With hardly any knowledge about sports of any sort, this post is in no way going to abide by the popular and prevailing emotions of the majority of sports enthusiasts in the country. But, this write-up is an effort to put-forth a contrarian thought that sheds light on the ever-growing bias towards the game of cricket. Before rejecting this post as the random rants of a seasoned cricket-hater, if readers can take time for a small retrospection, inspiring visuals of tremendous efforts and stupendous successes of several non-cricketing sportspersons would soon flash in front of your eyes. Yet a wide majority of the country adheres to cricket and keep gluing themselves in front of televisions to watch all the cricket matches; irrespective of poor and lackadaisical performances of the team which has been facing a lot of flakes off late. As the magnitude of our love for cricket grows by leaps and bounds, getting detrimental for other sports, my thoughts drift towards the disheartened athletes and other sports persons who have yearned and longed for years together to get the deserved accolades and appreciation, and have got disregarded all the time.
One among them is the heart wrenching story of the untimely demise of a veteran football player who killed himself by jumping in-front of a suburban electric train. The suicide notes found later had the tear-jerking accounts of his profound pain and mental anguish. Unfathomable sorrow for lack of recognition and accolades led to his unfortunate demise, yet the country hasn’t learned any lesson. The authorities, media, and people around still continue to side-line some of the incredible achievers who have picking sports other than cricket. One among the many heart-breaking accounts of tragedies that unveil the pitiful conditions of several successful sports-persons in the country, the story of this intentionally forgotten veteran football player is a vivid example of the callousness towards non-cricketers who constantly fight for recognition and appreciation, irrespective of winning several national and international matches.
Regardless of their stellar performances, we fail non-cricketing sports-people constantly, and at the same time unashamedly serve uncountable crores on the cricketers’ platter, irrespective of being aware of impending failure and shame that the team is going to bring in. While the cricket team earned crores from a luck-by-chance World Cup win last time, wrestlers like Virender Singh had to wait for Vivek Chaudhary to make the movie Goonga Pehelwan, in order to get appreciated by the country and the authorities. With sponsors showing no keenness on investing on non-cricket sports, and the system failing to take adequate steps to felicitating their remarkable success, several sports-persons strive hard to make a living. Despaired by the lack of support and encouragement, they are often forced to cut short their sports career due to humongous financial liabilities, lack of funds, in adequate facilities, poor quality training equipment and little encouragement from the authorities.
Despite the fact that several hockey players, footballers, wrestlers, and many other commendable sports-persons continue to make our country proud, the entire nation is desperate to rally behind and justify the cricket team that fails repeatedly, yet takes home hefty fees and perks for each failure of theirs. A five time successive world boxing champion became a household name at the mercy of a Bollywood star who essayed her role in recently released 100crore grosser. Does that indicate the indispensability of a money-minting commercial movie to showcase the hardships and talent of a non-cricketer? Though it has not said evidently, both Goonga Pehelwan and Mary Kom have written the answer clearly on the wall, emphasizing the fact that the word sports has now become synonymous with cricket, while the others are pushed to the wayside.
The irrational adoration and worship of cricket has now relegated several sports like badminton, hockey, kabaddi, and rowing to games from the bygone age. Despite having veterans like Viswanathan Anand, Leander Paes, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and Karnam Malleswari, the country constantly turns a deaf ear and a blind eye to other sports. The irony of finding a football player receiving just one lakh for his stellar performance in debut international match, while cricketers get bestowed with crores of cash rewards and other incentives is the sheer evidence of the constant failures to give credit to sports and sports persons who the country proud. As one gets to see innumerable kids who aspire to achieve cult status in cricket and sign advertisement deals worth billions, finding someone who longs to become a Dhayan Chand, Dhanraj Pillay, Geeta Phogat, or Babita Kumari would be near to impossible, for sheer lack of adequate acceptance and accolades. Precisely, the distancing occurs due to the distressing awareness that other sports have nothing but heaps of humiliation and angst in store for the winners.
As cricketers enjoy the luxury of business class travels and cosy stays at top five star hotels, while traversing from one destination to other to amass more and more failures shamelessly, it’s distressing to watch the non-cricketers travelling sandwiched in second class trains and adjusting themselves to the pitiable conditions of dirty dormitories that are devoid of even the basic necessities for living. Every dazzling achievement they make would take no time to get eclipsed in the cricket-obsession of the country. No matter whether they win a match or not, cricketers are always on the forefront of media, either for a money minting brand endorsement or a ‘good-friend-like’ relationship with a Bollywood damsel, while, stories of other achievers are sunk deliberately.
That said, the blame doesn’t lie on cricket, but the irrational bias of people and authorities,. While it’s quite reasonable on the fans’ and media’s part to shower praises on a winning cricket team, the world cup winning Kabaddi team too deserved the same acceptance and accolades, but were deliberately ignored, and were seen on the streets waiting for auto rickshaw to reach home.. Not only did the authorities fail to provide the needed conveyance facilities, according to a well-known newspaper, the players even faced the awkwardness of non-payment of their food bills, which clearly indicates a step-motherly treatment, regardless of their thumping win.
PS – Here are a few disgraceful moments when we shamelessly ignored some sportspersons who have brought several laurels to the nation:
Irrespective of some incredible triumphs, we needed this advertising campaign to support our hockey team.
They represented the country for several years, yet the Ice Hockey Team had to appeal on social media for funds to attend an international championship:
A two-time international bronze medalist at Special Olympics sells golgappas for survival, while boxing gold medalist works as a domestic help to continue her schooling, and many others struggling hard to find a foothold, yet we continue to hail cricketers, while giving cold-shoulders to the other sports-people.
Having watched it right from the day one of airing, it took no time to develop an instant liking for this top rated yet far-from-realistic crime show which has now crossed more than thousand successful episodes within its seventeen years of triumphant journey on one of top TV channels in the country. In fact, each character in the show has have carved a niche for themselves, thus attaining cult statuses. More than the inclination towards gripping murder mysteries, the reason that led to watching this in-demand and top rated show is the dislike for family dramas, saas-bahu tug of wars, and never ending line of over-decked, over-jewelled, and over-dramatic women who walk miles behind bossy men who are always dressed up in multi-coloured sherwanis. Though watching this thriller show meant extending the bedtime further; being a matter of excitement and fascination, compromising some weekend sleep has never been a matter of difficulty by far. But, a recent introspection has led to some moments of rethinking about the reasons to bid good bye the widely-watched serial forever. Though reasons to stop watching it are many, the most important one is the continually failed efforts of the creative team to add the much-needed touch of novelty into every episode. This has made the show tad bit monotonous off late.
However, no end is in sight for this longest running detective series, which has been continuing its winning streak for more than a decade, along with breaking several records, winning several hearts hands down. Most of their episodes might not thrill the realists and critics, but excite the masses with stories of those who are sucked into crimes either due to force or circumstance. Though several channels joined the bandwagon and created similar shows, none of them survived for long, and soon got wrapped up, while this time-tested show continues to gallop towards unmatched TRPs each week. Being enamoured with crimes and thrilling ways of solving them is a fixation that’s common to one and all. However, for me, what set this show apart from the rest is a sense of nostalgia that brings back some cherished moments with the sister, partner in crime, and a loyal viewer of the show. While dad has always left no stones unturned to dice the storyline and highlight the entire bloopers one after the other, we never stopped satiating ourselves with the mysteries behind every killer and vigilante in the show.
Being engrossed in crime shows for over a decade can lead to several perplexing moments like constantly looking over one’s shoulders while waking, or slipping into fears and anxiety at the sight of a stranger nearing from the other end of the street. It also triggers constant cautionary indication to closely watch every other guy who keeps lurking near home or hostel, only to find him casually walking away after ogling some of the women inside. Thanks to constantly resurfacing scenes from this favourite TV show, a regular viewer might never waste a moment to look for a lawbreaker amongst those silly and harmless men who lurk around to have some gratifying moments watching voluptuous women. Adding to this riddle of paranoia is the blown up news reports on the skyrocketing number of crimes in various cities. While most of us experience that intense urge to finding the baddies getting caught, crime show fans might experience this further owing to their constant experience watching the good overpowering the evil.
Many crime shows followed this most-talked about show, but soon bid good bye within a year of kick staring their eventful journey, while makers this most- watched serial continues to capture the hearts of both young and old by cashing on the innate urge to explore the darker and demonic sides of human beings. With a mishmash of far-from-logical plots, bizarre protagonists, larger than life personas of the investigators, and eccentric forensic experts who serve a string of oddities as their clinical examination results, the storylines of the show has become highly predictable lately; yet, the viewership has been on a steady increase. The makers of this successful detective series occasionally recharge their intelligence and creativity, which results on some sensible episodes that refresh our grey matter. Otherwise, every episode ends serving yet another moment of déjà vu.
If not a challenging mental workout, watching crime shows to reasonable levels can be a good exercise to the brain, if they can manage to build and retain the suspense towards the end, stimulating the brains of the viewers and making it sharper. But not every crime show maker graduates to that commendable level of making adrenaline-pumping episodes all the time, at least not in this show which has been running for more than a decade. Looking at the downside of watching crime serials, some viewers might assume the world to be a scarier place than it is, or formulate an inflated idea about the occurrence of crimes. Apart from serving moments of entertainment, thrill, and suspense, along with showcasing an hour long battle between devilish deeds and clear resolutions, crime shows sky-rocket to popularity due to their efforts to reinforce the sense of justice in the mind of the viewers, and help resolve their innate fears that lead to dreading the unknown and the unfound.
Despite the goofs in story-lines and characterization, some televised crime busters work because they go beyond gratifying our voyeuristic instincts.
Movies have been an inevitable part of our lives since as long as we can remember. While some make significant splash in the box office and get placed on the hit chart, some others fail to garner attention and soon fade out into the darkness that holds the zillion more ‘flops’ that have tested our patience and tortured our senses over the years. “This movie is different,” while, every other filmmaker keeps reciting this clichéd claim, not so surprisingly, there’s absolutely no dearth of terrible movies. Why do certain films succeed while certain others barely get registered in moviegoers’ mind? Budget, storyline, star cast, advertising, promotion, or sheer luck; what is sure-fire factor that helps churn out a film that ensures stupendous box office success? Opinions can vary, and so do the reasons that make one do the categorization. Finding the right concoction that helps make a box office conqueror might be impossible. However, in today’s fast paced world that leaves hardly any time for relaxation; in order to squeeze out two hours from the immensely busy schedule of ours, a movie has to help us unwind, shed the stress and laugh our lungs out, thus leaving the cinema hall with sheer contentment.
A cinematic gem undoubtedly, should have a strong and reasonably realistic storyline. But, some of the movies that we get to watch these days have been made with excessive focus on the realistic aspect of their stories, the reason why entertainment often takes the backseat. A movie has to entertain the audience as a whole, and not just handpicked viewers and critics. However, some of the movie-makers who are constantly extolled for their award-winning works are yet to learn how to create the potion of making the feel-good movies that a major share of audiences would love to watch. The outcome of this unawareness are the movies that are crafted with lacklustre storylines that cry out to get drenched in the showers of colourful backdrops, foot tapping songs, worth-watching romantic moments, and rib tickling comedy. A filmmaker who has a slew of flop movies to his credit was recently heard going gaga over his new lacklustre creation with zero comedy and romance. His recent movie with a significant overload of emotions and a dreary story that gets stretched out and exaggerated to reaching the nadir of boredom soon tanked at the box office within days of opening, despite a hefty budget and an impressive star cast.
A bankable star or a director with innumerable awards under his belt aren’t all that it takes for a movie to be a fifty crore or a 100 crore grosser at the box office. Instead, the requisite is sheer entertainment that satisfies both the masses and the classes, making them long for the next movie from the very same makers. The fame and profit of such movies will grow manifolds with just positive word-of-mouth abuzz. That said, we needn’t forcefully watch or endorse movies that make money with implausible plot and larger-than-life-heroes. But, if such movies can entertain us for the quality time we devote to watching them, those much criticized absurdities too are worth, even if they lack the mirror images of hardcore realities. With reality comes another facet of movie-watching. While most of the cine-goers love stories that are real and rational, do they really look for the pinching reality of life in the movies that they choose to watch? No one would want bear with the negative experience of watching a sad story, yet continue to remain hypocritically stubborn about being loyal viewers of movies that are far from enjoyable and fail amuse the audiences, but are well laced with hardcore realities of daily life. The fact is, most of us hardly look for the bitterness of realism, instead, hope to watch movies with idealistic storylines that are adorned by brilliant amalgamation of songs, dance, comedy, and romance. Despite the fact that numerous voices of decency preachers vehemently oppose the showcasing of Munnis and Chikni Chamelis, these sizzling hot item numbers leave no stones unturned to attract public, including those who fervently oppose the bandwagon of item girls.
Apart from failing to keeping pace with changing market dynamics, and differing choices of target viewers, earning the moolah is yet another goal that some filmmakers deliberately tend to ignore. In the urge to operate each movie with more than stronger and intense stories and undiluted streams of hardcore logic, many directors are guilty of luring naive investors into their million-dollar risks, only to deliberately forget about the money that gets poured into their magnum opuses. For lack of watchable elements, many of such abysmally hopeless movies that would have been better left unmade fail to recover even the costs incurred in their making. Thus investors often end up in hefty loses, vowing not to invest in a film ever again.
Movie making is way beyond a good dose of gut feeling, and has to be balanced with factors that help enjoy extensive box office success. Creative decisions, entertainment quotient, and their financial outcomes have to go hand in hand, in order to ensure successful results in movie making.
Though boundless freedom is an advantage that tags along with life in hostels, when it comes to certain luxuries that we enjoy limitlessly at home, hostel life cuts down those advantages and makes us long for the relaxed bygone days. While scrumptious food is at the forefront on the list, a close second is the joy of watching the favourite shows on television. Some hostels continue to linger in the pre-television era, while some others have just one television for all. Having a common television is not a boon that one has to thank the luck stars for, as there would always be a significant gang of regular viewers everywhere, who would hold the monopoly of deciding what to watch and when, while the others are either forced to agree to the common preference or find an alternative mode of entertainment. Falling in with the common choices can often freak one out, as the options always get narrowed down to the annoying, overrated, and overly dramatic daily ‘saas-bahu’ soaps that are hardly worth watching, but have managed to congregate a large set of audience. They are the longest-running addictions that many are afraid to admit. Finding religious viewers sitting transfixed in front of the television, mesmerised in the spell of such stereotypical dramatic stories often remind one of substance addicts who walk away from reality and embraces the string of hallucinations that they believe can induce happiness and pleasure. Frazzling us further, a few others who miss the daily episodes hurry desperately to read the weekend episodes. Their desperation is quite identical to finding one struggling with withdrawal symptoms and looking for a dose of drug to compose oneself.
Hopelessly confused between reality and fiction, these soap addicts find obsession in a supposedly harmless entertainment, but often turn chaotic if they miss an episode. Finding some of them watch the bygone episodes again and again on YouTube, and later discussion about them excitingly often unveils the extending and overflowing influence of these less than half-an-hour shows. Though most people would hesitate considering daily soap addiction as a growing menace, this strange obsession is more dangerous as getting addicted to cigarettes, drugs, and lotteries. The more one gets, the more quenchable the craving would be.
More often than not, the indefinitely-stretching soap operas are the secret guilty pleasure of both men and women in our country. They leave no stones unturned to strain the precious brain cells of many with ridiculously similar plots that are laced with monotonous stories of mind-numbing gossips, vicious feuds, cat-fights, murders, unrealistic romances, nauseating infidelities, illegitimate children, deceptions, and irksome tantrums of alcoholics who portray either as troublesome husbands or pestering dads, brothers, uncles, and so on. Yet, for all the grimness that they serve each day, these daily doses of good-for-nothing narratives are the life-and-blood of many people, who keep themselves glued to television to watch their favourite characters heave from one dilemma and crisis to the other. Not even a single day goes without finding women befooling themselves with their frantic rush to get back to watch the evening shows, watching them carefully organize their lives based on timings of their favourite serials or avoiding interactions when the shows are on air. These deadly concoctions of mindlessness, enriched with forever-decked-up daughters in law and perpetually scheming mother-in-laws, never conclude on one storyline, but transform to newer ones every time, making sure to retain the obsession of regular viewers. Though the storylines are crafted with just minor variations, Indian daily soaps have one essentiality in common, and that’s the ideal daughter in law who recites her regular morning prayers, cooks several dishes a day with incessant smile, does all the household chores, face every deceitfulness like a superwoman, and yet look energetic, happy and smart, fully clad in zardosi sarees and heavy jewellery, holding the entire family together like a superglue, and giving her well known competitors like Fevicol and the like a run for their money.
Finding them cultivate an aura of troubling thoughts is one of the most distressing outcomes of daily soap addiction. Watching a disgruntling mother-in-law plotting to kill her innocent daughter-in-law who stupidly keeps falling prey to every possible scheme of hers is not a matter of contentment and relaxation; instead, it cripples the free flowing thoughts of many daily soap addicts who might take a cue from this much dangerous plan to vent out their anger on their daughters-in-law. Equally opposable is the sight of watching every other man in daily soaps sneaking out from their marital bliss to fall in love with their seductive secretaries and colleagues. Identifying with the characters of these far-from-reality storylines would definitely make women stalk or troll on their husbands and boyfriends in their ‘007 modi operandi’ to find the ‘other women’ in their partners’ lives. Being exposed to these daily dosages of endless scheming and plotting can transform even the most innocent souls into spiteful ones who might leave no stones unturned to do speak and do unto others without worrying about the repercussions.
As most of the shows get caught in their own rut with boring plots and non-twisty twist, leading to exits of several overly dressed up and decked up men and women, it’s amusing to find people engrossed in speculations about the future changes in plot or discussions on these changes in key characters. Soap opera fans who keep mulling over the possible alternative replacements need some strong therapies on sanity, to bring them back from the useless world of daily soaps that have nothing entertaining in them, but survive on constable dragged out plots that fill the airtime and the nearly vacuum minds of most of the viewers.
Very often, the daily soaps that start on the sweetest note often wrap up in the most unpredictable and unforeseen manners. While it’s might be assign of relief for many, the judgement day might trigger a sort of existential crisis among the significant majority of soap opera addicts, who need a whole lot of time or an equally dramatic show to heal the wound.
With sky-rocketing number of daily soap addicts, the day when our psychiatric wards branch out to kick-starting de-addiction centres psychotherapies to help get rid of daily soaps obsession is imminent.