What’s the craziest stunt you have pulled?
An April Fool’s Day trick? Sending a friend on a wild goose chase? How about starting a cricket blog, and then fooling an entire nation of cricket lovers? If your names is Anupam Mukherji, and you are the man behind the Fake IPL Player blog that had hundreds of thousands of cricket fans reading it like the Bible, then that would put you in a very special category of pranksters.
Mukherji claims to be a regular guy, like any of us, a little obsessed with cricket, a little bored with the jobs we sometimes choose, at other times that circumstances choose for us.
But the MBA from Mumbai’s SP Jain Management Institute chucked his marketing job with Wipro in 2004. “I moved from Bangalore to Mumbai, where I thought I’d try my hand at TV, and put my creativity to good use. I did some documentaries for ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), but soon realised I neither had the money to pay rent, nor did anyone in Mumbai care about me. UTV offered me 20 grand to be a junior writer, and another company 1.6 lakh to be a marketing consultant. As romantic as it would have been to take (up a) writing, I didn’t.”
So, Mukherji moved back to Bangalore and collected his fat paycheck, even reconciling himself to doing a job he didn’t care much about for the rest of his life. Just then, the blog idea hit him. “And that changed my life. I bounced off the idea to a friend, and started the blog. In the beginning it was manageable, but eventually I started getting as many as 150,000 unique hits a day.”
Such is that the power of blogging, or the power of cricket? “It’s the power of the media, and the maine paper mein padha tha phenomenon. First cricinfo.com pasted a link to the blog, then the papers and news channels started talking about it, and that’s when it hit the roof,” he says.
Thanks to his blog, Mukherji no longer has to do a job he doesn’t enjoy. He plans to make a career as a writer. But did he have to buy the friend, who knew his identity, a lot of beers to keep the blog anonymous? “Luckily, the friend lives in China.”. Inspired by the Hoax and the fake Steve Jobs blog, this is original prankster we hope to hear a lot more from.