Monday, January 16, 2017

The Stones Rock this Joint

                                          (Photo-- Indrajit Dutta)
     
 Hi, Folks, This is a shop selling stone artifacts in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India. The shopkeeper, who had no idea about the Rolling Stones, said a German tourist suggested the name. Hope you dig the picture.

Please note the picture is not to be used without my permission. My name is Indrajit Dutta. I am a writer from Calcutta, India. My email addresses are indrajitdutta13187@gmail.com and indrohippie@gmail.com. I tweet @duttaindro. Here's a link to my Facebook page-- https://www.facebook.com/monniker. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016


                                     Soaring                

                            
 (This photograph was taken by Indrajit Dutta. He is a writer and freelancing journalist from Calcutta, India. His email addresses are indrajitdutta13187@gmail.com and indrohippie@gmail.com . Here's a link to his Facebook page-- https://www.facebook.com/monniker. )

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sully Flies...But in Mid- Air


Brace for impact—the last three words a passenger would hope to hear in a flight. These, however, were the last and exact words Captain Chesley Sullenberger, III said before he landed US Airways Flight 1549, a passenger aircraft whose engines were damaged by birds, in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. This now-famous plane landing, referred to as Miracle on the Hudson, comes to life in Sully, latest motion picture by Clint Eastwood.
Sully is fairly gripping as a movie, but less edgier than some of Eastwood’s recent works such as J.Edgar or American Sniper.  It doesn’t come as a surprise that the movie is gripping, a plane landing in the middle of the Hudson is right out of a Hollywood action flick, but quite scarily it was a real occurrence and more miraculously everybody, 155 people to be exact,  aboard US Airways Flight 1549 that fateful day lives to tell the tale.
The pilot after this feat became a national icon in America and for sometime people looked at him with awe in other parts of the world as well. Eastwood, however, explores a different side. A lot of affection is shown pouring in for Captain Sullenberger, aka Sully in the movie, but the viewer is also handed a mirror into his fears about what might have happened if he wasn’t able to charter the plane to safety.  A nightmare and recurring thought of Sully is the plane crashing into the buildings and going up in flames.
The movie also deals with Sullenberger and his first officer Jeff Skiles’ inquiry at the hands of the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) in America.  Although a hero in the eyes of almost everybody, the NTSB reckon the pilot could have acted differently.  
Lead actors Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart as Sully and Skiles are consummate in their respective roles. A prominent characteristic of the movie is Sully’s angst and uncertainty and Skiles’ indignation. The two are also shown as vastly different from each other—the senior pilot is soft-spoken and uncomfortable with all the attention whereas his junior partner is more combative, humorous and in some ways revelling in the media attention.
  Some of Eastwood’s cinematic efforts in the 2000s and 2010s have focused on an individual who won’t be brought down by an organisation (Changeling) or a real-life hero fighting personal strife( American Sniper).  Sully appears to be an amalgamation of both, albeit, the organisation in this case, the NTSB, from various accounts was the adversary the movie created to generate appeal. On reel Sully is an American hero whose reputation will not be tarnished by some government officials who weren’t required to keep calm in the face of death and save the lives of 155 people as he did. In truth it’s deeper than that.  A book, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, co-authored by the now-famous former pilot drew Eastwood to the project.  According to the book the NTSB weren’t particularly aggressive or adversarial.  The names of the NTSB members were changed as well at Sullenberger’s request.  It’s clear the confrontation or tension between the Sullenberger / Skiles duo and the NTSB is what the movie stands on or is its selling point.
Tom Hanks will reach out to an audience largely supportive of his character, not unlike his roles as Captain Phillips or even Forrest Gump.  In Sully there are two sides shown to him throughout. We see he’s coming to terms with all the life-changing adulation, read a young and an unknown woman hugging him or a bar owner inventing a drink called Sully.  The other side explores all his fears and uncertainty about what would’ve happened if things had gone wrong. Scenes where he wakes up from a nightmare or is jolted by thoughts of the plane crashing into a building takes the viewer into the unknown and reveals even though he’s cheated death and pulled off a near-impossible feat he’s as  human as the next person.  The fears and the uncertainty do give the movie another pull and Hanks is skilful in bringing them out. Additionally there is a naturalness and realism especially when the pilot is confessing to his wife he doesn’t know if he had done the right thing or not and that he was told one of the engines may still have been working. The realism comes to the fore when the plane is about to hit the water.  No more than a few seconds are spent showing the landing. For the viewer it happens so fast it’s almost a blur, an insight into the minds of the panic-stricken passengers.  Quick and terse commands the air hostesses are shown giving—Heads Down, Stay Down, add to the tension. These scenes do induce anticipation despite the fact that the viewer knows everybody came out alive.  An interesting detail is that Clint Eastwood has himself survived a water-landing years earlier in 1951. As a 21-year old in the United States Army during a trip Eastwood’s aircraft had to land somewhere along the coast of California, thereafter he managed to swim to safety.
Hanks clearly is the pivot around which the film revolves but some of the other actors’ efforts are equally integral. Aaron Eckhart delivers a robust performance as the annoyed and also witty Jeff Skiles. There’s no doubting Sully is the senior partner and Eckhart deserves plaudits for being a competent support act while holding his own.  Laura Linney could’ve been more convincing as Lorraine Sullenberger, the ordeal-stricken wife who shares her husband’s uncertainty about his job and is ill at ease with the media attention.  Her angst will not unseat the audience or perhaps affect them in the  way Tom Hanks’ does. The NTSB investigators in the film Anna Gunn, Mike O’ Malley, and Jamey Sheridan were at their difficult best.  In Eastwood’s words the NTSB officials try and railroad Sully. As Director he perhaps tried too hard to bring this out. This said, Anna Gunn and Mike O’ Malley as the lead investigators or rather lead antagonisers will test  audiences’ patience-- a testament to their performance and an indication of irritation at pernickety government officials questioning a truly gallant and selfless individual.  
Sully, the 36th directorial effort of Clint Eastwood, has enough in it to keep going for awhile.  Captain Sullenberger’s likeable personality and memories of the Miracle on the Hudson will draw viewers. Also, the fact it is no more than 95 minutes means that it doesn’t drag on.  The script is impactful and economical—not unlike other Eastwood movies.  A slight amount of wit benefits the script.  As direction goes one can say as a lifelong fan of Clint Eastwood the movie, while a well-created drama meshed with some well-shot action scenes, is not a masterpiece. Prospective watchers, in flying parlance, could  brace themselves for some turbulence, but not greater impact than that.

(Hope you enjoyed reading the review. Please note the content is NOT to be used without my permission. My email addresses are indrajitdutta13187@gmail.com and indrohippie@gmail.com . Here's a link to my Facebook page-- https://www.facebook.com/monniker )








Lurid Surreal Mozart

A Fan of Mozart? Check out these super surreal photographs of Mozart by me. I dig optical illusions and classical music, so when a framed illustration of Mozart pops up in my room the photographer in me drives right through and creates something the whole wide world can be curious about. Please note NONE of the photographs are to be used without my permission. My email addresses are indrajitdutta13187@gmail.com and indrohippie@gmail.com. I tweet at @duttaindro. Here's a link to my Facebook page-- https://www.facebook.com/monniker . The photographs can be purchased on the Fine Art America website-- http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-indrajit-dutta.html?tab=artwork.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016


                                         Dog and Dusk

                                        Photographer -- Indrajit Dutta. His email addresses are indrajitdutta13187@gmail.com and indrohippie@gmail.com.  This photograph was taken in Maharashtra, India. He tweets at @duttaindro .

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Out Boundary Rope in T20s and ODIs

Is it time to do away with the boundary rope in T20s and One- Day Internationals? Soak this in. One ball to go. Six runs needed.  The bowler runs in and delivers a low full toss. The batsman, as hefty as they come, has a go with his club-like bat, but doesn’t hit the ball as well as he can, however it looks as if it may just about clear the fence. The long off fielder is running back, goes further back and again further back, he doesn’t have to worry about the boundary rope, it’s not there.  As the ball comes closer he jumps and takes the catch just inside the fence and his team pulls off a heart-stopping win.

 For players like Kieron Pollard or Andre Russell the boundary rope appears non-existent when they are in full cry. At most times the momentum of a well-struck shot will ensure the ball would’ve gone beyond the rope. Not having the boundary rope wouldn’t have a huge impact on run-scoring, not with today’s club- like bats and thump-every- ball- out of the park outlook, however it would offer bowlers and fielding sides some relief. While it’s unfair to front big bats as the reason for every six, there are times even when the ball doesn’t hit the middle it does just about the cross the rope or even goes further. A bowler naturally feels hard done by. It does look as if big bats and the boundary rope offer the batsman a slight psychological cushion.

It’s no secret T20 cricket is set around fours and sixes, the latter more in demand.  The more frenetic the run-scoring, the greater the attraction is a belief it holds onto strongly. This, however, is a heavily media-advanced perception in keeping with today’s demand for instant and action-every-second entertainment in numerous facets of life.  A positive to emerge from this brand of entertainment is that it pulls different sorts—be it the ardent cricket fan or someone who’s there for a good time and also to check out some blockbuster-like cricket.

Very heartening from a cricket lover’s point of view is stadiums during the domestic T20s in places such as England or South Africa being packed out. In every major cricket-playing country, cricket-obsessed India being no exception, there’s a smattering of spectators, cricket-buffs or journos, at domestic three or four day games. While it’s true the aforementioned instant entertainment makes the  International Cricket Council(ICC) and different boards' wallet heavier and has spread the game to countries such as Afghanistan, Nepal and Oman, it’s imperative the entertainment component be equally divided ensuring spectators soak in every facet of the game. Sure, Mustafizur-like yorkers or  Glenn Maxwell acrobatics on the boundary to bring off a brilliant catch is also a huge attraction, but watching AB de Villiers or Chris Gayle smote ball after ball into the crowd is  the real selling point, one that’s  worked like a charm on people.  Debates and opinions have been swirling around about how to make the game more even. Bat sizes are a contentious issue. Bowler-friendly wickets have been recommended, but this again may result in bowlers doing to batsman what batsman have done to them,  that is to make them seem like a third wheel.

If this experiment is to be carried out, small grounds such as Carisbrook Stadium in Dunedin, Eden Park in Auckland or Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium could be initial targets. The last mentioned ground offers little or no respite to bowlers in T20 games. In the grounds mentioned the boundary boards also are quite some way inside, when a bowler is being carted around he probably does hope they were pushed further back. On bigger grounds like the Melbourne Cricket Ground or other Australian grounds the lack of a boundary rope could see a prominent run reduction. In the early nineties or the eighties during the World Series tournaments a score of 220 wasn’t the easiest to chase down. Wickets offering more for bowlers was also a factor but one does remember batsmen running a lot and hitting fewer fours while a six was quite an achievement in big Australian grounds. Obviously with hordes flocking to the  Big Bash, the Indian Premier League, the Caribbean Premier League and  the NatWest T20 Blast to see a surfeit of big hits, a serious run reduction would be detrimental but a minor one wouldn’t hurt. 

It’s erroneous to say that batsmen just turn up and start smacking every ball for six. It is an incredibly difficult skill to master, if it can be mastered that is. What makes six-hitting all the more exciting is the risk a batsman takes when he hits one in the air. What if he doesn’t time the ball and holes out to any of the waiting fielders. Six-hitting has always been associated with a certain amount of dash and an element of anticipation. Is it going over the fence or no? My thoughts when the ball is in the air. A six in earlier times always came with an element of surprise, this aspect has taken a hit.
It piques my interest to see how batsmen will react to the lack of a rope and boundary boards being pushed back. A question arising is whether a player would think twice before trying to go over the top or would all the adrenalin and demands of a T20 game push him to have a go? Taking into account that in T20s six-hitting is a necessity and an attraction which fuels the spectator’s energy batsmen are likely to will preserve their ultra aggressive attitude. This said, if the experiment were to continue for sometime and more players were to find what was six earlier now results in a catch, it would bring about a change in attitude.

One group of cricketers who might welcome this experiment are fielders, especially the boundary riders.  It can never be easy for a fielder running back or standing near the rope trying to judge exactly where it is. No doubt boundary rope stunners like a few taken by Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and Andre Russell have made many spectators hearts skip a beat and added a new dimension to fielding, but those chances would’ve  been easier had there been no boundary rope. Granted the same excitement may not be there as opposed to watching a fielder playing tip toe and displaying a great presence of mind to keep the ball in and then take the catch. To counter this one can remind the reader of a terrific catch taken by Hrishikesh Kanitkar at Adelaide to get rid off Inzamam ul Haq in a tri-series also involving Australia in the year 2000. The great Pakistani batsman had played a pull shot in the air and it went to Kanitkar, positioned right on the fence. He initially jumped and then juggled with the ball, which had crossed the fence but was not grounded. Kanitkar held his nerve to grab the ball and provide an important breakthrough in a do or die game, furthermore, the catch was enjoyable as any tip-toe effort. The only problem a fielder might have some concern about is crashing into the fence and risking serious injury. There are few instances of this. Fans may remember Ricky Ponting chasing a ball to the boundary at the SCG in the year 2000 and hurting his ankle very badly. He needed surgery thereafter.   It would be worthwhile for  boards to look into this.

Bowlers would be expected to endorse this experiment, although they’d point out when the likes of Gayle, Pollard, David Warner, MS Dhoni and AB de Villiers hit the ball it goes well-beyond the boundary rope, more often than not into the second or third tier. This, though, is not the case with every batsman. If this change were to be brought in what was once a six may be a catch now or what was earlier a sure shot four is now a two or a three. This of course depends on the size of the ground.

In the last few editions of the IPL there’s been a promotional where some international players see how far they can hit the ball. Not surprisingly they hit the ball far and long, 100 metres or beyond in most cases. In a match with fielders around and the bowler plotting your dismissal and no rope with boundary boards pushed back how far can one hit it? Food for thought, isn’t it?


(This article has been written by Indrajit Dutta. The content in the article is not to be used without his permission. His email addresses are indrajitdutta13187@gmail.com and indrohippie@gmail.com. Here's a link to his Facebook page-- https://www.facebook.com/monniker. He tweets at @duttaindro

Tags:
Cricket, Twenty20, One-Day Internationals, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, AB de Villiers, Boundary Rope, Sixes








Saturday, July 2, 2016

Oracle Pool Paul



 Oracle Pool Paul is a poem dedicated to Paul the Octopus (now deceased) who had a predilection toward predicting the winners in some of the games in the soccer world cup held in South Africa in 2010. Some folks, however, weren't too happy and wanted to eat him alive, no kiddin! Here's how he dealt with them.



Oracle Pool Paul,
    Master Prophesier,
  We hope a Clean
    Bill of Health is
    Comin your way.

   Sure, Oracle Pool Paul,
   Says, Lotsa people
  Over The Moon ,
  The Spanish…Champions!
  They Say It’ll Be
A Hundred Years of
Drinkin, Partyin…Floatin!
Nothin like a good celebration!
Buuut, there are those,
Pretty Cut Up
Gee, They Look Mean,
Me They Warn,
We Got Knives
And of You
We’ll Make a Meal,
I Tell Them,
Hey I Can
Only Pick One,
It’ll all
Fair and Square.


 Now, Paul’s always
 Getting Quizzed About
His Soothsayin Ways,
Why do you always plump for one side?
How Do You Do It?
Is There a Science Behind It?
Intuition, boys, it’s intuition,
Paul’s answer always,
Never forgetting to add,
I am strictly a football soothsayer,
I don’t like draws,
Hence one side earns
 a nod of approval
from my myriad tentacles.

 Now, the sides he din’t fancy,
Well, they were anything but happy,
 Some threatened to SQUISH HIM, SQUISH HIM…
SQUISH HIM SOME MORE,
 till he was nothing but a blob of jelly.

 A Clean Bill of Health Beckons Paul,
 But Boy, It was Touch and Go,
 The Enraged Few Were Intent
on Turning him
 into Eight Legged Soup,
But you know,
Then a funny thing happened,
The enraged few wanted to buy him,
Buy Him!
Yup, buy him,
From the enraged few
 They became contrite with a Big C,
Many of them
were goin through
A rough patch,
They all wanted Him
to be their own personal clairvoyant,
Are things gonna get better?
I am a straggler,
Will I become a millionaire?
Their ready questionnaire,
Anyway, Paul declined,
I am strictly a football soothsayer, he said,
They became the
enraged few once more,
dished out the same threat,
which was to turn
Paul into Eight-Legged Soup,
But by now the octopus
Had flown the coop,
He found safety in his sea-house,
in fact he found
 more than safety,
rumour has it
he never missed an
opportunity to live it up,
more on that in
another write-up.

 Some years later though
Paul the Octopus passed away,
His epitaph read,
I was the first football soothsayer,
Others who’re goin to follow
won’t look like me for sure,
Nor will they be As good as me,
Hell, I should’ve been
Given a Nobel!
You Know… Upon Reflection
I think I Should’ve been
a betting man,
Everything…I mean everything
that I forecast
Checked out,
Could've Made a Million!
Damn!

Hope enjoyed the poem by me. An earlier version of the poem was published by Forward Poetry-- a London-based organisation. I am a writer and journalist from Calcutta, India. Please note the content is not to be used without the author’s permission. If you dig the poem do let the whole world know about it. Name of Author- Indrajit Dutta 

Email addresses of author -- indrajitdutta13187@gmail.com , indrohippie@gmail.com 

Link to Facebook page--   https://www.facebook.com/monniker 
Link to Twitter page--  @duttaindro .