Monday, 31 January 2011

127 Hrs...Survival at its best

I was contemplating the coming weekend on Friday. Since Federer was not in finals of AO, I had nothing to look forward to.Frankly last week was kinda sad. I was feeling dejected for quite some time. After watching Dhobi Ghat, I kept having these long conversations with myself about where my life is heading. What I am doing? basically kinda self analysis and as usual nothing much came out of it other than depression. My problem is I believe almost everything I tell myself. I am deviating from the topic so back to the blog. When you don't have a plan you go and watch a movie.That's the mantra. So we decided to go to O2 to watch 127 hours.

The cineworld near my home is not showing this movie.Their Loss. Actually we wanted to see Tangled, Black swan too but the timings were not matching. So 127 it was. Lots of my friends had praised this movie and of course James Franco is an eye candy..OK I will rave more about him later.

A quick snapshot of the movie..Its a true story about Mountain climber Aron Ralstone who was trapped under a boulder in Blue John Canyon in Utah desert for 5 days in April 2003. The movie is based on his autobiography 'Between a Rock and a hard place'. The movie is directed by 'Slumdog' famed Danny Boyle and it has original score by none other than A.R. Rehman. James Franco (Harry Osborn in Spider-man series) plays Aron Ralstone. The movie has 5 nominations to this year's Oscars including Best Film, Best Actor and Best Original Score.

Now a confession, before this movie I was not aware of the book or who Aron Ralstone is.In a way it was good as I didn't have any set expectations from the movie or the story. So When Aron sets out to his usual mountain climbing weekend getaway i was glued. Now he has not told anyone where he is going. The movie starts actually when Aron goes on his bike zigzagging on the spectacular red dirt roads. Suddenly he takes a really bad fall, get hurts but immediately gets his camera and clicks a snap smiling. This gives us the first glimpse in Aron mind, his happy go lucky and kinda casual attitude towards adventures, risks and life overall. Now he is on his way to his destination when disaster strucks. He falls down the canyon taking with him a loose Boulder and bam his right hand is stuck between the canyon wall and the boulder which refuses to budge

The movie is all about those 5 days where Aron deals with the pain, the fast  depleting water supply and food. He reminisces about his past, his relationships.He constantly keeps talking to his digicam and putting messages to his parents, sister, his work friend Brian. How he waits for the 15 min in morning sunshine. How he tries to chip away the bolder with his Chinese knife (with a flashlight which according to him is S**T and he advises us not to buy any made in China product no matter how cheap it is). The best part in movie comes when Aron does a self hosted Radio show, which is nothing but a self flagellation scene in which he realises one good lesson learnt as you cannot do everything alone.

The Magic of Boyle, Rehman and Franco sucks you in. You laugh with Aron, you pity him, you get angry with him for his selfishness and stupidities.You Will on him to stay sane, not to give up. Finally when Aron gets free (Ii wont divulge the details) you feel relieved and happy. Even if he gets free, you are still worrying for him till finally after 8 hours of leaving the boulder, he finally get rescued.

James Franco is outstanding as a swaggering, cocky and intelligent Aron Ralstone. After spider-man this movie shows him in totally different light and he grabs the opportunity with both hands.His wit, his cockiness, his full on life attitude, his sinking realisation of his predicament and finally his strength to do the inevitable just moves you. After he gets free and he sees water, he just tap his feet twice and laughs. You actually feel his profound relief for being Alive.Hats off to James.Hope he gets that coveted award ( BTW he Will be Co-Hosting the awards too with Anne Hathaway)

The movie's tag line is 'THERE IS NO FORCE ON EARTH MORE POWERFUL THAN THE WILL TO LIVE' actually makes sense when you live those 5 days with Aron. Survival at its best. So don't go anywhere without telling someone :)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Greatness - A curse???

It was 2008 all over again..2008 AO was one of the only two times(including 2011) since 2005 that neither Roger nor Rafa is in a Major final. Out of the 20 Majors (2005-10) only 3 has been claimed by players whose name isn't Roger or Rafa (Safin, Nole and Del potro have won 1 GS each).That is the domination they have created.That is the domination we are talking about.

Yesterday Rafa lost his QF match against a resurgent Ferrer. Ferrer's awesome victory will always be with an Astrix of Rafa being injured. So with the Rafa Slam talk was Over, all eyes were now on Roger to win his 17th Major title and his 5th AO title. But Roger fell short of the task in front of an inspired Nole. Mind you Roger didn't play bad, Nole was just the better player for the day. So all the journos and sadist has again started their game of writing Roger off.

I seriously dont know how these people don't get tired of this game. They started it in late 2007 and after that Roger has again and again proved them wrong. Roger has joking said in one of his press conferences that he is responsible for all this. He has created this monster of him being invincible that each and every loss is a tough one to take..Not for him but for all of us(including his haters). He understands its a sport and haar jeet to hoti hi reheti hai. but lets have a look at the monster he has created.
  • The most important achievement from my point of view is his consecutive 23 semifinal streak in Majors. Each year has 4 Majors. So for almost 6 years, he reached all Semi Finals of the Majors.Now that's what you call consistency.The second person with maximum consecutive Semis is Ivan Lendl  and his is 10 straight semis.See the difference.
  • In those 23 Major tournaments, he won the event 14 times and he was the runner up 6 times. That means he reached the final 20 times (thats also a record BTW to reach final 20 times out of 23)
  • Next come the 16 Major titles. Here he surpassed Sampras's record of 14 Major titles. The significant difference between these two records is Sampras won these over a period of 13 years and 49 Majors whereas Fed achieved this in span of 8 years and 27 Majors.
  • He was the world No. 1 for 237 consecutive weeks. Thats more than 4 years.
  • His another impressive streak is 10 consecutive Major finals.The second here is also Roger this time with 8.
  • Fed is the only man who has won 3 calender slams in 3 years (2004 AO-Wim-US), (2006 AO-Wim-US),(2007 AO-Wim-US) and in process becoming the only man to defend all of his three titles next year (2007)
Wikipedia has enough of the records and if I have to put all of them here then I will exceed my limit. But you got the picture right? This guy has created an image of being a super Human, Mr.Invincible. He achieved the greatness in tennis with his Exquisite play. His tennis is not brutal nor it is the power tennis which is dominating the game these days, its the pure classic tennis.The real tennis we are slowly slipping away from. His running cross court forehand is a treat to watch. His drop shots, his serves and his placement makes him so hard to play. His cool and calm On and Off court behaviour is like a true Champ. All these things have added fuel to that monster over these years.

And understandably people are afraid of the monster. So when they get an opening, any weakness they attack vehemently. Any chink in the armor and all the weapons are drawn. Its interesting, When Nadal started winning Majors (back in 2005) these same people cheered for him, held him high as he was their only hope of defeating this Invincible guy. Rafa proved a worthy opponent. He kept coming and coming. Everybody was happy. But as soon as Rafa himself came close to become another great, they started talking about his injuries and started writing him off. This shows that we all are afraid of greatness. Does it feels like a fairy tale, too good to come true?? Is that the reason not to accept the Greatness? Or its the level of expectations and the disappointments that come with such high level of expectations.

Looking at peoples' reactions I wonder if greatness indeed is a curse. You try so hard to achieve all your dreams. People start admiring you, but then they don't accept the fact that you are human too. We have seen this happening to Sachin so many times. I remember when Sehwag first arrived at the scene with a bang, all those people who are afraid of the greatness held him higher than Sachin. They wrote off Sachin so many times. Each time he has proven them wrong.

All the greats are alike. They keep fighting till the end.And I am sure Roger will have the last say in all this furor. But it pains me to see how a single loss can make people write off the Great. I feel sad when people are happy just because Roger lost (There are people who don't support any particular player but are just happy to see Roger at the losing end).

You cannot please everyone Rog and you know this. Lets see who can reach 10 or more consecutive Major finals..forget the 23 consecutive Semis. I for myself will always love you Rog. Its what you have achieved, you have given me as a tennis fan,worth worshipping rather than a single loss, slump in form. Remember Roger

People who hate you are just the confused admirers. They can’t figure out why everyone loves you. :)

Monday, 24 January 2011

पाऊस असा रुणझूणता

Yesterday we went to see Dhobi Ghaat. Its Kiran Rao's first directorial movie. So obviously it started with very high expectations.The movie has various aspects which I can revv about but it has two of my most fev things in its backgrond. One is Mumbai and another is Rain.We will talk about Mumbai some other time.The City is too important to just mention in one line.

So lets talk about the Rain then... पाउस....पाऊस असा रुणझूणता....कधी उधाणता अन केव्हा थेम्बांच्या संथ लयीचा. The rain I like personaly is torrential one though..the way it rains in mumbai or konkan..not like Pune or London. That I cant call real पाउस. पाउस असावा मुसळधार,संततधार,आपल्याला त्याच्या बरोबर उडवून नेईल असा.आपल्याला आकंठ बुडवून टाकेल, तृप्त करेल असा.पाउस म्हणजे सरीवर सर. पाउस म्हणजे विजांचा चमचमात, ढगांचा गढ़गढ़ाट. Though I am very scared of the thunderstorm.People generally laugh when I say that my fevorite season is Mansoon. After the unbearble गर्मी of May, the hint of rain is so welcome. The first rain, the smell of earth.चक्क डोळ्यांसमोर रूतू कुस बदलून घेतो. How can someone not like it.

Every year the first rain is always special. It is different coz may be I am different each year. The first rainfall sets my mood.It feels like I am meeting my friend all over again and the love affair starts again from where it was left of the previous year. The meetings are all the special coz I know deep down they are few and the long separation is just 3 months away. मग मी आणि पाउस खेलतो,फिरतो, आठवणी गोला करतो. एकमेकांशी निवांत गप्पा मारतो.तो मला दूर डोंगरांच्या देशातल्या गोष्टी सांगतो. मी ही मग त्याला प्रोजेक्ट च्या गमती जमती सांगते. त्याला काही कळत  नहीं फारसे पण माझे मन राखण्या साठी ऐकून घेतो बिचारा.माझा पाउस आहेच तसा गुणी.

I know rain can bring all the choas.Even getting to office is a task.You have to avoid all the puddles and the vehicles who love them so much.The long Traffic jams, the mud, elecricity jana.Trains band hona.

पाउस म्हणजे चिखल सारा, पाउस म्हणजे मरगल
पाउस कपडे ख़राब करतो,पाउस वैतागवाड़ी

हे सगळे जरी खरे असले तरी
पाउस म्हणजे गार वार, पाउस म्हणजे हिरवल
पाउस म्हणजे भिजरी  पायवाट, पाउस म्हणजे झाड़ी
पावसामधे गुपचुप निघून मनं जाउन बसते ढगात
पाउस घेउन येतो बरोबर गार गार वारा.पाउस येतो घेउन हिरवीगार झाडे आणि पाउस येतो घेउन खुप साऱ्या आठवणी. संदीप खरे आपल्या एक कवितेत लिहितात

" आता पुन्हा पाउस येणार, मग आकाश काले नीले होणार,
मग मातीला गंध फुटणार, मग मधेच वीज पडणार,
मग तुझी आठवण येणार, काय रे देवा"

Rain has important part in our hindi movies too..pouring rain, starnded Hero-Heroine with couple of sidekicks,purana bungalow and your horror movie is all set to start. Or Rain can also come at the right time when our Hero just wants to be alone with our heroine in an secluded place. RGV's Satya first used rain effectively as one of the co-consiprators or a silent spectator.A ever feeling present. Rain represents happiness as well as sorrow equally effectively in our movies. Since I saw the Song रिमज़िम गिरे सावन (female version) where moushami and AB go around mumbai in that rain, enjoying both the company and the rain, so happy. I have this dream that I will one day roam around Mumbai with that special someone. And always when I wake up from my dream I remember another one of Sandeep khare's poem. (I Guess he is as in love with rain as I am. We should compare notes

बारिश से अक्सर मिलता करता था मैं
और कभी कभी तुमसे भी
इत्तेफाकन मगर तीनो इकट्ठा कभी नहीं मिले है हम

मिन्नतें तो बहोत की थी मैंने
बारिश से भी, तुमसे भी...मगर खैर..

अब की बार थान ली है मैंने
तुम दोनों को साथ साथ ही मिलाने की
इसलिए अब आँखोंमेही बारिश लेके घूमता हूँ मैं..
उन्ही गलियों में...
जहाँ इत्तेफाकन कभी तुम मिल जाओ शायद...

आणि माझा पाउस म्हणतो आमेन.........................

(p.s. The poems I have used are by Sandeep Khare and Soumitra..One of my fevorite poets..You will see some posts on them as well in future. And if you havent read their work then you are missing something)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Aus Open 2011 - What does it mean to me

Australian Open 2011 - The first grand slam of the season has already started Down Under. What would I give to be in Australia right now. There are many records on line with this Slam. It seems these days whatever Roger and Rafa are winning, they create some or the other record. So what new about this one you will ask me? whats so special about it.

If you look at it, nothing much really. but for me its really important. If Roger wins this, then he will be the first person to win 5 Australian Open titles. Also First player to win 3 different slams 5 times. That in itself is no mean feat.

Now another aspect of this AO is if Rafa wins it then he will be the first man to win all 4 Grand slams (though not in single calender year but a very BIG achievement nonetheless) at the same time after 42 years from when Laver hold this honour.

Now lets talk about the rest of the field. Djokovic is surely looking for his second Grand slam and second AO title. He is surely fired up after Serbia's Davis cup win. Andy Murray is still waiting for that 'First Grand Slam'. This year he seems to be having less pressure from British media than usual so he can flourish too. The other dangerous opponents are Soderling,berdych, Delpo (though he is just back from injury so if he wins it then its a miracle).

Now though the analysis and stakes are as high as any of the grand slams in recent years, why it is making so much of difference to me. The reason is purely Fereder's loss in 2009 AO. Since 2008 AO has been a throbbing wound for me. Nole played brilliant that year in the SF and Federer was left stranded. Though he was recovering from mono at that time which made his season one of the 'Oh so not great seaons' by his standard.(Though if I was a tennis player, I would gladly take such season as my best if I win one slam, lost in 2 other slam finals and 1 semifinal. But of course I am not Roger). So people started telling me Roger federer is done and dusted. Then next year in AO 2009 came the crushing blow.That year I was behaving very superstitious. So I was not watching the match Live. Though the stream was on my laptop I was just listening to the commentary and was following BBC's live text. So every unforced error, every point lost was like needle prick. Still I was there telling myself that this is just a game and nothing more. When Roger lost, I was still fine. But during the presentation ceremony when Roger broke down, I couldn't help but break down with him
When he said ' God this is killing me' then I am sure all Fed fans around the world felt the same. I still remember the feeling as someone is plunging a knife into my hear.Though he won last year's AO, every year the AO will undoubtedly return these memories.

I don't want to do this post as negative factor. The only point here is this outbreak showed the world how much this guy loves this sport. How much he puts into each and every match(no disrespect for all the other players please), how much this means to him. And so as a player this AO record is important to him. He can add to his tally of maximum GS too.
Over the period of time, Roger has become like a family. I was overjoyed with his each and every win and saddened by each and every defeat. Its like he is an integral part of the family. I celebrate all his joys/sorrows the way I would do for my family, my friends.That's why the above pic is the hardest blow for me as no one wants to see their Family/friend hurting so much.

Thats why this AO is important for me. This year its revenge time. A win here (preferably over Rafa) will make me treat AO as any other slam in future and will somehow help me to get over AO 2009. So all the best Rog, remove all the scars of AO 2009 from all ur fans' hearts and give me an opportunity to feel immense joy for you, my friend.