IPL: The heady cocktail of cricket and Bollywood

IPL is probably one of the smartest ever business endeavor made between Bollywood and cricket. The Bollywood divas, Preity Zinta (left) and Shilpa Shetty are the co-owners of Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals respectively © AFP

As newspapers, news channels and social media sites is agog about the Indian Premier League, Aayush Puthran reasons out why the people of India love the tournament so much.

Crystal gazing is the process of making of determinations or predictions using questionable or unscientific means. It is not accurate yet, it has been a widely accepted practice. However, even crystal gazing doesn’t seem to offer best results when it comes to prophecies during the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Cricket as a sport generally offers predictable results, unlike football, hockey or Formula 1. However, it must be argued in favour of the IPL that the capriciousness has been its Unique Selling Proposition (USP) — which has caught many eyeballs.

Personally I’m not a great fan of the tournament. Yet, its level of unpredictability, a feature surprisingly absent from international T20s or even the domestic tournaments like the Big Bash or Sri Lankan Premier League, does make for fine entertainment.

To believe that IPL is cricket would be a thought that you could only kid yourself with. It is the sharp thought process of involving the nation’s two biggest loves — cricket and Bollywood under one roof. It is a business endeavor, probably one of the smartest ever, made with cricket as its primary premise. And just for this, one has to laud the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), for IPL has more keen audience than cricket does in India.

The social media is buzzing with fervor. For once, the Indians are fighting a battle for their respective clubs that is not reserved for Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool. It is cricket! So, basically, the western influence and marketing strategies have seeped in on the sporting front as well in the country.

The fact is nobody talks about Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from all forms of the game when he is performing poorly for the Mumbai Indians. The crowd just wishes to keep watching the maestro without caring a damn about the outcome of the match. And if marketing gimmicks are to be applied in full throttle, it won’t be long before Tendulkar and his son Arjun would be sharing the same dressing room.

Ricky Ponting, the once ruthlessly aggressive Australian skipper hated for his arrogance in India, becomes an obsession. A little-known Glenn Maxwell is bought for $1 million, creates the hype and doesn’t get to feature in a single game

And as Indians, we like a little bit of drama in our lives. The tournament offers controversies in plenty. The antics of players like Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, S Sreesanth’s keeps the media on their toes.

Overall, the four-hour package makes for a perfect Indian family watch catering to the entertainment needs of the people of all age groups (minus the aspiring young cricketers and the golden oldies who still vindicate that Test cricket is the real form of the game).
(While enjoying the small joys of life, rarely has anything mesmerised Aayush Puthran more than cricket. A student of Journalism in Mumbai, he is trying to figure out two things: ways to make Test cricket a commercial hot property and the best way to beat Mumbai traffic. He has a certain sense of obsession with novelty. He might seem confused, but he is just battling a thousand demons within his mind. Nonetheless, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of coffee!)