Saturday, June 09, 2007

Two inspiring films

With the people and even Ad-film makers paying little attention to the Indian Cricket Stars after the fall of the so called Goliath batting lineup of the indian team to the david bowling queue of the Bangladesh cheaply in the infamous World Cup 2007, There is an upbeat enthusiasam in the dressing rooms of other sports in india.People of the cricket crazy nation have turned their heads to other sports these days. The Indian tour to Bangladesh attracted very few and the Afro- Asian cup is being conducted in india with unbelievable quarter to half filled stands.

This being the situation around i saw two sport centric films which are worth mentioning here."The Greatest Game ever Played" is a film about Golf.This is a real life incident in the early 1900. Harry vardon considered to be the best golfer of all times is overthrown by Francis Ouimet in the US open in 1913, an amateur in Golf. Insults, humiliation and discouragement in the family circle doesnt deter Francis from winning the game. The story is woven around the theme that family linearage doesnt play a part in one's success and upliftment. In those days and even now Golf is the game of the elite society and Harry vardon and Francis Ouimet break these rules. The sportiveness of Harry strikes the pulses. The plot enlivens from the day the US open begins and Francis atlast makes it into the tournament with his puny caddie Larry.His loyalty till the end to his caddie touches the soul though he was offered paid better caddie near the end.The background score really tantalizes the tournament.

The Film #2 "Goal" is about soccer.These films are not much heard of in India. Santiago a street kid masters the game right from his childhood days and a glimpse of his game is tasted by an agent to NewCastle, an English League.Amidst protests from his father and through his grandmother's benevolence Santiago hardly makes the trip from california to London. In the Testing session Santiago fails to impress the league manager but in his second and final attempt he does that. Though he makes it into the team he is really made to sweat it out in the training and practice sessions without being given a chance to play. Finally chance comes and he plays a vital role in the games one and only goal thus taking the league to the final match against liverpool.As usual disaster strikes and his father dies and decides to play the game than to travel as nothing could be done.In the match against liverpool NC strikes early with one goal and liverpool strikes back with 2 goals.Santiago and his teammate works out a strategy and scores one goal each in the final minutes to get past liverpool thus qualifying for the next biggest tournament. NC hasnt made that before.Santiago changes his life path and the way the film is taken really speaks in volume about the research done by the director to exactly portray the match as it is.

The Field,the crowd,the jersy,the dressing room and each and every thing makes one feel that we are watching a game than a film.i wonder how they made it. The appearance of David Becham, Zinedine Zidane and two other colossus of soccer really takes one with surprise.Believe me these two films kept me in tenderhooks till the end not because of the action or animation or grandeur but because of the solid suspenseful storyline. Wish i know to play these two games.Dont miss these films for anything.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Travel quelled the Tantrums

I had not vacated my room in madurai by june 1st so before doing that myself and my parents went to kodaikanal, palani and while returning came to madurai and vacated the room. The ascend to Kodaikanal by the road devised by the Englishmen with just two hair pin bends was smooth. I searched the net for info about kodaikanal and got quite a few.Kodaikanal history dates back to 14th century. By the 18th century the people fled to kodai hills from palani to thwart Tipu sultan from conquering. It was in 1845 that the U.S missionaries and Englishmen actually thought of setting this place as a hill station. The Britishers could not tolerate the heat in madurai during summer hence they searched for a cooler place and they found this abode 2200 metres above sea level. At that time it was just a mountain it is they who set up the artificial lake that we use for boating.Then they setup the Bryant park.It was one of the Major who brought the pine and Eucalyptus tree here. An English Enthusiast climbed the 112 metre pillar rock and planted the Cross on its top. Berijam lake was a swamp some 80 to 100 years back. They used it as a catchment area which now provides water to Periyakulam.Coakers walk along the hillside edge was found by coaker a sergeant in British army. (The pics to the right and above is that of the lake)

So much to the history of Kodaikanal. The present state of the affairs is quite different. The Princess of hills or perhaps the infrastructure could not handle the amount of people during summer. The falls view tower on the edge would give a good view of rat tail falls(dum dum).i dont know why the silver cascade din have a neat and clean base though visitors are not allowed to take bath. The Parking lot is very small and not properly setup with the municipality people charging Rs 20 without even giving a receipt evidently to hide the fact that the parking cost would be much lower.i never thought that i would travel some 180 kms to see the small Bryant park where they charged Rs 5 for nothing.Then the Pine forest was nice(pic to left). I didnot go to the Devil's kitchen (Gunna cave) as i din have much time left. The pillar rock is where the scenic beauty is great(pic below). The green valley or suicide point has a sheer drop of 500 metres which obviously one cant see as its thankfully barricated near the edge. The shops on the way to green valley is worth noting which contains stuffs ranging from yummy home made chocolates to eucalyptus oil. The Kodaikanal golf club looks great from outside especially because Trespassers are not allowed :) The really fresh carrots with leaves is what i enjoyed the most. It was raining heavily out there in the afternoon while there was scorching heat in the plains below.

My kind of advice is its not a place to just visit the important spots. Just book up with Carltons or other such high end hotels and resorts up there during july or august. It is during this time that there wont be any crowd and though the temperature would be quite low you can watch the fog hovering over the lake and below you near the coakers walk. Then doing some expedition sort of stuff with your pals would be more interesting than anything else. Especially you would not see the litter rampage done by the tourist during this time. The lake and the Park needs to be expanded cos they are designed for the small crowd that it attracted in the early 1900. A massive transformation has to take place to make it attractive in the years to come.

thanks to the highway people for devising the road from kodaikanal to palani with loads of hairpin bends also the road being in dilapidated condition for most part of the year hence its virtually untakable. what could have been just a 55 kms trip from kodai to palani through that road turned out to be a 120 Km trip through kodaikanal - Bathalagundu - sempatti - Palani.

Opal Mehta - fully algorithmic

not more than 3 minutes have passed since i finished reading the book "how opal mehta got kissed got wild and got a life". since some part of it sounds familiar in my life i wanted to make a note of it here before it gets erased from my mind by tomorrow morning. how many of my school mates would have believed that praveen would transform himself into a "take life easy" guy from being the ever studying class topper in school. surely the part of the plans that Opal does to transform is what i dont like in the story. how could i forget the day when my geography sir(Mr.Solomon) whom i regard as the best teacher that i have come across forgot his best pupil(i.e me got 98 in the geography paper that noone in the history of our school has ever obtained) but remembered the all-rounder in the school during the alumni meet. it was this incident that made me to consider marks as just yet another part of life and not on what the whole life depends upon.
The other place where the story strikes chord is in the science scholarship award. Balaji Viswanathan, Heronimous Pandian, Navanetha krishnan were the Best outgoing students in the college level. Yogaesh, Balamurugan, Senthil kumaran were the BOS for the computer science dept in the last three years.Though i had an eye on this prestigious award from the day Balaji viswanathan got it and it was me who did not even apply for the award due to one very good reason.