Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mayanti Langer

Mayanti Langer has never came to widespread attention until now,because nobody watched ICL or Zee sports that much, wherein she had her previous assignments. But now she has with ESPN and coverage from South Africa. And ESPN would never hire somebody below par for such a high profile tournament that is the world cup.

She has enough knowledge of the game to put guys in bars and pubs to shame!!

She knows the formations, players, nationality, history and club affliations..all these can’t be mugged up and you are sure to be uncomfortable in your first assignment with experts like Paul Masefield ,Gerry Armstrong and Shebby Singh ,but not for one moment is Mayanti Langer -she,of assured voice and intelligent insights. She,of great composure and tilted right posture, wonderfully exotic name and a rare surname.

Miss Langer is comfortable in her skin and confident in her thoughts. I have not seen her slip up even once with her presentation .Every player’s name is spoken as it should be and that is hard with 32 nationalities in the mix. Every question she asks, merits being asked .I don’t know how much she prepares and all,but the conversation flows.She is akin to what Paula Malai Ali is to Formula1.

‘Only if there were more girls like her’ -would be a general line of thought among guys.Hell,we will be happy with girls who would know half as much as she does.

She has lovely dressing sense and would be an excellent addition to the EPL panel in a nicely cut Van Heusen jacket. I hope to see more of her when the next EPL starts in August. If not as host, as correspondent, if not that, then on weekend preview shows.She is a lady for keeps- i think ESPN understands that .

Friday, June 25, 2010


Raavanan-the modern Ramayana cinematic interpretation from Mani Ratnam, is about trying to tell the other side of the story, from the perspective of Raavanan, the antagonist according to the Hindu mythology.Selective nods to Ramayana are to be seen inthe movie. Like when Sita gets kidnapped it’s watched over by a garuda-hawk, the reference to the number 14, couplet reciting forest guard Hanuman and the conflict instigator by the side of Ram- the humiliation of Raavanan’s sister, although with a twist.

Tamil films are always over the top and Mani Ratnam’s films bring Tamil cinema to a level of believability with not as much high decibel actions as others. Raavanan that ways will be liked by the Tamil audience. I have seen both versions of the bilingual-Raavan and Raavanan and I watched it with my cousin who understands Tamil better than me. And Raavanan is better value for your money..because I think that Tamil is the language that the film was envisioned and dreamed in .In Hindi just looses out in translation and secondly Vikram as Raavanan is way better than Abhishek Bachchan in Raavan.

This film is not plot much has been said about the plot being a modern interpretation that it those who entered knew it is going to be – ravaayana. Only we were looking for how the narration has been altered to tell the story of the Raavan who has always been painted as the beast .But most of the story runs parallel to the original except that Ram is not as good as we are told to be and he too is corruptible.Though there is just one surprise in the film towards the end …

In a Mani Ratnam film, the locales are a given and guaranteed treat and he prefers real life locations without artificial lighting . The shots of the Athirappilly waterfalls, with its triple thread falls, also seen previously in Dil Se and Guru are noteworthy. There are visually stunning images , reel after reel. I liked Raavanan ,but I have issues regarding its editing . It is just not right with its cuts and editing gets very jerky .Watch Raavanan ,even if with subtitles, that is a better option.

There are huge plot holes that just can’t be ignored .If you prefer a funny review highlighting the plot holes,follow this link.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How to make it in America

HBO has decided to renew its new project ‘How to make it in America’ for a second season consisting of another bunch of 8 episodes.

I got wind of the series online through some random clicks and I stumbled upon the opening track of ‘How to make it in America’ –a series that follows two New York late twenty somethings :Ben Epstein , an FIT dropout now working in a Barneys jeans store and freewheeling Cam Calderon trying to make it into the fashion scene of New York .

Now that doesn’t mean that its all fashion scene and milieu .This is about them struggling to even get a peep in ,into the lucrative yet seemingly impossible to break into business. And then they have rents, ex–con cousin and broken ,wandering relationships to take care of and avoid, in no particular order.

Although tagged as a comedy, it isn’t quite actually..its mellow and still in the works .After all its just into its first season-but I liked what I saw .Especially the title track over which the credits run over . The picturisation of the title track ‘I need a dollar’ by Aloe Blacc is something that will get anybody to stay a little while longer with the show..its that well shot and a very catchy number .

How to make it in America, is not blockbuster stuff, but this series from the creators of Entourage has promise.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lost ends heartbreakingly

Did the LOST finale collapse under the collective weight of expectations?

No, I don’t think so. The fans never expected to get the questions answered. And plenty had made peace with that .In fact it wouldn’t quite have been Lost, if after all was done and over with ,there was still not something to discuss and theorise and ponder about .

I think it collapsed because it played safe and coped out. I have read lots of threads and forums over 2 years and I know the intellectual level of the fans ..they always had very interesting insights and the writers read every idea on these forums. So why didn’t the writers take a cue, and listen to the sci-fi fans ? Why only go with the faith part of ‘man of science –man of faith’ debate? Why couldn’t it have been both? So far they had no problems juxtaposing both and giving us a balance.

Yes, Jack Shephard’s turning the circle was his series long arc,but surely purgatory was not the answer we were looking for.

I am not saying explain everything scientifically we don’t want that ..that would kill the mystique and intrigue of the island, but when you decide to give us the big reveal, let there be no inconsistencies .Please be rational .And so upset are lost fans that there have been sprouting of sites dedicated to ‘alternate lost endings’. That is how much we cared about this show. Heartbreakingly, lost stumbles at the last stretch .

So now we are told,that the flash-sideways were something that the Losties created...and in this afterlife there is no now, so it could mean you’re able to spend eternity with everyone you ever loved, even people that aren’t dead yet, everyone you want to be with, is there, and that is a beautiful concept.But..but did we really need the flash sideways even if you want to send the castaways to afterlife. No, most certainly not.

And most of all, we were kept in dark of what the flash sideways actually were. I loved it when the purgatory theory was junked once and for all in Ab Aeterno but to come back to that ;revert to something that they had categorically denied all along is just- a cope out. And now I think that the on-island drama with the Man in Black would have been enough material for the final season, then why bother with the flash sideways and its contrivance.

So much so that The End was basically built from the premise of season 5 ending and the things that happened in previous seasons don’t hold much significance. Every season of lost has been a chapter in a book. And each chapter has been wonderful with its own however season 6 just seems the odd man out. Things were randomly arbitrary by the time ‘Across the sea’ aired. And for the record there were far better candidates for who Adam and Eve should have been ..

I liked the character moments in the finale ,Jack,Sawyer,Locke,Ben were amazing with their scenes,only I would have loved to said ‘awesome’ which I couldn’t .

However, I love Lost and would always cherish the moments, the dialogues ,the cliffhangers and the wait and expectation..A show which made me wonder ,when and where will they start the next season from ? they had perfected to make outstanding season finales. Because the season finales of each of the five seasons left one scratching their heads ,because just around the corner of one massive plot twist, lurking would be another mind-bending reveal that would just mess with you. I loved it for being borderline incomprehensible and drove us to think .It made the unbelievable believable.

It made us care about characters on an island that had smoke monster, polar bears, a place where light didn’t quite scatter properly, where time wasn’t of the essence, it was the essence, where there’s a frozen donkey wheel that transports you time skipping and tripping, where whispers of the dead were common ,where you could see ghostly apparitions, where there was a button to push every 108 minutes .

Lost defied genres .

Each season I have seen it grow, defy odds of story telling and push us to think but to be honest I didn’t like the way it ended ..and even more honestly they made a mistake by not catering to the science fiction part of the fan community and to be brutally honest now I feel they made some of the things as they went along. They always said that lost ends in a beautiful, heart breaking and confusing way ..That had pretty much guaranteed that not many would survive till the end…only a few could make off the island .Okay, let the rest die and a few remain to be the new Jacob and be on the place where miracles happen.

I knew I’d be feeling empty as it would end, but not as empty as I did when it finally concluded.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Group of death - world cup

Predicting and choosing teams to support in a World Cup as open as this one is a very tough thing to do .Every cup throws up a tough group and this once, the '

group of death’ is group G ,because it has 5 times winners Brazil ,the mercurial Portuguese ,the dangerous and upset causing Ivory Coast slotted in with the North Koreans.

It remains group of death because even after you manage to finish second you have to face in all probablility - Spain. The team that is playing the most beautiful, most enticing , mesmersing football at the moment , even ahead of Argentina.

Brazil have forgave their style and flair, their natural USP ..what’s worse they dropped their most beguiling creative force- Ronaldinho. And this is not just me saying. Even the Brazilian great Socrates, who led them in 1982,feels so. Here, have a look…

The rip,curl,slash,dash,whips and turns of Brazilians have made way for a brand of football that is not that pretty to watch. Sure Brazil is Brazil ,but isn’t that not why they have such following the world over? That said, Brazil may well top the group and reach as far as the finals. And I guess from the group of death, Portugal will go through too, because Ivory coast is missing Didier Drogba with his forearm fracture.

I would have picked Ivory coast for going through to round of 16 and even beyond had Drogba been fit and available..They are the best African nation by a fair distance. Also, just think if Brazil ends up 2nd in group, then we have the ultimate Latina clash in round 2

Brazil v Spain..

Of the other groups,I hope France crashes out in round one because they cheated their way into South Africa.

And the whole of France knows it. Thierry Henry hand balled not once but twice to hook in the ball into play against Ireland in the last play-off. It would be poetic justice if they crash out and Uruguay and Mexico go further from group A.

Netherlands and Serbia are dark horses, who can reach the quarters, if their form in qualification is anything to go by .Argentina look to be easy group D winners ,but any of the three can go ..I tip South Korea though.

England have a slight outside chance to repeat their 1966 heroics, but do they have the guts to win a penalty shoot out? England is inspired and propelled by Rooney. He just has to fire and surely they will miss Beckham in dead ball and free kick situations.

Since 1962 ,the World cup has been changing hands from South America to Europe every four years, so with Italy being the holders ,it is the chance of a South American team to win, but not necessarily .

The teams with realistic chances are Argentina,Spain,Brazil,Portugal,England and possibly Netherlands .Whatever may happen,

But,I believe that the best thing to happen would be either Spain or Argentina winning.

Because its the beautiful game -joga bonito(play beautifully) ..

and the ones playing most beautifully must win ..