Thursday, November 27, 2014

RIP Phil!!!

It is difficult explaining sadness – not to anybody else but to myself. Why should I be feeling sad because someone staying miles away, who didn't have any clue of my existence, whom I didn't have any chance or desire of ever meeting, has died?
But then, I am feeling quite sad right now. Like happiness, one cannot force this feeling. The feeling of sadness. Because this comes from within. This comes because deep down you have been hurt by something. I think something has hurt me.
I am sad. While the moment I read that Phil Hughes had lost consciousness after being hit on head, I was worried. I am not a medical expert but what I know about head injuries is that getting blacked out after being hit on the head is not a good news.
Alas, it didn't turn out to be a good news.
What do I know about him? First time I heard about me was when a colleague informed me that Australia has unleashed a freak batsman who was proving to be quite a headache for South African bowling attack.
Headache for South Africans. That must be something special.
I asked back what was so special about him.
“He plays in quite a strange way. He is freak” was the answer I got.
I watched him bat once in that series. He was quite a freak. His footwork was strange. Half the time he was in the air. He must have been the tiniest of Australian cricketers. Strange he was. Freak.
Soon he lost his place in the side. Them came back I think. Then lost it.
Sometime in between that going out and coming back, a legendary phenomena was discovered –
Phil Hughes Caught Guptil Bowled Martin.
No matter where Martin Guptil was fielding on ground, if it was Chris Martin bowling to Hughes, Hughes found Guptil with precision and handed over a dolly to him. It happened four times in a row during Australia-NZ test series. Four freakish times. There were jokes all across the planet. Quite a freak way to get out it was. 
I remember making fun of Phil Hughes during Australia’s tour to India in 2013 which Australia lost by 4-0. Phil Hughes couldn't put bat to ball. Then in the final innings when all was lost, he managed to score a half century. Somehow he managed to do it.
He once came to India as well – maybe wanted to learn yoga to help improve his cricket. I laughed at that too.
Apart from that, I don’t know much about him as a cricketer. To me, he was like many other cricketers in Australia who were getting a chance to play because of the transition phase.
But when I heard about him being hit on head, I was worried. His demise has made me sad, really sad.
Well, 25 isn't the age when you close your eyes forever. But then, you do not decide it. Almighty does. What are we in front of almighty?
More than that, cricket field isn’t a place which could be so lethal. Cricket is a passion – most of us share it. Lot of us grew up playing and dreaming to become a Tendulkar or a Dravid or a Kumble. Some kids would surely be growing up dreaming to bat like Phil Hughes. Cricket field is a place where you dream and hope they come true. It isn't a place to lose life. It isn't a place to die. After all, it is just a game. And Cricket field is no war zone.
But then, he did lose his life. How? In a freak accident.
While playing, we all must have got injured many a times. We've seen batsmen getting hit on head, chest, unmentionable parts. We've seen them falling flat on the ground, being carried away, getting operated, in plasters and all that. But they have all come back. If not to the ground, to life surely.
Phill Hughes didn't. Such freak was his nature of injury that doctors have claimed hardly a 100 cases have been reported till date.
Raman Lamba’s sad demise can be attributed to the fact that he wasn't wearing a helmet. Surely, a helmet would have saved him.
But Hughes? He was well protected. He was wearing all he could. How often do you see someone getting hit at the back of the had, just below where helmet ends, on the neck. How often such injuries have been dangerous, forget being lethal.
In his case, it all happened. If it’s God who takes decisions, he did. Well, God must be quite a moody person. And death must be quite a determined tool to have found such a rare way to reach Phil Hughes.
This accident does teach us about the fragility of life. How quickly it all can end. How quickly. And we wouldn't even know it.
Hughes didn't know that he was playing the last ball of his life. I don’t know if I shall be alive next second or not. You don’t know it either. It can all end even before we realize it.
Hence, value it. Value life. Savor every moment you have because you don’t know which one could be your last. Enjoy till it lasts. It wouldn't last forever.
In the end, I have a few words for Phil.
Dear Phil,
You didn't know me. I wasn't your fan. But we shared one thing – our passion for cricket. But to see a 25 year old go while living his dream, does make me sad. Extremely sad. 
While you are travelling to up heavens, please convey my regards to that great man – Sir Don Bradman. You are in his team now.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gunda - A Tribute!!!

Much has been talked and written about Gunda, the Kanti Shah epic from 90s. While I always wanted to write about this masterpiece, I never had the confidence to do so. I never considered myself qualified enough to write about this cult movie. I never thought I would be able to bring any perspective which hasn’t been covered.
It’s not just a movie. It’s a complex social commentary on the situation of bad guys and good guys in India. How they evolve into what they become and how society perceives them as individuals. It’s an almanac for anyone who wants to see the progress that we as humans have made in this country not only as Gundas and Policewalas, but also in terms of means of transport available to us
Gunda has become Sachin Tendulkar of movies – one can hardly find anything to write about which hasn't already been covered.
It is a near impossible job. Yet, I have to knock off one item from bucket list before my mortality comes in effect.
Hence, here is my effort.
At least when I die and knock at almighty’s door, I can tell him – I not only watched Gunda many a times, I also wrote tribute to it. I am sure that will be my key to heaven. Even heaven will have a cinema hall continuously running Gunda.  
Legend has it Quentin Tarantino copied the concept of Pulp Fiction from Gunda. Yes, he time traveled. People have been ostracized by their friends because they hadn't watched Gunda. Marriages have been broken of Gunda. A lot has happened because of people haven’t witness this piece of sheer genius.
I remember watching Gunda quite late, sometime in 2004-2005. I remember being alone in hostel when someone offered to share the movie on IP messenger – “MithunDa’s best work, Gunda on offer”. I've always been a fan of MithunDa and didn’t even wink before accepting the offer.
Movie started.
After 45 minutes of the movie, some of my friends came to my room and found me in frozen state. Yes, frozen. I was shell-shocked to see such artistic brilliance - the golden dialogues, unbelievably great acting, brutally real portrayal of society, the vision for future and ability to capture the emotion of the viewers.
The movie was beyond imagination.
Make no mistake. Gunda is a lot about symbolism. Just that one needs to have an eye to catch it.
Shankar, the protagonist played by MithunDa, is a coolie by profession although he is always found on runways. This wasn’t a directorial blunder. This was symbol of aspirations of middle class in 90s – we all travelled in trains and dreamt of, for once, travelling in aeroplanes.
For once.
To the new generation who just login to all those fancy travel sites and book air tickets with a mouse click, we the generation of 90s used to dream about it. Air travel used to be a bucket list item.
While traveling in those sleeper class compartments, we all peeped out of the windows to have a look at the planes whenever we heard one flying. Mentally, we all aspired to be at airports rather than on dirty railway platform. Shankar showed how to dream beyond our pay grades. He did it physically. Within a few years, it became a reality.
Bulla, the main villain played by Mukesh Rishi, is a goon. He always says “Mera naam hai Bulla, main rakhta hoon humesha Khulla”.
Life, comes in shades of grey. As Dumbledore told Harry – Happiness can be found in darkest of times. Similarly, art can be found even in the hearts of most dangerous villains. Bulla’s artistic nature not only won hearts of millions, it showed us we must not forget to look for good even in the worst of souls. Bulla’s another poem when his sister is killed by a rival could have even competed for Grammy. 
Behen, tujhe lambu aata ne maar kar lamba kar diya,
Maachis ki teeli se khambha kar diya”
Politician Pote’s introduction talks a lot about political scenarios.
Mera naam hai Pote
Jo apne baap ke bhi nahin hotay”
Politicians are known to be quite selfish and opportunistic creatures. It was a prophecy which maybe someone like Kanshiram should’ve paid attention to. While he brought Mayavati to the world of politics and played role of godfather, she dumped her after few years. Alas, Kanshiram missed it.
I am sure he wouldn’t have watched Gunda. It was a prophecy LK Advani should’ve noticed. He wouldn’t have seen Gunda either. I just hope current PM watches Gunda. Well, just saying.
Each and every character of Gunda was a symbol hinting events in future.
There days we do see a lot of outrage in cases of crime against women. MithunDa’s movies have been highlighting this malice in our society for ages – ask all those who played the role of his sisters. Difference Gunda showed us was that it’ss not just MithunDa’s, the protagonist’s, sister is victimized in the movie. Even villain’s sister meets the same fate.
The message given is – all those eve teasers out there proving your manhood on weaker sex, don’t forget you too have women at your homes.
So, behave. 

Quentin Tarantino wasn’t the only man to have time travelled to watch and get inspired by Gunda. Even a guy named Issac Newton in 17th century heard about the movie, time travelled to watch it and was awestruck by it. One particular dialogue impressed him immensely
"Zalzala jaag utha hai! ab laashen aise girengi jaise chhote bachche ki nunni se peshaab
As he went back in his time, he couldn’t get over it. Legend has it that tapakna implanted the ideas about existence of gravity in his mind. Apple, as we all know, was just put up by censor board in science books.
One of the common things about lot of cult movies is that they are hardly a hit to start with. People take time understand the greatness of them. It takes time to digest the brilliance. For the first few days of Sholay, audience was so silent that makers of the movie started thinking to change the ending. Andaj Apna Apna was a flop to start with. I wonder if anybody noticed release of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.
Gunda was one of them. It took years to attain the status it enjoys today. I wonder if anybody who has attended college in India would be unaware of existence of this gem. Everyone has watched Gunda. There is another lesson. Never give up hope. Even if you are a movie running in empty halls, if you have substance, you can become a cult one day.
In case you are one of such kind, haven’t watch Gunda, I give you two options – either watch it NOW or put an end to your life. The life which hasn’t seen Gunda is anyhow meaning less.
PS: Legend of Gunda cannot be covered in few lines. Hope to write more about it.