA was played by a girl and she is really talented and KALIA by a boy and so we had more risque dialogues with KALIA to maintain the decorum and i acknowledge and thank him profusely to be game for everything. A real sport. We were told to stay away from any explicit stuff if u know what i mean. There had been an incident before and perpetrator taken to task so we decided to play relatively safer. so apologies for lack of too much masala.]

SAMBHA and KALIA are quite dapper looking and articulate, former satyam employees looking suitably nervous as any sane person would while encountering GABBAR.

KALIA : Yaar is recession ne to wat laga di hai. Kahan to bangalore me ACs, PUBS, DISCOS me zindagi katati thi aur ab naukari aur salary ke laale pad gaye. Upar se Raju ne ghapla karke hamari kamar hi tod di. ab hum do "laid off" bechare bina sahare dekho ramgarh ke jangalo me dhool phank rahe hain. is gabbar se bhi dar hi lag raha hai. Ad me to bahut kuchh promise kiya tha lekin kahin hamein hi naa loot le.

SAMBHA : Bhai in these difficult times yahi ek dhandha rise pe hai. maine suna hai ye saala GABBAR kadodo kama ke andar daal rakha hai. Saath rahke hamari bhi to aish hi rahegi. Waise bhi lute huon ko kya lutega. So don't worry.
[Interview bell rings] Chalo ab is daaku ko impress karte hain.


GABBAR looks up and roars : Aa gaye suar ke pillon. Saale kis angle se daku lagta hai. Satyam ke thuke hue launde jyada lag rahe ho. Kabhi chuha bhi maara hai aajtak.

SAMBHA : Sardar hum bahut bahadur hain. Aise na bolo. Chahe to aajma ke dekh lo.

KALIA : Haan sardar jaldi chalo gaon se sona, jewar aur chhokriya loot ke late hain.

GABBAR : Abe saale pehle recruit to ho jaa. Lage bak bak karne. Tumhara pehla test ek live project hai. Saher se kuchh chhokre aye hain aur bahut hero ban rahe hain. Ye lo mardoodon do laathiyan aur mere pyare dono aakhiri ghode. yaad rakhna agar inhe kuchh hua to saalon tumhari savari karoonga. Ghode wapas mujhe mint condition me chahiye tum chahe kaise bhi aao. jaa ke laundo ki jam ke dhunai karo aur mere paidon me laa le patko.

SAMBHA and KALIA : Ji sardar hum abhi jaate hain aur unhe le ke aate hain.

[rest of the scenes coming shortly. gotta go for lunch.]

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Indian Tennis owes a lot to Leander Paes who has faithfully served the country with great distinction in this sport for last 2 decades. His game automatically jumps a few notches when he is representing India and he has been associated with some of the greatest moments in Indian tennis history . Before anything congratulations to Leander for winning the French Open 2009 doubles title with Dlouhy, yet another addition to his long list of achievements.

Born in a sporting family Leander started as a child prodigy and was ranked #1 in the world in junior ranking annexing junior US Open & junior Wimbledon. He turned pro in 1991 at a tender age of 18. He had started making waves in Davis Cup helping india reach world gp qualifying winning all his matches against Indonesia & Korea. In 1992 he reached the QF of 1992 Barcelona Olympics doubles with Ramesh Krishnan. More success followed in Davis Cup in 1992-1993 as he helped India reach world group semis defeating fancied teams like Great Britain, Switzerland and France. In the process he defeated many distinguished players like Jeremy Bates, Jakob Hlasek, Arnaud Boetsch all ranked much higher than him and even the legendary Henri Leconte. He also reached 1993 US Open Doubles SF with Sebastian Lareau. He also defeated South African Wayne Ferreira in Davis Cup who was at that time ranked inside top 10 in the world. He had a good run in 1995 when he reached 1995 Australian open doubles QF and vanquished the giant Goran Ivanisevic as India reached Davis Cup world gp QF. 1996 was a golden year in Indian sports as Leander brought home an Olympic Medal after 16 yrs and first individual medal since K D Jadhav in 1952 Helsinki Olympics. It instilled a tremendous sense of self belief and India has never returned empty handed from Olympics after that till date. The Government recognized his accomplishments and he was awarded the highest sporting honour in India the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award’ in 1996. In 1997 he partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi to reach SF at US Open and in 1998 in Semi Finals of Australian, French and US Opens in men’s doubles. In 1998 he also won his maiden ATP TOUR title in Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, Newport, USA and rose to career best ranking #73 in the world after defeating Pete Sampras. In 1999 Leander reached the finals of all 4 grand slams partnering Mahesh and won the French Open and Wimbledon where he also won the Mixed doubles event with Lisa Raymond to complete a grand double. He also became #1 ranked player in the world in doubles.

He has by now won 5 grand slam men’s doubles: 3 with Mahesh and 1each with Martin Damm and Lukas Dlouhy. He has also won 4 mixed doubles titles: twice with Martina Navratilova and also with Lisa Raymond and Cara Black winning 9 Grand Slams at all the venues and just 2 behind Mahesh who has got 11 grand slam titles. His zeal and passion for the game remains as strong as ever as he proves again by winning the just concluded French Open. I wish he brings many more laurels to our country and hopefully another Olympic Medal.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Countless words have been spent dissecting the most TOASTED and HATED movie of the season "SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE". The movie that romped home with 8 OSCARS, 4 GOLDEN GLOBE, 7 BAFTAS and a host of other international awards and yet derided in India by a few people with variety of brickbats ranging from being an outrageously hyped good movie to the run of the mill fare to being a downrightly bad and boring movie. Interestingly the detractors decrying the hoopla themselves generously devoted too much time and energy to retain their side on the debate that they actually contributed to increase the charm and mysticism of the movie. LOVE ME, HATE ME, BUT DO NOT IGNORE ME mantra was well served in this case and if I were in SM producer's shoes I would be happy that it got more people in theatres to see the merits of movie by themselves.

I think it is a brilliant movie. For one it is very engaging right from the start to the end. I wonder if some people found this boring how do they sit through a lot of our Hindi Films. We make some really good movies but are outdone in volume by no. of sluggishly paced films. Then the ensemble Starcast has performed very well. The performances of CHILDREN are mind blowing and defy description. Kudos to DANNY & LOVLEEN for extracting such performances from them.The leads DEV and FREIDA have given such natural performances it is difficult to envisage it is their debut film. IRRFAN is perhaps our most respected export to the international cinema along with Om Puri and he delivers effortlessly. Anil's performance is the real trump card as he combined his TALENT with his experience of all these years of varied acting to create magic on screen. He has neither looked so charming nor so menacing ever as here before. Another important aspect is beauty of adaptation of novel into the screenplay. Vikas Swarup had written a very good novel and I had read it soon after it hit the stands. I think one should read it once to appreciate the true ability of SIMON BEAUFOY as he made just the perfect changes to make an interesting book filmable and how. Awesome stuff. I dont need to discuss RAHMAN'S music. We all in India know what a marvelous composer he is. I would say that the biggest gift that DANNY gave to Hollywood even greater than the film itself was SHOWCASING the genius of A R RAHMAN to them. And the Hollywood gratefully acknowledged the master by bestowing him with 2 OSCARS. Of Course he should have got it many moons ago but in west they were to their loss ignorant of the great man. Resul also got his place under the sun and It is surely going to benefit the Indian Film Industry a lot that it was a medium for recognition of our actors and technicians. Indeed it is a memory etched for lifetime of the entire Indian cast and crew on the OSCAR CENTERSTAGE receiving the BEST PICTURE OSCAR. Last but not the least I would like to hail DANNY BOYLE the chief creator of the project who rose far above his previous masterpiece TRAINSPOTTING to put it all through to make the most significant movie of his career and sharing its extraordinary fate.

A Movie almost relegated to go directly to DVD with no takers had DESTINY on its side. Like the theme of the movie all the hype and rewards were DESTINED TO BE. THE MOVIE HAD FAR MANY MERITS TO BE IGNORED. It was lapped up and praised by all and sundry in Hollywood. People whose work we adore Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise ,Meryl Streep etc were all seen and heard praising the movie during various telecasts around the Oscars. So when these Masters of cinema think so highly o the film should we not step down from our Mr. Know-all condescending attitude and enjoy the film for its pure cinematic pleasure because that is what it is : a breathtakingly beautiful piece of art and a worthy recipient of all the awards and moolah {world wide gross nearly $400m }. Truly by far the BEST FILM of the year.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Test match is real cricket is an age old adage - A purist's game. Every cricketer wants to do well in Tests and showcase his Skills. So a real great Captain must survive the litmus test of test captaincy the real "कसौटी". Indeed Mike Brearly made a distinguished career PRIMARILY as a Captain [being a specialist batsman he averaged less than 23 in 39 tests but was Widely regarded as one of England's greatest Captains. Rodney Hogg famously said about him that he had a degree in people] .

Putting all this in perspective I think it is fair to say that Dhoni has had a fantastic start to his still early days in Test Captaincy. Till now he has won 5, drawn 2 and lost none of his 7 Tests. India under his leadership has defeated SOUTH AFRICA, AUSTRALIA TWICE. ENGLAND at Home and abroad NEW ZEALAND in NZ after more than 30 years, a stupendous achievement by any yardstick. The real impact of his value has been felt whenever he has not played, recently in the Test against NZ and more notably against Sri Lanka which he opted out of fatigue. Murali and Mendis attacked like tigers in the tests and when Dhoni came rejuvenated in ODIs transformed into lambs and were taken to cleaners Dhoni being their main tormentor. Just another illustration of his effect. Some people attribute it to plain luck but luck alone cannot sustain for so long and certainly not without inherent merit. Detractors said the real test will come in NZ sharpening their claws but were forced to get them clipped when he returned back triumphant. And in extreme cynicism if at all it is just luck so be it. God blessed him with luck and Indian Cricket needed it and as he is providing great service, it is extremely unfair to criticize him particularly where there is no due. Just look at the results in that he captains two matches against Australia we won emphatically, Kumble captains in other two and we draw. The lone test he captains against SA we win. Sachin & Co. could not win with other captain even once in NZ in so many TESTS and when Dhoni Captains lo they win.

So it is plain and simple that even with a small stint Dhoni has already proved what a great Captain he is. Calm, calculative, strong supporter of his teammates and possessing great insight and profound knowledge of the game he to my mind is the best in the business at present. I do not want to compare him the other past greats of the world as i have not seen many of them but since i have been following cricket, say last 20 yrs he has looked the most impressive of all. Talking only of Indian Captains while stats give an incomplete story India did not win much and our results abroad were pathetic. Dada changed that and how and Ganguly and Dhoni would be my candidates for best ever Indian Captains for Dada took on Captaincy in real difficult circumstances and turned a struggling unit into a winning one and like Dhoni gave full backing to his players. I have no real desire to stir a hornet's nest by picking between them and i am very fond of both of them, Dhoni may be a little more because he is from my brother's school. But if i have to at all choose neutrally i would still go for [but only just] Dhoni as under him for all practical purposes India is the no. 1 team in the world today in all formats of the game and not the least for the fact that he got us a WORLD CUP.

M S DHONI - How he changed Indian Cricket's fortune

Can India become the no. 1 side in world cricket? If I had asked myself this question 5 years back I would have answered: only in your dreams buddy. Being a passionate and optimistic follower of Indian Cricket I continued to dream thus wishfully ....... just maybe some day we will be a force to reckon with like Australia. India reached the 2003 wc final but lost twice quite comprehensively to Aussies. Taken as a whole Scenario we were not really dominating the stage inspite of the presence of awesome players like Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble, Harbhajan and Laxman etc. We were good but there were not even whispers about being the best. Now turn the clock 5 yrs on to the present time and a distant dream looks set to become a reality. The Indian team is the flavor of the season and the side to beat.

So what has been the most perceptible change that has turn the tide in our favor? Friends we do not need to look further than an incredible Phenomenon which goes by the name of M S Dhoni. What an asset to the Indian Cricket he has proved to be. Every one but goes gaga over his tremendous influence on the fortunes of Indian Cricket. He has almost never put a foot wrong since he became the captain of our Indian team. Even before that he put the fear of gods in the hearts of the fiercest of Opponents. Fifth match into his career he blasted the Pak attack to smithereens scoring 148 runs. Months later the same treatment was meted out to the hapless Lankans. His 183* still stands as the highest score in the second innings by a player and of course the highest ever as a wicket keeper. Subsequently he also showed his great quality in adapting to situations and finish matches in victories for his team. He had a lead role in the phase when India was on a golden run of consecutive successful chases. He saved the first test against the English team scoring 76* in what was Rahul Dravid's last series as Captain and it was a very important event in India winning the series 1-0. His Cool Headedness and astonishing ability to change gears combined with extraordinary skills as a batsman make him an extremely dangerous batsman and he currently tops the chart in ICC Rankings of ODI Batsmen with an avg. of nearly 50.

His value in the team rises exponentially when we evaluate him as Dhoni the Captain. Records have been tumbling and new ones created right, left and centre since he took over. Starting with Capturing the INAUGURAL T20 WORLD CUP to beating Pak at Home and capturing the CB SERIES taming the Aussies in their own den. It was followed by India winning for the 1st time a bilateral odi series in Sri Lanka a feat repeated again by Dhoni and his team later by an even better margin. England was blanked 5-0 and New Zealand defeated 3-1 for yet again first ever in a bilateral series against India in NZ. The post is getting quite long and so will continue in the next blog about Dhoni as a test captain.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A R RAHMAN - a true genius and significance of OSCARS for me.

Sleep deserted me on the night before the academy awards ceremony and tiredness gave way to anticipation mixed with fear on the fateful morning as the program started. Hugh Jackman is a favorite but i waited restlessly for his act to end so that the real action unfold. Gandhi happened when I was a 2 yr old so this was going to be the biggest Indian moment for me wrt OSCARS. Resul won and got his award from Will Smith and my hopes soared high. Then Rahman performed and it was a treat to watch. Then came the gorgeous Alicia Keys with the High School Musical star Zac Effron with nominations for the best music score and lo A R RAHMAN was an OSCAR winner. After that i was sure the second trophy had to go to JAI HO. Rahman created history that day and became the toast of high and mighty of Hollywood. Rahman has created masterpieces countless times before and we in India have always known his calibre. Indeed he should have won the Oscar ages ago as surely many of his compositions had at least the same merit as his work in Slumdog Millionaire. Nevertheless the west had to wake up one day to his magic and he has asserted his place of supremacy in music firmly. Jai ho to RAHMAN a true musical genius. Some people feel that OSCARS are overhyped and should not be given much importance countering it with something like their movies not getting filmfare award and see it as an unnecessary hunger to seek appreciation from the west. Shekhar Kapur on his blog says that RAHMAN is bigger than the OSCARS and i fully endorse his views that Oscars were more honoured in presenting the award to the great man rather than the other way around. But still i feel THE OSCARS retain a certain charm and aura and it does give a sense of pride and happiness that we got those OSCARS. I am not ashamed to say ki meri chhati garv se chaudi ho gayi us din.

Since childhood while going through GK BOOKS i read how BHANU ATHAIYA was the lone co-winner of OSCAR for GANDHI and SATYAJIT RAY got lifetime achievement Oscar. So guess i feel VINDICATED for us. The last Olympic Gold ,the last Oscar and the last Cricket World Cup all happened before I was five. And it took about 25 years to see it accomplished again in this YOUNG INDIA by REHMAN and RESUL , ABHINAV BINDRA and MS DHONI and HIS BOYS . It has been a long wait and while to some it may look like an odd deal in that for a billion people one olympic gold and a world cup in a game played by handful of nations or again an award which we should be indifferent to creates such a massive hooplah among others i can quite recognise and appreciate the enormity of these efforts and proudly proclaim to belong to the latter category. MAY INDIA GROW BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS.JAI HO BHARAT.