Manchester City’s forward line rotates around one man, i.e. Sergio Aguero. At present, it is impossible to think of Manchester City FC without mentioning Sergio Aguero. He is one of the club’s most-consistent goal scorers. The club has been decimating oppositions in recent times, and Sergio Aguero has been in the form of his life for quite some time. The Argentine has been scoring goals at a rate of knots in the Premier League. He is the second-highest goalscorer in the 2019-20 Premier League season, behind Leicester City FC’s Jamie Vardy( as of Jan 30, 2020).
The defending champions are placed second, 19 points behind Liverpool. (Jan 30, 2020). Well, that is because they didn’t get off to the best of starts this time around. In September last year, they went down against Norwich (3-2). Wolverhampton defeated them in October (2-0), and Liverpool made them bite the dust in November (2-1). The lads from Etihad have witnessed as many as five defeats in 24 Premier League games this season (as of Jan 30, 2020). Consequently, they are sitting 13 points behind Liverpool.
But they seem to have found their mojo, and Sergio Aguero needs to be thanked for that. The Argentine goal machine has been finding the nets quite regularly these days. The moment he senses a scoring opportunity, he wants to grab it with both his hands. He believes in decimating the opposition. Drawn games don’t excite him. He sets foot on the ground in order to win. That is the way he plays.
The good thing about him is: he knows his game. He is well aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Well, his technique isn’t flawless, but it is effective. The moment he takes possession of the ball, he wants to create scoring opportunities. If the team wants an equalizer, Aguero is the first one to put his hand up (most of the time). If he’s going through a purple patch, then he can score goals at will. Manchester City FC have been dominating the Premier League for quite some time. There happens to be a wide gulf that separates them from their neighbours in recent times. Aguero’s ability to score under pressure has been a major reason contributing to the team’s success.
The fighter, the Samurai
Sergio Aguero doesn’t come from the land of Samurais, but his attitude happens to be quite similar to that of a Samurai. Time and again, he sets the stage on fire with his ‘killer instinct’. He wants to create an impact by winning games. The quality of the opposition’s defence lines happens to be of little importance to him. If he’s going through a purple patch, then nobody, not even the heavens above, can stop him. People have often criticized him for being way too aggressive, but aggression happens to be the Argentine’s secret ingredient. Aggression is what separates him from the rest. Here is a lad who lives by the sword, and one has to say, dies by it.
Pressure situations tend to bring the best out of the Argentine. Throw a challenge at him, and he wouldn’t die wondering. This lad from South America is a go-getter. He doesn’t shy away from shouldering responsibilities. His fans know that he spearheads Manchester City FC’s attack, often leading by example. Even if he isn’t in the best of forms, you cannot keep him out of the game.
The Million-dollar baby
According to estimates, Aguero earns somewhere close to 13 million GBP per year (well, that’s a staggering amount, isn’t it?). Some might feel that he’s being paid a bit too much, but if his ability to win matches is taken into account, then people will realize that he is worth his price in gold.
Sergio Aguero has redefined aggression. He can win a game single-handedly for his side. His aggression turns him into a lethal weapon. He isn’t as popular as the likes of Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, but he doesn’t care much about gaining recognition. He just keeps his head down and goes about his business.
At 20, Joao Felix is one of La Liga’s most promising youngsters. After enjoying a fruitful season(2018-19) with Benfica, the teenager was roped in by Atletico Madrid in 2019 in order to bolster the side’s attacking line. Atletico Madrid stood second in the 2018-19 season. Joao Felix is a talented youngster with his whole life ahead of him. Atletico Madrid wanted a long-term prospect to lead the club’s attacking line. The club wanted to infuse some energy into the forward line, and the lad from Portugal came into the side as a breath of fresh air.
A lot of promise:
He grabbed a lot of eyeballs during his time at Benfica. With 15 goals in 26 matches during the 2018-19 season, Felix ended up as the Portuguese League’s joint fourth-highest goal scorer along with S.C. Braga’s Dyego Sousa. He was bestowed with the prestigious “ Golden Boy” award in November last year. The award seeks to recognize the most promising youngster in the world of football.
The Pundits have lauded the 20-year-old for his ability to score goals under pressure. Also, his control over the ball is phenomenal. He can trick just about any defender in the world if and when he is on song. The good thing about him is: he’s young and brimming with energy. He seems to have learnt a lot during his time with Benfica.
There is a lot of pressure at Atletico Madrid Well, things are quite different at Atletico Madrid. At Benfica, there wasn’t much pressure, but Atletico Madrid is a much bigger club. Therefore, the expectations from Joao Felix will be immense. Atletico Madrid have been performing really well. The lads from Wanda Metropolitano have been in good form.
They stood second in 2018-19 (behind Barcelona). They were able to go past arch-rivals Real Madrid by eight points. Their recent victory against heavyweights Barcelona in the semi-final of Supercopa de Espana was greeted with great pomp and show.
We are halfway into the 2019-20 La Liga season, and Atletico Madrid stand third (on Jan 16). In 15 appearances for the club this season, the 20-year-old has found the net just twice. Well, you cannot expect a 20-something lad to go all guns blazing against the oppositions right from the word go. He needs time to get going, all of us do.
Speed and strength Joao Felix is a genuinely talented lad. You don’t get to see such lads frequently. He can destroy the oppositions’ defensive lines within seconds. Also, his speed and strength cannot be taken for granted. No matter how good the opposition’s defence lines are, Joao Felix will score if and when he is in the best of forms. He can outplay his opponents in terms of speed. He is an able dribbler and can pass the ball with precision. Not to forget, he is an indomitable force when he counters.
Also, he is an aggressive player. Aggression is something that comes naturally to him. He is someone who can create scoring opportunities with a few deft touches, which means you can station him near the ‘D’ if need be.
The 2019-20 season
In 15 club appearances this season, the lad from Portugal has scored two goals. Well, the numbers might not be impressive, but Joao Felix’s game doesn’t revolve around numbers and stats. He believes in creating an everlasting impact. Fans, enthusiasts and supporters have witnessed bite-sized glimpses of his on-field brilliance this season, but the job is far from over. Atletico Madrid are left with 19 matches (as of Jan 16, 2020). Joao Felix needs to step up and score.
What does he need? He needs to get along with the experienced pros in the side. The likes of Diego Costa and Alvaro Moratta are seasoned campaigners. They can teach a lot to the likes of Joao Felix. Do not field him at the beginnings. Ask the likes of Moratta and Diego Costa to set the game up. One of these two can be asked to score. Once a healthy lead is maintained, set Joao Felix free. Let him put his creativity to use. Throw him a challenge and see how he responds. Go one step at a time.
Let him express himself. The more he plays, the more he’ll get to learn. The management needs to be a bit patient. He needs time to adapt to the rigours and vigours of Spanish football. Things will get better with time.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) seems to have taken the country by storm. The Bill hasn’t been received well by the minorities. Many believe the Bill is ‘undemocratic’ and aims to hamper the nation’s integrity.
People believe that the country is fast turning into a majoritarian state (much like the Sinhala-led Sri Lanka). Recently, Assaduddin Owaisi, the leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), tore a copy of the Bill in the Lok Sabha. The AIMIM chief believes that the Bill will divide the country into countless fragments.
The CAB hasn’t been well received by the minority communities because it violates the constitution.
Here is how the Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB) violates the Indian Constitution:
First and foremost, the Bill violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality to people (Indians and foreigners). Categorising people along religious lines violates Article 14 of the constitution.
Next, the classification of people along religious lines is unjust. Classifying people based on religion is against the idea of secularism, unless the govt. wants to turn the country into a radical Hindu state.
India is a secular state, and the same has also been mentioned in the Preamble. The Preamble is the guiding light that helps interpret the constitution.
Furthermore, the Bill also ends up violating the Assam Accord of 1985 by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants (on the basis of religion) who came here before December 31, 2014. The CAB clearly violates the Assam Accord, which says that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh (those who came after March 25, 1971) will be deported.
The CAB will also nullify the impact of the National Register of Citizen (NRC) in the state of Assam if people, who were left out of the final list, are given citizenship through the CAB.
In recent times, the Election Commission and the Assam Border Police have labelled many as illegal immigrants (many of them happen to be Hindus). The govt has proposed to drop all of the charges against the Hindus, which means only Muslims will be deemed as ‘foreigners’ by the law. Earlier, the contracts of those classified as ‘foreigners’ were terminated by the BJP. Now, we’ll have only Muslims standing before the Tribunals, which will make the exercise even more unjust and discriminatory.
The curious case of the Lankan Tamils
The problem doesn’t end here. More than 2.5 million Lankan Tamils have been excluded from the list. Why isn’t the govt paying attention? The Lankan have witnessed some of the bloodiest struggles in the history of mankind. They ought to be included in the CAB if it is a genuine attempt to grant citizenship to the Hindus.
Culturally, the Tamils in Sri Lanka have a lot in common with the Tamils in India (The language and diction might differ a bit). Most importantly, Indian Tamils will be more than happy to welcome their long-lost brothers from the island nation, then why has the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ denied citizenship to the Hindus in Sri Lanka? And, why is nobody questioning this? Recently, Tamil actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan questioned the govt’s intentions after the Lankan Tamils were not included in the CAB.
Tamils aren’t considered a vote bank by the Bhartiya Janata Party. They account for little in BJP’s Hindu Rashtra because a majority of them do not speak Hindi. Furthermore, Sri Lanka is not a Muslim-majority country wherein the Hindus are being suppressed. As long as Muslims don’t come into the picture, the issue does not make it to the BJP’s list of priorities.
To draw the curtains
Simply put, the Bill isn’t a symbol of BJP’s love for the Hindu population residing in the neighbourhood. It is a tool that has been meticulously designed to pin-point the Muslims. The CAB seeks to achieve what the NRC could not. It seeks to disintegrate the country by alienating the Muslims.
December’s here. Yes, Christmas is around the corner, which means we will get to see some lighthearted comedy films. Also, most of us have started loving title puns. ‘Falling Inn Love’ happens to be a prime example.
Now, we have The Knight Before Christmas, a film that features a Knight who’s on a quest that needs to be completed by midnight on Christmas eve. Well, if you are tired of watching those slam-bang action flicks and want to watch something lighthearted, then The Knight Before Christmas just has to there on your list. Let us take a closer look at the film.
A brief overview
The Knight Before Christmas follows Sir Cole (Josh Whitehouse), a 14th century Knight who gets transported to 2019 from 1334 as part of a quest to transform into a ‘true knight.’ Here, he gets to meet Brooke Winters (Vanessa Hudgins), a cynical teacher who doesn’t believe in love. According to her, knights in shining armour do not exist. The rest of the story deals with Sir Cole’s adventures in the modern world.
An engaging yet simple plot
The plotline is quite simple– there’s a lovely young lady who doesn’t believe in love. Fifteen minutes into the film, she bumps into Sir Cole, a handsome knight. In all fairness, the story has nothing new to offer. It has all the elements of a classic children’s’ fairytale. The predictability of the plot does leads to an element of monotony (at times). Watch it, and you’ll be able to predict just everything.
Josh Waterhouse is the star of this medieval rom-com. He looks perfect in that shining armour of his. Girls are bound to go ‘aww’ over his ‘chocolate boy’ looks while watching the film. He nails his part to perfection.
Let us discuss Sir Cole in detail. He is our knight in shining armour. His name sounds continually like Sir Cool (read: circle) as the other actors mouth it. He comes from Norwich (1334) and lets us know that he was knighted by King Edward III’ six years ago.’ Cole says that he hasn’t had the opportunity to see his parents since he was sent away to be a squire while sympathizing with Brooke over the loss of her parents. This guy can bring down a Christmas tree with a single stroke of an axe. Also, he loves chocolate mead.
Vanessa Hudgins plays Brooke Winters ( that surname sounds interesting). Less than five minutes into the film, she says, “We all grow up fantasizing about being a princess, and finding true love with a knight in shining armour and living happily ever after, but the thing is, that’s all it is. A fantasy.” Boy, and I thought I was disillusioned.
Hudgins hasn’t been provided with much material to work with despite being the film’s producer, but looks quite believable. Her dialogue delivery sounds quite convincing, and she ends up breezing through her role with ease.
The Knight Before Christmas is your rudimentary rom-com flick. If you wish to enjoy the film, then keep your brains aside. If you happen to search for logic in just about everything that you come across, then don’t watch it. Moving on, the film has a much broader (and moving) message to convey. The film makes us realize how fortunate we are. It motivates and pushes us to lend a helping hand to those who aren’t as fortunate.
What might not work
Do keep your expectations in check if and when you are planning to watch the film.
The Knight Before Christmas is your lighthearted rom-com that makes for a decent one-time watch. It’s one of those gushy-mushy films that get you in the mood for Christmas.
Marjaavaan, Milaap Zaveri’s latest directorial venture, has finally hit the big screens. Starring Siddharth Malhotra, Tara Sutaria and Riteish Deshmukh, the film tells the story of Raghu, who works as a thug under Narayan Anna (Nassar), a water mafia don.
Well, could Siddharth and Riteish recreate the magic of Ek Villain? Well, not quite.
Spoiler Alert: It’s no prequel to Ek Villain. (Sigh)
As stated earlier, the film follows Raghu, the ace hitman of a local Don named Narayan Anna. Narayan loves Raghu more than his son.
Consequently, Vishnu, Anna’s biological son, falls short of his father’s love. Not to forget, he’s a dwarf and keeps shooting metaphors around height. The story is simple: Raghu is Anna’s most trusted right-hand man and was taken in by Anna after he was abandoned as a child. Vishnu is jealous of Raghu and wants an opportunity to destroy him.
Quite frankly, the story has nothing new to offer. Marjaavaan is a standard revenge drama film with half-baked dialogues and mindless action sequences. Five minutes into the film, Siddharth Malhotra can be seen smashing the bad guys. Also, a few plain and tasteless dialogues have been used to ‘ornament’ a largely mediocre film.
Tara Sutaria, who plays a mute Kashmiri girl named Zoya, wants to transform the lives of slum children. She believes music can change lives. So, our hero converts a Mumbai slum into Indian Idol. Zoya happens to be assembling a troupe for a music festival in Kashmir.
Halfway through the film, the leading lady dies, and our protagonist can be seen crying his eyes out over her lifeless body. The second half is no less painful. Just when you think you have had enough, goons jump into the frame, and you will get to see some substandard ‘dishoom-dishoom’ sequences. Simply put, Marjaavaan’s story will remind you of those over-the-top revenge dramas from the 80s.
Okay, here’s the interesting part. The dialogues don’t leave much of an impact but do end up providing some unintentional comic respite. Five minutes into the film, Siddharth Malhotra says: “Main Ek maarunga, Marr jaayega. Doosra Janam lene se darr jaayega.” Post interval, we can see Raghu staring at Zoya’s (Tara Sutaria) grave. At this moment, yet another flavourless dialogue can be heard escaping Raghu’s lips: “Zoya, main badla Nahin, Inteqaam loonga” ( Badle ko Urdu mein inteqaam kehte hain. XD). There’s love, there’s melodrama (a lot of it). Not that melodrama hasn’t worked for Bollywood films in the past, but some uninspired dialogue delivery tires you out eventually.
The film’s writers are to blame. Not much thought has been put into the writing bit.
Siddharth Malhotra looks disinterested in the film. His dialogue delivery doesn’t end up creating much of an impact. Also, why is he wearing a leather jacket? Does it get cold in Mumbai? Well, god knows. Rakul Preet Singh plays Aarzoo, a dancer. She looks bubbly and charming but was not given much to work with. Also, her dress sense reminds us of the cabaret dancers from the good old 1980s.
Tara Sutaria looks charming. Her expressions are quite believable. Also, her on-screen presence is bound to instil a sense of optimism. Unfortunately, she has been shown as a helpless young woman. A gush of blood pours out of her mouth after she is shot. Optimism and charm die a slow and painful death, alas!
Ravi Kishan, who plays a cop, looks quite convincing. Unfortunately, he wasn’t given a meaty role. Also, South Indian actor Nassar looks impressive as an underworld don.
Riteish Deshmukh, the film’s antagonist, tries hard to look ruthless, but nobody fears a three-feet tall ball of hair. Also, a villain doesn’t talk in verse, does he? Our villain seems to be obsessed with metaphors around height. All in all, the acting part is weak. The film needed some well-defined characters.
The film’s background music makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s too loud. As far as the soundtrack is concerned, “Tum Hi Aana” sung by Jubin Nautiyal will remain in your playlist for a long time. “Thodi Jagah” by Arijit Singh is easy on the ears. The rest of the songs have just been copy-pasted. Boy, music directors and lyricists need to unleash their creativity.
Simply put, Marjaavaan is a hotchpotch of epic proportions. It is not something you’d want to watch. Well, if you wish to kill time, then give it a try. Marjaavaan is a film that could have been a full masala entertainer, but a largely predictable plot doesn’t let it rise above its limitations.