Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tributes to Sachin Tendulkar

This is an email forward. Just had to post it. My office television usually beams news, but on India match days the whole office congregates near it. Yesterday, nobody could go away from the TV. Sachin crossed the first hundred, and rapidly moved towards the second. And everyone was just sure Sachin would create history, and no one wanted to miss the moment. He seemed to have decided that he won't give away his wicket, and he did not till the last ball of the 50th over was bowled.
_____________________________________________________ “Nothing bad can happen to us if we're on a plane in India with Sachin Tendulkar on it."

- Hashim Amla, the South African batsman, reassures himself as he boards a flight.

"Sometimes you get so engrossed in watching batsmen like Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar that you lose focus on your job."
- Yaseer Hameed

"To Sachin, the man we all want to be"
- What Andrew Symonds wrote on an Aussie T-shirt he autographed specially for Sachin

“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don't know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their TV sets and switch off their lives"
- BBC on Sachin

But the finest compliment must be that bookmakers would not fix the odds - or a game - until Tendulkar was out.

"Tujhe pata hai tune kiska catch chhoda hai?"
Wasim Akram to Abdul Razzaq when the latter dropped Sachin's catch.

“Sachin is a genius. I'm a mere mortal.”
- Brian Lara

"We did not lose to a team called India...we lost to a man called Sachin"
- Mark Taylor, during the test match in Chennai (1997)

"The more I see of him the more confused I'm getting to which is his best knock."
- Former wicket-keeper-batsman ML Jaisimha

"The joy he brings to the millions of his countrymen, the grace with which he handles all the adulation and the expectations and his innate humility -all make for a one-in-a-billion individual"
- Aussie Glenn “Pigeon” McGrath

"I can be hundred per cent sure that Sachin will not play for a minute longer when he is not enjoying himself. He is still so eager to go out there and play. He will play as long as he feels he can play,"
- Wife Anjali on Sachin’s retirement plans.

- Aussie Mathew Hayden

"Even my father's name is Sachin Tendulkar."
Tendulkar's daughter, Sara, tells her class her after the teacher informs them of a restaurant of the same name in Mumbai.

“I am fortunate that I've to bowl at him only in the nets!”
- Anil Kumble

Question: Who do you think as the most important celebrity?
Shahrukh: There was a big party where stars from bollywood and cricket were invited. Suddenly, there was a big noise, all wanted to see approaching Amitabh Bachchan.
Then Sachin entered the hall and Amitabh was leading the queue to get a grab of the GENIUS!!
-Shahrukh Khan in an interview.

“India me aap Prime Minister ko ek baar katghare me khada kar sakte hain..Par Sachin Tendulkar par ungli nahi utha Sakte..
- Navjot Singh Sidhu

“He can play that leg glance with a walking stick also.”
- Waqar Younis
A banner once said-

“Sachin Tendulkar has often reminded me of a veteran army colonel who has many medals on his chest to show how he has conquered bowlers all over the world.”
-- Allan Donald

“I was bowling to Sachin and he hit me for two fours in a row. One from point and the other in between point and gully. That was the last two balls of the over and the over after that we (SA) took a wicket and during the group meeting i told Jonty (Rhodes) to be alert and i know a way to pin Sachin. And i delivered the first ball of my next over and it was a fuller length delevery outside offstump. And i shouted catch. To my astonishment the ball was hit to the cover boundary. Such was the brilliance of Sachin. His reflex time is the best i have ever seen. Its like 1/20th of a sec. To get his wicket better not prepare. Atleast u wont regret if he hits you for boundaries.”
- Allan Donald in a Cricket Talk interview

“On a train from Shimla to Delhi, there was a halt in one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!! “
- Australian cricket writer Peter Roebuck

"Sachin cannot cheat. He is to cricket what (Mahatma) Gandhiji was to politics. It's clear discrimination."
- NKP Salve, former Union Minister during the ball tampering controversy

“There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. One Sachin Tendulkar. Two all the others.”

- Zimbabwean opener Andy Flower

Kingfisher again!!!

In "Zorba the Greek", Anthony Quinn manages to convince Alan Bates to take him on the boat to Crete to revive latter's inherited mine. On the boat, Quinn experiences some sea-sickness and comes out on the deck to breathe some fresh air. Bates joins him. They are chatting when a dolphin suddenly jumps on the surface and vanishes. Quinn exclaims "Look a dolphin! A dolphin!" like an excited child. But, Bates, who is shown as a bookworm and the exact opposite of the lively, wise Zorba, looks dumbly. Quinn asks him "You don't like dolphins? What kind of a man are you?" :-)

I had a Zorba moment each time I saw a kingfisher last year on vacation in Kerala. I couldn't get a clear, close shot as the bird flashed across and flew away. At Periyar, I could get a few shots, but the bird was too far for a clear shot. In Allapuzha, I finally caught up the bird. Just look at that blue and brown...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Actor-Director pairings

Liv Ullmann
Picture copyright: Everett
As I looked at this wonderful Time gallery of 10 actor-director pairs that worked the celluloid magic, I was hoping to see Satyajit Ray and Soumitra Chatterji or Ray and Madhabi Mukherjee featuring in this. But Time has skipped them. They have also missed another great pair of Federico Fellini and Marcelo Mastrioanni.

Madhabi Mukherjee in Charulata
Picture Copyright: Technica/
Can you think of others that should be in this list - Top 10 Actor-Director pairings

Monday, February 15, 2010

RIP! German Bakery & Pune blast victims

I have been to German Bakery in Pune in late 1990s, but don't remember it so big or so decked up as in the pictures. I do remember a very nice picture of Osho on its straw-walls. Those who went there regularly are stunned by Saturday's blast which killed nine and injured 60. Here's a look at the popular eatery as captured by the numberous blogs. From the pictures, I can say that the place looked very much like my beloved Irani restaurants, which are essentially secular and free places. Until the smoking ban came up that is...
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thekkady wild life sanctuary

Some of the first pictures from my Nikon camera shot in Kerala in Feb-Mar 2009

I had never before seen or photographed wild life so close. So, it was wonderful to see it from such a close angle. These pictures are shot at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady. The Sanctuary is spread across 777 km and has an artificial lake formed by the Mullaiperiyar Dam across Periyar River. Tourists are taken for boat rides where you can see birds and animals on both banks of the lake.

The biggest attraction of the sanctuary are wild elephants who come down to drink water and bathe. The ideal time of the elephant sightings is said to be either the first boat at 7 am or the last at 5.30 pm. But we went in the afternoon, and were lucky to spot two different groups of elephants. In the photographs below, one group is emerging from the clearing up in the hills on the left side of the bank. While the second group is down by the water on the right side of the bank when our boat returned.

I have always loved Kingfisher and its exotic colours in photographs. But I had never imagined that I would be excited like a child on actually spotting one. I missed a heartbeat each time I did.

Meryl Streep

Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep in Bridges of the Madison County.
@Warner Bros/Everette

Meryl Streep is one of my favourite actresses of all time.
Kramer vs Kramer was the first film I saw of Meryl, and have always admired the ease with which she portrays the characters. I haven't seen all her films, but her roles in Out of Africa, French Lieutenant's Woman, and Death Becomes Her stand out. I had read the novel Bridges of the Madison County a long time ago, but finally managed to see the film last year. Meryl is awesome in the film. She has been nominated 16 times for the Academy Awards, and that speaks a lot about her acting abilities. Here's a Time magazine gallery that is worth checking out: Meryl Streep’s Golden Career

Monday, February 08, 2010

Mitch Epstein's American Power

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Nevada 2007 from American Power
@ Mitch Epstein/

I recently came across Mitch Epstein’s photographs. The name rang a bell. Epstein was married to film-maker Mira Nair, and had worked on her two films, Salaam Bombay as well as Mississippi Masala as a co-producer, cinematographer and production designer. He is now divorced from Nair, and lives with wife and daughter in New York.

Epstein has several books to his credit. In the context of today’s incident where an explosion in an under construction power plant killed five and injured 12 people in the US, I thought it would be interesting to put up his work on American power plants. He travelled extensively researching the project titled American Power Some India pictures are in Common Practice

Also found Epstein's interview with Bomb Magazine where he talks about his travels while shooting American Power, and a review in New York Times.

Epstein has seven books to his credit, and his pictures are in major museum collections. For more you could check his website

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Jan Fest 2010

Jan Fest is a music festival organised by the Indian Music Group, set up by two students of St Xavier's College with active help from Ustad Alla Rakha and his son Ustad Zakir Hussain. Since 1974, Jan Fest has seen some of the leading Hindustani classical stalwarts perform inside the heritage precincts of the college. The festival had a unique format earlier. The three-festival would be organised on Jan 23, 24, and Jan 25 each year. On Jan 25, the concert would start around 9 pm, and would go on all night and end at daybreak with the Republic Day national anthem.

The tradition continued till a few years ago. It stopped after the courts set a night deadline for all public programmes to end while hearing a petition on noise pollution. The court ruling impacted two music festivals - Jan Fest and Independence Rock Festival at next door Rang Bhavan. The rock festival closed down and tried to shift to another venue, but Jan Fest restricted its timings to 10.30 pm.

Because Alla Rakha and Zakir were involved with the festival, a number of top classical musicians would come and perform at the festival. In fact Taufiq Qureshi told me that the festival was initially dedicated to Alla Rakha's guru and Punjab gharana stalwart Ustad Kader Baksh.

The all-night mehfil also made the festival special. I remember listening to pandit Jasraj singing for two memorable hours, and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma for three and half till the morning came up. The stillness of the night, the winter chill and an enthusiastic audience brought the best out of the musicians. After the all-night mehfil was stopped, the festival was clearly not the same.

The festival, enthusiastically organised entirely by Xaverites, had a good line-up this year. Taufiq Qureshi and Yogesh Shamsi, often called Ustad All Rakha's other prodigy apart from Zakir and sons, opened the festival. Ustad Vilayat Khan's son Ustad Shujaat Khan on sitar, and Benaras gharana khyal exponents Rajan and Sajan Mishra followed. On the second day, Rahul Sharma on santoor and vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan performed. I got the third day performers, Patiala gharana ghazal queen Begum Parveen Sultana, and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia on the flute. I had never heard Sultana before, and she was simply awesome. I have heard Panditji several times, but he seemed much mellowed. He played softly, but was as melodious as ever. He played Raga Jaijaiwanti, and Raga Kirwani.

Mesmerising Begum Sultana, who insisted that she needs to see her audience before she can sing, in her various moods!

Swaranjali music concert

Flautist Ronu Majumdar and Taufiq Qureshi, on the djembe, played at the annual Swaranjali music festival organised by vocalist Prabhakar Karekar in Dec 2009 at the Nehru Centre in Mumbai. Majumdar, who also learnt music from Pandit Ravi Shankar among others, and Qureshi, son and disciple of tabla maestro Ustad Alla Rakha, have played together in the popular album, A Traveller's Tale before. They played several compositions from the same album. Djembe is an African drum that Qureshi has been experimenting with. "I am trying to bring the tabla rhythms to the djembe. I call the instrument tabl," he said.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Swaranjali music concert

Aarti Ankalikar-Tikekar at annual Swaranjali concert organised by vocalist Prabhakar Karekar at Nehru Centre in Dec 2009. I am still learning the manual mode in my camera, and these are the first pictures shot in manual mode.