Raavan – Theatrical Trailer (2 Minutes)

Here’s the first look at theatrical trailer of the most anticipated film of the summer – Raavan.

Here’s link to detailed review of the film Raavan

IPL 4 – Players to Retain

Now that IPL 3 is done and over with, atleast on field, all the player and team contracts signed before the first IPL are null and void and fresh new contracts need to be signed for every player, coach, other team members etc.

The Mega auction featuring all free agent players, new players for all 10 teams will be held in the month of October after the Champions League tournament in South Africa however the existing 8 franchises will be allowed to retain certain no. of players ( 4 Indians and 3 Non-Indians) as they form the core of the team and they have built their brand around them.

Here’s my view of the players the franchises would like to retain with them. Of course the players would have their own say and might not want to be retained , hoping for a better value in the open auction.

Beginning with IPL 3 Champions –  Chennai SuperKings – They have built their brand around M S Dhoni and they would love to have him, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay ( the find of the season) and perhaps S Badrinath as their 4 Indian players. They can even go for R Ashwin but I think Ashwin would fetch a better price in the auction. As their overseas players they would retain Hayden if he is willing to come back or Hussey if Hayden is not available and Muralidharan for sure. Their major overseas players Jacob Oram and Flintoff were not available this year and knowing their fitness woes one can never tell if they would be available next season or not. They also might want to retain Doug Bollinger but the auction suits him more.

Brand Mumbai Indians and Sachin Tendulkar goes hand in hand and the team is not the same without their brand icon. The would also do well to retain Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan but either of them can be lured by one of the new team with the added bonus of Captaincy. Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayadu and Sathish along with Shikhar Dhawan are the 3 consistent domestic performers for the team but all of them would fetch a much bigger price then their current price in the auction and I doubt if they can be persuaded to stay back. From the overseas department MI would not let Keiron Pollard go and perhaps Dwayne Bravo too.  Lasith Malinga is someone whom they would love to keep as long as he is fit enough to bowl those deadly yorkers.

Bangalore Royal Challengers would be inclined to stick upto Kumble, Dravid ( if he is willing to continue) and perhaps Uthappa and Manish Pandey, however the new franchises might be eying them with a truckload of money. Virat Kohli, Vinay Kumar also performed decently and Vinay Kumar might be retained if he increases his brand value with good performance for Team India. Kohli would sure like a shot at another time which would give him more to do. Kaalis and Peterson become their automatic Overseas choice and perhaps they would retain someone like Ross Taylor although he did underperform this year. Eoin Morgan and Cameron White were under utilized and perhaps they would do better with another team.

Deccan Chargers are hoping that Adam Gilchrist returns and so does Andrew Symonds. Amongst the Indian players they would certainly want Rohit Sharma and Pragyan Ojha to stay back. V V S Laxman is a mystery as on current form he needs to let go the T-20 format but no one represents Hyderabad more than Laxman. They might also want someone like T Suman and  R .P. Singh around. Amongst the other overseas players Ryan Harris is a nice fit in the team, however his stock is rising in the current Australian setup and he might feel he would command a better auction price. Dwyane Smith was underutlised and he maybe headed the auction way and as far as Chaminda Vaas and Gibbs are concerned , the road is more or less over for them, as far as IPL goes.

Delhi Daredevils is a team full of resources they would love to keep back.  Veeru and Gauti are automatic choices and so are players like Dinesh Karthik and Amit Mishra. They might let go Ashish Nehra. In the overseas department they have resources like David Warner, Dilshan, Mahraroof and Dirk Nannes, not to forget A B Deviliers, Paul Collingwood and Daniel Vettori. They would certainly like to retain one of Warner or Dilshan and certainly Dirk Nannes. A B Devilliers didnt play much of second half this year and neither did Vettori. Collingwood looks well settled to be retained.

Rajasthan Royals have a bit of trouble. Unless their Mega star Shane Warne returns they do not have any major International players in he team barring except Graeme Smith who would then lead the side. They would also retain Shane Watson. Amnogst the Indian players Yusuf Pathan is a certainty to be retained and so are players like Naman Ojha and Siddharth Trivedi. Apart from the 2 new franchises this team needs to buy some big international and local players to make it a real competitive team.

Kolkata Knightriders have too many good under utilized resources. Amongst the Indian players they would retain Ganguly unless Ganguly makes the correct decision of not playing the next year. Manoj Tiwary is certain to be retained as the local flavour and perhaps they would do right to retain Murali Kartik as well. Ishant Sharma had a lousy season but then most of KKR players had that.  Chris Gayle and Brendom Mccullum are 2 hot favorites to be retained and they also have quality players like David Hussey, Shane Bond, Angelo Matthews and Ajanta Mendis to choose from. It depends on whom the team owners and Ganguly prefer to stay around, also the players should be willing to stay with KKR.

Kings XI Punjab are certainly not the team they turned out to be in this IPL. They are far better than their 8th position suggests. Unless Yuvraj Singh has other plans he would and should be retained by the franchise. Irfan Pathan is too good a talent not to be retained however if he improves a bit, he has fare better chances in the auction as an allrounder. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayavardane are sure to return and perhaps Brett Lee too will give it a last shot. Ravi Bopara and Shaun Marsh are 2 good talents and perhaps the team would retain 1 of them. Piyush Chawala would fill up one of the domestic spot.

Apart from above, I might have missed out on some obvious names and would have named some players who would obviously be dropped for reasons I do not know yet.  The mega auction in October would be real treat to follow.

Meanwhile, the 9th IPL Team and the costliest one owned by Sahara for Pune City has announced its name as Sahara Pune Warriors and they have already chalked up plans to grab and lure major stars both in auction and pre-auction.  There is also a major battle going on between the ex-IPL chief Lalit Modi and BCCI and we never know what new rules might come out for auction and whether existing franchises will be allowed to retain 7 players or more or less.

Lets see how the action unfolds in the time to come.

Raavan aur Badmaash Company ki Rajneeti ne Kites ko Housefull kar diya

IPL is over, well almost. The Films are back. Since last 6 weeks or so thanks to the IPL, barring few low budget movies, art-house cinema stuff, made-for-multiplex movies and Prince ( don’t know  which category that film can be in….maybe absurd) no major films released.

From Next Friday this drought would be hopefully over starting with Housefull starring Akshay Kumar and gang ,directed by Sajid Khan, the film will open to full houses thanks to the songs, the stars, big budget setup, funny promos and a recent drought of quality film entertainment. Will it live up to the hype is another story.

Next up is Yash Raj venture Badmaash Company starring Shahid Kapur, Anushka Sharma and directed by Parmeet Sethi this film is targeted towards youth with its young starcast, foregin locations, casinos and theft theme. The film has a young and fresh look and an average music but would certainly appeal all fans of such movies.

Kites will be the biggest release of the month starring Hrithik Roshan,  Barbara Mori and the rest. Hrithik Roshan has a great box-office pull and his last major release Jodhaa Akbar was couple of years ago ( if you do not count Luck by Chance – where he was more a supporting role) . This film with supposedly hot scenes of the leading pair, fantastic action and romance appeals to young and old. The film has an international song less version as well and would certainly open the biggest this year, at least so far.

Rajneeti is the first major release which comes 2 weeks after Kites and promises to be an interesting political thriller loosley based on the mega-epic Mahabharata and featuring hottest actors like Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Naseeruddin Shah, Arjun Rampal , Katrina Kaif and this generation’s hottest young actor Ranbeer Kapoor in possibly a role with grey shades. This film based on Indian politics in the Hindi belt and directed by Prakash Jha is sure to attract both masses and classes to the cinema. People are loving the promos and cannot wait for it to release.

Mani Ratnam’s bilingual Raavan starring Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vikram, Govinda and ensemble cast is the next one, releasing on 18th June. This film based on another mega-epic Ramayana is shot simultaneously in both Hindi and Tamil, has music by A R Rehman and is a modern day adaptation of the epic from the point of view of Raavan. The film shot in jungle of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh would surely be the one to watch out for simple because of Mani Ratnam’s magical touch.

Thus the next 2 months promises to deliver great new exciting films to the lovers of Hindi Cinema and hopefully the box office will not remain barren for long time.

May the best film win.

Destination Diveagar

Location: Diveagar ,  District Raigad, Konkan , Maharashtra.

Diveagar is a small fishing village located on the Konkan Coast on the Arabian sea located in Raigad District, about 5 hours drive out of Mumbai city. It has some of the most unexplored beaches as its really a small fishing post untouched by commercialism and normal touristy traffic. In fact not many people seem to be aware of such a place, at least from the people I know. Of course there are two sides to every thing. Being a non-touristy place also has its problems as well and good things too.

The place has minimal infrastructure and very few hotels. The people staying there mostly accommodate tourists. Restaurants barely exist and Genuine Maharashtrian food is the only option to eat there. Being in Maharashtra it also has issues of frequent power cuts and cell phone signals were weak or non-existent. It is really a place in middle of nowhere yet just a few hours drive away from Mumbai city.

Good things are quite a few as well. It has some of the most beautiful and virgin beaches in this part of the nation. The beach instantly remind you of the beaches in North Goa with perhaps 1% of the crowd that is present on a normal Goa beach.  The water was warm and waves were soft but it was astill soothing in the kind of weather we went there. The beach was long and never ending with green vegetation all around.

For nature lovers its a mini-paradise with coconut trees lining the beach and all kinds of ‘vadis’ producing fruits all around. With Minimal pollution and barely there streetlights the place is also an Astronomer’s delight at the night. The place is really good if you just want to laze on the beach, read a book and forget the world around you. ( weak cellphone signals help).

We went in April, which is Not a good season to be there though with harsh sun beating down and temperatures in mid 30s, not to forget frequent power cuts. Ideally winter should be the season for any such place. I would recommend this place to nature lovers, adventure lovers and beachbums.

How to Reach: Its about 170 Kms from Mumbai and Pune is also the same distance away. From Mumbai you can take the Panvel bypass and then the Mumbai-Goa road till you reach Mangaon. From Mangaon you take the right turn towards Morba Ghat to Mhasala and the further from Mhasala you take the road towards Diveagar. It takes about 4-5 hours to reach. Nearby places include Shriwardhan and Harihareshwar – both places also have wonderful beaches. The road from Pune via Mulshi Dam is hilly and not so good. That road makes you reach Mangaon on Mumbai-Goa road.

What to Do: Nothing. Laze around on beach, enjoy nature, bask in the sun, enjoy the arabian sea, walk on the beach, watch stars in the night. There is a Golden Ganesh temple in the place which every tourist visits

Best Season to go: Winter – November to February,

Clothes: Beachware,  Cotton

Where to Stay: Very few hotels and guest houses around, most with minimum basic facilities. Stay in a Hotel/ Resort with Generator backup.

IPL – Final 4

The IPL is entering its last stage and big 4 matches awaits us all.

The semifinals are now shifted to Navi Mumbai from Bangalore due to the security issues arising after the low intensity bomb blasts in Bangalore. At the beginning of the tournament I had predicted MI, DD,RCB and CSK to make it to the semis in my post https://chin512.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/ipl-3-0-predictions/ . I have been proven 75% right with DC making it instead of DD and unless KKR does a miracle , that result would remain the same.

KKR needs more than a miracle actually, they need to beat MI by a margin of about 175  runs or so or if the field first, they need to overhaul the target set by MI in about 1 over..both of these sound impossible to achieve i the context of a T-20 match, unless of course Rajnikanth decides to play in place of Ganguly.

IPL has had many a controversies this season, its time for now some good quality cricket to take over. Lets hope the final four matches present top quality cricket and may the best team on that evening win.

Teaser Trailer RAAVAN

Here’s Teaser Trailer of the Most Anticipated Movie of the Year..Mani Ratnam’s Raavan – Starring Abhishek Bachchan,  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan amongst a mega star cast. The movie shot simultaneously in both Hindi and Tamil is set to release on June 18th 2010. The Music by A R Rehman and Gulzar releases on 24th April 2010.

The stunt is terrific. Abhishek looks Killer and background Music is haunting.

Cant’ wait for the Movie to release.

Good Song in Bad Film – Jab Chaha Yaara Tumne

Another nice song I cam across was ‘Jab Chaha Yaara Tumne’ from the film Zabardast starring Sunny Deol, Jaya Prada, Rajeev ( Chmpu) Kapoor and Rati Agnihotri.  The film directed by Nasir Hussain also starred Sanjeev Kumar and featured a forgettable lost and found revenge saga. The song is a delightful number by  R. D. Burman sung by Kishore Kumar.

The picturization is as lame as it can get in a 1980s film with Rajeev Kapoor trying to woo Rati Agnihotri in middle of nowhere with Sunny Deol and Jaya Prada, the other couple watching and guiding them. Rajeev Kapoor has to be the worst Kapoor family dancer and thankfully Sunny Deol doesnt dance in the song. The song is a delightful little gem though.

I had easily forgotten the song since the film released in 1985, but the song came back in limelight thanks mainly to the reality show Big Boss Season 1 and its star Ravi Kissen, who kept singing this song in the show. I am thankful to him for reminding me such a lost gem.

IPL could have a 6- way Tie

IPL is reaching a very crucial and interesting state now and with just 2 or 3 games left each team it could be “anybody’s game” as Ravi Shastri would put it.

Mumbai Indians is the only sure shot entry to the semi finals with 16 points and other teams following closely behind. RR- RCB-DD are tied on 12 points and CSK-DC-KKR are tied on 10 points with KXIP occupying the last spot with 8 points.

Considering the schedule of the remaining matches, there could be a 5 way or even 6 way  tie for the remaining 3 semi final spots. The results have to follow a particular pattern which is of course not guarantee to happen however the scenario cannot be ruled out either. Here’s how it can happen

Match Between –  Place –  Result –  2 Points to

DC * RCB – Nagpur- DC Winning – DC goes to 12 points
MI *  DD – Mumbai – MI Winning – MI goes to 18 points
CSK * KKR – Chennai – CSK winning -CSK goes to 12 points
RR * RCB – Jaipur – RR winning –  RR goes to 14 points
CSJ * DD – Chennai – CSK winning – CSK goes to 14 points
KXIP * DC – Dharamsala – DC winning – DC goes to 14 points
RCB * MI – Bangalore – RCB winning RCB goes to  14 points
KKR * RR – Kolkata – KKR winning – KKR goes to 12 points
KXIP * CSK – Dharamsala – KXIP winning- KXIP goes to 10 points
DD * DC – Delhi –  DD winning – DD goes to 14 points
KKR * MI – Kolkata – KKR winning – KKR goes to 14 points

This would result in MI occupying top spot with 18 points and KXIP bottom with 10 points and 6 other teams tied with 14 points.
THIS CAN HAPPEN. Net Run rate becomes very crucial and no one can say which 3 team would qualify, not even Ravi Shastri with his deep insight and Lalit Modi with his deep pockets.

Young Indian Stars of IPL 3.0

At this midway stage of the tournament it would be nice to compile of list of star players of IPL 3.0 so far, especially Indian players who have played better than expected and won games for their team or rescued the team and performed consistently for their team.

Listed below are some of the Indian stars who have performed superbly so far,  yet the common factor amongst them is that NONE of them are chosen to represent Indian team for World T-20 which begins right as the IPL ends.

Chennai Super Kings clearly have Murali Vijay as their brightest star. From nowhere , this ‘made for test match‘ player has come and played few remarkable innings to shock the oppositions out of the game and have made selectors thinking that why he is not a part of the Indian team of World T-20 . Indian Captain Dhoni has also been a pillar of strength for the team and has put his full faith in Vijay and allowed him to open the innings and deliver the goods.

Delhi Daredevils has some of the strongest batting lineup with Sehwag, Gambhir and Warner firing, but it is Amit Mishra who has delivered consistently with his slow leg spin and fooled quite a few batsmen with his turn and bounce and his clever wrong ones. He would surely be feeling unlucky about not getting selected for World T-20. Another bowler to watch out from DD camp is Umesh Yadav who has shown pace, which none other Indian bowlers have shown so far.

Another slow bowler who has impressed is Pragyan Ojha for Deccan Chargers and has been taking wickets by the bundle and also being a miser with the bowl although his team has been a failure as a collective unit.

Naman Ojha and Siddharth Trivedi have been a revelation for Rajasthan Royals. Naman Ojha is not the best of wicketkeeper but he is an explosive batsman and certainly worth considering as a backup option for Dhoni rather than Dinesh Kartik atleast in T-20s. Siddharth Trivedi has been a clever bowler, consistently amongst the wickets and the last over he bowled against the Deccan Chargers to deny them an easy victory was an example of his cool and sharp mind.

The Mumbai Indian youngsters namely Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayadu and Shikhar Dhawan have really been the real surprises and under the leadership of the ‘Master’ they have blossomed to be a real India prospect in near future. Also R. Sathish has done whatever is required from him quite well, hopefully these youngsters would continue to perform with same intensity as the tournament approaches its end.

Bangalore Boys Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey have also taken a huge load of batting upon them and delivered consistently for their team.Manish Pandey could have almost made it to the World T-20 team but for the selector’s preference over Rohit Sharma, who can bowl a bit too. Uthappa has been good in patches and not very consistent although it seems he is getting his form back.

Other notable perfromers are Manoj Tiwary for the KKR team and Manvinder Bisla for the Kings XI Punjab, although their collective team effort are not good enough for them to be in real contention.

There have been other good performances in IPL from established Indian stars like  Sehwag, Yusuf Pathan, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and of course the one only Sachin Tendulkar. But its clearly the young stars that have outshone the senior players.

As I wrote above, none of them are in the squad which flys to west indies for world t-20 but the good things is that all of the above star performers are young and with their experience of IPL in their resume, they would only get better. Good for Team India.

Books I Read – Dork, The Incredible Adventures of Robin ‘Einstein’ Verghese

Robin ‘Einstein’ Verghese is a typical engineering and management graduate out of  a premier management college and landing a high paying  management consulting job in a high-profile MNC firm. The story is about him, his adventures in Dufresne Partners, his love life with Gauri, his colleagues and mad mad world of management consultancy told to us via his diary, which he regularly updates.

The story is about why he is the DORK ,  and called ‘Einstein’ by people who know him. How he stumbles from one problem to another or one silly situation to other and how he copes with each of them in his own duffer ways. He is the book version of ‘Mr. Bean’ only setup in real life Indian business management consultancy situations. The story is also about today’s generation who get into a career for a career’s sake.

The book in parts is hilarious and you really feel good for the guy at times depending upon the situation. Of course not all incidents sound true  but one does need to use exaggeration to pull out laughter at times. The book is a good weekend read, although I didn’t want to finish it too soon and wanted to remain in Einstein’s world for long. The good news is that the author Sidin Vadukut is planning a trilogy of the series and would soon be out with next 2 books.

Definitely recommended for all lovers of satire and humor.