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Goodbye, Anil. Thank you. Really. April 1, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.
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Amidst all the frustration and sadness, let’s stop a minute to say goodbye to a man named Anil Kumble.

A man who, through it all, remained one of the most dignified, committed and skilled cricketers to play for the Indian ODI team. Ever. Much has been said about Kumble the cricketer. Like here. And here.

A man who never lost his cool, never argued a bad decision, never blamed bad performances on this or that, never once set a bad example on the field or off it. A man whose name was never dragged through the mud. In present-day Indian cricket, that makes him the rarest of the rare.

A man who enriched our game simply by being a part of it.

Thankfully, he’ll still play tests. He won’t forever. Celebrate him while he’s still here.

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Those things under Chanderpaul’s eyes. April 1, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.
5 comments

Finally. Here’s the answer.

Apparently, he uses them to cut out glare, since he doesn’t like sunglasses.

Now, if only he’d do something about that stance. Ugh.

More comics tomfoolery April 1, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in Comics, WTF?!?.
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Vishal dug this up somewhere. Fantastic. And the thing is – this probably wasn’t funny when it was drawn. One of those things that evolve into jokes. There IS a God.

And plenty more such delights at superdickery.com – a must for comics lovers. I especially like the one about the joker’s boner.

Brown, Bad and . . er . . Blonde. April 1, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in movies, WTF?!?.
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Anyone else find the images of Rajni on the just released Sivaji promos a bit unsettling?

Hideous. It’s just not him. What next? Gap-tian made up to look like Mr.T?

But Grand must be insanely jealous.

Best single comic panel ever? March 26, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in Comics, WTF?!?.
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From a delightful (but now sadly defunct, I think) Chennai based comic called Hungama.

HUngama Panel

The grammar in the caption is one of those rarest of rare things that can be described as being ‘perfectly bad’. Sublime.

Oh – and Hungama is full of such brilliance. Will try and put up more stuff if possible.

World Cup #24 – Who says we’re out of the Super 8s? March 26, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.
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There’s still hope.

World Cup #23 – Who am I to discuss cricket? March 24, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.
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I’ve never played. At any level.

I’ve watched countless matches. I’ve loved the game to death. I’ve read and written about it. I’ve spent hours in thought, pondering its nuances, marvelling at its complexity, delighting in its beauty.

I read old magazines and relive memories. I play inadequate videogames and curse them for the injustice done to our majestic sport. I’ve even punched non-believers in the face ( Shamefully, it’s true. Ask Aravind Murali or Vishwanathan Srinivasan.)

But I haven’t played.

So maybe I should shut up now. And leave the informed discussion to the pros.

Au revoir. No more cricket. Will stick to comics and stuff. Okay?

World Cup #22 – And now what? March 24, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.
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Look.

I’m a fan of cricket. Not of cricketers. So, for me, the cup goes on. More to look forward to. More to stay awake for.

And India? Well, much sadness. And much hope.

Hope that we will build a young, fresh team who will delight us in the years to come. Hope that we can remember the Tendulkar-Ganguly-Kumble era without rancour, recalling the glory moments and forgiving the shameful ones.

This team is dead. Its champions must fade. In their place will come new ones. The game lives on.

Many fans will give up on Indian cricket. They will turn away from the game they love, hurt by the disappointments. No matter. Others will take their place. My son among them. They will cheer new heroes on new adventures. But the game remains the same.

Team India is dead. Long live team India.

World Cup #21 – Come on, India. Time for one last dance. March 22, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in sports.
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Dear Team India,

Why do we react so violently when you lose? Why do we plunge so low when you play badly? Why do we always expect you to win?

Because, deep down, we know you can.

Our expectations are built, bit by bit, from the innumerable feats of cricketing might and magic we have had the pleasure of seeing you perform. Every sweet Tendulkar drive. Every moment of Dravid’s defiance. Every Ganguly dance-down-the-wicket six. Every Yuvraj pow-gasp-wow shot. Every time the bowlers dig deep and exceed expectations.

And since you’ve given us so many moments of sweetness, our expectations are really high. It’s that simple, really. If you were always losing, then we wouldn’t actually expect you to win, would we?

Yes. We know you can.

And we’re reminding you.

So bring it on. The incandescent, mighty batting. (Bermuda was a start, but we both know there will be harder tests) The disciplined, strong, spirited bowling. (remember WC 2003?) The huddles, the high-fives, the smiles and whoops of delight. Dance the happy dance. Play the joyful game.

If you do, you’ll start winning. And that would be very nice.

Sure, there are a host of other talented, skilled, and well-prepared teams that have come to win the World Cup. Sure, we may lose to some of them.

But make them earn it. By playing your very best cricket.

Sachin. Sourav. Rahul. Anil. This is it. This is the moment. Make it count. A World Cup Win would be nice. But, really, we only want to see you shine your brightest. And if there’s a team on earth that’s good enough to beat you when that happens, then they’ll be bloody deserving winners.

Go on. Play ball. We’re behind you.

World Cup#20 – Sachin Tendulkar and other crap comic ideas. March 22, 2007

Posted by Anand Ramachandran in Comics, sports.
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master blasterAnd now this.

Sachin Tendulkar is the most hyped cricketer off all time (before you kill me, I’m just stating fact. Notice : hyped. not overhyped. There’s a difference.) His face peers out at us from advertisements, merchandise, endless reams of newsprint. We love him, and even tolerate the bad ads.

But this is not cool. That armour is a fashion disaster. And, God save us, a crackling, glowing, flaming cricket bat ? If I wanted extra cheese, I’d order pizza, thanks you very much.

This kind of thing is an insult to comics. And comics fans. And creators. This is a typically stupid, corporate ‘let’s cash in, quality be damned’ idea. This will flop. The series will not complete the first run. If there is a comics God.

Here’s a gem from the guys who’re doing this :

According to Suresh Seetharaman, President, Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation, “Virgin has always worked with people who are prominent, and most importantly, who have set goals for themselves in life and achieved them too. Sachin Tendulkar is well recognised as an achiever globally, and it works best to have him as the hero for our comic, gaming and animation series.”

If there’s any sense tucked away into that mind-numbingly inane statement, somebody please point it out to me. What are these guys thinking? ARE they thinking?

From the free comic downloads available from Virgin’s web site, I find that all their titles are conceptually interesting and visually appealing, but are bogged down by immature (and sometimes plain bad) writing and editing, and a derivative, wannabe Marvel / DC feel. This one seems doomed at the concept level itself.

A cursory glance at comics history will show you that moronic get-rich-quick comics based on celebrities are always abominable products that are rarely recalled fondly, and usually don’t sell well. Even the legendary Stan Lee made a mess of his ill-fated Backstreet Boys project. Remember Amitabh as Supremo ? Remember Gavaskar as Sunny ? Titles that are remembered today only for being putrid and grotesque. A similar fate surely awaits ‘Master Blaster’. (Any chances that I could be wrong, and this could actually be good? Nah. Three words – flaming. cricket. bat. They’re already too far down crap road.)

This is a crass cheapening of one of our few real-life heroes. I hope that true fans of Sachin Tendulkar will see it for what it is.