Monday, December 15, 2008



We have been bombarded with TV shows recently which make winners out of ordinary people. You have an audition, sing well, dance well and keep on surviving the eliminations through SMSes and become a winner. The whole nation takes notice of you and you become a household name.

In my opinion these are not the real winners.

The real winners are around us, but we fail to see them because of our social blindness. This is not strange considering the fact that even though we keep in touch with people living on the other side of the earth through internet, we do not know who stays in our neighbourhood.

To see the winners we must look beyond the smoke of glamourous world created by television and other medias.

Everyone travelling in Mumbai's local train in rush hour is a winner. The autorickshaw driver who works twelve hours a day is a winner. The traffic constable who does his duty on a hot afternoon even though his hands pain is a winner. The youth who stays away from alcohol and drugs is a winner. The parents who sacrifice their whole life for the sake of their children are winners. The student who burns the midnight oil studying instead of visiting rave parties is a winner. The mother who delivers a baby is a winner. The man who works out harder in a gym instead of taking steroids is a winner. The office boy who cleans my office every hour is a winner. The doctors and nurses who tend patients day and night continously are winners. The child who prefers losing a cricket match on ground than winning a Worldcup on his computer game is a winner. The vegetable seller who pushes his cart in 40*C is a winner. The newspaper boys, dabawaalas, milkmen etc. who keep on pedalling their bicycles whether its snow, rain or sun are winners. The list can go on and on....

For me these are the real winners and I rate them higher than the contestants who win huge amounts of prize money in realty shows. Those guys must be fighting with fellow contestants but my winners are fighting with fate!


(just wrote this piece for the sake of writing something)


The world was in dark ages before "circularity" was discovered. Wheel was created and it made a revolution (pun intended). I tried to imagine how the world would look like minus circularity. Every morning we will welcome a square sun. People will go to work on their pogo sticks. Kids won’t play any ball games. There would be no cars, no watches, no elevators (it runs on circular pulleys if you don’t know), and no circles in geometry.

I would really love if we could get away from circles in geometry. All the shapes have such simple formulae for areas and perimeter; but circle brings pain. One has to consider a vague constant called “pi”. It always made my calculations troublesome. While I was in school I was made to understand that the value of “pi” is 22/7 or 3.14 as a good approximation. As I got older I realized this was a lie and no one knows the exact value of “pi”. In my engineering days I used a ten decimal value of “pi” which came as a standard function in my scientific calculator. Our life would have been so simple if the value of “pi” was a whole number. Not only circle but formulae of spheres, cones, cylinders, ellipses etc. would have been so simple. I won’t be surprised to know that many people hated geometry only because of “pi”.

I don’t know how our national flag would look like with a square Ashoka Chakra. How different would the flags of Japan and Bangladesh look minus the circularity?

Charity begins at home. So let me test this “un-circularity” in my room. How neat would my room look without the circles? All the square bottles could be arranged close to each other without wastage of space (remember Japan recently made square watermelons to save space). Then again my imagination stops when I think about square bottle caps! How will they operate, definitely not by rotating? I will never strain my back because things will never roll and hide themselves in the deepest corners of my bed. I see a round pizza in a square box lying on my table. I see wastage of space in the corners. If there were square pizzas these spaces would have been filled. I just calculated that a six inch square pizza will have more to eat than a six inch round pizza!

One more question I wonder at times is whether wheel was “invented” or “discovered”. Some say it was invented because it was not present and some highly motivated stone man made a wheel out of stone. I tend to disagree. Wheel was always present. Sun and moon were always round. Eye-balls were always eyeballs and never eye-cubes. Later some middle age scientists also told much against the wishes of the church that earth was round. All planets orbit in circular. If they had no problem in accepting a round sun and moon why did they object to a round earth!

It is hard to live without circularity. I can’t imagine going to office on a pogo stick. The wheels of my bike are good enough even though they puncture every month on Mumbai roads. Looking in square eyes of a girl would be unimaginable. Life without cricket, football, golf etc. would not be worth living! We should be thankful that we live in a circular universe instead of a square one!

Looks like God gave his angels a circular to make this world on a round table conference (another intended pun)! Why didn’t he give us two wheels instead of legs then?

Friday, November 07, 2008


I was born two days after India had won the World Cup in 1983. My very first memory of watching cricket was 1992 World Cup which is quite faint. Infact the only match I remember was the one against Australia which we lost by just one run. No one explained to me what cricket was, how it was played, what were the rules etc. I don’t know how but I learnt them instantly. Looks like cricket is in the blood of every Indian.

I never saw Sunil Gavaskar frustrate West Indian bowlers. Kapil Dev was struggling to break Richard Hadlee’s record and I didn’t see the best of his bowling. Spin quartet of India was also one of the legends I had only heard, never seen.

One player that everyone talked about was Sachin Tendulkar. He was just nineteen years old while playing 1992 World Cup. I don’t remember his debut. He made kids like me to dream that one can reach high even at a young age. Everyone wanted to be a Tendulkar.

We also saw the emergence of another player called Anil Kumble. This man was bespectacled, mustached spinner who didn’t turn the ball much and had a very amusing bowling action. The Hindi commentators of Doordarshan reminded us atleast twice a day that he was an engineer.

I can proudly say that I witnessed India whitewashing the hapless England 3-0. Vinod Kambli suddenly caught the imagination of the whole nation.

A few months later happened the Hero Cup. The semi final between India and South Africa was the first one day thriller that I had seen. Sachin bowled the last over of the match when South Africa just needed six runs to win. Sachin just gave away three runs. Yeah, I was there to witness the first time South Africans choked!

Then came the final against West Indies. Mind you they were still considered the best team then. Kumble tooK 6-12 and we won the Hero Cup.

Sachin and Kumble became permanent heroes for us. People stopped making fun of short heighted boys while we played cricket. Spectacles became cool for spin bowlers and funny bowling actions were feared not laughed on.

Later came the 1996 World Cup and Sachin went on hitting good scores in almost every match. Jaysuriya started playing his own style attacking cricket and Sri Lanka took the cricket world by surprise (Mind you, they were respected as we respect give Bangladesh nowadays). I saw the great West Indies being bowled out for 92 by first timers Kenya. This was the beginning of end of West Indies cricket. South Africans choked once again and after winning all their league matches, lost the quaterfinals.

The India-Pakistan Quarterfinal match is still there in my memory. No one can forget the way Jadeja thrashed Waqar Younis. Amir Sohail hit Venkatesh Prasad for back to back boundaries and showed him the direction of the boundary line. Prasad clean bowled him the next ball and showed him the direction of Pakistani dressing room.

India reached the Semi-Finals. We were playing quite well, but Jaysuriya spun a web with his spin bowling and India was in a hopeless situation. The crowd started misbehaving with players and burning the stands. The match was awarded to Sri Lanka. The first time I cried after watching a cricket match. (Vinod Kambli was not the only person to cry after that match)

Indian cricket was going to the dogs and we looked to help from Lord. And help came at Lord’s. Here we saw the emergence of two players who became the pillars of Indian cricket for more than a decade. Ganguly showed that off side belonged to him. Dravid showed us what technicality was.

Immediately the boys were divided into either Ganguly camp or Dravid camp. Lefties were being called as Ganguly and every left handed batsmen (including myself) felt a sense of flattery when anyone referred to us as Ganguly. Any person who wasted balls but stood on the crease was being termed as Dravid.

I remember the time when Australians were also mortals. South Africa and India defeated them in all the league matches of Titan Cup. I can never forget the 50+ run ninth wicket partnership between Kumble and Srinath which lead to India winning a very close match against Australia. I had my geometry paper the next day. I saw the match till late in night and screwed my paper the next day. Still I didn’t have any regrets!

I am the one to witness the start of Harbhajan-Ponting rivalry. Harbhajan got Ponting stumped and told him to F**k off. The rivalry still continues. In the same series Tendulkar hit back to back hundreds and we won the Sharjah Cup. It prompted Steve Waugh to say, “We lost to a good player.”

Yes Indian batting at that time was only Sachin Tendulkar. If he played well we won. If he didn’t our batsmen collapsed like a pack of cards. Thankfully at a later stage India got a player like Robin Singh who despite being in mid thirties taught us to give our hundred percent.

I also remember the debut of a player named VVS Laxman. He was forced to open innings for India as there was no place for him in middle order filled with names like Azhar, Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly. He struggled. He looked as confused as a child in a topless bar.

We had heroes like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Jadeja, Azhar and Kumble. Our parents were happy that we had such gentlemen as role models. This generation sadly tries to emulate Shreesanth and Harbhajan. No doubt they are good players. But I would rather have a Dravid as my son-in-law than a Shreesanth!

Then came 1999 World Cup. India lost a very close match to Zimbabwe. This time I didn’t cry. I just couldn’t believe it for three days. It was the only topic of discussion for the whole country. I think we were more shocked than we were in 2007 World Cup. India however played well in next matches and ended its campaign with some respect. Ganguly and Dravid hitting Sri Lankan bowlers in Taunton fascinated me for more than a week!

In 2000 happened the match fixing controversy. I think was big enough at that time. I was in my graduation. My childhood was over. We all felt cheated. Some players were banned. We swore that we will never watch cricket again. But I guess we loved cricket too much to do that. We continued watching cricket.

We saw Dravid struggling as a One-Day player. We saw Dravid keeping wickets to keep his place in team. We remember India thrashing Australia 2-1 at home and later getting thrashed 3-0 in Australia. We saw a spinner like Shane Warne treated like a school level bowler by Indian batsmen. We remember Anil Kumble taking 10 wickets in an inning. We remember India losing a Test to Pakistan by mere 17 runs and Tendulkar’s painful century went in vain. We saw the emergence of Laxman from a struggling opener to a solid middle order batsman.

We saw Ganguly taking the reign of Indian cricket and it started a new chapter. Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble and Srinath were still very much a part of Saurav’s team. These were our childhood heroes, but they continued to play even when we went to college. They played even when we started working. It felt as if our childhood was stretched.

I saw them all. But now it looks like my childhood will end. We took for granted that Tendulkar, Kumble, Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman will stay forever. They never felt like leaving us anytime. The Indian Board was also kind enough to retain such players for such a long time, quite opposite to what Pakistani Board did to some of its best players.

Sachin taught us class, Kumble taught us accuracy, Dravid taught us endurance, Ganguly taught us aggression and Laxman taught us elegance. This didn’t happen just for a couple of years. They taught us for a decade and a half.

The reality however seems to have come. Kumble is retired, Ganguly is playing his last match and very soon Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman will also go and I will have no memories of my childhood left.

The day I will not see any of the above five names in the Indian team, probably I will stop watching cricket. I won’t be able to!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


RATINGS: *****

Most of the movies that we watch are out of our mind as soon as we read the closing credits. There are however a few movies about whom we keep on thinking for hours, days or sometimes months. "Children of Heaven" is one of these rare movies. Ali and Zehra are siblings living in a poor Iranian family. Ali goes to repair Zehra's shoes but lose them on the way. Now if their parents will come to know about it they will thrash Ali and also they are too poor to buy new pair of shoes for their daughter. To get out of this situation they have a long discussion and hold your breath by writing messages on a note book right under the nose of their parents.

Zehra has a morning school while Ali has an afternoon school. It is decided Zehra will wear Ali's shoes to school and will return them to him during afternoon at a common place. This is when the trouble begins. No matter how fast Zehra run back from school she is never in time to give the shoes to his brother. Ali gets late to school everyday and his principal even tells him to go back home once. He is a good student so he is saved by one of the teachers.

There is a scene in which one shoe fall off Zehra's feet as they are too big for her (remember its her elder brother's shoes) and they fall in a gutter. The water current makes the shoe drift away. The desperation with which she runs after the shoe makes will make your whole body shiver.

The brother-sister relationship is shown very beautifully in this movie. Even though they go through such suffering, they are always there to support each other's cause every moment.

Each and every scene of the movie is full of simplicity. I cant seem to think of any other movie which can match the simplicity of this movie. Ali and Zehra are ideal children which every parent would love to have.

The kids find out who is having the possession of Zehra's shoes and they go out to investigate. They see that the girl who is now wearing those shoes is a poor child with a blind father. They dont take any action against her and continue with their adventures with just a pair of shoes between them.

Later in Ali's school an inter school long distance running competition is announced. Ali takes no interest in it. After a few days on the notice board he sees that the boy to come third in the race will win a pair of new sneakers. His eyes light up and he requests his sports teacher to allow him to participate in the race. Since the boys for race are already shorlisted, his teacher doesnt listen to him. Ali knows that this is an opportunity he cannot miss. He pleads and weeps in front of him and melts the teacher who cosiders giving him a trial.

During his trial run Ali runs with all his strength and impresses his teacher so that he is allowed to represent his school in the race.

Ali tells this good news to his sister and promises her that he will definitely come third in the race and will win the shoes for her.

Now begins a competition in which probably for the first time one individual is running not to come first but to come third. While running this boy remembers the pain of his little sister who came running for him everyday so that he can wear the shoes and be on time for school.

The result of the race should not be told by me or else it will be against the spirit for those who havent watched this movie yet.

The ending of the movie could not be understood by many dumb people. So if you dont understand it, take an appointment in a mental hospital :)

I saw the English dubbed version of the movie which was done by un-emotional dubbing artistes. A more professional dubbing was expected for such a great movie.

I have heard that Darsheel Safari is going to play the role of Ali in the Indian version of this movie. Only time will tell whether he will repeat the splendid performance of "Taare Zameen Par."

This movie is much much better than the so called children's movies churned out by Hollywood based on expensive animations and senseless plots. It just shows that to make a good film, you dont need a big budget, just a big heart!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008



If you watch Shahrukh Khan's films, he has acted similarly in almost all of them. He has played the monotonous character of "Raj/Rahul" innumerable times. But this film is different, Shahrukh Khan goes skin deep in a character called "Sunil" and plays it to perfection. The only other recent film where he broke the steorotype was "Chak De..India."

Sunil is your average "nalayak" neighbour whom you see everyday. He has failed three times in his board exams, he is a pain to his parents, doesnt have any goal in life and one who shamelessly lies and cheats for short term gains.

He is also a member of a struggling local music band. He is madly in love with the only female member of the band, Anna (Sucitra Krishnamurty). He has stiff competition from another member of the band Chris (Deepak Tijori). Chris is a succesful man in life, rich, responsible, never cheats anyone, plays good music and loves Anna too.

Sunil tries all the tricks to get Anna away from Chris. While there is a race to receive Anna at the railway station, he punctures the tyres of Chris's car and reaches before him. Then he shamelessly tells Chris later, "Railway station pe recieve karne ki baat hi kuch aur hoti hai, nahi!" :)

His white lies are not limited to getting Anna only. He nearly bluffs his way in getting his band a chance to play in the local bar. "We played music in Enter the Dragon Club" he says after seeing a photo of Bruce Lee. You will love him for his stupidities.

No matter how much Sunil tries, but Anna gets close to Chris. In one of the parties he sees Anna and Chris getting too intimate for Sunil's comfort. The expression on Sunil's face takes the prize.

Sunil still doesnt give up. He tells Chris that Anna is not a girl of good character. She is a big flirt who has played games with many boys including himself.

Sunil's lies are exposed in front of Anna and he is thrown away from the band.

He tries his level best to get back with his freinds but to no avail. The insults he takes from his friends and Anna makes you feel for the poor guy. The suggestions given to him by Naseeruddin Shah, the priest at local church is heartening. He says "Sunil tum hamesha khidki se kyun jaata hai, darwaza kyun nahi try karta!"

He eventually makes up back to the band by saving his friends from an assault by the rowdy patrons of the pub. He also wins the heart of the local don (Goga Kapoor), who also had a very bad love life. So Sunil is back in touch with Anna, but he could see her slipping away from him.

The scene in which he is playing mouth organ on a very sad tone and crying is one of the best in the film. The don hears him and says to his assistant "Aaj koi saala bahut sad hai re, isiliye itna achcha music nikal raha hai." His assistant makes a note of it. Then comes the dialogue of the film. Don says, "Note mat karo, feel karo." :-))

On personal front Sunil fails again in his board exams. To save himself from his father's ire, he makes a fake marksheet with the help of the don. But don was his fan so he gives Sunil the marks of a topper! His parents get happy and throw a party to the whole town for their son's success. Sunil couldnt bear it anymore and confesses. This is also one of the best scenes of the film.

Life starts getting better for Sunil. His parents are happy with him. Anna breaks off with Chris and their parents are talking about marriage of Anna and Sunil.

Now I cannot tell you the end of the film. It is for you to see for yourself and enjoy.

The music of the movie is good. One of the very few movies in which you feel that songs dont break but heighten the rhythm of the movie. The music looked original, other than the song "Kaise don" which starts with the tone of "Rasputin" by Boney M. (When will Indians stop copying!)

The lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri are refreshing. All songs have meaningful lyrics. "Ho bas agar tum hamare sanam, hum toh sitaro pe rakh de kadam."

The dialogues are witty and funny. The dialogue by the priest, "Idhar se jao, udhar se jao, sabhi rasta God ki taraf jaata hai." is just one of them!

Kundan Shah shows that "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron" was not a fluke.

The support cast of Satish Shah, Goga Kapoor, Anjan Shrivastav, Ahutosh Gowarikar (Yea, the director of Lagan, Swades and Jodha Akbar) etc. are perfect!

And lastly any person who has ever been on the wrong side of a one sided love will seriously feel the pain of Sunil. Well done Shahrukh, I bet even you cant repeat your performance in KHKN again!

Saturday, August 23, 2008




I had very high expectations from this film when I entered the movie hall, but all of them were dashed badly within the after the first ten minutes. The film started with a bang with the title song but fizzled out soon.

The film shows three time periods viz. 1996, 2002 ad 2007. Sadly all three periods look similiar. The director didnt do anything to make the look of the film original than saying mobile phone being recetly launched in 1996. The fashion, the hairstyle, everything looked of 2008! I never saw any girl wearing genie style pyjamas in 1996 like Minisha Lamba wore!

Hiten Paintal playing Ranbir's friend gets away with the best lines in the film. Minisha Lamba needs to seriously do something about here skin (or was it bad make-up). It makes her look terrible. The chemistry between Ranbir and all three ladies looked good and thats what gives this film its single star rating.

Like many hindi films Minisha misses her train in a foreign city and she falls in love with Ranbir on the way. Now when Minisha is reunited with her parents they look so cool as if nothing had happened . But they still say, "We were very worried."

Now Ranbir ditches her and the story moves to 2002.

Bipasha Basu becomes his live in girlfriend. Thankfuly Hiten Paintal is still there to make the film a bit watchable. Bipasha wears her childhood clothes and Ranbir is seen topless in many scenes. One advice for him :Dude you dont go topless with such kind of tweeny body. First make your body like Salman, John, Hrithik etc. and then try removing your shirt!

So now Ranbir wants to ditch Bipasha and fly to Australia. He tries all the tried and tested methods given by Hiten, but still Bipasha doesnt give up. Lastly he shamelessly leaves her waiting for him at the steps of marriage court with full bridal get up!

Now we come in 2007. Ranbir is a play boy in Australia. Having fun with girls. While doing his "Rajgiri" (thats what he calls his playboyism as) he meets a lady taxi driver, Deepika, who is an MBA student who drives taxi in night to meet ends.

While Ranbir is shopping in supermarket, 90% of his buys are condoms. Here he meets Deepika again who is a cashier at supermarket! Now if she drives taxi in night and works in supermarket during day, when the hell does she go to college and study?

Now they start dating each other and fall in love. Ranbir all of a sudden proposes to Deepika and she refuses. Ranbir's heart is broken and he feels for the heart of two girls he broke in his lifetime and thinks of apologising them.

Then follows the drama. I felt like watching a poor version of DDLJ when Ranbir is on a mission to get forgiveness of Minisha. Kunal Kapoor plays his 2 bit role to perfection.

Then Ranbir tries to get forgiveness from Bipasha, who is now a super model. She has loads of attitude and shows it well. He tries hard but she ignores him. Lastly she agrees to forgive him on a condition that he will be her assistant.

Then she abuses him, uses him, makes fun of him, makes his life hell, but he still serves her like a slave.

He is polishing her nails (Arrgh) when there starts another melodrama. This was the time when I thought it was enough torture on my brain and I left the theatre. So I dont know what happens in the end. I was happy that I was saved of 30 minutes of torture that was in store for me.

After I came out of the cinema hall I was searching for the refund form so that i could get my money back!