Posted by: kcgadiyar | February 24, 2012

5 predictions from “The Sport Star” in hindsight: 2000-2003

In the course of my daily arbit-surfing i came across the “Sports Illustrated Jinx” which basically states that appearing on the cover or being mentioned in the cover story of the Sports Illustrated jinxes an athlete or team. So, i decided to look through what is the closest approximation to “Sports Illustrated”, that being “The SportStar” and see if i can find instances of the cover jinx here as well. Unfortunately, the online archives only go back to mid-2000. So, i decided to break it down further and will cover 2000-2003 in this post and other years as and when i find time to go through the archives again. So here are the 5 predictions from SportStar covers which they got wrong or are hilarious in hindsight (all articles are linked in the titles):

1. Bhupathi-Paes, June 23-29 2001: This article was written after the first time Paes and Bhuphati reunited following a rift between the two.

The article states “That Bhupathi and Paes have re-invented themselves as world beaters is something that should thrill the fans in this country, for they still have a few years left in which to add greater laurels. ” Unfortunately, personal issues came between the two over and over again and everytime they reunited after this, it was just a countdown to the inevitable split.

Bonus: Gustavo Kuerten never managed to win another slam post this article.

2. and 3. Sanjay Bangar  and the rest of the Indian youth wave from 2002 (Mar 9th and April 13th 2002)

The story of Indian cricket is such that we will find a lot of promising talent being featured prominently only to disappear without a trace a month later. Reading through the archives shines a spotlight on these cases.

The first article linked above is probably the only time in history that anyone has compared and contrasted Sanjay Bangar with Adam Gilchrist. That is the only reason it is seperate from the other article. The intro reads “While Bangar cracked a century against Zimbabwe, Gilchrist knocked the stuffing out of South Africa in its own backyard with a stupendous double hundred. Here’s a look at these contrasting personalities.”

Bangar was unlucky during his time with the time in that a sustained run eluded him as India seemed to constantly be in a “rebuild for the World cup” phase.

The second article suggests that Dinesh Mongia, Sanjay Bangar, Ajay Ratra, Wasim Jaffer and Tinu Yohannan are knocking on the doors of the Indian team. They were, they got in and for various reasons they never were seen again.

4. Inconsistency in men’s tennis (Sept 20-26, 2003): The headline goes “HOW many men have won at least two Grand Slam titles in the last two seasons, 2002 and 2003? The answer, believe it or not, is none.

The next year, Federer came along, followed by Nadal 2 years later and now Djokovic and they are supported by Murray and to some extent Tsonga. Nowadays the question being asked in Men’s tennis is “How many times can we see the same players dominate?” What a change in 8 years.

5. Indian Men’s Hockey (Oct 11-17 2003): This article is really optimistic about Indian hockey, which of course is funny now when we see what happened over the next few years. The article leads with the line: “Now that a berth is ensured for the World Cup in 2006, all the efforts should be geared to earn a spot for the Athens Olympics next year, from the qualifier at Madrid in March. ” India qualified, finished a poor seventh and were universally panned at home and failed to qualify for Beijing. This of course led to finger pointing and everyone blaming everyone else.

The best bit from the article “When K. P. S. Gill took charge as President of Indian Hockey Federation in 1994, he sought a period of eight-year programme to produce results. The success of that programme reflected with the Indian team’s triumph in the Junior World Cup at Hobart in 2001. And the man who guided the stars to this stage was the former Olympian and penalty corner striker, Rajinder Singh. ” I guess he only had a 8-year plan because Hockey went into a nosedive following 2002 and has only recently started the process of recovery.

Bonus articles:

1. For a few (million) rupees more: This talks about the money involved in Indian cricket and how players may be easily lured by it and forget that they have a duty to the nation. 9 years on and we are still talking about the same thing.
2. Asia and Africa national teams in Football: This talks of the progress in national teams from asia and africa. 2 further world cups down the line and nothing has changed. This article could be printed verbatim and would still make perfect sense today.

Advertisements
Posted by: kcgadiyar | January 28, 2012

Filmfare Awards 2012 – Predictions

Before starting this year’s edition of the predictions, i went back and looked at my predictions for previous years and realized that it has been 6 years now that i have been predicting the awards – and i have a hit rate of almost 75%. This year is a weird one to predict, since there is no clear front-runner in the “Best Film” category. Let’s get down to it:

 

Best Film
Delhi Belly
Don 2
No One Killed Jessica
Rockstar
The Dirty Picture
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Filmfare surprised me this year by NOT nominating either of the 3 biggest grossers of the year, namely: Bodyguard, Ra.One and Ready. Not that either of these movies were award worthy, but Filmfare normally nominates based on box office than actual quality. I can’t complain about any of the nominated movies, all of them are deserving. That being said, my favorite movie of the year was “Shor in the city” and i am kind of disappointed to see it not nominated. Of the remaining, i think ZNMD has the best chance.

Should and Will win: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (of the nominees)

Best Director
Abhinay Deo – Delhi Belly
Farhan Akhtar – Don2
Imtiyaz Ali – Rockstar
Milan Luthria – The Dirty Picture
Raj Kumar Gupta – No One Killed Jessica
Zoya Akhtar – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Of the directors nominated, only Imitiaz Ali put his stamp on the movie. The other movies could have been directed by anyone and probably have had the same feel. That being said, i think Filmfare will give it to Zoya Akhtar because it has been quite some time since a woman director won this award.

Should win: Imtiaz Ali

Will win: Zoya Akhtar

 

Best Actor In A Leading Role (Male)
Ajay Devgn – Singham
Amitabh Bachchan – Aarakshan
Hrithik Roshan – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Ranbir Kapoor – Rockstar
Salman Khan – Bodyguard
Shahrukh Khan – Don2

Not much to be said here. There was only one performance all year which stood head and shoulders above the rest of the movie around it, hence:

Should and Will win: Ranbir Kapoor, Rockstar

 

Best Actor In A Leading Role (Female)
Katrina Kaif – Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
Mahie Gill – Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster
Priyanka Chopra – 7 Khoon Maaf
Vidya Balan – No One Killed Jessica
Vidya Balan – The Dirty Picture

This is where we see Filmfare up to their old tricks. Vidya Balan will win this for Dirty Picture (deservedly so). But she was, at best, a supporting role (and a very good one at that) in No One Killed Jessica. So why is she nominated here? Well, because if she was nominated in Best Supporting Actress, she would win that too and Rani Mukherjee would lose out on winning here for her comeback role.

Should and Will win: Vidya Balan

 

Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male)
Abhay Deol – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Farhan Akhtar – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Naseeruddin Shah – The Dirty Picture
Pitobash Tripathy – Shor In The City
Vir Das – Delhi Belly

A slightly tough one, since Pitobash had a really good role in Shor in the City. But i think Filmfare will probably give it to Farhan Akhtar for ZNMD.

Should win: Pitobash for Shor in the City

Will win: Farhan Akhtar for ZNMD

 

Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Female)
Juhi Chawla – IAM
Kalki Koechlin – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Parineeti Chopra – Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl
Rani Mukerji – No One Killed Jessica
Swara Bhaskar – Tanu Weds Manu

As mentioned in my comments for Best Actor (Female).

Should win: Parineeti Chopra (the best role in an awful movie)

Will win: Rani Mukherji

 

Best Music Director
A.R.Rahman – Rockstar
Ram Sampat – Delhi Belly
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Sohail Sen – Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
Vishal-Shekhar – RA.One

Best Lyrics
Gulzar – Darling – (7 Khoon Maaf)
Irshad Kamil – Nadaan parindey – (Rockstar)
Irshad Kamil – Sadda haq – (Rockstar)
Javed Akhtar – Senorita – (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara)
Vishal Dadlani & Niranjan Iyengar – Chammak challo – (RA.One)

Best Playback Singer (Male)
Akon & Vishal Dadlani – Chammak challo (RA.One)
Mohit Chauhan – Jo bhi mein (Rockstar)
Mohit Chauhan – Sadda haq (Rockstar)
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – Teri Meri (Bodyguard)
Shafqat Amanat Ali – Dildaara (RA.One)

 

Let’s make this easy. This year is Rockstar’s year in terms of music. There was no great female vocal performance so Rockstar will miss out there, the other awards will be:

A.R.Rahman, Irshad Kamil and Mohit Chauhan.

Best Playback Singer (Female)
Alyssa Mendonsa – Khwabon ke parindey (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara)
Harshdeep Kaur – Katiya karu (Rockstar)
Rekha Bhardwaj & Usha Uthup Darling (7 Khoon Maaf)
Shreya Ghoshal – Teri Meri (Bodyguard)
Shreya Ghoshal – Saibo (Shor In The City)

Should and will win: Shreya Ghoshal for “Saibo”. The best song this year in terms of female vocals.

 

Those were my predictions; let’s see how many i get right on Sunday.

 

Posted by: kcgadiyar | January 9, 2012

A reality show idea: “Poverty Line”

A few days ago me and a couple of friends were discussing the 32 Rupees a day cap to be denoted as below poverty line. Everyone completely agreed that the Planning Commission has goofed up majorly on this aspect. 32 rupees a day can buy next to nothing and claiming that anyone earning less than that is truly poor while 33 a day is not is stupidity of the highest order.

My reaction after the “This is complete nonsense” was that “This will make a good experiment”. I first thought of trying to live on 32 rupees a day for a week (a month would have been too long), but then i realized that i wouldn’t last half a day (even the canteen food in office costs more than that, add in transport and it will be impossible on my part to stay on 32 rupees a day)

My immediate thought following that was “This will make a cool reality show” in a similar model like “Survivor”. So, here is my reality show idea, tentative title “Towing the poverty line” or just “Poverty Line”.

Basic concept:

10 people from all walks of life are brought together for one month. They are then taken to a village somewhere in U.P. or TN or wherever appropriate and divided into 2 groups who will compete against each other throughout the month. Here is the kicker though: They will each be given 1000 rupees (approx 32 rupees a day) and nothing else. No place to stay, no food, no nothing. They are left in a village or a small town and the groups have to fend for themselves.

They will need to negotiate a house for 5 people for a month within the budget they have (since i assume the groups won’t band together and try to find one place for 10 people to stay), food, and any amenities needed. They are not barred from finding daily-wage jobs which can help them collect extra money on the side.

The Game:

Once every 3-4 days, the teams compete against each other for small prizes which will seem much bigger to them as they are living on next to nothing. Prizes may be like a 5 liter can of mineral water, a meal in a small restaurant for all the people, a mobile phone with 100 minutes of talk-time so that they can call home. Basically, the little things in life (as we say, the little things in life matter)

The losing team needs to send someone home (this may be good for some people since the winners will have to continue living on a shoe-string budget). Whoever is sent home will have their money divided equally among the members of his/her team.

The USP:

Unlike in reality shows like “Big Brother” or “Survivor”, here contestants are living and working and going about their tasks among real people. There is no set, the town is real, the people are real, the negotiations for food, lodging, work etc. will all be real.

So this can be India’s first real “reality” show.

The Prize:

I dunno, whatever the channel/sponsors are willing to put up.

What it will achieve:

TRPs 🙂

Proving that 32 rupees a day can be lived on?

Achieve a nice little social experiment

So, what do you guys think? Can this work? and will you watch?

(No, i am not pitching this to anyone, just putting this idea out there to prove how ridiculous the 32 rupees a day limit is.)

Posted by: kcgadiyar | January 4, 2012

The Indian test cricket team – A ragecomic infomercial

The Indian team’s batting and bowling performance in the Sydney test has achieved the following:

  • Single handedly saved and resurrected Ponting’s career
  • Made heroes of their new ball bowlers
  • Gave all early-risers a reason to go back to bed

As an Indian cricket fan, this performance feels like someone has replaced the team with inferior look-alikes. After being subjected to this performance, i put up a status message on Facebook which reflected my mood. I said that they should make an infomercial. Here is the same status message in ragecomic form, enjoy:

P.S: This is purely for entertainment purposes. No harm, no foul 🙂

Posted by: kcgadiyar | December 29, 2011

Moving part of the blog

It has been three and a half years since i started blogging on the wordpress.com platform, and it has been a great experience. So much so that i even mapped my domain here.

Looking back at my recent posts, i find that this blog is becoming more of a review site than my general train-of-thought blog that it was supposed to be. In view of this, i am moving all future movie/tv/book/cricket/football etc. reviews to my new blog: http://kcgreviews.wordpress.com/

Do join me there for any future reviews i may put out. This blog will remain for all other things large and small.

See you there,

K.C.G

Posted by: kcgadiyar | December 26, 2011

Year End 2011: Best Hindi Songs and Albums

2012 is almost here – our last year in existence (if the people who interpreted the Mayan ruins are to be believed). With 2011 winding down, now is the time to look back at the year.

This was a terrible year for movies in Bollywood, putting together a top 10 movies of the year list is a really tough job since the quality of movies this year ranged from bad to worse. But in between all this, the soundtracks have never been better, the top 10 list had to be whittled down from a long-list and i am sure i still missed a few movie soundtracks.

This list is of the top 10 soundtracks of the year with a representative song. Again, my opinion, please feel free to agree or disagree.

Honorable Mentions: 7 khoon maaf: Darling and Bekaran were good but the overall soundtrack didn’t come together well IMHO.

Singham: The Singham soundtrack had the title track and “Saathiya” which make this a worthwhile listen

Murder 2: Good overall soundtrack, almost made the top 10.

Mujhse Fraandship Karoge: Raghu Dixit gives us a really good soundtrack in this movie, just misses the main list though

10. Mausam:

This movie was an overlong mess, but everyone who watched it can admit that for the first 40 odd minutes the movie just breezed along. The music was a huge part of why the movie was as tolerable as it was. The music by Pritam was servicable if not good, and the song “Rabba” was one of the few which was played on loop by me.

9. Dil Toh Bachha Hai Jee:

This movie had the best “easy-listening” soundtrack of the year. While “Abhi kucch dinon se” was the clear standout, my personal favorite was “Jadugari”

8. Shaitan:

An Anurag Kashyap movie is guaranteed to have experimental music, and Shaitan had 4 music directors in Prashant Pillai, Amar Mohile, Ranjit Barot and Anupam Roy. The songs were good and the Shaitan theme was one of my favorite songs this year.

7. Bodyguard:

Himesh Reshammiya finally giving music for a non-Himesh Reshammiya movie. The music of the movie was good, but for some reason it did not have repeat listen value for me at least.

6. Ra.One:

The Ra.One soundtrack came with huge expectations, and Vishal-Shekhar delivered to a large extent. “Chammak Challo” is a good song, but nothing we will remember in a years time. My favorite song was “Raftaarein” which played during the best scene of the movie.

5. Shor in the City:

A soundtrack which came out of nowhere in a movie which came out of nowhere. This movie had one of the better soundtracks of the year, and of course the standout song was “Saibo”

4. The Dirty Picture:

This movie had 3 songs, and 2 of them were really good. “Ooh La La” was effectively the theme of the movie, but my personal favorite was “Ishq Sufiyana” (also, i don’t think anyone actually remembers the third song once they came out of the theatre)

3. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara:

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy didn’t have a particularly good year, but this soundtrack was a standout this year. Ik Junoon was good, Khwabon ke Parindey and Senorita were really well done, and then there is my personal favorite “Dil Dhadakne Do”

2. Tanu Weds Manu:

This was a great soundtrack by Krsna. The “Yun Hi” song is probably among the best songs this year and should get Mohit Chauhan an award this year.

And the number one is…. (drumroll)

1. Rockstar:

Yup, A.R.Rahman is winning every single music award this year. This was an amazing soundtrack, so many good songs and amazing lyrics by Irshad Kamil in each one of them (although, he wasn’t credited on the soundtrack due to a clerical error apparently). This is a very deserving winner for the best soundtrack of the year. And the best song, well who am i to disagree with the mass opinion, Sadda Haq!!!

Next post, we look back at the best performances of the year.

Posted by: kcgadiyar | December 25, 2011

Movie Review: Don 2

Short version: “The King is Back!” When SRK utters these words in Don2 with his typical swagger, you completely believe him. This is one hell of a movie. Worth it completely.

Long Version: When “Don” released 4-5 years ago, there weren’t many expectations from it. In fact, everyone was sure that SRK’s Don would not compare to Amitabh in the least. And through 99% of Don, i was certain of that as well, but Farhan Akhtar pulled a master-stroke with the ending twist in Don that now “Don” is practically synonymous with SRK for me at least (in fact until an ad for the old Don ran on a tv channel recently i had forgotten that an older version actually existed). That twist in a sense saved the movie from being just another remake and opened the doors for a newer and slicker take on the character.

This movie has an advantage the first one didn’t, that being the freedom of plot. Free from the burden of the original plot, Farhan Akhtar and SRK give us our very own version of the heist/adventure movies in the vein of the Oceans and Mission:Impossible genre.

Are there weaknesses? Sure, there is the half-cooked romantic track which slows down a really fast-paced climax and an ending twist which (while admittedly really well done) was telegraphed a mile away, but apart from that, not much else. Yes, there are outlandish elements like flesh masks and obtaining fingerprints and voice recognition from a target etc. but if we are ready to accept these plot points in Hollywood movies like the MI series and Fast Five to name the direct inspirations, we should accept them here as well especially since they are used in a logical manner.

The plot of Don 2 is pretty basic, Don (SRK, duh!) wants to rob the German Central Bank and assembles a team for the same purpose. He uses the Vice President of the bank (Ally Khan) as his mark for the same (In a bit of plot-hole filling, Lara Dutta even remarks that “The VP of the German Bank is Indian?” to which SRK coolly replies “What to do darling. We are everywhere.”). This leads to planning the heist, pulling off the heist, double, triple and quadruple crosses and a sting in the tail (which, even though it is telegraphed doesn’t diminish it one bit)

Performances: SRK is great here. The demeanour, the style with which he pulls off this character and the aura he brings to this role, it is tough to imagine anyone else having been slotted here. This movie just shows why SRK grossly miscast himself as “Shekhar Subramaniam” in Ra.One, he is just not the bumbling buffoon anymore.

Priyanka Chopra is good as well and convincing as the action-girl of the series. Boman Irani is good in a movie after quite some time of overacting. Kunal Kapoor and Ally Khan perform their roles well and Lara Dutta is wasted (was her role left on the cutting room floor or something?) The surprise guest appearance by a superstar (which i wont spoil here) was done well.

The background music is good. The pacing of the movie is slow in the first half, but picks up a lot in the second. As a result of this we don’t miss the songs in the movie at all (in fact, there is only one song in this 2 and a half hour movie).

Farhan Akhtar is back to direction after a long time and does an amazing job making this movie look as slick and polished as any hollywood movie while still keeping the script good.

Final Verdict: 4/5. Well worth a watch, go for it.

Bonus: In the final scene, the camera zooms in on the license plate of the bike being driven by Don and the license plate says “DON 3”, if that can provide half the entertainment this one provided, it can’t come soon enough.

Posted by: kcgadiyar | December 24, 2011

Movie Review – Mission:Impossible – Ghost Protocol

After a disappointing M:I3 and the subsequent erosion of goodwill that Tom Cruise encountered after jumping on Oprah’s couch, i never though i would be as excited as i was to watch M:I4. There were 3 main reasons for this:

  • Brad Bird
  • The Burj-Khalifa scene
  • IMAX

So, tickets in hand i went in to the IMAX theatre in Hyderabad and came back out 2 hours later completely entertained. This is an action movie well worth your time and money.

As far as the plot of the movie is concerned, it deals with Ethan Hunt being falsely implicated for blowing up the Kremlin. This is actually done by a rebel Russian scientist/terrorist who plans to bring about world destruction through the use of a) A russian nuclear warhead from the Kremlin    b) Launch codes from Dubai      c) a Satellite from India. This leads to a globe-spanning edge of your seat adventure through Moscow, Budapest, Dubai and Mumbai (played decently in this movie by Toronto)

The only things i had an issue with in this movie are things which most other viewers of this won’t notice or care about. In the “Mumbai” scenes, every single sign-board is in Kannada, this could have been easily avoided by having the intro card read “Bangalore” since the Mumbai setting itself matters little to the movie. Second, all the cars in the final action set-piece (supposedly in Mumbai) are left-hand drives and finally, the fate of the whole world hangs on Tom Cruise’s character gambling that a car in a Mumbai parking complex has inbuilt airbags – if this were real life, we would be in for a nuclear winter now.

Apart from these really minor issues which most others won’t notice, the only issue i had with this movie is that it peaks early. The biggest set-piece and the best action sequence of the movie takes place on the Burj Khalifa and the following sandstorm. This entire 30 minute sequence looks great, is well choreographed and is just well put together. In comparison the final fight in Mumbai comes off as lacking in spectacle (also considering that the movie kicks off with a Russian prison breakout and the Kremlin COLLAPSING)

Performance-wise, Tom Cruise holds the movie together and definitely makes me believe that a Mission:Impossible movie without him should not be attempted for a long time. Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg are good in both their comic relief and serious bits and Paula Patton has done well as well. Anil Kapoor appears in this movie almost and hour and 45 minutes in and long after i had forgotten that he was in it; and 10 minutes 23 seconds later he disappears from the movie being bid farewell in the form of the dialogue “So Jaa!!!”

Brad Bird, the director of some of my favorite movies (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille) is in fine form and shows that animation experience works well in non-animated movies as well.

The special effects are amazing and the stunts and action are brilliantly choreographed and executed.

This one is a must-watch for action movie fans: 4/5

 

Posted by: kcgadiyar | December 22, 2011

Year-end 2011: Scene of the year

2012 is almost here – our last year in existence (if the people who interpreted the Mayan ruins are to be believed). With 2011 winding down, now is the time to look back at the year. I will start with an easy one, the movie scene of the year.

This was a particularly easy one to choose, and even though Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol almost stole it at the last minute with the amazing shot of Tom Cruise scaling and then running down the Burj Khalifa, my award for scene of the year goes to this one:

This scene from a little movie called “Pyaar Ka Punchnama” came out of nowhere. This 5+ minute rant on women by the lead character was such a viral hit that it took the movie from an average grosser to hit status overnight. The scene leaking online was the best marketing ever!!!

A deserving victor. Next post, we look at the best songs and albums of the year.

 

Posted by: kcgadiyar | November 14, 2011

Klueless 7 – Not solving it

To everyone visiting the blog to see if i have my walkthrough of Klueless 7 up – Sorry, due to personal commitments i will not be able to attempt to solve it this year. I know it will still be as good as ever though.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories