Jun 28, 2002

First visit to Delhi & the Mastermind adventure beckons. More in 9 days time...

Jun 27, 2002

Dunno how I missed this piece from Ms. Varsha Bhosle (Enterprising trivia-mongers will instantly see connections with "Miss Shakalaka Baby" Ayesha Dharker and "today" (it is Rahul Dev Burman's anniversary) at the mention of her name): This is on the Presidential nominee, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam. As always, this link has an interesting p.o.v.

And while on the subject:
Interesting how reputations are built: Before Bombay Dreams, Ayesha Dharker is the arty actress from The Terrorist and now she is as commercial as Bollywood. Good work!

Jun 25, 2002

A mail from a classmate from ol' COEP Comp, Rupali, now In Arizona State Univ., mentions the hottest news (no pun intended) around in that part of the world: Huge forest fires are running amok, with large damage to the surrounding area and causing some evacuations.
Ironically, the capital of Arizona is Phoenix. Phoenix is of course the legendary bird that was burnt and rose from its own ashes.
Today was the 1st day of the really, really rainy season: the day where one sees the typical Puneri weather back in form. I even coined an alliterative phrase for it: Persistent Puneri Pitter-Patter Pavus (aka Paus/Pawus- Marathi for rain). Pathetic, wasn't it? The rain too.

Jun 24, 2002

The one good thing about Anu Malik is that he is God's gift to polemics. Any public appearance and his foot goes back into his mouth, though he is scarcely bothered about it.
This quality was again amply demonstrated in his interview yesterday on Star News, where he described his feelings when he starts composing ("It's like leaping into space, I do not know if I will land on my feet or float" (sic)) and thought he was the best among the best (no surprise there).
But what always takes the cake is the way he describes how his songs get made. One gets the feeling that he slakes his entire ego on being able to compose songs spontaneously, i.e in his words "naturally". He proceeded to create two tunes for "Jack and Jill" which was followed by a "didn't I tell u?" expression. The point, I have, Mr Malik, is that many people would be able to get different tunes made. But don't they have to be good to hear? That's the kind of verbiage that's gets you brickbats and you go about blaming most of humanity.

Jun 23, 2002

I hope (and I know ) that there is more to my life than coding. Whatever it is, it is not here ... now...
New look
I muffed up while editing the HTML on the other template, so I went around looking for alternates. I didn't want this one, as George already has this, but I couldn't find one with the right look. So sorry George for getting "inspired". But you as a RDB fan will forgive me no doubt (tongue-hidden-in-cheek of course!).
While on the subject, Anu Malik will be on Star Talk with Vir Sanghvi today.
2.45 pm on a Sunday and I am in the office. Sad!!!
Last Week was tough. I had loads to do (I am scrambling to get my work done before leaving for Shimla for the Mastermind jig which has set my schedule awry) and that meant a couple of late nighters. I, not being among those who can work pretty late, missed a lot of sleep rendezvous as a result.

TV Programming
Considering the amount of television I watch, it is no surprise that I rather fancy myself as a keen media watcher and TV pundit. And some of the TV programming of late on Indian channels have caught my eye.
I had always wondered why films telecast on TV were not serialized. This way, you have decent ad revenues and people who cannot watch (or are not allowed b'cos others in the family want to watch something else) 3 hours at a stretch do not have to look for a rerun. Well, STAR PLUS (who, to their credit, have always experimented with different kinds of ideas, though not all of them would be considered kindly) telecast the film Asoka (dir: Santosh Sivan, *ing Shah Rukh Khan) in a serialized fashion. It could have been a full-length telecast, but that they chose to do it this way is commendable. But that didn't mean I watched it completely. Just took in the 1st 30 minutes of the film.

And so moving on to Beyond the Boundary on BBC World, which took the Mastermind India slot on Thursday nights. It showcases memorable cricket matches featuring India (losses included unlike DD Sports who play it safe by showing matches India won!), with uncommon off-the-field footage (No surprises, considering the producers are TWI, who always shoot such things during series, for use in various vignette specials). But somehow, they manage to render the tale flaccid, even in cases where the situation is inherently dramatic. Bravely, they chose to begin with the Pakistan victory over India at Madras in 1999 (the one with the Tendulkar back subplot).

In the local quizzing circuit, we have a rule of thumb that says The better the prizes at a quiz, the worse the quality of the questions. And more often than not, this heuristic is borne out, especially when you look at the morass that is TV quizzing. But there are exceptions, and none better than the ESPN SCHOOL QUIZ, a sports quiz for school kids. The host is the well known cricket commentator, Harsha Bhogle, and he is very good at the whole thing. He obviously knows his sports trivia, has the rules and the loopholes figured out and is very spontaneous without resorting to gimmickry. The technical angles are impressive and the sets are good. And the questions have depth and don't insult the knowledge of the participants, young as they may be. And the participants: they are quite classy! Pune has two good teams, Abhinav & Bishop's doing well. The prizes are fantastic, which makes me rue the fact that no such stuff was around when I was in school. The quiz is coming into its finals stages, and is a must watch. All this praise despite the fact that I do not like quizzing techniques like rapid-fire, buzzers, anagrams and the final round where only one team member can answer (I hate the notion that there can be no consultation, people tend to forget that quizzing is a team game - ask a bowler to run in without a keeper! )
And to round it off, National Geographic have their own quiz called National Geo-Genius, all about (you guessed it) Geography. Rounds are timed, with a mix of rapid-fire and buzzer (sigh!) techniques and the participants are from Britain. The scoring is done in miles and the game consists of circumnavigating the globe scorecard. One is asked questions depending on the country one is currently in, and moves ahead by the point-miles on the globe. But I have a peeve: Ms. Juliet Morris, the hostess, takes these huge pauses and even clarifies answers, eating up valuable time. And they drop the straggler, the person in the last position, as they move to the next round. The questions are quite decent though.

Jun 13, 2002

Meera Syal's Article

In the wake of the high exposure that Bollywood is getting in Britain of late, here's Meera Syal (who wrote & acted in Goodness Gracious Me, a pioneering TV comedy of the last few years, and now associated with Bombay Dreams) on the whole Bollywood thing:
Prepare for planet Bollywood

Jun 12, 2002

Theories and Jinxes

We all love to have favourite theories: usually coincidences that have happened more than once. We all know they are bound to fail at some point, but we enjoy them while they last.
I was thinking about the following theories:

  • Why P.C.Alexander didn't make it as President:
    We've heard the political reasons. Here's a weird theory. He didn't go there b'cos my family wasn't ready to! Confused? Actually, my family has been following the erudite Doctor in the last 13 years. He moved to Madras as Governor, so did we. He then came over to Maharashtra, and within a year, we followed suit. Obviously, the theory fails pre-1988 and will probably do so soon. But when he seemed to be the frontrunner, we were wondering how and when we would move to the capital! Not anymore though.
  • Why Brazil will win the 2002 Football World Cup:
    A posting on a local newsgroup explains an interesting observation:
    Brazil last won the world cup in 1994. Before that they won it in 1970. Add 1970 and 1994, it equals 3964.
    Argentina last won the world cup in 1986. Before that they won it in 1978. Add 1978 and 1986, it equals 3964.
    Germany last won in 1990. Before that they won in 1974. Add 1990 and 1974, it equals 3964.
    So going by this logic, the winner of the 2002 world cup is the same as the 3964 - 2002 = 1962 world cup. The 1962 world cup was won by Brazil.
    Indian fans too have reason to rejoice :India has never won the world cup so we'll probably win it...in the year 3964.

    Just a joke as you can see: Doesn't quite come up to scratch in explaining the one time victories of England, Uruguay etc.
  • And the Indian cricket team:
    Seems to do well in years ending with "83". The World Cup was won in 1983 & The Hero Cup in 1993. No idea if the years 1973, 1963 etc. bear this theory out. But eternal optimists that we are, the World Cup in 2003 has a fortunate ring to it. Too much work even for a theory to get our team to win?
Forced Sabbatical: Apologies to the audience of this blog, both of you :). Work of the proportions of the Mt.Kilimanjaro descended upon me and my various preparations have caused this prolonged absence of blogging activity.
But I did keenly follow the blogs of George & Gaurav. They are in some sort of vacation time and have the time to spare for thought and composition, thus making me very envious.
Gaurav will be facing his viva voce on the 17th of June (Here's wishing him success at that) before heading off to the land of Nawaabi Thaat, Lucknow (Where hopefully, uski gaadi "pahle aap, pahle aap" mein nahi chutegi).
George, on the other hand, seems to be enjoying his summer with a couple of movies each day, followed by lip-smacking trivia about them and lots of blogging.

Bombay Dreams, a musical featuring the talents of A.R.Rahman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, Meera Syal among others, opens on June 19. The cast also features some actors from India include Dalip Tahil, Ayesha Dharker and Sophiya Haque. Some anticipation as to how desi music will be received and if it can revive the flagging fortunes of both Andrew Lloyd Webber & the "musical" scene in general. The songs, however, will be remade from old Rahman numbers including "Shakalaka" from "Mudhalvan" and "Ishq Bina" from "Taal". Here's an interesting article from the Guardian on the subject: Bombay nights and West End dreams