Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Time to move on...

My second visit to Hyderabad is coming to an end. I’m leaving the city on Thursday, to continue the rest of my training in Bangalore. Though my stay in Hyderabad has been short – 37 days – I have started liking this place, and I am not very happy to leave it.

In Hyderabad, I am put up in the company campus, which is around 15kms from the city. The hostel within the campus is one of the best I have ever stayed in. Its equivalent to a 3-star hotel, with excellent rooms, service and comforts. I was pampered during my stay here. There is also a laundry service; so I never had to wash clothes – I hate washing clothes. Our classrooms, labs and dining hall are in the ground floor of our hostel, so we never had to go out of the building.

Apart from the hostel and other facilities available in the campus, my visit to the city during weekends has been enjoyable. This place is heaven for non-vegetarians; there are so many good eateries that provide delicious food for a decent price. I have been to Paradise, Angeethi, Carrots, Koyla and Copper Chimney, and loved the food served in each of these places.

The roads here are simply amazing – when compared to roads in Bangalore – wide and with lesser traffic congestion. I would say the roads are a notch better then the ones in Chennai, but a few notches lower than the roads of New Delhi.

I have been to a couple of multiplexes – Prasadz and PVR in Hyderabad Central. Other places of hanging around include some 40 odd pubs in the city – I could not visit even a single one :( :(

Of the many places of interest, I could visit Golconda Fort and Ramoji Film City only. There were many other places to be seen, but thanks to my laziness and craze for movies, I could not visit the other places.

Lot of new friends and memories to take away from Hyderabad. One of my best moments here would have been during the Team Building Exercise when was held on 18th of March. Our team played very well in the first game, but could not keep up the momentum, so finished 3rd overall – there were 7 teams in all.

Hope the trip to Bangalore is fruitful in terms of the training I am about to receive. The training is supposed to finish on 14th April, after which I would be asked to join a project team. Hence, my location has not yet been finalized; it could be Bangalore, Mangalore, Pune or Hyderabad.

May be I am saying goodbye to Hyderabad a bit early, for all I know, I might be back here after completing my training. If I come back to Hyderabad, I know where to head to on my first weekend – PUBS!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Being Cyrus - Movie Review

Bollywood is maturing. Gone are those days when Bollywood movies showcased nothing more than family values or slapstick comedies. Directors are ready to take on topics which were considered taboo until a few years ago; they are ready to break the stereotyped “hero-heroine-running-around-the-tree” storyline. Being Cyrus is definitely in the class of movies like Black and Iqbal; movies which we can showcase to the world.

A low budget movie, which boasts of the best talents in Indian cinema, this movie would definitely make an impact with the audience.

Directed by Homi Adajania, who is making his debut as a director, the story revolves around the lives of the Sehtna family and a guest who comes to live them. The Sethna family consists of the patriarch Fardounjee Sethna (Honey Chhaya), his two sons Dinshaw (Naseeruddin Shah) and Farokh (Boman Irani). Katy (Dimple Kapadia) is Dinshaw’s wife, while Tina (Simone Singh) is Farokh’s wife. Cyrus Mistry (Saif Ali Khan) is the guest who come to stay with Dinshaw and Katy.

The brothers are at constant loggerheads with each other. They split after their father decided to share his wealth with them. Dinshaw kept the bunglow at Panchgani, while Farokh kept an apartment in Mumbai. Fardounjee stays with his younger son.

Dinshaw is a dope-smoking sculptor, who gave up his artistry to live a quiet, secluded life at Panchgani. Katy wife is fed up of their life at Panchgani, and is constantly pestering Dinshaw to move to a more happening place like Mumbai. Farokh works in some financial company, and is an extremely short tempered person. He treats his father and wife shabbily – treating them to a constant shower of insults and abuses. Tina is the petite housewife, much younger than Farokh, who silently suffers her husband’s taunts. Fardounjee also leads a quiet life, unable to raise a voice against his son; he is confined to one of the rooms in their apartment.

Cyrus comes into the lives of Dinshaw and Katy to stay along with them and learn Sculpting. He helps them in household activities as soon becomes a part of the Dinshaw family. As the movie goes by Cyrus learns about many dark secrets of the Sethna family – stained relationships, extramarital affairs and hatred amongst relatives.

Cyrus goes on to change the fate of the Sethna family. He has a past, which unknown to the Sethna family is the reason why he has come over to stay with them and to build a bond with them.

Being Cyrus’ is Saif’s first English movie, and he has played a role which is very different from the ones he has played till date. Naseeruddin Shah’s portrayal of Dinshaw as the recluse sculptor, who is lost in his own world of art and dope is perfect. Dimple Kapadia plays the role of a desperate housewife to perfection. The other notable role is the one played by Boman Irani, who moulds well into the demands of the character. Boman is as comfortable in these roles as he is in comic roles, which shows the real caliber of the actor.

The storyline and excellent performances by the cast is something which I loved in the movie. The way the director strings the subplots to bring about the climax is commendable. I also loved the way the director has used Gujrati obscenities; I have never heard so many obscenities being mouthed in a single movie.

This movie is not a mainstream Bollywood movie, so the chances of the movie succeeding in places other than the metros and other major cities is doubtful, but I hope it gets it dues from the critics department of various awards given to movies in our country.

The official website of this movie is worth a visit. The details of the movie are conveyed to the viewer in the form of a newspaper along with articles which are in-sync with the storyline.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Love Them... Boo Them...

India is known as the perfect example of unity amongst diversity. Amongst numerous things that bind the culturally diverse country, cricket is definitely one of the top three options. When there is a cricket match played by the Indian cricket team in any part of the world, millions of Indian are hooked to the game through television, radio, Internet or mobile; while thousands witness the match live.

Cricket heroes are celebrities back home. Many are role models for the young generation. No wonder you find children playing cricket anywhere – they play it in schools, clubs, streets, or any corner of the country. You will find many children who aspire to be Tendulkars, Dravids, Sehwags , Dhonis, Pathans or Kumles when they grow up.

There are few occasions when the same people who live and die along with their stars are ready to go for their blood. It has not taken the ugly face of football in Europe and South America (Columbia’s Andres Escobar was shot dead by crazy football fans of his country after he scored an own goal against USA, which resulted in Columbia’s elimination from the 1994 World Cup), but the Indian cricket fans are known to be violent (1996 World Cup semi-finals against Sri Lanka in Calcutta).

The episode of Indian cricket fans booing the cricketers during the just concluded Mumbai test is equally deplorable. I can understand how the fans would have felt when our famed batsmen fell like a pack of cards, playing like district level teams.

Its true that our players played mediocre shots, lacked application, the captain made the wrong decision after winning the toss, but that does not warrant the treatment they received at the hands of their own countrymen. They are players who have played so many matches, have got so many runs/wickets under their belts, they are recognized as one of the best in the world, but still they were unlucky to have got the treatment they deserved.

It’s easy for people to sit in the comforts of their homes and comment about cricket. It’s equally easy to sit in the cricket ground and cheer for the team when they are doing well or to boo them when are doing badly. What everyone misses is how difficult it is in the middle of the pitch; the pressure of playing in front of the home crowd also adds to ones pressure.

The crowd booed the batsmen when they got out cheaply. When England was on the verge of winning, they started supporting England. They booed the home team when they came out for the presentation ceremony. They booed Dravid when he came forward to talk during the presentation ceremony; he was finding it difficult to speak with all the booing around him.

It’s shameful how we could have forgotten the individual as well as the collective achievements of the team. It’s the same team which has won many tight matches and brought glory to our country. Till date Calcutta crowd was supposed to be the most unruly crowd when it comes to cricket, but Mumbai is catching up.

I hope the Indian cricketers are able to forget this incident and get back to their winning self in the upcoming ODI’s. I also hope that the Indian supports are more tolerant and support their team when the team needs them.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Study, Study.... Study!!!

After a long long time, I spend a whole day studying. If my memory is correct, the last time I did something similar was in the 4th semester at TAPMI. I never studied in my 5th and 6th semesters, and after getting a job, I never even bothered to touch any of my books again.

Even for my interview for a job switch, I had got some books from home. I opened them, scanned a few pages, then threw it back into the shelf. I just cannot read a subject book for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. I am ok with going through websites, reading articles on papers, magazines and the like, but not books!!!

After my job switch, which saw me move to Hyderabad from Chennai, I am into training till April end. Trainings are good, except for the tests that are kept at the end of every module to test your knowledge on that module.

Today I had one such test. It was the second test that I took after joining. There were a lot of things to read and understand, but I kept procrastinating. Finally when the dates of my test neared, I had no other choice but to study a whole day.

There were a lot of distractions in the form of Movies (English, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam), Cricket matches and other televisions shows. I watched the India Vs England test match, “Sweet Home Alabama”, “Lord of the Rings: Two Towers”, and a few mallu movies.

In between all these distractions, I somehow managed to complete my syllabus for today’s test. The test was at 3:30pm, which gave me some time in the morning to revise.

The test was good, 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. The worst thing is that the pass percentage is 65%, which is very difficult to attain. That is one reason I failed in the first quiz, out of a total of 30 questions, I scored 17, which was 57%, but still a failed score.

The results for this test would be out tomorrow. I hope lady luck favours me!!!


Edited on March 21:

Lady luck has finally favoured me. I passed the test, scored 76%.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Language No Bar - Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana

After spending the weekend with my parents in Bangalore, I was returning back to Hyderabad. I was traveling by an AP Tourism Volvo, which cost me a great deal when compared to other Volvo’s and train; but the only consoling factor was that it was cheaper than traveling by air.

There was huge excitement amongst all the travelers, which was mainly due to the Australia Vs South Africa cricket match, which was promising to go down to the wire. Soon the result of the match was out, and people were busy discussing about the match with their neighbors.

While I was talking to my neighbor about the match, the TV flickered to life, and the conductor started the DVD player, and to my horror, I saw that a Telugu movie was about to be played. I was shocked since I did not understand even a sentence in Telugu. The only thing I understood in Telugu was all the obscenities that my Telugu friends in my engineering college had taught me.

I was happy that I had brought my audio CD player along with me. My neighbor told me that the movie was one of the biggest hits of 2005, he even told me the name. I could get only word out of the long name – Nuvvustanante – and I did not feel like asking the rest of the name, since I was not planning to watch it anyways.

I plugged the CD player into my ears and started enjoying Rang De Basanti, but my eyes were on the TV, trying to grasp the story.

The story started with a woman taking her son and daughter, who were very young, to a man. The boy was hardly 8 and the girl was hardly 4. The man hands over some money to the woman, who throws it back at the man.

After leaving the town, the woman dies of shock in the train, leaving the little boy to take care of his sister. They are helped by the station master of the station where they discover that their mom has died.

The station master helps the kid in getting a piece of land, and the kid becomes a farmer. He takes great care of his sister, who grows up to be Trisha. Trisha is attending the wedding of her close friend.

I stop the CD Player, and start watching the movie. I could not make heads or tails of the dialogues, but still was able to guess a great deal about the story. Trisha was looking gorgeous as a village belle and I did not want to miss that.

One of relatives of Trisha’s friend is in UK. Responding to the invitation to attend the wedding, the mother and son from the relatives family arrive in India. The father is not able to make it since he has some prior appointment. The father’s role is played by Prakashraj (Famous Tamil actor) and the son is played by Siddharth (Upcoming hero, who has delivered hit movies like Rang De Basanti, Boys, Ayutha Ezhuttu).

Siddharth meets Trisha during the wedding, and after some cute scenes, they fall in love. Siddharth’s mother is inclined to get his son married to a girl from a rich family. She is shocked to know that her son is in love with a girl whose brother is a farmer. She humiliates Trisha and her brother and sends them home.

Stop…. I know this story…. Maine Pyaar Kiya!!! How could someone think of remaking such a hit Hindi movie???

The hero is crestfallen to know that his love has been humiliated and is sent away from him. On his way back to UK, he decides to return to India, to reclaim his love.

Returning to India to reclaim his love…. Hmm… a la DDLJ??? Ok, lets get back to the movie.

He reaches Trisha’s village, only to face the anger of the humiliated brother. He thrashes the hero and asks him to return back, but our hero persists. Trisha’s brother asks him to become a farmer and to harvest a crop.

This reminds me the task given to Salman Khan in Maine Pyaar Kiya!!!

The villains, namely the father of one of Siddharth’s prospective, rich girl as well as an admirer of Trisha, try all tricks to prevent the hero from achieving his target. But our hero manages to achieve his target, after a lot of hard work, and constant pestering from Trisha’s brother and the brother’s servant.

There were many scenes which brought back memories of Pyaar Kiya to Darnaa Kya, when the hero is peppered with trouble in order to send him back home.

The hero finally wins over the heart of Trisha's brother, and also succeeds in harvesting a healthy crop.

In the final showdown, Siddharth ends up killing Trisha’s admirer who was plotting to marry her by force, with the help from other villains. Trisha’s brother takes the blame on his own head, since his sister’s future was at stake, and lands in jail.

Siddharth and Trisha wait till Trisha’s brother gets out of jail to get married. Siddharth’s parents are also grateful to Trisha’s brother for having saved their son’s future and they accept Trisha as their daughter-in-law.

It was a great experience watching an entire movie without understanding the dialogues. It was all guess work, taking into account the emotions of the actors as well as the screenplay to guess the movie’s story.

Siddharth and Trisha made a good pair on screen, and the camerawork was also good. I liked one song also, “Kudire, Kudire”.

I searched for the movie’s details and review today on the Internet. I got to know that the movie’s title is "Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana" - Phew!!! Its Prabhu Deva’s first movie as a director. The ace choreographer-cum-Tamil actor even makes a cameo appearance during a song. I had understood most of the story without the dialogue, although I had missed some important details, which I got to know after reading a review.

The man whom the woman and her two children approach in the beginning of the story is the husband of the woman, and had left her for another woman.

Trisha's brother challenges Siddharth's to harvest a bag of paddy more that what he could harvest.

Overall a good watch.

Belated Birthday Wishes..... To My Blog

It all started a year back, on March 12th 2005, when I started this online journal for fun. My initial target was to keep writing for 6 months, but I underestimated myself, and have been blogging for a year.

Hope I continue blogging for a long time.

The Mother of all Cricket Matches

I have never written about cricket in my blog before, but when the match was something like the one played between Australia and South Africa on 12th March, its worth every second I spend on writing this.

872 runs were scored in a day, with the ball reaching the fence in 88 occasions and sailing over the ropes in 26 occasions. All of the above figures broke the earlier records. Other records to tumble were the maximum runs to be conceded by a bowler in a 10 over spell – by Michael Lewis of Australia. Roger Telemachus equaled the record for the maximum no of runs conceded in a single over – 29.

The record breaking spree was started by Australia, which scored 434 after winning the toss and choosing to bat first. They became the first team to cross 400, and posted the highest ODI total. But none who watched the first innings would have even guessed in their dreams that the record would stand for just 4 hours.

Ricky Ponting thrashed 164 from just 105 balls, and 3 more Australians joined the party with half centuries. There were two stunning catches by the South Africans, one by Hall to get rid of the dangerous Gilchrist and the other by Dippenaar to get rid of Ponting, who was on his way to score the first double hundred in ODI’s.

Ponting looked like a man possessed. From the moment he arrived at the crease, his only mission was to hit the ball as hard as possible, out of the ground and help his side post a challenging total. His innings reminded me of his assault against the Indians in the 2003 World Cup finals at the same venue.

During the break, I would have had a bet with anyone in this world that South Africa would loose this match. After the match started, my belief got stronger, with the first wicket falling off the second over. 434 looked a distant possibility.

What followed from the third over was a dream, which would take a long time to sink in, and a very long time to be seen again. Gibbs and Smith took the attack to the Aussies. They had nothing to loose, and so was giving their best in taking their teams total as close as possible to Australia’s mammoth total.

In the process, they were scoring at 9 runs an over, and the asking rate never went into the 2 digit figure. Smith was looking like a man on a mission. Even though his innings did not last long, just 55 balls, but he had scored 90, which was enough to instill belief in the batsmen to follow that if they play positively they could win the match.

Soon after Smith left, Gibbs took over. If Ponting’s innings was fabulous, then Gibbs’s innings was fantabulous. His innings brought the pressure back on the Aussies, and suddenly the target of 434 looked achievable.

Gibbs also looked set for a double hundred, but he too got out, skying a Symond’s delivery in an attempt to accelerate the score. After Gibb’s innings, the difference between the no of balls and the runs to be scored was reduced to mere 50; the difference at the start of the South African innings was 134.

After Gibbs’s departure, it was left to Boucher to finish off the innings, which he did in style. Boucher kept up one end of the wicket, while he kept loosing partners. There were useful contributions from van der Wath and Telemachus, and South Africa were slowly inching towards victory.

Soon they became the second team in the history of ODI’s to cross 400, barely 4 hours after Australia had set that record.

7 runs were required from the last 6 balls. Brett Lee, one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket was the bowler. The final over was a fitting to the entire match. There were 2 fours, a wicket and a single from a tailender.

As Boucher hit the winning runs, the stadium erupted, the South African team ran into the ground and hugged Boucher. The Aussies were still dazed; they could not believe that their mammoth score was overhauled. There were many in the crowd who shed tears, unable to believe what they had just witnessed.

I was one of the few unlucky souls who missed the live match. I was on my way back to Hyderabad after visiting my parents for the weekend. I missed the final 10 overs, but was fortunate enough to witness Gibbs’s incredible innings.

This match is sure to change the outlook of ODI’s; teams can now think of achieving targets in excess of 300, which till a few years back looked unachievable. With the rules of ODI’s loaded highly in favour of the batsmen, we can look forward to matches where such huge scores would be overhauled.

At the end of the day, my heart went out to all the bowlers, who were made to look like club level players. All of them bowled their heart out, but watched helplessly as the bowl was thrashed out of the ground. There were just 2 maiden overs out of the 99.5 overs bowled. Even a single bowler did not have an economy rate less than 6 runs an over.

But all the hard hittings, huge scores and tight chasing is good for the future of ODI cricket. Matches like these increase the viewerships and makes cricket popular.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bye.. Bye.. Chennai

Its been quiet a few days since I blogged. Some pressures in the office, then the relieving formalities and transfer to the new place saw to it that I did not get enough time to sit in front of a computer, think and blog.

After initial hiccups, I was finally relieved from my earlier job on 17th of Feb. I packed my bags and left for Bangalore on 18th, to meet my parents and to be with them for a few days. I had 5 bags and a bike to be taken with me to Bangalore. It was an adventurous journey, especially towards the end, when I nearly ended up having a fight with a porter at Bangalore railway station.

After being with my parents for 2 days, I left Bangalore for Hyderabad. Reached Hyderabad on 21st morning, and reported for duty 22nd.

This is my second job, and so far so good. The first two months are training, during which I have to stay at Hyderabad. After training, I should be moving to Mangalore.

I’m enjoying the 2 month stay in Hyderabad. I’m put up at the hostel inside the campus, where the facilities are amazing. The campus is around 15 kms away from the city, and I have been making frequent trips to the city along with my TAPMI classmates.

Watched Taxi No 9211 yesterday. There is nothing great to write about the movie.

There are a few things to blog about. Shall be doing that soon.