To be frank, the only thing worth remembering from the IPL 2013 inauguration was Dhoni telling us all from Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata: ‘I can play a bit of cricket.’ Just seven words that encompass a lot of humility… the rest of the inauguration was a pompous mess!
So let’s talk about this pompous mess now. If I were to encapsulate the entire inauguration in just five points, they would be:
- Too many ad-breaks with an over-dose of Farah Khan’s ‘dil-jumping-zapaak’ in just as many inane amateurish clips.
- Aren’t Kolkatans fed-up of Usha Uthup’s handful of songs, Bappi Lahiri’s forced intrusions, and Tagore being propped simply everywhere? Of course, an Agency sales pitch will be able to justify Tagore’s ‘Where the mind is without fear’ in the IPL inauguration, but just look at the misery of the fun-loving IPL and cricket fans who have nothing at all to do with literature!
- Then we had to endure the commentator calling a touch-screen a ‘virtual screen’! And a few of the captains unable to sign legibly on that huge touch-screen.
- Fifty thousand people sitting as if they were listening to Begum Akhtar singing her ghazals when in fact, it was Pit Bull animatedly roaring away on the stage!
- Lastly, Shah Rukh Khan in a speech-giving avatar is worse than his wife’s snooty, bored, and distanced posture whenever the camera happened to travel to her.
No wonder then that there were people echoing similar sentiments even on twitter. Ashwini C N @iAshCN tweeted: ‘Left office early to watch the IPL opening ceremony and I’m pretty sure by now, it’s not worth it!’ But I must admit that Ashwini probably hurried through her judgement as there were a few things that I really loved.
The first was the absolutely mind-bogglingly hilarious rhymes of Siddhu from the studios during the Extra Innings… well, these studio discussion today are surely a part of the inaugural ceremony, aren’t they? So we have rather poetic intellectualisms like:
Kaptani disha deti hai
Jo match ki dasha badalti hai!
And then while taking about a captain’s strategy he said that good captainship is in ‘not making a name / but sustaining the game!’ Siddhu is indeed quite infectious and even Kapil Dev couldn’t resist saying: ‘Bada naam nahin / badi hoti hai commitment!’ So, we never know, this IPL may just manage to convert the Rapidex Kapil into a rapidfire spout of advanced Siddhuisms! Well,this obviously means there was quite a dose of humour during the inaugural telecast.
Another noticeable fact during the IPL inauguration was the obvious Politics-Bollywood-Cricket connect. I could see BJP, TMC, and the Congress being represented, and I’m sure the other parties too were waving for attention somewhere in the motley crowd of fifty thousand there. There was Bollywood prancing all over the stage… and the cricketers sitting there probably thinking: ‘Finish this fast man. We just want to have our drinks and sleep before the real matches start.’
Loved the stage acrobatics, the aerial drummers doing their stringed aerobatics, and all the fascinating drumming in the stadium… how I wish there was less ambient noise and more of this drumming was heard! The inflated giant cricket balls were a nice idea, as was the idea of that female trapeze artist strapped to a bunch of colourful balloons and being guided in the air to carry and hand over the IPL Trophy to Captain Intense! A suave touch to the ceremony and I’m sure Gautam Gambhir must have loved the stunt!
Despite some obvious stereo-typed opening stuff which has become too expected and boring, like the Uthup presence, the overall ceremony could very well be an adequate representation of what Siddhu said in the Studio:
Husn bhi hai
Nakhra bhi hai
Well, let’s hope tomorrow brings in a lot of khatak! Khatak! of sixes and fours being heaved over the boundary!
03 April 2013
Note: Images taken from media sources on the net.