First Day,First Show.Last Word.Full Stop.

Movie Reviews.Mostly Tamil.Occasional Telugu.Rare Hindi.English episodic. Foreign Seldom.Cricket Trivia In The Gaps.



Monday, April 21, 2008

One Test One ODI player Quiz

Another cricket quiz that I recently designed.Have a shot at it.Most of it can be worked out.
I have all my older quizzes,I am hoping to upload it somewhere ,so that folks can take a look at that as well.

As most of my quizzes go,they are based on one theme,this one is the one test/one odi players that we all remember.Try it.

Answer Time: All questions were cracked,barring the toughie I posed in Q4 .The average score was around 5-6/11 which is really really good.

1.My middle name is Tara.I played my only test against Australia in 1992.I picked up 3 prize wickets in that match that of Mark Waugh, Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh.Anybody with that credentials could have gone on to play more than one test,but then my one day performances(in the 1992 world cup) were disappointing and I was discarded soon after.Notably that debut test was also the debut of another player who went on to represent his country with great fame.Recently I was appointed the bowling coach of the Mumbai Indians.

-Identify the One Test player and the other debutant. (2 Pts)

Subroto Bannerjee - The forgotten pacer who moved to Australia for coaching after his Ranji Career.He recently returned as the bowling coach for Mumbai Indians
The other debutant was ofcourse Shane Warne :)

2.I cracked a 100 and 50 in my only test that I played.However back then contact lenses were not too good and I had problems with my sight soon after.I was then discarded from my team and I was buried in record books being only one of the two players to have scored 100 on debut and never to play again.I live in Perth,but my son wanted to go back to his country of birth to represent them.He has worked long and hard for it and has recently earned his first call up for the country squad.

Identify the father and son pair.(2 Pts)

At the time I write the Answer,the son has already made his debut .
It is Aaron Redmond of NZ and his dad Rodney Redmond (NZ)

3.1987-88 .Tami Nadu became the Ranji Trophy Champions.It brought into limelight,two players who would go on to play for India with reasonable success.WV Raman And Robin Singh.While these two were the architects of batting,It really owed its success to this bowler who toiled manfully on the Chepauk tracks to come up as one of the leading wicket takers for that season.
However he is till date one of the two Indian player to have played exactly one odi and one test.

Coincidentally call it curse if you may,the only other Indian player to have played one odi and one test was the other debutant in the ODI .
A left arm fast bowler,who bagged a pair in his only test,and went wicket less in the test and odi that he played.Just when you think no one else could have such a miserable career,he earned a ban for chasing Raman Lamba with a stump in a Ranji Trophy match and faded out soon after.

Who are the above two unlucky cricketers (2 Pts)

M.Venkataramana and Rashid Patel (The Stump Chaser,Prior to Harby ,the only person to be banned for onfield reasons for a long time).
Quite a few good guesses with Bharat Arun

4.My Umpiring career was controversial recently.However I am also a member of the one test and one odi club,I am a left handed opening batsman who made my debut against India in 1986 tour.I got my chance coz of an injury to this other opening batsman "X" who was recently jailed for 12 months for attempting to illegally obtain a mortgage secured against the house of his partner's sick father."X" though played a few tests before his career also sank into oblivion.Anyway getting back to me,I played for Kent till I was 40,scoring heavily for them and am pretty disappointed that I never made enough money .However with me getting promoted to the elite panel,and getting to be part of IPL I have suddenly found my cash box full.Maybe I never have to resort to a scam like "X".

X is a toughie..however who is the umpire ? ( 2 pts)

Mark Benson -The sitter of the lot and not Peter Willey (who does not feature in IPL in any case).
X was Wayne Larkins -A really nice cricketer,remember this guy coz I had one of his pics worth 6 runs that used to come with bubble gums back in the 1980s.

5.This one is a personal fave of mine.I used to follow the English County matches in the late 90s religiously on television.One such wonder was this guy.Awesome stance ,used to stand a few feet outside leg stump and move in as the ball was being delivered.He had a brilliant first class career spanning 30 years,banned for 2 years in middle for taking a rebel tour to South Africa,200 first class wickets,Wisden Cricketer of the year,30000 first class runs,61 hundreds and so much more.In the county leagues,he smashed nine sixes en route to record books.Surprisingly he played only 4 tests and a solitary ODI ,for a person of this caliber.Unsurprisingly like every Englishman's career ,his failure was against Australia and maybe thats why he was consigned to the domestics.Youngest ever captain or Derbyshire at age of 22 and tipped as future English captain,his was the Amol Muzumdar career in more ways than one.

Identify this domestic English giant.(1 pt)

Kim Barnett-What a first class Career.

For bonus,Another English Cricketer,born in South Africa also made his debut in the same match as the above.When he played his last match ,he had the highest contemporary average by any England player.He was a great player of fast bowling with favorite shots being the rasping cuts and powerful pulls.He ended his career in 2003 as the Hampshire Captain.

Who ? (1 pt)
Robin Smith -The greatest underachiever for English Cricket barring Mark. Ramprakash

6.I played for Australia in an ODI only once at international level against Pakistan.I was an unlucky player in that I was diagnosed with a stomach bug when I was at my peak form in 1988 and diagnosed an years rest.During my comeback year,I was struck on the face by a Merv Hughes bouncer in a local match and my season ended.I got back the next year again to win the Sheffield Shield player of the year scoring 1190 runs,only overpowered by Bevan and by Katich recently.I also led South Australia to Shield wins in 1996 .Outstanding fielder,I still hold record for maximum catches in Aussie domestic cricket.Darren Lehman ,my South Australian team mate,reckoned I had dropped just one catch in his whole career.I now coach an international side.Who am I ? (1 pt)

Jamie Siddons - Bangla Coach

Lots of guesses with Trevor Bayliss the windies coach

Sunday, April 20, 2008

IPL-Premier Impressions!

After all the brouhaha and the media hype,the IPL finally kicked off this weekend.First Impressions -well neat.

Why neat? well when I first started watching ICL, I absolutely loved the talent some of the local boys started showing.The fielding standard was awesome,and somehow I felt the commitment was more there.I think after watching 3 editions of ICL ,I can pick few guys who would be in the mix for India in future,but such a pity that they never will be allowed to show their wares.
R.Satish,Ganapathy Vignesh,TP Singh,Stuart Binny,Ibrahim Khaleel were absolutely stunning.Their all round skills were special ,not to mention the exceptionally high fielding standard of all of them.

The ICL had a mission.They not only wanted to make money,but they had a genuine concern to bring up standards of Indian domestic players.So they hired all the external support staff,physio,mental trainer ,fielding coach etc,and their effects clearly showed.So ICL is like the good guy who will end up finishing last.

The IPL on its first day of launch bragged something about the same thing,the domestic players and stuff,well thats all nothing but a cock and bull story.The IPL will never do anything to actually improve the standard of the domestic players -trust me on that.They will go back to domestics probably having gained experience from mingling with the international players but they would not have added anything new to their game.

The reason is simple,Each IPL team has 4 internationals,3 Indian players fixed .That means a chance for 4 of them and they will be rotated among the 8 -10 domestics in the squad with the result that each of them gets 3-4 games.Thats not enough.(An Opening bowler Akhil does not get to bowl in Bangalore's opening match,An hopeless bowler like Cameron White does.Case Closed)

The IPL to reiterate is nothing but a money making exercise,but its fun.You know that; but I am telling this to people who are going to say something about bringing domestic standard up.This will never happen.The ICL players,if you get them back to domestics by some miraculous fairy,then I can assure you atleast 15 of them would be future Indian prospects.Never anything similar for the IPL.

The fielding standards of the IPL barring one or two sucks by the way.Even good fielders like Yuvraj,Hayden suck.The domestics suck more.No initial games ,nerves jangling excuse can be given .The ICL players rocked from the start

However having said that I am going to watch every match of the IPL.For starters its cricket,for seconds, it brings some of my favorite Australian players into the mix.One of the things I have started following closely is the Aussie domestic cricket over the past few years.David Hussey has become an all time fave of mine (and I dearly wish he played for chennai) , over the past year,while I would not budge my seat if any of Ashley Noffke,Dominic Thornely and Luke Ronchi play.I hope to see Shaun Marsh and another person whom I have labelled as the future superstar -Luke Pomersbach get a game or two.I do not want to see,Glen and Shane play-Dont ask me why,but hey they are the past and I want to see new talent.

So thats that.
Pros -
Its fun.
Aussie domestic players in the mix
Lalit Modi - Concept was already there,but he really did pull off a nice coup with the hype

Retired players
No Chance for an Indian Domestic to up his game.
Lalit Modi -No official Permission to cricinfo and other news agenices.
The IPL Website does not work most of the time by the way.
Set Max is Worst Max .
-I do not like ladies to host anything during a Cricket Match.Barring Anjum Chopra (DDs only bright move ever) who having played the game actually makes better comments than Arun Lal ,The rest of the ladies are hopeless.
-They do not know the game of cricket can be clearly seen by the questions they ask
-Set Max have some one called Lekha Washington (starring with Simbu in Kettavan),who very clearly thinks DuckWorth is some kind of exotic dish.When interviewing Asad Rauf,today during the flood light failure (who Set Max graciously labelled as Aleem Dar),she asked him which team he was supporting.Egads - he is an umpire,No one ever asks an umpire who they support,thats basic ethics,basic presentation even a 10 yr old knows that.You are adding these ladies to add to the oomph,don't do that,Have a cricketer there to ask these questions,I am sure you wont even lose your audience by 1 person.
-She later went on to ask an assistant coach of Kolkatta questions like,Which is your fave team apart from kolkatta,who else is strong,which is ur fave ground and tons of blah .There was not on cric related question.Heavens he is an aussie domestic coach,I would like to hear him say something technical not sprout nonsense.
-ICL by the way does the same interviewing actress who have no freaking clue of cricket . remember Atul Wassan asking some actress who is she supporting today,and she had no clue the teams which were playing.She replied the guys with the green outfit!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nostalgia.Hope and Sacrifice

The academy awards normally come up with lot of stupid choices.
Case in point The Shawshank Redemption never getting an Oscar and Titanic fetching a zillion oscars.One place where they normally never bungle up is the foreign film section.

They are mostly carefully chosen and you can be sure that the list of 5 nominees are a minimum guarantee.This is probably because they go through a 2 tier process,where in the host country selects its best and then the Academy Awards committee prune it further.
Featuring 3 academy award winning movies below.This is a must watch,or if you ever drop by my house,be sure that the dvd would be popped in and ready to play :)

The Lives Of Others -2006 Academy Award For Best Foreign Film

"An innocent prisoner will become more angry by the hour due to the injustice suffered. He will shout and rage. A guilty prisoner becomes more calm and quiet. Or he cries. He knows he's there for a reason. The best way to establish guilt or innocence is non-stop interrogation. "

The Lives of Others is a classic movie that features all the above traits.- NHS (Nostalgia Hope and Sacrifice) .It shows how East Germany monitors the citizens with the help of stasi(the secret police).The movie focuses on the life of one such secret officer,who is asked to monitor a set of stage artistes for suspicious activities.His initial dedication to his job is soon overpowered by the empathy he feels for his subjects and tends to agree with the hope and sacrifices undertaken by the subjects.Its a must watch,got a classic climax like all foreign movies and brilliant performances.

Its released in bangalore for now ,do go catch it up,I doubt it will run for another week.

Cinema Paradiso-1989 Academy Award For Best Foreign Film

"Living here day by day, you think it's the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything's changed. The thread's broken. What you came to find isn't there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time... many years... before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It's not possible. Right now you're blinder than I am."

- A celebration of youth, friendship, and the everlasting magic of the movies.

Cinema Paradiso is an all time favorite,and you can be the typical "masala" guy and still like it,coz this movies involves plain sentiments like our movies.However it shows what is the difference between rational and mature sentiments and that which is portrayed in our movies.A story of a young kid who helps out an old man in the projector room of a theater and goes on to become a successful director.The gaps are filled in with flashbacks and also involves a love affair.
If you are the kind of guy who appreciates powerful dialogues,believes in hope and understand sacrifice ,this is for you.

Nowhere in Africa-2002 Academy Award For Best Foreign Film

"This country saved our lives, but it isn't our country! "

I don't even know where to begin to describe this.Its as simple a story as possible and talks about the entire NHS package.A simple story of a family that migrates to Africa to escape the holocaust,a little girls friendship with a native african,and the native african's support and sacrifice for the family.One of the best supporting actor performances ever,If you don't shed a tear at the end ,you are not human.!

Monday, April 14, 2008

IPL or UPL ?

I wonder if the IPL should be rechristened UPL(The United States Premier League) .No its not the fact that Vijay Mallya plans to bring in cheerleaders from Washington Redskins ,nor is it the fact that we have stupid team names like Super Kings and Mumbai Indians (who are neither Red Indians nor a team comprising wholly of Indians!) .

Its plainly this!I was trying to book tickets via ticketpro site for Bangalore Royal Challengers matches and what do I see in the user registration field.

A STATE field that shows up INDIA and a ZIP field (Wasn't ours PinCode??)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Aasai - The Classic RomThrill

For the uninitiated Sex and The City a sitcom that ran on prime time television for six consecutive years led to the start of a new term "Dramedy" . Dramedy is basically a combination of drama and comedy and was adored by not only the lady folks,but drew a wide variety of male audience coz of the comedy factor.It spawned off many successful series namely the critically acclaimed Desperate Housewives and more recently the sitcom wars of Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle

I started the above drawl to mainly point out that sometimes the hybrid variety like that of breeding of cows is the best way to guarantee success. TamCinema have in it a long history of Romantic Comedies but hardly ever a RomThrill -Romantic + Thriller.

Two movies kick started that trend and surprisingly had 2 common factors in both of them,an intelligent director and the actor who would go on to build a niche for himself -Ajith.
While one launched his career the other established it - Aasai and Vaali.
Aasai in many ways is one of my all time favourites,not many would agree with it but the movie is just as classy as Vaali.

There is no point in reviewing a movie which was released nearly 10 years back,but I got a glimpse of the movie yesterday night and it left me awestruck .

Every time I revisit the movie something about the movie strikes me as impressive.
Prakashraj(PJ) in his role as a psychotic villain,who oozes niceness is the very antithesis of a typical villain.PJ is absolutely brilliant with his dialogue delivery,what he says is exactly opposite of what he thinks.Ajith is the typical lovesick hero who has some brilliant lines and goes out of his way to show his love for Suvalakshmi. Suvalakshmi on the other hand is a practical lady,who however has no knowledge of PJ's villainness.

Some of Ajiths lines "Veetuku poriya illati Vitutu poriya" makes us yearn for his love as much as he does.While Suvalakshmi's lines of "Kattikuvenam nu sonnena" multiplies the rom factor as is necessary for the Rom part of a RomThrill multiple times.When she cries at the death of her dog and the bgm(Pooveli Pooveli) runs ,it makes us feel as well.
Poornam Vishwananthan is magic as a doting dad and brings out his best as well.

However it would be unfair to simply increase the goodness behind the movies individual performances ,for without the director Vasanth's magic it would mean nothing.Did anyone notice the little things ; (PJ) professes his love for Suvalakshmi to his wife ,and his wife who has a failing heart finds it hard to digest the news.The entire thing takes place in a parked car when it rains and the only background noise that you hear is the windshield wipers swishing back and forth indicating the rapid beating of a heart.

What about the way PJ disposes of his wife that leaves absolutely no trace of a murder.Is that directors touch or what?The best part is that no character changes who he actually is depending on circumstances.Ajith is the angry suspecting young man - The scene where the family meets with Ajith for the first time,Ajith finds his wallet missing and goes right up in front to accuse PJ of stealing his wallet.-Can anyone ever remember such a scene in our movies ever ?Ajith is also portrayed as an intelligent man,when he does not take the air tickets that PJ gets him-again a stroke of brilliance - Any normal movie would have the hero move back to Chennai and Get back to Delhi once he realised PJ's true intentions,but not here.Ajith is two steps ahead of PJs at most times.

These are the exact reasons that keeps us glued to the movie,since we are trying to solve along with Ajith in guessing his response to PJs plans.The climax involving Poornam Vishwananthan and PJ is one for the Sun TV Super Scenes.

The songs,each one is brilliantly pictured and melodious.The surprising part ,it comes from the "gaana" king,who could have imagined a "gaana" king could give us such numbers.

If you are a Tam Movie buff and if ever there was something like imdb top250 for tamil movies,This has got to be in the top 20 for sure.