Let me declare at the very outset that I am a huge cricket buff. I have been watching cricket for over 20 years now; every knock of Tendulkar gives me a reason to smile, every catch of Yuvi/Kaif raises my hope of winning, every innings of Dravid makes me feel solid…..I can go on, but thats not the point here.
What I am trying to get to is that, inspite of my love for the game, the recent auction of players for the IPL [Indian Premier League] has left me dazed and confused. The astronomical amounts that the franchisees have gutted out is incredible. And in all this trade and commerce, the game has been sidelined. In a bid to cash-on in the name of the game, we have lost the essential meaning of cricket. Its turned into a milch cow for the entertainment industry.
India no doubt has only two passions – bollywood and cricket. And when these two big forms of entertainment join hands then a whole lot of revenue can be generated. You may then ask me what’s the harm ?? Well, it’s gonna hurt the game. We will have a whole lot of cricket but no real sports.
Anyways, what I detest most is the fact that the players were auctioned. That’s so demeaning for the players, what is this …. a whorehouse?? Why couldn’t they do this in privy and just make an announcement that ‘a’ player was signed up for a contract of ‘xyz,000,000’ amount. Wouldn’t this show the players and the promoters in good light?? But no, they wanted a ‘tamasha’ to display money power and do some body-shopping.
Now, the consequence would be that….the players will feel like they have been a part of major flesh trade racquet and they will have to perform out of their skins to justify the amount for which they were ‘purchased’. If this isn’t akin to prostitution then what is it ?? What’s worse is that, they will be forced to give their best here and this will result in a below-par performance when they will be representing the country in international test matches and ODI’s. We have already seen that in premier leagues involving other sports like baseball and football, players refuse to play for their home country and/or fake injuries so that they can keep themselves fit for the club they have signed-up to play for. They put their mouth where the money is.
Enough spoken about the game, now let’s take a look at bollywood which indulged a great deal in the auctions. SRK had to dance half-naked to ‘dard-e-disco’ and he did a whole lot of gymanstics to sell his movie OSO whose production value was 60 crores. Now that he is putting 400 crores just imagine how much of heavy advertising and promotions he will have to do. He may have to sell himself or dance naked in the stadium to attract the spectators and boost the sales of tickets. And he is not the only one who will be doing so. He will bring a bevy of stars along with him. We also have Shilpa Shetty who is behaving like a sole owner of her team; someone please remind her that hse owns only 11% and not the entire team. Preity Zinta will also add to the star studded event. Then, there’s Vijay Mallya who will bring in the glamour quotient with all those kingfisher calendar girls. Mukesh Ambani will also rope-in some bollywood stars and politicians because even he needs to generate profits.
So, be prepared to see some ‘nautanki’, some staged dramas, popular dance numbers, lots of lucky-dip winners, sales, promotions, meaningless ad campaigns, skimpily clad cheer-leaders and ramp models, tv stars, of course filmstars and bollywood personalities. And if you are fortunate enough, you will catch a little bit of cricket too.
This post was first published on Yahoo Network