Monday, March 15, 2010

New Space

Hi all,

The location of my blog has moved and I no longer blog here. Thanks for visiting my blog and please keep reading the same in my new location of My Thoughts.

Thanks and best wishes,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Airtel Super Singer – Uravugal round

Airtel Super Singer began yesterday and I haven’t written anything about it as I did not follow it from the beginning. I missed Prasanna and Renu on the first day, so thought let me wait for the day 2 to complete. Well Day 2 completed yesterday and it was a good round.

All the singers were in their elements yesterday and the best performances came from Ravi, Ajeesh and Prasanna. The Uravugal round required the contestants to sing about friendship the first day and about Mother the second day. The first day saw Raghini immunized. She sang “Magic Journey” song from Anjali and gave a good performance. The rest of the performances were also good on day one. Vijay was very good with Veyil song and so was Ravi with his “Oh Nandalala” song.

The second day had 6 singers to perform and everyone did a good job. Ravi and Ajeesh were very good and Ravi was rightly immunized after yesterday’s Mother’s round. Again Vijay and Prasanna were good. Ranjani and Renu though gave ordinary performances as far as I am concerned. It seems like anything Renu does is fine for the judges. I keep hearing the same phrase every time from the judges that “Renu has a good voice”.

It’s getting boring now and it’s high time that she tries something different. She seems like a Sujatha type singer and the one who does not like to experiment too much. Most of the times you see her singing the same way without much improvisation but still the judges praise her like anything. Yesterday I can tell at least twice in her performance she had breathing issues but the judges completely ignored that in their comments.

For some reason even though Prasanna gave a good performance they were making some huge deal about his acting on stage. I thought it was a very unfair comment. Prasanna is one of the singers who are able to bring life and emotion to a song which is essential for a play back singer. Ask SPB he will say so. It’s not like Prasanna was all over the place with his singing but still the comments were not required yesterday. It seems like they are already finding a reason to eliminate him so that their favorite Renu can go all the way.

I call it biased but I am thinking that Prasanna is being punished for not learning music. Anyways that’s my opinion. Let’s waits and see how it goes today. Five singers still to perform one more time before the elimination happens. I will be back with the third day’s review tomorrow.

Airtel Super Singer western round – Day 3

There wasn’t much to look forward in the western round day 3 for me as it was just Ajeesh to perform in the competition. I guess it was a total boredom tactics by Vijay TV last night as most of us already guessed that there will be no elimination. They made all the singers sing again and few of them to repeat what they already sang.

As I said in the preview article Anupama finally made it to the competition as the chief guest and I guess Vijay TV did not expect just to have one contestant not spot selected. Surprisingly they started with Ajeesh, who sang an English song which was decent and everyone liked it, praised him a little bit and the chief guest said that she wanted to hear everyone sing.

Here started the total disaster for the day 3 episode. All the singers performed to make up the 45 minutes to complete the show and finally Anupama decided that Ajeesh is safe. Then there were some meaningless conversations between Srinivas and Anupama praising Ajeesh’s performance. Finally the show ended with Ajeesh joining the group again and yes there are 7 contestants left in the show for the third consecutive week.

This is just getting frustrating as after Aruna and Rohit there has been no elimination in the show. If you consider that Rohit was out only because he pulled out is even scarier. I am also getting irritated with the favoritism of the judges. It seems like Renu is one of them. The song which she sang yesterday was so bad and when we compare that performance to Raghini’s Tamil version the previous night the difference was even more visible. I am starting to wonder if Renu has to just turn up to get selected. She is monotonous, doesn’t experiment, Sings mostly P Susheela and Chitra songs and still keeps getting spot selected because the judges feel that her voice is good.

In spite of a legend like Chitra telling her to memorize the lyrics in a competition she still carries the lyrics in the hand. I think Raghini and Ranjani are far better singers than Renu at this moment. At least they try to experiment and sing different genre of songs. I have nothing against Renu but since I saw her first in the competition I would say she is the most unimproved singer of the pack.

Anyways let’s hope that at least next week we have some progress in the competition and there is some elimination. It’s almost going to be a year and we are not even close to identifying the top 3. I love the competition and hope that it goes for ever but it’s time to start the new season and finish 2008. Let’s hope the organizers get the point.

India look for a series win

India leads 1-0 in the 3 test match series against New Zealand after the comprehensive win in Hamilton last week. India will take on the hosts again and this time in Napier for the second test of the series. Dhoni and Gary Kirsten would want to wrap up the series in Napier. If this happens, it will be a great achievement from the team India.

India have announced an unchanged team for the second test match and understandably so. The batting looked good in Hamilton and the bowling was persistent. Munaf Patel has for now sealed the third seamer position in the team and Harbajan with his 6 wicket haul has solved the spin problem for now. Batting for the Indians has not been a problem in this series. Daniel Vettori knows that they have to do something different in the second game to upset the Indian batting line up. Their bowling looked toothless in the first test and did not look like taking 20 wickets.

New Zealand batting also struggled against Harbajan on a flat batting track. It was a bad loss for the hosts and it seems like on a good wicket they are no match for the Indians. Vettori wanted Jacob Oram to be back for the second test but that isn’t a possibility right now. It seems for the Kiwis Jeetan Patel will be back in the squad. The Kiwis will also worry about the form of their No1 bowler Kyle Mills who has been largely ineffective in this series in all formats.

All in all this will be another interesting game and I guess the toss will be important again for the home team. Dhoni and India would want to get the series win here to cap off a wonderful series. Best of luck to the team and hopefully we will win the series in Napier.

IPL Shift – unfortunate but practical

Yesterday BCCI announced that IPL will be moved to South Africa this year as the Indian Government failed to guarantee top security for the players in India. After the attack on the Srilankan team in Pakistan security has been a major concern for the foreign players in the subcontinent and with the General elections coinciding with the IPL the Govt said that they cannot offer security to the international players.
This was a great setback for IPL and BCCI as the tournament was a huge success in its first year and their negotiations with the Indian Police Department failed repeatedly. Finally Lalit Modi and BCCI decided to host this year’s edition in either England or South Africa.

After lots of deliberation SA was chosen as the venue over England due to logistics and weather being in the formers side. It’s rather unfortunate that the tournament has to be shifted to a different country as the electricity and the enthusiasm of the Indian crowd cannot be matched anywhere in the world. The players and the franchise owners are not that thrilled about this decision but they are left with no choice in the current scenario.

I think the decision was very practical by the BCCI and now the competition can go on without any security concerns. Even though this is basically an Indian tournament the involvement of International stars makes this event marketable anywhere in the world. South African cricket board seems to have been really thrilled to have got this opportunity and also their players and media seem to be really enjoying the same.

I personally did not want this series to go to England for two reasons. First is the weather and pitch conditions and second English supporters do not care about IPL or Twenty20. I am a part of a British cricket forum and I can see that they don’t give a damn about Twenty20 or IPL. So I guess it was a good decision to take it to SA who successfully staged a World Twenty20 just a year ago. Its really sad for Indian cricket that their premier tournament has to be shifted to another country and watching my team “Chennai SuperKings” play in Durban will not be the same as watching them in MA Chidambaram stadium.

But the silver lining is that the tournament at least will happen this year. This will also give players to get a good practice for the World Twenty20 which will follow the IPL. I hope that this year’s competition is as big as the previous year. I am sure that the SACB will do all in their ability to make this event a grand success. But I just hope that IPL is back next year to India where it proudly belongs. I will be back later with the profile of my team Chennai SuperKings next month.

Airtel Super Singer western round – Day 2

The Airtel Super Singer day 1 was impressive with all the three contestants getting spot selected. Day 2 had four contestants to perform and it was an interesting prospect with Renu and Ajeesh not being that comfortable with this genre. I wasn’t that bothered about Prasanna and Raghini as I thought that they will be very comfortable with this round.

The first performer of the evening was Ajeesh and he sang “Girlfriend” song from Boys and sounded horrible. I am not sure if he had any issues with his voice or something but it sounded horrible. He did not have any energy or enthusiasm to carry a song which was beautifully sung by Karthik in the original. It was a bad performance and the judges felt the same. He was rightly not spot selected.

The second singer of the night was Renu. She chose “Mudhal Naal Indru” song from Unnale Unnale. She gave a decent performance but I did not like the choice of song. The judges felt that Renu had chosen a safe option and a clever one. In the western round they were hoping for something different and peppy but were disappointed in that regard. Even though the song choice did not impress the judges at least Srinivas and Unni, Renu was spot selected.

To be frank I am just fed up with Renu and the bias the judges have towards her. I understand that she has the best voice among the female contestants but still her song selections have been one dimensional. She does not take any risks and overall I would rate her below Raghini. Anyways that’s my opinion. I was hoping that the judges would anyways make her sing on the final day so that she can actually sing a proper western song. The only time in this competition she sang something different was “Vaa Vaa pakkam Vaa” song.

The third contestant of the night was Prasanna. He chose “Something Something” song from “Something Something Unakkum Ennakum” movie. He did a fantastic job. There was lots of energy and spirit in his performance and the judges liked his performance. It was a great effort by Prasanna after being in the verge of elimination last round. He was rightly spot selected.

The final contestant of the day was Raghini. She sang “Unakenna Naan” song from Kadhalil Vizhundaen movie. It was a brilliant performance I thought. It was fantastic and she did a great job. I am growing to like this smiling version of Raghini. She is been performing brilliantly since her return. She is smiling more these days and has been giving stunning performances in the last few rounds. She was spot selected too. It’s funny that every time Srinivas has to say something good about Raghini he looks in total disbelief. Unni though seems to like Raghini and called her “Rags” yesterday after her performance. He was the one who called Prasanna “Prassi”.

So finally 7 contestants perform and just one of them not spot selected. It was unfortunate for Ajeesh. Before this round began I had singled out him and Renu to struggle and it became right in his case. I am not sure what the judges have in mind for the final day as there is no competitor to Ajeesh. He is all alone on the final day and I am sure unless he turns in a brilliant performance he will for sure get eliminated. I hope he gives a better performance tonight.

It seems like recently Malini Yugendran isn’t speaking that much in super singer. Yugendran seems to be talking a lot more. Probably due to some feedbacks received. Whatever may be the reason it happened for good. Anyways I will be back with the review of Day 3 tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Airtel Super Singer western round – Day 1

Western round began last night with 7 singers still left in the competition. This round threw up some interesting possibilities as Prasanna, Ajeesh and Vijay escaped elimination last week. This week contestants might not be that lucky. All of them have to perform well to get through and there will surely be elimination this round (At least that’s what I hope).

My guess this week was that it will be tough for Renu and Ajeesh as rest of the pack will pull it off with comfort. Okay now coming back to last night’s show, I knew that there will only be 3 singers performing and the night started with Ranjani.

Ranjani began the western round with “Jillunnu oru Kadhal” song. This was a Jazz composition by AR Rahman, sung by Tanvi in the original. Ranjani did a fair job. Even though there were few errors here and there overall Ranjani’s attitude impressed the judges. She was rightly spot selected.

Sometimes during this season Vijay TV seems to go out of the way to extend or prolong super singer 2008. It’s really very irritating as the viewers have been watching it for almost a year and all of us would want to know who the super singer is. I did not get the idea of making the singers sing the song which they have prepared if they were not spot selected. This was another cheap trick to make sure that there are only three singers performing on the first evening on the show.
Anyways my frustrations aside, the second singer of the night was Vijay. As I mentioned earlier this is a bread and butter round for Vijay “Adams” (As he is called by the judges). Vijay is very comfortable with western songs which he has constantly proven in the previous rounds. Vijay sang “Uyirin Uyire” from “Kaaka kaaka”, the original sung by one of my favorite singers Kay kay. Vijay did a fantastic job. His attitude and improvisations were brilliant and as Srinivas rightly said Vijay knows how to perform on stage. He always displays right energy and attitude required for a western number. Vijay was spot selected and was requested to sing “Hotel California” song on the final night of the competition. That was the song he would have sung if did not get spot selected.

So that makes it 2 in 2. The final singer of the night was Ravi (The classical Guru of the group). Ravi sang “Oh Mama Mama” from the movie Minnale, another Harris Jeyraj song. He did a good job and with the hood pulled over his head he gave a rap song effect to the performance. There were few mistakes or probably I should say some improvements pointed out by Unni but overall everyone liked his performance. He was spot selected too. He was asked to sing his other song choice again and he sang a Linkin Park song.

So three singers perform on the first evening and all three get spot selected. This leaves Prasanna, Raghini, Renu and Ajeesh to perform on the second night. It will be very interesting to see how Renu performs. We have seen her struggle with breath while singing fast numbers in the past and let’s see how she goes. I don’t think that Raghini and Prasanna would have any issues in this round.

That’s all about last night’s show and just before I end this piece just wanted to mention that Malini Yugendran at last gave Yugendran chance to talk last night and hopefully this trend continues. I am just fed up of the bad pronunciations and horrible anchoring by Malini.

India are not No1 but most improved

I have been watching cricket for 20 years. I have been following Indian cricket since that time and looking at the progress they have made its heartening. I am not going to claim that India is the best side in the world but I will for sure say that they are one of the most improved sides.
Watching Indian team during the nineties was one of the most frustrating experiances especially when they toured abroad. Indian team was very good at home beating all top sides consistantly under Azhar and then Sachin but when they toured abroad they were clueless.

During the 90’s and till Sourav took over the mantle India toured Australia twice, England twice, WI once, New Zealand twice, SA twice, Zim twice and never won a single test. I almost resigned to the fact that India cannot. I will mostly look for some good performances from induvidual players like Sachin scoring a hundred or Kumble taking a fifer something like that and be happy with that.

It was dissapointing as we were constantly pasted by Australia and SA and the Indians had no answers. The tag of poor travellers was rightly associated with the team. Ganguly took over the reigns in 2000 after the match fixing row and boy did India improve after that.

I am by no means suggesting that we are blasting teams out since then but we are a fighting unit since Ganguly took over. We have won a series in England and WI. Drawn a series in Australia, Won a test in SA, won in Perth, Won a series in Pakistan and so many others such wins. In the last 8 years are so except for few series here and there we have at least managed to win one test match everywhere we have played.

I feel that we richly deserve the No 3 tag which we currently hold. The team under Dhoni has merely carried the legacy that Sourav has left behind. I would attribute most of our current success to Sourav and Wright combination in the way they nurtured youngsters like Sehwag, Harbajan and Yuvraj who are important cogs in present Indian wheel.

Dhoni has been the perfect leader India has been looking for and even though Kumble and Dravid did their best to keep the team going Dhoni has actually moved it forward a notch. Its too early to praise Dhoni and call him great but what he has done in the last year or so cant be cast aside as fluke. Its the consistancy which has got India the No 3 ranking.

As an Indian supporter who has been following the team for 20 years now its been a wonderful journey. From a team who just made up the numbers while travelling abroad to the team who are expected to win abroad regularly. The Indian captain and coach realise that they arent the No 1 side yet and have to consistantly perform to reach the pinacle which is a good sign.

I thought the team under Sourav called themselves world beaters too soon. I am also happy for Sachin who went on numerous tours abroad without ever winning anything in the 90’s most often rescuing his team from absolute pastings. Standing alone amidst chaos. Also for the numerous other Indian greats in the Nineties like Azhar, Jadeja, Srinath etc who would be really proud of what this current Indian team has achieved.

It was very thoughtful of Dhoni to dedicate the win in New Zealand to the seniors. Contrary to what the media portrayed of Dhoni, he is very respectful of the seniors which was very much evident when he called Anil to collect the trophy when we won the series against the Aussies and also requested Ganguly to captain in the dying moments of his final test match. This humility and respect will go a long way in Dhoni having a successful career as a player and captain.

This is an article of a happy Indian fan who knows that India have improved leaps and bounds from the frustrating 90’s. I am not claiming my team to be the best in the world right now as Australia and SA deserve those positions through the consistancy they have displayed over the years but we are the most improved in world cricket by a distance.

I am really proud of this team. They might not win everything but they will for sure compete.

Tale of two teams

Accepting having a problem is the first step towards improvement. This is what the Australians have done in the past one year. When they defeated WI 2-0 in a closely fought series the Australian captain said that his side is no longer going to roll over sides as they used to, few month before. This was a good assessment from the captain on the team which was finding it hard to replace few retired players. Australia beat New Zealand and then had the worst few months in the last decade when they were beaten both by India away and SA at home in tests.

South Africa also defeated them in the ODI’s to claim the top spot in the rankings. Australia though started experimenting with new players and quickly accepted that they have to do some serious rebuilding if they have to return to their dominating best. They did it admirably. The brought in Phil Hughes who is just 20 and Peter Siddle an unknown material in International cricket and then Hilfenhaus who played in few ODI’s before. They added Marcus North in the middle order who can bowl some useful off spinners and look where they are now.

Australia defeated the South Africans away 2-0 without the experience of Brett lee and Stuart Clarke. Ponting is now hailed as the genius who turned it around for the team from a guy who was bashed all around in the media last year and was also asked to step down. Australia back to No 1 spot in test cricket and looking impressive and I have no doubts in my mind that they will regain the Ashes.

The English though have gone the other way and currently are on a slippery slope. They are living in denial and don’t seem to be accepting the fact that they are at best No 5 in the ranking. They currently had a poor test series against a team who has not won a series in the last 5 years. The English team and the supporters though are full of excuses, blaming everything else except for themselves for the losses. England though hasn’t won against the top sides in tests since beating Australia in the Ashes in 2005.

That’s a long time ago considering the fact that they have been beaten by India, Australia and South Africa in tests both home and away. Their one day form is even worse. The problem with English cricket is that they always think they are better than what they are. They fail to give credit to the opponents and were so happy about the Australian slump last year that they forgot that they are in a bigger one. The Ashes is to start in a few months time and when we look at the progress of both the teams and we know who is clearly on top.

England fired Kevin Pieterson from captaincy after he had some sort of rift with the team members and coach. Considering that KP is only English player who is slightly different in approach from the other captains, it was a big blow for the team. They left to WI saying that it will be almost a walkover and it will be a good practice for the Ashes but what transpired in the last couple of months surely was not in Andrew Strauss’s script.

England lost the test series 1-0 and now has lost the Twenty20 badly. England has blamed everything after the test series loss and has currently lost on excuses for the Twenty20. They are currently tied in the one-day series 1-1 after they were beaten in the second game by 23 runs by the WI. They won the first game after a blunder from the WI coach who messed up the Duck-worth and Lewis calculation which handed England the game. I guess unless they accept their failure and do something drastic in the coming months, I don’t see them posing any challenge to the Aussies. Two separate approaches from two separate team managements and the difference is there to be seen.

I am thinking another bashing for the English team as they still live in constant denial. Anything other than an Australian win in the Ashes will be surprising and looks highly impossible.

Airtel Super Singer western round – Preview

Airtel Super Singer moves to western round this week and yes we still have 7 contestants. The judges decided to keep all the 7 after last week’s classical round as they felt that it was varying amount of training which separated the contestants. So they did not want to penalize the contestants for their lack of classical training.

This week though it’s going to be different as it is western round and I am sure there is going to elimination. This round will be interesting and I think Vijay and Prasanna will be really relieved after they scraped through classical round.

This round will be strong point for Prasanna and Vijay and I expect them to sail through. I watched few rushes from the show and it seems like Anupama will be the chief guest of the show. They showed performances of Ravi, Ranjani and Vijay in the trailer and it seems like they rocked the stage with their performances. At least Ravi and Vijay did, I am not sure about Ranjani though.

It will be interesting to see Ajeesh and Renu perform in this round as I feel that they will be the ones who might not get spot selected. Raghini and Prasanna might have it easy in this round but I am not sure if they will be spot selected.

Well let’s wait and see what transpires in today’s show. I am expecting a fun round and hopefully it will be great.

India crushes New Zealand to go 1-0 up

India hammers New Zealand to win their first test on Kiwiland after 33 years. It was a clinical performance from this Indian team as they thrashed the hosts by 10 wickets. Gautam Ghambir hit the winning runs as India reached the target of 39 runs in just 5.2 overs. Daniel Vettori and the New Zealand team will be aware that they have been beaten by the better team.

The pitch was really flat and New Zealand began the fourth day on 75/3 with Ross Taylor and Flynn at the crease. The Indian bowlers persisted hard and kept the balls in the right areas to induce false strokes from the Kiwi batsmen. Munaf removed Taylor for 4 to leave New Zealand 4 down and then it was Bajji show all the way. Harbajan demolished the Kiwi middle and lower order to leave them 199/8 with Brendon Mccullum stranded at one end with Ian O’Brien to join him.

Harbajan took his first fifer against the Kiwis and his first here in New Zealand. It was a great performance from Bajji considering that the pitch wasn’t suitable to spin bowling. The wicket was pretty flat and it was the variations which Harbajan had which caused the home batsmen to make mistakes. There was a frustrating partnership between Mccullum and O’Brien which took the Kiwis to 275 but once it was broken their innings folded up pretty quickly on 279. Mccullum was the last man out for 84 caught by Laxman of Yuvraj to leave the Indians to get 39 runs to win the game.

This was a great win by the Indians considering the pre-tour reports where it was said that the Indians would struggle in New Zealand. It seems like India will win this series if they play to their potential. Sachin Tendulkar received the man of the match award for his sublime 160 in the first innings which helped India to gain a 240 run lead over the Kiwis. It was a total team effort and rightly acknowledged by the skipper in the post match interview.

This is yet another feather in the cap for Dhoni after the T20 world cup and CB series in Australia. It will be better if India manage to win the test series. The teams meet again in a few days in Napier for the second test match and I would expect India to play an unchanged team. The Kiwis will be hoping to put up a better performance next time around as they would not want to lose this series.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 2 – India gain a slight advantage

Three half centuries from the top order gave India a slender advantage in the first test match against New Zealand in Hamilton. The Indians began the day 250 runs behind the Kiwi total and soon lost Sehwag to a brilliant fielding from Franklin. Sehwag and Ghambir had a slight misunderstanding which left the former way short of his crease. Rahul Dravid joined Ghambir in the middle with the score on 37/1 and forged a good partnership to take India to 108/1 at lunch.
After lunch the Dravid-Ghambir combination took India to 142 when Gautam Ghambir was caught behind of Martin for 72. It was a good innings from Ghambir but he played one shot too many. Sachin Tendulkar joined Dravid with the score on 142/2 and took India to 177 when Dravid was bowled of a beauty from Ian O’ Brian for 66 leaving the visitors 177/3. Laxman and Sachin took India to tea.

After tea India lost Laxman for 30 with the score on 238. Laxman was scratchy throughout his knock of 30 and was dropped once of a difficult chance in the boundary by Ian O’ Brian. Yuvraj and Sachin took India to stumps with the visitors just 1 run behind the New Zealand total. Sachin accelerated at the end of the day when the new ball was taken to remain 70 not out with his 42nd hundred in sight. He is currently joined by Yuvraj who is unbeaten on 8 and would like to push the lead beyond hundred tomorrow.

The first session again will be really important and the Indians would like to keeps wickets in hand. The pitch has something for the seam bowlers and was constantly encouraging them throughout the day. Daniel Vettori will be happy with the bowler’s performance as they were able to keep the Indians to just 249 runs for the day. The best bowler for the hosts was Chris Martin who finished with 2 wickets and Ian O’ Brian who took the wicket of a set Rahul Dravid. Kyle Mills was disappointing and Vettori was not effective. Ryder bowled a few overs but was not that threatening.

Day 3 will determine which team has the upper hand as the game is slightly in India’s favor. Couple of wickets in the first session will give the hosts a chance to get back into the game. It will be interesting to see the approach of the Indians tomorrow as they were really subdued on day 2.

Airtel Super Singer classical round – Day 3

Last night was the elimination night and Sudha Ragunathan was the chief guest. The contestants were supposed to sing a classical song which hasn’t featured in a film. Even though there were four singers to perform I always felt that it was between Prasanna and Vijay as they were the least trained members in the pack.

The night began with Ranjani who sang “Paalvadiyum Mugam” song and impressed the chief guest and the judges who praised her for her professional performance. Sudha Ragunathan said that Ranjani had a great voice and sang very well. Srinivas said that it was again a clinically effeciant performance from Ranjani. Sujatha and Unni pointed out some small things here and there but overall they liked her performance.

The second contestant of the night was Ajeesh. His was a good performance (I forgot the song though). Sudha Ragunathan said that Ajeesh has to work on his modulations a little bit as listening to him becomes a little bit boring after a while. She said that he has a great gift and is a natural but has to develop his talent a little bit. The judges felt the same and they said that it was a commendable effort from Ajeesh.

The next performance was from Prasanna. I was eagerly waiting for his performance as this was an out and out classical round. Prasanna though stunned everyone and gave a fantastic performance. Sudha Ragunathan praised him very much and said he had a great future. Prasanna was in tears when Sudha Ragunathan said those words. His performance was emotional and even moved the judges and the chief guest. All the judges praised him very much and said that he has to take some sort of music training as he is an excellent talent and has the right voice for play back singing.

The final performer of the night was Vijay and he sang a bajan. He said later that since he was currently getting trained in Hindustani music he decided to sing the same. The performance was really good and the chief guest praised his voice and she said that she liked his performance very much. The judges also felt the same and Srinivas told that Vijay needs more concentration as he feels that he is a good musician.

All the performances were complete and when finally the time for elimination came they decided to let Ranjani back with the other spot selected contestants as they felt that she gave good performances. So it was between Prasanna, Ajeesh and Vijay and the judges decided to not eliminate anyone this round as they felt that none of them performed badly enough to get eliminated. Sudha Ragunathan said that they can take the pointers from this show and implement it later in the show. So no eliminations and 7 people carry over to the next round. We have to wait till the next round to see who will get the next axe from the judges.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Airtel Super Singer classical round – Day 2

The classical round day 2 started with 4 singers yet to perform and I was mostly interested in seeing Prasanna perform. Since Prasanna and Vijay were only two people in the group who are not currently learning music.

The first singer of the evening was Ajeesh and he began by singing “Aadal Kalaiye” from Shri Raghavendra and did a great job. He sounded very well and his classical training came to the fore during his performance. The judges were impressed and even though they found few mistakes here and there over all they all liked it. Ajeesh unfortunately did not get spot selected.

The second singer of the night was Renu and she sang “Kanda Naal Mudhalai” song from Kanda Naal Mudhal movie and did a great job. The judges liked her performance very much and said that it was clean singing from Renu. Unni though gave her few variations in the end to sing which she wasn’t able to do so. But as the judges said that wouldn’t affect their judgment and spot selected her. Renu I guess has been little bit lucky with the selections as there have been better performances. I though Ajeesh did a very good job on a tough song and was unlucky. Anyways that’s my opinion.

The next contestant was Raghini and she sang a completely classical based song “Ellam Inbamayam” and gave a fantastic performance. The judges were little bit in shock I guess after her performance. Srinivas couldn’t believe that he has to spot select Raghini and gave her some light variations of the Raaga that her song was based on just to test her but she came out trumps. Raghini was spot selected and rightly so.

The final contestant of the day was Prasanna and Classical round for sure is not his strength. He sang a song from Kadhal Oviyam (forgot the song, if someone remembers please let me know) and gave an honest performance. The judges felt that his performance had the energy and force required for the song but he fell short in the classical part. He had lots of pitching problems and also struggled rendering the swaras. The Judges requested him to start learning music as they felt that he is an extremely talented singer. As expected earlier Prasanna did not get spot selected in the classical round.

Well so it is Prasanna, Ajeesh, Vijay and Ranjani who will be performing on day 3 of the classical round. They have to sing a classical song not featured in movies. I guess it will be between Vijay and Prasanna tonight. I guess one of them will not make it to the next round. Prasanna clearly struggled in the classical round and I will be surprised if it will be any different today. Only past performances might help him to get through if it comes down to that. Lets see tonight how it unfolds in non-filmy classical round.

Day 1 - Ryder and Vettori rescue the Black Caps

The first test between India and New Zealand got underway in Hamilton yesterday and thankfully there was no rain delay. The Indian captain won the toss and invited the hosts to bat first. The pitch was supposed to help the seam bowler at least in the first session of play. The Indian bowlers did not disappoint the captain as the Black Caps were in tatters by lunch losing 6 wickets for 61 runs.

Zaheer had 2, Ishant 3 and Munaf 1. It was a perfect session for the visitors and it seemed like they will bowl out New Zealand for a 100 or 150. The revival for the Kiwis started after lunch when Daniel Vettori and Jesse Ryder joined hands. Vettori and Ryder had some luck along the way but they batted brilliantly to guide the home team towards respectability.

The next session until tea was fantastic for the black caps as they did not lose any wickets and the Ryder, Vettori combination still undisturbed. The final session continued in the same vein as Vettori and Ryder made the Indian bowlers struggle as the wicket eased up for batting. Vettori scored a brilliant hundred and looked like taking the game away from the Indians when Munaf finally struck. Vettori was caught of the bowling of Munaf for 118.

It was a brilliant innings from the captain leading from the front. Munaf accounted for Mills the very next ball with a brilliant Yorker for zero leaving the home team 8 down. Ryder still batting on 70 needed some one to stay with him Ian O’ Brian did that for a while. Ryder reached his maiden test hundred for New Zealand is having a dream run in this series. He already made his first one-day hundred this series earlier.

He looks like a brilliant prospect for New Zealand but would do well to lose some weight. The New Zealand innings though finally came to an end on 279 with Harbajan and Ishant getting one wicket each in the end. The best bowlers for India were Ishant with 4 wickets and Munaf with 3. The Indian openers had to negotiate 7 overs which they did without losing any wickets as they finished on 29/0.

The first session on Day 2 will be really important for the Indians as there might be some help for the pacers. The home team though would want to get rid of Sehwag fast as a session or two from him might swing the game decisively in India’s favor. The first day was brilliant and hopefully the second day will also follow suit in terms of action in the middle and also the weather. Let’s hope for another cracking days play.

Anoop finally does it

Anoop gave a stunning performance yesterday and at last chose the right song. It was a fantastic performance and made all the four judges say that his was the best of the night.

This was good for Anoop as he was ordinary in the past couple of weeks and this was a good comeback. I am sure that he will be in the top 10 and hopefully will keep up the good work.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Idol Tonight

American Idol tonight and me cheering for Anoop again. I hope that he puts in a good performance tonight. He has to impress the judges with his song selection in tonight’s show.

They had chosen him as the extra member in the show based on his ability and personality. He for sure showed his personality in the last couple of rounds but fell way behind in the performance. I hope that he corrects the same.

Major test awaits Dhoni

The first test begins tonight and the Indians will have some selection headaches. Dhoni and his team have had a fantastic one year in ODI’s but the same cannot be said in the traditional format of the game. Indian performance in tests last year has been patchy. The year 2008 began with India losing to Australia in the controversial Sydney game and followed that up with a fantastic win in Perth. The next series India played was against the South Africans at home which they drew 1-1.

The team under Kumble was very inconsistent in that series too. They had the highs like in Perth and lows such as the 3 day defeat in Ahmadabad. The Srilankan series also saw the Indians performing inconsistently and lose 2-1 to the home side. The year ended on a high note with the wins against the Australians (2-0) and against the English (1-0) under Dhoni’s captaincy.

Even though the year ended well, the performance of the team in test cricket was rather inconsistent overall last year. Now India plays New Zealand at the start of 2009 after winning the one day series convincingly. This is an important and most significant series for the Indian team in a long time. The scars of the 2003 series still fresh in the minds of the players and the fans needs to be erased. The team’s quest to become No 1 in all forms of the game can be majorly hurt if they lose here in New Zealand.

New Zealand though will be happy to be underdogs and let Dhoni face all the pressure. Daniel Vettori will be thinking that no one will blame them if they lose to the No 3 side in the world and a win will give them a huge push up in the rankings. Dhoni will know that this series very important for his team and his captaincy.

This Indian team though will be confident and would want to turn in some consistent performances in this series. Dhoni will know that if they play up to their potential then they should win this comfortably. The Indians though have few selection headaches before the start of the play tonight. The first one will be that of a batsman. It will be between Yuvraj and Vijay.
Yuvraj though will be the first choice but looking at his performance on the only pitch which aided seam movement is not that encouraging. M Vijay though made a solid 90 odd for the NZ state side in a domestic game. So the choice will be interesting but I feel that Yuvraj will be still selected for the first game. The second selection will also be an interesting one between Kulkarni and Balaji. Munaf probably will not be in the running for the third seamer spot after his inconsistent performance in the ODI’s.

Kulkarni had a good spell in the domestic game in NZ where he picked up 3 wickets and Balaji also turned in decent performance in the game he played. So this is also going to be an interesting selection for the team management. I am thinking they might go with Balaji for the first game or probably even go with Munaf to see how he goes. We have to wait till the morning of the play to find out the same.

All in all rain permitting its going to be an interesting contest. I hope that we get a full game without any rain interruptions and may the best team win. I am just fed up of seeing high scoring draws, so hopefully this is not one of them.

Airtel Super Singer Classical Round – Day 1

The classical round began yesterday with just 7 singers remaining in the competition. The contestants had to sing Classical based songs in the movies. If they are not spot selected then they would be have to sing a classical song which did not feature in movies. It was always going to be interesting as I thought that Ajeesh and Ravi would relish this round before it even began. I was more interested to see the performances from Vijay and Prasanna.

The first singer of the night was Ravi and as expected he gave a stunning performance. He sang “oru Naal Podhuma” song and he was brilliant. The judges absolutely loved it and so did I. Ravi was always expected to steal the show this round and as Srinivas pointed out this was his strength. Ravi has been one of the strongest contenders in Airtel super singer since the selection times. He is highly trained and can sing with flawless brilliance most of the time. Yesterday was yet another such performance from him. Even though there were little mistakes here and there pointed out by Unni and Sujatha he was rightly spot selected.

After a fantastic beginning to the evening the next singer was Ranjani. She had a hard act to follow but I thought did a commendable job with her rendition of “Kannodu Kanbadhelaam” from Jeans. The Judges felt that it was a good attempt but was nothing spectacular. Srinivas said that it was too much of a clinical performance from Ranjani and the song required little bit of wildness. Ranjani unfortunately was not spot selected.

The third singer of the evening was Vijay Narayanan. He was one of the singers I wanted to see last night. Vijay is an excellent singer and he is one singer who is not afraid of experimenting. He sang “Isaiyil Todunguthamma” from the movie Hey Ram. This is one of the toughest song to sing and has too many sangadhi’s one after the other without a break. The Judges felt that Vijay made a great attempt on a tough song. I felt that Vijay did a brilliant job. Sujatha felt that it would have suited Vijay better if he had chosen something more lighter. Even though the judges appreciated Vijay for his song selection and the attempt, he was unfortunately not spot selected.

Only three singers performing in 1 hour was little bit disappointing. I know that Vijay TV is trying to push the show to 3 days in a week and have 4 singers sing on the day2 but still it was something very irritating. The constant hamming of Malini Yugendran is something which is hard to take. I guess its unfortunate for the show that Chinmayi decided to pull out. Anyways four contestants left to perform and yet another interesting show ahead tonight.