Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata team has not had a good time in South Africa so far; nor have his angels. The squad of Indian girls chosen as the team’s cheerleaders has returned after a paid holiday of sorts, but without the satisfaction of performing at even a single match.
“We really had high hopes,” says a disappointed Saana Chirawawala. She explains it was decided at the last moment that outsiders would not be allowed to perform in the country. “They [the IPL authorities] had to sort out so many issues due to the shift in venue, and we were the only team who had cheerleaders,” says a dejected Sunanda Hiroo. “So, I guess the idea had to be scrapped.”
Rupali Kantharia is feeling bitter — apart from weeks of practice going down the drain, her family and friends are upset, too, as they had been looking forward to seeing her on the field. “First, we missed our home crowd, and now this,” says Rupali.
She does have one good memory: “We watched the match from inside the VIP box alongside Shah Rukh! It was fabulous.”
Deepa Bera, whose daughter Ananya was in the squad, had been thrilled at the prospect of her girl being trained by Shiamak Davar and performing in front of a huge crowd. Though let down, she says bravely, “It’s ok that they [the girls] went there and got such a great exposure.”
If the IPL returns home next year, the six girls will be retained. “Shah Rukh told us that we might be there next year,” says Rupali. His company has assured remuneration, too. “Yes, we’ll be paid,” says Saana, who now intends to pursue her acting career.