Death of a Gentleman- The Film Review
It was already two hours late from the scheduled screening. It was supposed to start at 3 PM. It didn’t. I was already feeling hungry as I didn’t have my lunch. I could feel an ache in right side of my head (don’t know if it was a migraine). Probably all the meaningless panel discussions among the reporters, players, movie-stars, administrative representatives, non-governmental organizations, audiences, took a toll on me. There were interested, un-interested peoples all set to watch the film. The ‘chain-chain’ & ‘chuin-chuin’ of chairs people ‘thudding’ over and over again even after the movie was ready to start was just increasing my headache more, and more. There were enough things to distract me and worry me if I could last or concentrate for the 100 minutes of DOAG starting at 5:15 PM.
The movie starts. After a bit of struggle as the video refused to start due to bad media player, but it did. It was again disturbed when ‘Activate Windows’ appeared on the huge projected screen all of a sudden. The operator started to sort that out. I could already hear a lot of un-interested ‘chu’ & ‘chas’ sounds, legs moving and leaving the auditorium, again with all that thuds of chairs. Even Priyanka, the host of the show, was sitting behind us talking as if she was in her drawing room, another un-interested jobber-soul staying for the sake-of-staying till the end of the final day of film festival, may be.
Finally, the movie started, uninterruptedly, despite all the distractions and noise, only thing on my mind was to watch the show with all honesty. Then I saw Jarrod Kimber on screen. Man who need little introduction if you avidly read quality cricket articles. For me he was the actor in a leading role along with Sam Collins. I saw him bowl some leggies too. Bucket list added, bat on his deliveries.
I was already glued to the screen, forget headache, and forget hunger. Then, the hero of the movie, Ed Cowan appeared. The story of Eddie Cowan’s short cricket career was brilliantly executed parallel with administrative meritocracy of ICC/BCCI/Big 3.
Trust me, when it comes to Australian cricketers, I am not a very big fan of them. But no more. Ed Cowan, DOAG, has changed it all for me. My whole perception has changed on how I see cricket players from here on. Be it from any nation. Every single cricket success story or a failure story has a story behind them. The way, I had my moment/conversations with our own vice-captain Gyanendara Malla (he was invited to feature in Panel Discussion for Peace-building by Search for Common Ground) earlier in the day and the way DOAG presented Eddie, both felt quite same. Knowing them, knowing cricket, knowing life.
The movie really starts getting intriguing when a hell load of cricket’s popular peoples starts appearing on screen with revealing comments.
In an interview shown in DOAG, Ravi Shastri didn’t back-off from saying; India is a strong and powerful cricketing nation, world/people will have to deal with it. And that was just a very small part of the DOAG’s series of intense interviews to come in the movie. The interviews/scenes featuring Giles Clarke, especially the body language might make you forget the documentary for a moment and take you to sets of popular Hollywood movie where protagonists are trying to fight with the system but the Kingpins like him are comfortably on the top controlling everything.
Clarke is not the only negative portrayal in the film. Narayanaswami Srinivasan has complemented Clarke in every manner with his Chennai SuperKings fiasco and BCCI/ICC chairmanship. And DOAG won’t even blame them. It’s on us to decide. They are just trying to show us the picture trying to explain things. We have to choose, & wisely.
However, it felt quite good to hear Boria Mazumdaar being blatantly honest about cricket in India and India in cricket. Not many ‘Indians related to cricket’ can do that on TV today. Not any. Even Arun Lal, in a convincing way, found a diplomatic (and intelligent/true) answer to state, it’s on fan to decide or save Test Cricket from here on.
Australia, India, England & Dubai, Jarrod Kimber & Sam Collins travel everywhere, interviews every possible person to get their views and opinions on death of test cricket as well as the parallel rise of t20 franchise cricket. They also explain why people (in power or not) can’t/couldn’t do much despite recognizing the obvious ugly demeanors of the game.
The dots/lines joining Lalit Modi fiasco, Allen Stanford fiasco, Gurunath Meiyappan fiasco, Laxman Shivaramakrishnan fiasco is all but best part of this documentary that how it is all ruining the international cricket. Even Christopher Nolan can be proud of that scene between Kimber & Collins.
There was one scene in the film that touched my heart. Both Ed Cowan & David Warner were giving interview to DOAG. A guy comes and asks Warner’s autograph, Cowan steps out of the frame. Explains how T20 is taking over Test cricket, slowly but certainly.
I hardly found any lags on any material included in DOAG. Probably because, we are so inept noticing internal affairs of ICC’s treatment of cricket in recent times. Being a fan from Nepal, being the protagonist myself of CAN’s fiasco on almost daily basis, ICC’s inabilities sounds more and more relevant and you cannot disagree on how the personalities like Clarke, Srinivasan, etc has ruined this game to the core by their greed. Everything convinces us.
In an era where Test Cricket is already threatened by the increasing popularity of T20s and the rise of a generation of fans who rate Raina more than Sangakkara, the corrupt administrators has also made sure it public play to their hands completely. There is a statement said by Lalit Modi about IPL in the movie, it may scare you, you may choose to not read it, especially if you are an IPL fan, think again, one last warning, are you sure?, he said, “I have created a monster.”
Rating the movie will be a difficult thing here. I could give 4 alone for Jarrod Kimber’s leggies. The movie is just a bonus. All I can rate is I forgot my headache & hunger to witness how greed driven powerful peoples are manipulating the second best game of the world. Ajay Phuyal, the president of NSJF, admitted he was about to leave early but couldn’t after the movie started. Subash Shahi, the head of Dhangadhi Cricket, Raju Rijal, Nepal U19 Captain, all had a moment of truth on where international cricket is headed. A must watch for every cricket fan. Cricket is not a member’s club. It should be open for everyone. And even if you are not a cricket fan watch it to understand the power game in sports.
Thanks to NISFF (Nepal International Sports Film Festival) & efforts by Tim Brooks & Surya Thapaliya for providing us the opportunity to watch DOAG, that too free. Good news is, DOAG will be screened thrice more in next three months. Pokhara, Nepalgunj & Birtamode (dates to be confirmed). Make sure, people who are there, you watch it. You understand. You make your own opinion and help the cause to save cricket. Change cricket for its own good. Save Test Cricket.
Article first published on www.cricnepal.com on February 21, 2016.