Posted in Sports - General

NBC, Olympics and the Ironclad control

Before I launch my expletive & irate diatribe against NBC, here are some observations on the opening ceremony and the first 3 days of London 2012:

1) When I saw the Madascar contingent, I expected Madagascar 2 and Madascar 3 to follow. Didn’t you all?

2) Didn’t the Chinese contingent show a nice gesture by waving the GB flag along with Chinese flag? Hmm..on second thoughts was it to show that those flags were made in China? (ah, the cynic in me..)

3) I expected the Cayman Islands flag bearer to be Mitt Romney. Also expected Ann Romney to walk with the US contingent (on behalf of her horse). Disapointed later to spot both of them in the stands carefully seated far away from Cameron.

4) Whoever the mystery woman was with the Indian contingent, she at least looked presentable. Explains how she could have breached the security. Right?

5) Ralph Lauren received a lot of flak for their uniforms for the US contingent. Seriously, if you really want to get down to the bottom of what is manufactured where, then no country could ever participate in Olympics. Imagine how much of the gear, equipment, etc. used at the Olympics came from China. As such China keeps winning gold medals. Might as well call it ahead and award gold medals in all events to China & have a friendly competition for silver and bronze medals for the remaining chinese athletes.

If you are living in the US and are trying to follow Olympics, then you surely have gotten over the fact by now, that NBC is a network worth receiving all the hatred, it has received already. Now, how can we make sure that NBC truly, truly feels the pinch? One way is to stop watching NBC altogether. Another way would be stop boycotting all their sponsors..or most of them..or as many as you can.

The unbelievable ironclad control (like the Chinese government) that NBC is trying to exercise over what & how US public gets to see Olympics is utterly disgusting and totally unacceptable. This is 2012, where social media set the rules of the game. Any game. and NBC doesn’t understand that or decided to dismiss it because of its arrogance.
See, this is what happens when you have a network run by a bunch of old guys who are totally out of touch with the ground reality. And then to make matters worse, they start acting totally autocratic by suspending twitter accounts of those who criticize them.

Enough gripe about NBC who in my books have stepped down several notches.

Finally, get that red carpet drooler Ryan Seacrest out of Olympics coverage – He doesn’t belong there. You all know where he belongs!

Posted in Pictures, Sports - General

London 2012

London Olympics 2012

I remember 2008. I had posted something about the Olympics then.

For some reason, the Beijing Olympics for all the color & splendor failed to excite me much other than the usual excitement for it being the greatest conglomeration of athletes from all over the world. Literally. But with London, I feel a little more excitement. Because I feel their preparation is a little more real. More personal.

Here’s hoping that London 2012 passes the muster with flying colors and manages to hold the spirit of humanity faster, higher and stronger!

 

 

Posted in AR Rahman, Movies - General

Iruvar – The Duo

Last night I watched “Iruvar”. This probably was my third time watching the movie in whole. But my first time in at least 7 or 8 years.

The following is a collection of thoughts limping out of that experience and it may very well include some serendipitous discoveries that could only be attributed to my lack of observation the first two times I saw the movie.

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  • An era of the birth of modern Thamizh literacy.
  • An age of growing Rationalism.
  • A period when Cinema had started capturing the imagination of the country & in particular the state where stage play was the number one medium of public entertainment, but considered too elitist.
  • And then there were those pioneers who helped steer each one of the above ships in the state during that time. Two of them in particular start building what later would turn out to be a very complicated public & personal relationship. Those two, even after almost 5 decades since they stamped their feet in front of the public eyes in the state, have the power and influence over many things that the state witnesses today culturally and politically.

Now imagine the guts of a filmmaker who sets out to capture the essence of these two personalities through a 150 minute motion picture!

The characteristic is being referred to as ‘guts’ simply because of the nature of the duo‘s influence and the depth of their influence in the context of the state’s cultural and political spectrum. For the simple fact that any reference to them in any form of media could bring out a sense of emotion and passion that only a native of the state can relate to. So even to set out to do a movie on the Duo is a gutsy move.

Now for the brilliance of Mani Ratnam.

Example 1:

Here is the last 4 odd minutes of the movie. I had goosebumps watching this scene. A.R. Rahman’s score with a haunting voice, Santosh Sivan’s camera, Vairamuthu’s Karunanidhiesque words and the beautifully (I know it is ironic to use the word beautiful while talking about a funeral) shot funeral procession just bring back memories of 1987…Time stays still for 4 minutes. Brilliance.

Example 2:
To me, this is another brilliant scene which brought out the true spirit of the exact point of time where the duo decided to exhibit their differences in public in such a short time on screen.

Example 3:
Take a look at this intro. All of 16 seconds. A dreamy eyed boy traveling to Chennai along with his mother. A single mother traveling to Chennai to fulfill her son’s dreams and you can see that she is anxiously fearful of what the future has to offer while the boy is full of optimism. No dialogues. No music. Yet, these 16 seconds capture so much.

Example 4:

Now finally take a look at this bit. Mohan Lal and Prakash Raj at their best. Love the pompous rhythmic BGM that A.R. Rahman kicks in at 0:31. Changes the tone of the scene completely. Pay attention to the dialogues. In less than a minute, Mani Ratnam with the help of Suhasini, the dialogue writer manages to summarize the basic differences in the duo‘s political ideologies. Of course this was when both of them hadn’t even smelled power and were raw. Young, raw and filled with a sense of youthful arrogance to do something good for the state.

I can possibly go on and on analyzing a few more scenes for I felt the movie was much more than what was presented on screen in 150 minutes.

In spite of all this glory I am talking about, I think the movie failed to make a connection with the audience. Interestingly I don’t think it was because Mani’s subject caused some kind of political antagonism on both sides thus resulting in audience staying away from theaters. Instead, it was because of the fact that the movie tried to live on subtlety and subtlety alone.

Subtlety all the way. Unfortunately for Mani and the movie, that didn’t click with the audience.

Having said that, I also think if Mani had made this movie any more dramatic or any louder, it would have stirred enormous pages of emotional outbursts and would have failed to trigger the passion of movie lovers like me.

This was a movie which I am glad was made the way it was made, but wish was made in 2 parts. I think there is so much more to tell about the duo & their lives, which a mere 150 minutes didn’t do enough justice to.

Be it the Mani Ratnam / A.R. Rahman duo or the Mohan Lal / Prakash Raj duo or the Santosh Sivan / Vairamuthu duo, it is clear that the real life Duo, whose lives inspired this movie will continue to enliven millions of hearts in Thamizh Nadu for many more years to come.

Posted in Sports - General

Seven(teen)th time is a charm…

A teary eyed Murray nearly moved me. But only nearly. I felt for him. I felt for a nation that was waiting for this moment to regain its lost glory in a championship that belongs to it. Waiting for almost 80 years. Somehow with Olympics around the corner, I am sure it sounded right to many that Murray was crowned the champion. It sounded right to me too. Only for a moment or two. What also sounded right to me for more than a moment or two was the fact that this may be Roger’s last chance to kiss that trophy. All odds were and are stacked up against him.

A friend of mine hates Roger for his instinct to shed tears after winning and more so after losing. After seeing the way today’s game ended, I hope she disliked him a bit less. Not because he didn’t shed tears but because Murray gave him a run for his money when it comes to shedding tears.

7th time and this time he goes back to becoming world no.1. What a turnaround this is? I would have expected him to call it quits in 2011 after such a terrible 2010 and 2011. I thought he had lost the fire in him to win big points against big opponents. By beating Djokovic in the semis and today Murray in the final, he sort of convinced me that he could go on for some more time.

Another grand slam title? I would still bet against it. But hey, I bet against he winning his 17th till he beat Djokovic in this Wimbledon.

18 may not be a bad number to get to or for that matter 19 or even 20. If you ask me though, this seventh time at Wimbledon and the 17th time overall sure was a real charm!!

Wimbledon 2012
Roger Federer lending his shoulders to Andy Murray and lets him wipe his tears