Wednesday, 27 October 2010

‘Delhi-dallying’ dies down as Games live up

Not long ago did we witness a lot of negative publicity surrounding Delhi in nexus to the 2010 Commonwealth Games during the build-up stages. 



As the games closed we read about a change that seemed quite dramatic.


Had an alien read both of the reports he would have found it quite comical and would have been bemused by our over-reactions.


The opening and closing ceremonies oozed grandeur bringing out the cultural richness of the country. India did it as grand as it can get. More importantly the Indian sportsmen did pretty well trailing only behind ‘Always Australia’ [Not so much so in cricket though]. The athletes from various nationalities seemed to enjoy the arrangements.


The aftermath of the eventful event has seen the Indian government instigate inquiries on the games’ organisers on charges of corruption. We keenly await results on these.


So what is the verdict?


There have been exaggerated criticisms at the beginning and over-reacted praises at the end.


Depends on how you look at it - the monitoring & controlling aspect or the crisis management bit - this commonwealth Games, no doubt, happens to be a good case scenario for project managers.


The former, would fall under ‘how not to do it’ and latter ‘how exactly to do it’. Not always would we want a crisis leave alone manage it. While we give India marks in pulling this off, it is time the Indian psych stopped comparing its mega events to their marriages [chaotic start, happy ending]. For, the job gets done, agreed, but why give heart-attacks to people along the way, especially to those who are not used to it? More importantly the age-old curse of corruption needs a complete shake-up and clean-up at all levels.


Nonetheless this should not divert our attention from the inconsistent media reports. If the end was that good, easy and manageable, were the reports at the beginning meaningless and exaggerated?


‘Is it just straight bullying of developed nations on developing nations simply because they are developing?’ I had asked in the previous post.


How do we analyse this lapse in reporting? Is it a matter of haste? Is it bias? Or is it just ignorance on not being able to comprehend a cultural element?


When we look back at the Athens 2004 summer Olympics we are given to believe all of the above.


Though there were vast differences between these two events one thing was common for sure.


The Athens’ event was also severely criticised, like the Delhi games, for under-preparation prior to the start and many reported that things would not be ready on time.


Athens surprised its detractors by coming out in flying colours. Not just that but they went on to make fun of their critics. Construction workers put up a mock show even after the successful start of the event, pretending to be still working.


So do we spot a pattern?


It’s a point worth pondering about.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

What a ‘pen’tastic relationship!

The room is filled in pitch darkness. You are left wondering whether it was the right move to have ventured into the room in the first place. All of a sudden a warm grip on your wrist conveys assurance. You don t seem to know this person completely. Or do you remotely recognise him – possibly in one of your earlier encounters?

Your grip is then transferred to another sleek one which appears to be a fabulous pen.


Nevertheless the grip transpires to be your light and lead, as you slowly follow suite.


The air is filled with a mystic aroma all of a sudden which brings about lovely memories of absolute joy known only to you, personally. But how on earth did this connection happen at all?


The journey continues. By now you feel fully at home and walk alongside your 'grip' taking friendly strides.


You start guessing and second guessing the next turn of your journey. You succeed at times when you feel great and give yourself a pat on your back. But then your hunches betray you, at other times, as the surprise quotient grips you giving a topsy-turvy twist from your ‘all-knowing-adulthood’ to the ‘ever-inquisitive, zeal-packed-childhood’.


There is a gloomy cloud hovering on top of your head, revealed by occasional beams of light. A lightning of joy illumines the next moment. The glee experienced in your buoyant boyhood - Unparalleled stuff. And follows youth, love, thrills, humour, horror, and passion.


The flavour of a higher plane is gently drizzled on you with aromatic essence. By this time your journey comes to a tense and taut end. As the light goes on, you are pleasantly surprised to witness hundreds of other co-passengers holding on to their respective 'pen-grips'.


‘What's all this’ you quiz yourself more as an exclamation rather, as reality dawns.


It is indeed an enriching journey – a journey which is nothing but your reading experience and the pen-grip is the relationship between the writer and the reader.


Well, the journey is great if you choose the right trip.


The World Book Day falls on 03 March 2011. So does this serve a reminder to slice a bit of our obsession for the idiot box and turn it, if you are not yet there, towards the printed realm of the enchanting creations of man?

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Endhiran, Chandrayan and the Indian Virtual Reality

New Delhi has been criticised left, right and centre on the arrangements [or the lack of the same, rather] of the Commonwealth Games that are opening today.

Critics have pointed out the falling of the footbridge and the other sub-standard arrangements that have left the world in dismay without an iota of doubt.

A few others, on the other hand, mention that the participants have now expressed satisfaction with the arrangements in the Games Village.

Some others have lambasted the decision of awarding the Games to be hosted in India in the first place. And a few have even gone on to question whether the claims of India as an upcoming economic power is really justified in light of the Games issues.

The local media of this largest democracy of the world has blasted the Games organisers on corruption and poor organisational skills.
So can Delhi manage to pull this off? Are the criticisms fair and justified?

Handicapped was I without my remote to tackle the flood of adverts thrown at me, as I was pondering over these questions awaiting a movie to start at Ilford Cineworld.

It was Endhiran Robot (Tamil), starring Indian superstars Rajnikanth and Aiswarya Rai. Oscar winner A R Rahman has scored the music.

With so much of hype and puff around it will it live up? It did, quite convincingly.

Endhiran, a simple sci-fi, is akin to a Microsoft interface. It has a menu that naturally captures your imagination and yet has new features. [Bugs? Look for yourself]

Even though you can’t prevent being reminded of movies like ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Terminator’, the Robot is programmed to take you off guard.

Rajnikanth who plays dual roles as a Scientist and his creation, a Robot, steals the show especially when he unravels demonic streaks in the second half.

However the man who strikes big time is the Director, Shankar.

Shankar, known for delivering societal messages in his movies, has earlier made films on themes of corruption and inequality in Indian society.

One of the western equivalents that comes close [yet distant] is ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which has received wide acclaim, Oscar awards and so forth.

This movie can be credited for bringing out the reality of modern-day Mumbai. But how real was that reality is the question?

While Slumdog showed a superficial analysis of India bringing out Danny Boyle’s ‘Unfamiliarity about India’ factor that Boyle himself admitted,
Shankar’s attempts bring out grave facts but present a truer, more representative picture served with a cosmetic flavour.

His Endhiran has the potential, not just for raking in big bucks but for some accolades as well. More importantly it is interesting to notice an Indian movie hitting boiling point and showing signs of being on the verge of throwing open the doors of international cinema. It won’t be surprising to see an Indian movie made in English in the near future and Shankar himself has the required ammunition.

Out I came from the cinemas and out again came the question on Commonwealth Games.

Well, there is absolutely no question that the Commonwealth organisers in New Delhi should get this one right and more so in style. No excuses whatsoever. If not it will be the Indian public that will be more upset than the rest of the world.

But the actual question that triggers a greater truth is this.

Do we spot, in some sections of the first world media and movies, a common thread of reporting that leaps on all fours when it comes to showing developing countries, especially India, in poor light but turns economic with truth when it is time for a brighter beam of light? How much of media glare did Chandrayan receive in comparison to the Commonwealth Games’ flaks?

Beneath all of it, is it just straight bullying of developed nations on developing nations simply because they are developing?
If that is the case the best way to tackle bullying is what we tell our children to do. Not to duck but standing up to it, face-up.

Indian film-makers can do their bit in quickening the transition from virtual reality to reality in the Indian context, face-up. After all we love authentic Indian food and not foreign food labelled ‘Indian’.

So guys, stop flicking from Hollywood and start doing it in Hollywood [hate the word ‘Indianise’]. When IT and docs are doing it why not you folks? Dot.
It is time for more authentic movies on India serving wholesome meals palatable to everybody.

Endhiran has raised such hopes as we cross fingers on Commonwealth Games.