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Oh my! Film stars are getting their hairdressers to work overtime. Unheard-of celebrities are clamouring for media time. This can only mean one thing. The biggest Bollywood extravaganza in the country is upon us again, by which I mean, of course, the Indian Premier League.
No, I'm kidding. The IPL isn't about Bollywood, it's actually India's answer to Cannes - showcasing advertising talent for two whole months, briefly interspersed with cricket so that audiences can take a loo break or microwave their popcorn.
I'm kidding again, of course. The IPL is all about the cricket, silly. It's all about DLF Maximums, Citi Moments of Success, Goldman Sachs Moments of Team-mate Dissent… Okay, fine. It's largely about the advertising.
But no. The IPL is above petty things like money, cricket and defecting franchises. It's about the audiences! The millions who make, irrespective of who's playing, cricket the ultimate winner. So here we break down the six types of people who watch or are involved with the IPL, Latinised for your taxonomical pleasure.
An outcome of the fact that it is fashionable to talk trash about the IPL, Lalit Modi and T20 in general. Still, will follow every game (for purely professional reasons, of course - who knows from where the next Rahul Dravid or Dodda Ganesh might emerge?), but not without punctuating each T20ism - such as "high RPO" or "unhealthy slog" - with lucid insights as to why the super-abbreviated form of the game will lead to its demise. Attends secret meetings at the MCC, where they watch unedited footage of Chris Tavaré innings.
Due to their busy schedules, which involve finding practical uses for Kirchoff's Laws or the Johari Window, these people don't follow cricket (unless India is playing (and Sachin is batting (on an 80+ score))) - but will join in the bonanza for the IPL and the IPL alone. Oblivious to happenings in cricket otherwise, they will cheer every four and wicket, and attempt to make intelligent conversation, such as: "They really should have a system to review the umpire's decision, no?" and "This Pietersen guy is good… I think England should pick him soon."
Is it April yet? Move over, boring stocks and tax news. It's all about the IPL now! For this breed of suit-wearing, spreadsheet-waving type, the IPL isn't a cricket tournament, it's their means to increase strategic brand recall through continuous reinforcement of the brand message, which will effect a paradigm shift in the need gap of consumers' lives. In those very words. Every corporate house believes that the whole of India watches the IPL and not discerning programming, so they base their communication on the IPL. Hence, we have the Mutual Fund Premier League jingles telling us how using itch-free underwear can help you score a
Test Triple-Century T20 half-century, and home loans with a T20 variant (Rs 20 lakhs for 20 years?). Be scared, be very scared.
This is a slight variant of the Complainus Maxus. The Rebellus is by nature a cricket fan, but cannot be caught watching the IPL (as opposed to them Complainus sorts, who make it a point to watch the games before talking trash about them). He's the lone chap on your Twitter timeline who talks about Shivnarine Chanderpaul's fantastic graft through silly mid-on, while everyone else is watching Yusuf Pathan take some poor soul to the cleaners. Sometimes he even takes a deep breath and watches, horror, football. It doesn't matter if he can't tell a Tottenham Hotspur from a Mohun Bagan - he needs to do something else to show he doesn't care about the IPL. Such bogus behaviour can easily be spotted when he starts saying things like "Wait - there are off sides on both ends of the pitch? Lulz."
Wha… When did Rahul Dravid start playing for Rajasthan? And wait, wasn't there a Kochi franchise? Why aren't they playing? This is the lot that has just lost pace with what's been happening. They find it strange that Yuvraj doesn't play for Punjab or Ganguly for Kolkata. But soon, just like the world gets used to the fact that Mudhsudhen Singh Panesar plays for England and Michael Graydon Vandort for Sri Lanka, they will learn to make peace. They'll soon realise that the only place such affiliations really matter anymore is online fantasy cricket games.
These are the guys who truly make it happen. They're the ones who actually forge affiliations, smother themselves in team colours (except in the case of Kochi last year, because it was discovered those colours could cause radiation poisoning), actually know the lyrics to the team anthem (actually know there is a team anthem!) and generally trot off to the stadium and cheer teams on while the rest of us make do with
illegal video streams ESPNcricinfo commentary. Where would this happy spectacle be without them?
Deepak Gopalakrishnan blogs here
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