So the IPL is here. Or as Sidhu puts it, “The IPL is like a didgeridoo frolicking in the monkeys of Mordor, even as angels get sloshed through the endoplasmic reticulum of the asymptotic haemorrhoids.”
The sponsors have a much simpler message: “The IPL is the greatest thing to happen to mankind since the invention of breasts.”
Now I’m not what you would call an avid fan. At this point, I don’t really remember who is in which team, and I most certainly don’t go around claiming that Mumbai is the best simply because Mukeshbhai can afford to buy his wife some players. (In any case, we Mumbaikars don’t need a cricket team to assert our superiority over other Indian cities – it’s something we do anyway. GURGAON IS FULL OF FRUSTRATED CATTLE-MOLESTERS! See?)
But I do enjoy the circus that is the IPL. It takes the focus off the boring parts of cricket – in-depth analysis of the pitch, the angle of growth of individual blades of grass, the pH of the bowler’s sweat, the umpire’s bowel movements etc. – and shifts it to fun aspects that can be appreciated by any beer-chugging idiot at a bar. No pseudo-intellectual speculation, just simple questions: Will Sachin hit that cheeky six? Will Virat take a stunning catch? And just how blitzed is Ravi Shastri?
The fun usually begins with the opening ceremony. But the multi-crore glamfest, held in Chennai this week, got a lot of flak for, well, sucking. It combined Bollywood and cricket in a manner that was less Lagaan, and more Awwal Number. (If you haven’t watched Awwal Number, then congratulations on having good taste.)
Here’s a quick recap of the ceremony:
1. First, Amitabh Bachchan took to the stage to recite a poem about cricket. But in doing so, he committed a vile and dastardly act, something Chennai will never forgive him for. He recited the poem… in Hindi.
(If there’s one thing Chennai hates, it’s people speaking in Hindi. That, and Kannada people asking them for water.)
2. The poem had been written by Prasoon Joshi. I don’t remember how it went, but that’s not important, because thanks to the following Prasoon Joshi Poem Generator, anybody – even you! – can write like him.
First, think of a few emotion-inducing Hindi words, like ‘maa’. Throw in some ‘sunshine’ and ‘smile’ type optimism. And then, somehow, work in some cricket-related terms. This is what I have:
Maa, meri maa, hai sunshine
She’s like my dhoop
Pyaar se khela cricket
Zindagi ne liya wicket
Smile for sunshine
Recite with a slow intensity, as if you’re being deep while trying to not throw up at the same time. You’re welcome.
3. The organisers made sure to throw in some local Chennai flavour, with a Prabhudeva act, while Priyanka Chopra also danced to ‘Nakka Mukka’ and ‘Kolaveri Di’. See, this is what happens when you can’t afford A.R Rehman.
In terms of stereotyping, this was the equivalent of holding the ceremony in U.P and having Ravi Kishen ride in on a Mayawati statue, shoot innocent bystanders and migrate to Mumbai.
4. The biggest attraction of the night was the international pop sensation, Katy Perry, who is famous for making me feel old because I don’t remember her songs.
5. Perhaps the most scathing feedback came from Lalit Modi, who, during the ceremony, tweeted that it wasn’t interesting and that he was going to go out with his friends instead. I was shocked to hear this. Lalit Modi has friends?! Who knew? Next you’ll be telling me Sharad Pawar has a soul.
Off-field remarks aside, the game is very much on. Even casual fans like me are bound to get swept up in the madness. I’ve decided against stadiums, since I’m not too keen on the whole ‘death-by-heatstroke’ thing. You’ll find me chugging away at a bar though, trying to catch up with Ravi Shastri.
(Note: This is my HT column dated 8th April 2012. Cross-posted from here.)