CITY NOTES: Rambo to the rescue

It seemed that everything was going right for Ramiz Raja. Not only had he become PCB chairman, but everyone seemed to remember that other commentators had named him ‘Rambo’, perhaps in retaliation for the frequency with which he called fellow commentator and ex-captain of England Nassser Hussain ‘Nas’.

Then Misbahul Haq resigned as team head coach, and Waqar Younas as bowling coach, so that Rambo could name Matthew Hayden of Australia and Vernon Philander of South Africa coaches instead. That way, Rambo could say he scored First Blood, which was the first movie of the series. The second movie was not named Second Blood, as logic demanded, but

First Blood Part II. Continuing to play fast and loose with the numeric system, the third was named Rambo III; then came Rambo. Those were all movies Rambo must have watched in his salad days, but recently came Rambo: Last Blood, though the prospect of Sylvester Stallone making a sixth film, in which Rambo somehow becomes ICC President, has suddenly come up. True, Stallone is 75, but that’s no age, as Raja’s mentor, Imran Khan, can testify. He still lays claim to the youth vote at 68. Ramiz is a mere 59, having been born in 1962. That would mean he was only 18 when he graduated, back in 1980.But is Rambo happy with Sly Stallone playing him? Stallone, after all, broke through in another sport, with Rocky. Maybe now that he has the gravitas of a PCB chairman, Rambo would prefer to be called Rocky? That would put him in the same company as Sanjay Dutt, whose entry into Bollywood was in a film also called Rocky. The movie is about as bad as its title sounds, but Sanjay Dutt was launched, because the movie was a hit. And Rambo was in college then.

However, Rambo would have his bubble pricked, when his inaugural series as chairman was taken away from him by New Zealand oiling out of the one-day series.New Zealand intelligence had detected a security threat? Or had the security consultants New Zealand Cricket had hired (and they’re the same guys England has hired)? It turns out the supersleuths of New Zealand don’t have any reliance on the anti-terrorist skills of the greatest agency of the world.

An Australian once said, “New Zealand has a population of 32 million sheep, of which two million think they are people.” There’s been an increase in the population thinking it’s human to 4.2 million, and a decline in the population comfortable in their identity as sheep to 26.2 million, but the situation remains tilted towards the sheep.

Is it a coincidence that the New Zealanders bailed at the time there’s all that fuss about the Taliban in Kabul? There was a Rambo movie about Afghanistan, and now we could have a Rambo movie where the ICC president chases terrorists, thereby winning in reel life what was lost in real life. Wait, make Rocky the ICC President,and you’ve combined the Rocky and Rambo franchises. If an Indian general could put a photo of Shan and others on his website and try to pass them off as Pakistani soldiers fighting in Panjshir for the Taliban, why shouldn’t Shan play Rambo? Unless Imran can inveigh Sanjay Dutt to do the role?

And remember, Imran has a lot of say-so in Bollywood, with a whole generation of stars having raised funds for his cancer hospital. Rambo, then plain Ramiz Raja, was part of his World Cup win, and Bollywood of his hospital, the two prongs of his public appeal. So the two can claim to have made him PM. So won’t Sanjay Dutt do the needful? Of the writers of his first film, Bharat B. Bhalla,who did the story, is still around, though the dialogue-writer, Rahi Masoom, passed away back in 1992. But surely the dialogues can be done by the same people who did the dialogues for Imran, or Shan’s film on Kashmir. Then there are the writers of Rambo II, apart from Sly himself, David Morrell and Sheldon Lettich. They’re both a bit long in tooth,and would not come cheap, but it’s an idea.

Maybe the movie could also find a place for President Arif Alvi, whose desire for a peaceful Speech from the Throne extended to having the reporters locked out of the Press Gallery. Not having a Rambo to rescue them, they fumed in silence.


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