From sporting arenas to television studios,sports in India has indeed come a long way
Gone are the days when sport was all about team meetings,sporting arenas and selection processes. Sharapovas crystal-studded red dress,Dhonis trendy locks,Sanias catchy slogans on tees and Yuvis nights-out seem to have taken over. Sportspersons and glamour quotient seem to be inseparable of late,and now with Vijay Mallya and Shah Rukh Khan swinging into action for their F1 and cricket teams respectively,the quest for glamour and glitz has hit the small screen too.
Glamour was ample in the first edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL); the second season only promises more. The new reality show Knights and Angels on NDTV Imagine will find cheer leaders for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) who will travel with the team and lift their spirits. Such kind of differentiated programming has never been done before,so when SRKs Red Chillies Idiot Box presented this concept to us,we thought it was a great idea.
After all,Bollywood and cricket are our national religions and a mix of both is definitely going to generate interest amongst the viewers, says Shailaja Kejriwal,EVP Content,NDTV Imagine.
The show will be the television debut of KKR captain Saurav Ganguly as well,and choreographer Shiamak Davar will mentor the participants on the show. So have we reached a stage where we need cheer leaders to see cricket through? Cricket doesnt need them and it never will. Cheer leaders and music albums are little sidelights. If they bring a smile it is fine but they should not interrupt the play. The face of the team will always be the player or,sometimes,the owner. Cheerleaders are over-hyped, says cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle.
Another reality show,The Fast and the Gorgeous on MTV,in association with Mallyas Force India,looks to popularise Formula 1 in the subcontinent. According to Ashish Patil,MD,MTV,The show is to select the four divas for Force India,who will tour with the team. The show will also help generate interest in the sport and prepare Indians for our first grand prix in 2011. Most F1 teams around the world have glamorous faces like Tyra Banks and Gemma Garrett and this show seems to be an effective exercise in finding our own supermodels. Like Mallya puts it,Force India epitomises the young at heart and is a combination of aspiration,glamour and excellence in a heady blend.
While many youngsters feel programmes like these have made sports like F1 more noticeable and popular in India,Bhogle opines,As long as the shows dont interfere with the sport and dont give people an incorrect picture,I have no problem. What I am not comfortable with is allowing wannabes to jump onto the bandwagon and use it to get themselves seen.
Oh well,be a sport.