Stadiums- Concrete structures or failed by the authorities?

My favourite cricketing moment involving myself came when I was in the eleventh standard. It had nothing to do with batting or bowling. It happened at the District Stadium in Bellary

The opposition’s best batsman, a south paw, was tearing our moderate bowling attack to shreds. Captain of our team thought that it would be better to get an off spinner into the attack and restrict him. Bad idea, as the bowler bowled a line that he would have done to a right hander. Easy pickings for the south paw then as he picked three boundaries, all of which sailed over my head at square leg. There was some tension attached to the final delivery as the captain had a prolonged discussion with the bowler. None of it seemed to work as the bowler bowled the same line. The batsman though erred in making room for himself and trying to slog it. He seemingly adjusted at the last moment and proceeded to force what seemed a fourth boundary of the over

There were two differences though, in the way it actually panned out. The ball flew higher, threatening to touch Troposphere. And because it went so high, I felt obliged to run for it. On its descent, I felt it would be a two bounce four. Nevertheless I ran a few yards, without ever getting under the ball and outstretched my hands for what it was worth. What I did do intentionally in the entire exercise was to cup my hands around the ball once it landed. All this happened in front of a sparse crowd, which immediately rose to applaud the effort. At that instant I felt I had my own Kapil Dev moment

I relived this experience years later when Dravid talked about the thrill of performing in front of a packed stadium. He said that the very feeling of, forty thousand people chanting your name would push you towards giving something extra

The question in front of the authorities would be: How to pack the stadiums?

 

A general feeling amongst the paying public ( with an extra stress on the word paying) is, they would throng the grounds if they were made to feel at home. In the recently conducted Delhi Test, a paying spectator narrated his experiences thus

So we set off early for the 90 minute drive to the stadium. There were more policemen than spectators outside the stadium, and we played a little game of pointing out the paunchiest among them (we found at least a dozen officers of Gatting-esque proportions). When we politely asked where we could park, we were asked if we have “parking accreditation”. Since we were unfamiliar with the term, we were pointed to a location approximately 5km away, where a “park and ride” service was available.

20 minutes and much Google-Maps-fiddling later, we were parked and ready to ride. The organisers unfortunately were unclear about the “ride” part of the arrangement – we were expected to find our own rides back to the stadium, a fact that was complicated by the traffic restrictions around the parking area. But the day was still good for walking and sharing rickshaws with strangers and we had missed only an hour of play when we reached the stadium (again)

How many people would venture making a trip to the stadium if they have to face all these hassles? This is not a problem unique to Delhi, but to all the major cities in India. The very few stadiums that don’t have these problems are located far away from the city centre

We needn’t look past the Kolkata Test against South Africa in 2010 to know how crowd can impact a Test. On the fifth day they waited patiently when Amla and Parnell almost took South Africa to a draw and cheered wildly when the batsmen in the middle played a false stroke. Parnell finally succumbed to the pressure and chipped one to mid-on. That kind of atmosphere is missing in most Indian grounds and BCCI is oblivious to all of this

About half of the tickets are distributed to the corporate sponsors who wouldn’t even bother to come to the ground. Instead they can always distribute them among the eager school kids who would flock the stadium given a chance. To make sure that the contractual obligations are fulfilled they can always make the beneficiary know who the donator was

If the crowd is buying tickets to watch the game it is to watch the players in the middle. They wouldn’t mind a few hours of discomfort in a day. How long will they forego comfort? The Indian stadiums ask a lot of the spectator. For instance, most of the stands are open. The spectator ends up paying equal attention to the match as he does to his personal safety. Except for a T20 game, the spectator is expected to spend a minimum of three hours under the sun, if he wants to watch a full game that is. Most of the grounds have the facility to build that protection. It would be a happy thing for the spectators if the associations go ahead and construct them

BCCI also needs to be judicious in picking venues as people from second tier cities would fill the stadiums more easily than they would in major venues. The same thing needs to boil down to Ranji Trophy as well. Taking the example of Tamil Nadu team, am sure that they would attract more crowd in a city like Madurai, Salem or Coimbatore than they would in Chennai

Once BCCI figures out a way to bring the crowd back in, they would find that players will have a lot of moments to savour

Rockstar

No I don’t know Jim Morrison
No I din’t know that Ranbir Kapoor went through a lot of preparations for the movie
No I don’t like intelligent cinema

When is it that you can say that an ‘actor’ has really arrived? For me, it is, when the camera is fixed on him/her and the actor takes the viewer through the gamut of emotions, that his character faces. Based on that criteria alone, Ranbir Kapoor has arrived

When I saw ‘Wake Up Sid’, I was shocked by the reaction of people who said Ranbir was fabulous in the movie. I felt that the director passed the mantle of handling the tough scenes to Konkona in the movie. The camera, in that movie tended to focus on Konkona even when it was Ranbir who was to express the emotions

I din’t see any movie of his after that but with Rockstar, it is for the world to judge his capabilities. It might not gather earth shattering collections nor would it break even. What it does,is that, it introduces us to lot of talents. Cinematographer Anil Mehta deserves a lot of acclaim. The scene before the intermission and the songs are pointers to his brilliance

Director, Imtiaz Ali has succeeded in showing the angst of the protagonist to the viewers. Where he has failed is, to maintain the pace of the movie after intermission. After a certain point, the viewer starts to get tired of the obsessive behaviour displayed on screen. There are moments that light up the screen. Problem isn’t that these moments are few but the problem is that these moments aren’t coherent

Nargis Fakhri has played her part well. Yes, I liked her in the movie and unlike many critics I didn’t concentrate on her pouts and stiffness in many scenes. What I felt was that the actress was convincing in her portrayal in the first half. Her characterisation in the second half lets her down than it being the other way round. Wonder how much a Kareena or Priyanka made a difference to the role

Ranbir Kapoor is the engine that runs the movie. He is present in every frame of the movie and doesn’t let the movie down. The facial contortions convey a lot about the effort that he puts in for the role

A special word for Shammi Kapoor. He looks an absolute natural in his role as Ustad who plays a shehnai

7am Arivu

Expectations: A lot many successful combinations in the past found this barrier too tough to cross. No expectations on a movie can take the movie to the next level. Since the expectations are low, bad becomes passable, passable becomes good, good becomes brilliant and brilliant becomes genius. This is the reason for a lot of movies garnering good reviews

 

When the same combination, comes together to have another tilt at the box office, expectations rise. These expectations arise in different hues. It gains momentum if the people concerned with the movie have grown after the initial success. Now if the people involved with the movie go on a publicity over kill, it is but natural that people’s expectations and imagination, both reach a crescendo

 

It is natural that if the movie fails in rising up to their expected levels, it is going to crash. Muragadas and Suriya have had to swallow the bitter pill given to them by people’s expectations. 7am Arivu is a curious case as the content in the movie is noble and good, what fails the movie is the execution

 

Perhaps and this is just a hunch, that Muragadas wanted to steer clear of Christopher Nolan. There comes a point in the movie from where it could have gone to the next level but it goes all downhill from there. Anything on the ‘power of mind’ would have been branded plagiarism by the movie goers

 

The old failings of the director come back to haunt this movie. Muragadas, maybe, loves his movies so much that he is incapable of ending them. This is the reason why he always, tends to rush towards the climax

 

I found this movie to be better than Ghajini. Alas, not many others feel the same because of their expectation levels. It is not to say that I din’t have expectation levels. Because I din’t like Ghajini, they were set at a lower level for me and this movie surely surpassed my expectations

 

Suriya has reached a level where he can never let down a movie with his performance. He delivers his lines with aplomb, dances well and emotes well too. In the theatre, he gets cat whistles from the girls for his chiselled look. Pointers to what he needs to do in the next movie, maybe

 

Shruthi Hassan gets a substantial role in her debut movie and does not disappoint. It must have been a tad too difficult for her to get into the skin of the character. She professes to be a nomad in real life but her rhetoric on culture and science in the movie makes a good impression on the audience

 

Muragados makes his views known through the heroine in this movie. I felt that instead of putting down a specific country if he managed to show the movie in positive light, the results at the box office would have been even better. Though made with noble intent, the movie reeks of superiority complex