(Review of the Chennai Landmark Quiz on August 15, 2011 by Karthik Narayan)
Before we begin – a short prayer on our lips…
1. Please convince 2,000 people each year on August 15 to make no plans other than to attend the Landmark Quiz to help create a new record participation over last year (1800).
2. Please do not make us feel as if the quiz is an exam. Make us replenish our cup of knowledge and leave us thirsty for more.
3. Let there be more pretty girls (this was an actual tweet on screen, not mine) at quizzes so more guys will come… (No complaints about the girls though, they are in short supply at quizzes).
4. Pray help us somehow reach the finals of at least once in our lives. If you do this for us, I will offer my team mate Pantan’s head for tonsure for your efforts.
5. Other prayers – to be continued after the Landmark Quiz…
It’s a long prayer, I know. I was even tempted to add in – “If I reach the finals of one Landmark quiz, it will be good enough for a lifetime” but I somehow pulled myself out of it at the last minute.
The Landmark Quiz at Chennai on August 15 every year is like being at Lord’s cricket ground. Both begin with L – for starters. Everyone loves the venue and the ambience; both are the Mecca of their respective games (cricket vs quizzing), both are never short of inspiration for one to perform and achieve great things, and there’s always plenty of audience and action. However, there are no streaks at Landmark, just quiz freaks, thousands of them.
True story – Sachin Tendulkar does not have a century at Lord’s; nor do 2000+ contestants at Landmark, as they eagerly wait for their arangetram or first step on the stage at India’s premier Open quiz championship. Right now, that privilege has been reserved for a select few, and is it fair to say that each time; the glass seems harder to break? The argument continues…
The prelims had 40 questions as usual – but this time the questions were slightly tougher compared to the 2009 and 2010 editions at Chennai. The 2009 edition is still being raved in quizzing circles as the People’s Quiz where almost every participant had the golden opportunity to make it on stage, but ever since the cutoff has been on the down-side. Last year the highest score was somewhere around 31, this year the highest was 29. In 2009 it was 38! Eight teams made it to the finals, with two to take it from there to the National Finals to meet the top two each from Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai editions.
A few years ago, when quizzing was not such a big deal, people enjoyed the following things – answering questions, learning new things, missing out on minor bits of the answer, making spelling mistakes but getting away with it and a thousand other splendid things. In today’s world, competition is fierce; an error is a farce. One sleight of hand (and brain) actually changes the whole picture; one wrong answer could prove costly. Even the ever-green, ever-good QED just about made it to the Chennai finals (they scored 25/40 and became the new “alagar” cutoff). An IQL team comprising Sanandan, Vinod and Sylvian Patrick (tough luck, guys) were not far off the mark – with 24. I’m sure there were a hundred other teams fighting for the slot of top eight with scores not more than 0.5-1.5 away from the cutoff. Such is the level of quizzing.
For a keen quizzer, the Landmark quiz promises a variety of questions in all genres. Something in it for everybody. But the true value comes from the fact that there is no pressure at the Landmark Quiz – it is a mass entertainer. The school kids who as always answered almost as many as we did. Our team of Ananthakrishnan (Pantan, Sriram (Ramki) and me were slightly off colour but we still scored 22/40. The older generation came in good numbers, with people ranging from 40-70. They didn’t do badly at all – one of the teams next to ours got 18/40 which is no mean feat. My point here is – Landmark Quiz caters especially to those who are not regular quizzers. That is why the quiz format is popular and brings back more people each time.
All you got to do is be there and immerse yourselves in the experience of great quiz questions, a fantastic quizmaster whose humbleness inspires us all, brilliant minds in the country under the same roof and above all – pure entertainment value for time spent!
All hail the Landmark quiz organizers for maintaining interest levels, churning out record audience each time (at Chennai and Bangalore especially). All rise for the sponsors, among others – snickers for giving out free bites, yummy! And thanks to Dr.Navin Jayakuma, the quizmaster, for the freshness that we all felt this year at the Madras Music Academy on Aug 15, 2011 – new ideas came out in the form of LIVE tweeting during the quiz, the active participation of audience all through the quiz in the form of sms quizzing and some greatly researched rounds of questions. I enjoyed tweeting and reading all those tweets on John Mayor’s “musical talents” and the requests for completing the quiz early so that someone could go home to watch a tamil movie.
Overall – a jam packed hall at the venue, brilliant answers, some moments of agony and crazy Malayalam accents lit up the evening. Congrats to Kabala, JK and Sriram for pulling off a blinder after being slightly sluggish to begin with. Everyone else played their parts to the T. I played mine by writing this review.
BTW – Prayers 1 and 2 were answered… still waiting for 3 and 4
In other news….
The Winning team at Chennai Finals: Mama Machan Mapilai – Sriram, JK and Kabala
Runners up – Obama Satyabhama – Shiv, Udupa and Ramkey
Winners and Champs for Season 2010: MMM
Best Corporate Team – Infy
Best Team Name – “Lok Pal Bill, Lock all and Grill”
“Landmark” Quiz announcements:
The Landmark quiz is hitting new landmarks – literally!! New venues for the 2011 Season! The Quiz will embrace Hyderabad and Delhi – two untouched areas by Landmark with lots of enthusiasts already celebrating the news!!
This brings great news in the form of new venues, more questions and most importantly – 16 more slots for dreamers to try and go up on stage. More opportunities, more fun. Landmark Quiz truly is starting to become a Pan-Indian event in the calendar, not just for quizzers but also in general culture.
The Flip side is: National Finals 2011-12 would comprise 1 team each from Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi whereas 2 each from Chennai and Bangalore. Unfair – but now’s the time to make those long trips to places you always wanted to visit…
PS: will post questions once available.