Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Bollywoodization of Cricket: A Business Proposal

Unless you had your eyes welded shut, ears stuffed with molten iron and your Twitter and Facebook logins disabled, you would most certainly have noticed that IPL 3 dominated the news and most of your time spent awake. And if you are even the most average Indian fan, you would have followed the tournament through its month-and-a-half duration absorbing all that it threw back at you - the annoying TV anchors, Lalit Modi's omnipresence, Yuvraj's paunch (not to be confused with the MRF blimp), Shilpa Shetty's husband (not to be confused with anonymous cheerleaders), the Tharoor twist, and perhaps from time to time the activity that went on in the background all along -- the cricket.
I do not (or, more accurately, cannot) belittle the tournament. IPL is what it is: The glorious congregation of game and glamour. Perhaps the primary reason why the IPL has flourished is that it has brought together India's two evergreen favourites: Cricket and Bollywood. That allows Anil Kumble to dine with Katrina Kaif, L Sivaramakrishnan to pose for photographs with Preity Zinta and Harbhajan Singh to (literally) sweep Nita Ambani off her feet.
My lament, if I should have one, is that even after three editions of the IPL, Bollywood continues to play a disassociative role. The glitz continues to be restricted to owning teams, appearing in post-match parties and Navjot Singh Sidhu's so-flashy-it-turns-people-blind outfits in pre-match shows. Bollywood missed a wonderful chance by not bidding for one of the new teams planned for IPL 4. It's also a foolproof business plan - why invest insane amounts of money in other teams with underperforming cricketers, inconsistent coaches and Ajit Agarkar when you can have your own folk playing on your own team?

So, dear Bollywood, it is high time you set up your very own IPL franchise. And I present to you the following tips to go about this tedious task.
Finance to set up franchise: Now there should be no dearth of money in this industry. Clearly, the calls from Dubai aren't from old friends wanting to catch up, correct?
Franchise Name: Needs to be catchy yet self-defining. How about Juhu Juggernauts? Or Film City Fundamentalists? What? I'm serious.
On-Field Eleven: A team entering the IPL arena with such high expectations deserves to carry nothing but the very best of the lot. However, I propose the following starting XI:
1. Harman Baweja - Because the direction in which the acting career is headed, a change of careers is definitely recommended. (Applicable work ex: Victory)
2. Aamir Khan - Played the role of a dashing, inspirational batsman in one of the greatest cricket movies ever made in India, directed by an unchallenged legend. You guessed it right. Dev Anand's Awwal Number. Aamir also played cricket in some movie called Lagaan.
3. Ashutosh Gowariker - Played a pivotal role for his cricket team in the movie Chamatkar and later directed Lagaan. Ironic that he should figure in a T20 XI considering most of his movies are as long as Test matches.
4. Naseeruddin Shah - Played the role of a match-tampering ghost called Marco in Chamatkar followed by that of a washed-out bowler called Mohit in Iqbal. Included in this team because -- think about it -- how many old people do you know who are named Mohit?
5. Rani Mukherjee - Same reason as Harman Baweja. Applicable work ex: Dil Bole Hadippa
6. John Abraham - Has not appeared in a cricket movie (at least, one of note) yet but managed to convince a total of zero persons with his role of a soccer player in Dhana Dhan Goal. Also, he is included because someone from the team has to look good in the ads endorsing jerseys, toothpaste, lightbulbs etc.
7. Mandira Bedi - Included in the team for the sole reason that this prevents her from appearing in cricket shows before, during and after cricket matches, thus reducing the occurrences of brain haemorrhage amongst Indian cricket viewers drastically.
8. Aditya Lakhia (aka Kachra from Lagaan) - An awe-inspiring leg-spinner from 19th century India, his claim to fame is the crucial 10th wicket unbeaten partnership with Aamir Khan in Lagaan. Also, it's fun to shout "Kachra, gola phek" on a cricket field.
9. S Sreesanth - Not an actor you say? Like the typical Bollywood 'hero', he can dance (ref. the Andre Nel incident), cry (ref. the Harbhajan slap incident), express anger (ref. pretty much every match he plays) and act kind-hearted and charitable (have you seen his bowling stats?!)
10. Shreyas Talpade - What? You thought Sreesanth was going to be the dependable pace bowler in the team? (Applicable work ex: Iqbal)
11. Mithun Chakraborty - Because Mithun can do ANYthing. Rather, EVERYthing. Period.

Bollywood should also nominate their members to the Elite Umpires panel. My two choices:
- Amrish Puri: Known for his excellent super-accurate umpiring skills, made well-known by the movie quote "Uparwala (Third Umpire) wrong ho sakta hai magar Dong kabhi wrong nahi hota!"
- Dog who umpired in Hum Aapke Hain Koun: Well, he was being typecast as an annoying dog in too many movies and wanted a change of profession. That's all.

So that's that. Let us all agree that this is a fantastic lineup and an awesome business proposition too. So if you are connected with Bollywood in some way and would like to take this idea further, let me end with these five profound words - I accept payments in cash.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weekday Rant

It is important for me to state in a public medium that i am not fond of Mondays. Not only do they ruin the weekend reverie but they effectively obliterate the potential pleasures i may have otherwise drawn from Tuesdays. In fact, I despise Mondays so much, i am writing this on a Wednesday. You may not appreciate the essence of that profound statement right away, but that is not the point. The point is -- Mondays are miserable.
I have much to talk about though not as much to put in writing. But i am not much of a talker. But then, i am not much of a writer either.
I babble now.
See, this is what day-before-yesterday (Monday) has done to my Wednesday.
Let me focus my hate to next Monday now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Doh! It's 2010 already

Note: Did this for a newsletter thingy at work. Parts of it may be too geeky for non-IT folks. But the last line goes out to each and everyone of you who visit this page diligently to have this blog clock in an average rate of 2.5 hits per day. Yay for 2010! Here we go...

The following is not Breaking News: We are into the new year - 2010. We like to celebrate New Year - to most, it signals the start of something new and fresh; a chance to erase the old and ring in the new.

What we actually love to hate (or hate to love) most about new years are resolutions. We make them, we break them, we fake them. To each his own.What is interesting is the nature in which our resolutions for the new year adapt themselves to the calendar as the months roll by. By Dec-31 of the year, the resolution has miraculously morphed itself into something that bears no resemblance to its Jan-01 form. And that too only if it has survived to see Dec-31 - in most instances, the resolution is lucky to even see days beyond summer. Here are some common resolutions you may hear / have heard / may (not) hear few months down the line in the office corridors.

The Health Freak
In Jan: I am going to work out, lose weight and stay fit this year.
In May: I will stop donating 1/6th of my monthly salary to the gym by actually going this month onwards.
In Aug: Salad for lunch every Tuesday from this month.
In Dec: I am going to work out, lose weight and stay fit next year. Promise.

The Techie Geek
In Jan: I will master a new technology this year.
In May: New technology later, let me learn the current one and knock off a technical certification to show off on my resume
In Aug: Let me just target contributions to one online tech forum discussion based on my project learnings.
In Dec: Forget it yaar, I still need to make sense of what I worked on last year.

The Managerial Aspirant
In Jan: By the end of the year, I will be PMP certified and will be leading two large, happy teams
In May: Will book a 2011 date for PMP. Must hold on to one team of any size till end of year.
In Aug: Must learn to use the terms "leverage", "bandwidth" and "core competency" in at least three sentences daily.
In Dec: (changes topic when reminded of resolution)

The Over-ambitious Everything-er
In Jan: This year, I am going to quit smoking, eat non-veg only on weekends, appear for and ace CAT & GMAT, blah-blah .. .blah-blah…
In May: Yeah, yeah! Plan still on. Have not smoked in three hours, was force-fed beef by friends at party last night and tomorrow I am joining coaching classes for ...
In Aug: Er, yes. Sure. (mumble, mumble, grumble and groan) Lets talk tomorrow.
In Dec: (reminder about resolution elicits barrage of expletives)

The Avid Reader
In Jan: Three books a month in 2010. No fewer than three.
In May: I think I'll start with Dan Brown.
In Aug: Arre, this Chetan Bhagat writes ekdam fantastic books, yaar. So thought-provoking.
In Dec: Forget books, man. I've seen Three Idiots four times and I'm following Chetan Bhagat on Twitter also.

Like it or hate it, each one of us will find ourselves slotting into one of the four categories above this year. No? Then you are certain to slot into the last category – The Naysayers Public statement: “Bah, I do not believe in making New Year resolutions”. Real-world translation: “I’d rather sit back, relax and have myself a ‘happy’ new year. World be damned”.

Like I said before, to each his own. Happy New Year, all!


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