Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A heady mix, but it's not quite cricket

The fifth edition of the Indian Premier League will start in a few minutes with teams from Chennai and Mumbai clashing in what once was Madras. With the kind of money and energy being spent on cricket, which is neither Test cricket nor of the World Cup variety, I feel sad to think about just how some of our other sportsmen and women are languishing – for want of funds (which is a pittance compared to the amounts being splurged here), sponsorship, infrastructure, backing, andf what have you. Many of them continue to travel by train, second-class sleeper, yet they still do their country proud, winning or losing is another matter.

I was wondering at the kind of money that must have been paid to Big B, Salman, Priyanka, Kareena and Katy Perry (whoever she is). Prabhudeva is host after all. And what did all these ‘superstars’ really do? Amitabh Bachchan and baritone voice all right, but did you really need him to come and recite those verses? Don’t we have our own P.C. Ramakrishnas and Niladri Boses? And whatever was Priyanka trying to act out with Dhoni and the rest of the guys? It looked sick. Except for that trapeze act (there are many women in the circus who do these things much better) and ‘daredevilry’ what did she have to offer? That goes for the rest, too, except perhaps Prabhudeva. We’ve all seen enough and more of Kareena and Priyanka’s shake and swing of the hips (at all those film awards ceremonies, where else?) to really expect anything different. But more than all that I was wondering what each one of them must have been paid for those less than ten minutes of what was hyped to be a high-voltage entertainer.

Cricket has become such a marketer’s delight. At a tournament that is more about cheer girls and razzmatazz and colour rather than the game itself, what better fertile ground to build a brand image! And now you have scantily clad cheer leaders in the studio too... what more could anybody ask for. Wonder how the new-generation woman has allowed herself to be used in every possible way.

How I pine for those days when cricket was just a gentleman’s game! I know they will never ever come back. But I probably have to grow up. My daughter’s just called to say she’s at the stadium, adding that I could catch a glimpse of her if I cared to watch. That now means finding out where my heart lies…

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