If yesterday was spent watching the first show of 'Golconda High School' with family today was even more brilliant. I invited a bunch of cricketing friends from my school days, my coach and my teacher to view the movie at Prasad's at the 815 p.m. show and they all came down. And to make things even better, the young stars of GHS also joined me in the viewing the movie. Oh, the kids brought the place down as they reveled in the sheer joy at watching the movie together for the first time since it got released. For me it was immensely satisfying to sit with my old mates and watch the movie and listen to them poke fun at one another and try to identify some character or other with the one on screen.
Mr. Rehmat Baig, my coach at All Saints High School in 1982, even then a BCCI Coach fro South Zone and today, to my mind the finest technical expert in matters cricket in India, was gracious enough to come. Nay, highly enthusiastic. He was the cricket consultant for the movie and had coached the kids. More than anything his passion and love for the game is something I cannot describe. When he said, 'Well done, Hari. The movie has come out very well,' my heart swelled.
Bro. Joesph of Montfort Institutions, the face of cricket across all Montfort schools, known as the 'cricket brother' someone who has spent his life advocating exactly what the Principal of GHS Vishwanath Sharma says - games are important. He has single handedly prepared cricket grounds, made teams, coached teams and made better people of so many of us. And the gratitude to him was evident in everyone's voice when I told them that Bro Joesph was coming as well. 'Wow, is he coming as well?' Bro. Joseph was one of the first to arrive and the last to leave from the venue.
CV Anand had seen the movie the day before with his family and chose to come again with us today because he said he really liked the movie. That was wonderful. Not only that, he suggested that we all come early so we could catch up and chat. So Anil Kak, fast bowler and Project Manager at PES Engineers and I went together the theatre first followed closely by Clement, opening batsman and Owner of one of the biggest publishing houses in Botswana, Bro. Joseph, an excellent all rounder and top man of Montfort Asia and Africa. Then came Vijay Kumar, wicket keeper batsman and Ranji probable, MBA and Superintendent, Central Excise, Narender Pal Singh, 300 Ranji wickets as a fast bowler in his hey day and now Ranji Selector, Chetan Joshi one of my first pals on the cricket circuit, the original left arm spinner from Hyderabad until Venkatpathy took over and an employee of Indian Railways today. Of course the stylish and irrepressible Gajanand Reddy, left arm fast bowler, now avid golfer and fitness coach for the Hyderabad Ranji team came with them. C.V.Anand, stylish all rounder and now IG of Police in Traffic, Hyderabad joined us soon looking dapper and nice. Mohsin, batsman who played for Hyderabad at the Under 25 level and businessman came accompanied by Baig saab our coach. Mahesh Raje, leg spinning all rounder and now leading lawyer joined us soon. Last came Iftekhar, my first pal in the All Saints team, the amicable off spinner and incredibly likeable younger brother of Azharuddin and we piled into the theatre. Balig and Ehtesham could not make it just as Venkatpathy, Noel, Yuvraj, Sanjay, Pavan and Suri could not.
On the other hand Bobee (Ashish of GHS) called me and wanted to see the move so I asked him to fix up with any of his other friends who wanted to see the movie since I had some extra tickets. Soon the numbers swelled as Vasudev (Ramesh of GHS), his older brother Mahadev, Sriraj (Nissar of GHS), Suraj (Vikas of GHS), his brother (Aditya of GHS), Bobee, Santosh (Gautam of GHS), Farooq (Mikey of GHS), Srinivas Sai (Siddhanth of GHS), (Sanjay of GHS) came to the theatre. Sometime later they were joined by Sangeeth (Varun of GHS) and Lalith (Rajinder of GHS) making it an almost full XI. We really missed having Pradeep (Shameem of GHS), Bharath (Kaleem of GHS) and Rohit (Noel of GHS) with us. And since it was the first time they were wathcing the movie together they brought the house down whenever anyone of us appeared on the screen. I was happy being with them, near them, enjoying their comments and their energy.
Elsewhere in the theatre I was happy that my friends from the Osmania University Engineering College, A.P. Srinivas and his family, Anjaneyulu and his family, Ramana Murthy and his family, Suresh of Ybrant Digital, and several of their freinds numbering 30 in all were watching the movie. AP was the architect of the gathering and it was he that I met firstAnjan as he always does, gave me a warm hug, and wished me and Ram well and said that he got reports that it was doing well. Anjan had always been highly supportive and encouraging of the books I have written and I was really glad to see him there with his wife Aparna and kids Pinak and Pradyumn. I met Anil and Sujatha my young friends from OU Engineering College and Sushmita and her lovely children. At the food court I met Meenakshi from CoD and her friend Pallavi who had also come to see the movie, Sravanthi and her husband, Ramesh's father and mother, Lalith's father and mother, so all in all it was great fun bumping into so many people we knew.
Mostly however it was great fun seeing my old cricket mates and hearing their regular nonsense. It was almost as if time had stopped for all of us and despite the bulk, the grey hair, everyone seemed to slip back some twenty five years. I was really moved when every single one of them genuinely said they liked the moive, the narration, the message, the performances, the songs and they all said that in great detail. We met the young stars of the movie on the way out, clicked some pics together before the kids went off. Clement then wanted us all to have dinner together and we sat and ate dinner at the foodcourt until the lights were shut off. Once outside we again hung out together for a while before we split sometime after 12. 'So no one wants to leave first huh,' said CV and that echoed the general sentiment.
Go GHS! I was glad that my friends came out and watched the movie and liked it. CV said 'This movie will pick up as word of mouth spreads. I will recommend it to all.' So thanks guys, all you people who liked the movie, go recommend it to your friends and family.We need all the support from you, now.