Jan 31, 2009

Sundaram has served his last great meal

The actor Nagesh, one of the greatest I've seen, passed away earlier today. He remained active, especially in Kamalahassan movies, almost till the end (according to Wikipedia, his last release was Dasavatharam).

Nagesh's genius for comedy and pathos, drama and character, put him, IMHO, in the Chaplin league. Hindi film watchers may have seen Mehmood portray several Nagesh roles in Hindi remakes, including the role of the waiter in Main Sundar Hoon (Server Sundaram) and the madcap wannabe director (complete with horror narrator) in Pyar Kiye Jaa (Kadalikka Neramillai).

A detailed tribute at PFC provides a glimpse of how wonderful the actor was. A theatre in the T.Nagar area of Madras, named after and owned by the actor, was the closest to home when I lived there, and where I saw a few films, including Devar Magan. That theatre was a minor geographical entity, but the man was a pint-sized movie landmark.

Jan 29, 2009


An astonishingly common typo seen these days is the use of the word "diffusing" in the context of taking the fizz out of a bomb. Google returns 41,700 search results for "diffuse bomb". Even respected newspapers occasionally spread the shrapnel, as seen in this article (unless the man quoted saying that spelt it out for the reporter).

I hope it doesn't gain currency like "revert". That would make it a deficult situation.

Jan 28, 2009

Slumbi, race ka ghoDaa

If, like me, you wondered what the fuss about Slumdog Millionaire was, then you could blame the Indian film industry.

Here's why. I have spent about two and a half decades in the generous bosom of Indian films, or Hindi & Tamil films to be precise. We learnt us how to appreciate these movies. Training our neo-cortex to take in the bloodless dishum-dishum, where henchmen respectfully awaited their turn in being beaten up by a hero who was in a much lower weight category1, where Landsteiner's divisive blood groups freely mixed, and the locked up heroine always sprawled across the bed in a diagonal direction.

When we asked how does the hero know which hospital to go to?2, the wise answer came: the director must have told him.

Add to this situation, the parallel cinema movement of the 80s (which came with a governmental guarantee that women would get molested, children would die of hunger, and there would be no songs). These came into prominence once a year when the National Film Awards were announced.

Therein lies our Slumdog dilemma. When you grow up with two sets of film philosophies, one engineered for entertainment and escapism and the other for awards, you can't easily reconcile the former type winning critical awards. Our 'commercial' filmmakers knew what end point to get to, and how to get us there. What if they broke half-a-dozen natural laws in getting there? We didn't complain about them not getting any awards - that wasn't their purpose in life.

Then we became tired. Guilty even of this naach-gaana. We learnt dismissive words such as 'kitsch' to keep them at arm's bay. Mostly, we wanted a change. Especially from cringing at watching befuddled foreigners3 staring in songs sung by Kumar Sanu4.

My examples of how movies that perfectly meshed entertainment and mental stimulation came from Hollywood, especially many of the Academy Award winning films. Then we learnt how those gongs get marketed and manipulated. We discovered great movies that even the American public didn't like. We learnt to use our own eyes and minds.

Now, most mainstream Hindi film makers are deliberately ironic about what can only be termed as 'heritage'. The best directors now don't make movies like in the 70s and 80s, and thankfully so. That's a deliberate act of (r)evolution. Each year, we make some films, that in our own estimation, can stand up to any of the best that we've ever seen from the West.

So it's hard to go ga-ga about a film that embodies so many bad habits of the Hindi films of our growing years. Yes, the cinematography is good, the pace is far from leisurely, the kids are fresh, the background score is pulsating. But then, like the Bollywood tradition it channels, SDM suffers from the oldest groan in the book: what George calls the Sagging Second Half syndrome.

SDM makes a chinese bhel of the NP-complete Indian languages resolution problem, serves up one of the most ineffective Hindi film gangsters of all time, and ends with a song that even Sunny Deol could have choreographed better. But largely, it's the extra masala thrown in to suspense-ify the film: the live telecast of the TV show, the chance to break off post-question-pre-answer (hurt my quizzing sensibilities), meet me at VT (where - it's such a big station!) and so on. That made-for-all seasons answer bubbled up when we complained: oh, come on! how did that happen?. The answer was: it was written. In the screenplay."

A pity. It's a clever story. But we've seen the treatment before. My complaint to the Academy is: if this was the filmi angle you wanted, you should have told us before, no? We could have arranged for it earlier, cheap price only, better quality maal. The resulting attention that some of our best creatives have receive is welcome. But the affair has confused us5.

A final point:
To those here who complain about poverty and exploitation: break the give me. Our own movies are still full of exploitative material.
Danny Boyle, against whom much of these charges have been leveled, can probably take solace in one of the long standing traditions of the Hindi masala. That of the villainous angrez, whose backside must be kicked by the end of the movie, preferably when he's trying to escape with the gems via helicopter. Jai Bajrangbali to you.

No, one last, god-promise last point:
Leaving the primary role of film awards to reward movies aside, their legacy is to serve as some measure of the quality of films in a year and to serve as one source of recommendations for the future. This episode also reveals the utter paucity of trustworthy Indian movie awards, which is why any tizzy at the Oscars - a Hollywood exercise - gets our blood pressure high.

1. Matthew Schneeberger says it much better than I ever could.

1.: Unless of the Sanjeev Kumar mould.
2.: Not to be used for mai.n kahaa.n huu.n, which was largely rhetorical and equivalent to "good morning".
3.: Who wondered why Govinda was romancing Karisma Kap[oo|u]r instead of Himani Shivpuri, who was in his own weight category.
4.: That's Padma Shri Kumar Sanu to you.
5.: I didn't think much of last time's Oscar for Best Film either, for different reasons.

Jan 27, 2009

Roger Federer, my new Tendulkar

For a period beginning from the earlier part of this century to about a couple of years ago, my viewings of Sachin Tendulkar batting went like this. As soon as the great man walked in, a stomach-full of butterflies danced their unholy steps - so keen was I for him to do well and to prove each detractor (death to them!) wrong. Sometimes, it came off, but many times, it didn't. The only positive was that the butterflies would immediately vacate said space to leave a brief emptiness.

Until a Zen-like realisation dawned that allowed me to accept and appreciate whatever Tendulkar provided each minute in the middle. Subject sometimes to the moods of the jealous sporting gods. Irrespective of large or infinitesmal.

It worked, because now, it doesn't matter all that much. And he's enjoyed an 'nth' Australian summer.

For the greater part of the last tennis season, Roger Federer became my new Tendulkar. It was painful to watch, not because he was hitting balls into the net, but because a figurative string had snapped in that divine racket. The most recent illustration came on Sunday, when Tomas Berdych walked in and snatched two sets without leave or license. The butterflies ordered some more nectar and boogied away.

Hard to say exactly what impression the next three sets had. The man who played, nay sweetly horsewhipped, Juan Martin del Potro today had absolutely no effect on my stomach, apart from causing satisfaction that I doubt even a gourmet meal at The Ritz would come close to matching. The second set - the first of two bagels of the match - was sufficiently sublime for us to congratulate del Potro on managing to take three games in the first set.

In fact, let's digress to pay a tribute to del Potro, the recipient of a sympathetic near-apology from the man on the other side. Those very same sadistic sporting gods chose you because someone had to be on the other side of the net. No one deserves that. Despite your own lux-quotient (you are #6 in the world, remember), the light at the other end was a pleasantly blinding experience. You are more than someone who had to serve every other game, more than a straight man in the wrong kind of act, more than a hula hoop for a God. You deserve to star in your own YouTube videos, rather than a hapless cameo in someone else's.

Yes, I'm getting 'kinda' cocky. Blame it on Roger Federer, who even chose to head a ball across the net than merely accept yet another point won via happy slaughter. Who knows, I might even hex him in the semis. But the mood he was in today was a return to the days that made grown tennis players want to speed-dial their moms so that they could weep into their laps.

Naturally, it's appropriate that his semi-final opponent is Andy Roddick.

Jan 26, 2009

26th January, 2009

Continuing the series.

How to assess the progress made in addressing the the November attacks on Bombay? There have been a lot of stories across the month from newspapers and magazines (IMO, they have been doing a good job of reporting related stories). However, finding this information in one place, say on a newspaper's site, is very difficult. I wonder if someone has a blog or webpage chronicling some of the serious reports and opinions to come out. If not, someone should. This Wikipedia article is the best we have now.

A quick wonder as to whether the people who said they would keep returning to the Gateway of India until concrete steps have been taken, are doing so? Or if they are reasonably satisfied that things are changing for the better. Hard to tell.

Several police and security personnel who died in the fighting that day have received India's highest peace time gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra. There were the inevitable bureaucratic murmurs - how do they really assess someone's contribution, how could they leave one out if a similar other was included, and so on. That these honours are awarded only to individuals and not to groups is a pity. Isn't an NSG commando who is fortunate to successfully finish the operation and to come out alive also worthy of great praise? Is bravery only determined by certain kinds of circumstances? The good thing has been that for a change, these men have become household names. We don't do enough to highlight the rest's contribution in non-glamorous situations.
The TOI reports that funds allocated to the Maharashtra police were "diverted" to housing and vehicle issues rather than buying equipment. Buying sleek vehicles is obviously a luxury that can be postponed, but I'm not sure housing should necessarily be considered a lower priority as the article claims. Policemen at lower ranks and their families don't always live comfortable lives; these are issues of morale and economics that have as much impact on a policeman's likelihood of avoiding the temptation of corruption and be mentally available for a demanding job.
A minor step in improving the NSG's response times comes from them now being allow to requisition private aircraft if necessary. And there's a new RAW chief.
In an interesting conversation with Shekhar Gupta, the Home Minister says he is working as per a 150 day plan, mentions an acronym-filled (almost Yes Ministerial) project called the National Population Register, and made this important point:
SG: And citizens also learn that there is a price to pay for security.
PC: There is a price to pay. You have to accept some inconveniences. The same citizen who goes to the US and willingly removes his jacket, shoes etc. shouldn’t complain if he is frisked here. I think we must get over some of the bad habits that we have allowed to grow in the last few years[...]
People complain when they are frisked, people complain if they are stopped at the check post, people still jump red lights at night. All that must go.
Made me think: we go hoarse demanding politicians, police, customs et al. do their duties. So that they protect our right to break a traffic signal in the middle of the day.
On the Pakistan front, Indians would have been happy to see the new White House go all bellicose on the issue of unilateral strikes. Almost immediately followed by conciliatory statements from Islamabad.
In the New Indian Express, Joydeep Nayak says the IPS has no standard operating procedures for different situations.
Finally, wondering if the Assam blasts earlier this month got a lot of mind space, or if it was 'business as usual' for the rest of us?

Next BC Quizzing Day

Two BCQC quizzes coming up on February 1st: all the details here. In addition, there are several other Pune quizzes happening in February, pointers to which can be found here.

Dal-chini bhai bhai

Chandni Chowk to China could so easily have been titled Singh is Qing.

Jan 14, 2009

Pune Music Circle is a very regularly updated blog about upcoming music events of all sorts in Pune. Quite useful.

Jan 12, 2009

'Interesting' is a stop word?

In language processing, a stop word is one that that has little to no importance in a certain task. Common examples are words like 'the' and 'of' in an Information Retrieval system, which is why a search engine ignores them by default. A routine measure of stop words involves frequency - words that occur too often are deemed to have lost their 'distinguishing power' and so do not provide any value while trying to identify the topic of a document or the opinions of a blog post.

To me, the word 'interesting' is teetering on the edge of usefulness. Earlier, when someone used the word, you could assume they found something worthy of curiosity. But, in many instances now, the word is used in a politically correct sense, usually as a response to the question: "so what did you think of that?"

If you don't possess the mordant wit of Dorothy Parker or the honesty of a child, you hem and haw and say: "Oh, um, it was interesting. Quite interesting.".

And "interesting" becomes consigned to the scrap heap of pointless patter.

Jan 11, 2009

"Pune’s Rosy Winters" - an article

The following formed the basis of an article about Pune in the winters that I wrote for the December edition of FlyLite, the in-flight magazine of the airline JetLite, which is put together by Spenta Multimedia. The content belongs to the publishers.

Pune’s Rosy Winters Once known for its historical traditions and now an educational and commercial hotspot, Pune rediscovers its roots each year in its invigorating winters.

There comes a day when the early rising Punekar will step out of his house, pause in slight surprise, and try to clear his eyes. When the blurriness remains, the Punekar realises that the light fog is to blame for the reduced visibility and that winter has arrived on padded feet.

Winter arrives quietly in Pune and is greeted with relief by the city, especially since an unpleasantly hot October is a common postscript to the rainy season. Pune has always lived, figuratively and literally, in the shadow of a metropolis that makes much of its monsoons. But winter is a season Pune can lay claim to as its own. Unlike the disruptive machismo of the Bombay rains, Pune's winter is gentle in both arrival and tenure, mirroring the laidback ways of the place. A trip down the sleek Mumbai-Pune expressway through the misty Western Ghats more than amplifies this difference.

In the Pink The phrase that the locals use to describe the first month of the winter says it all. Punekars bask in “gulaabii thandii”, literally the “rosy cold”. During this time, citizens, in their light woollens, can be seen bearing a light rosiness of both cheek and demeanour.

Since Pune's winters are temperate, especially in comparison with the frigid bitterness of many North Indian towns, they can rouse residents to action rather than cause them to cower behind a thick quilt. Once the indolence of the early cold morning is defeated, a walk in the balmy ambience is the best way to kick off a day. Given that parts of commercially booming Pune are sometimes bedevilled by smog towards the evenings, the mornings remain the best time to soak up the sun-kissed winter.

A favourite variation of this is to walk up the nearest ‘tekdi’ or hillock. Pune is blessed with an abundance of these easy-to-climb hillocks, which offer vantage views of the city, especially in the late evenings. Many of these tekdis have a temple at the summit, providing the spiritually-minded with a reward for their exertions. For the more material at heart, tekdis also offer flat summits for exploration, hot snacks and tea, and the pleasant company of fellow wanderers. Much higher than any tekdi is Sinhgadh on the outskirts of Pune which boasts of a legendary fort of the Marathas. It is a favourite with both trekkers and foodies. The traditional pithla-bhaakri or onion bhajjis washed down the special buttermilk gains a special tang after a pleasant wintry ascent.

Avian Season For those with their feet firmly on the ground, the season offers other charms. The many lakes in and around Pune receive several varieties of migratory birds. Chief among these are different kinds of ducks, geese, and herons. However, the chief headline-hoggers are pink flamingos that come in from the West and the North, via the Rann of Kutch. Apart from trekking expeditions, local adventure groups organise bird watching tours to places such as Pashan Lake, Bhigwan Dam, Kavdi, and Sinhgadh, and have inspired many an amateur ornithologist.

Cultural Capital Pune's cultural calendar is packed in the winter, with music events ruling the roost. The days during the festival of Diwali, especially the “Paadva” day, are marked by early morning classical music concerts by top musicians. However, the undisputed star on the cultural firmament is the “Sawai Gandharva Music Festival”.

The festival is named in memory of Rambhau Kundagolkar or ‘Sawai Gandharva’, a leading Hindustani classical music exponent of the 40s. Of the Kirana gharana, Gandharva tutored several students who later rose in musical prominence. Chief among these was the legendary Bhimsen Joshi. Led by him, these students started this festival, now over fifty years old, which always features a stellar list of classical musicians.

The event is held on three successive days, beginning in the afternoon and going on till well into the night. Held in the open with some partly covered areas, the result is a very unique experience for spectators. Sweaters of increasing thickness are worn as the evening wears on, blankets are used to reserve areas for groups to recline during the night, and a thermos is pulled out for tea & comfort. Municipal rules prohibiting shows past 10 o clock are cheerfully violated (permission is eventually granted). But nobody in the neighbourhood really minds, especially when some of the best musicians in the country are on stage.

The performers on the bill are usually singers and instrumentalists of various Hindustani classical music styles. The event also showcases leading musicians of the Carnatic form of classical music, and dancers. For each performer, an appearance at the Sawai Gandharva is a stern test in front of the connoisseurs, who have cast discerning ears at many a pretender over the decades. The Sawai is very much a home of music, especially an open-air, wintry one.

The fastidious Sawai attendee will tell you that for several people, the Sawai is the social event of the winter calendar. A chance to meet friends, and to have tea and snacks with them at 1 in the night. But for the average music lover, it is a once-in-a- year opportunity to hear some of the best sounds in the business, and to do it in the company of the stars above.

In recent times, a number of other cultural events have sprung up during the winter months, such as the Pune International Film Festival and the Pune Book Fair. Another festival-in-memoriam is “Pulotsav” which commemorates Pune's most favourite littérateur, P. L. Deshpande, or “Pu La” as he was fondly known. A man of immense artistic talents, a keenly observant Pu La used humor writing, theatre, film, poetry, and song to depict life around him in ways no one else has. This two-week festival is devoted to the arts, featuring Pu La vignettes as well as theatre, music, and reading performances.

Since winters in Pune rarely descend into single digit temperatures, the city is never hobbled by the weather. As January ends and the sun becomes less oblique, winter fades away just as gently as it arrived. Each year, the hard-to-impress Pune old-timer will insist that the city was not what it used to be. But come next November, this sentiment will be assuaged by the winters of Pune's content.

1. Thanks to Sumant for sending the publishers my way and Nikhil for his inputs.
2. While setting out to write this, I realised I knew hardly anything about Pune winters beyond the usual minutiae. There's quite a bit more to this place.
3. If you thought the title was slightly diabetes-inducing, I can explain.
4. Ironically, this time, the winter only showed up towards the end of December (and then with a set of frigid knives).

Jan 9, 2009

Death did them apart

A few days ago, I was reading this obituary of Harold Pinter. At the end of the article, this caught my eye:
Mel Gussow, a critic and cultural reporter for The Times, died in 2005.
The obit was written by Mel Gussow and Ben Brantley.

Obviously, Gussow had contributed to the obit a long while ago. Though seemingly morbid, keeping an up-to-date obituary of a notable personality even prior to his decease is common newspaper practice. That said, I haven't seen this inversion before.

Max Gussow was a NYT theatre critic, whose own obit can be read here. There's also this nice Washington Post article about the life of an obituary writer.

Jan 8, 2009

Mind culture

There came a point when I knew significantly more trivia about Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, or Shakti, than much of their music. So it was only fair that I plough back some of my ill-gotten earnings into redressing this state of affairs.

So where does a newbie start but with so-called definitive collections? As long as I don't ask 'what need do I have of this' and 'that'.

Jan 7, 2009

RMIM Puraskaar 2008

Tired of the multitude of inconsistent (and plainly misguided) Hindi film music awards? The RMIM Puraskaars, an attempt to redress this imbalance, is accepting nominations for your favourite songs from last year.

The results from 2006 and 2007 should more than assuage any lingering doubts as to its musical tastes :-). The motivations behind such an exercise are available for perusal here.

One can nominate up to 30 songs (use this list of films from last year to jog your memory) and use the form at the end of this page. The poll is likely to remain open until the middle of this month.

Jan 6, 2009

Dev.D and Rule

People who know me will tell you I have probably never used the phrase "kick-ass" to describe anything. But there's a first time for everything. The music of Dev.D deserves that appellation. It's as if some rugby fly-half drop-kicked you right into the yonder sky. It's an enjoyable ride, by the way.

Amit Trivedi (music), Amitabh Bhattacharya (lyrics, along with Shellee and others), and Anurag Kashyap (director) manage to do three things: they exhibit a superlative range of genres, provide a solid texture (a mix of urban melancholy, mofussil brass, and quiet yearning), and most importantly, they demonstrate great faith in their choices. There are 18 tracks, and while some of them do falter, just taking the effort to put in 18 more-than-decent tracks (haven't seen that kind of depth and scale since Rahman's Bose) gives them many brownie points.

The list of my personal picks begins with the dulcet banaarasii Dhol yaaraa Dhol sung with great desire by Shilpa Rao and backed by Kshitij. Some of the turns gave me the kind of goosepimples that I usually get with some Rahman interludes. Raa.NjhaNaa is a small downbeat version of this song.

The album has many such doppelgangers - pairs of tracks taking gloomy/bouyant U-turns, hard rock/street music incarnations, or turning from joy to lament. The two Dev-Chanda Themes are especially interesting - the first is a slow bluesy hum (and a fine one at that) while the second is a very moody whistle with a touch of menace.

The album continues its excursions off the rails. There are a couple of Punjabi songs and a Rajasthani song mixed to club arrangements. Then there are a couple of songs that just don't seem to belong here. They're from some Indi-rock-pop album. It gets very difficult to mentally put this lot together - your mind has to make several leaps to reconcile them. What's uncanny about the soundtrack is how it keeps riding the waves of romantic exhilaration and cavernous dejection. Shruti Pathak's paayaliyaa is a great example of this.

Then come the songs voiced by Amit Trivedi - these tend to be garrulous (the harmonium-guitar fuelled duniyaa), scruffy rock (nayan, aa.nkh micholii), or dripping with melancholia (saalii khushi). He's off the sur in places, but that seems very calculated - or is it?

And at last, for the dhokhaa-daayak "emo[tio|sa]nal atyaachaar" songs. That phrase is so cheesy and so appropriate that it will turn into a worn-out cliché. Especially for the brass band version (an immaculate concept, if any), which on repeated hearings could so easily turn into hilarity by the time the movie hits the screens. That might actually work against the intended mood. Don't hear it too often if the song needs to retain its novelty freakness! The rock version is safer, with a great opening guitar riff and sung with throat-shattering gusto by Bony Chakravarthy.

Phew. Undoubtedly, there are a hajaar music influences at play in Dev.D's soundscape. I found myself thinking of fragments from several songs. In several places, the lyrics are both wonderful and with an original flavour. A loser's tale has seldom been more plunge-worthy. Whatever happens to his movies, Anurag Kashyap's track record in getting music that you can also touch and feel remains intact. In many ways, the follow-up to the collaborations with Vishal Bhardwaj is appropriate. Amit Trivedi's music is intertwined with Amitabh Bhattacharya's words in a wholesome concoction. Where did all these people come from, you wonder - these Labh Jajuas, Shilpa Raos, Shellees, Toshis and Aditis and Shrutis, Manis and Kshitijs, and most of all, these Amits? The efforts in composition, writing, performances boggle the mind.

An album so trippy, you find yourself on your backside often, staring into that strange sky. You bitch. Indeed.

A more detailed and appropriately awe-struck review here.

Jan 5, 2009

1.25 sessions at Sawai Gandharva 2009

I have been stepping up my Sawai Gandharva attendances in measured quanta - one session in 2005, a full day last year, and 2 days this year. Or that was the plan for this year, until I decided I had had enough this year after half of the last day and decided to retire hurt.

I've realised I don't really have much of an ear for the standard issue Hindustani classical concert. The template performance, with the lengthy warm-up aalaaps, made me fret. Or perhaps it was just the choice of performers. The trouble with Sawai is that the first few performances are either newcomers or slightly obscure musicians. In comparison to the big names, they don't seem to tailor their recitals in accordance to the audience's mood (or in response of the lack of one). Contrastingly, all the Carnatic musicians I've seen at Sawai have gone out of their way to engage with the listeners, either by useful explanations of what they're about to do, or by picking attractive compositions. It could be that they have to put their best foot forward, being mostly novel to the average attendee.

It could just be my South Indian ear, brought up on idli-dosai at home and pongal-coffee at the Chennai winter sabhas (which I hated to attend as a ten year old at the peak of my neighbourhood game). But those with me seemed to concur. I enjoyed the programme last year. This time, Ganesh-Kumaresh and Pandit Jasraj (who clearly knows how to recruit the audience on his journeys, and did some interesting harmonic bits with his pupils, whom he also sledged from time to time) were the highlights. Even the usually appealing Ronu Majumdar couldn't hold my interest.

Or it was the crowds. The Bhaaratiya Baithak (you sit cross-legged, Indian-style) is a pain in the arse, quite literally, and especially so when there's hardly room for the occasional stretch or back-lean. Your mind gets into a sitting-marathon mode and at some point you hit the wall. I spent the rest of the Sunday morning (lasted about 3 hours in the BB) standing. There's got to be a rethink about some of the organisation - the place is splitting at the seams. Or an extension of the shamiaanaa on either side is needed. I sat under the stars last year till 2 am and ended up with a massive cold in return for watching the astonishing L. Subramaniam and his son.

On the sidelines, there was an excellent photo exhibition featuring the latest Bharat Ratna, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (who made an appearance and looked extremely frail, and so in no condition to repeat his short and sweet recital from last year). The highlight being a snap of a rather dashing Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Clamped up, I inevitably end up in a lot of soul-searching: what am I here for? Do I really "get" what the musician is trying to do? Am I, in Aditya Gadre's annoyed terminology, just a pseudo-fan (in its kindest interpretation). Are many of the people here just surfing the annual social waves or busy admiring the emperor's new clothes?

Anything to keep my mind off the pain that has oppresses the region from my lower back to the ankles like some mad despot.

This is a much kinder report by a Sawai debutant.

Jan 3, 2009

Balls, Ballots, Bollywood - Questions

In October, I did a quiz called Balls, Ballots, Bollywood (the Madhur Bhandarkar version would be called "Cricket, Politics, Films") which, I am sure, gave the participants lots of "emotional atyaachaar"[1] even before they knew such a phrase existed.

Anyway, questions from that quiz are now available - the details can be found here.

I did a couple of interesting things for and during the quiz, which you can read about it in two "Making of..." articles under this label. (for lack of Disc 2 of the DVD, the one with the special features and the secret out-takes).

1: How we needed that phrase. Its time has come.