Thursday, October 14, 2010

LALIT MODI - From "Raja" of IPL to "Raju" (Ramalinga type) of IPL.

I had posted the above title on Facebook and a reaction was - why am I targeting Modi ? Is it because of my "friendship" to N Srinivasan (NS) ? - The answer is simple - I wish I was NS's friend - I am not .

I do know his brother and his Sammandhi , both of whom are in my Rotary Club - In fact I have seen/met him twice in the past 20 years - once , when he was the chief guest at the Inauguration of the "Mahesh memorial Cancer ward" at the cancer Institute , Adyar and the second time at the MCC club, when the Chennai Super Kings were felicitated. On both occasions we exchanged a smile and maybe a "hello" - there were more than 500 other guests present. If this can make him my friend - then , yes, I am his friend.

My brothers are Advocates by profession ( so too my son as was my father) . As we are not a joint family staying together etc - their clients/friends are not people I meet. My brothers are too professional to discuss anything concerning their business with me.
They like all in the family are Cricket Lovers and they have played League cricket , indeed one of them as the Secretary of a Team has been in the TNCA for more than a decade - he is currently the vice President there. Still it does not make NS or anyone else from any Cricket Body "my" friend. It is as absurd as saying that a colleague of mine say -Mr Delhi Ganesh is a friend of my brother. I preface all this so that my remarks are understood in the correct context and perspective.

1. Chennai Super Kings is NOT owned by N.Srinivasan. It is owned by India Cements. India cements is a Public limited Company founded by the family of Mr Sankaralinga Iyer as well as by Mr T S Narayanaswami ( NS's father) in 1946.

NS as an individual holds 0.05 % of the Share capital of the company - as the promoter family he and the other investment companies hold approximately 28 %. Please check out this document available if you google it as I did -

IT IS SIGNIFICANT TO NOTE THAT MORE THAN 70% IS HELD BY THE PUBLIC, BANKS, F I I 'S ETC. So it is NOT an Individuals team or a private consortium like The Rajasthan Royals . Probably The Ambani's holding Mumbai Indians and the Mallya's in Royal Challengers are the other few totally transparent non overseas funded totally Indian team like the Chennai Super kings - maybe the Deccan chargers too but I have not studies them.

2. NS probably got the Board to change the rules to facilitate this purchase - whether that was done legally or not is being questioned by Shri A C Muthiah in his appeal to the Supreme Court - the matter being sub judice, it may not be correct to comment on that - Let me add that the lower court ( Madras high Court) has held in favor of NS and Shri ACM has gone on appeal. Let us await the verdict. It is the very same ACM's father who, as Secretary of the BCCI registered it in Chennai as a Society - and today ACM's friend Lalit's advocates are stating this as an example to show that this is a personal fight between NS and Lalit. What is probably a personal fight is the ACM - NS one.

3. The charges against Lalit Modi are that he was involved in a "Criminal Conspiracy" and set about to defraud the BCCI. Times Now, the Channel gave a lot of details and compared him to Suresh Kalamadi - they did , not I . He is said to have been responsible for over 450 crores being diverted away from BCCI to himself ( ?) . Here too we find that a Criminal Complaint has been lodged and FIR filed.
On the other hand NS by paying money has contributed to the coffers of the BCCI. So there is no comparison - as some have sought to make. Simply put - NS gave while Lalit took.
Here i wish that you click on this link and check out what lalit said immediately after announcing the results of the bids in 2008 .

4. Many have said that the IPL was lalit's creation and concept and he was a genius etc....I question that statement too....

The IPL was the brain child of many many others - Many don't recall that Subhash Chandra of Zee TV started this as The Indian Cricket league. Incidentally he too was a client of my brother. Check this link for a history of this league whose Inaugural season was in 2007 ( ) .

The Chennai Team was called the Chennai Superstars and had many like R Satish and Hemang Badani in it ( ). This was considered a rebel league and did not find support with the BCCI , hence failed.

The official version based on this model was started by the BCCI and Modi appointed its "head". To credit him with inventing this is as stupid as crediting Zee TV , for all this is based on the Cricket leagues overseas and they on the Professsional Football/Basketball/Baseball Leagues of the World.


I am surprised how people can justify his actions by saying that after all "it was his baby". IT WAS NOT. Maybe if the BCCI had asked Subhash to continue its ICL and given it official sanction then all this would not have happened.
The credit to Modi is that he converted everything - including the time taken in between balls to an opportunity to make money.

I ask , what do you think the IPL would have become like had a Professional Sport promoter / event manager headed the show and Professional Marketing people Branded it.

I ask , how would the IPL have grown had say a Ratan Tata or a Nandan Neelankeni headed it, both being Industrialists with a spotless track record, been at the helm of affairs as a against a man whose track record for ethics is dubious to say the least. Indeed his background check seems to reveal many things like the typical Soap opera.

Many have said that none of the existing BCCI guys could have done it, bit they are all people who are running multi crore companies and it some case the country - they know how to hire the right this case they did not choose correctly. Wrong choice - or knowing who were at the helm of affairs then, maybe it was intentional. ? Creating Frankensteins is a policy too.

Finally , I am surprised that many a "Tamil" is questioning NS and in fact supporting Lalit.

It was the bold enterprise of NS that got us in Chennai a Team. I do not know if any other Tamil Nadu based consortium bir for this....maybe we would have been happier if a consortium of businessmen operating through a Caymen island holding company bought the franchise for "my city" - of course with the statutory 25% held by lalit modi.

People like Vijay Mallya had bid even for the Mumbai Team but lost to Ambani. He was not exclusively Loyal to Bengaluru, his home town but viewed this as a investment opportunity.

NS bid for HIS City, his State and bought the best players - making the Chennai Super kings , the most succesful Team in the 3 editions of the IPL.
Why then question the man who has worked to enhance the pride of every cricket lover from our State ?

Vijay Mallya is the Vice president of the KSCA and the CEO of Royal Chellengers - Brijesh Patel, the secretary of KSCA , I understand that Mr Mukesh ambani too is in a state Cricket association , people from these states are proud of "their man" - the Tamil will always be different....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My take on "Endhiran"

I am a die hard "Rajini" fan and love him both as an actor and a human being, many an earlier blog of mine will prove this.

I watched Endhiran and must say I came out with mixed feelings....

The great positive vibe and feel was the "technical" brilliance that tamil Cinema has advanced to as well as the sheer gloss and richness that the film had in every frame. Kudos to Shankar and his Team.

The brilliance of the Graphics especially the last few minutes with the army of Robots has to be seen to be believed. Matches any Hollywood film.... definitely beats Bollywood by a mile.

They have spent crores and it was seen in every frame , every paise of it.....Hats off to the producers , who have taken tamil Film Production into a different orbit - albeit a dizzying one.
For it is this film that has made the rest of India wake up and notice us here.

The other lovely part of the movie that I truly enjoyed was the "Chitti" part. Rajini has proved what a consummate actor and performer he is in his avatar as the Robot ( corrupted). What elan, what dash, what an actor.....truly deserves the sobriquet "Superstar"....

This is not a Keanu Reeves movie , a Superman, Batman or Spiderman film , nor is it the Robin Williams starrer "Bicentennial man" - which in many ways is the inspiration for this film , if you want to know more about this film's plot click here -

Now for me as a "Rajini" fan going to a Rajini enjoy my "Thalaivar"

I always love it when Rajini dons the hero , he is the brave, honest good guy ( maybe a coward in the beginning but is transformed into a "Veeran" ) who is wronged by a Villain - he could be a friend turned bad like Sharat Babu in Annamalai , a truly bad guy like Raghuvaran in Baasha or even Suman in "Sivaji" - but there has to be a Duryodhanan - and Rajini , the Panchapandavargal all rolled into one , must in the climax "Thulp" the man out of his senses......

Superstar can also tame the shrew as he did Vijayashanthi in Mannan or Ramya Krishnan in Padayappa - BUT HE MUST HAVE A UNIQUE MANNERISM OR STYLE - that is what makes him the Super star and he MUST HAVE A PUNCH LINE - as Aishwarya says in this film "unnodadhu Thani vazhi"....In these aspects I was disappointed with Endhiran.

He should have had a one to one with Danny Denzongpa or Chitti ( preferably both) and kicked the @#$% out of them . On the contrary he runs away from a drunk toddy tapper who is teased earlier by Aishwarya.....My hero had NO moment of Glory except right at the end , and that too it is not physical but keeps chitti magnetically immmobile etc.... Great for Keanu but not for my Thalaivar.

Despite being the hero he must have at least one nice comedy scene - like the scooter ride with the priest as "paramasivan" or the snake around the neck in a Ladies hostel.....These are a must. Here too Endhiran disappoints

A scene or two with his parents and siblings highlighting "Family" sentiments , - remember that song ? - "Amma endru azhaikkaadha...?" - maybe even a song on the thaththuvam of life like " 8 x 8 vaazhkkai" - nothing like that here - in fact there is NO solo song for him here.

He must also have a nice comedy sidekick like Janakaraj in Basha etc or Goundamani in Mannan or even Vivek in Sivaji..... the duo in this film disappoint to say the least.....

His entry in the film must be with a bang - and a song - remember "Naan autokkaaran.." or "Vandhenda paalakaaran..." or "Devuda devuda..." - nothing like that here in Endhiran for Boss comes into the film without as much as a whisper......

Songs bring me to the point that I found the re recording absolutely brilliant but the songs left me disappointed....I am a die hard fan of the music of "old times" and for me melody is the key , I still relate to modern music if I can hum the tune as I walk out of the theatre - like the "style' song in Sivaji.....I am simply not able to recall a single tune ( I do not listen to FM , watch songs on TV or listen to the CD.) , the first time I listen to the songs is in the film and it must stick to my head. Needless to say the locations and the picturisation was extraordinary , loved it when Rajini does the Robot style dancing. All in all I thought the music of Rehman , another genius, did nothing to lift the film to greater heights as it did in Sivaji or Padayappa.

I must here say that the Stunt sequences were brilliant , probably the best in any Indian Film thus far. Peter heyn must be complimented and of course Rajini who must have had hours and hours of back breaking work - his professionalism and total submission to the Director never ceases to amaze me.....what a man !!!!!

I thought "Chandramukhi" was itself a mild risk as it lacked the elements of the classic "Rajini" film like a clear cut, well defined villain etc but made up more than amply with the songs, the humour and the basic story, not to forget those few glorious moments when Vettaiyan comes on the screen. The Robot here I thought was an extension of the "lakalakalaka" Vettaiyyan - as usual the superstar excelled in it so much so that the last scene was extremely poignant.

My Take -

As a Tamil film fan - Extraordinary Film -what a technical coup.
As a die hard "Superstar" fan - an ordinary film.
As a fan of the "actor" Rajinikanth - a film to be relished... Chitti , takes the cake.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.