Olympic medallists don’t need film stars for inspiration

  • Gautam Gambhir
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2016 10:00 IST
A combined photo of actor Salman Khan and KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir. (PTI Photo)

I have always been a huge fan of Amul advertisements. On most occasions their witty take on serious issues cuts better with people rather than the mundane gyaan. I remember one Amul advertisement that came out when the Satyam fraud news was reported.

There was a cartoon of a bespectacled, moustached man holding onto a money bag. The ad was brilliantly headlined “Satyam, Sharam, Scandalam”. If I had it my way, I would have nominated the copywriter for an advertising award for this.

It isn’t surprising that the recent Salman Khan-IOA goodwill ambassador subject has caught the Amul copy writer’s imagination. This time the one-liner isn’t too bad either.

It reads, “Athletes want samman not Salman” to go with a cartoon of three befuddled looking athletes. In English it means athletes need respect more than Salman as a goodwill ambassador.

Well, yours truly too has been sucked into this whole episode. The other day, a journalist asked me what I thought about Salman Khan’s appointment and I said something that I still maintain even after being trolled, abused and battered on social media. Nothing against Salman and I love the work that he has done with his philanthropic arm “Being Human” but the whole idea of having a film star promoting Olympic sports doesn’t sit well with me.

My inference is that the IOA is conceding that sports and sportspersons are not good enough to enhance their popularity in India. They are saying that all the good work done by medal winners like Abhinav Bindra, Yogeshwar Dutt, Mary Kom etc are weak on inspiration and therefore we need a ‘Khan’. I am sorry, but IOA got it wrong. All sport needs is better governance, better planning, honesty and as the Amul copy writer says, “Respect” for athletes.

Amidst the ridicules on social media I spent some quality time here in Mumbai. Two of the three ladies of my life are here and both love outdoors as much as I want to stay put in the room.

We ventured out for a Japanese dinner and then went around near Haji Ali for a drive. I briefly met Shah Rukh bhai as well and congratulated him on the success of his latest movie “Fan”. The entire KKR team saw the film in Pune at a special screening. For me movies are always fun as it is time to forget everything and let the director take you on a joyride. So I just surrender myself but not without my tub of popcorn. Fan was no different.

The team news is good as well. Except Manish Pandey’s illness everyone else is good to go. The pitch looks the same, placid as the Mumbai-Pune highway. We had two good practice sessions in the lead-up to the game against Mumbai Indians.

We don’t have a great head-to-head record against MI. Someone told me they call us the “maska” team. Maska is Mumbai colloquial for butter and I am told that they call us so as they feel beating us has been akin to smearing butter on bread. I wonder who coined maska for us, a MI player or the Amul copywriter?

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