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Monday, June 21, 2004

I find myself in the city ( sic) that has sung the most enduring elegies of conjugal love ( and almost consequentially has India’s largest mental asylum at close call) and is possibly the nation’s proudest icon of culture and grandeur. Agra is just as any other place, dusty, smelly, of cow moos and tooting horns, of importunate and impecunious rickshaws, of bright-eyed fruitsellers.

I am on the verge of repudiating a insistent viral attack, that is hitherto braved a fusillade of antibiotics and other cures. It must be because the epicentre of the onslaught is an increasingly enervated immune system. Till then, the mind wanders, unable to focus and driven to distraction and weariness.

The Ameen Sayani radio programme has inexplicably gone off the air leaving me to face the torrent of abuses and attacks, and still some of the music played redeems the enormity of scope that the medium has to offer.

Proving my penchant for the zeitgeist and “with it” countenance, I now proceed to pen my thoughts on the first of the Harry Potter films-The Sorcerer’s Stone. I felt utterly betrayed as this flick could have hit home with any of these-the down-in-the-dumps demeanour of a societally discarded orphan as the protagonist, the first frills of excitement at learning for the first time that somebody cared-as the letters started to fly in, the buzz and the thrills as the allocation of School Houses happened, the will-never-quite-make-it disquiet of a Ron Weasley, the magic of learning something new and the first encounters with power, among others. Instead the director chose inexplicably to ignore all this and show in painstaking detail the wiles of Quidditch, the romp in the dark eliciting nary a shiver in the forest, and most unforgivably giving us an insipid, spineless, absolutely unlovable Harry.
Maybe there are certain elements in a book-the sinuous undulations of the plot, our experiencing the cast with our interpretations and analysis, our pace of absorption and bonding with the characters, and mostly our untrammeled freedom in getting into the skins of the characters, living like them , feeling like them, breathing like them-and all this is cruelly denied by the manic compulsions of a auteur impelled to create a spectacle for us that is spell-binding, memorable and perhaps being true to the work is a small price to pay.

The Euro 2004 has gone true to type in confounding the brazen predictions of the couch potatoes-Holland has been handily beaten, Portugal is struggling, Italy is squeaking and all is well with the world. I heard a smart-alec at the Nagpur airport mouth his odes to the comparative merits of Zi-Zou & Becks to his admiring friend, I should have strangled him but due to certain physical compulsions ( carrying two heavy bags ) and civic banalities, the dude lives on somewhere in Bombay. Is there no such thing as a sports/literary fatwa ??


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