Will the real Sania Mirza please step out !

Another frustrating defeat for Sania Mirza. This is a continuation of her streak of losing out in the second round of all major tournaments.

I wonder what it is that gees the nation up so much about this young lady. I have seen tons of news stories about her on TV and read gazillion bytes written about her on the net. These mostly focus on her good looks, her attitude, the T-shirts she wears, the jewelery she wears, her Muslim background, how her father has coached her, which foreign coach she is working with…the works.

Surprisingly, in all of this, I haven’t read or watched a single piece analyzing her game, her strong points, her weaknesses. She is a mystery to most of us Indian sports fans. Its almost as if she is a black-box and you can never be sure what is going to turn out of it any given day. Perhaps if we spent some time understanding what it is that her game is made of, we could figure out how good she really is.

I feel she has a panache for finishing off points and can hardly resist a chance on her strong forehand. There is a lack of patience and a lack of the approach towards building each point. Given the fact that she does not have a super-booming serve and also the fact that she is of below average height and weight (in women’s tennis), she doesn’t have a lot going for her. She needs to be more like Justin Henin, trying to build each point up to its climax, trying to outwit and wrong foot the opponent, trying to make angles with available firepower.

But all of the above, I believe, is too simplistic. These news channels need to get an expert to give the viewers an idea of what is missing in her game so they understand the real Sania Mirza. There is no point in building up hype with each game she wins and then bringing her down when she loses. Its not fair to her, its not fair to us viewers.

Will the real Sania please step out !

Posted in Sports. 1 Comment »

Say no to Pratibha Patil as President !

Demand Answers

Hi Folks…putting this banner up to express solidarity with the rest of sane Indians who are saying no to this lady as our next president. If you would like to display this banner on your blogs too, you can pick it up from here .

Also read this nice piece by Amit Varma on why we don’t need this lady as our President.

I don’t know if this will make a difference…but anyways.

Aamir Khan’s blog..

I found this while going through my usual quota at India Uncut

Yes. You read that right : this is the Indian actor Aamir Khan and his blog we are talking about. Yes, his grammar and composition is low quality. Yes, it looks like he has never heard of a spell-check. However, I think these are the dangers of writing a blog without having enough time for doing it. (don’t think that is 100% acccurate though. I have all the time in the world and I write a lousy blog !)

The USP of the blog, though, is the true actor that it reveals to you. I have written here about acting and building characters, so this should help me make my point more clearly. Listen to him talk about constructing Bhuvan, the protagonist in Lagaan:

Creating Bhuvan was tricky because he is such an all round good guy. No weaknesses. Characters like this have a tendency to get boring. I began at his core. What is his strongest quality? What is the quality about him that stands out the most? Based on the script I felt it was his inner strength. He’s got tremendous courage, inner strength and resolve. How do I project that physically? I went for two imp body signals for this. One I kept my back ramrod straight at all times. I conciously avoided stooping or slumping my back. Two, I divided my body weight equally on both legs. Meaning, I avoided standing with my weight on one leg. So, feet shoulder lenght apart, weight evenly distributed on both legs, back straight and head held high, not too high (makes you look proud). Thats the clasic Bhuvan posture. Then his eyes are very steady. They hold your look if he is looking at you. He is not in a hurry to look away from your eyes. And when they do move they move very steadily. (Unlike Aakash from DCH whose eyes are constantly darting around. Akash is slouchy, neck jutting forward and twinkling eyes, always uyp to some mischief).

(Like I said, watch out for the grammar and spelling !)

He goes on in this post (and this is my personal favorite from his blog so far) to give us a glimpse at the real reason why so many of our “star directors” hesitate to work with him:

The one other physical aspect that Ahsu and I argued for very long was a moustache. Not a fake one. But a real one that I would grow. Ashu did not want it so I finally went with clean shaven, but consider this; it hasn’t rained for a year, last year it hardly rained, this year 2 months of the monsoon have passed and no signs of clouds. Water is a big issue and is potentially a VERY BIG issue… and Bhuvan shaves every day!!! The rest of the villagers should beat the shit out of him. Pani ke vaande hain aur tu sala roz shave kar raha hai. I felt Bhuvan first off all should have a moustache as any villager in a small village in 1983 in India would, then, because of lack of rain he should have a stubble at most times. Maybe he’ll shave on Janmmashthami or a few other imp occasions but by and large he’ll have a stubble.

The Vikram Bhatts and the Rajesh Roshans of our age cannot be bothered with such trivialities about building a character. They are too busy writing chocolate-faced super heroes and serial kissers !

This should be a fun blog to read, what say ?

Pratibha Patil, the nut case

Ouch…that post headline…I am sure to get my blog banned by Shiv Sena or the Congress…or someone…surely..

But read this…I couldn’t keep myself from posting this link here…

Besides the entertainment quotient, she’s also proving to be one spunky lady: I mean, if I ever heard voices in my head, I’d freak. Our putative president, however, doesn’t turn a hair; “I had a pleasant experience” is how she describes the sort of thing that mostly happens to you in the middle of a bad trip.

Read the full post if you can.

I believe this is the kind of president we deserve going by the way we have been behaving recently. I wonder if she will continue to hear voices in her head after she becomes president, though — maybe Sonia Gandhi’s, eh ? Naah…that was just a cheap shot from me. Sorry…

Notes on my favourite actors

Rajat Kapoor and Boman Irani are two of my favourite contemporary actors in Hindi cinema. I will elaborate.

You see, these are probably the actors who borrow from real life most while playing their characters — Baman Irani more so than Rajat Kapoor. In cinema, scripts are written to convey a story and to move the narration. And characters are an important part of this script. Without properly fletched out characters, the script becomes incoherent and without direction. The protagonists, the bit parts, each one of those characters (human or otherwise) need to be written with consistency. For example, if the scriptwriter sketches a character who is pessimistic, you cannot have this character buying lottery tickets at some point in the story — it takes away credibility from the character, and consequently from the story itself.

What about caricatures ? Unfortunately, Indian cinema is laced with caricatures: the superhero, the dumb comedian, the homely wife, the villainous mother-in-law … call them caricatures, call them cliches. They are withdrawn from real life. As such, the viewers find it difficult to identify with them. As a result, most of the burden for success is borne by the story and the so called “masala elements” in the movie. Very rarely do we find a film standing proudly on the shoulders of a well-etched character. For me, this is also one of the reasons why Indian cinema churns out movies with almost the same basic plot and practically the same narration.

This is where my favourite actors come out tops. I particularly like Baman Irani for his versatility. The estate agent he plays in “Khosla Ka Ghosla”, the middle-aged christian gentleman in “Honeymoon Travels”..these are characters that borrow heavily from real life. We have all, at some point in our lives, come across these gents in real life. That’s what makes us love them, hate them, feel disgust for them, pity them. Its the small things that give the character a life of its own. Of course some characters are written as caricatures and there is nothing wrong in that. But even with caricatures, great actors are able to bring in an iota of reality.

Scriptwriters write characters with their foundation in real life. They, then, exaggerate it to suit the narration. For example, you have a normal middle class, middle-aged man with two kids. To suit the story, you give the man a little more anger, a little more pessimism than usual. The challenge for the actors is to find that foundation and build on it. He or she has to ask why the character is angry or pessimistic.

I believe our “stars” do not spend enough time on such trivialities. And more often than not, they are playing super heroes (or villains) which makes them believe that they do not need to give the character a life in the real world. I hope for the day when our “stars” take that kind of time and do the homework. It is just not enough to spend time on building mannerisms (a la Hrithik Roshan in Koi Mil Gaya). I hope for the day when these otherwise gifted actors start using their brains and find that bridge that links their characters to ordinary human beings. That is when we will start seeing good entertaining cinema. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.

Posted in Movies. 1 Comment »

Notes on Sachin Tendulkar’s batting

Watching the Ind-SA ODI in Ireland and suddenly realized something. Tendulkar is having trouble reading the line of the ball.

He has been getting outside the line of the ball a lot lately. Wonder if that is the reason he is getting out bowled through the gate recently. Wonder why he would get outside the line, though. Maybe it is just laziness creeping in (you usually play outside the line when you are not leaning into the drive enough, not getting closer to the ball or not keeping your eyes on the ball). I also felt that he was trying to play the shot that fraction of a second earlier. That could explain why he is falling over the cover drive a lot more these days (a la Ricky Ponting).

What do my readers think, eh ?

Watch TCS

Linking here to a post that I came across recently…

I am more than amused by how people inside and outside the company react. Like they say, the grass is always greener on the other side, no ?