Jumping Jhapak…Thumping Thapak Overkill

Legendary cricketers dancing in a music video,Comedy Circus artistes as fillers,anchors who make big boo-boos on air,cheerleaders and jugglers on the ground. Is it entertainment over cricket at the IPL?

Written by Harneet Singh | Published: May 10, 2013 10:50:34 pm

NP Singh,Chief Operating Officer,SONY

Over the past five years,not only has the IPL become established among the pantheon of great sporting events,it is also the most tuned-in entertainment spectacle that television can offer. While cricket has always been a successful commercial enterprise,the IPL is the most popular format of the game where entertainment and cricket meet to delight millions across the world.

As a broadcaster of this hugely popular phenomenon,our aim is not only to appeal to the purists of the game but to reach out to viewers from different walks of life. We have created a legacy of maintaining a fine balance between the sport and glamour quotient to create a one-of-its kind viewing experience in which the entire family can partake. It caters to people across all ages,gender and regions. The IPL is often deemed as the summer Glam Slam of Sports,Entertainment and Glamour!

Cheerleaders and other such entertainment add-ons have elevated the level of cricket entertainment to a new high.  These new additions have pushed the boundaries of sporting entertainment making this property an overall commercial success. In fact,cheerleaders is an international phenomenon and play an important part in creating the fervour in huge adrenaline led sporting events such as football and basketball.

Mandira Bedi helped break the stereotype and bring out those enthusiastic women viewers who enjoy the match just as much as their male counterparts. We love it when the entire family enjoys an IPL match together. Our present anchors,Karishma Kotak and Rochelle Maria Rao,continue to carry forward the legacy of bringing in the element of glamour and appeal,thereby increasing our reach.

We do take pride in the fact that our viewers enjoy a mix of hardcore cricket knowledge and entertainment,thereby making IPL a marvel that it is.

Dr Narottam Puri,Cricket Commentator

If I have to choose,then I’d rather watch a Test match. I haven’t warmed up to T20 and if I have to watch a 20-over game,then I’d rather watch countries battle it out rather than leagues. That said,I do agree that T20 has contributed in taking cricket to a whole new set of spectators who were not otherwise interested in cricket. The IPL has come in as a boon for the fringe players at the Ranji level — rubbing shoulders with professional international cricketers has improved their running between the wickets and fielding.

But to my mind,IPL is like a tamasha. I worry about the game being commodified by the IPL. The impact can be seen in the presentation and commentary also. Since the game has become so fast and there are so many advertisements,the commentators get very little time to make the viewer understand the finer nuances. When people say that the standard of commentary is going down,I tend to side with the commentators who deal with huge pressure.

As for the non-cricket savvy presenters and anchors,I feel that the responsibility lies with the person who is going on air. You have to do your homework,read up and ask the correct questions. Sadly,it’s becoming more about how you look rather than what you speak. Looking glamorous can be part of your job,but if you are presenting a show on cricket,then you have to know the game. But I don’t entirely blame the female anchors because they are given a role and they are just performing it. If cricketing heroes are dancing on a music video well,what can I say since I’m no authority to comment on their moves… as long as they are having fun,I guess it’s okay.

Thankfully,I have the liberty to watch what I want and I’m happy to see Test matches.

— Debate conducted by Harneet Singh

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