Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Board's ways

What the...!! Is HE going to coach the Indian team? What background does he have as a coach? What do the board think they are doing?........The list of questions goes on....

To add to the sorry state of affairs to the already defamed cricket board of India..oops..the Board of 'Control' for Cricket in India, the new suggestion(almost confirmation) of Gary Kirsten as India's coach is nothing but a waiting disaster. To top it all, the Board prides itself that the selection was 'unanimous' by none other than the esteemed gentlemen who have served Indian cricket all these years, the likes of Shastri, Gavaskar and Venkatraghavan. What a pity! Men who have contributed immensely to the game lacking vision and succumbing to the board's pressure. How else could the theory of selecting a national coach who is little known in the field of coaching be explained? What is more baffling is their series of choices for coaches, Greg Chappell, Graham ("who") Ford and Gary Kirsten, the last one being the worst of the lot. But to be fair to Chappell, I feel his methods weren't acceptable to the players. He tried to bring about the Aussie-way, a compelling routine, which unfortunately found no favour with the Indians. It was clearly a case of misfit of his coaching methods in the Indian system.

But it does look like the Board doesn't have respect for our own Lalchand Rajput, Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad. They took over during tough times and have done a fair job. The Indian team has been doing appreciably well too without any coaches, Indian or foreign. Why then, all of a sudden this idiotic decision to bring about a foreign coach with absolutely no coaching experience?

Gary Kirsten…. What does the board achieve by signing up a coach to whom a player can't even look up to? What great credentials does Gary Kirsten have, to command respect from the Indian players? Kirsten as far as I have seen him play was one of the most boring players. There was no grace nor elegance associated with his game. Moreover, the fact that the he hadn't even applied for the post but got a call for it smacks of any sense of professionalism from the board. Adding to this are the remarks of surprise from Kirsten himself on his selection. There is no point in inviting a coach who doesn’t have the required motivation for the post.

I hope Harsha Bhogle, during the India-Aussie series down under shoots these questions to both his commentary box comrades. The outspoken host, one of my favourites, will earn my respect even more if he can manage to ask the two gentlemen regarding this decision of theirs.

The board has been a subject of constant criticism from ex-cricketers, the media and the public for quite sometime now. Despite the Greg Chappell fiasco, the decision of the board still wanting to get a foreign coach is incomprehensible. How many deserving Indian former cricketers have been overlooked for the post is a matter of concern. The 'Control' that the board is trying to exert is too obvious. A 3000 crore money making behemoth under the firm control of politicians is a well known story. Banning the chief of selectors to write columns, barring players playing in a 'rebel' league to play for India, countering the rebel league with its own, double standards in selection processes, exerting control over players' activities ... a sample of the board's recent activities. The going seems to be nowhere. Improving the cricket scenario looks like the last priority on the board's to do list. What I recommend are the following steps for the sake of Indian cricket
1. The government should step in and confiscate the assets of the board. A sizeable chunk of it should go to the PM's relief fund and the minimum that's required to run the board's activities must be allocated to it. All the money sitting snuggly with the board members can be put to much better use. The wealth amassed by the Board only because of the players and the sponsors. Without spending for the game's improvement, they are making no good use of the money other than filling up their already huge bellies.
2. Politicians should be debarred from holding any post within the board. The current set up should be completely dissolved and the members be elected afresh.
3. A managing committee comprising senior, respectable players should be formed who will manage the Indian cricket board.

Whoever is overseeing the working of the Board should be committed to the cause of improving cricket. With a billion people, the world's richest cricketing body and the unmatched passion for the game, its only LOGICAL that we will DEFINTELY find ONLY ELEVEN real quality players out of the billion odd who will be consistent world-beaters. I think this is a very valid argument. Somebody, please listen and act.

Monday, November 26, 2007

ATM music review

My first reaction on hearing that ARR is the composer for a Vijay movie was "Ohh No! So, only dappankuthus from ARR?". Thankfully, I was proved wrong. There is a distinct flavour associated with the music of ATM. Rahman seems to be in the mood for folkish tunes these days. His recent 'Kummi Adi' from 'Jillunu..' is an example. Over the years we haven't seen too many of these from ARR. Probably because the subject didn't provide him with that scope. The previous ones that comes to my mind are 'Maanoothu Mandayile' and 'Aathankarai Marame'. That was way long back. But coming to the music of ATM, ARR seems to have found the right blend of the modern and the rustic. With 'Sivaji', I was a touch disappointed simply because, it had a bit of overdose of the western. But over here, he pleases with catchy, fast paced and melodious numbers.

Note: This review comes after considerable hearing from me exclusively on head/ear phones. I would advise the same to enjoy the songs.

'Maduraiku' is set to the typical 'Danda Nakka Danakku Nakka' style of folk music. And when you have Rahman handling an ordinary rhythm, you are sure to expect something special in it. The tavil and the nadaswaram have been appreciably used. The 'Karpoora Kannigaye Varaai' chorus is the highlight of the song for me. Especially, the part of the chorus where 'Maharajane....' is sung - simply awesome, wonderful brigha. The male and female voices have done a fabulous job. Throughout the song, Rahman gives a different dimension with an instrumental background which ably supports the vocals.

'Kelamal...' is different from the very beginning. Well, this song can be tagged as the only authentic melody in the album. Set to a fast paced rhythm, the song touches the realms of a remix number because of its beats and the lyrics seem to vindicate that claim too
'Kettu rasitha padal ondrai meendum indru nyabagam thoonda....' ;)
I was actually surprised to see Sriram Parthasarathy used by Rahman in this song because the sangathis in this song aren't 'out of the world' and a singer of
his calibre is definitely capable of giving us more. A distinct melody from ARR.

When you hear 'Valayapatti' for the first time, it makes you wonder how on earth did ARR manage to make a song out of this 'aviyal'. It has many distinct interludes and tunes that are unrelated. A folkish number again, this one has many classical overtones. Rahman manages to get through with quite a number of ragams here Sindhubhairavi, Neelambari, Bhagyashree, Saraswati, Behaag giving glimpses of all of them. Overall, the song really impresses after you hear it twice or thrice and being a carnatic lover, I enjoyed the 'swara kattus' very much. The female playback is quite impressive. The song scores because of its packaging

'Ponmagal Vandhal' - remix of the old popular number infact pleased me more than the original. This may offend some of the purists but somehow I was not a big fan of the original but after this version, I am definitely humming it. The rap lyrics in the song is humourous. The lines where TMS's voice has been retained are really good especially with the technological expertise at the background. A creditable re-mix.

'Ellapugazhum' takes off like lightning from the begininng with some heavy electric guitar usage. ARR oflate has used the same tunes for the intro-songs in his movies. The song strikes a resemblance to the opening numbers of 'Anbe Aaruyire' and 'Sivaji'. The highlight of the song though is ARR's voice and the lead guitar chords. He has the knack of picking up the songs that suit his style of singing. The electric guitar used in the song is inspiring and so are the song's lyrics. A good opening number.

'Nee Merlyn..' is a song for the Gen-X. The song oozes with loads of attitute and is promptly backed by guitar chords and drums. Add to it some youthful lyrics and voices, you get a perfect recipe that the urban audience can identify themselves with.

Overall, I am happy with this album because Rahman has tried something different. Considering the fact that this is a Vijay movie, the music transcends all limits of ordinary music that we usually hear in his movies. Moreover, the way he has handled it knowing what people expect from a Vijay movie is quite impressive.

My rating: 4.2 / 5