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Sunday, May 6, 2012

By Ogle Bunkraker


(Published in Sify.com on May 1, 2012, retrieved from http://www.sify.com/sports/ipl-of-didi-mujras-and-tv-hysteria-news-columns-mfbleedahid.html)







In an era when everyone has incisive insights to offer on the IPL, I might as well tell you they call me “The man who misses nothing but the point”. Well, okay, I call myself that. I’m not sure what it means, but it sounds stupidly unimaginative enough to qualify as cool – like “Inside Edge” or “Third Umpire” or “Silly Point”. Ironically, no cricket show has called itself “Silly Point”.
And a man who’s paid to comment on the game that made the likes of Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid score at over a run a ball has to sound flashy. I don’t have at my disposal the power of metaphor that shot Navjot Singh Sidhu to fame, or the ability to spout rhetoric that threw the non-cricketers in the commentary box into the big league.
But hell, you don’t need expertise to comment on a game that put the likes of Mamata Banerjee and the cheerleaders in bikini-based renditions of the sari on the same dais. That makes me wish I’d been around when that happened with the Dalai Lama in Dharmshala. Wait, did that happen? Was he on the dais with the cheerleaders? Damn, no, that was the World Cup last year.
On the subject of things I miss from last year, who was that South African cheerleader who went on about the girls with the pompoms being treated like pieces of meat? Boy, an exclusive interview with her would have been lapped up, huh? I bet she has her own show now, in South Africa. Or on that channel in India that tried to get Rakhi Sawant married off multiple times, and managed to get Rahul Mahajan married off on his first attempt at a second innings. Is that the one that closed down?
Anyway, never mind. It so happens that the only games I’ve managed to watch this season involve the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Punjab Kings XI. I can’t turn away from those. It may be the combined ugliness of the uniforms. I mean, shining golden borders on the one side, and torn knee caps on the other. What kind of style statement is that, anyway? Bollywood opulence vs. austerity drive? You know a team’s cutting corners when their captain is their coach. Or are those guys supporting some cause with the torn knees? They seem to be doing something with green caps, but I can never figure out what they’re saying in that ad – it’s full of garbled accents, of which Gilchrist’s is the most articulate, and that’s saying something.
And there’s something about ‘Punjab Kings XI’. It’s like they had to throw in the number there, just in case they got mixed up and dragged the twelfth man along on to the field. I wouldn’t put it past them this season, you know. How often do we see Gilchrist miss two stumping chances in the same match? Off the same ball, I think.
I like them for their scandals too, but what do you expect when the team’s owned by Preity Zinta? Or any other Bollywood actor? And when half the teams in the IPL are owned by Bollywood, the rumours are far more interesting than the cricket.
Which brings me to the WAGs. Finally, cricket has that glamour factor. Leave aside the lasses braving schizophrenic weather in their loud lingerie – there are enough wives and girlfriends to fill a budget issue of Vogue. And I keep seeing cricketers interviewed along with their consorts. I wonder what they ask them. You know, experts never listen to commentary, or chats – which is why we get told the same things about five times in the course of a match.
I have to admit I love watching IPL on TV in mute. You know that girl with the dhol and facepaint who appears during the titles? Under different circumstances, she could’ve been yelling “bachao!” in a Hindi movie. Unless she’s playing a ghost, in which case she’d wear the same expression – and facepaint – to chase down a man screaming “bachao!” Of course, the man would have had to have killed his girlfriend first in some lonely haunted castle in the middle of a jungle, where their car would’ve obligingly broken down.
 Then, there’s the second set of titles, where the broad guy with the awkward jaw and the skinny guy with stringy hair whom I last recall as the paranoid actor in A Wednesday flap their jackets and twirl about.
Next, there’s that song Pyaar ki Pungi from Agent Vinod, which was “inspired” by the Farsi number Soosan Khanum, to which a group of cheerleaders perform an epileptic mujra, while the “experts” lean back against imagined bolsters on barstool-like chairs. My favourite moment of the year was when one of the coat-flapping men was gawking so intently at the girls, he had to make a very un-quick recovery when he realised the camera had been on him for about ten seconds.
That kind of thing sort of makes up for the waving wrinkle bags that count as celebrity sightings.

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