Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kyunki Cricket Bhi Kabhi Sports Tha
Because Cricket was Once a Sport

The soapy situation of a crooked sister-in-law or a vicious mother-in-law slapping the (proto?)typical daughter-in-law might reflect a not-so-bloated social state, but it never has had anything to do with cricket. Cricket has always been hailed as the game of the gentleman. But recent trends, of course, show otherwise. Not only in the non-gendered way. Aunts weren't gentlemen, but cricketers were! It has become a game of violence, even worse, it has become an Indian reality show.

Once upon a time there was a sport called Professional Wrestling. Not only the WWF or TNA or such stuff, history says that even India had its ‘pro’ version. Anyone who has seen the modern version of this so-called sport with eyes open would know how unreal the entire thing is. It has become the great American show, with ‘show-men’ and ‘show-women’. It is all about spectacle, skin, sex and violence, emotion and words – not much time or skill left for wrestling, is there? I must apologize here. Wrestling is very much there, even if it is just an excuse to do all the other things and bring in the money. There are peculiar and apparently death-giving blows exchanged. Reaction-time for these fellows is remarkably slow as the whole thing depends a lot on live audience. Why take the unnecessary 'replay' hazards when the performers can slow down a bit for the spectators’ advantage!

My question was what was/is wrong with cricket itself? Wasn’t tickets selling, wasn’t media rights being viciously fought over? Why is it that in order to draw the crowd there has to be busty cleavages? Excuse me, thanks to morally conscious ministers, you get to see only lusty hippages – sorry, hip-shakings or should I say hip-hoppings (I still think busty cleavages and lusty hippages go rather well together). Not that I have anything against such entertainment. Freedom of (s)expression and stuff has always been my favourite cause.

Shah Rukh Khan said that he wanted to give the crowd the multiplex experience. If you want the multiplex experience go to the multiple multiplexes there are, why come to the cricket ground! People who are entertained by such things can have such things elsewhere. They can have celluloid versions of teasing dance ‘item’ numbers. Nobody seems to be bothered by them, but the culture-vultures will take up arms whenever there is a mini-skirt or tight t-shirt (perhaps with multiple windows) on a real live woman! In all the protests everywhere all the focus is on the cheer-leaders, nobody is bothered about the game. Strangely enough, this is one occasion where a section of the crowd needs the cheerers, not the game!

It is not as if the game was money-starved. Cricket is the richest game in India. There are so many economically and politically (never sportingly) lesser games which could have used the extra attention and would have been enriched financially and popularity-wise. But money draws money, and money also draws some other creatures too. We all know the golden rule – he who has the gold rules. Manoj Kumar had sung (rather lip-sync-ed) about how his country soil is a giver of gold. His agricultural idea has been taken up by the current minister. He of course is not interested in the soil, only in the gold.

The advertisements for the Kolkata Knight Riders are the slickest. They are also the sickest. They show no respect for the game, no respect to the ideals of sportsperson spirit. Aggression added to vulgar boorishness with a handsome sprinkling of money is the ingredient for destruction of all things civilized. These ads promise exactly that. Sense of humour is one thing, being cool is another, but being abusively distasteful is completely beyond boundaries. However, the fact that advertisements do not promote performance, thankfully, is proved!

When I saw a certain Southern Bowler playing for a Northern city crying in the field, all I could say was Change the Channel please. Thank God for remote controls!

1 comment:

Sucharita Sarkar said...

To paraphrase a well-known Bengali rhyme:

(Sourav)dada (Shahrukh)bhai,
chalbhaja khai, moyna machher muro(eat your hats, er, helmets),
hajar takar bou enechhi, khada naaker churo (the million-rupee team is good-for-nothing),
khada hok, bocha hok shab shoitey pari... (I can tolerate boorishness, gamesmanship, everything...)
por-por-por-por match harchhe, oi jala tei mori. (but not the losses in back-to-back-to-back-to-back matches).

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