Review of the movie 2 States

2 States is another Chetan Bhagat written novel made into a film by the same name. It released this Friday and is indeed a film to watch. We saw it today to round off a hectic week-end of activities.

If you have read the novel and seen the movie, you would feel it is a perfect match to the novel. If you have not read the novel, before seeing the movie, you would end up reading the novel too.

Abhishek Verman must be credited with extremely good work of depicting the novel so well in the film. Section by section the film matches the book.

It is a story of 2 IIM-A graduates, who meet at IIM, fall in love and want to marry. But they come from 2 varying backgrounds of a Punjabi and a Tamil family. The whole plot involves what each do to get across this hurdle and end up getting married.

While the girl comes from a orthodox but still a better rounded family, the boy has a poor background at that. While that adds to the confusion too, some changes in heart towards the end, take the relation to a final formation.

Performance wise, both the hero Arjun Kapoor and heroine Alia Bhatt are very good. While Arjun Kapoor has few more films to his credit, my salutations to Alia Bhatt for accepting 2/3 so different and still doing so well. She played a kidnapped girl in Highway, this role in 2 States should get her more meaty roles in future.

The boys parents Ronit Roy and Amrita Singh are both very good. Same goes for the girl’s parents Shiv Subramaniam and Revathi. The special appearance as a disturbed character by Ronit Roy as a father is indeed a great one. Finally it is he who unknown to his side, goes over to the girl’s side when all had seemed lost, to set the matter right.

The cacophony caused by the family meets is all very well made. Even the Punjabi wedding where Alia goes as a guest to build up bridge with the boy’s side is very well done. Indeed the wedding dance song is a refreshing energetic pill.

On the overall musical score too, the film does very well. 

This is a good trend that has started making meaningful and entertaining films for the educated elites. With the multiplex culture very strong in the urban Indian areas a big force, it is this class who can ultimately jingle the coffer They also deserve the right entertainment.

I am not bemused to read some poor reviews on some papers and news channel sites. It is obviously not their cup of tea to review a good movie. They should keep themselves restricted to run-of-the-mill mindless movies.

http://youtu.be/6Qed1JL7KgE

Virendra Sehwag’s 300s twice around March 28-29 in 2 successive leap years of 2004 and 2008

This is not only special to me but all cricket fans around the world. An example of supreme command on batsmanship.

March 28-29 should be renamed as Virendra Sehwag Days.

March 28 2004, India played Pakistan at Multan. India was touring Pakistan after nearly 15 years. The last they had visited when Sachin Tendulkar had made his debut in Karachi November 1989. This time they had Virendra Sehwag, who was widely considered his clone.

India had terrible batting experiences in Pakistan in 1978 and 1982-83. Even in 1984-85, it was a poor one, but atleast India did not lose any tests. By 1989, it was neutral umpiring and India again came out not losing a test. Not losing a test was a point of satisfaction.

This day was different. Indian captain Dravid won the toss and we batted. Aakash Chopra and Sehwag, who had forged a good partnership in the previous series in Australia, opened again.

Chopra got off to a watchful start, but Sehwag was all over the Pakistan attack and the first 50 came in 18 overs. Sehwag had 41 off those runs. Sehwag completed his 50 in 60 balls, very good by test batting standards. India went to lunch at 104/0 in 29 overs, Sehwag already on 76. Saqlain Mushtaq was making his comeback to the Pakistan team after a long lay off. He had gone into religious ways, and almost denounced playing. He was introduced into the attack. He had a restricted first two overs but Sehwag took 15 runs off his third over, including 2 4s and a 6. Sehwag played a perfect slayer and Saqlain was specially treated harshly. Sehwag completed his 100 with a 6 off Shoaib Akhtar, India on 144/0 in the 35th over. Even as Chopra fell for 42 to Saqlain, India had reached 160/1. The Sehwag slaughter continued through the day and India ended at 356/2 at the end of the first day. He had reached his 200 with a brace off Abdul Razzaq in the 75th over, India on 296/2. Sachin gave him company at the end of day 1 with 60. He was fresh was a 241 and 60 no at Sydney in the last test against Australia at Sydney and was in great form.

Sehwag had already crossed many Indian batting landmarks and was looking good for more. Only one Indian VVS Laxman had crossed 250, a 281 at Kolkata against Australia 2001. India had its best day of batting ever overseas getting 350 in a day’s play in Pakistan off all places. This is what Indian batting dreams are made up of.

Next day Sachin kept Sehwag egging for more and complete a 300. He hit 3 4s in an over to cross Laxman’s landmark and was on 282 with India on 456/2. He celebrated it with a third successive 4. He duly completed his 300 with a 6 off Saqlain. First Indian ever to get a 300. March 29, 2004 became a historical day for Indian batting. He finally fell for 309 off just 375 balls, the Indian score at 509/3. It was the faster triple hundred in Test Cricket, if my memory serves me right. India scored 675/5 declared, Sachin an unbeaten 194, and India won that test. We are not dealing with that currently.

Saqlain had figures of 1-204 in 43 overs and was duly dropped. He never played Test Cricket for Pakistan ever again. The inventor of doosra was handed a choutha by this great Indian batsman in his own back yard.

The one man with such aggressive intent was the most likely to cross that pinnacle of 300 from among the Indians, with that hunger to play big innings in an aggressive manner. All accolades are too few for this man. The batsmen at the other end were mute spectators when he was in full swing. He could rattle the best of attacks as only he could.

4 years later, South Africa toured India and they played the first test in Chennai. The test started on March 26, 2008. South Africa made 540 towards the close of second day’s play. In just 21 over of batting, India had scored 82/0 and the main reason Sehwag was already on 52. Sehwag’s main contribution lay in fighting fire-with-fire. His amazing starts in face of a strong rival total has been his biggest contribution to Indian cricket. Even Sunny in his own generation with players around him had failed in this regard. The first 100 runs would itself cause all the troubles. But here the first 100-150 runs came as a walk in the park.

The next day, another March 28, 2008, 4 years later of the Multan test, was again Virendra Sehwag’s. He was 61 in the Indian score of 100/0 in 24 overs. He again crossed many batting records and landmarks and completed 300 in 278 balls with a single off Ntini. India 447/1. When had India in its history of Test Cricket ever challenged the rival score of 540 with 447/1 and the opener on 300. These were different days of Indian Cricket certainly. He was unbeaten on 309 at the close of the third day with the Indian score at 468/1. Dravid on 65 was a spectator to this all. He must have been having the time of his life watching Sehwag slaughter the bowling from the closest quarter.

The media and supporters were wild with excitement and expectations that Sehwag would reach a 400 the next day. With a single of Steyn the first ball, day 4, he reached 310 his career best. He was dismissed for 319 by Ntini made off just 304 balls. India reached 481/2 by then. The test match ended in a draw. But that anyway is not the topic of discussion again.

So twice in 2 leap years, Virendra Sehwag made these 2 dates March 28-29 his own by some supreme batting and crashed a lot of batting landmarks of Test Cricket. The least to say the Indian ones. I had remembered the Multan innings as his Chennai inning built along with the dates.

It was so incidental that by March 2012, Sehwag was completely out of form, and on his way out of Indian Cricket. We wish he plays some more, he still has age on his side, and one last batting form that would again get him another 4000 runs in the next 3-4 years period and take him to 12,000 runs, that he so richly deserves.

He also completed a 200 in ODIs against West Indies on 8-12-2011, only the second person to do it. He did it at Indore. The previous 200 by Sachin Tendulkar was at Gwalior, so the 200 in ODIs had again been scored in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. This record of venues was finally broken by Rohit Sharma as he scored 209 in Bangalore against Australians on 2-11-2013. But Sehwag’s record of 219 still stands intact as the highest score in ODI cricket.

Virendra Sehwag, we need you, the batting world needs you to come good one last time, before you decide to hang your boots …..

Some happy and sad World Cup memories for India with a personal touch

The month of March is not only a World Cup time. It is also a World Cup memory time.

March 24, 2011, India beat Australia in Ahmedabad in the World Cup 2011 Quarter final. I will not go too much into the details of the game. It is all toofresh in our minds. But there is a very important sidelight to it.

Australia won the toss, elected to bat. They made 260/6 with a 100 by Ponting and good supporting knocks by Watson Haddin and David Hussey. From India, Zaheer, Ashwin and Yuvaraj picked 2 wickets each. India chased it quite easily, with good start by Sachin, Sehwag and Gambhir backing it up well. At 187/5 in 37.3 overs, India walked on a bit of thin ice. But Yuvi and Raina hauled us out and we won. Yuvi made 57, Raina 34 and India reached home in a canter. Yuvi was the Man of the Match.

Now to the sidelights. India had not beaten Australia in a World Cup game since 22-10-1987 at Delhi in the 1987 World Cup game. So if they wanted to win the World Cup, the first thing they had to do that day is beat Australia in nearly 24 years in a World Cup game.

I had previewed that game here on the morning of the Quarter final game. It had been exactly 8554 days, 1222 weeks, 281 months or more broadly 23 years, 5 months. The last win was also on a Thursday 22nd October 1987, a Diwali day in India. 

India had started very well, and the top 4 of the 6 batsmen got 50s, a sort of records in ODIs those day, and made 289/6. Except Srikkanth and Kapil all key batters got a 50. Seldom would India do so well batting first, those days. Batting first would usually be taken as a losing day for India then. But today was different. It was a holiday and the whole country rejoiced.

Needing 290 to win, the Australian pair of Boon and Marsh started making light of the target and the first 80 runs came in a jiffy. It was back to heart-in-the-mouth situation for me. But then at 88, Marsh fell to Maninder Singh. Things changed around, the run rate choked a bit, and India regained some of the control back. Maninder with 3 wickets put the Aussies in trouble. Prabhakar and Shastri also chipped in with wickets. Kapil Dev, of all people was having a bad series here. He too picked up his first wicket of this World Cup, that of the ice-man Steven Waugh. But imagine the surprise. Kapil who at awkward times would threw the ball to Azhar, did it again today. Azhar scalped 3/19 with his donkey drop pace, and the Aussies were floored all over again, after the pasting in the morning. It turned out to be Azhar’s game. He had scored 54 not out in 45 balls, taken 3 wickets including a great caught and bowled to dismiss Mc Dermott. 

The whole country rejoiced again, as there was a pause when Boon and Marsh were taking the game away from India. These are one of those days, that makes Indian Cricket to be followed even during the worst of times. To me this is one of the most authentic wins by India in its ODI annals.

This win was important as India had lost the game against Australia at Madras on 9-10-87 by a run. India was the reigning champion. Later India had another facile win over New Zealand at Nagpur on 31-10-87. Sunny got his first ODI 100 and Chetan a hattrick, the first ever in ODIs, India topped the table. So they earned the right of playing England in the semi final at Bombay on 5-11-87. But that turned India’s waterloo as Gooch ‘Nelson’ swept around everything to set a challenging total. Then Defreitas removed Sunny in his last innings, and it was a very instable chase. Even as the runs came, I could always feel, some unholiness around. It happened as the Indian batsmen later perished to some wily bowling by Eddie Hemmings, late in the day, to lose the game by 35 runs. 

Thus ended India’s world cup reign in the 1980s, apart from crashing out of the World Cup 87.

Two incidents have gone a long way, in completely freezing myself, and feel India would do well again, just because they did well in the last game.

The 5 day gap between October 31, 1987 and 5th November 1987, the 5 day gap between the World Cup league and semi final stages.

The other 4 day gap between 9th March 96, India beating Pakistan in the 1996 Quarter final at Bangalore and 13th March 96, the semi final against Sri Lanka.

India lost both, even as the whole India including me had been celebrating the wins, through those days, and presuming the next game is already won. Those evenings of 5th November 87 and 13th March 96 has been so torturous for me. 

Once in a while I still get very cocky, but usually, am very circumspect as to would India really do well in the next game, even as India is doing well now. Another very torturous day was March 23, 2003. All through from March 20, I was aware that Australia would make a mincemeat of India as they have been doing to other oppositions. They had beaten us very badly on 15-02-03 too in the league phase and our players houses were burnt and attacked in India . Still once in a while in a moment of cockiness, a thought would emerge that ‘what if India really gets beyond Australia ….’. But then I would suppress those thoughts. Finally the morning of March 23, 2003 arrived, a Sunday, and I waited with bated breath. India won the toss put Australia to bat, a bit of a scare. But as the game started and Zaheer went for 15 runs in the first over, I was totally done in there. I knew India would lose. With a heavy heart saw the entire Aussies slaughter of the Indian bowling.

If at all there was any hopes still, it sank when Sachin was the first to go for 4. Then there was no return and with the same heavy heart of 5-11-87, I saw this game too and India losing. In the hindsight, it was good for India to lose, as we were no match for the Aussies. No one was. It was only India that would get to the Aussies solar orbit to challenge and get burnt off. The others were dealt more severely.

So lot of World Cup memories, both happy and sad. Enjoy. I am attaching the score card of the 1987 World Cup game India v Australia on the Diwali day.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/65105.html

India v Pakistan March 22, 1985 – A stunning win for India

22-03-1985. Does anyone remember this day from an India Pakistan cricket perspective. It is a huge day.

This day in Sharjah we beat them by 38 runs in the Rothmans Cup. So whats the big thing. The big thing is we had been bowled out for 125. One of the few matches in all ODI annals, where a team batting first has been bowled out for 125, and still they have managed a win by 38 runs.

India had just won the B&H WCC in Australia on 10-3-85 by beating Pakistan twice including the finals. Shastri had won the Champion of Champions.

Next in line was this series. So we were all pretty relaxed that this new series in Sharjah involving Pakistan again, and Australia and England for the first time in Sharjah, should not be a problem. India had beaten the other two teams also pretty comfortably in Australia. India and Pakistan had got a bye since they were no. 1 and 2 in WCC. So England Australia played a league match. The one who wins this match would play the winner of the other game ie India Pakistan and the winner would be decided. So it was a 2 match winning affair to win this Cup. It all looked easy.

But as it happens with Indian cricket, and we should be watchful ever with India. Every new game should be seen as a single entity irrespective of what happened in the last game, specially when they have won. Then I was young and did not realise this. So often got carried away. Now I don’t.

The shock started first ball as Imran removed Shastri first ball, out lbw. That was not all. Imran was on a rampage and wickets fell like 9 pins. The Indians were soon 34/5. Only Azhar who was in the form of his life got 47 and Kapil got 30, as Imran rested after his first burst. These two put on 46 runs for the 6th wicket. Imran came back in his second burst to take Madan Lal too. Azhar had small partnerships with Binny and Madan Lal also. Madan Lal scored 11, only the 3rd person to get into double figures that day. Imran took 6-14 in his 10 overs. Tauseef, the man who was going to torture India later in the Bangalore test 87, took 2-27 including that of Azhar and Kapil.

So well, Indian cricket was back to square one so to say. They say that the team just relaxed in the dressing room and did not think too much about the game. As they walked out to the field, Kapil told his men that lets give them a fight. It was a Friday, so it was a long lunch to accommodate the prayers.

Those days there were no field restrictions et all, so it started reasonably slowly for Pakistan. There was no pressure of the asking rate as just 126 runs were required for the win. First 5 overs would normally get you 10-15 runs. Something very similar happened here too. But with the score at 13, the first Pakistan wicket, a run out of a direct hit. Mohsin Khan got out. Oh well, were Indians good fielders then. Not quite but this particular time, the Indians fielded like tigers. A highlight of the 1983 WC win and the 1985 B&H WCC and Sharjah wins. 

Mudassar and Rameez settled down and runs started coming through. With the score at 35/1, things changed and soon Pakistanis were looking down the barrel. Mudassar fell to a brilliant catch by Sunny in the slip off Shastri for 18. Soon Miandad, Ashraf, and Imran too followed, and Pakistanis were 41/5. The reason was the Indian bowling was very tight and the fielding absolutely top class. They were really giving a fight to the Pakistanis that day.

Then Rameez with Salim Mallick settled down to play sedately and slowly moved up the score run by run. There was hardly any room to attack either ways. Again with the score at 74/5. Shastri struck getting Mallick caught by Sunny. Sunny was having a great day at the slips and he pouched 4 catches that day. So 74/6, and now things were really different. Rameez was still going on. Finally with the score at 85/6, he too fell. Again caught by Sunny off Kapil. 41 runs still required and just 3 tail end wickets left. Had India really done it. Wait.

No more surprises this day, as from 87-7, Pakistan were bowled out for 87. Tahir Naqqash, Manzoor Elahi and Tauseef all fell in a heap. Tauseef was bowled by Kapil, who after getting the wicket threw up his hands in elation of a great win, and the entire team huddled around him. India won this game by 38 runs and earned the right of playing Australia, who had beaten England. All bowlers got wickets but Kaps with 3-17 lead the show. The spin twins of Siva and Shastri took 2 wickets each. The Madan Lal Binny twin took a wicket each.

India always have this twins combination, like Sachin Dravid, Yuvi Raina, Bhuvi-Shami, Ashwin-Jadeja ……

India beat Australia too next Friday on 29-03-85, after a tight game where Sunny and Mohinder used their test experience to ward off the Aussies challenge. So one more Cup for the Indians. 

Here is where trouble started for India against Pakistan at Sharjah. This was the last laugh we had. After this for 6 years in Sharjah we could not beat them. We beat them here and there, but no successes in Sharjah till 18-11-91. Also remember the names, Javed Miandad, Manzoor Elahi, Salim Malick, Wasim Akram etc. They kept tormenting India various times to take the game away right from under Indian noses time and again. I will write a separate chapter later on Indian woes in Sharjah against Pakistan and those times in general in games around the world. After India won this game, the India Pakistan became a rage in World Cricket. Also then they clashed a lot in Sharjah on a regular basis from October 1985. With India losing most times, it was any celebration in Pakistan, and a part celebration in India too. It was also celebrated in UAE. Also widespread condemnation, India lacks the will to win etc etc. All dirt. 

If you read Sunny’s book on Indian win in the WCC at Australia, he writes in detail about OT. OT was for players over 30s. Some Indian selector had made a funny comment that India is losing with so many over thirty years players in the team. 

So all these OT players like Sunny, Mohinder, Madan Lal, Binny, Kirmani had coded a term OTs and addressed them likewise. So whenever any of these players got a success they would have an extra round of cheers amongst them and show their happiness for contributing to the team’s success.

If you remember India had a torrid time after the 1983 WC to sustain their World Cup status as a strong team. India kept losing a lot, and the WC win became a joke. You again saw the same thing happening when India won WC 2011 and what happened in the aftermath. But well, before you jump on the Indian team alone, let me state that other than the Windies of 70s, till WC 83, and the Australian team from 99-2010, no other team has managed to maintain the winning spree after their WC wins. Namely Pakistan and Sri Lanka. But anyways. I am saying this since we are always very harsh with the Indian team, and always tend to condemn them more than the others. Indian Cricket has its own problems with selections of captains, regional players etc which add to these troubles. These things are seldom noted.

Hope you liked it. Also share your memories about this game of 1985 if you had seen/followed the game.

March 17 – the day India collapsed in World Cup 2007

We assign a lot of importance to the dates March 14-15 in Indian Cricket. These dates in 2001, we turned around a test match at Kolkata against the mighty Australians. We not only broke their winning sequence of 16 tests, but we came back from way behind to win a test from near impossible stage after being followed on. This was just the third time it had happened. What is did to World Cricket, is after this Australia refuses follow-on to teams, whatever be the nature of opposition, pitch and time left in the game. Well enough of that now.

I want to assign the date March 17 as the date when ‘Indian Cricket collapsed under the blunder of its own making in the World Cup 2007’. This date in 2007, we not only lost to Bangladesh in a World Cup 2007 game in West Indies. We nearly closed our chances to enter into the knock out stage of the World Cup 2007. Not for the first time it was happening since 1975, as both the first 2 World Cups were most forgettable for India. Again in 1992 in Australia, we had crashed out without entering the knock out stages. But this was a little more special. India had finished runners-up in World Cup 2003. We had performed well in international cricket 2003-04. We then made some major changes. John Wright was replaced by Greg Chappell as the coach, at the end of his term, and Saurav Ganguly was removed as the captain in the favour of Rahul Dravid. I will not go into these details, as we know enough of it already and suffered.

While initially it looked a good ploy as India won 3 ODI series, 2 in India to Sri Lanka and England, and one to Pakistan in Pakistan. But soon the effects started to show up from May 2006. Till March 16, 2007, India had played 24 games winning just 8 of them. Of the 8 wins, 5 wins were against Sri Lanka and West Indies in India just before the World Cup. The other wins was a one-off win against WI in WI where they lost the other 4. A win against WI again in the Malaysia tri-series, where they lost the other games to Australia and one more to WI. A win against England in the ICC Champions Trophy in India. It was still a wasted effort as both teams performed badly in that game, except that India showed lesser inclination to lose than England.

But on the worse side was 4 straight defeats to WI in WI in May-2006. If that was any preparation in WI, a year before the World Cup, it anyway lay all in shambles. Then the defeats in Malaysia tri-series to Australia was almost without a fight. Then the 4 straight losses to South Africa in South Africa. In the last game Dravid took rest and Sehwag lead the team. But in a lost series, what could the replacement captain have done, to prevent the losses. So the portents for India not doing very well back again in West Indies were anyway poor.

I will not assign much importance to the wins against Sri Lanka and WI at home, as India’s weaknesses were all out in the open. Even against Sri Lanka, the one game that they lost on 11-2-2007, the Lankans had taken 16 runs off the last over bowled by Kumble. It must be recorded that Dravid had reserved the last over to be bowled by Kumble. Later India lost by just 5 runs. These 16 runs by Kumble were going to prove costly for him just before the do-or-die game against Sri Lanka on March 23, 2007. But anyways, the Indians broadly were ‘very hopeful that the team would do well’ that World Cup. But I was getting ready for a debacle.

My reasons stemmed from the fact that I had not seen any thing striking in Dravid’s captaincy. He was very laid back and relied more on conservative practices as a captain. So even once in a while we managed to gain some ascendancy in a game or even a series, we would lose that immediately at the next available opportunity. We had won the first test in South Africa in 2006, but managed to lose the next two tests without a fight and lose the series 2-1. We also lost the series in Pakistan 1-0 due to a very bad loss in the Karachi test which had started with a hat-trick by Irfan Pathan. But that was the last thing for India to cheer in that test match.

His captaincy in ODIs even as a replacement to Saurav Ganguly was nothing to talk about. If you remember Saurav would get penalised time and again by referees, and Dravid would come in as a replacement captain. In a 2002 ODI series against WI in India, in the last game at Vijaywada the West Indians were around 180 in 38 overs ended up with 315 runs in the next 12 overs. The reason, Murali Karthik was preserved to bowl in the last 10 overs. Well for batting, Indian batting collapsed and we had lost the game way easily. The point is ‘reserving last few overs for Murali Karthik to bowl’. We now how accomplished bowler he was. We also know, how he managed to get into the team always. But still, the captain had ‘lot of faith in him’. It talks of the faith of the captain. I am not even talking of what harm Chappell would have done to the Indian Cricket, since it was his wish and the mandarins of BCCI to plump for Dravid as a captain.

As India went to the World Cup, I was sure of the Indian debacle. I had kept an element of surprise aside that what this being the last World Cup where Kumble was going to play for India, would spring a surprise. His friend and statemate had after all got a place for him in the World Cup team. I was ready to be surprised but there was a bigger surprise in it for Kumble.

India’s first game was against Bangladesh on March 17, 2007 at Port of Spain, India’s favourite venue in WI historically. On a normal day, India should win 9.9/10 times against Bangladesh, so it was not perceived as a threat perhaps. But this was a different day, a different stage and a different occasion.

Port of Spain is in Surinam, an almost Indian country in WI. Sunny Gavaskar had scripted some fine performances there and India had some great tests in 1970s including a chase of 406/4 to beat the WI and set up a world record.

India won the toss, elected to bat. They were in for a surprise as runs were so difficult to come. First the pace bowlers and spinners made it difficult for India to score runs. India was 40/3 after 15 overs, Sehwag and Sachin both gone, other than Utthappa. As we all know, Indians were bowled out for 191, with only Saurav making 66 and Yuvaraj 47. They put 85 runs for the fifth wicket. Then the next 5 wickets collapsed for another 34 runs. Now these to me are the worst symptoms of a team under a poor captain. The ability to fight gets reduced and the batting becomes the worst victim to it. The Indian batting could collapse any time, but given the past one year,this was a repeat occasion and so frequently that the captaincy does come under a notice.

There was nothing much different as the Indian bowlers also seem to have an off-day. Tamim Iqbal took the Indian bowlers to the cleaners right from the start. He was supported well by by Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib ul Hasan. They also made 50s and made it an easy chase for them. Dravid had brought it Sehwag, when it was almost over. He took 2 wickets. Perhaps getting him early may have made some difference. But his decisions never looked planned. India presented the game to Bangladesh on a platter.

Now this World Cup had a different format. There were only 3 games in the league stage, so a team had to win 2 of the 3 games with a good net run rate to be in with a chance to qualify to the knock-out stages. So India had 2 more games against Bermuda and Sri Lanka and they should have won both with good margins to make it to the next stage. While Bangladesh had already beaten them, Sri Lanka was the next big and tough opposition to be beaten. When they were softened up by Bangladesh what were the chances they could have to beat them in another 6 days. People argued that India had just beaten Sri Lanka at home before the World Cup. But does the last game performance in our own area carry any hint to the next game. That again in a neutral environ outside India and Asia.

There were all sorts of funny calculation the Indians indulged in. But I had held my gun that India was well on its way out.

Same thing happened as predicted. Sri Lanka ended India’s pain in the World Cup by issuing no quarters to the ‘big brother’ of the region, and put the paddle on the guillotine. Just before the game, it was found that statistically Anil Kumble had proved very expensive against the Sri Lankans and was dropped for this game, and Harbhajan came in. Kumble had played the Bermuda game 4 days back and scalped 2 wickets. Thus ended his stint in the World Cup. He was retiring from ODIs after this.

Thus ended India’s campaign in the World Cup 2007. A lot of people still blame the World Cup 2007 schedule as the main reason of India’s exit. But given India’s defeat-struck path to the World Cup and their performances, there in, schedule and format could not be a reason for such a loss. There was a predictable commotion in India over this, everything from the coach to the team was blamed, but no where the captaincy was blamed. We have our strange ways. Chappell was packed off immediately. Dravid continued till September 2007, and tendered his resignation at the end of series defeat in ODI to England 4-3. We are still not sure that he stepped down on his own or Dilip Vengsarkar would have indicted him. At various stages, Vengsarkar as Chief of Selectors had shown his dissatisfaction to this leadership and more so his failure with the bat as a captain. The press had their inputs as they all crowded around Dravid’s house in Bangalore questioning his father for the reasons. It was not fair indeed, but thats how we Indians are. When the son does well, the mother has to hold the mike. Even when the son does not do well, the fathers are pestered with questions.

Thus ended a sordid chapter of Indian Cricket.

Compare and contrast the movies Queen and Highway with a view to the directions they portray for the society

Over the last 2 days, I have seen 2 movies, Queen and Highway. Both of them have almost similar plots to narrate.

In Queen the girl has been refused a marriage alliance 2 days before the wedding. The reasons are that the guy has changed a lot and will not be able to handle this relationship any more. She goes her way to a solo honeymoon, later refuses the boy, and leads a life of her own.

Highway has a more pathetic plot to narrate. The girl is kidnapped during a long drive with her fiance 4 days before the marriage. She is tortured initially, but later finds herself comfortable in the captivity, and leads a life of her own. When her parents force her back to her home for marriage, she walks out of her house back to where she wanted to be.

While Queen is an absolute personalised account of the girl and her ways of handling herself, Highway has a brush with the law as police chases the girl and her kidnapper and finally shoots down the kidnapper.

As I watched Highway, my thoughts meandered to as to what these two films were trying to portray. Are they saying that the girls can lead her own life outside marriage and do what they feel best. It is indeed right, no harm, rather than get caught in a meaningless relationship and then wail the whole life.

Times have changed, the society has gone more individualistic than a social unit. There are people who are doing things differently.

There are recorded cases in India where the female goes out to work and male stays back home tending to the kids and the house. There are cases where the parents have taken off their kids from the education by rote and training them on a specialised skill of a sport. The education continues as a private candidate in home environs. This is within marriage.

The couples not getting married but living in together is an old story even in India. Now there are laws too that tend to cases of harassment for live-in couples. They marry when they feel like, or split, move in with new partners.

I have gone through article in newspapers, which says that women folk doing well in corporate sector lead the life of a spinster. They have their own homes, live a free life with their friends both males and females on their own account.

Life has taught us that nothing is wrong if done within limits in a balanced way. People complain of losing their identities in a married life and lead a tapered life all through. What is the harm if they lead their own life their way, without disturbing the society. The increasing rate of divorces in India also makes it a point to look at this aspect.

All this has ramifications to the society, and one would require a more broad minded view of things rather than the traditional one.

This is not only for females, it applies to the males too …. every one has a claim to lead a life of his own choice. If within marriage, you could co-exist, it is fine. Or walk your own free ways …..

I would like people to share their opinion specially ladies, some of my good friends with liberated views, Lata, Shobha, Aparajita, Rma, Snehji , Rashmi, Ekta, and anyone who wants to share the views.

You could disagree to with it completely …..and let me know what you feel about it …..

Review of the movie Queen

What do you do when 2 days before your marriage, the boy/girl turns away from marriage saying that he/she has changed over ……

Cry despair over your fortune etc. But when the person in question is Rani Mehra from a conservative family in Rajouri, Delhi, in the movie Queen, it is different ….

Indeed she cries, her parents are also very upset, her granny tries to cheer her up. But then she picks herself up, talks and convinces her parents ….. then she does the unusual ….

She goes for the pre-planned honeymoon alone to her favourite location, Paris. Initially she finds herself alone but then meets up with people, through various chance meetings. She is questioned by police too, a person attempts robbery, but she is not one to step back …..

She meets Vijaylaxmi (Lisa Haydon) in the hotel, who has a mixed parentage but an Indian father. She helps her through initial days, and then sends her to Amsterdam. This was Vijay, the dropping out fiancee, favourite location. Vijay is played by Rajkummar Rao, who continues to excel with each performance.

She gets into various adjustments, even upto staying with boys in a shared dormitory. But they all become very good friends, as she is very quick to adjust. The boys in question from various countries are very good natured and realise her problems. There are other episodes too, but would be best to watch, rather than read the description here ….

Vijay is now guilty of his action and tries to patch up with her. He reaches Amsterdam, but she keeps avoiding his calls. Finally they meet, where he is very apologetic. But Rani does not seem to soften up …..

She returns back to India, heads directly to Vijay’s residence.. The mother is all happy making plans post-marriage. Vijay is also very happy. But she returns the engagement ring and walks out of the relationship a free bird. She has realised her true self and does not want to go back to a troubled past …..

Kangana has enacted the role of Rani so well. Rajkummar, as I said, continues to excel from Kaipo Chhe onwards ….. The father mother brother of Rani are all very lovely watch …..

I call such film a very matter of fact film. It looks as if you are watching a family around your neighbourhood. It requires exceptional level of direction that Vikas Bahl has very done it very well ….

This is indeed a great watch in the multiplex, the entire audience laughs with the joke ….

If you have watched Tanu Weds Manu, made by the same production house, Viacomm18, you would realise it …..

You will definitely not be disappointed, if you go to watch this. I was a little circumspect but seeing a lot of opinions, I went with my Queen to watch it …. both have not been disappointed, infact she was laughing so much through out ……

As I understood the tone of the movie, I was sending some messages around through the phone, and my friend coaxed me to leave it all and keep watching …..It was fun …..

Review of the movie Highway

Yesterday I asked a question, that what would one do when his/her fiance refused to marry 2 days before the marriage.

The question for the day is what will one do if she is kidnapped 4 days before the marriage …..

Cry, try running away, get beaten up and then cry again ….. a few may fight it out too ….

But when the person in question is Veera Tripathi, she adapts herself to that life ….. and end up finally leaving her family. Amazing, right. Thats what Imtiaz Ali tries to show in the movie Highway …..

Veera (Alia Bhatt) is getting married 4 days later. She is fed up with all the rasm-o-rivaz of an Indian marriage, calls up her fiance, and wants to go out on a long drive to get some time out in the open. The fiance aware of the ills of high profile children moving freely on the road in the middle of the night, he wants to rush back home early. But the girl ‘keeps wanting more ……’. Finally the guy had enough and he turns back. On the way back stops at a petrol bunk for some petrol. Alia is out in the open. The fiance wants her back in the car soon. Just during this, there are gun shots around, and Alia is picked up and lifted into the fiance’ car by some men. The fiance is captured and thrown out of the car and beaten up. The car is driven out of the petrol pump to an unknown destination through the night. The kidnappers seem to be somewhere in Haryana, as apparent from their language. They take her also to some unknown place in Haryana too. She tries to run away the next night, and is beaten up by the kidnapper is Mahaveer Bhati played by Randeep Hooda. She runs out but has nowhere to go and returns back. Next morning she tries to come out in the open on request, which is duly allowed. She breathes free in the open air and feels very relaxed. She is then driven to some other location too, where during food breaks etc, mingles with Mahaveer. She even shares a terrible episode of her exploitation by her own uncle in return of foreign chocolates. Mahaveer is hard hearted, but still feels sad for the girl.

While all this is happening, you wonder what is the parent’s reaction as there is no activity from the other side. Somewhere down the line, we are shown the other side of it. The father being a highly connected business man does not want the news to be out in the open. Hence it is a secret operation. So there is nothing out in the open. They have been able to capture some of those men around Mahaveer and give out his details to the police.

Meanwhile Mahaveer and Veera are driving through various locations up north of India. There is finally a police search at one of the checkposts. The police gets into the vehicle but cannot spot out Veera, as she has somehow managed to hide herself. Mahaveer is also surprised as why she hid from the police. But by now Veera has made herself very comfortable with Mahaveer and his other accomplice. She even wants to sit in the front of the truck. Mahaveer is reluctant at first but finally obliges. Mahaveer is also getting soft to her, narrates his story to her. She realises that his mother is still alive somewhere in the village and takes a promise from him that he would go to see her.

She talks very freely. At one point, Mahaveer goes wild on her, that is she looking to marry him, beget him children. Finally he decides to leave her at a place from where she can reach the nearest police station and go back to her parents. But she is adamant and joins him in a bus to Himachal Pradesh. By now they are good friends and enjoy a trip on the bus top. She tells Mahaveer that she wants ‘some more time’ with Mahaveer. If you remember, her insistence to spend ‘some more time’ in the open resulted in her kidnapping. 

They end up in the mountains in HP, where she gets a home for herself and tends to Mahaveer as a wife. It is too much for him and he breaks down sobbing. But they spend some good time together.

One fine morning, the police finally catches up with them, and shoots Mahaveer down. She is very insistent that he gets medical care, but it is all over by then. Her parents reach there and take her home after getting her injected with sedatives.

She reaches home, and the families are happy again that the marriage will take place. But she is undeterred. She blurts out the entire childhood episode of exploitation by her uncle to her parents and the boy’s parents and her uncle. She leaves her home and goes back to the hills to work and stay there, on her free will, all by herself …..

The film is well made, but there are some open areas where they are just driving and we are waiting for things to happen. A story has been woven around their depressed childhoods and a wave of sympathy has been created. In the name of secret operations, they are given a far too free hand to move in large parts of northern India. Looks a little odd at times. The film could have been more intense if the police had been chasing them around. But even then it would have been too one-sided, if they would have still managed to keep running away and slipping from the police all the time.

Still a good effort by Imtiaz Ali. A thought provoking film indeed ….. I am happy for Alia Bhatt taking up such courageous roles so early in her career. She has acted very well and her feel to be completely free in captivity is amazing. Randeep Hooda has acted well in the suppressed role of a hardened criminal, but with a soft heart. His troubled childhood makes him fight the rich in his own unique way.

As I sat watching the movie, a thought emerged in my mind of what these two films Queen and Highway are trying to project for the women folk.

I would be writing another article to compare and contrast these two films and a new direction that this film proposes for the female folks in the time to come …..