Ashdoc's movie review---Fire in Babylon

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by ashdoc, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sport and politics have always been inseparable , for as sport grows in prestige it binds the emotions of the teeming millions and becomes a vehicle for expressing popular opinion . In fact sport is more easily understandable to the common man who is least bit interested in politics and binding sport with politics makes a political event of greater interest for him .

    ' Fire in Babylon '......So what is Babylon ?? I had to search the internet for it.....
    And the word has different meanings including a biblical one , so I had to hit upon the right meaning to understand the title in the context of the subject of the movie . It means an oppressive system where a particular race is discriminated against .

    ' Fire in Babylon ' is not just a documentary on the success of West Indian cricket ; it explores the emotions and the reasons behind the pride felt by people from the Caribbean Islands because of the success of their cricket team in the cricket field . As one explains , it was for the first time that the black people had produced something that was the best in the world and was unbeatable for a long time . The west Indian team of the late 70s and eighties was not just the pride and joy of the black people , it was the manifestation of black power.....
    And it was not just that , it was the black challenge to those who felt that blacks were not capable of anything , and it was a fitting rebuke to the unjust system that discriminated against black people---the intention was literally to set fire in Babylon....

    Against such a towering and grand backdrop we enter the movie.....

    The movie unfolds through the eyes and the voices of legends of West Indian cricket---giants such as Vivian Richards , Micheal Holding , Colin Croft and Andy Roberts....we are truely in august company.....

    We hear form the horses' mouths how the West Indian team was a team of gentlemanly losers in the 60s ; a team which produced occasional flashes of brilliance and individual stars like Gary Sobers , but never managed to win consistently . They were called calypso cricketeers , a name based on the brand of music that flourishes in the Caribbean---frivolous people who could not be taken seriously .
    And to some dedicated individuals , that fact hurt....
    It seemed that the Black man was destined to lose ; his job was to make the white man conscious of his own superiority.....

    Cut to 1975---Australian tour of the West Indies.....
    The West Indian cricketeers are subjected to racial abuse and physical intimidation by the arrogant Aussies , with fast bowlers like Lilee and Thompson pouring fast balls and scorn in equal measure.....

    And a gentle giant of a man , the West Indian captain Clive Loyd makes a decisive decision---He would make use of the immense physical strength of the African male to produce his own fast bowlers....and while Australian fast bowlers hunt in pairs , he would outclass them in their own game by producing a quartet of them ; four menacing lethal fast bowling machines that would rain fire on their opponents....fire in Babylon !!

    Its not just reform in West Indian cricket but revolution !! A revolution that is set to move the tectonic plates of the world of cricket....
    For a sporting superpower is born....

    And as speed demons like Andy Roberts , Micheal Holding , Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall unleash their terror on world cricket the accusations begin to fly thick and fast---of having reduced cricket to war , though the west Indians feel that converting it to war is an elevation not a reduction

    The movie is a feast for those who enjoy the perverse pleasures of seeing faces and bodies of batsmen reduced to bleeding jelly---for interspersed throughout are such shots from real matches.....

    And defying all attempts to introduce new rules to curb their speed and lethality , the deadly foursome continue to rule the game ; first defeating India , then Pakistan , then Australia and then England---all in their home countries .

    But for all their deeds there is no moolah.....
    It is Kerry Packer the Australian billionaire who gives the devil his due by inviting the world's top cricketeers at what seem to be astronomical amounts of money at that time---changing the financial equations of the game....

    And then there is the rebel tour to Apartheid struck South Africa---some black men are willing to barter their honour by playing cricket in the mecca of racism.....
    Not so the superstar of cricket Vivian Richards , who refuses a million dollar check to play there , a fact appreciated by Nelson Mandela no less....

    Amidst all this mayhem there is no mention of One day cricket even though the West Indies lorded over it by winning two world cups---thats because ( as a cricketeer explains ) it is test cricket which is a real TEST of the endurance of a man ; what sets apart the men from the boys . That why its called TEST cricket---other forms of cricket is for minnows .

    And West Indian overlordship of test cricket lasts for 15 years---a source of immense satisfaction to dark denizens of the Caribbean isles who justly gloat that in no other sport has anyone dominated for so long.....

    Amen to that....

    Verdict on the movie---Good if you are a cricket aficionado .
     
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