Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cricket, holidays and memories

I was watching the movie adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's popular novel ' 3 Mistakes of my life' - kai Po Che the other night. I haven't read the book, because I think the author sort of lost the plot after 'Five Point Someone' and seems to try and do more of the same thing every time he comes up with a new release. Frankly, it's not great writing, but it seems to be perfect for the simplistic formulaic plots of Bollywood movies.

Kai Po Che was a good watch, nothing extraordinary or new, but entertaining nevertheless.Other than the plot though, which circled around the lives of 3 friends, the biggest draw of the movie for the Indian audience was its cricket-centric setting. It made me think of the times when I used to watch the sport, as religiously and with the same fervor that my brother and father did.

I remember sitting in my old house in Lucknow, glued to the TV screen and following every minute of so many One Day matches.Loo breaks had to coincide with the finish of the 6-ball over and radios were kept on standby just in case the electricity-supply decided to play spoilsport. All sorts of superstitions were followed, from the mildly absurd to the ridiculously bizarre and movement was judiciously limited when Sachin Tendulkar came to the crease. Celebrations after a win had a very specific dance ritual which involved a group huddle and jumping /skipping in a retarded fashion till the post match ceremony came back on air.

Cricket was fun then. As with most things in life, the sport and its arena has become too commercial over time. Trying to woo new viewers and glamorize the game has resulted in a cricket match becoming more like a Karan Johar magnum opus, a potboiler replete with dancing girls et all. The 20/20 format, and more specifically the IPL have made the game a shadow of what it was before; and it seems to have lost its soul somewhere along the way.