SUDHISH KAMATH on the seven things to watch out for in 2007

This year, the small screen will become bigger and the big screen will become smaller. King Khan will take over TV and computers will slide into trouser pockets. Cars will get cheaper and road-space dearer. You will say Tata to bikes, and `Aata' to Reliance. The world will shrink further, the World Wide Web will get wider. The net will help you network, work and play. Sport will come alive and people will die gaming. Some of the biggest battles will be fought hard this year, on the field, on the road, on the screen and in your own living room. Here's a quick look at seven things 2007 has in store: World Cup Cricket: Will India's best cricketer ever be able to live his dream of lifting the Cup? Or will Sachin Tendulkar go back the way his buddy Vinod Kambli did at Eden Gardens? Will Sourav get to do half of the full-monty he once performed? Or will he be stripped off his uniform again? Will the Aussies send off McGrath uncorking champagne after the finals? Or will there be a slip between the cup and the lip? With some of cricket's best set to play what will be their last World Cup, this edition of the Cricket World Cup in the West Indies has all the makings of World War Three. "Sivaji" versus "Dasavatharam": The superstar released his last movie some 20 months ago. It hasn't stopped running yet. When Sivaji- The Boss returns to his office, the box office is likely to work overtime. The government ceiling on the pricing of tickets only means that crores of rupees will now go to black-marketers. Not the producers, not the government. After all, when was the last time you actually got a first day first show ticket for a Rajnikanth movie for Rs. 50? The last time around, Kamal Hassan pitted his low budget digital experiment against Superstar's comeback film. It was an uneven contest. This year, it will be a lot more even. For, Tamil cinema's biggest rivals will face off with support from Tamil cinema's most commercially viable directors, Shankar and K. S. Ravikumar. This is one contest fans will absolutely relish.Shah Rukh Khan in KBC-3: The third season will last 52 episodes, Monday to Thursday, starting this month. "SRK started his career on TV and it's really a homecoming of sorts for him," says Ajay Vidyasagar, vice- president, Marketing and Communications, STAR India. "We got one million call-ins ever since our phone lines opened. The uniqueness of KBC this season is that we are reaching out to a younger audience. A lot of what is being done targets the youth." An old Bollywood saying goes: "Only sex and SRK sell." With the telly having a strict No-sex policy, SRK is likely to monopolise TV sets when the third season of "Kaun Banega Crorepati" goes on air. Will the new-age Don successfully don the mantle in his own inimitable style? Or will he pale in comparison? For answers, tune in to India's most entertaining question and answers show. Cheaper cars: Mamata Banerjee might have tried to put the brakes on the small car project but this year, the Tatas are determined to unveil what could be India's most significant automobile revolution in recent times. Though it would be mid-2008 before the cars finally hit the road, what you can expect this year are cheaper cars from the competition. What this also means is that our already clogged roads will see more cars than bikes. Get set to spend more money on fuel and more time on the roads. If you live in the metros, this is a good time to move out to a smaller town. Fresh food: Retailing will never be the same once Reliance rolls out its retail chain, `Fresh', to bring you fruits, vegetables, diary products and grocery sourced straight from the farmers. With pilot stores in Hyderabad and Jaipur averaging sales of Rs.1.5 million a day, more such stores will find their way into your city this year. Walmart recently tied up with Bharti, with plans of setting up shop during the year. This year, people are likely to spend more time in the malls, hypermarkets and supermarkets than ever before. Multimedia phones: Imagine if you could surf the Internet, listen to your favourite music, take high resolution pictures and find your way around the city, thanks to GPS technology and if you could do all of this from just your mobile phone. Nokia's N95 is a breakthrough in mobile phone technology for it has shrunk the multimedia personal computer. With eight gigabytes of space, it doubles as an iPod or a Video iPod, a five-mega-pixel camera, a GPS device and a phone, all at the same time. The much-awaited phone will paint the town red this year. Virtual lives: What happens when blogging, networking, video sharing and gaming are all launched on the same platform? With new-age networking, video-sharing and gaming sites like lifeblogger, zapak and crickem and the arrival of X-Box and Sony Playstation 3 (PS3), a lot of young minds will prefer virtual lives to the real one. Fighting or bonding, it will all happen online. Also, Blu Ray technology (that packs five times the data normal DVDs can hold into one disc) will hit the shelves this year and given that Blu Ray's encryption has already been cracked into, piracy too will hit the next level. The new PS3 will hit the market with Blu Ray compatibility. With so much action in store, 2007 will be over before you even know it.

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