Thursday, September 21, 2006

Suvarna Karnataka - Karnataka at 50

Jai bharatha jananiya thanujaathe, Jaya hey Karnataka Maathe. Karnataka turns 50 this year, so golden jubilee celebrations are on. On November 1, 1956 state of Karnataka was formed though it was called Mysore state till 1973. So now it is a good time to look at how the state progressed in the last 50 years.

Karnataka was formed in the year 1956 comprising of princely state of Mysore and areas held under Bombay, Madras presidencies and areas of princely state of Hyderabad, which even today is called Hyderabad Karnataka. Great men who championed the cause of unification of Karnataka include Alur Venkata Rao, Goruru Ramaswamy Iyengar, S. Nijalingappa and Kengal Hanumantiah. Huyilugola Narayana Rao’s poem Udayavaagali Namma Cheluva Kannada Naadu worth mention here.

Though known now for it’s IT and BT, Karnataka is unique compared to other states in India, it is the only state, which exports sandalwood in India. Karnataka is the largest producer of coffee, raw silk and sandalwood based products in India. Three-fourth of the Indian floriculture industry is based in Karnataka. Brighter aspects of progress of the state include IT boom in Bangalore started in the mid 90s, and now slowly spreading to tier II cities like Mangalore, Mysore and Hubli. One good aspect of this IT revolution was the boom in setting up Engineering Colleges in the state. But unlike other states it has not a developed city to be called next Bangalore till now. Mysore becoming next Bangalore is a long wait and I see it only in terms of IT industry. As per my observations other states have developed other industrial center to provide job opportunities other than state capital – say in Kerala(capital – Thiruvanthapuram), there is Kochi, in Tamil Nadu(capital – Chennai), there is Coimbatore, in Andhra Pradesh(capital – Hyderabad), there is Vishakhapattanam and in Maharashtra(capital – Mumbai), there is Pune. Now with Bangalore becoming victim of its own development there is an urgent need to shift focus to other cities in Karnataka to create an alternative to Bangalore. As Sir M Vishveshvaraiaha told long back ‘Industrialize or Perish’ is the need of the hour. Of course, in this direction lot of right steps have been taken to set up various industrial parks to be set in various centers and establishing airports in prominent district centers and encouraging MNCs to set shop in tier II cities. Right steps in the right directions.

Another industry which needs a boost is the tourism industry. With the kind of geography Karnataka has one wonders where it lost the race to neighboring Kerala and Goa. Karnataka can be good tourist destination if it is projected properly. Chalukya, Hoysala, Rashtrakuta and Vijayanagar temples are sure a tourist’s delight. It is not that now tourists don’t visit here but it can draw big number of tourists if properly projected. Another area which was never explored is Coastal Karnataka. Maravanthe, Kapu, Ullala Surathkal beaches, St. Mary’s Island can be made good tourist spots.

Dasara season is nearing. Mysore is all set to host the grand event. Wish you all a Suvarna Karnataka Varsha and a Happy Dasara.

Jai Karnataka

Friday, September 15, 2006

Talking Cricket . . .

Cricket season is back again. But again haunted by rains. Anyway that is part and parcel of the game. Its been long time before I wrote anything about cricket. So back to square one.

Cricket commentary is one thing which sets apart this gentleman's game from rest of the sports. Every ardent fan of cricket is sure to have fascinated by the words of commentator. In an era when TVs were a luxury, cricket commentry on radio or shall I say transistors was the only source of instant info on cricket.

Its not just the on-field action which gives colour to this game, but also these band of gentlemen who with their words arouse the interest in a loosing game too. To name a few: Ravi Shastri, Geoffrey Boycott,Tony Greig, Harsha Bhogle and off late Navjot Singh Sidhu. For the curious bunch here is a list though not complete. It is these people who add spice to the rather boring play of test matches or one-sided encounters of ODIs with their stories, comparisions and anecdotes.

Talking about cricket commentators, I think undoubtedly Ravi Shastri is the best ever commentator from India, closely followed by another veteran Harsha Bhogle. Not only commentary but also the post-match presentation is well handled by him, whether it be speaking on the occasion or asking questions with the captains of both teams in play. Phrases like 'margin of error is minimal on this pitch' or style of saying score of 101 as one-o-one have a mark of Ravi Shastri on that. Another good thing about Ravi Shastri is his control over his talk and presence of mind. For an instance, once Ravi Shastri had commented 'Good Shot' when a batsman hit aerial shot on the on-side. But it landed safely in the hands of long-on. Then he changed his comment as 'Infact too good'. Nowadays you can find his shades in Ramiz Raja's commentary. Harsha Bhogle's comments have a lot of research and analysis in it. Amazing for an IIM guy who had no background in cricket to become one of the best commentators in the game. When it comes to speaking the language of the common man in commentry box, nobody can beat Navjot Singh Sidhu. Look at some his comments : 'That ball went so high it could have got an air hostess down with it', 'Experience is like a comb that life gives you when you are bald', 'The cat with gloves catches no mice'. No doubt, he has made a name for himself with his 'Sidhuisms'. Coming to English commentators, Tony Greig and Geoffrey Boycott are unique with their British accent. Dont know who among the two pronounces 'crickeeet' for cricket. Boycott's comment on Sourav Ganguly as 'God of off-side' can be remembered here.

On the other side there are commentators who take the interest away from the game with their boring and slow-paced commentry. One of them would be Sanjay Manjrekar. No enthusiasm in his commentary. Michael Holding's commentary makes us difficult to understand his accent.

With the sports channels increasing this breed continue to increase with their own style of commentary. Lastly, a familiar scene after a coin is tossed in the middle of the pitch used to be Ravi Shastri invariably asking whenever Sourav Ganguly lost the toss 'Disappointed with the toss?' and Sourav invariably replying 'No, Not really'.

One good thing about following cricket commentary is the exposure you get to the vast vocabulary of English. In my opinion, if you want to learn Hindi watch Bollywood movies and for a better English follow cricket commentary. Your opinion may differ.

Comments are welcome.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Munna Shines Again

Bole tho ek dum jhakkas. September 11, 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of Satyagraha started by Mahatma Gandhiji in South Africa way back in 1906. So this film Lage Raho Munna Bhai comes at a right juncture to remind all of us of the long forgotten Gandhiyan principles of Truth and Non-voilence.

Interestingly, this film is not a sequel to the earlier Munna Bhai MBBS as many of us thought. Other sequel released this year was Phir Herapheri, sequel of Herapheri, which was not up to the mark set by its prequel as it is the case with most of the sequels. One more sequel was Krrish, sequel to hugely hit Koi Mil Gaya. But this film Lage Raho Munna Bhai breaks the jinx that sequels do not perform well than its prequel(Ironically it is not a sequel and only the concept in the prequel has been carry forwarded).

Here the Bhai with a golden heart comes in a new avtaar of history professor. If it was healing doctor Munna in Munna Bhai MBBS, here he is preaching Satya aur Ahimsa, in the footsteps of Mahatma. The plot starts with the kidnapping of the Corporation official much in the same light as in Munna Bhai MBBS, but with a different plan. Well begun is half done. Thab se shuru hotha hai dil kholke hasne ka silsila jo film ke aakhir thak chaltha rehtha hai.

If you are convinced that Munna Bhai MBBS was the best comedy film ever made in Mumbai, think again, Lage Raho Munna Bhai(LRMB) is set to break all the records. As with the other big budget films of the year LRMB boosted of first several shows in Mumbai being entirely booked before the release itself. So I take pride in the fact that I saw the movie two days after release i.e on Sunday itself. Story unfolds as Munna is in love with the RJ Jahnvi (Good Mornnnnnning Mumbai, as she greets her audience every morning). Munna wins the quiz organized by the Radio Channel on October 2 based on Mahatma with the help of the professors caught by him and gets a chance to meet Jahnvi and go on air. Again for the professors he has prizes if they answer the questions first. There in the studio he introduces himself as professor of history. So he is invited by Jahnvi to her home to give lecture on Mahatma. Munna now goes to Gandhi Library to study about Mahatma and gets into chemical locha to see the Mahatma everywhere in Mumbai and what follows after that is a tale of Munna walking on the footsteps of Mahatma. There is never a dull moment in the film. To be frank you may miss some of the jokes cracked when you start laughing for the first one. Such is the impact that the whole theatre will be indulged in laugh riot.

Film tells the principles of truth and non-voilence in a much acceptable manner. Be it be the confession of Munna to Jhanvi or the facing bribe problem in a govt office by retired teacher or the problem with the neighbour's nuisances. Worth a watch for every film goer. I am now planning to go for this movie for the second time.

On the other side I felt some of the dialogues were repeated from the Munna Bhai MBBS. Like when Munna goes to the Gandhi library circuit says padhai me dhyann de bhai, tension nahin lena ka. Or when circuit and munna decide to leave for the village, Munna asks what will you do in the village. For that circuit says main gaon jaavunga tho bail kya karegi?.

When Munna Bhai MBBS was made, it was remade in Kannada(with Upendra as Uppi Dada MBBS) , Telugu(with Chiranjeevi as Shankar Dada MBBS) and Tamil(with Kamal Hasan as Vasool Raja MBBS). Will Lage Raho Munna Bhai be remade in regional languages? Lets wait and watch.

What I feel is that when everyone comes out of the theatre after seeing the movie one is sure to have tilted a little for the Gandhiyan principles. Lage Raho Munna Bhai.


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