Monthly Archives: July 2011

9

Cinephilia Quiz 4: The Cricket Quiz

Hi all,

Today’s quiz is about Cricket. Yes, I am deviating from my usual stuff to celebrate the beginning of this new test series. The questions have been mainly contributed by Vikas Tripathi with minor contributions from my side.

Rules:

Put your answers as comments.

They are being moderated and will be published only after the deadline.

You can make multiple attempts and in case of conflicts your last answer will be taken as final.

Every question is worth 10 points irrespective of difficulty level (for ease of calculation).

Prizes:

After a three month cycle, the top three cumulative score holders will be given certain prizes. The nature of prizes are still being decided. (Please moderate your expectations, my resources are limited!!!)

Deadline:

24 hours from the moment of publishing.
____________________________________________________________________________________

Questions:

1. Sitter to start with… Identify the historic occasion…

2. Who’s record is this? He is mostly remembered for being the victim in a famous incident. The assailant in that incident is otherwise known for his benevolence rather than his ferocity.

3. Identify this person who is involved in one of the first recorded instance of its kind that occurred during an India tour in the 1970s.

4. These three cricketers have practiced a certain art in test cricket. Name the art and the fourth member of this club.

5. Identify the cricketers and explain the rare distinction they hold. No points for identifying the left bottom guy.

6. He was a member of the Indian national team but that did not save him from poverty. He used to borrow equipments from a Parsi gentleman to practice and eventually he died penniless. To help his family, his employers organized a titillating show to raise money after all the appeals from cricket organizations for public donations had failed.

7. Born in a country that was the cradle of an ancient civilization, he made his first debut in early 70s and his second debut in the early 90s. Name him.

8. In what first class record are they involved?

9. This painter, author and musician who opted out of the history books of Indian cricket for uncertain reasons. Identify him.

10. This Kanpur born cricketer registered the best bowling analysis by any player in test matches against England. Incidentally, it was the 100th test match. Name the cricketer (Please move out of the proverbial box).
______________________________________

Answers:


1. The 2nd ever tied test. Maninder Singh is given out LBW and the scores between Australia and India are tied.
2. Tilak Raj, who was hit by Ravi Shastri for six 6s in an over.
3. John Lever, who was involved in the Vaseline controversy and doctoring the ball.
4. Mankading: Bill Brown was run out by Vinoo Mankad… as pointed out by a couple of you, one of the pic should include the bowler instead of the batsman… hope it din’t cost anyone..
5. Parthiv Patel, Budhi Kunderan, Vivek Razdan: They made their first class debut in a test match… i.e. even before playing Ranji.
6. Dattaram Hindlekar. He died early and his employers arranged a cabaret show to raise Rs 7000 for his family. Incidentally Vijay Manjerekar was his nephew who rose to prominence afterwards.
7. John Traicos, SA & Zimbabwe
8. Pakistan Railways beat Dera Ismail Khan by an innings and 851 runs. Greatest winning margin in first calss cricket.
9. Maharaja of Porbandar who gave up an opportunity to captain India and let C.K.Nayudu become the first Indian test captain.
10. Neetu David. While almost all quizzers are males, it’s good to see that not all of them are male chauvinists. Kudos to the ones who got it.

Good performances overall. Thanks for participation.
Manish and Ritwik top score with perfect 10s.

2

Cinephilia Quiz 3: Bollywood Inspirations and Adaptations

Hi all,

Today’s quiz is about Bollywood “inspirations”. ’nuff said!

Rules:

Put your answers as comments.

They are being moderated and will be published only after the deadline.

You can make multiple attempts and in case of conflicts your last answer will be taken as final.

Every question is worth 10 points irrespective of difficulty level (for ease of calculation).

Prizes:

After a three month cycle, the top three cumulative score holders will be given certain prizes. The nature of prizes are still being decided. (Please moderate your expectations, my resources are limited!!!)

Deadline:

24 hours from the moment of publishing.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Questions:

1. This 2009 British coming of age film is based on autobiographical accounts of a journalist. A winner and nominee of multiple awards, it tells the story of a young London girl in the 1960s who falls in love with an older man. While it is yet to “inspire” a complete Bollywood film, its poster shown below has already been ripped off by a 2010 Bollywood film. Name both the films.

2. This 1963 Hitchcockian thriller was not directed by Hitchcock. It was directed by a person better known for musical comedies. It stars two of the biggest stars of Hollywood and is noted for multiple twists and turns. It was ripped off by Bollywood in an 2003 film that starred two star kids, who unfortunately never turned out to be stars themselves. The director of this version is also better known as the brother of a more illustrious technician and director. It also featured a raunchy item song that compared love to chili pepper. Name both the films.

3. Ghajini’s “inspiration” is well known. But it has also paid tribute to a much acclaimed 2001 film in a scene where the female lead escorts a blind man through the street while offering him a vivid description of the people around him. Identify this film.

4. This 2004 French action film is basically a showcase for a certain form of extreme sport that involves acrobatic ways of moving from one place to another through urban landscapes. Most of its stunts including the climax were ripped off in a 2006 Indian film. Identify both.

5. This 2007 Hindi comedy film was a remake of a 1998 French film adapted from a play of the same name. It also received an official Hollywood remake in 2010. The makers of the Bollywood film also released a sequel a few weeks ago, buoyed by the success of the first installment. Identify the films.

6. This 1961 action adventure war film was based on a best selling novel by an author who himself had seen action in WWII. It has a notable climactic action sequence where some of the characters climb a steep cliff to outflank the enemies. Now, a 2004 Bollywood film has a strikingly similar climax. Name both the films.

7. This 1988 film is based on certain real events in a Southern US state in the 1960s. A 2010 Bollywood film is based on some burning issues faced by India and directed by someone known more for his comedies. However the plot of this film is identical to the Hollywood film. Identify both.

8. This cult thriller of 1990s is mainly noted for its twist ending as well as a memorable performance by one of the actors who went on to win an Oscar for the role. A 2005 Bollywood film that claimed itself to be “The most powerful film of the year” for some obscure reasons, ripped off the entire plot. It only changed the name of a Japanese character to the name of an acclaimed film and also moved the setting to London. The only good thing it did was to introduce a female character who prefers to get wet and croon in skimpy attires in the dreaded cold of December. Identify both films.

9. Although it deals with the themes of infidelity, this 1960s film turns out to be a feel good drama with its delectable lead pair. It was also the last film of its kind to achieve a certain feat at the Academy Awards. It contributed a major portion of the plot in a 2007 Bollywood film that sought to attract overseas audiences owing to one of its stars who achieved fame in UK for totally uncinematic reasons. Identify both the films.

10. Identify this classic 1930s film that has at least two versions in Bollywood, one released in the 1950s and one in the 1990s.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Answers:

1. An Education & Anjana Anjani

2. Charade & Chura Liya Hai Tumne
Bonus Clip

3. Amelie

4. Banlieue 13…. 2006 Indian film was Pokiri, which of course was remade into Wanted…

5. Bheja Fry and Le Diner de Cons…

6. Guns of Navarone & Lakshya

7. Mississipi Burning & Aakrosh

8. The Usual suspect & Chocolate
Bonus Clips…

9. The Apartment & Life in a Metro

10. It Happened One Night, Chori Chori & Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi.

DD: Ray, Kurosawa, Antonioni, Kazan

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Doordarshan: A tasteless remembrance of the golden age and some nostalgia

Just came across the above promo from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that makes fun of Doordarshan, posted by a friend in Facebook. He was disgusted, so was I and it compelled me to write this post. But going by the comments below this video, people are finding it amusing & “LOL”worthy. One may accuse me of making a mountain out of a molehill, but it disturbs me as it strengthens certain stereotypical thought processes that ail the society and reminds me of certain other issues related to preservation of our cultural heritage. It is not particularly a critique of this one off incident but of the bigger phenomenon that it alludes to.

Typical Indian mindset: Stereotypes and more Stereotypes


It disturbs me because adjectives like classic, antique, historical or vintage make no sense to us. They are thanklessly bracketed with old, outdated, banal and boring. However I don’t think it is a recent phenomenon. It has been the case with us all the time. I am sure people in the 70’s too made fun of KL Saigal. So it is only poetic justice that they now deserve Action Replayys and OSOs as throwbacks to their times. Most of us Indians have no sense of history and have no interest in preservation of important cultural landmarks. That is exactly why I have been able to watch Birth of a Nation and Cabinet of Dr. Caligari but have no clue about Raja Harishchandra & I know for sure that Alam Ara is lost forever, except for a few photographs.

Doordarshan: A few memories


In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Doordarshan came up with some world-class programs. My personal favourite was Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s Chanakya, one of the most well researched pieces of celluloid to have ever come out of India, notwithstanding the criticism from some quarters with vested interests. For me, it is still the epitome of period detailing and research, backed by excellent performances and dialogues.

Although I must mention here that I was never fond of Ramanand Sagar’s mythologicals despite their huge popularity. Their low production values led to hilarious and cheap aesthetics, not to mention the lack of research and detailing. But their success set up the assembly line of mythological serials to cater the most “religious” and “spiritual” society on earth. However, BR Chopra’s Mahabharata stood out in terms of high production values as well as excellent casting, which made later adaptations of the epic unwatchable (such as that of Ekta Kapoor’s).

I think the main reason this sudden burst of quality asynchronous to its times can be attributed to the involvement of capable directors, writers and producers from the film world such as BR Chopra (Mahabharata), Sippy (Buniad), Benegal (Bharat Ek Khoj), Gulzar (Mirza Ghalib), Nihalani (Tamas), Basu Chatterjee (Byomkesh Bakshi), Dr Rahi Masoom Raza (Neem Ka Ped), Sanjay Khan (Tipu Sultan, Great Maratha) among others. Quality actors like Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah and Irrfan were also regularly visible on Doordarshan at those times. Besides, most of them choose to draw from epics and classic literature. The boom of “cool”, pulp, Indian English fiction was still a more than a decade away.

But even comparatively better filmmakers of today like the Akhtars remember nothing about that period except for the signature tune that they find hilarious. What do they think about the present state of Indian television? What about un-dead and evergreen matrons without a single grey hair? What about random biker chicks who cannot name the president, swayambar of drug addict divorcees and schizophrenic item girls, logically dead historicals, gambling shows masquerading as quizzes, a jumble of urban and rural legends masquerading as news channels, reality shows to detect who is cheating on one’s BFs or GFs???

Doordarshan Now:


But this is not to say that DD is doing well right now. It has now reached a phase of worthlessness and irrelevance. It no longer has the talent pool that created that golden age. More importantly, it is only trying to emulate the garbage created by private channels with lower budgets and cheaper aesthetics. The result? Only those who have no other options watch DD.

DD: Ray, Kurosawa, Antonioni, Kazan

Image Courtesy: http://8ate.blogspot.com/2009/08/amita-malik-and-lost-archives.html

Another alarming trend is its own lack of respect for their glorious past. Serendipitously, today I also came across the photograph pasted above. Just have a look at the people involved. I had no idea that these maestros attended a discussion in DD and I still can’t believe that they no longer have this tape. They have either lost it due to incompetence or deleted it themselves due to apathy, ignorance and tastelessness. One may also read this post by Amita Malik to get a better idea of this uniquely Indian phenomenon.

Satan save India, the Gods have failed!

Siddiq Barmak's Opium War

Opium War: Comedy of Decadence

Siddiq Barmak's Opium War

Today’s Recco is Siddiq Barmak’s Opium War.

Two Afghan warriors crash land in the Afghan Desert, lose track of their base and finally realizes that an eccentric family of Opium farmers is the only human existence in the vicinity. The family head is an one legged warrior, weather beaten and exhausted with his war ravaged nation. He has multiple wives and scores of children and they all live inside an abandoned Russian tank. Initially, the stranded soldiers observe them from a distance but they cannot remain hidden for long. Also, they realize the “value” of what is being grown around them and use it as a solution to all their miseries and anxieties. Soon, in a classic about turn of authority, they find themselves working as laborers in those poppy fields. But with time, both sides get accustomed to each other and wait for their fate.

With the plot mentioned above, one can see the deliberate plotting to play with diverse genres and issues. It deliberately covers the sad turn of events in the war torn nation with dark humor but while doing so, it never loses track of the social turmoil that Afghanistan has been going through. It has been shot in Afghanistan with mostly unknown cast except Marina Golbahari who starred in the director’s seminal work, Osama. But a more interesting piece of trivia here is that the director managed to convince post Taliban government to allow him to cultivate poppy just for shooting this film.

Opium War is a film laden with deep sarcasm. After tragic and hard hitting Osama, Barmak decides to explore humor in this film and does it successfully by juggling elements of stoner flicks as well as socio-political satire. At the same time, he makes sure that he makes his real point, that of the decadence of his society. While black humor coveys most of his anguish and desperation, it becomes much more emotional when we hear the soliloquy of the disillusioned Afghan man striving to get back a respectable life. Opium war does not hit one hard like Osama. But it makes critical commentary of its society in an amusing manner. However, what is more heartening is that people like Barmak are not only bringing Afghan cinema back from extinction, but also making quality contributions to world cinema without getting affected by circumstances.

7

Cinephilia Quiz 2: Tintin

Hi all,

Today’s quiz is not really about Cinema but about Tintin. As a matter of fact Tintin’s adventures are no less than any blockbuster action adventure flick and secondly Spielberg is coming up with his Tintin film very soon. So, I think it is the right time to dedicate a set of questions to arguably the greatest comic book ever created.

Rules:

Put your answers as comments.

They are being moderated and will be published only after the deadline.

You can make multiple attempts and in case of conflicts your last answer will be taken as final.

Every question is worth 10 points irrespective of difficulty level (for ease of calculation).

Prizes:

After a three month cycle, the top three cumulative score holders will be given certain prizes. The nature of prizes are still being decided. (Please moderate your expectations, my resources are limited!!!)

Deadline:

24 hours from the moment of publishing.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Questions:

1. Connect these two pictures.
Clue1: It has nothing to do with the official canon of Tintin.
Clue2: Don’t let Budweiser lead you to other alcoholic beverages, especially Loch Lomond and Johnny Walker.

2. Connect again. The lady in the first image is directly related. Rest are completely symbolic and this list is not exhaustive.

3. P is a journalist turned author who became popular during early 20th century for his work in horror and detective genres. Arguably his most famous work is Q, that has seen multiple film and stage adaptations over the years. He has also been called the Conan Doyle of his country due to his contribution towards detective fiction. But what is relevant here is a lesser known novel R written by him in 1915 which was the basis of a Tintin book S, so much so that both have a character named T with somewhat similar roles. Identify P-T.

4. Sitter of the day, what is this and what product produced from it gives us the name of a Tintin character?

5. George Orwell once wrote,
A particularly interesting detail is that out of the 100,000 tons allotted to the Stationery Office, the War Office gets no less than 25,000 tons, or more than the whole of the book trade put together. […] At the same time paper for books is so short that even the most hackneyed “classic” is liable to be out of print, many schools are short of textbooks, new writers get no chance to start and even established writers have to expect a gap of a year or two years between finishing a book and seeing it published.

How did the events referred to in the above paragraph affect Tintin publications OR what distinguishable characteristics of the Tintin books did it lead to? (The question may look vague but it is easily guessable)

6. The following transition occurred in two different editions of a single Tintin Adventure owing to the changing socio-political scenario of the world. Some other changes include the alteration of the name of an important character and complete removal of two particular characters. Identify the particular Tintin adventure for half marks and explain these changes for full marks.

7. Another sitter: His connection to Tintin is merely coincidental. Nevertheless, identify this officer of Royal Navy who participated in the Anglo Dutch wars and also became an Admiral later on.

8. What is the occasion?

9. The person on the right is believed to have inspired something in literature, which in turn inspired the person on the left to create something. Use the bottom pic as a clue and connect them to a Tintin character.

10. Arthur, Benedict, John, Joseph, Peter, Alfred… some common English names. Connect them to a single Tintin character who appeared only once.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Answers:


1. Tintin in Thailand, is an unauthorized copy of Tintin. It is created by someone with a pseudonym Bud E Weyser which is again a play on Budweiser. Herge foundation is fighting a legal battle against it.

2. Snowy’s name in various languages. The lady is believed to be Herge’s first girlfriend who was called Milou, which was Snowy’s original name. Rest are symbolic.
Terry Giliam: It is called Terry in various languages.
A band called Mi Lu Bing: It is scalled Mi Lu in Vietnamese (Which is again derived from Milou).
Milo: It is also called Milo in some other languages.

3. P – Gaston Leroux
Q – The Phantom of the Opera
R – Bride of the sun
S – Prisoners of the sun
T – Huascar

4. Cassava roots. Tapioca is prepared from it. General Tapioca.

5. Orwell was referring to the papaer shortage which was common during and after WW-II. This also affected Herge and he was forced by his pubisher to use smaller frames and limit number of pages which led to the standard 62 page format for all books that we are now familiar with.

6. “The Shooting Star”. Published during the Nazi regime, the original version had American Villains. Later on it was changed to a fictional country called Sao Rico. The main financier of Tintin’s adversaries was named Blumenstein which sounded too Jewish. It was later changed to Bohlwinkel although that also sounds Jewish. Two Jewish characters were removed completely. The stereotypical Jewish men were seen hoping that the disaster will save them from to pay off their creditors. Some references to the God were also removed to avoid offending the church.

7. Sir Richard Haddock. Although, it is claimed that Herge became aware of him only after creating the character of Sir Francis Haddock.

8. Presenting the “Light of Truth” award in 2006 to Bishop Desmond Tutu and Herge Foundation. Tintin is the only fictional character to have received it, obviously for his exploits in Tibet.

9. Bianca Castafiore’s favourite song, the Jewel Song from Faust, an opera by Charles Gounod (pic 1) which was inspired in Goethe’s Faust which in turn was apparently inspired by the life of Doctor Johannes Faust (pic 2). Pic 3: Marguerite’s garden in the original production, where the Jewel Song is sung.

10. The English names, when converted to Italian, gives us Arturo Benedetto Giovanni Giuseppe Pietro Arcangelo Alfredo Cartoffoli da Milano, the Milanese driver in “The Calculus Affair”, who appeared only once in a memorable chase sequence.