Salman Khan as Goodwill Ambassador a gimmick – nothing less or more

Salman Khan won’t be the first movie star to capitalise on sports in India – Shah Rukh Khan has used the Indian hockey.

Written by Jaideep Ghosh | Published: April 28, 2016 1:29:50 pm
https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/leadership-lessons-creating-a-culture-that-allows-talent-to-flower-harsha-bhoghle-2773469/ Bollywood star Salman Khan was named brand ambassador for the Indian contingent for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. (Source: PTI)

This whole Salman Khan thing, of him being the brand ambassador for the Indian contingent for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, to put it mildly, is a mess.

It seems that he will create more attention and attraction among us sporting Indians about Olympic sports.

And he will add to the number of spectators. Really? Fascinating.

Then maybe someone can also clear my confusion about a couple of other things.

Why then, does everyone involved with all sports that come under the Olympic anvil (NOT cricket, in other words) complain incessantly about how that sort gets all the mileage?

Given that they cannot find one person from among their own ranks to be a brand ambassador?

Secondly, since when did Olympics become a spectator sport in India?

Like, when Salman (there’s no ‘if’ it seems) creates this huge fan following, they will all head for the nearest airport and head for Rio, to provide the much-needed boost to our world beaters?

The Olympics, in most countries, are not spectator sports.

Unless they are being held in the immediate neighbourhood.

They are, by and large, television sports, since most people will never ever be able to encompass all their favourite events in one day.

Not to mention they are all stinking expensive.

And there are no passes.

Oh, we forgot one little detail.

The Olympics are being held in Rio de Janeiro.

That’s in Brazil.

That is on the other side of the world, and on a good day, its takes two days to get there.

And you will also end up shelling out a year’s pension for the air tickets.

Also, if you want to cheat on the hotel bills and stay on the beach, good luck with that.

Just let us know which side of the law got to you first.

If you can, that is.

Even if you didn’t go, you would have to set the alarm to watch the live stuff, since Rio is, well, in the other hemisphere.

So let’s see what all we have gained from making Salman Khan the brand ambassador.

First, we have lots of enthusiastic new fans, who will actually look forward to lauding and cheering our athletes, well after Salman’s movie is out.

These over-excited fans will sell their home, cattle and depreciating assets to buy a ticket to fly to Brazil and cheer some more.

Unless of course Salman and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have some grand plans to finance these fans and make India the well-represented nation at the Games.

Spectator- wise.

Let’s stop with the rubbish, shall we? Making Salman Khan the brand ambassador for the Indian Olympic contingent will essentially be a gimmick which will evaporate as soon as the movie is out.

Salman won’t be the first movie star to capitalise on sports in India – Shah Rukh Khan has used the Indian hockey, the Indian Premier League and his franchise, the Kolkata Knight Riders.

But his is way more astute a marketing guy than Salman.

So he’s not as in-your- face.

It could well be the Sallu bhai might have opted for cricket, but it was all taken! Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s movie is going to be out, so is Mohammed Azharuddin’s.

In any case, the only cricketer Salman resembles is Brendon McCullum.

Not much fun there.

What people are not getting is that, as much as Salman wants to promote his avatar as a wrestler, it is as much an investment in Salman as a brand, to be deployed later in the years to come.

My gut feeling is that Salman will be the government’s poster boy for the next General Elections.

But that’s another story.

I also get a feeling that Salman would have struggled to be the Olympic choice had Amitabh Bachchan been on the right side of propriety now.
After all, the Big B did sing the National Anthem soulfully and wave the Tricolour very enthusiastically during India-Pakistan match during the T20
World Cup.

But no one accounted for the overseas accounts, I guess.

Just a conjecture, this. But I see the logic.

Father Salim Khan has come up in stoic defence, saying that his son was an athletes and a wrestler of no mean skills.

Really? First time I’m hearing of that. At least we’ve heard of

SRK playing hockey.

Salim Khan also took a pot shot at Milkha Singh, who’s not really known for his diplomacy.

Milkha Singh shot back.

All very sporty.

This is also a good time to take a pot shot at Salman as a great ambassador for Indian sports. People are applauding, among other things, this marksmanship in the black buck shooting case.

Not to mention his driving skills.

And we’re not talking golf here.

The whole thing cries out for sarcasm, cynicism and a little laugh.

So take it all in that spirit and don’t get to heated up about who’s making mileage at Indian sports’ cost.

This isn’t the first time that’s happened. Nor the last.

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