Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Not that because he loves cricket, not because he is a pass out from “IIM-A”, not because he is a Maharashtrian, not because he is rich, and not because he is famous, err……is he really, famous????????

God knows why but I always had high regard for this man, may be because his English was impeccable, may be because he appeared so, close, I mean so approachable and so friendly. I tried not to miss his articles, in newspapers and never came across his interviews, may be he was never interested in publicizing his humble self. But as it is, that I have a strange relationship with coincidences, this Sunday, had something unexpected coming my way. Channel surfing, just to catch up some news tid bits of news or some flick, I was overjoyed, when suddenly my mother’s pet channel had an announcement. Beautiful doc, Gautami Gadgil(who is dumb as an actress) announced that this Sunday’s guest of honor was none other than, ……Harsha Bhogle. I just jumped out of my seat, at the prospect of watching my favourite commentator in an interview. The programme was called “Maanachaa Mujraa” which in marathi means “salute of honor”.

As he descended down the spiraling staircase in the studio, he looked as familiar as ever. He humbly took his seat and began the Tête-à-tête. One after the other, he started giving out surprises. He was himself a cricketer when in college and would carry a tape recorder to tape the commentary of his ongoing match. He was doing commentary since 1980, and it was his father, who told him to try commentary, and he duly obliged and how? He and Azharuddin( till date I am his fan, strictly for his cricketing skills) played for the same team while in college. He started commentary on radio first, and still believes radio is the best medium of communicating with the masses, and he enjoys it a lot. On being asked who his hero was, he said that his hero is his elder brother,Shrinivas. Now that is where, I got the real punch, I mean we idolize actors,actresses, cricketers, and anybody who is rich and famous, but here was a man who thought his own brother was his hero. I was flat! On being asked, what if he fumbles on TV, and does a mistake, he simply said, I apologize. Then came in some, Mr. milind who also was a commentator, but he was strictly not needed, he spoiled the show. Then came his good looking wife, who was as spontaneous as Harsha was, but she left in no time, after talking on their executive motivation lectures and their company. In the end, Gautami, the hostess, took him through a rapid fire round of questions, his fav sports person,Anil kumble, I was stumped! Some of us believe, that Anil Kumble is a good for nothing guy, but mind well, he has won us quite a few matches, and he is the highest wicket taker in India in Tests. On being asked what he would have been, if not a commentator, he told in a child like innocence, I would have wandered here and there and might have written a lot of poems and songs. Now, this sounds very clichéd but, hey he is allowed to speak what he feels like.

I am clean bowled by this man’s simplicity, honesty, and spontaneity, as he says should be forte, of everyone who wants to be a commentator. A lucrative career on one hand and a silly game like cricket on the other,... and still he is doing so well. I wish, I could watch this broadcast again, or at least a test match soon,where he is commenting.

Glad to meet you, Mr. Harsha Bhogle. Hope to see you soon, again! Have a great life ahead.

The country of Intellectuals!

Pardon me if I am being sarcastic and may be while writing this piece, I may slip into modes which would sound like offensive but, the gist lies in the fact that, I tend to think for this country of mine. I have named this piece so, because everybody in this country, right from his royal highness, Lalu Prasad Yadav, to some layman called Amit Deshmukh, thinks that he is the brightest intellectual in this country of 100 crores civilians.

Beginning with an oft repeated statement, “ Rights come along with Duties”, I would say that each and every Indian claims his right, right to get proper service, a proper answer to his apathy, proper provisions, proper benefits oblivious of the fact that he is depriving himself from the benefit of the Right that he has got. Most of us Indians do not want, or even try to help themselves out of the situation. No doubt we are far too ignorant (ref: illiteracy as most of them point out, themselves) to know all this, but everything you require to know is to just a look around. We are just better off, cursing somebody else for our miseries, yes I mean it, till date, there are people who wear decent clothes, fake American accent and still curse the government for their problems.
I will surely come back to this point later, otherwise I would forget about what I actually had to write!

Last week was,kind of, say tumultuous for me personally( No, no heartaches nothing! I have switched on to ayurveda off late!) Disturbing it was to sense that, there is a tremendous amount of haplessness, and hopelessness in the air that surrounds this sub-continent. On one hand, we talk of being the most promising economic super power in the reckoning, and on the other, poor farmers are killing themselves for no reasons cited, leaving behind them, hordes of living dead! Last whole week was all about this country as such, controversies, controversies and more controversies, and god only knows how many conspiracies behind them all( here’s a juicy one, it is believed that, it was Dalmiya who urged the pitch curator to leave the Eden Gardens pitch unshaved, so that Rahul’s team loses that match and he did! Conspiracy of the millennium, Saurav Da behind the curtains!) I mean is it all that I want to read after waking to a smoggy morning, having gone through a nightmare in which I see myself as the only saviour of the Indian cricket team! God where are you? I want a decent slumber, man!
Khushboo controversy as Ullas rightly picked and understood, but the mighty media could not? For me it was really very simple, no hard talk, no hardcore issues! She was asked what about pre-marital sex, she just said its ok only if it is safe sex,(safe sex is still a buzz word), since AIDS has acquired such a monstrous proportion now, since a decade and a half ago! And see how media portrays her, as if she is some sleazy voracious sex brand endorser or what! It was good to see Sania jump on the bandwagon, provided that she has had her own share of controversies, mini skirts and all! I don’t know about Narayan and other celebrities, but I believe, it’s the biggest irony of this nation that nobody wants to really understand what one wants to say. And still if somebody speaks out clearly, rather blatantly, there are veils of morality, culture, tradition, decency and all that shit, thrown at the individual, to cover up the words.
Manjunath Shanmugam, I am sure this name won’t toll a bell, in any Indian’s head, but yes Mallika Sherawat’s will surely do! This IIM pass out could have easily crossed the seven seas and had a sophisticated life for himself and his next generations but, he was foolish enough to sneak into a governmental behemoth, called, Indian Oil Corporation. And what does he get to perform his duties? Death, the ultimate end, Mukti, Moksha, eternity, at the greased oily hands of the petroleum mafia, who he was trying to stop from offending. And now people want an answers from poor lad, Mani shankar Aiyar, who again has had his share of debates, in other words controversies, read the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline issue. Now,will anybody please tell me, what can Mani Shankar Aiyar can do in this matter? The benevolent soul has already departed and as for punishing the culprit, our efficient judiciary should already have done that before the now culprit’s grandchildren shoot down another Manjunathan.

Another story, which has been biting me, since long is the Tehri dam issue. I think, a separate article on this issue is justified because by now, this issue has got too close to my heart. And it will take some 4-5 days for me to prepare as couple of days back, I have got a book called “The Doomsday Book” by Gordon Rattray Taylor. There is enough fodder in it for my stupid brain to graze, I guess. Sometimes, I tend to think, whether ours is the only country that looks out and out scandalous throughout, or are there others also, where each and every sphere of life is so exploitative that one wishes, he could have better been some other specie!

Here I will refer to an article, about which I had written earlier, “ Do Indians really think?”. My answer is yes, but not beyond, his Nokia6600 and such other toys! Coming back to the title of this article and the immediate afterthought, here are few Indian thoughts.

1. All politicians are chor party!( you elected them to power!)
2. Sex is still a taboo.(Except for those late night viewings on your cable tv)
3. Sachin Tendulkar plays his cover drive best when he pulls it and every fielder who gets him out is at point!( land of cricketing geniuses, Mr. Geoffrey Boycott, you better park your ass,somewhere else!)
4. Mallika Sherawat is so h……! intelligent(she really is, I bet!)
5. We pay each and every Government employee!( Really, Go and advice that sweeper to clean well! All you’ll get is expletives! M@#$$%#@d)
6. This government will not last its whole term(I know, after all one’s wife and ruling government are very similar)
7. Whole world is my spittoon!( I am here to distribute Prasad, never say no to Prasad)

One thing I wonder about right now, is, why don’t initiatives last long enough to see the results for themselves! Even with me, initiatives I took died coming down the line, is this about the same killer instinct that Indian Cricket team lacks!
I am confused, let me restart my machine!

Monday, November 28, 2005

REALITY TV,hot or not?

Is Reality TV really happening?

I know this sounds pretty out of place at this point of time, but I have blogged about this because I have been thinking about this funda for quite a while now. Let me sum up, few things for the readers. Indian televison history has got various eras per se. With the advent of television in India in mid 60s, it could hardly create a stir in the society, ‘coz it was only the rich who could afford erstwhile “Dyanora”, “Bush”, “Murphy” and what nots. Slowly the TV started casting its spell, and by the end of 70s the stage was set. Excellent Oeuvres like “ Buniyaad”, “Tamas”, “Nukkad”, “Intezaar”, “Hum Log”, “Mirza Ghalib”, provided the maturing society some food for thought. 80s saw a similar surge of good programmes like “Talaash”, “Ek kahaani aur mili”, estended runs of “Hum log” and the actual milestone of Indian Television. Roads looked deserted, the scorching sun beating the tars of Indian roads to pulp, Inflation was still a cause of concern for the middle class, which wasn’t as resurgent then, but yes they had got something which could make them sit glued to the TV screen. Poor neighbourers thronged the homes of rich , to have a peek at the black and brown box where deities played adventurous games with their bows and arrows. You guessed it right, Epic serials from Ramanand Sagar’s stable “Ramayana” and “ Mahabharat” were the brightest success stories on the Indian Television till date(Tsk,tsk heard that Bobby Bedi is producing a series of movies based on ramyana and mahabharat on the lines of The Lord of the Rings)
80s gone, these epics gradually lost their sheen and were closed down and then numerous such followed but few got counted. Then came the advent of satellite television in India, Doordarshan was immediately pushed out of the driver’s seat and a new game ensued, one with maximum TRPs won. Star Plus, ZEE, and flurry of such channels bombarded the Indian Viewer with varied choices. After opening up of the economy, “Kaun Banega Crorepati?” was the biggest welcome change, it brought good fortunes to both, Star and apunka babu moshai, Amitabh Bacchan. Then there was this most intriguing phenomenon of “ saas-bahu” soaps, in which I am least interested! KBC is ruling the airwaves again, but amidst all this lies a chaos, which throws up silly questions on the windscreen of my high speed cruise through these visual enrichments! Reality TV sounds big, but is it really that hot?

Reality TV e.g. Indian Idol, Super Singer, AXN’s dozen shows, MTV Roadies, Now, Nach Baliye, Indian Idol Season-2, even KBC for that matter. Are such real time entertainment or say emotional tours really happening?

Let this question remain here for some time, and move ahead. Indian Idol, Super Singer,Fame gurukul all offered a lucrative career to the winner with almost a crore of rupees and various hot deals, like recording a cd and all that stuff. But while on this tour towards this ultimate goal, the viewers were subjected to immense atrocities, according to my personal opinion. First the viewer identifies with most of the participants, he is excited at the selection of his/her liked candidate and rues their elimination accordingly. But how does the viewer feel when he sees his liked guy or a gal tumbling out bucketful of tears for having missed supposedly a deal worth one crore. I mean is it really, the unfulfilled passion that left them bereaved or hurt, or is it the money that really mattered? I always feel, still, I should have given a try to at least one of these shows to see what actually happens there, but something stopped me everytime. Fame gurukul was the best of all these tear jerkers, every now and then, you would see participants holding hands,hugging, and crying like small babies. And most interesting of all is the viewers taste, they vote in Abhijeet Sawant, Tauqeer Qazi, Rooprekha Whatever, That silly teacher Upadhyay of super singer, despite of all of them strictly average. I mean you are choosing the best in the nation yaar, and how come it doesn’t show. Judges on these shows are equally ridiculous, look at how impressed Farah Khan was with Rahul Saxena, despite of him singing so badly throughout.
By the way, I was severely hurt when even Sa Re Ga Ma Pa changed its format, just to catch up with these guys. It was really and is the most genuine talent show, but only one request, please go back to your old penchant.

Coming back to my question, are these Reality series’, all of them really hot? May be the answers lie with those who never chose to participate in them and just be engrossed in their own world of music and knowledge. I believe the entire experience with music is an inward process, I has nothing to do with money, as such.Any comments?