Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Azhar rules out any legal action, wants to work with BCCI

With Azhar not mulling any legal action, it is expected that the BCCI is likely to soften its stand in near future

New Delhi/Hyderabad: Welcoming the Andhra Pradesh High Court verdict setting aside the life ban on him, former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin on Thursday ruled out taking any legal action against Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and said he is willing to work with the Board for development of cricket, reports PTI.
"I can't predict how BCCI will react but it's totally up to them. As far as I am concerned, I am ready to work for the benefit of cricket and cricketers," a relieved Azharuddin told reporters at his MP residence in New Delhi, Thursday.
Asked if he would take any legal action against BCCI, the former captain said, "I am not going to take any legal action against any authority and I don't want to blame anybody for this also. It is about destiny and whatever had to happen has happened. I don't have any complaints."
The stylish right-hander from Hyderabad, who will be turning 50 next February said that he always had his conscience clear.
"My conscience was always clear as I haven't done anything wrong. I have represented my country and had played the game with utmost honesty. I never lost faith and was never a broken man. I didn't blame anybody and was ready to fight it out in the court of law," said one of India's most successful captains.
Apart from his parents, Azhar thanked former India captain Kapil Dev and BCCI president Late Raj Singh Dungarpur for their constant support during the darkest phase of his career.
"I thank Late Raj Singh Dungarpur for his constant support when he was alive. Also Kapil paaji has been very vocal in my support in all forums. So was former BCCI vice-president Kamal Morarka. I also thank all my fans who had stood by me in all these 12 years." 
His career ended at 99 Tests and Azhar doesn't want to dwell on it.
"May be I was destined to play 99 Test matches and that's what the Almighty wanted. I would not like to dwell on the past and move on. I am an MP and would like to focus on the development of my constituency Moradabad."
Senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla said, "Our legal team will analyse the judgement. Then only we will react."
However with Azhar not mulling any legal action, it is expected that the BCCI is likely to soften its stand in near future.
A man who has always preferred answering in monosyllables during his playing days, Azhar got a bit emotional when there was a reference of his late son Mohammed Ayazuddin who passed away in a tragic bike accident last year.
"What I lost last year is scar that will remain with me forever. Nothing can change that. It was Almighty Allah's wish but certainly myself and my elder son Abbas (Mohammed Asaduddin) are relieved today."



R Balakrishnan

5 years ago

Of course, the BCCI purse for ex cricketers, helps maintain a dignified acceptance stance.

National Cancer Awareness Day: Look out for the warning signs

At first, cancer may have no signs and signals, and therefore is usually undetected. But there are subtle signals that should not be ignored. Early detection and treatment dramatically improves your chances of survival and return to good health

Today is Marie Curie’s birth anniversary and National Cancer Awareness Day. As cancer surgeons, my colleagues and I are direct witnesses to the fact that India is struck by a disaster of tsunami or earthquake proportions every single day. Over 3,000 persons—mostly middle age—die every day due to a single identifiable cause that is entirely avoidable, namely tobacco. And it is strange that nobody in the government seemed to even care until mid-2012 (when 15 states with about 60% of India’s population banned gutka under the Food Safety Regulations 2011). 
Tobacco users are hugely prone to getting cancer, respiratory illness, heart attack, stroke, etc. Ten lakh smokers and tobacco-chewers die from these illnesses every year in India—50 times more than non-tobacco users. About one-third of India’s population is hooked to tobacco. Of India’s 42 crore tobacco addicts, only about 28 crore are adults. About 14 crore persons are aged below 18 years, and they typically pick up the tobacco habit in the 6th or 7th standard. 
Besides tobacco addicts, six other high risk-groups are:
•         Women post menopause
•         Women on birth-control pills or hormone therapy
•         People working in smoky, stress-filled or otherwise toxic environments e.g. welders, traffic policemen, metal workshop & furnace personnel
•         Exposed to second-hand smoke—family members and colleagues of smokers 
•         Heavy drinkers
•         Those who suffer from disturbed sleep patterns and chronic fatigue e.g. those who frequently work night-shifts, students who habitually work overnight, etc.
At first, cancer may have no signs and signals, and therefore is usually undetected. But there are subtle signals that it is in your interest to notice and act upon. Early detection and treatment dramatically improves your chances of survival and return to good health.
As a malignant cancerous tumour grows, it may press on nerves, penetrates blood vessels and interfere with the functioning of one or more organs. Thus it causes bleeding, pain and impairment in body functions that cannot be explained by normal causes. 
Watch out for these 13 early signs of cancer:
1. Sore or lesion that does not heal, even after medication
2. Change in the look and feel of an existing wart, mole, or sore in the mouth
3. Bleeding or watery discharge from any part of the body that is abnormal
4. Thickening or lump in parts like the testicles, breast, armpits or elsewhere
5. Acidity, indigestion, difficulty in swallowing
6. Chronic fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
7. Sudden changes in bowel or bladder habits
8. Nagging cough or hoarseness in the throat
9. Persistent headaches
10. Loss of appetite, sudden weight loss for no reason
11. Pain in bones or any other areas of the body
12. Low-grade fever, either constant or intermittent
13. Poor immune system, repeated infections
If you develop any such symptoms that are not related to another medical cause, and these persist for more than two weeks, schedule a medical examination. Remember, early diagnosis and treatment is your best bet against cancer.
These early warning signs apply to all human beings—even those who have a very healthy lifestyle. However, you should definitely be more watchful if you are in one or more of the above-mentioned high-risk groups.
To read about how common sense goes a long way in helping tackle the dreaded disease, click here


Skyfall: No. 23, after 50 years

Skyfall is the perfect way to commemorate 50 years of Bond on the silver screen. It is not only the best Bond movie to date, but also the best action movie of this year

Around 50 years ago, Sean Connery was chosen to play the lead in a movie, whose franchise would be the second highest grosser ever and probably the first after a couple more titles. Coming to the 21st century, James Bond movies have had their shares of highs and lows. Over 23 movies, six actors in the lead role and 12 and a half billion dollars grossed (inflation adjusted), the James Bond movie series is one of the most iconic ever.


Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film, Daniel Craig’s third outing as 007, is probably the most awaited film this year after The Dark Knight Rises. And after the rather mediocre Quantum of Solace, fans would certainly hope for a much better movie. Delayed by a year due to MGM’s financial woes, Skyfall may be late but is certainly worth the wait. Skyfall is the Bond movie that takes the character so wonderfully introduced in 2006’s Casino Royale to another level.


The plot of Skyfall is unlike that of any previous Bond movie. The 23rd time around, things are a lot more personal. MI6’s list of operatives in terrorist organizations is stolen and names are released publicly, five every week. M is haunted by a certain person from her past and it is up to an aging and slightly haggard Bond to clean things up. It all leads up to the climax, where one understands why the film is named so.


What happened with the reboot of the Bond franchise in 2006 was that grandiose action sequences aside, the movies became more connected to the real world than the times of pen grenades, watch embedded grappling hooks and the over-the-top Armageddon schemes. James Bond is much more human and quite fallible too. Long gone is the one-liner spewing, un-woundable super spy-cum-killing machine who never missteps.


Helmed by Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition, American Beauty), Skyfall is THE definitive Bond movie for the 21st century. The movie’s strengths are quite a few.


First and foremost, the cinematography. The man behind the lens is Roger Deakins, who adds Skyfall to his already reputable list that includes movies like The Shawshank Redemption and A Beautiful Mind. The camera work is excellent throughout and shines particularly in a dimly-lit fight sequence in Shanghai and the climax. A big plus is that Deakins consciously avoids the use of shaky-cam, which would certainly feel out of place in a Bond movie. The locales are all captured wonderfully, be it the stunning opening sequence in Turkey, the Macau Casino or the climax in the Scottish countryside. Lighting is pitch-perfect in all scenes too. Never unnecessarily dark or too bright, this movie deserves an Oscar nomination for the cinematography. It is probably the best shot movie of the year.


Next, the screenplay. With Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Bond regulars) as the screenwriters, the screenplay’s missteps, if any are few and minor. A complaint could be made about the movie being too long but personally, I felt it was correctly paced. While the movie opens leisurely with the introduction of characters, the pace quickens and the tension is sustained very well. It goes to show that style and substance can co-exist in a Bond movie, which one certainly hasn’t seen in movies like Die Another Day or the immensely forgettable Living Daylights. Each character is well written and some characters given a new dimension too. The plot, while containing sufficient action, has a fair amount of emotional content too, something rarely seen in the Connery or Moore movies. While the movie has a serious undertone to it, there are some genuinely funny moments too.


Moving on to the cast. Daniel Craig as Bond is the closest anyone has come to Ian Fleming’s character so far. Craig portrays Bond as a flawed man who seems to be losing his edge, but has an unwavering sense of duty. His performance is immaculate and it is clear that he has given his all to the role. He breathes life into Bond. While Oscar considerations are unlikely, it is certainly a top-notch performance. Every Bond movie has two heroines, one a damsel in distress who is seduced by Bond and mostly dies somewhere in the movie. And then there’s one that carries on till the end. This time around, the second job is done by Judi Dench, as M. She is consistently excellent and brings an extra dimension to the character and is unlike cold-hearted decision maker she has portrayed in earlier Bond films. It’s nice to see M get her hands dirty for once.


Craig and Dench aside, the biggest strength of the movie is the antagonist Raoul Silva, played by a blond Javier Bardem. Javier Bardem is tremendous as the agent-turned-terrorist with unresolved mommy issues. There are moments where Silva is charming and humorous. There are some where is emotional. And some in which he’s downright menacing. Bardem pulls off all these scenes with consummate ease. One can safely say Silva is the best Bond villain ever. Bardem follows up his negative turn in No Country For Old Men with a completely different but nevertheless outstanding portrayal of Silva. His screen presence is outstanding. Oscar worthy performance, surely. Other cast members include Ralph Fiennes as Mallory, head of the British Intelligence Services, Naomie Harris—the inexperienced field agent and Ben Whishaw as the quartermaster.


The action scenes are superb. No other word for them. Each action sequence has been choreographed painstakingly and the end result is amazing. Right from the opening chase in Istanbul to the pyrotechnics heavy climax, the scenes are uniformly stunning. In particular, a chase sequence in London followed by a shootout is exhilarating. The music, done by Thomas Newman who has worked with Mendes before, is top notch. Every scene has music that complements it. The opening track by Adele is also quite good.


While the film boasts of so many positives, it has a few minor faults. The character of Severine (previously mentioned victim-heroine) is rather weak and Berenice Marlohe is not very good in the role.  An argument could be made against pacing, as mentioned before, but these issues are few and far between. It is as close to the perfect Bond movie as one could hope for.


While this is Bond in the 21st century, Skyfall does pay enough reverence to the Bond of the sixties and seventies and should keep old Bond loyalists happy too. The addition of two new characters which I won’t reveal should bring a smile to the faces of Connery-Moore fanboys. And the way the movie plays out in the end, it ends up as a perfect mix of old and new.


Skyfall is not only the best Bond movie to date, but also the best action movie of this year and one can only hope the next Bond movie reaches the heights this does. It is the perfect way to commemorate 50 years of Bond on the silver screen. Bond certainly will be back, and I’m looking forward to it.


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