Tag Archives: 2008 European Championships

DELHI ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS: WITH SUFFICIENT THRUST ,PIGS FLY JUST FINE !

A reigning Heavy Weight Champion against an unimpressive Middle Weight challenger – a match up likely to be savoured by blood crazed boxing fans. The challenger may have harboured hopes, but then if pigs could fly…. ! But in the recently concluded Delhi assembly elections the challenger not only knocked out the Champ but sent him reeling out of the ring too. It seems pigs can fly indeed !

The BJP had swept the Lok Sabha elections and riding high on the Modi wave the Party had gobbled up 4 more states as part of its resounding electoral victories. Now the juggernaut was about to overwhelm Dellhi in its blitzkrieg. And all that stood between Delhi and the decimation of the opposition was the Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Kejriwal had been CM of Delhi previously in 2013 after the AAP had won an unprecedented 28 seats in its electoral debut, when hardly anyone gave it a chance. Amul had aptly covered the euphoria surrounding the victory of this unassuming and squeaky clean activist turned politician in 2013.

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But when Kejriwal quit controversially in a mere 49 days and tried to capitalize on its surprise victory in the Lok Sabha elections, he was labelled a “bhagoda” (deserter)He now had the onerous task of seeking to keep his and his Party’s political aspirations afloat.

Sensing trouble Kejriwal sought refuge in the comforting feel of his muffler, which he probably doesn’t remove while bathing too.The AAP party cadres were enthused by the sight of the muffler and they along with their star campaigner –“the mufflerman ” – jumped into the electoral fray.The party had in fact been at it since May 2014 and had been conducting door to door interaction and Delhi Dialogue to identify the problems facing each constituency.

The BJP on the other hand was busy setting its house in disorder. Unable to decide whether to usurp power by engineering a split in the AAP in the outgoing assembly or to go in for fresh elections it had made no strategy other than “ghar wapsi” (incidentally Azam Khan’s buffaloes too saw through the “ghar wapsi” charade and refused to oblige due to the VIP comforts available to them ) and at best seemed startled by the announcement.

Party President Amit Shah took the campaign under control and and foisted a complete “outsider”, Kiran Bedi on the Delhi BJP as the Party’s CM candidate. Actually it wasn’t Shah’s fault. To counter Kejriwal’s honest image the BJP only had blackened faces of its corruption mired local leaders, which were fit to be placed outside homes as “nazar battus” (evil eye). Bedi seemed like a good bet against Kejriwal due to her tough and honest cop image and this deft move found its way on a cheeky Amul topical as well.

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The Congress finally realized there were elections on. Prospective candidates rushed to drown away all news from reaching their lucky mascot Raahul Gandhi,lest he took off on the campaign trail ! But Ajay Maken wasn’t lucky enough. Nominated as the Party’s CM candidate, Ra Ga went all out to promote him and this effectively sealed his fate.

With the CM candidates announced the die was truly cast now. Another Amul ad/ topical on the Delhi elections covered this in an interesting topical.

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As the campaign progressed it became increasingly cacophonous, crass, vitriolic and negative.The marginalized Congress could not do much but the AAP and the BJP traded charges and went for each other’s throats (In this case Kejriwal was well protected because of his muffler).

AAP accused Kiran Bedi of opportunism in joining the BJP after once criticizing it bitterly.It also levelled charges about the BJP distributing cash and liquor to infuence the voters. And also complained about the possibility of the EVMs being doctored in favour of Sunny Leone-sorry, BJP. Charges were traded day in and day out in a no holds barred match between the two principal rivals. The BJP demanded that AAP come clean on its dubious funding. The AAP retaliated by challenging the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley to prove the charges. And Jaitley, the champion of a million electoral battles (having won never) could only tremble indignation at Kejriwal but not much else.

The AAP campaign seemed to be getting derailed as it was almost coming to an end and no one had yet slapped Kejriwal. His victim’s image was taking a serious beating. The BJP then decided to help him out by taking out posters directed personally at him.Even his kids were sucked into the cess pool of politics.The personalized attacks were crass and crude to say the least and had an opposite effect on the electorate and they began to view Kejriwal as a victim.On the other hand Bedi was proving to be a disaster and she demonstrated her authoritarian side when her own campaign manager resigned in protest. She also embarrassed herself often and once in an attempt to reach out to the electorate in her constituency Krishna Nagar,she lashed out at its poor only to be told that the constituency had been represented by Dr Harshavardhan of the BJP uninterrupted for the past 15 years !

Somehow by the end of the of the campaign the BJP was losing ground rapidly to the AAP.

Soon Election Day dawned and the fate of the CM candidates and the parties hung in balance. The Congress was the least bothered but the BJP was fretting and the AAP was confident.

Delhi voted in huge numbers and recorded a massive 67.08 percent polling. Large poliing figures suggest land slides or electoral swings.And swing it did.

The AAP swung such a punch that the BJP won just 3 out of the 70 seats with its MLA’s coincidentally having their names starting with B,J,and P ! The Co ngress which had a 28 seat deficit with the BJP had managed to bring it down to 3 and won “0” seats. Ra Ga had done it again. And the winner was AAP with a whopping 67 seats – the biggest land slide win ever in the electoral history of the country.

This Amul ad/ topical on the clean sweep by the AAP Assembly Elections shows a caricature depicting Arvind Kejriwal holding his Party emblem,the broom, and riding on a mechanical super scrubber which has swept the opposition clean from the floor of the Delhi Assembly.He is being driven by the Amul Girl.Incidentally the topical missed out on the muffler on Kejriwal!

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The Tag Line… Clean Sweep… signifies the landslide victory of the AAP.

The Punch Line… Always AAParajit… is a play on the hindi word “aparjit” meaning undefeated and with the first three letters in capitals it shows the undefeated tag now worn by the AAP in the two elctions it has contested in Delhi.It is an endorsement of the Amul butter as well.

The win was spectacular but wasn’t surprising only the margin was. AAP had been in election mode for the last 9 months and its Delhi Dialogue had made it aware of the local problems far better than other parties. The volunteers also made the difference by carrying out door to door campaigning. Kejriwal addressed each constituency twice. By positioning itself as a neutral ideology and pro poor party the AAP benefited tremendously. Its vote share amongst Muslims and Dalits was 77 and 68 percent respectively ! The marginalized and the poor had felt the exploitative pressure ease up in the 49 day government and had loyally backed Kejriwal. He was also backed by the youth with 56 percent between the category of 18 – 22 voting for him. It was a remarkable turnaround for him as he was able to shed his :”bhagoda” tag by whole heartedly apologizing for the mistake and demonstrating humility. The electorate in Delhi had overwhelmingly voted for transformational , transparent and accessible politics. The concept of practicing grass roots democracy had yielded handsome dividends.AAP emphasised upon accountability and it’s clean micro donation based fund collection was in sharp contrast to the opaque methods of the BJP and the Congress.Eventually it emerged as the party with a difference.

For the BJP, it was a disaster to say the least.The Party applied some warped logic and even declined to take out a manifesto,instead relied on a vision document. For an average Delhiite his daily problems demand immediate attention and not some vague vision of “achche din”. And when this document erroneously referred to the people of the North East as immigrants it summarised the BJP campaign totally-sloppy and short on detail.The Modi government’s inability to demonstrate any substantial progress on corruption made its claims hollow in the face of the established anti-corruption credentials of the AAP. The BJP’s biggest mistake was to have focused entirely on demolishing the image of Kejriwal and this back fired totally as they had no one to counter the same. Kiran Bedi proved to be the wrong choice and demonstrated lack of confidence in the local leaders and also sowed the seeds of discontent in the Party. She enthused no one and herself suffered a humiliating defeat.The personal attacks on Kejriwal did not cut much ice and instead made the electorate rally around him. Modi should have known better after having benefited from exactly such a campaign against him in 2007 and 2014. Lastly, the divisive agenda followed by the Sangh and its affiliates sent a message to the electorate that the BJP had betrayed its development agenda and the minorities thus felt vulnerable and went en masse with the AAP.

For the time being the impact of these elections may not be far reaching in electoral terms as the AAP has learnt its lessons well from its Lok Sabha debacle and will rather consolidate before fledgling out.The BJP has been sounded a wakeup call as it was being seen to be closely affiliated with big money and business and exuded arrogance and was bereft of reality. Modi’s penchant for advertising governance rather than delivering it,had back fired terribly. Within 9 months the BJP had suffered a wipe out in a State where it had won all 7 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. This was the oppositions “Stalingrad” moment and the AAP has shown that the BJP is beatable and vulnerable when pitched in a two corner fight. The saffron agenda will always polarize the minority vote against the BJP and with the poor also transferring their vote from the Congress to the AAP,it’s definitely introspection time for the Party.It may yet recover but no doubt it has been bruised badly and suffered because of the narcissistic and delusional traits of its leaders.

Kejriwal will have to deliver this time and shed his high handed and controversial overarching ways. He will need to stop being an activist and instead perform as the CM, something he did not do the last time round. He has made a lot of populist promises but in time he will need to backtrack on them at the altar of financial prudence and that will be his biggest test. He will require to develop cordial relations with the Central government and the two will together need to preside over the development of Delhi.

The second coming of the AAP is in line with the global phenomenon against globalization and crony capitalism and resulting inequalities. If the BJP wants to remain relevant it needs to acknowledge this reality and needs to resolve these in the right earnest and not merely focus on foreign policy and hyped up mega schemes which do not alleviate the crushing inequalities in the society but are seen panning to the interests of “big business”. Otherwise it should be prepared to surrender space to AAP in the long term.

AAP has proven,for now,that with sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine !But do they perform til? 

POST SCRIPT

4th March 15; AAP has plunged into a crisis regarding a personality centric “cult” developing around Arvind Kejriwal. Founder member Prashant Bhushan alleging that a “high command structure” is developing within the party,which is against the principles they stood for, and has given rise to a rebellion of sorts.He has also alleged that inner party transparency is being compromised especially when it came to the issues of making public the election expenses and fund raising.

Party ideologue Yogendra Yadav has also been at logger heads with Kejriwal.There is growing unease within the party regarding Kejriwal donning the twin roles of CM and party convener and is being increasingly seen as imposing his will over the objections of the other members.

AAP is going through an internal churning and what will emerge will be it’s organisational character in the coming  years.But the allegations against Kejriwal are instructive in nature and a sign of the times to come.

11th March 15;The rebellion in the AAP has resulted in Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav being removed from the AAP Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and are most likely to be expelled from the Party. Kejriwal has established total control and like all most parties the AAP is likely to get into a “supremo” mode.This will affect the Party cadre and some will quit in the name of the founding principles being flouted.But today Kejriwal is bigger than AAP and thus eventually he will reign supreme.

This Amul ad/ topical on AAP covers the widening rift between Kejriwal, Yadav and Bhushan.It depicts caricatures depicting the trio and sitting on a split bench.It amply showcases the disruptive nature of the ongoing dispute in the AAP.The Amul girl is seen standing in the background and is demonstrating dismay over the ensuing fracas in the party which had promised to be different.

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The Tag Line …Aam Aadmi Parting?… is a play on the name as well as the initials of the party and is asking the question whether a split is imminent in the ranks of the AAP?

The Punch Line …Easy to agree on… is an apt hint on the disagreements in the AAP and also endorses the Amul butter and its consumer acceptability.

20th April 15; Amidst much mud slinging and “stinging”, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan who had earlier been evicted from the National Executive were finally expelled from the AAP for anti party activities.This was preceded by a sting operation being revealed wherein conversation between AAP member Bibhav Kumar and journalist Chandra Sutra Dogra was taped (without the knowledge of the journo) and used to implicate Yogendra Yadav for providing anti AAP facts for a piece done by Dogra in the daily The Hindu.Kumar taped the conversation in the guise of clarifying factual inaccuracies and when the journo revealed Yogendra Yadav as the source, the tape was then used as evidence against Yadav. And he and Bhushan were eventually given a show cause notice and finally expelled from the party.

The expelled duo have since formed a non political organisation “Swaraj Abhiyaan” to promote clean and issues based politics.

AAP’s resorting to stings on its own members has damaged its image and credibility just as much the public spat between the senior leaders.Kejriwal emerges as a devious and opportunistic politician who is willing to, in private, dump the party’s ideology while in public maintains a totally different posture.His dictatorial streak along with his reliance on a coterie will do the party harm in the long run.And the melodramatic and immature public image of AAP is not going to go down well either.It seems they haven’t learnt a lesson since their earlier tryst with fiascoes.So here they are dishing out more such fare !

Welcome to Indian Politics.Nothing remains untouched by the muck. 

R.I.P AAP !

INDIA V/S PAKISTAN: WE NEVER GROW UP! BUT DO WE REALLY WANT TO….

Nothing gets the adrenaline flowing like a prospect of an India versus Pakistan match. Such is the rivalry that months are spent in anticipation and when the day dawns the roads are deserted, guns fall silent on the Line of Control (LOC), Hafiz Saeed too stays home watching TV and for those few hours people forget that there’s a care in the world. Time stops still…its just  The Match”.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 had pitched the arch rivals in one of its earliest fixtures and they were kick starting their campaign with this “juicy” match up, wherein India has had the better of Pakistan 5 out of 5 times, a streak running since 1992.The tickets were sold out months in advance.Such was the frenzy in our part of the world that when some aliens dropped by to investigate someone handed them a flag too.

For most, on both sides of the Radcliffe Line, the World Cup would begin and end with this match.

Going into the match the Indian team had had an indifferent build up where they had not won a single match in their long tour Down Under. The Australians had whipped them in the tests and the Amul topicals of the time say it all with only one of them talking of a genuine cricketing achievement and that was the twin centuries by Virat Kohli in the opening test.

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In the second test all that they could give Amul to write home about was the excessive chatter and sledging between the teams when India tried to do a Australia on Australia and it backfired with Mitchel Johnson blowing them off with both bat and ball.

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The third test was best remembered for MS Dhoni’s anticipated but surprisingly timed retirement from Test Match Cricket. Captain Cool had ensured a draw, batting last on the 5th day and then rode into the sunset.

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The fourth test ended in a draw with nothing invigorating enough.

In the tri series, even the One Day Cricket clowns, England, ripped apart the Indians. The batsmen were in woeful form, Rohit Sharma had last scored a fifty only on a Play Station, Shikhar Dhawan had no idea if he had a bat in his hand or not, Kohli lost his Test Match form as soon as Anushka Sharma joined in, Suresh Raina wasn’t sure what was the record of getting out on ducks so he kept doing that till someone told him, Dhoni was all at sea about his batting and Jadeja in any case masquerades as a batsman at the best of times. Barring Ajinkya Rahane no one inspired confidence. And as for the bowlers, well, their bowling cards had more centuries than the batsmen.

The World Cup team selection too had come in for flak and considered low on skill and experience.Stuart Binny and Ambati Rayudu were considered as bad a call as Kiran Bedi for Delhi CM.Yuvraj Singh not being selected was seen as hara kiri.

As for Pakistan, though it was short on match practice it had recently beaten Australia in a Test Series and its batsmen Younus Khan and Misbah ul Haq had found form in addition to Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal already in good nick. Shahid Afridi was behaving his usual idiotic self, claiming he would wrest back his record of the fastest One Day International century from AB de Villiers when he is yet to score one since ages, so all seemed to be going well. But their bowling had lost teeth. Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez ineligible because of a suspect action and Junaid Khan out injured with Hafiz joining in later.However they have traditionally been good with their bowling finds and still presented a decent attack.

India was listless in the warmups, whereas Pakistan was sharp and it seemed the latter would put one across this time. It was cricket’s equivalent of a Brazil v/s Argentina football match and a tremendous pressure game. It was billed as a match-up between the Indian batsmen and the Pakistani bowlers. the The victors would soar and the vanquished would sink without a trace in the tournament as it’s not easy to recover from such high stake losses, especially when the hopes of an entire nation are belied.

Star Sports came up with a courageous TV ad showing a teenaged Pakistani boy waiting to celebrate his team’s success but is shown putting away his box of crackers in all World Cups since 1992 and even in 2015, with a cheesy tag line ”mauqa, mauqa…kab aayega mauqa” (when wil the chance present itself).It was in the midst of such emotions that the match was about to begin. Narendra Modi chipped in with calling up the leaders of the SAARC nations participating in the tournament.

This Amul advertisement on the India versus Pakistan match captures the associated hype that goes along with the high stake clash. It depicts the occasion when “Big B” -Amitabh Bachchan commentated on the match,specially, on Star Sports in company of Shoaib Akhtar and Arun Lal.A caricature depicting Bachchan with the mike and is show in the company of the Amul Girl.

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The Tag Line…The Butter of All Matches ….is a take on the iconic status of the match and it is actually a spin off from the famous Saddam Hussein line “the mother of all battles” on the eve of the Gulf War in 1991

The Punch Line…Desh Ka Dish …is a take on the acceptability of the Amul brand all across the the Bharat Desh !

The team strategies had to be absolutely uncanny and out of the box since so much was at stake.

Dhoni -Captain Cool – His advise to the batsmen was simple and he of course having got away once was smug in the knowledge that if things went wrong he could always announce his retirement any time during the match. Rohit and Shikhar were to try and not get each other out and also score only one duck between them. For Virat, he was free to do anything (including abusing) as there was no point telling him anything. Suresh Raina was told it was IPL all over again and was to wear a CSK shirt under the Indian Blues. Ajinkya Rahane was asked to switch to CSK in case he wanted a permanent batting position. Jadeja was told that he was “sir” and how could he be coached. The bowlers were the least of the problem as Dhoni knew that nothing could be worse than what they already were. So there was hope.

For Pakistan, Afridi came up with a masterplan to stop Rohit from scoring a double hundred.He suggested Pakistan get all out at 190 !Misbah wasn’t available for the final team meeting as he was busy preparing his English lines for the post match ceremony. Waqar Yunus decided that the reasons for the defeat was the Indian conspiracy to get Ajmal and Hafiz reported for suspect action. It seemed plausible for sure. But.. wait a sec !The match hadn’t even started !!!

India won the toss and elected to bat.Rohit outlasted his talent by a couple of overs and was the first to go. Then Shikhar and Kohli scored a fifty and a century apiece to get the momentum going.Raina playing in the IPL is a different kettle of water and his breezy 74 proved just that (Yellow is the shade for him).The CSK brigade scored 22 between them and Ajinkjya managed a duck. To spice things up a bit, Sir Jadeja narrowly missed the record for being run out twice on the same ball. With the spirit of Ishant Sharma consuming the Pakistani bowlers, India seemed destined for a 300 plus score.In the end it scored 300 for 7.Not much but competitive.

Pakistan replied with 35 year old Yunus Khan coming in as opener. Slow on reflexes he soon departed and after a brief resurgence Pakistan soon suffered a batting collapse with Umar Akmal blaming the drone for his dismissal. Drone? Well, he was referring to the overhead camera actually ! Misbah’s plucky 70 odd weren’t enough and soon Pakistan slumped to a 76 run defeat.Sir Jadeja ofcourse trigerred the slump by actually catching the same ball twice.

It was 6-0 ! And “Mauqa, mauqa, mauqa…” rolled over to 2019.

The subsequent Amul advertisement depicts Shikhar,Kohli and Raina sitting on a table with the Tag Line ….India Jeet Te Raina (India Keep winning) and the Punch Line…Taste Ke Shikhar Par….alluding to the achievements of the opener and the middle order batsmen in the famous win. Surprisingly Kohli’s century has been passed over.

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India erupted in joy. The biggest hurdle was past and the World Cup could now begin in the right earnest. Young kids came out dancing in the streets.And once again there were no crackers in Pakistan. A local channel instead covered the Pakistani public breaking TV sets in sheer disgust.The social media went berserk too and handed a solid bollocking to the Pakistani netizens. Quips such as “Nawaz Sharif says –Yunus Khan out nahin Shaheed hue hain” were hilarious indeed. Another inferred that all the terrorists crossing the LOC were actually innocent Pakistanis wanting to be on the winning side at least once ! As a consolation someone stated that for all the drubbing, Pakistani men shall always be more handsome than the Indian men. I contest this and say we are equal if not better. Just compare the pics of Maulana Masood Azhar and Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Ek Insan – MSG actually scores over with his hairy arms !

In the end it all ended well for India. One did feel for Pakistan especially as I watched it with my Pakistani friends Tanveer, Sartaj, Shafiq and Ali sitting in far flung Abyei. We had all joined up together to watch the match knowing fully that there would only be one victor. It was a sweet victory for us Indians but sitting in the presence of friends it taught me humility too. We shook hands and left the room. Till the next time.

Thank God for small mercies. I have been on the winning side 6 times since 1992 and my son too is now. Though just an ad, but all I would say is…. thanks Kapil (1992), Jadeja (1996), Azhar (1999), Sachin (2003), Yuvraj (2011) and Kohli (2015) for ensuring that I wasn’t in the boots of the hapless young man waiting with his crackers for the last 23 years ! I have experienced child like joy while winning each time and just for the sheer pleasure of it…who wants to grow up anyway !

Tanveer has since confirmed that the crackers have been sold on OLX.

#WontGiveItBack !

POST SCRIPT

Expectedly the victory and the loss had different effects on the two teams.

While India thrashed South Africa by 130 runs (first time in the World Cup) on the back of a fantastic century by Shikhar Dhawan. Pakistan, though slumped to a 150 run defeat. And this time the blame wasn’t on the drone but on ex player and selector Moin Khan. No he wasn’t playing. He happened to visit a casino before the match against the Windies !

11 March 15:As of now India has topped Pool A and is heading into the quarters and the knockout stage with a clean slate.However it still has one more match to go against Zimbabwe.Topping the Pool has ensured that India plays Bangladesh in the Quarter Finals and does not have to travel to New Zealand,which is considered a positive development since the team is now used to the conditions in Australia and would like to exploit it as a “home advantage” of sorts.

This Amul advertisement on the Indian Team topping the Pool B standings is simply designed and shows the Amul Girl,all padded up and with a bat,pasting Amul butter on a points table showing “10” against India thus depicting the 5 wins out of 5 so far for the “men in blue”.

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The Tag Line ….On Top of Every Table… is as much a statement on the Indian Cricket team topping it’s Pool as it is on the standing of Amul butter as a brand name.

The Punch Line …Quarter It…. is  a play on the team making it to the knockout stage and also inviting the consumers to help themselves to generous “quarters” of Amul butter.

Pakistan on the other hand needs to put it past Ireland in its last match to make it to the knockout stage.Its surprise win against South Africa has helped in keeping it’s hopes alive.

19th March 15; Melbourne Cricket Ground

India versus Bangladesh Quarter Final (QF) at the ICC CWC 15 was being played under an electrifying atmosphere and much anticipation.The “Bengal Tigers” had upset England and earned the right to play in their first WC QF.and plus they had history on their side when they had knocked out India from the 2007 WC in the Caribbean.In addition, Robel Hussein and Mahamudillah had excelled with the bat and ball respectively and the “Tigers” were more tha fancying their chances against India.The pressure was on India as they were the stronger side against the “minnows” and above all were the defending World Champions.

India batted first and scored 302 for six, on the back of a magnificent first WC century from Rohit Sharma, and a breez and timely 65 from Suresh Raina.Virat Kohli failed with the bat in the much anticipated tie.

The Indian innings was graced with luck when on 90, Rohit Sharma was caught in the deep but was given a second life when the umpires ruled that the Rubel Hossain’s delivery was above waist-height and therefore a no-ball, although television replays suggested it was a marginal decision which could have gone either way.It was an extremely fortuitous reprieve as India would have been trouble as they were at 196-4 and looking to accelerate. Rohit went on t score 137 and India posed a daunting 302 -6 for the “Tigers” to chase, under lights at the imposing Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Bangla Desh started well but lost their way after openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes fell on successive balls after racing to 31 in 6 overs.India fielded well to stifle the opposition and  the turning point was shikhar Dhawan’s jugglery to dismiss Mahmudullah for 21 , the twin centurion for the Bangladesh side.Mahendra Singh Dhoni took a diving catch to send back e Soumya Sarkar for 29 and this put to rest any designs of Bangla fight back or a much anticipated upset.

India thus bowled out Bangladesh and won the game by 109 runs.They had thus achieved the feat of bowling out all their opponents in all seven matches they had played at the World Cup., another ominous warning for their remaining challengers.

This Amul Topical/ ad on the India – Bangladesh  CWC 15 Quater Final , depicts Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s diving catch to remove Saumya Sircar with the Amul Girl dressed in the Indian cricket team colours and egging on with a replica of the World Cup trophy in her hand.

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The Tag Line …Bangla-dashed… is a play on the name of the opposition, Bangladesh, as also on the fact that their hopes of progressing to the semi finals were dashed with their loss to India.

The Punch Line ….Semi-nal butter… is a play on the “semi finals” that India had qualified for and translated literally- it was definitely a scenario full of possibilities just as Amul Butter too.

The heartbreak for the Bagladeshis soon found vent in the form of their disapproval of the umpire’s decision to rule out the Robel Hussein full toss to Rohit Sharma as a no-ball.ICC President, Mustafa Kamal, from Bangladesh, in his comments to the press alleged a conspiracy and said that the umpires , Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Ian Gould of England had come out with an agenda to favour India.His comments were highly controversial not only for the insinuations contained in them but also for the fact that he held a high office in the ICC and spoke in the most inappropriate manner and at a most unsuitable forum.

Entire Bangladesh was in mourning and echoed Kamal’s sentiment.So much so that the Prime Minister Khaleda Zia too came out in support of Kamal and the conspiracy theory and said thhat her team was “made to lose” the match and that they should not lose heart as without the help from the umpires , I ndia woul have never won the game !She also predicted a sonner than later World Cup triumph for the “Bengal Tigers”.

This Amul Topical/ ad on Khaleda Zia reacting to the umpire’s decision to rule Rohit Sharma “not out” shows a caricature depicting the Bangla PM berating the third umpire for the wrong call of the onfield umpires in calling a “no ball” to the marginal bumper by Hossein.In the back ground, Rohit Sharma and the controversial ball are also depicted.

INDIA AT WORLD CUP

The Tag Line …Haseena Kab Maan Jayegi?… is a play on the name of the Bangla PM and a spin off on a popular Bolllywood movie and song by the tit;e “Haseena maan jayegi” and translates into a question as to when would Sheikh Haseena understand that it was a valid call that went against the bowler and in a way  is an attempt to placte her as well.

The Punch Line …Bangla mein khao… is a gentle reminder of the team India played in the QF as also a taditional endorsement of the Amul butter.

Bangladesh may have lost the match but they have shown that they have developed as a one day side and vannot be considered as push overs by any oppostion.Better days are sure to smile upon them.

20th March 15; Adelaide Oval

Pakistan meanwhile lost to Australia in a pulsating Quarter Final against Australia which will always be remembered forthe fiery spell by Wahab Riaz to the Australians in general and Michael Clarke and Shane Watson in particular.The spell went down as one of the best seam spells in years and was a reaction to the sledging that Riaz was subjected to by the Aussies, Watson and Michel Starc in particular

.Pakistan was unlucky to lose and India would now face the Aussies in the semi final match between the World Cup holders on one side and the co hosts on the other.

Riaz’s spell desrved a topical fr sure for being one of the highlight moments of CWC 15.

26th March 2015; Sydney Cricket Ground

India faced Austtralia in the Semi Finals in one of the biggest match ups in the CWC 15.The co hosts were the overwhelming favourites against the World Cup holders. India had not won a single game all summer against the Aussies including in the one day tri series.But here at the World Cup , India was a different team , totally unrecognisable from the Australian summer.Their bowling had clicked and the batsmen were firing too.And they were coming into the match after rolling up 7 teams,lock, stock and barrel.

Australia the hosts had lost to their trans tasman rivals and had a miraculous escape against Pakistan.Plus , the Wahab Riaz spel had exposed chinks in their armour and on top of that the Sydney ground was likely to favour the spinners.

So in all it seemes an even match up.

Dhoni lost the toss on a perfect batting wicket and Clarke chose to bat, obviously! Warner was out early but then Steve Smith, continued his fine run against India , and scored an aggressive century.In the company of Aaron Finch , who scored a patient 81, Smith put up 182 for the second wicket.This set up the Australians well and though India did pull back by claiming wickets towards the  death, the Aussies managed 328 with a 9 ball 27 from Mitchell Johnson and a quick fire 28 from Watson/Johnson, who had been having a quiet World Cup was fired by the sledging by the Indian players and ended up providing the impetus the Aussies needed to put up a good score.

Chasing 328 under lights and against a quality pace attack was never going to be easy for India.They started well, with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.But when the former fell to Josh Hazelwoodand Johnson snared Virat Kohli (who failed for the second time in a row in a crucial knock out game) and bowled Rohit Sharma in quick succession, it was all but over .Hereon the Indian innings lost steam and fight and dragged to finally end up 95 runs short of the Aussie score.Dhoni top scored with a fighting 80 plus.

Though India lost comprehensively yet they had won the hearts of their supporters for the manner in which they surged at the World Cup.Winning 7 straight games , they were the only unbeaten side other than the Kiwis till the last 4 stage.The “Men in Blue” gave a good accout of themselves and eventually lost to a far superior Australian outfit.

This Amul ad/ topical on the India- Australia semi final in the CWC 15 attempts to capture the sentiment that though disappointed at not retaining the World Cup, India played well .The topical shows a caricature depiting India Captain MS Dhoni in his number 7 jersey and dejectedly going back to the pavillion.Dhoni had waged a loe battle and the topical captures this well.The Amul Girl is shown carrying a stuffed Kangaroo to remind us all of the context and the opposition and is extending a hand of support to the India Captain in the backdrop of  the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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The Tag Line ….Jo beat gaya use bhool jao… is a play on the word “beat” as India were beaten by Australia in the Semi Finals of the CWC 15 and exhorted the Team and the Captain to forget and move on.

The Punch Line …Feeling Blue?Try Yellow…. is a catchy one which is a take on the feeling of being low and lonesome after a heart wrenching loss at a mega sporting event.It also turns the emotion into a an endorsement for the Amul butter by playing up the yellow colour of the product with the yellow colour of the Aussie jersey.

Virat Kohli’s disappointing performance in the knock out games in the World Cup came in for critical review as it seemed that young firebrand and the Indian Test Captain , for all his imperious talent had yet to learn how to handle the pressures and weight of expectations of being a frontline Indian cricket player, especially in big ticket games.He is being touted as the next Tendulkar, but he has a long long long way to go before he can emulate the maestro.Its not about the cricket scores alone, its also about the temperament and the ability to soak pressure, which Tendulkar did admirably for 25 years and stayed at the top of his game dishing out one memorable performance after another.

The adoring millions turned against Virat Kohli ,as they sought to vent their ire and lay the blame for the loss of their team at the World Cup.The presence of his girlfriend , Bollywood actor, Anushka Sharma, with him during the World Cup once again coincided with Virat’s poor form and led to blame being laid on her for his poor batting performance.Her presence was considered as the reason for Kohli losing his focus and concentration.Lots of netizens ripped into the duo and anequal number lent them support as well.Kohli and Sharma exited the airport, on arrival in India, holding hands and looing distraught and uncertain and clearly seeking solace and comfort in each other.

Also, Kohli’s misbehaviour with journalists and intemperate and immature on field spats an reactions point towards a larger malaise in the talented player.He needs to channelise his energies correctly or he may find that “jab tak balla chalta hai , tab tak thaath hain !”

This Amul ad/ topical on Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma captures the criticism that the duo faced for Kohli’s poor performances with the bat.It shows two caricatures, depicting Virat and Anushka sitting togethr and tending to each other, with the Amul Girl offering them the delicious Amul butter laced toasts.The topical captures the cricket player’s and the Bollywood actor’s romance especially in the backdrop of the negative publiciy that the duo received.

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The Tag Line …Sab ne bana di jodi…  is a play on the Anushka starrer Rabb ne bana di jodi and hints at the Virat and her being a couple.

The Punch Line …Have It NHow… is a play on the word “now” with the first two letters in the word “NHow” ,subtly reminding us of Anushka’s home production NH 10, in which she also stars in the lead role.

It is going to be a new tournament four years hence and there will be a new set of heroes, hits and misses.So watch this space, in time.

PAPA KEHTE HAIN PAPPU BADA NAAM KAREGA !

Once Rahul Gandhi had been seen as the future of a youthful India & his 129 year old Indian National Congress (INC) Party.Soon,he led his party to disaster at the hustings and mutated from the biggest hope to the biggest dope -aka Pappu! To compound issues, he was found sleeping through (oh so blissfully) a heated debate being led by his Party men on the Railway Budget to corner the Narendra Modi led NDA government.

Wwy would Rahul Gandhi ,the designated “Gladiator” of the Congress Party ,doze off in parliament & expose himself to the daggers & sarcastic barbs of his rivals?How could be he so dumb?Did it happen?

The answer to all of this is a big & hilarious – YES!..and it happened while he was sitting right behind the party colleague making an impassioned case against the government! Rahul probably emulated a certain Arvind Kejriwal, that it pays to be in the news,somehow, for good or bad reasons.So he conjured a controversy! This is sacrifice in the best Indian traditions.He sacrificed himself for the Party as otherwise who would notice the 44 seat rump of the INC in a humongous 544 seat Indian Parliament. Mommy Sonia Gandhi, of Italian ascent, had sacrificed the Prime Ministership in return for a zero accountability position as the Puppeteer in the UPA dispensation headed by a mute puppet named Manmohan Singh!!!

Rahul Gandhi probably slept to escape the misery of his actual life.In his dreams “impossible is nothing”.

He dreamt that his mother had finally allowed him to chase his ambition..of being a gardener in the Parliament lawns…in a dhoti & gamcha and his Venezuelan girlfriend bringing him a spartan meal of chapatis & onion (what else would a gardner eat after the UPA government’s legacy of price rise!). He also found the secret of dealing with his nightmare Arnab Goswami, hidden in jack fruit ! In his dream, uncle Manmohan had a tongue & it was recovered from the deepest vaults of the kingdom of Psycho-fancia, ruled by an evil Queen (any guesses?). Furthermore, uncle Digvijay Singh is seen having a zip lock on his mouth which is configured to open in 9999 AD.

But in his dream he still had his bad moments.He dreamt that he was plucked from his gardening pursuits by a Robert Vadra when the latter bought the garden to develop a Pub!

Where’s sister Priyanka Gandhi?She was still campaigning in Rae Bareilly & Amethi & exhorting the people to vote out (!) her brother & mother!

How did things come to such a pass for the Gandhi scion that from “Shehzada (Crown Prince)” he transformed into “Pappu” – a disrespectful sobriquet used to describe a juvenile & incompetent nincompoop! Even the Amul ad line had earleir captured the euphoria surrounding his elevation to the post of INC Vice President and the possibility of being named as his Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate.

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Rahul turned out to be a “dud” largely on the back of his bizarre actions.In an effort to connect with the people & their distaste for a controversial government ordnance, Rahul tore the document in a press conference which had been promulgated by his lParty’s PM nominee.This immature behaviour was compounded by his inability to articulate a coherent response to his Party’s defeat in the Delhi Assembly and stressed by his confused choice of words.He gradually lost ground when he refused to take on the BJP & NDA Prime Ministerial candidate,Narendra Modi, in the build up to the elections.As the campaign progressed in comparison to a stuttering Rahul, Modi emerged better prepared,organised & focussed.

The final nail in the coffin was the interview with a famous & aggressive TV presenter,Arnab Goswammy,known for unsettling his guests.In the interview Rahul Gandhi failed to present any substantial views and vision for an emerging India.It was as if Rahul knew the questions to be asked…but it seems the interviewer changed the order & Rahul still answered in a prepared sequence! It was an unmitigated disaster and Rahul came out battered & bruised from the his first ever interview in 10 years.(Sometimes it is better to stay quiet and let the world think…we know the rest!!)Whereas Narendra Modi emerged stronger and aggressive from the same bed of burning coal in another interview with Goswamy.

These and many more incidents cemented the opinion in the country that Rahul Gandhi was just a famous name & possessed none of the abilities of his illustrious family members (Jawahar Lal Nehru,Indira Gandhi,Rajiv Gandhi). He was a political novice in the tumultuous cauldron of Indian Politics and brought nothing worthwhile to the table and was’nt coming up to the expectations of his family and party members

For his immaturity,juvenile behaviour & lack of initiation into politics in spite of 10 years in the arena he earned the sobriquet “Pappu” on the social media & his reputation was ripped & tattered mercilessly day in and day out in a net savvy India.

The featured Amul Strip is amazing to the last detail as it depictis Parliament benches and a sleeping Rahul Gandhi falling over to his right and in the spot light (denoting live TV coverage) while the Amul Girl attired in a combination symbolic of Indian politicians is making a sincere effort in a debate replete with a clutch of notes and has a bewildered and aghast expression while attempting to wake up the Party leader!!!

The Tag Line...Duty Sleep?… is a question asked (almost rebuking) and a catchy spin on the concept of sleep working towards enhancing the beauty and complexion of a person as also a pun intended on the fact that the Gandhi scion was sleeping in Parliament when he should be participating in debates and discharging his responsibilities & duties as a political leader.

The Punch Line is simplistic and simply exhorts Rahul Gandhi to wake up literally and figuratively as well as endorses the Amul Butter by exhorting the readers to wake up to its superior taste and quality and to adopt it as brand of choice.

As I sign out,Rahul Gandhi has done it again.While responding to a visual of Narendra Modi playing drums (dhol) during his Japan visit.Visiting a parliamentary constituency bereft of electricity and basic facilities he quipped to the media (as if alluding to a burning Rome & Nero) that while the backward constituency languishes, the Prime Minister is busy playing the “dhol”.It would have been a perfect sound byte by an opposition politician but for the small detail that the constituency in question was Amethi – represented by Rahul himself since 2004 (!!!!Time to wake up Pappu!!!)and which has been represented by his father and uncle since the 1980s!So how is Modi guilty?????

While this goes to print it is reliably learnt that Congressmen have secretly requisitioned the services of Leonardo di Caprio to carry out Inception in the dreamy and drowsy head of “Pappu” – to convince him to take a solo voyage to the Bermuda Triangle!

But has anyone ever made it back from the Bermuda Triangle??????  

 

CASILLAS….CASILLAS….HAD A GREAT FALL!!!

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It is these two iconic images from the game between the current champions Spain and the  Netherlands in the ongoing  FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 which have formed the theme of the strip.The strip celebrates the extraordinary performance by the ‘Flying Dutchman’ and the disastrous  sinking of the ‘Spanish Armada’ during the game.

June 13,2014,Arena Fonte Nova,Salvador.

Spain ,the defending World Champions, are lined up in their opening encounter against the Netherlands, the team they humbled at Johannesburg to win the crown in 2010.Current form and the fact that 7 of the 2010 squad in South Africa form part of the present Spanish team under manager Vincent Del Bosque makes the Spanish team an overwhelming favourite to win the match ‘hands down’.

90 minutes later… The Spanish Armada has been sunk!

Mercilessly pounded by the Dutch and mauled beyond recognition of their world beating aura the Spanish football team was decimated.  The final scoreline ,5-1 for Netherlands, was the worst result for a defending Champion in FIFA World Cups.Its all over for the Spanish and the team seems to have lost its midas touch and worse still their claim on retaining the World Cup at FIFA 2014. The entire Spanish team failed but it was one man, their Captain and talismanic goal keeper Iker Casillas ,who took the biggest fall at the biggest stage of world football.

And this piece is all about him…he was the biggest success for the world beating Spanish teams from 2008 onwards and on this fateful day he was more responsible than the others for debacle at Salvador.He.was.most certainly The Humpty Dumpty equivalent in the match…who too had a great fall in the iconic nursery rhyme.

At the start of the game, fresh from  a Champions League victory,  Casillas would have been smug in the knowledge that he had already ‘thumped’ most of his European opponents many times over.But it was going to be ‘a Eureka moment’  night for him when at the end he would be acknowledging to himself that he was better off being a baker or a grocer rather than a ‘keeper’ with Spain ‘s all conquering football team and that after almost 15 years of top flight football!

Before the Netherlands scored its first goal Casillas was 44 minutes away from bettering Walter Zenga’s record of not conceding a goal for 528 minutes at the World Cup. And prophetically at the stroke of 44 minutes into the match, Dutchman Robin van Persie scored and shattered the first of the many illusions that Casillas may have harboured for the game (he was denied the record by 44′). And from here on started Casillas’ s very own and customised ‘nightmare at Elms street’.

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In fact such was the helplessness of Casillas after the first goal that his immediate reaction may have been to applaud and congratulate the striker as there wasn’t anything else that he could do.He would have probably done that had he secured his grocer’s job in Madrid prior to coming for the World Cup at Brazil!!!

After Arjen Robben had blitzed past Casillas in the 53rd minute to  score the second goal for Netherlands a strange stupor seems to have set into Casillas.It seemed he suddenly had a vision that Robben was actually Frank Rjikaard from the 90s and that they had conspired to do the unthinkable ie score against the ‘unparalleled’ San Casillas!

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It is now that Casillas realised that Robben and Persie were the very characters his mother had told him about in the bed time stories way back as a kid! His fears were back!

He seemed to have lost his confidence and thereon  he was easy picking for the mischievous elves of Scandinavia who had descended in hordes, wearing blue, on the hapless Casillas on a night which was supposed to bring him glory and not accursed luck. He failed to parry a simple chance offered by de Vrij in the 65th minute and Spain were trailing 1-3!

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The transformation of Casillas from ‘keeper’ to ‘shocker’ was about to be completed when he lost the ball during a regulation backpass and saw van Persie (the one whom he knew from the stories as a child😎) steal the ball and make it  1-4.

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Lying sprawled and cringing  within, all that Casillas could do was probably admire the shoes that Persie was wearing and being thankful for the soft turf under his body for after this he was only going to be between  rock and a hard place when it came to his future with Spain and it’s football team.Some say that it’s at this point that Casillas started looking for a safe exit route from the stadium, one which would skirt the change room of the Spanish football team ,and lost his composure!

Having lost his focus (and preoccupied with the thoughts of escape and re employment) Casillas allowed himself to be fooled by Robben and found himself wrong footed while the Dutch striker fired into an empty goal…

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With this the meltdown of Casillas was complete and he could only sink to his knees to feel the soft turf( watching Robben celebrate) and to give one last look to confirm the alternate exit route which happened to be a hole in the earth beneath his very feet!!!

The ‘sank-on-his-knees’ look made for a terrific selfie but as ‘San Casual’was busy getting busted the entire world’s media lent him a hand (or a shutter) in immortalising the moment. 

Casillas had now realised that the chill going down his spine was nothing else but the fear of tackling his girlfriend Sara Carbonero. No naughty thoughts please (we are Indians) , Iker was feeling performance pressure (yes!! ) but of a different kind . Carbonero , an attractive sideline sports commentator, (also voted the sexiest in the world) had once left Casillas tongue tied after Spain’s opening game defeat to Switzerland during the  FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa.Well, Cassy baby it’s time to answer the same question again (and she is not going to be asking about marrying her) which she posed way back in 2010, “How did you muck it up?”

And to help you out with what you said back then “I don’t know if this defeat will have consequences. The dressing room is fed up. “

You are lucky Casillas you know what she is going to ask you and better still you know what to answer as well.(Wish you’d had even a slice of this luck in the game though)

Casillas was candid in the post match media interaction when he said that “I am the first one to ask for forgiveness”.Was it that he actually realised his game was up (for sale😎…buyers ??) or had hit up on a PR campaign idea to start on a massive dollop of public sympathy for his re employment bid once he was thrown out of the team or guillotined for sinking Spanish hopes at FIFA 2014.

Admittedly ,Casillas had had a tough and lack lustre 2014 where he had not been the #1  keeper for Real Madrid and had been a famous member of the bench during the course of the La Liga.( Had he spent that time acquiring vocational skills his situation may have been redeemed while he sank on his knees on June 13th).But he had been the  “Special One’ when it came to the Copa Del Ray, the Champions League and even the Confederation Cup with the National team.So nothing that had happened in the years gone by had suggested the dismantling of the invictus Casillas Castle in such a humbling manner.

The fall from grace is even greater when seen in perspective of Casillas ‘ career. He had been a part of the Spanish teams which had won the UEFA European Under 16 Championships in 1997 and the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1999.He became the youngest ever player to play in the Champions League finals when he played for Real Madrid in May 2000.Soon after he broke into Spain’s senior football team.

In his first four years he helped his  club win two league titles, two Spanish Super Cups, one UEFA Super Cup and the final of the Champions League against Bayern Leverkusen in 2002.He was instrumental in ensuring back to back league titles for Real Madrid in 2007 and 2008.He won another Spanish Super Cup title in 2008 as well.And starting 2007 he figured in the UEFA Team of the Year for six straight years. He went on to win another league title Spanish Super Cup in 2012 and a famous ‘Decima’ for Real  Madrid in 2014 just before the ‘Carniball’   ( FIFA World Cup  2014) in Brazil.

With the Spanish national team he played a stellar role in their 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup campaigns.Was handed over the captaincy after the 2006 World Cup and helped in ending the major title drought for the  ‘La Roja’ by winning the 2008 European Championships and following it up with the victory in 2010 FIFA World Cup and successfully defending the title in the 2012 European Championships.

So in spite of Casillas losing his place in the Real Madrid starting line up pist 2012 partly due to a fractured finger and partly due to a fractured relationship with Jose Mourihno his past record suggested that he was the ‘go to’ man for the Spaniards in a major tournament such as the FIFA 2014.His penalty saves against Italy and Portugal in 2008 and 2012  European Championships and his breathtaking saves to thwart Arjen Robben and Netherlands in the FIFA 2010 championship and 10 consequetive clean slates in knock out matches were testimony to his big match temperament. 

And then on June 13th,2014 he ran into Robin van Persie and and Arjen Robben who ended his dreams and destroyed his legacy as an all time great.

It is on account of the iconic status of Casillas, the Spanish football team- the La Roja- and the spectacular effort of the Dutch team in dethroning the Spaniards from there high pedestal that the Amul strip features their collective saga.

The strip shows two caricatures, both Amul girls, pitched against each other with the one in blue leaping and scoring over a bamboozled goal keeper in fluorescent green. The caricatures depict the iconic images of van Persie and Casillas respectively from the Spain vs Netherlands game in FIFA 2014.

The tag line…Dutch ke rehna re baba! ..is a taken on the popular Bollywood number ‘Bach ke rehna re baba’…simply implying be safe and  beware – there is danger lurking!And it was lurking for Casillas in the form of the Dutch duo of Persie and Robben.

The Punch Line… Truly Breadtaking.. is a tribute to the breathtaking goal and display by the Dutch players in particular van Persie for his extreme athleticism in scoring the acrobatic equaliser for Netherlands.The impact of that strike was such that it threw the ‘La Roja’ and Casillas in such disarray that thereafter they conceded a goal every ten minutes – 44′,53′,65′,72′ & 80! Breathtaking display indeed.

After this game many predicted the end of the era of several magnificent players from Spain including Casillas. Heeding the advise of the millions of analysts ,including his girlfriend Sara, Casillas has already posted his CV in numerous job portals with his credentials for having ‘safe hands’ being highlighted. After this match only those who do not follow football will fall for that one…and there aren’t many of that tribe!Particularly so in Real Madrid who have already started looking beyond Casillas. 

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So it’s curtains for you Iker. Don’t forget to roll over to break the fall!

And who’s that we see you walking into the sunset with..Arjen Robben. .The Elf …all I can say is …Dutch ke rehna re baba !!!