Monday, August 28, 2006

The Gora Arrogance

There are very few occasions when I feel like taking side of Pakistan. One of them happened a few days back at The Oval. A lot has been written & talked about what happened between the Pakistani cricket side & Darrel Hair. However the real drama was to unfold only a couple of days later when the latter made a demand of $500,000 if he is taken off the Elite Panel of umpires.

Now I must say that it takes real courage to make this kind of demand and that too to a global governing body. And the most surprising thing is that till date Hair has not been booked for any offence, while Inzamam has been charged with couple of, at best, ‘technical’ offences.

Hair’s demand is one of the best examples of ‘Gora Arrogance’. I don’t think any non-goras have guts to even think on these lines, forget actually making such a demand. And mind you, despite of who’s who, which includes Dicky Bird as well, taking pot-shots at him, the guy is absolutely unfazed about the entire situation.

Recently I read about winners of this year’s Stella Awards – these are conferred upon the successfully contested weirdest of the law-suits. One of the awards went to a thief who broke into a house when the family was away on vacation. Through the back-door of the house, he entered the garage only to find that the gate of garage is non-functional and the door has closed behind him. For 15 days till the family returned, he had to survive on the dried dog food that he found in one of the corners of the garage. Unbelievable, but the thief successfully sued the family, whose house he had broken into.

If Mr. Hair really manages to get that moneybag out of ICC, am sure he would be running for the Stella Award.


Apathy towards national interest … explained !

A newly married couple. First anniversary being just a few days away. Husband on his mandatory "community service". Just a few days to go before he gets back to his 'routine urban life'. And then - the disaster !

No, it’s not the story of the latest Hollywood flick.
Meet Ms Karnit Goldwasser. The most brave & courageous lady I've ever come across.

Wife of one of the two Israeli soldiers that were kidnapped which triggered tension in the middle-east. With the tension mounting on either side, she was asked about what is she expecting from her Government and what’s her take on the entire situation?

And there I got the most remarkable answer: “We want the killing to be stopped, both in Israel and in Lebanon. We want everything to be back as it was before, no killing, no kidnapping, we want them back home. I love my husband very much. I think there is a reason for what is going on across the border, the way it is going on. I'm looking forward to reuniting with my husband."

A perfect blend of love, maturity & patriotism. Nothing more, nothing less.

Having heard this, my mind traveled back to that last week '99 when Indians were kept hostage in Afghanistan as the flight from Kathmandu was hijacked. The kind of emotional pressure exerted on Indian Government was not funny. I still remember the clippings of families of 200+ hostages outside PM's residence seeking safe & early passage for their dear ones. In his much talked about book "A Call to Honor" the then Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh speaks about how he was unwilling to free some of the dreaded militants in exchange of these innocent Indians.

So were we right in holding our Government hostage to take the step that it took.. Don’t know..

On second thoughts, Ms Goldwasser's response has more dimensions than meet the eye. Israeli Government has called for a full blown war on Lebanon for latter’s 'misadventure of kidnapping its 2 soldiers'. A common Israeli can repose so much faith in their Government for the Government knows how to reciprocate it.

Cut to India. After serial blasts that killed not 2, but 200 people, all that Mumbai received was an apology speech from its PM. Citizens' apathy towards national interest explained.


Good Artist – Bad Artist

There are good artists whose work is a sheer enjoyment. And there are ones that don’t even deserve to be called artists. You can safely ignore their work & move on. And there is a third category - bad artists. It’s unfortunate to see their talent going waste.

In a span of last 10 days, I’d the opportunity to witness the good art and the bad art. While the good art made me seek the original work that inspired this art, the bad art that followed, left such a bad taste that it robbed me of an opportunity to remain under the spell of the good art. As the good artist is making me happy with each of successive product, the bad artist is making me despise his successive product.

Othello’s Indianization as Omkara couldn’t have been any better. As one of the reviews said, if Shakespeare was alive, he would have indeed smiled. The Indianization was so complete that a 2-bit role of Bianca was made into more than 2-song role of Billo Chaman Bahaar. If there was any chink in the armor, this was the one.

Mind you, Othello is not an easy story to tell. The script is quite complicated. And even more complex is the screenplay. But a music director has achieved the impossible with aplomb. Hats off to Vishal Bhardwaj. Devgan’s forte is intense role. And having got a tailor-made role he does it to perfection. But the real treat is Iago – Langda Tyagi by Saif. In early 90s people used to talk about Khan trio – the bare-chested one never anywhere close to the other two when it came to acting. Saif however, now can claim to have completed the acting triangle of Khans. He is come of age and proves that his national award wasn’t a fluke.

Moving over to the other Khan – The Bollywood Badshah. His was the only character that was sketched properly. And what he managed to offer was one of his worst performances till date. In the entire movie he appears to be not interested in acting. He just comes, blabbers loudly & nonsensically and moves on for there is no reasoning for the way the other three characters behave. This despite of the movie being longer than 3 hours. Karan Johar still lives in 90s when Indians used to go gaga over huge castles & sprawling lawns. He doesn’t know that they are found in every other movie. The very opening shot of Ms Mukherjee in her full wedding attire sitting all alone on a solitary bench far away from her house where sangeet is going on, defies any logic. It is followed by SRK & Ms Mukherjee going away from each other turning back alternatively to see each other & blushing – am transported to Anil Kapoor & Sridevi times – please give me a break. Mitwa is a good example of how a nice song can be picturized in an equally bad measure. Very pathetic visualization and cinematography. Sr Bachchan rocks and again proves that he is an institution of acting. Interestingly, nothing would have been robbed off the story even if he wasn’t there at all.

I have always believed that movie-making is an art first and business later. Johar’s turning this notion upside down. The movie is such a callous waste of time & money. And Johar finds himself ensconced in the third category – that of bad artists. Being artist, nevertheless, it’s saddening to see his talent go waste.