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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

For the people of Eden, it was quite another day in paradise

It was Super Sunday in the City of Joy - competitive cricket, a very large dash of the glamour world and, if that wasn't enough, an impromptu jig from Shah Rukh himself, reports Arjun Sen.

cricket Updated: Apr 21, 2008 02:36 IST
Arjun Sen
Arjun Sen
Hindustan Times

First impressions, it is often believed, are the most sound. And if that is indeed is the case, then all resistance to the IPL, it would seem, is futile.

Always conceived as the coming together of the India's two biggest passions - Bollywood and cricket - the IPL could well be on its way to achieving the perfect harmony between the two, and a lot of success too.

Just ask the 70,000-odd people who braved a clammy Kolkata afternoon to watch their Shah Rukh Khan-owned, Sourav Ganguly-led team do battle against Hyderabad in the first IPL game at the magnificent Eden Gardens.

It was Super Sunday in the City of Joy - competitive cricket, a very large dash of the glamour world and, if that wasn't enough, an impromptu jig from Shah Rukh himself, it all made for one hell of an experience.

Right from the morning on Sunday, all talk in the city was about one man — SRK, for the Bollywood challenged, that translates into Shah Rukh Khan. Everyone wanted a glimpse of the man, and maybe, if Lady Luck was in a very benevolent mood, even manage an autograph.

When, after a long, long wait, when the crowd finally caught a glimpse of SRK, the Eden Gardens erupted. Hands were waving everywhere you looked, all trying to catch the attention of the star, trying to get a response from their idol.

For a young man, however, just a glimpse, it seemed, wouldn't suffice. In a moment that can be described as just plain stupid, he jumped down from the stands to try and get closer to Shah Rukh.

Now, it has often been said that the IPL, with an often overbearing presence of film stars, might run the risk of pushing cricket onto the backburner.

But thankfully, that balancing act was managed with grace by the Eden crowd. Despite the undoubted frenzy over SRK & Co, even during those 15 minutes or so The Khan and his friends — all Bollywood personalities themselves — took from entering the ground to taking their seats, the focus was still very much on the cricket.

The crowd was still hoping for a home win, and the fact that SRK owned that team just made the experience all the more enjoyable.

The IPL was always going to have more than just a touch of the reel world in an otherwise very real game, and perhaps that's where its novelty lies.

It is different, maybe daringly at that too, and anything that is different is always met with a lot of scepticism.

It hasn’t been different for the IPL, either.

But maybe, those fears are unfounded. It wasn't supposed to be taken seriously in the first place, but instead as a four-hour rollercoaster ride, complete with spills and thrills, and that is exactly what the crowd got at the Eden.

Like a fan very neatly put it when asked about the IPL, “This is great, where else can you spend an entire evening watching cricket and with SRK around too... I love it!” The future is here.