Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sreesanth, Harbhajan and the biggest hit of them all!

By John Cheeran
There are many who believe that Kerala's and India's fast bowler S Sreesanth got his just deserts at the hands of that obnoxious weed, Harbhajan Singh after a fractious encounter in the IPL at Mohali.
I do not support such pernicious line of thinking. Sreesanth was hit, and the only thing that upset me was that he did not show his other cheek. Instead, he began to weep. A sorry state of affairs, for the macho image of a Malayali.
As it has been significantly observed by Farooq Engineer, former Indian wicketkeeper and the match referee in this episode, Harbhajan manhandled Sreesanth without any provocation. Whatever the magnitude of the provocations been, Harbhajan should have refrained from manhandling his India team mate. Harbhajan has proved through a series of incidents that it is not just his bowling action that's suspect but his actions off the ball too.
The saving grace for Sreesanth was that the whole thing happened in front of 25 live cameras and Harbhajan's stupidity could not be covered up by the gangsters in the dressing room. Often, Indian team's dressing rooms were silent witnesses to such truant behaviour by the senior pros. And all such incidents used to be glossed over with the argument in a family all sorts of things do happen.
Not just that. Indian cricket had witnessed ugly spats on the ground between Maninder Singh and Manoj Prabhakar. And in a Duleep Trophy match I can recall when Rashid Patel chased Raman Lamba with his bat to hit.
This time around, The IPL and the BCCI top brass were under pressure to ban Harbhajan. I however consider that the 11-match ban was too little to be an object lesson for others. For his crimes, not just against Sreesanth, but against cricket, Harbhajan should be banned from all forms of game till his last day.

Monday, April 21, 2008

IPL: FEAR, where is thy sting?

By John Cheeran
Show me a beautiful woman, and I can show you a man who is tired of fucking her.

When I watch and take in the hype around the inaugural Twenty20 Indian Premier League, I think of that line from a Hollywood movie, credited to a female.
I am quick to understand that Twenty20 is not cricket, and it is an entirely new game invented by the English and marketed by Shri Lalit Modi.
When One-day cricket and Day-night cricket came along, there were sceptics. They were honourably buried later. It was said that Fifty50 cricket was created by taking the rib bone from Test cricket. Now which bone has been taken from Fifty50 one-day cricket to invent the Twenty20? Biceps? or Solar Plexus?
Why there has been such amazing batting performances in the first few matches of the IPL?
The most important thing is that FEAR has been taken out of batting when you have only 20 overs and 10 wickets to play around with. This is grossly unfair to the other half of the game, which is bowling.
Who will not be afraid to swing his bat around when you know that even if a wicket falls every two overs, your Riders and Chargers and Devils can complete their innings in comfort.
To make the Twenty20 and IPL attractive and competitive, you have to quickly bring in the law which will limit batting for five wickets only. If you lose your fifth wicket, your innings is over. You can still have 11 players, but the best six batsmen can take to the batting crease, and choosing that six is captain's discretion.
The sooner the cricket world brings in this rule, better for the game.
Or else, the boys and girls will be getting tired very soon, watching this cut and thrust.

Friday, April 11, 2008

M.G. Sasi's Adayalangal: Hunger, Anger and Despair

By John Cheeran
I was among the crowd at Sridhar theatre in Ernakulam that watched M.G. Sasi's Adayalangal, the film chosen by Jahnu Barua-led jury as the best feature film in the Kerala State film awards.
M. G. Sasi has won the Kerala State award for best director, Adayalangal is the best film and the movie's cameraman Radhakrishnan is the best cinematographer.
The verdicat has shocked many, inlcuding directors Adoor Gopalakrishnan (Nalu Pennungal), Shyamaprasad (Ore Kadal), K.P. Kumaran (Akasha Gopuram) and P T Kunhumohammad (Paradesi who all had movies eyeing the award for the best feature film.
I began to watch Sasi's Adayalangal with dread. I even doubted whether it will be a documentary on Nanthanar (Ramakrishnan), the short story writer from Perinthalmanna, who committed suicide after a life of military angst. That I left the screening of Adayalangal without thinking that I wasted my three hours should have been enough to cheer up its director Sasi and the movie crew. How many recent Malayalam movies could produce similar feelings in the ticket-payer?
Adayalangal may not be a great film.
I still don't know whether Adayalangal deserved to be the best film. But havng seen Paradesi and Nalu Pennungal, I'm not surprised that Adayalangal won critical acclaim. All awards are subjective; their merits are relative most of the time. I haven't seen Akasha Gopuram and Ore Kadal, the other two serious contenders for the film awards.
In Adayalangal Sasi tackles a pretty ordinary struggle during the 60s when most of the Malayali families found it tough to keep hunger at bay. That hunger and helplesnness were acute in upper class households bereft of a breadwinner. And such situations have been portrayed in Malayalam letters and movies many times over.
Here a personal struggle, Nanthanar's, gets unswerving attention from the dierctor. Sasi has shown that he has the craft and calibre to tell a story that sticks to the viewer's bone long after the last reel is packed in.
And the real strength of Adayalangal lies in the realistic cinematography thanks to the twitching hands of Radhakrishnan.
The disappointment, though, was that Adayalangal tackled only the awakening of Nanthanar. (Though it has been pointed out that story is not on Nanthanar, but only on a story by Nanthanar. But I don't know how you can winnow the fact from Nanthanar's fiction). As Ramakrishnan (Nanthanar) himself realized at the cost of his life, the awakenings hardly matter in the whirligig of fortunes.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mathrubhumi to dump editor Gopalakrishnan

By John Cheeran
The news is that Mathrubhumi newspaper's management is dumping Gopalakrishnan, its editor for more than nine years. The move is said to be as a result of the pressure exerted by the CPI (M) and its state unit secretary Pinarayi Vijayan on the newspaper management.
The buzz is that N Madhavankutty, former Resident Editor of the New Indian Express in Kerala, may get the Mathrubhumi job, though Kutty has been positioning himself as the guardian angel of the official faction of the CPI (M) in Kerala.
In that case, Faris Abu Backer-Ranji Paniker team will have to look for another editor to launch its newspaper Vartha.

Bergman and Kielowski walk along Marine Drive in Cochin

By John Cheeran
I'm not a movie junkie, and rarely do I make it to film festivals. After the IFFI Delhi, I'm at another film festival, though a rather low key affair, this time in Cochin, Kerala.
The show has been organised by small band of committed movie buffs and they have grouped themselves as Metro Film Society of Kochi. The festival titled as MIFFK, began on April 4 and runs till April 10 and was inaugurated by Director Sreenivasan and actress Kavya Madhavan.
It has taken this Metro band some effort to put together this festival and the backbone of the festival is a retrospective on Director Ingmar Bergman. Unfortunately Bergman movies are shown at the minuscule cafe@Sridhar at the Sridhar theatre, whereas some documentary trash such as 11th Hour has made it to the prime venue, Sridhar Theatre. The lone Bergman film that is scheduled at Sridhar is The Silence on April 8.
I enjoyed Polish film maker Krzyztoff Kielowski's Camera Buff earlier in the day. The MIFFK offers more Kielowski films such as A Short Film About Killing, A Short Film About Love and No End.
Let there be no end to festivals such as the one organised by Metro Film Society, Cochin.
Thank You guys.
John Cheeran at Blogged