(What happens when IPL TV commentators come on the pay-roll of BCCI?)
-By Sanjay Jha
The BCCI passed a unanimous resolution that it would henceforth compensate IPL commentators directly for their professional services. Naturally, the select panel of chosen veterans was as thrilled as the bubbly bimbos queuing up to serenade Rahul Mahajan. But with the erstwhile IPL Commissioner now under permanent exile , the BCCI big guns were prodigiously anxious; how would they ensure sponsor satisfaction of 10 on a 5 point scale? Thus, the same secret luxury resort on a beach-front where discreet rendezvous of BCCI/IPL Governing Council is frequently held was chosen as the sacred venue. Unfortunately, yours truly was also there with a high-tech mobile gadget soon to be launched called Karbon-Copy which could read anyone’s lips from a distance of 50 m, even better than George Bush Part I. Hence, the extraordinary script that follows.
This is an EXCLUSIVE SCOOP :
Shashank Manohar ( SM) : Thank you Arun ( Lal) , Ravi ( Shastri ) and Sunil ( Gavaskar) for coming here for this urgent crisis management meeting. And you Srini ( A Srinivasan) and Ratna ( Prof Ratnakar Shetty) .
Prof Ratnakar Shetty was not visibly amused as for some reason he felt like Naseeruddin Shah’s endearing wife , but he kept diplomatically mum. Sunil Gavaskar (SG) did not.
SG: In terms of seniority and achievement , you should call my name first.
Arun Lal ( AL) and Ravi Shastri (RS) at the same time: And me next!
A Srinivasan (AS) : Shut up, you egotistical ex-cricketers ! You are now on our pay-roll, and now we will drive the agenda. You do as you are told to do, irrespective of your brand preferences. Am I clear?
AL, RS and SG : Brand preferences?
AS: : Enlighten them, Ratna . The purpose of this meeting is to be fully prepared for our new project—SPONSOR SATISFACTION: 100 per cent GUARANTEED which comes into effect from the Champions League in South Africa next month. What Modi can do, we will do better. Get it???
PROF RS : Ok, I am giving you the list of all our listed sponsors. You will huddle up in the attic above the kitchen-sink to avoid creepy media cameras seemingly lurking around , and come up with your creative, innovative and magical interpretation of how we can maximize valuations of these brand sponsors.
He gave them each a sealed and signed envelope .
SM: We reassemble in exactly 15 minutes, as time is short and we suspect a sting operation. We want your genius at play or else you can still be disbanded or your salaries halved. Am I clear?
SG, AL and RS climbed the concealed staircase behind a large portrait of Sharad Pawar transported especially for the occasion.
Exactly 14 minutes and 32 seconds later, they returned, arm-in-arm singing a collective chorus as they did the salsa to “ We are Family”……..
SM: What the hell is that?
SG: Sir Ji, this is a popular song that will play before every match and we commentators will dance on the field. And we will get Karan Johar to direct it, and also sponsor it as it is his forthcoming film also . What an Idea, Sir Ji? Brought to you by Kara————–?????
SM/AS: Kya IDEA hai ! Brilliant! Magnificent! Excellent! Bravo!
Prof RS : Who is this Karan Joker?
Everyone ignored him.
SM /AS : Go ahead ! Go ahead! We are so excited. We can’t wait. Now we will teach Modi some marketing.
SG: First, everytime Sachin Tendulkar shuffles at the crease, it will be an Itch-Guard Moment.
Clap ! Clap!
RS: Sir, and as far as Rahul Dravid is considered, if he gets bowled while executing a classical Biblical flawless straight drive, we will get in Sahara: We chase Quality, Quantity Chases Us.
Manohar did not seem too pleased with that, but did not say a word.
AL: Sir, and when catches are dropped, they will be brought to you by LIC; zindagi ke saath bhi, zindagi ke baad bhi.
Srinivsan seemed so tickled with that, he instantly rolled off the floor. He was lifted up by the stewards.
SG : And Sir , Videocon will come in everytime there is a fall of a wicket. Experience Change, by Videocon.
RS ( looking passionately excited) : And if Katrina, Deepika, Priyanka, Vidya, Bipasha, Kareeena, Kangana………….
SM: Will you please stop reading out the list of Bollywood heroines and tell me what you are going to tell me, Ravi?
RS ( unable to control himself) : Well Sir, everytime Katrina, Deepika, Priyanka, Vidya, Bipasha, Kareena, Kangna……..
Srinivasan had begun tearing Manohar’s hair in frustration.
AL ( interrupting RS) : Well Sir everytime these heroines come on camera, that will be Hero Honda’s Desh ki Dhadkan .
In the meantime, Shastri tried to contain his palpitation.
SM( in deep introspection) : Good idea, but don’t you think we should give it to Pepsi for Yeh dil maange more?
Everyone was very impressed.
AS: You are becoming a copy-writer , Shash.
There was pin-drop silence. Everyone exchanged glances. And Manohar looked very pleased with himself.
SG: Sir, Yuvraj Singh will be brought to you by Kingfisher, Prince of Good Times for pint sized beer bottles only, that way we won’t impact King Mallya.
AL: And everytime Ashish Nehra spits on the ground for no apparent reason it will be a Listerine Moment; it is dynamite against germs crawling on the grass.
RS: And MS Dhoni’s inexplicable audacious non-text book batting shot will be an Audi Shot: Vorsprung Durch Technik, nobody will understand it only.
AS: Clever! Very clever! Very clever indeed! Even MSD will love that mumbo-jumbo.
SG: Our tail-enders rearguard action will be from Maruti : You can at least Count on Us. .
SG: Even we will get sponsored, Sir, the whole commentary team. After all, we change public opinion more than the actual game, Sir with our comments. Well, that will be by Amul .
SM: Amul? Ice cream? Are you guys seen as sweet and cold?
RS: No Sir Ji, Amul Macho inner-wear.
SG: Our expert summaries will conclude with , Yeh to bada toing hai.
AS and SM cleared their throats.
RS: We have even thought of roping in Toyota by giving them coverage when Sidharth Mallya will appear with Ms Deepika Padukone on the balconies with a confused expression. It will be a Toyota moment, Designed to inspire envy!
SM: You guys are just too good. Go ahead, Express yourself, brought to you by AirTel. Ha ha! Am I not a genius too ? Good, no?
Clap! Clap! Clap! The applause lasted 2.31 minutes.
AS: Wow Shashank, you are becoming a natural! At this rate you will send Manish Pandey out of business.
RS: Piyush, Sir, not Manish .
The animated discussion was punctuated by a sudden impenetrable stillness in the air.
RS: Sir, why has Reebok ditched us, sir! They are no longer sponsoring CT League.
SG: But why?
AS: They are supporting Lalit Modi even now. Crazy fellows. Because they believe he best typifies their tag line I am What I Am.
SG: Forget it then ! We have come up with a real winner for our new government account .
RS: Whenever our batsmen take 2 runs, the Ministry of Health and Family Planning advertisement will be broadcast by us commentators.
SM: Really? How? What?
AL: Hum do aur Hamare Do !
RS: And we should get Sunil’s sunny-side up smile sponsored by National Egg Coordination Committee.
Gavaskar looked slightly miffed with that , resembling an egg muffin, but was soon giving a sunny grin.
SM: I saw some bearded chap hanging around with a modern satellite mobile instrument outside that looked very fishy. . So let us do a TVS moment and Break Free from here quickly. But on tip toe. Let’s Go for It by the will of Nike!
And with that they quietly took off their Action sneakers and disappeared.
By the time I managed to enter the room there was only one steward standing there in a printed florescent underwear.
Where have they all disappeared? I asked. Please, please, tell me!
The steward gave a smug smile, strutted around the room like a peacock and then contemptuously dismissed me with a resounding flourish : This is a Lux innerwear moment, Sir! Yeh Andar Ki Baat hai.