Jun 30, 2003

With the backdrop of another batch of fresh faced almost-graduates set to become the latest of my colleagues tomorrow, I stumbled upon this little introduction I wrote up for an appropriately silly skit that we newbies put up a few days after we added our names to the office register:

Routine Disclaimer: Any coincidence is completely intended but wholly denied.
Welcome to Perspiring Cisterns - The Movie. A classic tale, it is widely considered as the worst movie ever made, even surpassing such blockbusters as Sauce Bhi Kabhi Tamatar Thi & Hamara Pill Aapke Aas-Paas Hain. It was also the first Indian film to make it to the Mongolian top 10. The makers of this movie are so proud of it that they have decided to go into hiding. The rumour is that great dons such as PlyWood Ibrahim & Mota Vakil were so affected by this movie that they have made threatening calls to the makers - pleading with them to stop screening this movie. Like most hit Hindi films, it has absolutely no plot. So we would like to remind you that the makers are not responsible for any loss of mental equilibrium that may result. We pick up the action, surprisingly, in the 1st scene itself where our hero is ready to go out in to the big, bad world - to face an interview in a software company.

I don't think it quite got the reception it deserved.

1992, Wimbledon Finals: Along with Goran Ivanisevic, I was devastated. An absolute wringer of a final had just concluded and my second-most favourite tennis player had lost a chance to lift the only Slam he would ever have the game and opportunity to win. And ironically, he had lost to the one player that everyone thought wouldn't win at the All England courts. Or to rephrase that, if there was one Grand Slam that Andre Agassi would have the least chance of winning, it was thought to be Wimbledon.

I didn't like Agassi. Very simple. He was too flashy, too flamboyant, he thumbed his nose at a place like Wimbledon which for a kid like me who absolutely adored tennis then, was a temple. And why wouldn't he play? Because it meant that he would have to swap his flourescent dresses for a very sober white. I didn't like Agassi because he was the garish neon light from a Vegas casino in the sparkling starry sky of tennis in the early nineties.

I watched with approval his losses to Andres Gomez and Jim Courier in two consecutive French Open finals. I didn't like it one bit when he beat my personal top-ranker, Boris Becker in Slams, especially at Wimbledon. I thought Goran would pull it off, also because it was his best chance ever. (I thought he deserved to win Wimbledon, but didn't think he would ever win a Slam since. Goran's pummelling by Sampras in a later final seemed to further underline the writing on the wall, but that amazing win over Rafter later in the decade was unexpected but poetic justice (Harish would disagree :-) ). It meant Rafter himself would miss out, but tennis has rarely had a more romantic figure than Goran Ivanisevic. So by a strange coincidence, my best two players are the only two unseeded players to lift Wimbledon.). While a guy who didn't want to play in Wimbledon because of flimsy clothes and even flimsier reasons won it! The injustice of it all, it seemed to me.

But as times changed, so did Agassi. A much-needed boost for the game came with the rivalry with Sampras. With Sampras having mentally retired from the game, Agassi is the one true superstar around. Whatever my personal dislikes of the man's habits, I couldn't help admiring the brilliant groundstrokes, the weapons of a stinging return-of-serve, tactics, and accurate placements that were his hallmark. The man himself has sobered down and is almost unrecognisable from the hirsute, ear-ringed, girl-friend flashing pop icon of an earlier decade. I don't follow tennis so much nowadays, and definitely am not so emotional about the whole thing today. I can understand the value Agassi brought to the game, bringing in starry-eyed followers earlier and helping to keep the interest of the fans today. His interviews today are strictly about the game, a far cry from those tabloid press meets (which one can still sample in the DD Sports reruns of those Wimbledon wrap-ups hosted by Cliff Richards) where the subject of tennis was left outside in the cold. He is getting to the other end of the hairy scale, but his control and clear thought are still the same.

Of a man who has the rare distinction of winning a Career Grand Slam, I can only say that I wronged him by speaking ill of his tennis. It was and continues to be, even 11 years after his first Grand Slam, quite classy.

It was something like visiting an old friend and observing how things had changed while keeping something of the endearing past alive. Or as she said (paraphrased): "Some things change, while some things do not". Precisely my feelings after watching the The Matrix Reloaded.

I'm so glad I didn't watch it on a very small 16 inch screen. According to me, the whole success (and hence the governing principle) of the Matrix movies is that they've been able to throw in all these abstruse concepts that don't quite make a lot of sense while one is watching the film unfold, but the danger to the commercial returns that this apparent profundity may cause is offset by the stunning effects that continues to hack a path in unknown territory. Which means I can walk into a screen, not expect to understand every piece of the story, but be immersed in the visual outrageousness, go home, read the script and various explanatory texts and arrive at an acceptable interpretation for myself. Good enough, I say. Hence the whole point of not watching the film with a free copy but on a monitor. The whole impact of the visuals is deprecated corresponding to a loss of every square inch than was originally intended.

I was happy to see Neo still a little baffled and not completely cocky and confident as it seemed he would be at the end of the first Movie. The usual collection (of old favourites as it now seems) were there: More glimmer in Trinity's costume, more black-Smiths, ripple of a shock wave - this time in a container truck than a building in a collision with a chopper, the spoon, the wine-coloured sofa with bits of stuffing visible and more bringing back from the dead. We had our eyes peeled for a glimpse of Trinity typing "ssh" and "nmap". Yep, I caught it. What colossal fun it all is!

I was just thinking that there are a few things that we'll be able to tell our children and even with the usual expectations of the future at that time being more strange than we can imagine today, we've seen a few things that will make their eyes pop out. The audacity of the September 11 attacks in a political sense perhaps, but undoubtedly, whovever sees the Matrix movies will be inundated by stories from their grandmas and grandpas about how it blew our collective imaginations then. And I think they'll understand.

The Great Indian Novel is to books what Kalyug is to films. A contemporary reworking of the Mahabharata, it weaves the story in a political setting, with backdrop of India from under British rule to the end of Indira Gandhi's reign. Shashi Tharoor gives the lead roles to various Indian political figures such as Gandhi being Bhishma, Yudhishthira donning the cap of Morarji Desai and Duryodhana being renamed as Priya Duryodhani, in the mould of Indira Priyadarshini. It was pretty interesting with his use of verse in parts, but I wouldn't go gaga over it. The many references, clever word-twists (like Laslut for Lahore. Get the joke?), comparisons of people and events in the original epic and the Indian political scene are what make it worth atleast a one time read. The book was courtesy the generous lending of Samrat. And yes, yes, Jinnah is Karna!
The ESPN School sports quiz is heading for an exciting climax, with the three teams that performed the best in the earlier rounds making it. There were Birla High School - Calcutta, St.John's - Chennai and Rajendra Vidyalaya - Jamshedpur. It is also a tribute to the format of the quiz that enabled all these three teams to be there, because without the three-legged semis, lucky loser principle for qualiying for the National semi-final and finals, we wouldn't have seen any of these teams make it. For Calcutta were second to Jamshedpur in the Zonal Finals (which decides qualifiers for the National semis), St. John's were second to Calcutta in the first semi-final but were better than the 3 other losing teams in the combined semis, and Jamshedpur lost the first leg of their semis. But there was no doubting the fact that these are the best three this year, and that's one for the ESPN guys. Plus the fact that in Harsha Bhogle, they have probably the best TV quizmaster, a person who has his quizzing principles perfected, knows a lot about sports, knows when the teams are trying to pull a fast one, and makes consistent decisions, which is more than what one can ask for. Can we arrange to send a few copies of the show to a certain address in Calcutta for one very whimsical "quote" quizmaster "unquote"?

Birla have always been my pick to win the quiz, because unlike the other teams, both members are capable of pulling out the big answer. They also have a great gameplan and aren't afraid to take chances. Their choice of 9-pointers when they have the opportunity early in Citius is a great ploy, especially against weaker teams who don't want to incur -9. It can help them retain the strike, to use a metaphor, and attempt a guess at the picture behind. Very smart kids, these.

The major grouse I have with Joy Bhattacharya's questions is that the questions aren't always graded properly in the last round, Fortius, and these questions could also be a little more workable, considering time is at the discretion of the quizmaster and is for one team only.

Anyway, it is one of the best quizzes on Indian TV, and easily the most exciting. And the first prize is worth all the year-long effort these kids must put in.

15 films and 7 books. That's the tally for 30 days in June. I didn't plan on being a little too prolific this month, but it has somehow just happened. Following the lead of Samrat, I keep a log of these books and movies, and I was trying to check if I had been guilty of reckless spending of time. I could only identify two movies that had been unnecessary, the rest I had wanted to see for a while. Same for the books, that's just the way the laddoo crumbled (quoting from my last read The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor). Not that I had a lot of time on my hands, but time just contrived itself to present such opportunities that I couldn't refuse. I will have to take it a little easy the coming month, because I don't want to overdo it and lose the taste and urge for them. I also feel I've lost a little touch with reality, by being immersed upto my head with these entertaining pursuits. Time to step back and take a quick look around.
A new person will be joining my project in a managerial capacity, who happens to be a retired Colonel from the Army, ultimately replacing the current manager. We're calling it a Colonel upgrade.

Jun 21, 2003

I usually have a lousy memory when it comes to the necessary facts of daily life: road directions, shop locations, names and telephone numbers. My memory banks do however welcome bits of useless data like they were long-lost twins, hence explaining why I know Pankaj Kapur was the voice for Ben Kingsley in the Hindi dubbing of Gandhi: very interesting (if you wanted connections, Kapur's brother-in-law is Naseeruddin Shah who desperately wanted to play Gandhi in Attenborough's version, and had to content himself with doing so on stage and on screen in Hey Ram!) but as you can see, not likely to be very important when I am on Lakshmi Road wondering which street takes me where I want to go.

Though I found that I remember some phone numbers better than others especially when I'm staring intently at the dial-pad. Turns out I've memorised a visual pattern made by the sequence of numbers that I recall. For example, pressing 6542580 on my phone recalls the symbol for '4' with an elongated leg. Or even an arrow if put this way:

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
* 0 #

So now it's a question of remembering the right visual clue for each phone number. Hmm... Perhaps it's easier to remember the fact that it was English footballer Gary Linekar who played an exhibition cricket match for the MCC versus Germany, was out for one, and remarked "I always score 1 against the Germans".

Jun 20, 2003

Cricket administrators keep doing funny things: Now it is the turn of the LBW again. The plan is to draw lines on the wicket to help the umpires get it right(Guardian Report). I can foresee a lot of practical problems with this: lines will get rubbed out, so will they keep painting it in the middle of the innings (you ought to have the lines perfectly in to make it fair), will the batsman or fielders have a right to draw the umpire's attention to inspect the line to see if the ball landed on the line like in tennis ;-)? More seriously, it makes life easy for batsman against spinners, takes another chunk out of the human element of the game. If you wanted to make it so fair, why not draw a line on the batsman's pad/trousers indicating what the height of the stumps is when he is in stance, to adjudge the height.
And so she cried....

So they're really good at the sentimental hype too, I guess! Pretty soon, her mood will change... to laughing all the way to the bank.

Jun 19, 2003

Sometimes, I dig out a song from the dump on my hard-disk and I find something that pleases me and I keep rewinding and playing the same for a while. Till the fascination lasts. The song filling that column on my personal playlist right now is Strawberry Kanné. Ok, it does have some rather corny lyrics, but I love the uncoventional structure, being somewhat of a conversational song with instruments bursting in and out with elan.

Much of Minsaara Kanavu's songs were like that.

The Internet and the whole system of indexed and memorised pages can reveal some very surprising and less-known facts about people one knows. I just love googling on names of people to see what comes up. It does involve an element of voyeurism, perhaps that makes it more interesting.

Jun 17, 2003

Fair P(il)lay?
And in another vivid example of the stellar vacuousness at which the Pune Times of India excels, today's front page has the Indian hockey captain, the pride-of-Khadki, Dhanraj Pillay posing along with two (surprise, surprise) models. What it all means is completely beyond me. What is the significance, even to the editorial team of the PTOI? If this is how Indian hockey is to be glamourised, then ahem... I still don't get the broad (no pun intended) picture. Leave the looking-silly to the cricketers.
And here are some more reasons why good ol' Wodehouse is like a balm to the spirit and gets himself well-liked with the reading masses:

Captain Biggar, even when seen through a mist, presented a spectacle which might well have intimidated the stoutest. His eyes seemed to Bill to be shooting long, curling flames, and why they called a man with a face as red as that a White Hunter was more than he was able to understand. Strong emotion, as always, had intensified the vermillion of the captain's complexion, giving him something of the appearance of a survivor from an explosion in a tomato cannery
::Ring For Jeeves

Constable Dobbs's was not a face that lent itself readily to any great display of emotion. It looked as if it had been carved out of some hard kind of wood by a sculptor who had studied at a Correspondence School and had got to about Lesson Three.
::The Mating Season

Some writer, eh?

Jun 11, 2003

BBC & Synergy's latest Indian TV quiz has identified the participants for the first Indian version of the University Challenge Quiz. Here's the list of qualifiers.

BC buddy Harish is part of the MDI team that made it. The other teams have some known faces, with AFMC being the lone Pune team (though MDI took their elims in Pune).

Quite an interesting format. This also means that Mastermind takes a vacation this year.

Jun 9, 2003

And in passing:

* Nice way to spend the weekend: surrounded by books, movies and a small quiz at the BC with the vacationing and (for the first two) recently demobbed Gaurav, Harish and Saket.

* In a hugely surprising decision, Adrian Le Roux has quit the Indian team to take up an offer with the South African team. Homesickness or better pay? Big blow to the Indians.

* We were just wondering: When Rahul Dravid plays for Scotland against Pakistan in the latter's tour game, would it be considered as an international (two countries participating) and hence make him one of those rare players to play for two countries. Though we did know this wasn't quite true, it was an interesting scenario to chew on. But I would still like to know how the ICC classifies Scotland when it plays in the county matches (are there different grades of teams?). Is Scotland representing the country or the county? Anyway, the part-honeymooning Dravid made a first-ball duck.

* And India smack some Aussie butts in the tri-nation series Down Under. They won 5-3. That's wonderful to hear.

* They keep calling it a mix of E.T & Forrest Gump. Unfortunately, the trailers of Koi Mil Gaya suggest that Hrithik Roshan is going to play the not-so-bright boy as the wide-grinning stereotype. But all pretence to gawkiness is abandoned when it comes to the wide-armed dance steps. A far cry from the much-loved Forrest Gump. Papa Roshan will make a re-entry (pun intended) into the film space and Preity Zinta is thankfully back to her old hairstyles, after a brief lapse in Armaan where I thought she looked almost like one of those human hair-mops that can be seen in the Addams Family movies. Music by Chacha Roshan is pleasant so far.

Fun Bhoot

We love horror films. Most of us anyway. And we don't get enough good ones, for it is so easy to goof it up, slipping into comedy is sometimes just a make-up muck-up away. But we still like to give it a chance, there's nothing like a good scare now and then, especially if it is happening to someone on a screen and doesn't spill over to intersect our life. So as to our varying masochistic tendencies go, this is one of the safest ventures, the cinematic equivalent of nudging the loose tooth. To feel the tingle. Sending involuntary shivers emanating from the nape and following a dizzy descent down the spine. Hmm. Feels good. The tingle.

If you're an Indian filmgoer, then you have even lesser opportunities to indulge in a slick horror story, having seen/heard umpteen chudail movies set in ruined hotels with poor lighting (budgetary constraints leading to it) and make-up with clay (also seen recently in Sunny Deol's The Hero, where the concept of a disguise was merely to look different from the rest of humankind and not to be confused with the art of camouflage). But when a director of the panache of Ram Gopal Varma tells the world that he's made a movie called Bhoot, many chose not to believe him literally. Despite the fact that Rangeela was a colourful movie, Satya had a character called exactly that and Daud had people (including the audiences) running for cover, no one believed him. Instead they chose to believe baseless rumours.

Pause to ask rhetoric question. What does one call an attempt to spoil a spoiler? Well, if you don't know and hadn't heard of the spoiler in the first place and don't want anything spoilt, thank you, should probablly close their eyes now. Or now. Now would do too. That was the last chance. Ok, once more. Now)

The rumour went that There is no ghost in Bhoot and Tanuja is the murderer. Having not known that Tanuja was even in the (already brimming) cast, that statement had a lot of what-we-call data, wanted and un-. But I'm a patient person, and have heard a lot of spoilers in my time, so it didn't affect me. (The way I look at it, think of it as a film in which the ending is revealed in the beginning. It then becomes a question of how did they get there. Think Lester Burnham telling you in the open sequence of American Beauty that he'll be dead in a year, and you get the idea.) But now that I think of it, the rumour must've been spread by the makers themselves. Because, and this is the spoiler-spoiler, Tanuja isn't the murderer, and even more plot-revealing, there is a ghost. Relief now that I've got beans lying all around and an empty can. All the interviews RGV did before Bhoot, he made sure to mention there was a ghost, all 9 meter white sari of it. As I said, RGV usually gives what he promises. So ya wanted one, ya got it.

That now settled, one can go on to the actual business of being rattled and doing the old stomach-churn. I've rarely seen movie reviews in which everyone seems to agree on the main points but this film has spawned them. The movie begins off well, the spine-tingles are woven in well, the second half fizzles in front of you like the trail of a disappearing genie and the performances are mixed. RGV uses the usual cinematic devices of eerie background music, sinister camera movements, semi-dark settings and oddball characters. These contribute to a scary first half, with the entry of the ghost itself being as good as the good ol' scenes of Amitabh crashing through a fake wall. There are quite a few chilling sequences, but you see less and less of them as we reach post 60 minutes. And therein appears the knowing filmgoer's shrug of the shoulder.

The more-than-knowing filmgoer will then shrug the other shoulder too, what with there being too much familiarity about the story, a lot of deja vu in the direction of RGV's own Raat and the classic The Exorcist. And I can quote a few instances, but will not. RGV definitely has a sense of cinematic history, so he couldn't have been blind to this. So either he chose to be "inspired", or simply made a tribute to the genre. But whatever the shortcomings, I would think Bhoot is easily the slickest horror film made in India. There's still long way to go, though.

Coming to the much-vaunted performances, RGV (and many others) think this has been Urmila Matondkar's best ever performance. I thought hard about it, but still couldn't convince myself of that. I think this would be No.3, after Satya and Kaun. Kaun is a little closer to Bhoot, but Satya was and remains a radically different role for her. The de-glamourised, naive singer's range of expressions from struggling to keep a household alive to the heart-break in the climax where a sense of hopelessness and betrayal permeate her horror at what the truth really was marked her acting abilities. Ajay Devgan is wasted, seriously, but it was a little inevitable after the scope in Company. And why-o-why do Seema Biswas and Nana Patekar look like ordinary actors? When Nana Patekar says in an attempt-at-ironic-humour that he didn't understand what he himself said, he couldn't have said it better about his own role. A similar ironic fate befalls Victor Banerjee. Roused up from Calcutta (or wherever he lives) to come to Mumbai and then be unused is encapsulated in his brief role when his psychologist-character is abruptly asked to leave by Ajay Devgan. Picture RGV saying to Banerjee, "well, it's like this, we wanted to make a really cool horror movie, and we don't think it's a good idea to have a scientific explanation to it all, you see. So we've got this really wierd counter-character that is in opposition to all that you represent, so goodbye, it was good to have your comeback in our film. Cheers." Or something to that effect.

And the replacement is of course, Rekha. Every horror film has its bizarrely made-up character. In The Exorcist, it was the Devil. In Bhoot, it is Rekha. And as for Tanuja, if she had to be the murderer, well, she sure doesn't have much footage to do it in. And for Fardeen Khan, his could be best described as a competent cameo!

But still, go watch the movie. This is commendable for the length of movie, lack of songs, good audio and video techniques and a ghost. Or two. Hmm. That was good.

Jun 7, 2003

And does the Indian national cricket tournament deserve to be named after Ranji? A new book vehemently disagrees: Read this review.
A neat summary by the Economist of the state of Britain's beleaguered prime minister.
This Im-Post-er's Recent Choices: is my new side-dish serving (in plain-speak, pliss to see right hand sidebar). It has 20 of my old posts, from six months ago to now.

(While all care has been taken to make sure that the links are correct, if not, pliss to let me know)

Jun 6, 2003

For a few weeks now, ESPN-Star has been airing a football soap called Dream Team, which appears four days a week. A rather novel concept for Asian TV audiences, the story revolves around a team of footballers and people associated with them. Nothing new for Brit audiences, with the rather "fantastically trashy" (as The Guardian puts it here) Footballer's Wives, an unabashed soap opera on similar lines. A surprise hit of last year, it seems to have pioneered clones like Dream Team.

I caught a couple of sightings of Footballer's Wives while doing time in Dublin, and it was a routine TV show albeit with a new setting. The same seems true of Dream Team. Wonder it anyone watches it.

And while on the subject of British TV series, Coronation Street, which I've always heard a lot about and was able to catch a curious glimpse of, continues to be a role model for long drawn out, weepy-waily TV soaps the world round.

The Williams tennis family, not just the sisters themselves, have been usually spearheading all the gamesmanship incidents in women's tennis, and have more than a chip on their shoulders about alleged racism. These have lead to them being unpopular in many circles. Today's French Open semi featuring a grudge clash between Justine Henin-Hardenne & Serena Williams was no different, with the crowd booing the younger W on many an occasion. When Serena Williams lost the closely contested encounter and then walked away with only a cursory handshake, the crowd vocally disapproving of her into her lack of grace. Later, the post-match press meet saw the No.1 dissolve into uncharacteristic tears: More in this news item.

Very interesting that the French Open usually seems to have these kinds of incidents, especially in the women's draw. The Martina Hingis & Steffi Graf encounter of a few years back comes to mind.

For all those people who make jokes about how there is little work, please refrain from doing so. So much work then pours in, so much so that you get bitten in the back-side so badly, one feels one has been a lunch entree for a pack of rabid dogs!

Jun 4, 2003

A collection of quotes that I found during a little discussion on a related subject with my friend.

I don't agree with all of these quotes. I am definitely not an atheist. At times, I am an agnostic.

I find I need to believe that there is a god, someone like a big brother, to whom I can take my problems and he will help me. Who, in all my deepest bouts of loneliness never deserts me. Who sometimes provides the moral basis for an irrational desire to go out of my way to be nice to someone else. Who reserves the right to divine retribution when I cannot bring down a force on someone bad.

And on somedays, I cannot but question my very faith, whether I have invented the need for a God, omni-all and if it is a tenable argument.

Still, the above quotes are also, in the best traditions of debate, worth thinking about.

Jun 3, 2003

Let me tempt fate that sometimes when I listen to an inner intuition and get it right, I must feel a little pleased with myself.
Bhoot's trailers were rather mundane: they struggled to convey the scariness, possibly because they didn't want to reveal too much. But there were a few that caught the eye. Preceding the screening of Bhoot were a couple of Ram Gopal Varma productions, Darna Mana Hai, which I have already mentioned earlier. The other one was Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon with Antara Mali as the starlet with the eponymous dream. It seemed to showcase some interesting performances. Whether it will merely be the female version of Asrani's Chala Murari Hero Banne will remain to be seen.

Jun 2, 2003

Pune quizzing in the limelight again

...though it wasn't the dream result that we'd hoped for.
All apropos the ESPN School quiz, which is probably the top national school quiz currently, but restricts itself to sports. I will do away with my usual encomiums to Harsha Bhogle (the man with the best job in India), take it for granted.

Last year, Abhinav Vidyalaya put on one smashing performance after another and it seemed to be a cinch that they would win. They inexplicably did not.

This year, I kept an eye out for this team, thinking they would steam roll their way through the opposition. But this time they didn't.

(Read an Abhinav-alumnus' account of the same)

It did seem a little off-the-script when AV didn't get a century in their prelims. Neither did they get anywhere near it. Blame me for being unfair to this champion team, but blame them for setting up such high expectations.
AV started off shooting down the anagrams in Citius, but when they struggled to identify a golden-haired figure looking like Brett Lee in no-camoflauge as Brett Lee, the warning bells had started to ring. It got a little embarassing when they even guessed Monica Seles. Hmm. As signs go, that was one in scarlet.
They still led rather aaram-se after 2 rounds, but started to turn on the hara-kiri instinct in round 3. According to me, the quiz turned when AV identified Phil Tufnell as Dion Nash. Even Harsha Bhogle was a little disappointed with the quality of that guess. AV could now feel the hot breath of their rivals Rangubai Junnare from Nasik on their neck as RJS got this answer to move into 1 point behind AV.

And here's where I disagree with Gaurav: he opined that had AV shown a little more courage, they might've emerged winners. Having watched the show as much as he must have, I have to beg to differ because of the following: though the questions and participants are great, I have to criticise the following aspects of the format.
First, I don't always agree with the level of questions chosen for the 5-, 10- & 20-pointers. Subjective of course. Also, the team in front at the beginning of the final round has to take first shot. Which means in a tight contest, the team in 2nd spot know exactly how much they need to win: the risks have to be taken by the leading team, thus penalizing them for doing better in the earlier rounds. AV could not gamble with a ten: if they missed it, RJS would have won even without attempting the last qn. Getting a 5 was more realistic for AV to force RJS to go for the final qn and see if they missed. They didn't and AV lost.

In this heavy spotlight on AV, I'm being unfair to the other two Pune teams Symbiosis & Bishops that made it to the West Zone final. Good luck to them and may they make a splash in the National Finals.