Sunday, February 28, 2010

Law is Sherlock's Ho(l)mie.

I'd read my first Sherlock Holmes novel,"The Hound of Baskervilles" when I was 10. And even though I was awe-struck by the sheer skill and astute observation that defined Sherlock Holmes, Baskervilles remained my last Holmes till much later in life. So while I cannot claim to be his biggest fan, I was impressed enough as a 10-year-old, as is the case with the inherent innocence of age, to believe there is as much reality in Conandoyle's fiction as there was in being thrown out for reading his book during class hours.

Guy Ritchie's version is probably Arthur Conandoyle's version '+' not-so-healthy amounts of Nicotine rushes '+' a few joints here and there '+' one ecstasy in the intermission '+' one three hour acid-trip '+' one jab in the posterior '+' one kick in the groin.

Yet another childhood hero goes down the CGI route, with the innocence of childhood reading fast meeting a gut-wrenching end. Guy Ritchie's film is filled with sensational sights, over-the-top characters and a desperate struggle atop Tower Bridge, which is still under construction (A great case of attention to detail, mind you!). While it's likely to give a tremendous boost to Holmes' fan-following, the 'Baker Street (Ir)Regulars' will settle for going back to the books.

If you wondering why this reviewer has not got into the plot of the film, we pray you'll need to wait some more. Ritchie's Holmes requires an introduction for movie watchers who haven't read the book; even those who have, given that Ritchie has converted the great detective and his 'partner-in-crime' into the boxing and martial-arts champions of London. While that is not so far away from the series, with Holmes being an expert in Baritsu, the portrayal is ridiculous, yet entertaining. The audience are introduced to the Detective's deductive powers when the man envisions his fight sequences in super slow-mo and dead-pan mental commentary, and executes it to the last broken rib in whip-lash reality.

The plot challenges the viewers' intelligence, never mind the detectives own. The villainous Lord Blackwood, arrested and executed for voodoo practices in the opening scenes, somehow engineers his return from the dead and hatches a nefarious plot to rule the British Empire. While this would send the great Sir Arthur Conandoyle rolling big-time in his grave, and smoking it up too; he may not really criticise Ritchie's character sketches and the settings of London in the late 19th century.

Also the movie's dialogues are very characteristically Ritchie, with several great references to Conandoyle's stories, which keep the Sherlock Holmes fans happy. Downey provides his character the brains, the wit and the thinking-on-the-feet it deserves, and Law erases our own perception of Watson as a mere sidekick, by being a a fleet, dapper and a womanising Dr. Watson, who also enjoys a bit of an intimate 'bro'mance with his good friend and colleague.

Sherlock Holmes will continue to remain a must-read among school kids, and the greatest service this movie could do is to get kids today to go beyond Harry Potter in the world of literature. And the fans who will revisit all the novels and the short stories will picture Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in their minds. We're guessing that the character of Sherlock HOlmes which has survived among other things, great illness, substance abuse, a broken heart, a few scandals and abject failure to commercialise, will surely survive this new Avataar of SXF and CGI, and continue to be bored by a sedentary life.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sach is Life.

My friend Navin inadvertently gave me a goldmine of a source for material. A forward doing the rounds right now is about Sachin's appraisal meeting with his boss. Here's what was not Chronicled. It's Sachin's tete-a-tete with his real boss- the spokesperson of The Cricket Fan(TCF), the 'Zara Hatke' version of the Indian Cricket Fan(ICF). These are people who 'Stand out' rather than 'Fit in' among the millions of Cricket Fans. Here are the minutes of the meeting:

TCF: So Sach, congratulations on the success of Gwalior. Your performance was truly unprecedented. We cannot imagine another individual who could have displayed such a stellar performance that day.

Sachin: Thank you, Sir. You are kind. I owe it to the Indian Cricket Fan, who has supported me for 20 years. And stood by me all through all the ups and downs in my career. I dedicate my performance to the ICF.

TCF: We at the TCF are truly honoured to have this meeting with you. It always gives us immense pleasure to see somebody as talented as you are reach great heights. And always wish you greater success.

Sach: Thank you, Sir.

TCF: But now, let's be objective about your performances at large. Allow me to give you some background, for you to understand our disposition. We are people who love your work, but then we do not let our emotions impair our judgement.

Sach: I understand your position, sir.

TCF: We are aware of your demi-god status among the ICF, and your popularity among other departments, including the Australian Cricket Fan (ACF), and the Pakistani Cricket Fan (PCF). So much so that some members of the PCF applauded your performance, which bettered PCF's one-time blue-eyedMr. Anvar's performance in '97. That speaks volumes about your attributes, which make you a good role model.

Sach: I was only doing my job, sir.

TCF: At this stage, we thought it apt to discuss the ICF's claims of you being the best ever. You see, it took Sir Don some performances at stratospheric levels to assume his position of the greatest ever. And many have aspired to take his place. Probably Sir Viv was making great progress, and came closest to Sir Don. And you come form a time when there were quite a few who have given you a run for your money. I wont take any names, but you are aware.

( Sach nods.)

TCF: You see Sachin, we live in terribly competitive times. Being the best one in your team is just not good enough for you to become the best ever, even if your team is the second-best in the world. None of us will ever remember the runners-up, will we? I'm sure you are a great asset to the team, but unless you carry your team forward with your performances, you cannot lay claims for such an appraisal. I mean, this project at Gwalior was great, but what about the one at Hyderabad in '09. Or worse, the one at Chennai in '99. Now I'm not going to bring up your other performances like Edgbaston in '96 or Newlands in '97 or Sydney in '08. But you get the drift. For every success of yours, your bosses will remember three of your team-failures. And though you may have performed exceptionally as a team-player, those failures of the team are also your personal failures.

So keep up the good work. Stay focussed, and one day, you'll get what you really think you deserve, i.e. a better ranking among your peers worldwide. All the best. Make us proud.

(shakes hands with Sach)

The authour is known to switch loyalties between the ICF and the TCF, based on the outcome of the assignment.

Sach is Genius.

This was one damn cool piece from Time Magazine, if I'm not mistaken.

When Sachin Tendulkar travelled to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race a F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Diego Maradona was still the captain of a world champion Argentina team, Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam.

When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters. The Berlin Wall was still intact, USSR was one big, big country, Dr Manmohan Singh was yet to "open" the Nehruvian economy.

It seems while Time was having his toll on every individual on the face of this planet, he excused one man. Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hallo Frands! Myself da Punjabi.

Hair is something they never taught you in Iskool.

A is for Aiscreame

B is for Backside, and it has nothing to do with your butt. It is an instruction to go to the rear of a building, or block, or shop or whatever.

C is for Cloney and its not a process for replicating sheep, nor is its first name George. It is merely an area where people live e.g. 'Defence Cloney'.

D is for Dally, the Capital Yaar!

E is for Expanditure, the spending of money.

F is for Frands, who hang out at da Gudgaon.

G is for Gaddi, and the way a Punjabi can pilot his gaddi puts any F1 driver to shame. And it is also his license to get da kuddi.

H is for 'Haal', and if you ask Aamir 'Ki haal?', he says 'All iz Well'.

I is for Intjaar, and to know more about it see P.

J is for Jiyoo, Long live da Punjabi. And 'Jugaad', something da punjabi cannot live without.

K is for Khanna, Khurana, etc, the Punjabi equivalent of the Joneses
(e.g.'Keeping up with the Khuranas ji')

L is for Loin, the king of the jungle

M is for 'Mrooti', the car that an entire generation of Punjabis were in love with.

N is for 'No Problem Ji.' Because you can always go back to H, ji.

O is for Oye, which can be surprise (Oyye!), a greeting (Oyy!), anger (OYY!) or pain (Oy oy oy...).

P is for Punj Mint, and no matter how near (1 km) or far(100 km) a Punjabi is from you he always says he'll reach you in punj mint (5 minutes...).

Q is for Queue, a word completely untranslatable into Punjabi - does not exist in the culture.

R is for Riks, and a Punjabi is always prepared to take one (risk), even if the odds are against him.

S is for Sweetie, Simmi and Summi, and all the soni kuddi, to impress whom men buy half the cars in Delhi.

T is for the official bird of Punjab : Tandoori Chickun.

U is for when you lose your sax appeal and become 'Uncul-ji'

V is for VIP phone numbers @ Rs 15 lakh and counting.

W is for Waat, as in 'Waat Nansense?'

X is for the many X-rated words that flow freely in Punjabi conversations.

Y is for 'You nonsanse', when anger replaces vocabulary in a shouting match.

Z is for Zindgi which every Punjabi knows how to live to the fullest.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love All

Talk of a consistent scoreline! Well, I guess some things choose not to change that fast. Or at least they seem to respect this day of the year, with only one exception. Let me explain. I've been using Feb 14th as a frame of reference, and a review time for the years ahead. And yet, I'm always at the safest position, that of making a fresh start. Probably that, or just that I've been so madly in love with beginnings. So much so that my realtionships(???) of the lack thereof are no more than fresh beginnings. So am I happy? I guess so. Just as anyone is at the prospect of a fresh beginning. ;)

So here's to you who was first love, till I decided to grow up. And to you, who knew the best way to end a relationship that just started. To you, who "didn't like the way our friendship was heading". Or you, who thought "we were just friends". To you, who'd do nothing to "lose a friend". And to you, who'd marry the ex anyway. And also to you, who thought I was too nice a guy to be a rebound. Happy Valentine's Day!