Two Religions come together in India: Bollywood and Cricket!

I always wonder why a cricket-crazy nation like India has hockey as its national game! It has been decades that cricket has ruled the hearts of young and old. The World cup series in 2012 had one and all—Chaiwallahs (tea sellers), malls, shop keepers and Indian households glued to their television sets, mobiles, radios and computers, watching the action ball by ball.  For others (office goers, especially) cricket meant checking live scores online. The Indian craze for the game makes the nation come to a stop during IPL season, World cup or the steaming India-Pakistan matches. The layout has been tweaked to add 30-over matches, 20 and may be 10 in the future to a regular test match. The spirit of cricket has always had the better of Indians.

What’s with Bollywood stars launching teams!—Playing cricket/football is not the same as donning the silver screen

What’s with Bollywood stars launching teams!—Playing cricket/football is not the same as donning the silver screen

The other religion in India is Bollywood movies. Indians love movies and going to the multiplexes (or the single PVR screen cinemas) especially to get their movie fix. Movie going is a popular family entertainment activity. India releases over a 1,000 movies a year. However, as a cricket purist, I think the recent news of Riteish Deshmukh launching a celebrity cricket team went way over the top. We already have cricketers exclusively known by the product they endorse, and now it looks like a U-turn; maybe Bollywood stars want to throw some glitter down the pitch of cricket. The stardom of Bollywood lured some cricketers to act in movies, and they have not had major success. Probably, one reasonable grounds would be that acting and cricket are not easy to switch—(read)oil and water!

I am amused with the recent making of the ASFC team with Abhishek Bachchan leading the (star) studded Bollywood team. This time I reckon that the Bollywood team will play football matches against the Indian cricket team. Last year we saw the CCL (Celebrity cricket League) join hands regionally—Tollywood, Kollywood (Kannada cinema) and Bollywood film stars played some action in 20-20 cricket tournaments.  Fractured legs and fingers may have made the game of cricket look challenging (than it is), but the point is ‘Aren’t cricketers supposed to play cricket and movie stars supposed to act or make movies?’

Playing sports for charity is a very noble gesture, but somehow doing it by entering a sport that demands serious training, talent and dedication raises serious questions. Movies and cricket are respectable professions entertaining masses in India.  However, I wonder at what point the public will say enough is enough with this wall to wall cricket and Bollywood?

Sounds strange? What more is to be expected when its cricket mingled with Bollywood!

Your thoughts are welcome.
Sanjay Puri

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