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Monday, May 17, 2021

Every single time Rahul Dravid screamed, he would say, ‘Why am I doing this?’

On the day a new IPL season kicked off with two heavyweight franchises led by India’s biggest stars, ‘RahulDravid’ and ‘Indiranagar’ were among the top trends on Twitter.

Written by Gaurav Bhatt | New Delhi |
Updated: April 10, 2021 7:33:01 am
Rahul Dravid's commercial went viral on the opening day of IPL 2021

“Every time Rahul Dravid would scream, every single time he screamed, he would cover his forehead with his hands. Like ‘What am I doing? Why am I doing this?’” laughs Ayappa KM, director of the commercial that has the famously tranquil former India captain lose his head in Bengaluru traffic. “A guy out of his comfort zone… That was so entertaining to watch.”

The Wall. Jammy. Mr Dependable. The commercial for a credit card bill payment app has added another entry to Dravid’s iconic nicknames: ‘Indiranagar ka Gunda’.

The ad begins with a ‘Cred’ user admitting the benefits of the app may sound “ridiculous, like saying Rahul Dravid has anger issues.” It then cutaways to a manic Dravid challenging fellow drivers, throwing coffee, gleefully wrecking rear-view mirrors with his bat, standing through the sunroof and shouting his latest moniker.

An instant hit, the video raked in millions of views across social media within hours. On the day a new IPL season kicked off with two heavyweight franchises led by India’s biggest stars, ‘RahulDravid’ and ‘Indiranagar’ were among the top trends on Twitter.

“I think the biggest victory here is that Rahul Dravid looks like a seasoned actor,” says Ayappa. “Let’s be honest, he is known for his cricketing skills much more than his acting skills. So it was very nice to see the feedback, that somewhere we’ve communicated the dark side of Rahul Dravid that doesn’t even exist!”

Dravid’s dark turn even took Indian cricket’s angry young man by surprise. “Never seen this side of Rahul bhai,” tweeted India captain Virat Kohli with an exploding head emoji.

Former Test player and Karnataka teammate Dodda Ganesh posted, “The last time Rahul Dravid shouted like this was, from the Karnataka dressing room, and I was at the receiving end. “Innu ondu Run ide kano (there is one more run)”, referencing the tense 1998 Ranji Trophy semifinal against Hyderabad.

Tanmay Bhat, who wrote the commercial along with his colleagues at the comedy outfit All India Bakchod, gave a behind-the-scene glimpse on Twitter.

Against nature

“Rahul Dravid is one of the nicest, politest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. In the brief few hours, he taught me how to correct my batting stance (I do all my cardio while batting in the nets), was kind enough to share the most fascinating cricketing insights and most pleasantly surprising was his incredible curiosity. He asked about punchlines, and delivery, and the science behind writing and directing comedy. Incredible experience. What an absolute legend. (sic)” Tanmay posted.

Ayappa — who previously subverted the public image of Dalip Singh Rana aka The Great Khali, portraying the 7’2” wrestler as a sensitive soul for a cement commercial — was amazed how professionally Dravid tackled the offbeat assignment.

“We were not 100 per cent sure of how it’s going to turn out. So, we had planned a lot of back-up physical gags as well. But then we met him in the morning and he seemed very chilled and not very rattled by it. I screamed out a couple of lines to give him a basic idea. And then he got it,” says Ayappa. “It’s very hard for a non-actor to explode like that.”

The team did try to put ‘Jammy’ in a proper jam.

“We were hoping that he actually gets stressed out and gets angry,” laughs Ayappa. “We kind of simulated a jam for the shoot where, on one side, you get somebody to just scream at him. So, he reacts to it and also kind of forgets that is in front of a camera. Almost like theatre, we kind of have some improvisational acting with him, and he pulled it off. But he never got angry, that never happened. There were no star tantrums.”

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