So the ‘Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Paeeeeeeeeee’... is back. I am sure there aren’t any, but for those yet to be initiated into the Indian Premier League, the Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Paeeeeeeeeee...is the melody of the IPL trumpet that symbolises the festival of cricket.
It is louder, more vibrant and tastes mint-fresh. Scheduling wise it comes at the back of the ICC T20 World Cup, which can beat even David Gower for timing.
I must say that whoever is leading the marketing charge for IPL’s broadcasters Sony must be a genius. The promos, teasers, punch lines, everything seem in sync season after season, year after year.
Last year’s IPL was dubbed as ‘India Ka Tyohaar”. This year they are calling it “Ek India Happywala”. I am sure it is growing on the fans. The promos of the spectacle were energetic and vibrant, although I must say I was searching for myself in them! Well, it doesn’t matter, just an extra motivation to make my presence felt on the cricket ground.
One thing though, the organisers have been consistent with dour opening ceremonies. This year too, it was too boring. The speeches were cosmetic and performances fluctuated between ordinary and poor. I don’t want to be caustic but I think IPL deserves better openers.
Somehow, it seems that the director behind the act got confused between cricket and entertainment and ended up presenting a mixed thali of time pass. As an amateur TV critic, I’d give them two stars purely for the effort. Sony’s telecast’s biggest strengths are Navjot Singh Sidhu and presenters Gaurav Kapoor and Sameer Kochchar. They’d do well to weave an act around them, maybe.
One of the memories of the opening act was meeting MS Dhoni after some time. It took a while to comprehend that he won’t be turning up in Chennai Super Kings’ yellow at least this and the next year. Instead, he was in a purple that looked like a distant cousin of KKR’s rich and more royal purple. He looked sharp with a nicely manicured beard and side-parted hairstyle. At the time of writing this article, his new team Rising Pune Supergiants had Mumbai Indians on their knees with the score reading 80 for 7 in 17 overs.
MS and I spent a bit of time together, shared a few jokes on the stage which are extremely classified. The owner of his team Mr Goenka is a nice man and a good friend too. I welcome him to this carnival and may his team do well.
KKR are shaping up well too. The weather has been generous in Kolkata. I have been asked a number of times about the drought situation in Maharashtra and IPL games. My view is straightforward. There cannot be anything more important than human life. I am not an expert on water crisis and agriculture, but if cricket is soaking up a scarce natural resource, we must rethink. Otherwise, farmers will die, flyovers will collapse and life will move on. Sorry sir, life is not a six-ball over of cricket which is renewed from the opposite end. It needs to be valued and preserved. We must pause and think and not let everything subside in the cacophony of Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Pae-Paeeeeeeeeee.
(The writer is the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders)