Archive for April, 2009

Kareena’s 36-hour ‘work’athon!

News papers yesterday were splashed with news of Kareena Kapoor’s non-stop shooting schedule for 36 continuous hours!!!

Guys, this is election time. Are u so starved of news to carry this ridiculous piece?? Sanjay Dutt’s Jappis and pappies; as well as Modi’s budhiya and gudiya are much more interesting….

And Kareena, we don’t consider wearing 15 hrs of makeup, practicing the perfect pout for 6 hrs, talking to Saif in b’twn for 5 hrs, and travel time between different locations of close to 10 hrs, all for 5 min naach – gaana in each movie as work!!! Period.

The Drama King

Posted: April 29, 2009 in Indian Politics

Muthuvel Karunanidhi all of 85 years, is a wily old fox. He is a 5 time CM of Tamil Nadu, and a winner of every election he has fought in his political career spanning 60 years. He has achieved everything possible at the state-level in the course of his long political career.

MK was also a well known dramatist and film script-writer before he entered politics. Although I haven’t seen any of his works, I have heard from a few old timers that MK was quite a master of his trade. I have seen this one particular scene in the movie Parasakthi in which Sivaji Ganesan impressively delivers a famous dialogue penned by MK. However, my 1st experience of MK the dramatist was at the time of his arrest by JJ on corruption charges in 2001. MK with the help of Murosoli Maran and his son’s TV channel – Sun TV brilliantly stage-managed his arrest in the early hours of the day, capturing the arrest on live television. MK played the role of a suffering old man to the T. This stage-managed drama instantly earned MK, tremendous sympathy and portrayed his arch rival JJ as a vindictive and cruel lady. The public fell for MK’s drama like suckers.

This incident in 2001 happened when I was in school. I was glued to the TV the entire day as the JJ Govt declared a holiday for the schools fearing riots. It was gripping stuff as Sun TV played the arrest clips over and over in various angles. The clincher was MK himself, as he cries aloud that the police arresting him are trying to man-handle and kill him. It was my 1st experience of “reality” television. Similarly, MK has always been a step ahead of his rivals, having several tricks up this sleeve to outwit his opposition. The public invariably fell for his tricks each time. If nothing works, MK could always stage manage a big drama with the help of Sun TV and Kalaignar TV’s world-class production capabilities.

Like several times in his career, MK faced a severe challenge this elections. Madam JJ had cobbled up a strong coalition against him and he only had the limp Congress in his severely weakened team. All his old friends, including the turn coat Dr. Ramadoss had deserted him on the eve of the elections. MK’s health also started worsening, while his successors in the family did not have his authority or cunningness to run the party which has several power centers. Heir apparent Stalin was still not ready to command the troops, while Azhagiri’s writ ran only in Madurai. It is at this inopportune time, when his party was in disarray and allies mired in their own petty in-fighting that the Srilankan Tamil issue threatened to topple MK’s Lok Sabha election plans.

MK had wielded considerable power and influence in the out-going Lok Sabha. His rainbow coalition swept all 40 seats in TN and made MK one of the king-makers of the UPA Govt. However, similar plans for up-coming elections was in serious danger of being derailed by the wide spread uproar in certain circles over the TN and the UPA Govt’s in-action when Srilankan Tamils were being killed, caught in the cross-fire between the Lankan army and the LTTE. This charge was particularly damning for MK who saw himself as a protector of Tamil pride.

As the crisis in Srilanka worsened by the day, JJ spewed vitriol in her campaign trail, accusing MK of betraying the Tamil population in Srilanka. Her allies PMK, MDMK as well as fringe players like Nedumaran also did their bit to stoke the raging fire. Seeing things getting out of control, as a last throw of dice, MK played his final drama card on Monday, April 27th. The early morning fast was intended to force the Indian Govt to apply pressure on the Lankan Govt, to call a ceasefire as well as to earn public sympathy for MK.

However, things didn’t go according to plan.

The fast had to be short one due to MK’s health condition. Under severe time constraints, an under pressure Indian Govt got the Lankan Govt to issue a long and confusing statement, which it conveniently interpreted as a ceasefire, not withstanding categorical denials to the effect by the Lankan Govt. A satisfied MK called off his fast within half a day after setting up his bed by the Marina beach. However, the entire exercise was so farcical that even DMK sympathizers were hard pressed to defend his actions. The fast drama was condemned and ridiculed in equal measure in political and media circles.

I for one was extremely disappointed by the way MK’s latest dram turned out. I had really high expectations, hoping for a repeat of 2001 and for another griping saga on television. Probably age has finally caught up with the wily old fox. The scripting of this latest drama was really weak and the action came to a hasty conclusion even before the news of the drama reached enough people. However, it would be fool hardy to write the obituary of one of the most cunning politicians, India has ever produced. Even as I write this, I am sure MK is huddled in discussions with his large extended family, plotting his come back.

Come on MK!! Can you script another drama to remember you by? For old time’s sake …….

Tom, Dick and Harry for PM!!

Posted: April 26, 2009 in Indian Politics
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I was having dinner yesterday with a few of my old buddies. One of the heated discussions we had was on the on-going elections. Everyone agreed that the results will be too close to call. But nobody wanted the 3rd front to win, especially Mayawati. One of my friends even said that if god forbid, Mayawati becomes India’s PM then we could go back to the dark ages. Yeah, those were his exact words.

This set me thinking. Why can’t Mayawati aspire to be the next PM? She is the messiah of her followers who adore her. She has won several elections in the past. Isn’t her rise from obscurity against all odds a truly inspiring story? She also rules the most populous state in India. Doesn’t this count for nothing? She is only 53 and much younger than the other PM aspirants of other parties. If people like Deve Gowda can be the PM, why can’t Mayawati get her chance too??

In fact, looking at the way Manmohan Singh sleep walked through the prime ministership the last 5 years, anybody can be the next PM. Mr. Singh took orders from 10 Janpath, and through this subservience, devalued the office of PM. He did nothing of note as PM other than the Indo-US nuclear deal. Pranab Mukherjee ran the Govt and the coalition without getting any credit. Sonia Gandhi, after her grand renunciation, chose to use a puppet to run the Indian Govt, and boy did she succeed. At least Rabri Devi got to be the queen at Laloo’s home during the time she was Bihar’s proxy CM. Mr. Singh was never the King!!!

After the 26/11 attacks, when the country was looking for strong leadership, Mr. Singh came on TV and read out a thoroughly lackluster speech. When he got admitted to the hospital, nobody in the govt missed him even a bit. It was as though he was never there all along!! Today, Mr. Singh gets worked up when the BJP call him a weak PM. He says he is hurt by such comments. Yes Mr. Singh. The truth does hurt sometimes!!!

Mr. Singh has never fought and won any elections in his entire life. The only time he even dared to stand in an election in Delhi, he was routed by the BJP. How can somebody who has never won any elections be the head of our parliamentary democracy? He is not contesting this election too, apparently on medical grounds. If he is not medically fit to contest the elections, how is he fit to rule the country? The truth Mr. Singh is that, you are warming the chair for King Rahul. I am appalled that an honorable man like you has agreed to this farcical exercise.

The point I am trying to make here is that the PM doesn’t matter in the Indian Govt. The day to day running of the Govt is anyways done by the Babu’s. Life goes on irrespective of the nature of the Govt at the cente. Surely, Mayawati as PM cannot do worse than Mr. Singh. Her Home minister can definitely do better than the incompetent Sivaraj Patil. Does anybody want Chidambaram to be the next finance minister? At least Mayawati as PM, would fulfill the dream of the Dalit population. Who cares even if she does worse? We will adjust to life with Matawati as PM and life will go on just fine. The same for any other tom, dick or harry who goes on to become the PM.

After all, aren’t we masters of the “Chalta Hai” attitude!!

The IPL Tamasha

Posted: April 25, 2009 in Cricket
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When the IPL started last year, I was instantly hooked. For 45 days, IPL was part of my daily routine. I also got myself a season ticket at MAC and even managed to catch 5 matches at the stadium. So when IPL2 commenced this year, I was eagerly looking forward to it. However the first week was a complete damp squib. It was probably due to the tournament being hosted by South Africa. Probably it was the rains or perhaps the fatigue factor. Whatever it was, I was no longer a fan.

So, I sat down and analyzed what had changed over the last year. I realized that nothing much has changed except that IPL has lost all its initial charm. Everything that worked for it last year is now a big pain in the ***. IPL’s unabashed commercial nature can easily get on the nerve of a true fan of the game. Despite its stated aim of being cricket’s version of the EPL / NBA, the game has taken a complete back seat this season. The organizers are trying to flog the hen that lays the golden egg.

So here is a list of things about the IPL that gets on my nerve…

1) Lalit Modi – Dude, get a life. Stop hobnobbing with film stars and business tycoons and start watching the matches at home or from your hotel room. We can’t stand the sight of you, let alone watch you a minimum of 10 times each day. The same goes to you too Mr. IS Bindra.

2) Celebrity team owners – SRK, Preity, Shipa, and the rest of the gang. Pls learn from the team owners from other sports. Take a back seat and let ur team play. U don’t have to jump up and down every match to show ur presence. Ur team will not miss u one bit.

  • SRK – Can u stop blowing kisses to the crowd and start acting for a change? Stop giving inane interviews on everything under the sun. U don’t need to have an opinion on everything in the world. It’s good that KKR have not won anything of note this year. We can’t stand the sight of ur cronies like Arjun Rampal celebrating with u.
  • Preity – Stop waving ur team flag!! Nobody recognizes it. For more, pls refer my comments on SRK.
  • Shilpa – Pls learn the rules of the game and wipe that grin of ur face!!!

3) DLF Maximums & Citi moments of success – The poor commentators have been instructed to use the DLF name on air, as much as possible. So every time a six is hit we are treated to several versions of DLF maximum. Some popular ones are “That didn’t register on the DLF scale”, “That had DLF written all over it!”, “That’s the first time he has been DLFed!”, “That’s a DLFer!” etc., Need I say anything more??? And don’t even get me started on “Citi moments of success”.

4) The Trophy – It’s a garish looking ugly trophy. So, please don’t show it over and over each match.

5) Strategy Break – This is a commercial innovation that is virtually killing the game. T20 is supposed to be fast and full of action. Modi’s innovation to make more bucks is totally killing all excitement that starts building in a game.

6) Commentators – It pains me to see the former greats of the game stoop to such levels to further the IPL’s greed. Please stop using these nonsensical adjectives over and over. We know players like Flintoff, Hayden etc., have big hands. Buckets if you will. We don’t need to be told some 10 times during a match. You also don’t need to keep saying that the stadium if full. We can see the empty spaces on TV!!!

7) Mandira Bedi & her Extra Innings crew – You guys are really boring!!! Pls watch John Dykes and his gang in ESPN Star’s Saturday EPL coverage and learn.

8) Sponsers – All sponsers get thanked every half an hour. The team jerseys are full of sponser tags of Companies I have never heard of!!

However, despite all these and many other drawbacks, I will continue to watch the IPL. The quality of the cricket is still very high. You can also get the joy of watching Shane Warne play again, cajoling the youngsters in his team to perform out of their skin.

So, Mr. Modi & Co, can you guys pls step back and let the game go on???