Saturday, December 29, 2007

Time ripe for GOTOT?

So India is poised at level where, it's almost impossible to pull even a draw now, but after looking at Tendulkar's innings in first Indian innings, I think time for GOTOT is ripe now.

Times ago, Gaurav asked for a GOTOT, which has not arrived yet. Stage couldn't be better. Two days and 500 runs to achieve. In almost similar situation, Sri Lanka would have pulled a victory right under the nose of Ricky Ponting, thanks to the charge led by Sangakkara, but courtesy a bad decision they lost by 96 runs. The way Tendulkar hammered Australians in first innings, I don't think it's too hard for Tendulkar to achieve such a high target in 4th innings. With Ganguly finding his confidence back, one of the prolific pair of ODIs might be able to pull a miracle against Kangaroos. I know I am being too optimistic, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for sure.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Saawariya

Eagerly awaited and hopefully looked upon time by Bollywood is approaching as Diwali nears. This year, Diwali is going to witness two mega-budget releases Saawariya and Om Shanti Om. As for, whole versus thing, I will reserve it for another post. For now, I am here to talk about Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his latest offering Saawariya.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali silently entered with not-so-successful Khamoshi, but he really hit the marquee with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, which went on to become one of the most successful in the year and put Bhansali at front of successful directors. Bhansali continued his success march with really-mega-budget Devdas, churning out enough money to justify the big budget, even resulting in the selection for India's official entry to best foreign-language film at Academy awards, only to be ousted too early just like most of Indian films. Strengthening Bhansali as one of looked upon figure of Bollywood, but surprising was yet to come. In 2005, Bhansali came up with "breakthrough cinema", "critically-acclaimed", "beautifully crafted" et al BLACK. Now let me try to put Saawariya into my own little perspective about Bhansali and his films in general. I won't dig too much past, just little something from recent past. Devdas and Black.

Now, as everyone knew Devdas was an adaption of a novel, which was already adopted twice before and in fans' words immortalized by K. L. Saigal and Dilip Kumar respectively. Bhansali roped in Shahrukh Khan, baap of all of them, atleast as far as melodrama is concerned. Gargantuan sets, full of colours, two beautiful leading ladies, graceful choreography and dependable Shahrukh Khan made this movie a huge hit. Devdas, as a novel and even as a movie is classic example of all the drama/melodrama that can be incorporated. Bhansali did just that, so although people might have described it as gaudy or anything, one needs to understand that it needed to be gaudy. So far so good.

Then came BLACK. Bhansali set his eyes on critics and junta both this time around and decided to remake Academy-award winner The Miracle Worker. A story of deaf and blind girl and her teacher inspired from Helen Keller. Decided to go for black and white instead of colours. Name of the film is black you see. Whatever came out was darling of critics and not to mention a huge hit. He got all the praise for venturing where no Hindi movie director had gone, lifetime role of Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee etc. etc. Now here is where my problem starts. Black was a good watch alright, but it went little too far. Let me try to put it into words. Raja Sen, one of the prominent hate-figures on rediff message boards and among my favourite movie reviewers, in his article Why Paheli is better choice than Black for Oscars raised a few good points. I may not agree with all good things he said about Paheli, but for black.. sure!! (No wonder people hate him like that. I mean "how can he bash ah-so-great, movie of the century, Black like this..."). Greatbong, in his review rightly described movie as A technically polished weepy is all that I can call it. Baradwaj Rangan properly describes Sanjay Leela Bhansali as unapologetically melodramatic. That works for Devdas, but not quite for Black, mate.

Now coming to Saawariya. As we know, Saawariya is adaptation of Fryodor Dostoevsky's short story White Nights. Russian authors are known for their dark, depressing love stories about unrequited love, with most of the stories ending in agony, nervousness and depression. As a screenplay, story is good alright but why do I have this serious apprehension that all of that is going to get lost between sets, songs and Ranbir's bottom? (Rediff insanity at its peak. What do you mean Should INDIA see Ranbir's bottom????. Oh, let's keep nuclear deal aside for sometime, while INDIA discusses the utmost national security issue such as this). Or is it only me that has this feeling that Bhansali will be as unsuccessful in doing the justice to the subject as he was in Black. Well, only time can tell that but as of now let's just say that I am apprehensive about Saawariya and would rather wait-and-watch.

(cross-posted to DesiCritics)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Too far Ponting, too far...

Now we all know that Australians are good at sledging and I don't say it sarcastically. They really know how to sledge, unlike few of our hot-headeds like Sreesanth. Mr. Ponting I know you are able leader of all of them in all matters, but this time around you stretched it a little too far and stretched it beyond your limits.

Sachin Tendulkar is the best I've ever seen, good on him for playing 400-odd games - still it's a bit easier when you don't have to field in half of them.

You have mouth and you have ability to speak, but when it comes to Sachin Tendulkar, I get little worked up and that too totally irrelevant and false comments. What do you mean when you say you don't have to field in half of them?? Mr. Ponting, don't you challenge Sachin's commitment to the game. May I remind you that Sachin holds world record for most consecutive one-day matches that's 185 at the beginning of his career. 185!! That's almost half of the matches he has played till now and I don't believe he would have ever sat out during when Indian side is fielding. Even after that when he was hit with back problems and tennis elbow, it was rare sight, if any, not to see Sachin on the field. He is and has always been perfect contributor with ball and his commitment in fielding. Who can forget those magical overs that he bowled against Australia and South Africa to snatch thrilling victories for India?? Did you notice Mr. Ponting that when Indian side was playing for a draw to secure the historic series win against England, it was only Sachin who was playing with zest and enthusiasm for win?? So Mr. Ponting, although I know you had been saying these statements to provoke us, but next time make sure you stay within your limits!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This is the stuff dreams are made of...

© Ankur Gupta

A view from Brahmagiri peak. Brahmgiri Trek, September 14-16, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just a question...

How the hell does he serve that atomically precise ultra-fast ace at T's in 2nd serve? Hats-off Master...

Sunday, August 19, 2007


There is no place like Home.
-Dorothy,The Wizard of Oz

There is no place like
-Douglas E. Comer, Author of Internetworking with TCP/IP

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I had no intension of watching Marigold whatsoever and this start of a review on Desicritics just strengthened belief.

Did you know Marigold is the name of a flower? You did? Oh well, tough luck then - this movie is not for you, because that is about the most interesting thing you come out with. Yeah, it’s that drab.

I know it's not *that* funny, but I ROTFLed for atleast 3 minutes after reading it...!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday musings....

As we get older (as opposed to grow older), we start to make certain assumptions about ourselves. As time grows, we start to think that we are beyond certain feelings. Certain things can not happen to you ever again. You assume for yourself that set of negative feelings/emotions you were so sure are way behind. All it takes is just a small shock to tell you that Don't be too judgmental about yourself, dude. You still have a long way to go.... Keep note of such incidents and you will have a reality check for yourself.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Internet Radio on your Google Talk

I just love when different technologies come across to make a gadget that makes you say.... WOW!!! Although less popular than its peers Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger, I love Google Talk primarily because it's built upon open protocol jabber. Using this gtalk2voip has made an internet radio application. Just follow following steps and do let me know your feedback :

  1. Add to your GTalk friends list.
  2. Add
  3. Make a call to, you will be directly connected to teen taal FM radio station.

How was that?? Just make sure to use MUTE on your side to ensure privacy, just in case :)

Leave your feedback in comments section.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Ek Surati Ghazal

One of the least known things about Gujarati language for non-Gujarati people is how many different accents Gujarati actually has. Whenever any movie/serial tries to capture Gujju people they have a typical Ketaki-Dave-ish Gujarati accent prominently known as Kathiyawadi. One of the other accent, prominent in South Gujarat is mainly attributed to Parsi people. Whenever captured,like Being Cyrus, always highlighted as Parsi language, but it's common to most South Gujarati people. So here is a tribute to it. Obviously it's beyond translation, but even if you know Gujarati, you might not enjoy it unless you actually have been in touch with people.

પન્નીને પહતાય તો કે'ટો ની,
વાહણ જો અથડાય તો કે'ટોની.

અમના તો કે'ટો છે પાંપણ પર ઊંચકી લેમ,
પછી માથે ચડી જાય તો કે'ટો ની.

અમના તો પ્યાર જાણે રેહમની ડોરી,
એના પર લૂંગડા હૂકવાય તો કે'ટો ની.

"એની આંખોના આભમાં પંખીના ટોળાં..."
પછી ડોળા દેખાય તો કે'ટો ની.

હમ, ટુમ, તન્હાઈ બધું ઠીક મારા ભાઈ,
પછી પોયરાં અડ્ડાય તો કે'ટો ની.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Secret behind Himesh Reshammiya

This has got to be one of the funniest forwards in recent times, after the airtel advertisement ofcourse.

This post is made totally with humorous intension and no harm is meant to any community, especially to any wolf community.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Partner -- The Review

Just a question. What do you do if you have a script of proved hit comedy film from Hollywood? Answer. If you are David Dhawan, you rip-off the script, you mess it with as much as you can and turn it into a slapstick, Govinda-ish comedy. Yes that's Partner for you.

As you already know Partner is a rip-off from Will Smith, Eva Mendes starrer Hitch. Partner, which our good old Taran Adarash defines as, It's stylish, it's crazier, it's a bigger entertainer than David's last two laughathons. I have only one question. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Partner is as bizarre as it can get. Now copying Hollywood movies is not anything new we have heard in Hindi movies (What else do you expect when you have the very word Bollywood derived from Hollywood just because it's located in Bombay?). Directors have forgotten that people actually watch Hollywood movies now-a-days. Anyway, all David Dhawan had to do was remake the movie frame to frame and would have turned into a decent entertainer, but my frustration gets even bigger after they try to put some intelligence into it. Sanjay Gupta did it with Zinda and now it's David Dhawan's turn to prove his "superiority".

As for plot, a loser trying to pataofy a rich, simple-minded, kind-hearted girl with help of a love guru, who has problems of his own with the girl whom he is trying to pataofy and all's well that ends well. Well, that's pretty much it. Flavour it with child scientist making accurate missiles and cool-dude child helping other dude so he can marry his mother. All the crap about Salman-Govinda chemistry and Govinda's applauded comeback non-sense doesn't make any sense.

Verdict : Strict no-no. Rather go to a local DVD shop and watch Hitch again.

PS:- While you are at it, don't watch Naqaab - Shaatir Iraade - Disguised Intensions either. Worse of the two? Difficult to pick.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

So near yet... so far...

The other day I was listening to the song Bairi Piya... from Devdas. Now I agree with Eliza when she says Devdas has very moving songs, strongly dependent on the mood you are in. Anyway, so while listening to the song I came across the line, Tu duur jo thaa to paas hi thaa, ab paas hai to duur hai kyun?? and chain of thoughts led me here...

Be it your love or your best friend, you want to keep him/her near to you and subconsciously focussed on you. Now holding someone near to you is not a bad thing, but expecting the same thing in return is dangerous. If the person is even away from you for a while for whatsoever reason, you start getting feeling that he/she is ignoring you and you can't come up with a reason, mainly because THERE AREN'T ANY. Still it keeps haunting you that something is definitely wrong and charm/chemistry/bonding is not there any more. If you are "rational", you start explaining YOURSELF. Things change, People Change... , One needs to move on... and what not. Not that these thoughts are wrong, but did you give a pause? Are you sure things have changed? Are you sure the person is changed? We tend to get feeling that we are being ignored, we are being sidelined, we are not same as we used to be in the other person's eye and you have this decision that For greater good, we have to accept reality and move on. Did you ever put it in other person's perspective? Do you even have faintest idea that your best friend needs your attention as much as you do? It might be situation that has turned the way he/she lives has changed his/her approach? You don't gossip as much as you used to, you don't laugh together as much as you used to, you don't spend the long hours on phone you used to. Does that in any way make him/her love you any less? but as you would say people change.... In short, the point is, Being irrationally "rational" and "for greater good" is as much dangerous to a relationship as much "not letting go" is.

PS:- Phew, I have written what I wanted to, but I bet it sounds Hebrew to many readers. (MANY is a misleading term here, considering number of people who read my blog).

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Indian Idol 3 - Gala

What KBC did for Star Plus, Indian Idol (season 1) upto some extent did for Sony. Although not as huge as KBC, but it did manage to bring back some viewers to Sony. Indian version of American Idol is a program Sony looks upto and as expected has turned into season 3.

Indian Idol, for me, has been some sort of guilty pleasure viewing for me. I have been vociferous against such so-called reality shows with may be 1% reality and 99% drama with judges fighting, judges walking out and what not. I never watched Indian Idol season 1. Courtesy my roommate, I started watching Indian Idol season 2. N. C. Karunya was probably the best talent I have seen in reality shows, but as it happens most of the times, it's not always that best man wins. After all the drama of world tour, elimination, Piano round have passed, I have started watching Indian Idol again and already picked up my favourite . Ankita Mishra.

The first performance of this 17-year old girl, which I saw was Golmaal Golmaal... from Golmaal. I was shocked. The attitude with which girl carries herself is amazing and reminded me of one of my favourite singers, Sunidhi Chauhan. When I started, as a singer, she was not that good, but may be it's Kanpur Connection ;) She chose the songs which didn't require much of variations like Aayi re aayi re khushi, Aisa jadoo dala re... Although I was pitching for her, I was not sure for her progress, but as time is passing she is growing into a good singer too. She has proved her variations with a bhajan and Kaisi Paheli Zindagani. As judges put it, Kanpur ki complete package!!!. After that Rangeela performance,I have high hopes. The way she performed the song, not many can pull it off. I don't know how far she'll go, but I am surely backing her. Go girl... you rock!!!!

Related links:- Ankita's performances videos

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bollywood plagiarism at its best(???)

Bollywood has done it again. After blatant rip-offs from Hollywood masterpieces including Reservoir Dogs (Kaante), Usual Suspects (Chocolate), Old Boy (Zinda) and many many more, bollywood has struck again.

Read synopsis of new David Dhawan-Salman Khan-Govinda comedy. Does it remind you of anything? Straight lift from Will Smith, Eva Mendes starrer Hitch you might say, but David Dhawan won't even use a word inspiration or remake and who knows might deliver another hit from the shoulders of a successful Hollywood comedy. God bless us!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


INDIAN GRAND PRIX 2009. If this line doesn't send chills down through your spine, probably you don't understand how huge this news is. Suresh Kalmadi, in rarest display of wisdom, announced that India will be hosting F1 race, as soon as 2009, at Delhi. Indian Olympics Association will be taking all the responsibilities for the same.

Since last few years there has been growing interest in Formula-1 in India. Majority of people became aware of the terms like Ferrari, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, when Narain Karthikeyan debuted in Formula-1 in 2005 with Jordan team and became first Indian driver to do so. As of now, fan-following of India has been dedicated to Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, but India has definitely one of the prime market for Formula-1 in recent times.

"It is not vital to Formula One to be in the United States. There are bigger markets for us to be in other parts of the world. We could be in India soon instead of the United States", said F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. There had been various talks of Hyderabad hosting Formula-1, until Chandrababu Naidu, who initiated the talks, was thrown out of the power.

FOA (Formula One Association) has laid out lots of terms and conditions, but Kalmadi has promised to satisfy them all before September 20, 2007. FOA has lots of Infrastructure requirements pertaining to travel, accomodation of teams and supporting crews. eg., a city hosting F-1 needs to have 5000 five star hotel rooms for total crew including all teams and many more. India is already lacking behind in the schedule of 2010 commonwealth games, also being held at Delhi. Added responsibility of F-1 will surely add up lots of responsibilities, but we can only hope that Suresh Kalmadi lives upto his word, which doesn't go too well with his past records.

They need huge land to build the track around Delhi, which I am sure will take up loads of time in bureaucracy and add to it stadium building and other overhead. Tough times. I hope he does live upto it and this dream turns into a reality. If Delhi is indeed hosting 2009 Grand Prix, you bet I am there. Are you game?

(Cross-posted to DesiCritics)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Finally Federer!!

Finally the shout came. The shout I have been waiting for since what seems like eons. A shout ran like a tremor through my building as I gave into the moment. The Mighty Federer defeated "The Clay King" Rafael Nadal on his own turf.

Roger Federer was going through a so-called slump in this point of his career. Ever since he grabbed the top spot in the ATP rankings in February 2004, this was the first time when he entered four consecutive tournaments without actually winning them. As if that was not disheartening enough, he lost only one of them to Nadal. This was surprising because just before this so-called slump he was riding high on his win from Australian Open and Dubai Open. Fans got a semi-shock when he split with coach Tony Roche and declared that he would enter the French Open and Wimbledon without a coach.

Fans of the lesser gods had a reason to rejoice and discussions like 'is this end of Federer?' were abuzz, while fans continued to crumble when he lost again to Nadal in the battle of surfaces, an exhibition match played on half-clay, half-grass court.

So when he entered the Hamburg Masters 2007, few expected him to keep his streak unbeaten on the German clay court. Initial signs weren't looking good either. Federer survived a scare when he beat a qualifier in a tense three-setter. Except for the match against Ferrero, where he showed the sign of a true champion, he kept struggling. The quarterfinal match against David Ferrer and the Semifinal match against Carlos Moya couldn't be won without a decider set. The number of unforced errors were rising. Coming onto the net wasn't as successful as had been expected. Something was certainly wrong. On the other hand, Rafael was almost flawless and triumphant, except against Lleyton Hewitt in semifinals where he was forced to drop a set.

The stage was set. May 21, 2007. The date was bound to go into history books as one of the glorious moments of Roger Federer's illustrious career. When it's Roger vs Rafael, you are supposed to be glued at your TV set, but fans in India/Pakistan were not lucky enough. The live telecast of the match was scheduled to start at 1830 IST, when the match actually started at 1730 IST, so there was no option but to stick to live scoreboard from Official ATP website. In the very first game, Roger had to save two breakpoints, but the pressure kept on mounting and finally he surrendered the set at 2-6 with two breaks of serve. That's when the live telecast began in India/Pakistan. The pressure was still mounting. Roger again saved a break point in the very first game of second set. Then what happened in the 4th game, no one expected. Before anyone could realize, Federer was leading the game 0-40 and had triple breakpoints and he finally managed a long sought break and lead the set 3-1 and after that there was no looking back for the emperor. He held on to his serve elegantly and won the set 6-2.

Then came the decider. You can't expect a fighter like Rafael,who was riding high on his unbeaten streak of 81 matches on clay surface, just to witness Federer rolling. You have to expect a backlash, but there was no stopping this juggernaut. Nadal couldn't hold on to a single serve and the game,set, match went to Roger Federer. 2-6 6-2 6-0. He won 8 consecutive games and won the last 11 out of 12 games.

Although Federer has won the Golden Bagel Award,a light-hearted award given to the player who has served the most bagels (sets won by 6-0) in a year, twice in three years, I bet no Bagel tasted sweeter than this one. Beating one of the greatest players on the clay court by a bagel?!! That has to mean something. I bet Federer won't forget that for a long time to come. It was a much needed mental and psychological win for Federer against Nadal and that too when Nadal was chasing an ever elusive streak of triple figures, which no one in the history of tennis has achieved.

He has tasted the blood now. It will definitely provide a necessary boost for Federer to add the missing trophy of French Open to his collection. Nobody summarized it better than the philosophical Nadal himself, "I was winning for consecutive 81 matches, I know it had to end sometime, then who better than this man to do so." Bravo!!

The history of tennis has rarely seen such an extremely competitive yet healthy rivalry. Don't expect him to lose his heart. This wounded tiger will be passionate and furious like never before to defend his Roland Garros title. Could the French Open '07 have had a better curtain raiser? I don't think so.

(cross-posted to DesiCritics)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Table d’hôte

In order to document my experiments at culinary I have given shape to my long standing desire. Started yet another blog. Table d’hôte. Cross-posting my first post here. Hope to see you there.

Hi. Without being sophisticated, I admit that I am a big foodie (which shows on my size too) and same enthusiasm has continued into my culinary experiments too. It had been and has been my long-standing desire to cook good food, not just for the sake of necessity. Experiments have not been too fast-paced but they have been surely encouraging. So in the process I would like to document my efforts and hence the result is the blog you have just stumbled upon. Table d’hôte.

A word of caution. Don't read the title of the blog literally. it's not table dhote, it's Table d’hôte. Monsieur and Mademoiselle, it's FRENCH, which literally means host's table, but according to dictionary, it means A full-course meal offering a limited number of choices (as opposed to à la carte) , both of which suits my blog considering I am very enthusiast about hosting breakfasts, lunches, dinners, mainly for experiment and feedback purpose :) and with me you don't get many choices. Limited enough choices to be counted on tip of your fingers and for future purposes, if this blog doesn't turn out to be successful I will indeed be found table dhote. So in short, this title aptly describes past, present and future of my blog.

Disclaimer :- All recipes posted in this blog are tried and tasted[sic] and all of them are made by a bachelor, so easy enough to be tried on your own, so you can give it a shot but at your own risk. Hoping for you to be regular visitor at my new experiment and would be even more glad if you can actually become one of my subject. Welcome aboard and hope you enjoy your stay.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sheer Frustration

... as Federer yet again loses to a nobody Filippo Volandri in Straight Sets 6-2 6-4. Good for Tennis may be, but definitely not good for fans :(

Thursday, April 12, 2007

First Rain

Pitch dark night. Only interrupted by thundering lightning. Trees, flowers, plants bathed in fresh shower. Refreshing smell of water-soaked land. Music more pleasing to ears than Beethoven's 9th symphony.

What do you do? You don't do anything, you just sitback with a chair in balcony and enjoy the show.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The man who makes Federer sweat

Rarely in the world of tennis, fans witness a scene which they witnessed on March 11, 2007. A rookie was consoling the mighty federer on his straight set defeat and halted his career-best winning streak of 41 matches. When Indian fans woke up the next morning, couldn't believe what their eyes were seeing. The man had finally fallen, the frontier had been conquered and tennis suddenly seemed competitive all again. Another man to challenge the king's crown has arrived. It's Guillermo Canas.

When Roger Federer entered Indian Wells Masters, aka Pacific Life Open, he was riding high on confidence. He was three-times defending champion. Was riding high on his win at year-opening Australian open and later on Dubai open, where he regained his crown. He was undefeated in 2007, in fact he was undefeated since August 2006 and was on verge of breaking all-time best streak of 46 wins. All he needed was to win the title, which owing to aforementioned reasons didn't look unexpected. What was unexpected was what actually happened on the court. When Roger Federer launched his campaign he was face-to-face with Guillermo Canas and like the case generally is, he was a bit rusty when he started and before he could get the hold back, all was lost . Canas had handed him first round, straight set defeat of 7-5 6-2. Owing to non-transmission of initial rounds in India, I couldn't watch the match, but probably Mirka didn't either. It was supposed to be cake-walk, but my viewer friends say it definitely wasn't quite Federer-esque performance, but no excuses there.

Fast-forward two weeks. March 28, 2007. Federer is on his course to defend his title at Miami Masters, aka Sony Ericsson Open. 4th round. Roger Federer v/s Guillermo Canas. Life hasn't been hard for Federer till now cruising into fourth round. Guilldermo Canas, after commanding performance in qualifying rounds have defeated likes of Tim Henman, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Richard Gasquet to setup the clash with the king. Federer is visibly nervous, commits abundant unforced errors, although managing to break back the lost serve, loses the tie-breaker handing over the first set to Canas 7-6. Second set. Federer is all-charged up and summons up all his talent and athletics to win the set 6-2. Game moves on to third set. Federer manages early break 2-0 and has chance of another break and achieving almost invincible double break of the set, but that's when Canas holds his nerve and serve too. Come next game and Canas earns his break back. Finally, in the nerve-wrenching tie-breaker it was Canas who prevailed and won the clash 7-6(2) 6-2 7-6(5).

When I say this man is danger to the crown, it may be the case of fools-rush-in, but you will agree with me when you see the game of this man. He has the nerve, power and gamut of shots to beat Federer. He is as athletic in court as much as Federer and Nadal are.Today's match is live proof of that. He beat Federer when Federer came charging down to the net. In the win of Canas, contribution of Federer's unforced errors (51 as opposed to 21 of Canas) can't be ignored, but if I am allowed to put in my $0.02, I advise all the opponents of Federer to watch the video-tape of this match. That's the attitude, power and nerve you need to beat Federer. I couldn't have waited more for the clay season. It's going to be three-way battle between ever-reigning king of clay, Rafael Nadal, mighty king Roger Federer and a new force to be reckoned with Guillermo Canas. Clay season begins with Monte Carlo Masters on April 16, where Nadal is defending champion and Federer was finalist.

PS:- For Trivia fans, Argentian Guillermo Vilas holds record the longest streak in tennis open era with 46 consecutive wins, it was his namesake and compatriot who made that record still standing.

(cross-posted to DesiCritics)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Give me a Federer match, any day

This is my first post to Desicritics, where from now on, I'll be a regular contributor.

Few days ago Emma complained that Federer is getting too dominant for the sport to be interesting. I disagree, rather I strongly disagree.

Tennis, or for that matter any sport, is not just about feeling the drama or watching on edge of your seat. It's about appreciating the geniuses of the game. It's about watching something you thought to be impossible. It's as much about dominance as much it's about last minute thriller.

If you have played even a little bit of tennis, you would appreciate what Federer has pulled off in front of your eyes. You will literally drop your jaw if you saw a winner by Federer which was supposed to be other way around. Andy Roddick hits a powerful forehand and left corner of Federer's court and rushes to the net, just in case a loose reply comes. And what does he get? Federer moves to his ad (=left) side and forces a backhand half-volley, Roddick turns into a silent spectator and can't do anything but just watch the ball pass by him and lo! there is a cross-court backhand winner. Sheer frustration for Roddick and murmurs something about Roger having answer to every shot. That's pretty much same for Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon and James Blake at the Masters cup. They don't set a foot wrong and try to resist with the best they have and before they even understand what's going on they are holding runners up trophy.

Roger Federer has peculiar kinesthesia about his game, probably that has got something to do with his amazing skills, as a kid, in soccer, which he gave up in teenage for tennis. Even when he is rushing to the ball, he knows where he is going to set his next foot and when and where his racquet will hit the ball. That's the quality which gives him an extra edge to conjure those "supernatural" shots. If you have seen his cross-court forehands, backhand passing winners, baseline half-volley moonshots or boomerang net half-volley, you precisely know what I am talking about. Roger Federer has brought strategic game playing once again into focus in the age where game was lead by power gamers like Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt. He revived the extreme topspin, the art lost since time of Ivan Lendl, where in extreme topspin gives server the opportunity to serve "shallow", dipping in after passing the net. Yet another opposing characteristics to the power servers, who being tall try to serve as much deep as they can.

Tennis, as cliché goes, is the game of inches and Roger Federer precisely knows that. When anticipating a return, his opponent is not quite sure if the ball will lend up inside the baseline. Federer, on the other hand, is quite sure of his actions. That's even more evident and jaw-dropping with recent inclusion of challenge system. When Roger Federer challenges a call, it has to be IN. Even if it's an ace which is served at more than 200 kmph and has been called out, if Federer challenges it, rest assured, it would have definitely kissed the 'T'. You are dumbstruck when hawk-eye proves it IN.

As for the drama, although rare in nature, are dramatic enough to be in your memory for long time. Take the final of Rome Masters 2006. Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6. That, in my opinion, is the best game Federer has played against Nadal on clay. Yes, the best, and much better than hyped French Open 2006 final. You start nearing edge of your seat, when Federer starts getting little jittery in the middle or towards the end and that's where the opponent's hope lies. That's what makes spectators believe that Federer is still a human.

If you still believe that Federer is too boring, here is good news. Let the March cometh. Let the clay season begin. Let Rome Masters, Hamburg Masters, and French Open cometh. Rafael ‘clayking’ Nadal will once again rise to the top and will look to continue his unbeaten record on clay since, what looks like, forever. He will make the mighty Federer sweat for every single point. Federer will not just get it; he will have to work hard to earn it. Federer will look forward to achieve “The Final Frontier”, the French Open and there you will get the clash of the titans. Hold your breath from March to May and you will see the best tennis you would have ever seen in your lifetime.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sachin Ton-dulkar

Sachin Tendulkar once again rose to the occassion and proved his mettle. Sachin whenever criticised nationally/internationally has hit back. He remained silent and rather let his bat do the talking. In what can be considered as reply to the critics, when asked by Arunlal regarding gaining his form, Tendulkar replied, "I have always played the way I wanted to play according to the situation. I have been playing for a long while now,( read... I know what I am doing) so people should appreciate that." Well, this post is not about that though.

Some people have always criticised Tendulkar for being mean. Once in somewhat controversial statement Ganguly said that "I am not interested in making centuries which doesn't help team win." largely hinted at Tendulkar, probably. So here is the point. In 41 centuries Sachin has made India has lost 11 times, which means little more than 75% which by no standard is bad when you have played for 18 years!! Here is a nice piece on Tendulkar's century that went in vain. Courtesy : Comment section of one of the post on Rediff.

When many people say how many of Sachin's hundreds have come for a winning cause, I decided to check the Cricinfo stats and here are the results.

Out of the 41 hundreds, 11 hundreds have gone in vain.

I will try to analyse each of them.

1. 137 off 137 balls Vs SriLanka at Delhi in 1996 World Cup.
India scored 271/3 in 50 overs. The only other 50 score was from Azhar. SL made 272 in 48.4 overs. Manoj Prabhakar had 4-0-47-0. He also opened in the innings with Sachin and scored 7 of 36 balls.

2. 100 of 111 Balls Vs Pak in Singapore- Apr 96.
India 226 all out in 47.1 overs, When Sachin was out score was 186/4. Pak had a reduced target of 187 from 33 overs.

3. 110 of 138 Balls vs Sri Lanka In Colombo - Aug 96.
Again India 226 for 5 in 50 overs, Only other 50 score from Azhar (58 of 99 balls).Sachin has also bowled 6-0-29-1, the second most economical bowler and the only wicket taker (SL were 230/1 in 44.2) of the match next to Srinath. 7 bowlers were used by Azhar.

4. 143 of 131 Balls Vs Aus at Sharjah, Apr 1998.
This was chasing under lights. The qualifying match before the final. The whole world knows about this match. Still one interesting point, when Sachin was out India were 242 at 5 at 43 overs. Target was 276 in 46. Still India finished at 250/5 scoring just 8 of the next 3 overs. Great performance by Laxman and Kanithkar indeed.

5. 101 of 140 Balls against SL at Sharjah in Oct 2000.
Indian score was 224/8 in 50 overs. (No other 50 score). SL got 225/5 in 43.5, Sachin also bowled 5-0-22-0, better economy rate than everyone except Srinath.

6. 146 of 153 Balls against Zimbabwe at Jodhpur - December 2000
India made 283 / 8 in 50 overs. Sachin was the last man to be dismissed, score was 235/8 at 46.3 overs when he was out. Agarkar and Zaheer Khan propelled India to 283 in the last 3.3 overs. When Sachin has scored 146 of 235 in 46.3 overs, you can guess what the other 8 great batsmen were doing against the World class Zimbabwe attack. Second Highest scorer was Zaheer Khan with 32.
Zim got 284/9 in 49.5 overs. Agarkar bowled the last over. Sachin also got 6-0-35-1

7. 101 of 129 Balls Vs SA at Johannesburg - Oct 2001
India got 279/5 in 50, Ganguly made 127 of 126 balls. When Ganguly got out, the score was 193-1 in 35.2 overs. Sachin was the last man to get out at 263. SA got 280 in 48.4 overs. Sachin bowled 9-0-51-0, second best in economy rate next only to Agarkar (10-0-45-1)

8. 141 of 135 balls Vs Pak at Rawalpindi, March 2004.
India were chasing 329 and were 317 all out in 48.4 overs, 8 balls to spare. No other batsman made even a 50 (when chasing 300 ) and when Sachin was out, India were 245-4 in 38.4 overs. They needed 85 from 68 balls with 6 wickets in hand.

9. 123 of 130 Balls vs Pak at Ahmedabad, April 2005.
India made 315/6 in 48 overs (48 over match), again no other 50 score. Second highest was Dhoni 47 of 64 balls, (third highest was extras - 39). Pak made 319 in 48 overs. The three quicks (Balaji, Nehra and Khan went for 188 runs from 26 overs between them taking only 2 wickets). Sachin bowled 6-0-36-1. No Harbhajan and no Kumble.

10. 100 of 113 Balls Vs Pak at Peshawar, Feb-2006.
India were 328 all out in 49.4 overs. Pathan and Dhoni got 60 each. When Sachin was out when India were 305-5 in 45 overs. Managed only 23 in the last 5 overs.

Pak scored 311/7 in 47 overs and won by D/L method. Could have been anybody's game. Sachin did not bowl.

11. 141* of 148 balls vs WI at Malaysia.
India made 309 /5 in 50 overs. Sachin was not out. Pathan was the only other 50 scorer. WI made 141/2 in 20 overs and won by D/L method. Again could have been anybody's game.

In the other 31 instances India has won 30 times and once there was no result.

Now, please think again when you say sachin's 100s were in the losing cause and that he is not a team player. It is a fact that for the entire 90's India played International cricket with 1 player and 10 jokers.

PS:- Please pardon the pun in the title.

One Federer in lifetime is enough

Today's morning was made cheerful with this excellent piece on Roger Federer in The Hindu.

It is a pleasant coincidence, for spectators, that the three greatest players of the modern era, Borg, Sampras, Federer have followed each other, each a finer model than the next. But so evolved is the Swiss that perhaps a longer wait is now due. Like a few generations.

Then, perhaps when we have gone to the Gods, a player will come, at a time when tennis is bereft (as it was in many ways when Federer came), with a serve a few pounds heavier, a volley a fraction more sure, a backhand a trifle more versatile. And our children, maybe grandchildren, will shake their heads in disbelief.

We will not envy them. One Federer in a lifetime is enough.

Blog is getting too sporty. Well, let the Australian Open feeling sink and it might not rise until World cup or French Open.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Quiet please, genius at work!!!

It's too cliche now to start a post with Federer's praises, so to the point. In the final showdown, TMF (The Mighty Federer) defeats Fernando Gonzlez in straight sets 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4 and claims his 10th grandslam title without dropping a single set through out the tournament.

Gonzalez proved a far better opponent than Andy Roddick, but couldn't match up the might of the king. He showed some sign of defeating the king with his extremely powerful forehand and breaking Federer in the first set, until Federer broke back and ultimately won the set in tiebraker. By the time second set came, Federer had shifted to top gear and Gonzalez had no chance and Federer successfully defended his title without losing a set. It was way back in 1980 when Bjorn Borg won the championship at Wimbledon without dropping a set. But then again, Federer has broken records which were written way back in 1934.

Gonzalez can only cheer up from this match. After defeating likes of Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt and James Blake, he is sure the man to watch. With the game he has shown today he has mettle to match Nadal to challenge Federer's throne. So all you second-liners, watch out for this man. He provided toughest challenge to Federer in this australian open 2007.

There is no stopping for this man. No one seems good enough to dethrone him at any place other than clay. After winning 10th title, Roger will yet again claim for the only grand slam that has eluded him, the French Open. If you leave out the French Open, it wasy way back in January 2005 when anyone else than Roger Federer (Marat Safin) won the grand slam. Can he do it this time? or just like Sampras the title will elude him forever? Well, time is not ripe yet for this discussion. As of now it's just celebration time. Enjoy Federer!!! You rock!!

See you all at Roland Garros...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Never mind MaSh

Never mind, MASH, but Serena deserved to win today. It's just a start for you. There is always next time. Go girl!!!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Munnabhai chale amrika

Third movie in the fabulous Munna-Circuit series has been announced. It's called Munnabhai chale amrika. Script isn't finalized yet but it's evident from the titel that Munna and Circuit will embark on their journey to America and movie is expected to release in 2008. This one will be definitely worth waiting for.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Absolute Roger

How dare I? How dare I miss such a game, which BBC's John Lloyd describes as, "It's mind-boggling. We're lucky to be in the presence of pure and utter genius." and Chris Bailey as "Has Federer played better than this in a Grand Slam match? I don't think so."? How dare I miss the set where Andy Roddick angrily muttering to himself - something about Federer having an answer to everything ? but so I did.

This was supposed to be THE game of AO 2007, with Roddick rising to his old form on shoulder of legend Jimmy Connors and defeating Fedex just a fortnight ago, but here we are. Roger Federer sent Andy Roddick packing in just 1 hour 23 minutes in straight sets. 6-4 6-0 6-2. Watching highlights, it makes me feel... don't know. I am too dumbfounded even to say that I am running out of words. Absolute genius. Roddick can't believe his eyes either. Every shot he plays, leaves Roddick even more stunned. Is Roger a super human? Every single freakin' shot in the book he played. Baseline half-volley, passing backhand, passing moonshot backhand, crosscourt forehand. EVERYTHING. Just like Jonas Bjorkman, Roddick might be forced to say "I had the best seat in the stadium."

While first set was usual affair for Federer. It was second set where Federer showed why he is where he is. Federer made just one unforced error and Roddick in total gathered only six points in the set. Cheered at every point in third set, Roddick was able to hold two serves, but couldn't stop the roller rolling and massacre was done. If I have to rate the games of Federer I have seen, this would surely land in top 3. A performance which even Roger couldn't believe, putting him in tie for yet another record of reaching 7 consecutive finals of Grandslam. The record that was written way back in 1933! Phew!! and that puts Federer just one match away from his 10th grandslam title. Way to go Roger. All the best!

PS:- All those like me who are watching matches online, shouldn't miss live commentary on BBC. Really precious for their comments and one-liners. Like one here for today's match. Some gems:

Federer 6-4 6-0 3-1 Roddick
Fed is untouchable. He challenges after a serve down the 'T' is called wide and is proved right. Don't think he's got one wrong all night. Roddick goes to high-five the linesman, appreciating the attempt to help him out.

Federer 6-4 6-0 2-1 Roddick
Someone in the crowd has just told Roddick to "remember the Alamo". Interesting. Perhaps he does, because he finally gets on the board after 11 games against him. The roar from the crowd is deafening.

"If this match were being played on water, Roddick would be drowning while Federer would be walking on it."
BBC Sport's Chris Bailey

Federer 6-4 3-0 Roddick
A miraculous backhand pass off a ferocious Roddick forehand gets Federer off to the perfect start and this is turning into another masterclass from the defending champion. If this was Wimbledon, you'd be hoping for rain to save Roddick.

Super Maria

MASH storms to finals!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Watch out Roger...

In what could be turning point of the grand slam, Andy Roddick crushed his high-school friend Mardy Fish in quarter finals, 6-2 6-2 6-2. Federer, on the other hand, made his way to the semifinal defeating Tomy Robredo 6-3 7-6 7-5.

It wasn't exactly a comprehensive win. Although Federer managed breaks on Robredo's serve. Robredo keep hitting back and broke back. Federer was quite vulnurable on his own serve, otherwise known for excellent service game. It was the ability of Federer to stretch himself at crucial points that made him winner.

In semis, in my opinion, Roddick can present a challenge to Federer which only Nadal could in recent past. Andy is a big server and with this vulnurable serve of Federer, he can dig a hole to make a grave. On other hand, after some glitches in initial matches, Roddick is cruising along so convincingly that people have started noticing him and identify him as a man who along with Nadal can present a threat to Fedex's throne. Jimmy Connors effect has definitely been showing on him and he showed his intensions by defeating the king in Kooyong Classic final to defend his title. So just keep your fingers crossed, you are going to witness biggest match of Australian Open 2007 on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rang De Basanti out of oscar contention

Could I be more happy? Garnered with all the accolades at home, inspite of being above average movie, didn't deserve Academy awards nomination. As Amit Varma says, Much joy comes :).

Monday, January 15, 2007

Abhishek-Aishwarya get engaged

Rediff says, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, also known as Abhiwarya(%$#@!&%$@) got engaged on January 14th.

Well, do I care? No, but I will make sure not to switch on any news channels for atleast 4-5 days now.