Watching an Indian talent show is like watching a mega serial. The concept is same, if it’s doing well, stretch it as much as possible. Sometimes as fan of talent shows as me, it becomes pretty draining and boring to watch. The last show I really followed and watched to completion was Airtel Super Singer 2008. Even that one at one point got irritating but I somehow pulled myself through to watch it to completion.
The IPL is finally over and the concentration has now shifted to the Indian A tour to West Indies. The India A team comprises of possible middle order options for the Indian test team and it will be interesting to see how the team performs in West Indies. It will be interesting to see how the players go about on this tour as a lot rests on their performance on this tour. Let us look at the main contenders for the Indian test squad.
Ajinkya Rahane (Top order):
There is no doubt that Ajinkya Rahane is probably the most talented on the Indian youngsters in the domestic arena. He had a brilliant IPL V for Rajasthan Royals but his career is much more than just a T20 tournament. Rahane has been a consistent performer in the Indian domestic scene and on India A tours. He has an impressive tally of 4862 runs at an amazing average of 68.47 in first class cricket. He has already broken into the Indian set up in the shorter format and would like to cement his place in the test side as well. He has an impressive technique against the new ball and impressed one and all with his composure during the English tour last year. He will be looking to impress the selectors with good performance in the A tour to West Indies.
Rohit Sharma (Middle Order):
It seems like Rohit Sharma has been around Indian cricket for ages. For a batsman as talented as him, he should have already been a regular in the Indian test team. Rohit Sharma has been a brilliant performer in the domestic cricket for Mumbai over the years. He has scored an impressive 3748 at a healthy average of 63.52 in first class cricket. There is no denying the talent of Rohit but his temperament has often been questioned. For a player who has a triple hundred in first class cricket he has been rather impatient in the Indian colors in the shorter format. In spite of playing 80 ODI’s for India he is still to cement his spot in the ODI team. This will give Rohit a great chance to prove that he belongs in the test team. He has begun the tour brilliantly with a fighting 94 in the first unofficial test against West Indies A. He would like to continue performing to make a case for a test debut later this year.
C Pujara (Top order):
He is one player who has already debuted for Indian in the test arena and has been acknowledged as the player most likely to replace Rahul Dravid at number 3. Pujara impressed one and all with his technique against the new ball and has been noticed by his sheer weight of runs in domestic cricket. He was singled out by Rahul Dravid himself as one for the future and had a great debut game against the Australians with a match winning fifty. Pujara has been injured for a long time over the last year or so but he for sure will be in line to get the number 3 spot just vacated by Dravid when India don whites again later this year. Pujara averages a brilliant 53.50 in the domestic arena and has been one of the consistent performers in the away tours with the India A team. He also has begun the tour with a fifty in the first test against the West Indies A team and would like to keep scoring to seal his place in the Indian top order.
A Mukund (Opener):
A Mukund impressed one and all with his technique against the new ball in West Indies and England in 2011. Even though he did not score lots of runs he did occupy the crease for long time in few games. A Mukund is an opener with great technique and with sheer weight of runs in domestic cricket broke into the Indian squad last year in the absence of Sehwag and Gambhir. He has overtaken his team mate from Tamil Nadu Murali Vijay as the third opener in the Indian test squad and would like to perform well on the A tour to get back in the reckoning. With more than 4700 runs in domestic cricket at and impressive average for 57, Mukund is yet another youngster knocking at the door of Indian test team.
W Saha (Wicket keeper):
Wriddhiman Saha has overtaken Kartik and Parthiv to become India’s second choice keeper in all form of cricket. He is one of the best wicket Keepers in domestic cricket at the moment and with excellent technique with the bat he becomes India’s number 1 choice in the absence of Mahindra Singh Dhoni. He has a wonderful record with the bat in domestic cricket and will look forward to seal the backup keeper’s spot in the Indian test team with consistent performance in the Caribbean over the next couple of months.
The other players who have an outside chance of making it to the Indian squad are Manoj Tiwary and Shikar Dhawan. Both these players have been consistent performers in the domestic arena for their respective sides over the years. M Tiwary’s last ODI innings was a hundred against West Indies and would be hoping that this tour would make him a regular in the ODI team. Dhawan too had few ODI’s last year against West Indies but failed to cement his place in the one-day squad. He will be hoping to make an impression too. The interesting aspect is the bowling attack where apart from Dinda the rest of the attack is very inexperienced.
The likes of Shami Ahmed and B Kumar are rather unknown quantities and would be interesting to see how they perform. One would have hoped to see Varun Aaron on this tour as he is probably knocking at the door of the Indian test squad at the moment. Also another interesting miss is Piyush Chawla who was once India’s leading candidate to take over from Anil Kumble once he hung up his boots. The selection of Rahul Sharma was rather surprising as he was never considered as a test bowler for India. There were some calls for Harbajan Singh being a part of the India A squad to regain his form. Overall the India A squad has some interesting names and it will be great to see some good performance from the youngsters. This tour will for sure give a fair indication of the future of Indian batting and bowling.
The Indian team has had non-stop cricket since the World Cup 2011. If IPL after 7 days of World Cup was ridiculous the 1 off T20 in South Africa beats that hands down. South Africa themselves are coming back after playing New Zealand and they have to get ready to play a one-off game against the Indians. I agree that both teams have rested some of their key players but this is an absolute overkill.
I would have understood if India is travelling to SA for a decent length tour probably for few T20 games, followed by an ODI series or something but just for one game defies logic. This seems like a shameless money making venture by both the boards. Not only do these players have to travel for this ridiculous 1 off game but they have to get ready to begin the 5th season of IPL within few days of returning back. The India team have been playing non-stop cricket since the IPL 2011 (Tour to WI, England tour, Home series against England, Home series against WI, Australian tour, Asia Cup) and they could have very well used these few days as a break.
The BCCI should be more concerned about player fitness and regarding their availability for important games. The one-off T20 does not make any sense to anyone except for the two boards involved. The grueling IPL is about to begin next month and I sincerely hope that we don’t see any injuries ahead of the ICC World T20 later this year. The ICC needs for sure step in here and stop these mindless and meaningless games. They can play as many T20’s as they want when the teams are on a full tour. This particular game does not serve any purpose and cannot be good for either team. The ICC has been always quiet about scheduling issues and I hope that at some point they will stop these stupid money generating games which does not solve any purpose.
Everyone has a dream job. There are the jobs you want to do and there are the jobs which you have to do for living. There is a huge difference. Most of them grow to love the jobs they are already doing over the course of time. When you are a kid and people come up to you and ask “What do you want to become when you grow older?” the most common answers are Doctor, Engineer etc.
In recent times reading some movie reviews has become a tedious exercise. A normal movie buff looks only for certain things in a review, the positives and the negatives, performance of the lead actors and the music. Basically an outline as to whether the movie is to his/her liking or not. This information should as far as I am concerned be expressed in simple understandable language.
This is not something we get to write that often. The Indian film industry is synonymous with Bollywood aka Hindi film industry and South films hardly get the recognition. 2011 in a way broke that trend and it will be fair to say that Southern Industries ruled this year. Not only did the south films (Malayalam and Tamil) dominate the National awards earlier this year but the Bollywood box office was dominated by southern remakes. It was a year when the Southern Industries got their day under the sun in India.
As far as Tamil cinema goes it was yet another great year. It was the continuation of the good work which started in 2010 and carried over to 2011. The year 2011 is when the Tamil cinema broke the language barriers and reached to nook and corner of the vast country. The year which began with Tamil cinema dominating the national awards along with Malayalam making it a very southern awards, ended with Dhanush’ s “Kolaveri Di” winning CNN international song of the year.
Dhanush was the year’s biggest star and he was part of couple of good movies this year. The biggest success of Tamil cinema this year has been the success of small movies such as “Engeyum Eppothum”. A movie which was Fox Star’s foray into Tamil cinema, sans top stars and with a new director at the helm was a super hit. Appreciation of good scripts and attempts by the audience has always been the success of Tamil cinema which was again in view in 2011.
This year had releases from Suriya, Dhanush, Ajith, Vikram and Vijay. This year also saw Ajith take over a bad guy role and pulling it off with great panache. Vijay shifted his path from masala genre and signed movies with big directors. Suriya and Dhanush once again confirmed their status as good actors. This year also marked some path breaking movies such as “Aaranya Kaandam”. A movie which received praise from all quarters was a great addition to the gangster genre. The movie did rounds in the International film festivals and won some awards.
Even though some great movies were made this year and some remakes were extremely successful in other languages, this year belonged to Kolaveri Di. The song broke the language barrier to be accepted by all the music lovers.
South cinema comprises of some of the best talents in the country and makes some wonderful movies and this year was really a testament to that fact. Hindi blockbusters like Bodyguard, ready, Singham and Force were all south remakes. The year 2012 promises to be a fine one for Tamil cinema and hopefully will have some great movies. As 2011 comes to an end, here is wishing a great 2012 for Tamil cinema and its audience.
India is about to begin their test series against Australia in few days and as it was in England earlier this year; the team is struggling with injuries. India had lost Varun Aaron and Praveen Kumar already before leaving the Indian shores and now it seems like Ishant Sharma would also struggle to make to the test team. If Ishant misses out India might field a very inexperience attack unless the replacement/cover is Irfan Pathan.
This scenario makes the presence of Zaheer very important for India throughout the series.
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Making a Sci-Fi movie in India is difficult. It is not something for which we have references from the past from our own industry. When director Shankar conceptualized Endhiran (Robot) in 2000 with Kamal Hassan in mind, he had to drop the plans due to lack of funds for a movie of such scale. The reason behind not many movies of this genre gracing Indian screens. The scenario in the recent times has changed a lot. Hindi movies aka Bollywood has always enjoyed more money than the other industries in India owing to their popularity and reach. So when Ra.one was announced my expectation was automatically raised.
When Endhiran came in 2010 (a year before Ra.One) people had nothing to compare it with in the Indian film history. Obviously it is a beaten to death genre in Hollywood where countless such movies are made and are way ahead from what Shankar and Anubhav Sinha could offer. Endhiran had its flaws but was entertaining. The movie had an experienced director at its helm and one of the greatest entertainers in Indian cinema playing the lead. The movie was a super hit and was loved by all (Well mostly). Endhiran had an advantage which Ra.One did not, it was the first movie of its type to grace the Indian screens and did not have too many Indian movies to be compared with (Even though in 2002 Upendra had already made a movie in similar theme).
Ra.One had a lot to live up to. It had to be better than Endhiran in every department. It was being made at a larger scale; it was being made in 3D and had one of the biggest superstars in Indian cinema starring in it. The movie released with lots of hype and Shahrukh went out of the way in promoting Ra.One. When I watched the movie I had lots of expectation. The concept of the move was interesting but the execution was amateurish. The special effect was obviously great but the story and screen play lacked substance. Shahrukh’s act as a Tamilian also was also in bad taste, I am not sure how many years Bollywood is going to stick with Mahmood’ s version of Tamilian from the 70’s. It’s boring and it is kind of irritating to say the least.
When Shahrukh went to Chennai to promote the movie I actually thought that his Shekhar Subramaniam might be different than the normal Tamil caricature Bollywood movies have but it was not to be. That was only a part of the issue with the movie as thankfully Shekhar dies within 30 minutes into the movie. The Game (Ra.One) used as the premise to move the movie forward made no sense. I will be surprised if anyone in their right mind would buy such a game. Starting from the presentation at the start of the movie in a UK gaming company which was surprisingly in Hindi with a host of English people in the crowd, the movie had gaping holes which was hard to look past.
The Ra.One game was the most mysterious one as if either of the characters can only be killed in the third level why have the first two levels at all? Why was there a Ra.One suit at all when no one can play as him? If the either of the characters can only be killed with their HART’s on, then why Ra.One (The bad one) went searching for it in India when it could be killed having it? There are lots of questions which arose while watching the movie. The only silver lining was obviously the “Chammak Challo” song, but again not sure which kids birthday party will have skimpily clad women dancing. Shahrukh obviously put his heart and soul in to this movie and was sure one of the positives to come out of the movie.
But overall the movie was a great disappointment. With such a grand budget at hand the director/writer could have spent some time in writing a better script. I would like to laud Shahrukh for attempting such a movie but for sure could have chosen a better script and probably a better director to execute it on the screen. The movie might have run on the hype but for sure was way below par on content. Shahrukh has Don 2 coming this weekend and I sincerely hope that it is better than Ra.One. This time at the helm is Farhan Akthar who is for sure a director of better pedigree than Anubhav Sinha and I am sure that this will turn out to be a better outing for the superstar.
Few months ago, the Indian team was at the top of the world. Number 1 test team, World cup winners and the captain Dhoni could do nothing wrong. One English tour later everything came crashing down. Even though India are still one of the top 3 teams in the world, the old quote “Tigers at home, paper tigers abroad” came to fore again. The English tour was an absolute disaster, an organization nightmare and the entire Indian cricket management needed to take the blame, not the cricketers alone.
The biggest factor on the English tour was the sudden spate of injuries to key Indian players. In spite of majority of them missing the West Indies series for rest, most of them ended up injured during the important English tour. The lack of practice games were another reason as the team had no time to acclimatize to the conditions. It seems like the Indian selectors and management have learnt the lesson the hard way. This time the players are there sooner and will be playing two practice games and will have enough time to get used to the conditions.
This tour is very important for the Dhoni and Fletcher combination. English tour scars still fresh in their minds, they will be keen to prove that the performance on that series was merely an aberration. The team this time is well prepared and most of the members are available for selection. Zaheer will be back to spearhead the attack, which is extremely important. The team management will be observing his fitness very closely as the English tour emphasized how important he is for the team. We have Ishant and Umesh to add to the pace department, literally speaking. Ishant too had a mild injury scare in the practice game but the team management has assured it wasn’t serious. Ashwin will lead the spin attack and the batting will be back to its full strength. India are coming into this tour with a good home season which started with blanking England 5-0 in a ODI series and winning the test and ODI series against the Windies.
Even though the injuries to Praveen Kumar and Aaron are a great setback, the team needs to move on with whatever resources they have. As Dhoni said ahead of the series, lack of practice cannot be the excuse this time and he is absolutely right. A series win here will restore the confidence the team might have lost during the disastrous English tour. A reputation which was built brick by brick by the Sourav Ganguly team since 2000 of a fighting unit away from home is something Dhoni would like to restore. The seniors will once again be the key and the middle order of Dravid, Sachin and Laxman for one last time will be back battling the Aussies in their own den.
A contest which has become a memorable battle since one of the greatest series in cricketing history took place in 2001. The series will be exciting and both teams have a lot to play for. The tour has already began on a good not with Dravid’s excellent speech in Bradman’s oration which was received with a standing ovation. The only thing Indian cricket fan would hope for is that India return with their first ever series win Down under. Dhoni and Fletcher know that this is their best chance and hopefully the team will click together to make that happen.
The venue was Sydney and it was the 4th test of a fascinating series between India and Australia. Irfan Pathan who made his debut for India earlier in the series was bowling to Steve Waugh with Australia comfortably placed at 311/4. Pathan bowled a quick full outswinger which took the outside edge of Steve Waugh’s bat and watching that I thought here is another brilliant quick bowler for the future. Pathan then bowled Adam Gilchrist with a searing Yorker which reminded me of Zaheer’s debut against Kenya few years back.
Pathan was a brilliant find for India then. A bowler capable of swinging the ball both ways at speeds in the excess of 140 + was something India were looking for.
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