Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog
Monday, March 27, 2006
Bangalore and Vodka
As things stand, I am pretty sure that I will not be able to make it next weekend. Nevertheless, in keeping with the universal bloggers code of conduct or UBCoC, I was able to make one small alteration for myself: just the date (exactly a week ahead of schedule)
So here's proof (pun very certainly intended!)
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Ponniyin Selvi II and other stories
Ponniyin Selvi I
I was so terribly bored and thought that there was nothing good on TV. In fact I was pushed to watching crazy Japanese game shows on Pogo. Until Sonia Gandhi decided to sacrifice something, yet again.
There was a time when I was under the impression that she became Congress leaded by default, and was least likely to show any political acumen; but increasingly, she seems to rank amongst the most shrewd of Nehru-Gandhis. First she co-opted the Left's economic and political rhetoric (not uncommon for most Indian politicians); then she has, by resigning, thrown the ball squarely with left leaders who also find themselves in similar situations wrt to offices of profit. She has also wrested away the moral high-ground from a fairly dumbstruck BJP. With assembly elections around the corner, I suppose she can virtually annihilate any illusion of power the left seemed to flaunt and flex. Bloody hell... she's a smart one.
Now that I've started to talk politics, and having tasted speculative success after having been proved right about an England victory, let me also put forward my thoughts about the Tamil Nadu assembly elections. Despite the Congress showing strong national favour, their TN allies led by the DMK are, I suppose in for a bit of a beating. 'Amma' seems to be widely loved for her five years of decent governance, and more importantly 'Thatha' seems to have lost it with his own partymen by trying to push forward 'Thalapathi'. Bad opposition --> low anti-incumberency (duh!)
Now the net gainers in this election in TN, might just be the Congress party (surprise surprise); if, and it is a bloody big IF, they realise that they actually have favourable public opinion. Plus, do they have any strong leaders at the local level? PC is too far removed from state politics for now.
At the central level, Sonia seems to be building a party for the future. All her calculations are aimed at the next lok sabha polls, and for the future of the congress party, but as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, there seems to be nobody after 'Amma'. Sure that she has quite a bit of political life left in her (a lot if you ask me), but to take over from her kind of politics, one needs a good local politician with her kind of shrewdness and foresight.
I do not see any immediate realignment of parties after the TN election results (why I am am so sure of it I do not know) Sonia is far too clever to not let go of the DMK so soon, without extracting a suitable congress led opposition leader to take over from Karunanidhi. If instead she chooses to go for the short-term gain and ally with 'Amma' ('Amma' might even agree to) the ADMK will find itself absolutely unrivalled in TN. Sonia seems to be way too clever to let that happen. She might start thinking about a TN Cong leader.
OK! Now that I have pretty much laid my cards out on the table, let's begin a bout of nice election speculation. (I somehow wish I could put some money on it—I seem to be so damn sure of things)
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
A Tale of Two Cities—for want of a better title & A திடீர் கவிதை
While, I am yet to get Beeb approval to say anything about work, I can talk about what has already been out to press. Nilu has rather strong sentiments about the Wankhede and the Bombay crowd. Having worked with a certain amount of proximity to the touring English team, and having experienced both the Madras and the Bombay crowd, I can maybe add to that?
Of course, the Madras crowd I saw was not the South-Madras Chepauk crowd (sometime credited as being the most knowledgeable in India?), but a North-Madras Royapuram crowd—kids and young-men who do not mince words (சேம் ப்லட்!, says Vadivelu at this point, taking a finger to his ear). The Bombay crowd I saw was the extremely snooty Brabourne crowd. That place is revered as the old-home of Indian cricket and hence prides itself on having a set-up that insists on sticking to tradition with a 1937 sense of Britishness. Funnily enough this in India means being very rude to your visitors and patrons; and rules—like no drinks to be carried from the bar to the outfield dining table (no, this does not mean that drinks are banned at the table, but I don't know how one can work without the other considering the fact that the waiting staff cannot be arsed to bring you any either) While I found this terribly annoying, my British colleagues found it quaint and amusing to see that quite a bit of nonsense happens in this country in the name of the British.
Well, let me get to the point. Of all the people I worked with, the only person I got to autograph my hat was Alvin Kallicharran. Now Royapuram took to him very fondly and little kids who've heard their daddies talk about him cheered him on. But I was appalled to see that he went absolutely unnoticed in Bombay. Only a few recognised him. And this was the CCI dammit!
While my work kept me from watching any cricket, the only things I stopped to watch were Alvin's sublime stance and stroke-play. Yes, he's older than he used to be, and isn't as quick as I've been told he once was. But that one late-cut he played while I watched from the boundary will stay with me forever.
This brings me onto the larger comparisons between Bombay and Madras, especially where it concerns my field. Every film crew that comes over to work in Bombay would have at some point experienced the effects of the Bombay Bug. Especially when you've just flown in from Madras where logistical nightmares are generally kept to a low. I just want this confirmed from people who work a lot more in Bombay than I do: does quarter-to-eight on the call sheet always end up as quarter-past-nine? It did for us—every time! But I have to very quickly qualify that with one thing that does not fail to impress every film crew that comes over to work in Bombay. The sheer energy and enterprise that people show in Bombay and the fact that they are willing to back new (not necessarily good) ideas before worrying about financing is to be praised. No wonder that Bombay pretty much defines Indian enterprise. Madras on the other hand is filled with hard-working, but highly unambitious people. Regrettably so.
A couple of days ago, V made a remark that Madras is one place where a bunch of guys can have a great time without getting drunk. I can maybe second that, but on first sight, Bombay certainly seems to be a much more fun place than Madras would condescend to project itself to be.
Sticking with Madras, there is one thing I experienced in Tamil Nadu that I did not quite get the Bombay equivalent of (probably because we travelled mostly in Tamil Nadu and spent only 3 days in Bombay): தமிழ் நக்கல்
That inspired a திடீர் கவிதை
மேலைநாட்டு மடையர்களுக்கு மொழிதெரியாதென்ற
திடீரென தொப்பித்தலையனுக்கு தமிழ் தெரியுமென
'அடேய்' அகன்று 'அண்ணே' ஆனதும்
அடுத்தக்கேள்வி 'ஃப்ளிண்டாஃப் எங்காக்குறாரு?'
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Well, within a span of three weeks, I announce my return to Madras for the second time. (Yeah Yeah... the second coming and all that!) This time though, I look like the 'before' picture of the guy in the Fair and LovelyTM... er Fair and HandsomeTM TV commercial. Feels really nice to be black again.
Have just spent close to two weeks baking under the South Indian sun, filming countless interviews, actuality, and three cricket matches. The process has completely drained me, but some of the things we achieved were certainly worth it. Terrific stuff from the sound point of view. Was also a good re-initiation for filming in India for me.
Have a lot of interesting tales, but have to get it cleared from the Beebnot exactly the right TM if I can write about them.
In other news, some seriously light-headed folks from Chennai have decided to make Absolut FoolsTM of themselves on April Fools DayTM: might join inTM.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
So, I too am another fussy 'foreign return' character. The interesting thing is that being away for a certain amount of time makes you create a rather fuzzy and romanticised notion of 'home'. Even its obvious misgivings are romanticised and idealised. But not too long after I landed, reality hit me square on in the face, and more often than not, crept up behind me and bit me in the ass.
Well I have gone through the proper re-initiation rituals for legal entry into Madras and Tam Brahm society: like the customary walk through Pondy Bazaar and sweltering along on Mount Road.
While most men (envious prats!) dislike my abundance of hair, the ladies seem to rather fall for it. Quite a few of them have confessed that it has certainly enhanced my sex appeal. Now that's what I'd like to hear.
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