'Little Master the First' and Australia

JUST imagine, no view of EspnStar (on Sachin's very own Kalanagar home screen) through three critical weeks of November!

BHARATAN

"Even Sunil Gavaskar (as a `Legend For Life' and `Legend For Wife' alike) never, remember, really scored for India in Australia when the Kangaroos were at full strength there." -- Pic. VIVEK BENDRE-

JUST imagine, no view of EspnStar (on Sachin's very own Kalanagar home screen) through three critical weeks of November! Such a happening had me, momentarily, moving over to the West Bandra `La Mer' side. A `La Mer' where the elevator, even with Ash inside it, must pause on the 10th floor. For the Anjalittle Master to step out first! EspnStar had not dared go `off screen' at least in the neo Ten Territory of Bandra West. Territory in which my dot Shilpa, as Mandira's Cathedral School batchmate, blithely switched channels (from Espn to Sony) that 30 November Sunday night. For us to view the Mandira-Charu tandem, at it again, in the CEAT Awards evening — being televised as a nite.

Suddenly the CEAT-SONY camera here turned (not once but twice) upon Sachin. A Sachin stargazing into his radiant looking wifie's Anjalimpid eyes. Naina ho chaar zara naina ho chaar, raahee matwaale, tu chhed ek baar man ka sitaar! It was a sight even Singing Star Suraiya would have gone mellifluous miles to see. Leaving `Mere Male' Bish Bedi to travel all the way from Delhi to Mumbai to touch the feet of the venerated Vijay Hazare. Bish's flair for the right gesture was a reminder of how the Vijay Merchant-centric AFST (A.F.S. Talyarkhan) had hailed this Vijay as "Hazare, The Great Hazare"! Even before Vijay Hazare's Adelaide Lifetime Achievement of two hundreds (116 & 145), in one Test against Don Bradman's Australia, came to decorate the Anandji Dossa record books. Bish came up with a deadly armer when he observed that those two Test hundreds were fashioned by Vijay Hazare "against Lindwall and Miller". A broad hint to Sachin (just three slots away from Hazare) that Ten had to deliver, now or never, in Australia.

Oh, but I missed out on the punch point about Sachin looking into those gorgeous Gujju eyes. The point that this `aside' came about to the accompaniment of a certain CEAT Stage Item Number catching the imagination of Today's Youth. Catching it as Saiyyan dil mein aana re, aake phir na jaana re, chham chhama chham chham. Given the spot Anjali-Sachin connection we had here, it is meet, I feel, to trace the roots of this tap-tap number. If only because the number underscored that Sach had eyes for his life-and-times partner too. A partner unfailingly coming through as the picture of celebrity dignity.

"Why had the TV savvy Sanjay Manrekar (each time the CEAT camera came to rest upon him) to be seen with his lips `pursed'? Agreed the music on stage was something of an assault on the Sanjay senses. Yet Sanjay M, as the total telly commentator by now, should have been mentally paparazzi-prepared for such unguarded idiot-boxy exposure." -- Pic. N. SRIDHARAN-

Saiyyan dil mein aana re, as so written by Rajendra Krishna, was first rendered (way back in 1951) by Shamshad Begum of the transparent voice. We watched it being vibrantly danced out, on the silver screen, by the willowy Vyjayanthi. By a Vyjayanthimala making her Hindi screen debut in AVM's Bahar. It was a song tuned by RD's even greater phenom father, Kumar Sachin Dev Burman. A Burman who was, for all his grip on music, given a torrid time by the film's maker, A.V. Meyappan. Sri Meyappan, as the AVM Chief with his hand on the public pulse, asked S. D. Burman to "do it again" some four times! Shamshad Begum, as the original Saiyyan dil mein aana re resonator, told me something amazing. She said each time the tune stood so `AVM' rejected, the bemused Burman came back to Bombay (from Madras) to re-tune it. So much so that the Santa Cruz Airport staff wondered if Shamshad Begum (in purdah) was not part of a smuggling gang being headed by the dhoti-clad S. D. Burman!

Any song Third Eye-witnessing Sachin, for a welcome change, as romantically Anjalinked must have, I suppose, a case history. Yet history, for its cricketing part, is now going to value judge Sachin by how `MRFy' he shows himself to be in Australia. Even Sunil Gavaskar (as a `Legend For Life' and `Legend For Wife' alike) never, remember, really scored for India in Australia when the Kangaroos were at full strength there. In the only (early 1981) series Down Under in which Sunil was up against the world-classy quickie trio of Dennis Lillee, Rod Hogg and Len Pascoe, our `Little Master The First' (do DD recall) flaunted scores of 0 & 10 in the Sydney Test; 23 & 5 in the Adelaide Test; 10 & 70 in the Melbourne Test. Sunil in that series came to be dismissed by Lillee twice, by Pascoe thrice and by Hogg once. Sanjay M, for one, nodded tacit assent as I made this pungent point in the C. K. Nayudu Hall. Where we had gathered to see EspnStarry Harsha `turn 25'.

By the way, why had the TV savvy Sanjay (each time the CEAT camera came to rest upon him) to be seen with his lips `pursed'? Agreed the music on stage was something of an assault on the Sanjay senses. Yet Sanjay M, as the total telly commentator by now, should have been mentally paparazzi-prepared for such unguarded idiot-boxy exposure. This is the toughest part of being a media maverick, Sanj. That, at any function, you have to be scrupulously careful to `see' that the camera doesn't catch you unawares. Sanjay here looked as if he was grimly going to face Imran Khan rather than the lensman. Going to face an Imran Khan who said he had, on the captive screen, seen "no woman looking more beautiful than Waheeda Rehman"! A Waheeda giving the Farooque Shaikh show away by talking almost out of TV turn. Right in front of the taciturn Dilip Kumar. Perched there alongside the once Tiger Pataudi-fancied Saira Banu. This when Waheeda's entire Guru Dutt-envisioned cine image Imran eye-rested upon how eloquent we found her screen silences to be. Waqt ne kiya kya hansi sitam, tum rahein na tum, hum rahein na hum!