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Srini the movie critic
We watched the new JP Dutta release 'LoC Kargil' yesterday. It was quite an ok movie, except for the fact that it portrayed Indian soldiers as continuously abusing the enemy and dream about their wives/girlfriends when they weren't fighting the enemy. Dutta, the producer too, clearly tries to rely too much on his awesome starcast (Abhishek Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Akshay Khanna, Sanjay Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Sunil Shetty, Nagarjuna, Manjoj Bajpai, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee, Raveena Tandon) to carry the film. The ladies are more or less a waste of time. In fact I can't recall someone like Raveena Tandon having a single dialogue in the movie (unless of course she did have some, but they were snipped off so that the need for a second intermission was avoided!). The songs were a total waste of time. Why did such a serious war movie have songs?
The few positives were the acting by Manoj Bajpai and to some extent by Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt. The other good aspect was the way the officers etc. questioned the need for moving so many regiments and artillery if, as the superiors claimed, the task was to drive out just a handful of mujahideens. Subtly, Dutta hints that there was a collossal intelligence failure. The cream of India's young officers and commanders was wiped out over the span of a couple of months and the defence minister still claims there was no intelligence failure!
So the cricketing bandwagon moves to Sydney for Act IV of the Test series (and also the last act for Stephen Rodger Waugh). The momentum and the force currently seem to be with Australia, a far cry from how it was on 26th December when India were 270/1 with about an hour to go before stumps. More than Sehwag's slog down long-on's throat, I think it was Dravid's dismissal to Steve Waugh which gave Australia the belief that they had managed to put a foot in the door which was rapidly shutting them from the game (and the series). Another interesting point is that India seemed to be playing the game in the Australian way while Australia was aping India. In the 2nd Test, Ponting scored his double century at a strike-rate of 68 while at Sydney, he scored at 56 runs every 100 balls faced. Sehwag made his 195 at a strike-rate of 84 while Dravid's double century at Adelaide was made at 52 runs every 100 balls faced. India scored at 3.6 at Sydney but at 3.2 in Adelaide. In contrast, Australia scored at 3.7 at Melbourne compared to 4.4 at Adelaide. There seems to have been a deliberate attempt by Australia (and Ponting in particular) to defeat India at their own game. India had forgotten one cardinal rule. Instead of playing by their plan, they seemed to be eager to take on Australia at their own game. That came a cropper.
There're enough selection worries for the last Test. Kumble has now taken two 5fers and 12 wickets in the 2 Tests that he has played. Sydney may not necessarily be the raging turner that it used to be. Then again, this would be the second Test at Sydney this season, so the pitch would be more settled than it was when Australia whipped Zimbabwe earlier (spinners taking nearly 50% of the wickets - 6fers for Price and Katich and 3 for Hogg. Notice that they're all left-arm spinners. HINT HINT!). Should India play Murali Kartik? Now that Zaheer is ruled out, would we just revert to the winning combination of Adelaide? Should Nehra be dropped because he has just not looked penetrative at any point of time at all? Will the tail contribute again? Lots of questions, too few answers.
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