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Past imperfect

Sir — Is it possible to judge a creative artist’s work objectively, knowing that his past is scarred by a sexual-abuse case (“Polanski past comes back to haunt Oscar”, March 13)' The Academy Awards jury will have to answer this question, come March 23. The real complication in Roman Polanski’s case is not so much the fact that the abused girl was only 13 years old, but that the director fled from America to evade prosecution. There is an easy way out for the Academy though: it can always sideline The Pianist on account of Polanski’s past, and say that it did not think the film deserved an Oscar.

Yours faithfully,
Anant Desai, New Delhi


Cricket speak

Sir — What prolonged pampering and support offered by television channels and newspapers could not achieve, a stray comment by Krishnamachari Srikkanth has done. No sooner than Srikkanth prescribed the number 14 slot for Sourav Ganguly after India’s ignominious loss against Australia than the Indian skipper and the team turned around and went on a victory roll. Instead of boycotting Srikkanth, shouldn’t the Indian team be sending him thank-you notes'

Yours faithfully,
K. Giri and V.S. Giri, Calcutta


Sir — The fad of getting a woman to host a cricket show has made a mockery not only of cricket commentary but of the game as a whole. Cricket is no arena to prove a feminist point. Neither is it a game where looks or histrionic skills matter. A cricket commentator is known by his understanding of the game and the extent of his homework. None of the dumb beauties of Set Max qualify on any of these counts.

Yours faithfully,
Bijoy R. Dey, Tinsukia


Sir — Commentators like Krishnamachari Srikkanth just reflect the lows to which cricket commentary has sunk (“Hit and Run”, March 8). Srikkanth’s verbal volleys are as reckless as his batting used to be. Instead of offering a balanced, unbiased and analytical view of the game, he criticizes the skipper and the team at a time when passions in the country are already running high. At other times, he is found exhorting the team: “Come on India, kar lo duniya mutthi mein” with jingoistic fervour, as Arjuna Ranatunga shifts uneasily in his chair. If an impassioned view was required, why not invite an Indian fan on the panel' As for the others, Mandira Bedi always speaks as though she is thinking about her next sentence, and Charu Sharma has developed the looks of a sleepwalker with all his prating. It is just not cricket anymore.

Yours faithfully,
J.C. Nair, Calcutta


Sir — The decision to put Mandira Bedi in the anchor’s seat for the live telecast of the World Cup matches is an affront to Indian women. It is only because of her and her two accomplices, Sandhya Mridul and Maria Goretti, that “Extraaa Innings” has not been successful despite roping in so many former cricketers.

Yours faithfully,
Tanmay Ray, Calcutta


Sir — A number of commentators, including former cricketers, have been expressing fiercely regionalistic views on television during this World Cup. This does not augur well for the future of Indian cricket. Ratan Tata was quite right when he pointed out recently that even after a decade of globalization, we have not been able to break local barriers.

Yours faithfully,
B. Mozumdar, Calcutta


Sir — If she does not know the difference between silly point and mid-on, then Mandira Bedi had better not be sharing the same platform as K. Srikkanth and Arjuna Ranatunga. She plays the same role in “Extraaa Innings” that dolled-up heroines play in Hindi cinema, pandering to the male ego.

Yours faithfully,
Vinita Rabbi, Calcutta


Sir — The former Indian cricketers-turned-commentators are no Neville Cardus, but the least they could do is get their homework done. Sony Entertainment Television has no right to take the viewers for a ride by dishing out a sub-standard analytical package just because it has bagged exclusive rights to telecast the World Cup.

Yours faithfully,
Amar Lahiri Majumdar, Calcutta


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