It’s been a year now since Sachin Tendulkar (hereby called Thalaivar in this post) kissed the Cricket pitch goodbye! He has moved on in life, spending time with family, adopting villages, writing an Autobiography, etc. The Nation is yet to move on. He is the nation’s (okay, majority of the nation’s) greatest pride. So when his Autobiography hit the shelves recently, it was only natural that his countrymen and cricket lovers world-wide expected it be as awesome as his batting. A lot has been written about the book already. I will reserve my comments for a later day. Today, I list down 4 Life Lessons that stand out in Thalaivar’s “Playing It My Way”

Do your duty, everything else will fall in place

To put it bluntly, Thalaivar is just another human being like you and me, who went about doing his duty diligently, day in and day out. When he failed, he practiced hard. When he succeeded, he practiced harder. It’s amazing how just by doing his duty (along with some God given talent), he is literally worshipped by millions of people.

If you deserve something, you’ll get it somehow; today or 20 years later

Imagine. Thalaivar had to see the likes of Andrew Symonds and Brad Hogg lift the World Cup before him having got the chance to do so. Throughout the book, Thalaivar describes the painful journey of working so hard to win the coveted World Cup and failing five times, in succession.  It all comes down to the clichéd phrase, “Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit”.

Music heals

If there’s anything apart from Cricket that Thalaivar mentions in “Playing It My Way”, it’s music and food. Music is a great healer. It’s a man’s best friend when he is dejected/disappointed. It helps channelize your emotions and concentrate harder. No wonder a lot of sportsmen (including the likes of Thala Rahul Dravid) take to music to improve concentration levels.

Be grateful to your teachers, family and God

Ramakant Achrekar would have been a proud teacher just to see his pupil (Thalaivar) excel in International Cricket, let alone Thalaivar crediting a major chunk of his success to Achrekar Sir. Thalaivar (mentions in his book) never fails to pay a visit to his teacher Achrekar Sir, his aunt (who played a major part in his early years as a budding cricketer) and two local temples, every single time he leaves India for an away series. Such a simple life lesson – be grateful to your teachers, family and God!

“I” – Music Review

Posted: September 28, 2014 in Diary

After a gap of three long years, 2014 has been the year when at least three Rahman albums have been released in Tamil – Kochadaiiyaan, Kaaviya Thalaivan and I.

In 2011, there were none (In fact, Rockstar was the only Rahman album that got released in the entire year).

Rahman gave us Kadal in the fag end of 2012, and Mariyaan in 2013.

So it was indeed a “Kanla thannee” moment for Rahman fans when he decided to treat us with so many songs in so little time. Kaaviya Thalaivan songs were barely about to sink in when “I” got released.

Kaaviya Thalaivan and Kochadaiiiyaan for a later day. Today, let’s talk “I”.

Shankar - Rahman - Vikram

Shankar – Rahman – Vikram

Firstly, “I” is so un-Rahmanic. Had someone made me hear “I” songs without telling me they were composed by Rahman, I would never have guessed (even in my dreams) that Rahman composed them. And that’s exactly why I feel the album is awesome. It’s  so unconventional for a Rahman album.

“Pookkale Satru” will be hummed by music lovers even in 40000 AD, towards the end of Kaliyug. Evergreen. There are very few things in this world that are better than Shreya Ghoshal singing for A.R. Rahman. The lyric and Haricharan’s voice add up to the Ghoshal-Rahman combo to give us a masterpiece.

“Ennodu nee irundhal” is the type of song you want to listen, sitting in your balcony, sipping a piping hot cup of coffee. Pleasing to the ears song. Sid Sriram has done a masters in these type of songs, it seems. Adiye first, and then this. It will be interesting to see if and when Rahman uses Sid’s voice for songs of a different genre.

“Mersalayitten” of course will be the “crowd’s favorite” song, that will rule FM radios and Music channels for the next few months. Easily the pick of the album. Not the kind of Rahman song that needs to be listened to 10-15 times before developing a taste for it. Anirudh’s voice and slang perfectly suit the song. The legendary MSV (in multiple songs), GV, Yuvan and now Anirudh, have all sung for Rahman.

Aditya Rao’s effortless way of singing, is the highlight of “Aila Aila”.

“Ladio” sounds like one of those english songs that they keep playing in the background in hotels and malls. The only average song of the album, in my opinion.

Just like in the past, pretty sure Shankar’s visuals will take the songs to an all new level. It’s “I” time for now, till Rajni-Rahman come together yet again, for Linga.

“Modha daba kaetten unna, bejaar aayi poyi ninnen ninnen… Naan merasalayitten”

I can count on one finger how many Malayalam movies I had watched in my life, before Drishyam.

Rave reviews in Social media and Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan planning to remake it in Tamil, made me curious to watch the movie.

I had no background about the movie whatsoever, when I started watching it; whether it was a laugh riot or a thriller or a fantasy movie. Nothing. And that helped.

You might come across a lot of movies across languages and borders, which would have certain scenes just like that; for the sake of it, without any real impact on the story or how it progresses. On the contrary, Drishyam doesn’t have a single scene that doesn’t take the story forward. Director Jeethu Joseph deserves a pat on the back for that. 

Georgekutty and family - Drishyam

Georgekutty and family – Drishyam

Mohanlal fits the boot of Georgekutty cheta, a middle class cable TV operator,  to perfection. Of course, one cannot expect anything less from him. Such a natural.

Meena has done a good job too, other than the scenes where she’s supposed to look terrified.

Jeethu Joseph, the Director is the real winner, actually, which is the reason why the movie is being remade/dubbed into a number of languages.

I’m sure the movie will be as interesting or more, in Tamil, what with the Ulaga Nayagan adding his own flavor to the movie. We saw that with Unnai Pol Oruvan, a remake of Wednesday.

Anyway, glad that I caught hold of a brilliant Malayalam movie. Next in the list – Bangalore Days.

Requesting my Mallu brothers to throw some light on other masterpieces in Malayalam Cinema. 

Restaurant Review – Rajdhani

Posted: July 13, 2014 in Food
Tags:

I’ve seen this restaurant in Express Avenue (Chennai) but never had a chance to eat there, until a couple of weeks ago, in MGF Metropolitan, Gurgaon. For me, there are only two types of Indian Cuisine – South Indian and North Indian. So when Sashi asked if we could dine at Rajdhani, which offers unlimited Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine for lunch, I agreed mainly because I couldn’t think of any alternative, being new to this place myself. The restaurant was fairly deserted, considering the fact that we went on a Sunday afternoon. Don’t know if that was the reason on anything else, but the service was super fast, true to its name, Rajdhani.

Rajdhani believes in standardization. They offer only one product, the Thali. Hence, they are able to serve their customers real fast. When I say real fast, I mean it.

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My plate at time ‘t’

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MY plate at time ‘t’ + 30 seconds

 

For someone very selective about eating my food, I myself had 12-13 items to choose from. There were Chota samosas, Rotis, Sweet Polis, Milk sweets, chips/flakes, Paneer Butter Masala, and a hoard of other anonymous items (at least, I can’t name them).

And everything was unlimited. I think the servers in Rajdhani have it in their KRA that none of the customers’ plates should be empty at any point in time. As soon as they see some food item diminishing in your plate, they’ll make it a point to replenish it even if you say your tummy can’t take anymore.

The servers are sweet too. When I said I didn’t want a particular item, the server said with a beaming smile, “Ek bar try kar do, saar. Bohut pasand ayega aapko”.

Definitely worth shelling out 350 bucks if you have an empty tummy and a liking for unlimited Rajastani food.

The art of leadership

Posted: July 9, 2014 in Diary

If you are a Dhoni fan, like I am, then enjoy this interview of his and get inspired, all over again by the Midas Man.

If you are not a Dhoni fan as yet, even then, read this piece, and then become a Dhoni fan and get inspired. 

http://www.bcci.tv/news/2014/features-and-interviews/8203/the-art-of-leadership-by-ms-dhoni

 

 

Attire to arise

Posted: July 6, 2014 in Diary

*Sharing a brilliantly written poem by Nirupa Raghvan, my cousin

Attire to arise

When times seem dark and dreary

and paths bleak and cold,

put on a coat of courage

and emerge fearless and bold.

 

When dreams seem far and unattainable

and goals a distant song,

wear your boots of bravery

and walk along.

 

When efforts end up in vain

and struggles define your day,

adorn yourself with a scarf of sincerity

and keep endeavouring to find a way.

 

When you are under a rain of obstacles

and a storm of snags,

put on a pullover of perseverance

and set out to hoist victory flags.

 

When all battles have been fought,

put on your jacket of joy and hat of honour,

for your attire to arise

will always serve as a glorious armour.

211th reason to be proud of Chennai

Posted: June 17, 2014 in Diary

Rajnikanth, Marina beach, A. R. Rahman, food, Chepauk, Music Season, Vishwanathan Anand, public transport, cheap movie tickets, Chennai Super Kings – there are a number of things that make me feel proud about being a Chennai-ite. Adding to that huge list yesterday was the brilliant act of CCTP (Chennai City Traffic Police) along with the Hospital staff of GH and Fortis to save a human life.

In case you haven’t read the article that’s been doing the rounds in Social media, here’s the link.

Going through the article was like reading the script of the Malayalam movie Traffic (later remade in Tamil as Chennaiyil Oru Naal), which itself was inspired by a real-life incident.

Pulling off the green corridor isn’t too difficult a job for CCTP, especially under Amma’s Governance. But happy about the fact that they did. Everyone who waited for those extra 4-5 minutes to help create the green corridor can feel proud about themselves for helping save a human life, even though what they did might seem to be a very small thing.

 

No, none of his movies are releasing in the near future. Nor is his birthday round the corner. Just felt like writing it. A post on Kamal Haasan, from an objective fan.

Till I was in Class VI or so, it appeared to me as though Rajnikanth was the only real hero, while all others were merely trying to be one. I was a kid when his career best films like Annamalai, Baasha, Arunachalam, Padayappa, etc. were released.

Only Kamal Haassan’s full length comedy movies like Panchathantiram, Avvai Shanmukhi, Michael Madana Kama Rajan and the likes were understood and appreciated by the kid in me. Pretty sure it would have been the case with most of you who were born in the sane 90′s generation.

Michael Madana Kamarajan saw Crazy Mohan's first partnership with the Ulaga Nayagan. Over the next two decades, many such projects followed

Michael Madana Kamarajan saw Crazy Mohan’s first partnership with the Ulaga Nayagan. Over the next two decades, many such projects followed

It is only as I grew older that I was able to appreciate Kamal Haassan’s works; rather masterpieces. The man who gave his heart and soul and money for Tamil Cinema. Though it will be an Apples vs Oranges comparison, I wouldn’t be wrong if I say that throughout most of his career, he’s been overshadowed by the Midas Man Rajnikanth, at least within the borders of Tamil Nadu.

Too much awesomness in one pic - Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan

Too much awesomness in one pic – Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan

Now this doesn’t mean that Rajni’s works were superior than Kamal’s. In fact, they weren’t. Kamal’s movies were a class apart. That turned out to be his problem. Most of his movies couldn’t (still can’t) reach to the vegetable seller or the blue collar worker, unlike Rajni’s simple rags-to-riches sagas or hero-triumphs-villain stories.

Appu (Aboorva Sagotharargal), Velu Naicker (Nayagan), Avvai Shanmukhi, Indian Thatha, Nalla Sivam (Anbe Sivam), Sakthi (Thevar Magan), Raja (Vasool Raja MBBS), etc. are immortalized characters in celluloid, thanks to the Ulaga Nayagan. It’s sometime hard to even imagine that diverse characters (Both physically and in character) such as these were played by a single man.

I still can’t believe how he pulled off a Panchathantiram (a laugh riot), immediately after Hey Ram (an intense film) which was in turn preceded by Thenali (a laugh riot). He got his first National Award at the age of 6, at an age when most of us would have found it tough to even spell “National Award”. That should explain it.

Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan may be his idol and guru, but according to me (and many others), he’s gone past his idol in many ways (No, I am not referring to Dasavathaaram where he played 10 roles in a movie to surpass Sivaji’s 9 in Navarathri).

Master and the pupil

Master and the pupil

He’s more than just an actor; a dance master, singer, director, producer, lyricist and what not. Vijaya T. Rajender comes a close second to Kamal when it comes to doing multiple things, in Tamil Cinema.

But unlike Vijaya T. Rajender, Kamal not only does multiple things, but is also very good at all of them. Had Kamal not entered into acting at all and pursued a career in playback singing, he would still have given the likes of the great SPB a run for their money. This is not the Kamal fanatic in me speaking/typing. It is an avid music lover’s humble observation. Songs like “Yaar Yaar Sivam” (Anbe Sivam) never fail to give Goosebumps even today, after 11 years. Not to forget he’s done playback singing for Thala Ajith and Dhanush.

Same holds true for Kamal, the dance master. Salangai Oli, and more recently “Unnai Kaanaadhu” (Vishwaroopam). Enough said.

Kamal Haasan in Salangai Oli

Kamal Haasan in Salangai Oli

I am not a die hard Kamal fan. At least, I cannot call myself one, because I haven’t seen most of his films that released before 1990. Nayagan, Moondram Pirai, Aboorva Raagangal, Salangai Oli, 16 Vayathinile, Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi, Punnagai Mannan are some of the very few classics of his that I’ve seen.

As a fan, it pains to see that out-of-the-world masterpieces like Anbe Sivam and Hey Ram bombed at the Box Office. That’s how cruel life can be, if you are Kamal Haasan.

Anbe Sivam

Anbe Sivam

His Wikipedia profile says he has had two wives in the past and is currently living in with another woman. But he’s been faithful to one wife. All his life. Cinema. That’s all we fans need.

He preaches Atheism, but young budding actors won’t believe him, because for them, there’s at least one God. Him.

If someone writes a series of books on Kamal Haasan, spanning 10 volumes, it’ll still fail to appreciate/explain what this man has contributed to Tamil and World Cinema. Let alone a tiny blog post.

All I can ask him now is, “Aalwarpettai Aandava, when is Marudhanayagam coming?”

Top 11 moments of IPL 2014

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Diary

With IPL 2014 coming to an end, if I were to pick 11 moments that this IPL will be remembered for, it’ll be these moments for me.

11. Tambe hat-trick

For Pravin Tambe, the young man, picking up a hat-trick in three balls is too mainstream; 2 balls is just enough. Dravid found this treasure for RR the previous season, but he didn’t fail to impress us even this year. He might not be the best catcher/ground fielder (obviously, at 42), but when it comes to controlling the middle overs, he’s second to none. That hat-trick against KKR and his child-like celebrations will be cherished by everyone, irrespective of whether they supported RR this season

Pravin Tambe (RR)

Pravin Tambe (RR)

10. Lynn Baba ki Karbonn Kamaal

I won’t be surprised if Chris Lynn is referred to as Lynn Baba in parts of West Bengal, after that spectacular catch to dismiss AB de. That catch in itself was magnificent, let alone considering the fact that it was cupped in such a crucial juncture of the game. That catch and hence the loss started a mini-downfall of sorts of Mallya’s Men in Red.

 9. Future is sealed

If you are an Indian selector or an ardent Indian cricket fan, you’d be happy looking at more than one match winning performances each by Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Mana Vohra, Sandeep Sharma, Akshar Patel and the likes. KXIP has been the RR of IPL 2014, creating stars out of youngsters, who would have warmed the benches had they been a part of say CSK or MI (Baba Aparijith being a good example).

8. Yusuf and Anderson show

It’s okay failing the entire season if you are capable of creating that match-winning knock when it matters most, like Yusuf and Anderson did. Both their knocks were so impossible, to the extent that people believe the matches were fixed. Like my friend remarked, such knocks make you pity the bowler in the game, wanting you to consider playing the game with plastic bats and iron balls to make it an equal contest.

7. Ashwin and Dave’s “Solli Adi”

Liked the part that Ashwin challenged Maxwell about bowling over the wicket and getting his wicket and all. Happy that he actually took Maxwell’s wicket, but what followed was unnecessary (the kiss). Sometimes feel Ashwin needs to grow up.

But absolutely loved David Hussey’s tweet before the Eliminator against MI. He won the match for CSK too, that day. Typical Aussie attitude in display.

 6. Max assault

Before the start of this season, KXIP weren’t known for chasing 200+ targets, that too against the likes of CSK. The Max assault in the very first match set the tone for the Kings in Red.

Glenn Maxwell in action against CSK

Glenn Maxwell in action against CSK

With a bit of help from Ashish Nehra, Maxwell announced his entry to IPL 2014 in style, and carried on, at least for the first leg of the long league. The second leg, we all know, was dominated by not Idli, not Dosa, but Uthappa. #SelfThoo

5. Captain Hot and fuming

I was alive when Dhoni got pissed.

4. Thoppi thoppi

I was alive when a retired Dravid got pissed. What all could go wrong, went wrong for RR in the last 4 games as they were knocked out from top 4 after almost cementing their place.

Rahul the wall, Dravid

Rahul the wall, Dravid

Got to feel bad for the great man!
However loved Gayle’s tweet as soon as the match ended. “Oops, he did it again”, referring to James Faulkner.

3. It’s just a game after all

All the Ashwins, Pollards and the Starcs should look at these legends and learn how to play the game. In true spirit.

Sportsmanship at its best

Sportsmanship at its best

 2. Cometh the hour, cometh the man

Dedication towards CSK and the game was on display when Raina took on the Kings XI bowlers and made them all look like Ashish Nehras. 87 off 25 in an eliminator, and he didn’t slog even a single ball. Woah! Just take a bow, Suresh Raina. India needs you.

1. The Nawab of Najafgarh made it large

Just like Sehwag and his son, all of us knew that that one big innings was always round the corner. What better time than to bring it against a quality opponent (barring Nehra) in an eliminator! Always a treat to watch, is Virender Sehwag. Love the way he goes about his game, win or lose. Always with a smile.

 

If Tamil Nadu is proud of Rajnikanth and Gujarat, of Modi, then Assam is equally proud of its Rhinos. The Indian one-horned Rhinoceros.

You stand atop a building in Guwahati and throw a stone, more often than not, it will fall on a poster/hoarding which has a Rhino in it. Rhinoceros is more than just an animal in this part of the country. It is an identity.

For the people of Shillong who feel Kaziranga is too far and mainstream to sight Rhinos, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (PWS) is a good substitute. It’s just a 4 hour ride from Shillong city, located about 30 km from Guwahati.

A group of nine of us left in a Sumo at around 3:30 am from Campus and reached PWS at 7:30 am, after having Alu Parathas for breakfast at Jorabat. On reaching the place, the guard told us that the density of Rhinos as compared to Kaziranga, is higher in Pobitora. Number wise, Kaziranga has 2000 odd Rhinos, compared to Pobitora’s humble 91.

A long bridge connected the mainland to the land of the Rhinos. Beneath us in the waters, we saw a great exhibition of human-animal interaction; mahout standing fearlessly on top of a slippery elephant body, helping it take bath.

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Elephant taking bath – Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

We had booked for the early morning elephant ride through the dry land of the Rhinos, right in their territory. We split ourselves into three elephants initially; apparently all three were from the same family – mom, dad and daughter. Can’t recollect all names but my elephant was called Bhagee. Other than the mahout, an armed security guard also accompanied each elephant. Two other guards in a cute tiny elephant (let’s call it Kalyani) also joined the contingent of elephants into the Rhino zone.

Ten minutes into the safari, my legs started to cramp. Bhagee was so fat (even for an elephant) that my legs on either side of the elephant were almost parallel to the ground; yes, so fat. One of the guards suggested I move to Kalyani. For a boring person like me, jumping from Bhagee to Kalyani amid a forest where Rhinos were roaming around, was adventurous enough.

Kalyani had the best seat of the lot. I was at eye level with Bhagee and family and closer to the Rhinos.

The Rhinos were so lazy to even move, that one could easily mistake them to be statues. It was quite a sight, watching the lazy beasts lazing around in their home. They looked larger than I imagined or what the photos showed.

Humans aren’t respected if they don’t do work, stay at home, just eat food and sleep. Rhinos do the same thing and become famous, even attracting crowds from across the globe. Only, they have to be wary of poachers who might cut their nose off anytime, in pursuit of printed paper what people call “money”.

The Safari lasted roughly an hour. A few exotic birds were also spotted here and there. The interesting part of the Pobitora trip started and ended with the elephant safari, for me. We then went for a two hour boat ride in the backwaters. I slept for the entire duration. After lunch, we went on a jeep safari around the perimeter of the sanctuary. Unlike the elephant safari, the jeep ride didn’t give us a clear view of the Rhinos. In fact, they were so far that we couldn’t differentiate Rhinos from Buffaloes.

Sharing a brilliant article written by two students from PGP13 batch of IIM Shillong – Karanvir and Ayushi.

http://insideiim.com/10-reasons-why-you-should-not-join-iim-shillong/

 

When Rajinikanth says (in Twitter), “I am sure you all will enjoy the movie (Kochadaiiyaan) in the theatres”, he means every word of it.

Rana & Kochadaiiyaan

Rana & Kochadaiiyaan

He’s always maintained he had wanted to do a “Raja kaalathu kadhai” all his life. A motion-capture animation film will serve as a consolation for his wish.

I watched the movie in Gurgaon, at least 2000 km away from Tamil Nadu, Rajnikanth’s territory. Still, the ear deafening noise when the title card read “Super Star Rajini”, wasn’t missing. This man’s got die-hard fans all across the country world.

Firstly, kudos to Soundarya R. Ashwin and her technical crew for the wonderful product they’ve come up with. Other than Sarath Kumar (in certain scenes), all other animated characters more or less resembled their human counterparts.

Rana

Rana

The story has got it all – comedy, vengeance, romance, action, heroism, etc. KSR has done a wonderful job with the screenplay, with certain turnaround of events catching the audience off guard.

The audience were in for a surprise when one of the late comedians (arguably the best in Tamil Cinema), was bought back to life in the movie. He’s also played a significant role in the movie.

Rajnikanth of course, is the real star. The demeanour, voice and attitude of Rana and Kochadaiiyaan (the two characters played by him) are completely different. The introduction scene of Kochadaiiyaan in the second half with the grand trumpeting and “Maasil Veenayum” running in the background HAS to be one of the best introduction scenes for an animated character.

Now, I have nothing much to say about the Legend, ARR. Only he can manage to set high standards for himself and surpass it every single time. The songs have been doing the rounds for a couple of months, but Rahman scores big with his re-recording. His background score is arguably the biggest plus factor for this movie. __//\\__

AR Rahman and Rajnikanth unite for the sixth time

AR Rahman and Rajnikanth unite for the sixth time

I wouldn’t say Kochadaiiyaan kept me gripped to the corner of my seat, for the full 120 odd minutes; but it had all the elements of a Thalaivar movie which makes it a must watch on the big screen. Was definitely worth the long wait!

Enjoy the Legend of Kochadaiiyaan on the big screen, if you haven’t already.

The wait for the sequel has begun.

Mighty Mahendra!

Posted: May 7, 2014 in Cricket
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Yesterday, I witnessed a cricket match from the Stadium in which Anil Kumble, several years back, did the unthinkable. Feroz Shah Kotla. Only my second venue to view this sport after Chepauk (on many occasions).

Some defining moments from the game:

Dwayne teeing off

For once, I agree with Ravi Shastri when he says Dwayne Smith doesn’t play cricket. He plays Golf. All he does is stand there and tee off. The ball hits the sight screen with a thump. Flat six. It’s been a feature of his batting this IPL. 24 sixes already, ahead of Maxwell and the likes. I would put my money on Dwayne Smith to own the Orange Cap this season. He’s only marginally behind Maxwell and is more reliable.

Reliable One Down

Raina is like the sincere school kid who has 100% attendance record and gets awarded a certificate on Annual Day. Playing each and every match that CSK has ever played is no easy task. The Man of Steel, Badrinath was the only other player who held that record, till Season 6. Raina is so much more awesome up the order at one down. Such a pleasure to watch him drive or sweep the ball.

Viru Craze

People in Delhi love him. Even now. Can’t believe how DD left him out shamelessly, in the player auctions earlier this year. Expect a packed house at Kotla later this week when KXIP takes on DD. Irrespective of his form, Sehwag epitomizes the way the game should be played. With a smile. Compare that with what happened between Pollard and Starc today.

Mighty Mahendra

Dhoni is undoubtedly India’s second most loved and cheered cricketer, after the Great Man (World knows Who). Harsha Bhogle says and I agree, “This Dhoni… He devours pressure for a living”. As long as he’s there, you can believe (without being ridiculed by others) that even 60 from 3 overs is not impossible. Let alone, 10 from 5 (as was the case yesterday). I was one of the fortunate souls to watch his crafty century at Chepauk against Pakistan when the Indian top order crumbled for 29 for 5. It’s almost as if he creates so much pressure on the bowler that he can make the bowler bowl the length he wants. Unadkat gave him a juicy half volley which he smashed straight back for six. The Big Screen screamed “Mighty Mahendra”. That was all that was needed. One six. And “Mighty Mahendra” was trending in India on Twitter. Speaks volumes about the fan base he enjoys.

Speaking of Twitter and fan base, how can we forget Superstar’s entry to Twitter yesterday? Reserved for another day.

 

There’s this awesome dude called Pranav J (PJ) in PGP13 who is awesome beyond words when it comes to playing the Keyboard. That he reminds me of another awesome dude called Shiva, from my undergrad college, is another story.

Today, Kamalesh (a trained Carnatic singer) and PJ (a self-made keyboard maestro) took a session on the maths behind Carnatic Music, which had the Director, a few faculty and fewer students in attendance. The session was organized by Koutuhal, the Activities Club of IIM Shillong.

Given that it was just an hour’s session on something as huge as Carnatic Music, I thought they did a wonderful job. Kamalesh talked about the foundation of Carnatic Music (the 12 notes), the Melakarta Ragams, Katapayadi Sankhya and differences with western music, among other things.

The session also brought back old memories of the theory classes which my Violin master used to take. I distinctly remember how I would be playing cricket with my friends on a Sunday evening when I would see his dreaded figure driving a bicycle (later, a bike) towards my apartment. Used to hate it when I was a kid. I remember feigning illness one day, to skip his session so that I don’t miss Baasha on TV.  :) But as years passed, I began to love the instrument and his sessions.  Today, I’m glad I sat through those sessions and learnt that wonderful instrument.

Let me start by declaring that I am now officially a fan of Imtiaz Ali and Aliaa Bhatt.

Having not watched Student of the Year, I had little idea about Aliaa Bhatt’s thespian skills. Don’t know how she performed in SOTY but she stole the show in Highway, with an equally impactful performance from Randeep Hooda. The duo in fact carry the movie on their shoulders with subtle, real and unexaggerated acting, may be with some help from Imtiaz Ali.

Be it the scene where Aliaa opens up to Randeep or the one where she confronts a relative to set things straight, Aliaa proves that she is currently the best in business when it comes to acting, in Bollywood (though it’s tough to imagine her as a Tamil in the movie version of Two States, coming soon).

If Rockstar made me a fan of Imtiaz Ali, Highway has strengthened that bond further. Among Directors like Rohit Shetty, Ali doesn’t hesitate to take the unconventional route to produce masterpieces. Musically, Rockstar may be the album of the decade, but Rahman and Imtiaz have given themselves a tough competition with Highway.

In the past, silence has been used to great effect in re-recording by Ilayaraja. Rahman takes that route in Highway and succeeds. There is hardly any background score apart from the album track, which too is used minimally. Visuals (especially in Himachal) are stunning, making you want to visit places like Shimla and Poh.

Highway - An Imtiaz Ali classic!

Highway – An Imtiaz Ali classic!

There is a high chance Highway may bomb at the box office, much like Kamal Haasan’s critically acclaimed Anbe Sivam, and the likes. Highway is not a movie you can go with your family to have a good laugh. It is nowhere close to your usual commercial cinema. You don’t see the hero entering the scene with the sound of trumpets deafening your ears. In fact, there is no hero. There is no story also, to think of it. Imtiaz Ali is the hero. Screenplay is the hero.

Highway is unconventional. It’s offbeat. And it’s awesome!