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My Sachin Tendulkar Story

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Introduction to You

I was just 8 years old when you were battling Wasim, Waqar, Imran and company with a bleeding nose in 1989.  It was only since the 1992 World Cup that I started to understand and follow cricket. I was initially attracted to the English team, Jhonty Rhodes’ dismissal of Inzamam and Ajay Jadeja’s catch of Allan Border, but my uncles used to hype about you.

But it was the 1994 NewZealand innings that actually made a long lasting impression on me and made me follow you religiously. I still remember, it was our school annual day and we had to go early to rehearse a drama and a bhangra dance number. All we got there was about 1 hour discussion on your innings. It was from then on that you became part of my life.

Sharjah, early 1990s: Your firm defensive push off a Wasim Akram delively bounces off the pitch and goes straight over his head for four. That shot still continues to amaze me but I cannot find that on YouTube now.

Glorious Years (1994-early 2000s)

Those were the years when the team's fortunes hinged largely on your performance. It was always between India's Sachin Tendulkar Vs the opposition. 


It was the 1996 world cup and my X class exams. It was prestigious to score big in board exams those days. I was down when your innings against Australia and Sri Lanka went in vain, though felt happy that you scored runs. I was completely gutted by the semi-final debacle, and couldn’t write my science exam properly. Yet I was happy that you were the top run scorer of the series.

The 1998 Sharjah Sandstorm:  It was your best phase and I still remember calling friends numerous times for the updates as our locality had a long power cut. Though wasn’t able to watch the epic match live, I must have watched it numerous times on YouTube and TV.

It is after the 1998 Sharjah innings that I decided that if I had a boy child I would name him Sachin.

2003 World Cup vs Pakistan

You were reminiscent of the 1998 vintage Tendulkar on that Shivratri ODI. Our friends didn’t move an inch from our places while you were batting.  We went back to our homes as soon as you got out. It was only after Dravid and Yuvraj got India past 220 that I started watching it again. Then, it was a long wait for the next day newspapers to read how they had described your innings.

Watching You Live

I was in the stadium cheering you during the two memorable ODI innings of 186* and 175, two IPL matches, and a test match, where it was limited to a practice session. Watching those two breath-taking innings was something I would never forget. During the IPL matches, the whole stadium would support you and once you were gone, Mumbai Indians would become an alien team. Quite an experience it was!

Proud that I too cheered Sachiiiiiiiiiiiin Sachin!

Why Only You Matter

I worship movie actors, watch their movies on the first day and debate about them even now. But I know they are completely different people off-screen, involved in politics, chasing records and live in a surreal world like most of us. But you were real. Your game was a true reflection of your personality. 

You did not skip practice sessions, come late to team events or to the toss, remove your shirt or tamper the ball, indulge in fixing, ditch your wife or have multiple affairs, and the list goes on.

Most of the critics do not understand (and still continue to mindlessly debate) that it was your passion for the game that made you play such a long innings but not the desire for money or records.

You never hesitated to play second fiddle to youngsters and in fact played a fatherly role. It’s very tough not to get carried away when someone like Sehwag is batting at the other end. But you ran runs for him and ensured that others played freely. You know how to bat with a Dravid and a Sehwag. A perfect man to be in the team!

2011 World Cup

During the 2011 world cup, I prayed for the Indian victory primarily for you as others had age on their side to play the next world cup. I didn’t do that in 2003 as I thought India, especially with you in tremendous form, had the momentum to beat Australia. But we went on to lose it miserably.

This time I didn’t want to take any chance and hence resorted to votive offering. I did 108 rounds (Parikramas) in the local Hanuman mandir after India’s win against Pakistan in the semi-final. I planned a similar activity for the finals as well. But with 32-2 and target to achieve being 275, I increased the number to 4 (4 installments of 108 rounds @ 1time per week).  I switched off the tv and went out to roam on the streets listening to the roars coming out of houses. Mission accomplished and you have a world cup victory.

Naming My Son

I named my son Agasthya Sachin Mylavarapu in January 2012. I had to cut Sai Baba’s name to accommodate yours and to fulfill the superstition of having 8 names. It didn’t go well with my wife’s brother, but I never cared about it.

Complaints

While you reserved your best for the prime bowlers, it was very frustrating and insulting whenever you got out to fringe bowlers. May be it is to do with your tendency to respect every cricketer that worked against you. Would have loved had you battered Fannie De Villers as you did Henry Olanga in Sharjah, and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal. Otherwise no complaints on your fabulous career. 

Retirement

I reduced following cricket after the 2011 world cup to get used to seeing cricket without you. But, started following you more and more since the day you announced your ODI retirement for the fear of not seeing you again. Hence watched the IPL, which I wanted you to win, then the Champions League and ofcourse the Ranji match vs Haryana which you went on to win it for your team. I keenly followed it on Cricinfo and watched some strokes on the Internet as you made it bigger than India vs Australia ODI matches that were going on.

FINAL TEST

On the first day of the 200th test, I was at my friend’s place as both of us were on leave that day. We watched your innings on Day 1 and were truly blown away by the cover drive you played and of course Sunil Gavaskar’s beautiful description of the aesthetics. I couldn’t sleep well on that night as you would resume your innings the next day.  I even tweeted “Reason to live another day. Sachin will resume his innings tomorrow. Got up early and was ready to watch you bat again for the last time, given the opposition’s ability. I was confident of a century as soon as you reached 50 but 74 was not a bad score either.

And finally, as always, I switched off the television as soon as you got out and disappeared into the dressing room and never bothered to check the final score that day nor the presentation the day after.   

Million thanks to the BCCI for arranging a fitting farewell. I didn’t watch it live as I knew I would become emotional. Watched the full coverage the next day but the end result was same.

You have left the cricketing world on a high with a lot of memories and footages, which I regularly watch.

Thanks and good bye the greatest batsman and a wonderful cricketer!

PS: Please bear with the typos or any grammatical mistakes in this piece as it was written pretty quickly and not proofread.



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Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap - Some thoughts (Rating -3/5)

Sunday, July 10, 2011
I bet none of the current generation of Hindi film directors, who are besotted with the Hollywood style of film making, would have made such a film. It took Puri Jagannadh, a Telugu action film maker, to pay tribute to the legendary Amitabh Bachchan via Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap.

After watching Sallu bhai's Wanted ( a remake of Puri's Super hit Pokiri), I thought Puri made a big mistake of not remaking it himself in Hindi. Wanted is not even half of Puri's Pokiri. Prabhu Deva, who directed the Tamil version (Pokkiri with Vijay), made a mockery of the original in both the languages. 

Puri has redefined hero and heroism in Telugu cinema. His heroes are not good Samaritans. They are raw, powerful, witty, straightforward, irresponsible and happy-go-lucky.  Puri ensures that they are elevated to the maximum extent possible in every scene, be it Ravi Teja in Idiot or Mahesh in Pokiri or Prabhas in Bujjigadu. This has garnered him a huge loyal fan base. Irrespective of the film's fate, the hero's character gets etched in your memory for a long time.

Now if someone like him has Amitabh Bachchan as the protagonist, you (knowing what Amitabh can do) would settle for nothing less than a Pokiri. Puri has chosen the right script, though a wafer-thin plot, to showcase the baap of all in BHTB. The first half has nothing much except a couple of incoherent scenes, celebrating the Amitabh classics and building up the character for the actual dhamaka.

It's the second half that takes the cake. Amitabh goes berserk in the second half with his style, voice modulation, gun firing and dressing and shows everyone who the asli baap is. Every scene is worth watching again and again. This shows it's not enough if you have the right story, screenplay and dialogs unless you have the right actor who can take the scenes to new level. And Amitabh actually takes the movie to Himalayan heights with his impeccable histrionics.

I would not say this is a great film, but definitely a treat to all the Amitabh fans. This is not just a tribute but a nice way to say  'we love you' to the man who has entertained us relentlessly for the last four decades.

My favorite dialogs (please bear with my Hindi), all have Puri's stamp on them.

1. Mein marunga tho bullet se hi marunga, bp sugar se nahi.
2. Hum jaha khade hojathe hai, line wahi se shuru hoti hai
3. Soda mein coffee, tea acha nahi lagthi
4. Sar pe bullet marne se ek ched hojatha, agar us ched me aur ek bullet gaya tho samajhna woh Vijju ka hai. 
5. Heart attack sirf mard ko hoti hai kyu ki hamare paas dil hai.
6. Yeh umar bullet aur bomb ki nahi bhakti channel dekhne ki hai (Hema Malini to AB) and more.


PS:  With all the current generation heroes vying with each other to cater to the niche multiplex audience, the masses are starved of such films. Hence you have Ghajini, Wanted and Dabangg breaking the box-office records.





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The Cup of Joy

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Indian Cricket Team will now be addressed as ‘The World Champions’ every time they play a One Day International. I, along with other 1.2 billion Indians, can proudly claim of witnessing the epic event. Lucky are the people who screamed and cheered the team from the stands of Mumbai’s Wankhade Stadium.


Why is this so special?

The final game was not won because of Sachin Tendulkar. But it was won for Sachin Tendulkar by his young colleagues, some of whom were in nappies when he started playing for India. The God of Cricket has a World Cup win to his credit, an achievement that had eluded him for 21 years. A number of people might say Sachin failed to perform when it mattered, but any sane person would understand what he brings to the team. Gambhir, Kohli, Dhoni and Yuvraj did it with minimum fuss after Sachin and Sehwag, who we look up to during such big matches, got out cheaply. To chase 275 from 31-2, after the bowlers were hammered by the Sri Lankans, is a sign of a world-class team. Great innings from Dhoni and it reminded me of Steve Waugh’s innings against South Africa during the 1999 World Cup.

What does this mean?

A. The Indian team apart from becoming more famous has revived the interest in One Day Cricket, which has started to lose its sheen after the advent of T20 Cricket, especially the IPL.

B. It has dismantled Australia from the top and has given a new world champion.

C. It has given a billion people of a country, who are disgusted with numerous political scams, rising inflation and rampant corruption, a strong reason to jump in joy and indulge in unlimited celebrations.

D. Importantly, the win states that Indian cricket is in safe hands of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar can say good bye to One Day Cricket, peacefully (of course, I don’t want him to bid adieu any sooner).

Why India won? Apart from the players’ abilities, it’s the wishes, superstitions, prayers and hell lot of other forms of support that played a crucial role in this victory. For me, it all started when India were set to play the Australians in the Quarter Finals. Intensity grew with that victory and the match against Pakistan took temperatures to the maximum.

What I did? Bribed God — 108 rounds (Parikramas) around the local Hanuman temple if India wins against Pakistan. India won it and I finished the first installment on Saturday ahead of the finals against Sri Lanka. Same activity planned for the finals as well. But with 32-2 and target to achieve being 275, the number increased to 4 (4 installments of 108 rounds @ 1time per week). Now tell me with mahabhakts like me around why will India lose?

Now I can go and have my hair cut, give some attention to my family members, and of course, do some work during the office hours.

By the way, this is my 200th post. I have been waiting to post something special as part of celebrating that. What can be more special than this? Thank you Dhoni & Co.
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Bihar Wakes Up

Friday, November 26, 2010
I was feeling a bit tensed when counting began in Bihar, but it was short-lived as Nitish Kumar and company thrashed Lalu Prasad and others.

It was as good as a clean sweep. Nitish Kumar's victory was a powerful lesson to the caste-based politicians and a sign of things to happen in Bihar. Importantly, it sent a positive and a strong message to the rest of India that people of Bihar are in for some serious business. They didn't want to put brakes on the change that's started to happen half a decade ago when Nitish Kumar first came to power.

As for Congress, Rahul's magic failed to work. I don't believe that Rahul has the charisma to attract masses. He belongs to the class of Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan and would make a decent actor in Hindi cinema.

Nitish’s landslide victory is a deathblow to the political careers of Laloo Prasad and his disgraced wife Rabri Devi. I think they should take political sanyaas and start a baby care center or a dairy parlor and allow Bihar to prosper under Nitish.

This victory is a shot in the arm for BJP, which is struggling to find the right balance nationally. The party's strategy seems to be to take it one by one, first Gujarat and now second time in Bihar.

On the otherhand, Nitish should take a cue from Nara Chandra Babu Naidu, former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh who was routed after his second term, and ensure that his quest for a developed Bihar doesn't get halted after the second term.
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Khaleja – Movie Review

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mahesh Unleashed (Rating 3.5/5)


This review will be quite a contrast to the reviews on a majority of the websites.

First, the movie is strictly for intelligent audience and hence the film opened to a divide talk. The director (Trivikram) assumed his audience are matured enough to grasp his intent - divinity lies within everyone and whoever reaches out to the needy is God – and never bothered to explain it.

Second, it’s an out and out Mahesh film. The prince of Telugu cinema ignites the screen after three years and he looks fresh, energetic, rejuvenated and extremely stylish. He totally moves away from his Okkadu, Athadu and Pokiri image and comes up with a scintillating performance. Anushka looked gorgeous but paled in front of Mahesh’s charisma.

Coming to the movie, people are sure to get reminded of Magadheera for the relationship between the nature and the protagonist, but the comparison ends there. The movie starts brilliantly with superb visuals of a distressed village. Enter Mahesh, the whole look and feel of the movie turns trendy, and immediately begins the laugh riot that runs non-stop until the interval bang. The fight preceding interval, which is choreographed superbly with some breath-taking visuals, gives the necessary impetus and helps in building expectations about the rest of the movie. The songs in the first half are shot brilliantly, especially Piliche.

The second half is like an acid test for any director and Trivikram succeeds to a great extent. A couple of scenes make you stand up and applaud his cerebration. It requires guts and lot of self-belief to take up such a storyline where the protagonist is equated to God. Kudos to Trivikram for the attempt and this reminds me of another Mahesh movie which has lot of divine quotient, Murari - I am dying to write my thoughts on this movie, probably in two parts. Trivikram excells in the comedy and business aspects individually, but loses his way a bit while interspersing comedy in the second half due to which the mood of the film fluctuates frequently. If not for the commercial pressure involved, the second half would have been more serious and crisp.

Mani Sharma gives a stunning background score and proves why he is one of the top-rated background music composers in India. Fights are stylish with limited use of graphics and DI for the movie is superb. Trivikram’s dialogs are not in the same league as Athadu, Jalsa, and Nuvve Nuvve, nevertheless they are effective. A tighter second half could have appeased the first day fans.

My picks:

1.     Sunil and Mahesh meeting

2.     Mahesh’s meetings with Anushka and the ensuing scenes at the garage

3.     Shafi’s characterization

4.     Mahesh’s acting during the whole of God episode

5.     Climax where focus is more on Prakash Raj and the count remaining 534.

PS: It’s gratifying watching Mahesh shoulder the film. What Khushi was for Pawan Kalyan, Khaleja is for Mahesh.
The movie title is not apt.
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Robot - A giant leap technically

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Movie Review - (Rating -3.5/5)

To all people who are ignorant of the technical brilliance, strength and box-office stamina of South Indian movies, Rajini’s Robo is the answer.

All credit goes to Shankar for his imagination and near perfect execution. Robot is arguably India’s Avatar and Shankar India’s James Cameroon. With never seen before special effects (animatronics), which of course cannot be truly termed international, but certainly a giant leap as far as Indian cinema is concerned, Robot leaves you spellbound for most part of the 3-hour visual extravaganza.

The best part of the movie is it goes straight to the point. It is all about a robot and the director never deviates from it. Unlike his previous flick Sivaji, Shankar refrains from forced comedy and focuses more on showcasing Robot’s abilities and reflexes. As the robot too is Rajinikanth, it's more like good Rajini vs bad Rajini. This also lessened dependency on animatronics and gives you feel of Shankar's Jeans or other movies where the hero plays dual role. That's brilliance for you. But this brilliance slowly fades away toward the end as he overuses/misuses the technology, making it an average flick for the multiplex audience.

True to his superstar tag, Rajinikanth is the movie’s strength. Rajini is super cool as scientist and robot. Rajini’s action as corrupted robot is a treat to watch. Shah Rukh Khan and Kamal Hassan, who rejected the project, are sure to regret now. The only complaint is Rajini’s dances, which are really disappointing, especially in the song Kilimanjaro. But Aishwarya Rai seems to have reserved her best dance moves for Robot. She is gorgeous and her dance movements in I Robo and Kilimanjaro are amazing. She brings grace, grandeur and completeness to this high-budget movie.

A R Rahman’s music is of international standards in the first half, but becomes unbearable in the latter part of second half. It’s too loud and the background score during the action sequences seems disconnected.

The climax could have been made interesting rather than going berserk with hundreds of robots forming different physical structures. The director could have taken a cue from The Lost World Jurassic Park on how to derive maximum impact from an alien character in a movie. The scenes where the dinosaur creates havoc in the city were so carefully executed that the audience crave for more. But Shankar goes out of control and creates huge trouble for our senses. Despite the breathtaking visual effects, the climax is surely a punishment.

My top scenes:
1. Robot posing like goddess Durga during a tiff with local goons
2. Robot’s confrontation with his creator to win Aishwarya Rai
3. Corrupt robot recharging when electricity is switched off and the way it finds Rajinikanth (human) among hundred similar looking robots
4. The delivery scene before interval
5. Robot’s explanation of why God exists

Robot is not a must watch but I surely recommend just for Shankar's brilliant effort.
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