India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

from India Insight:

Sari-clad cheerleaders add Indian touch to IPL franchise

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The upcoming session of the Indian Premier League (IPL), India’s glamour-packed cricket tournament, will see a sartorial anomaly come to life -- cheerleaders wrapped in saris.

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s IPL team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, has decided to cover their cheerleaders in one of the most traditional Indian outfits -- a marked departure from their 2008 wardrobe when a lot of skin, from midriff to thighs, was on display.

All these sari-clad cheerleaders would be “local hires” and will dance to classical Bengali music in between boundaries and fall of wickets. The team management is of the opinion this will help connect with Bengali cricket fans and improve ticket sales.

This is not the first time an IPL team has shunned short skirts and pompoms for a more conservative costume. Last year, the newest addition to the IPL franchise -- Pune Warriors -- had classical dancers, called ‘cheer queens’ in ethnic clothes. The owners had said these ‘cheer queens’ would showcase India’s rich and diverse culture on an international platform.

from Left field:

ICC name best test team of all time. Right or wrong?

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The ICC has unveiled the best test team of all time as voted for by fans on the governing body's website. The ICC offered a shortlist to choose from.

Here it is:

Virender Sehwag

Sunil Gavaskar

Donald Bradman

Sachin Tendulkar

Brian Lara

Kapil Dev

Adam Gilchrist (wk)

Shane Warne

Wasim Akram

Curtly Ambrose

Glenn McGrath

Is it a bit 1980s focused? No Englishmen either but maybe that is not a big shock. Sehwag probably the biggest surprise.

Patiala House: A single that could have been a boundary

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One thing I will say for Nikhil Advani’s “Patiala House. It touches upon a subject that a lot of Indians will identify with – parents who decide that they know what’s best for their children and children straining against the leash to break out. Vikramaditya Motwane’s “Udaan” explored that theme beautifully, and Advani tries to combine it with another thing Indians can identify with – cricket. Unfortunately, he populates the story with so many other things that the main story is lost amid Punjabi wedding sequences, slapstick comedy and an insipid romance. Akshay Kumar plays Pargat Singh Kahlon, a potent fast bowler living in Southall, London, whose father (Rishi Kapoor) nips his cricketing career in the bud because he doesn’t want his son playing cricket for England. Senior Kahlon you see has been so scarred by racist attacks on his community that he hates “goras” and doesn’t want anyone in his family to have anything to do with them – so much so that he threatens to kill himself if his son plays for England. That doesn’t stop him from leaving London though, something that isn’t quite explained in the film and comes across as a major weakness in the plot. So Pargat spends his days looking morose, running a grocery shop and his night practising cricket. Also, he gets guilt trips from his entire extended family, who all have ambitions but cannot follow them because the eldest son hasn’t. When the entire England cricket team is sacked (!) and a whole new team is to be built, Pargat’s neighbour, who also happens to be a national selector convinces him to try out for the team, but he refuses. Enter Simran, an over-chirpy wannabe actress who convinces him and his whole family that they must rebel against “bauji” and follow their own dreams. Patiala House does have the germ of a compelling story in there somewhere, as well as some genuine moments, but these are few and far between. Advani couldn’t resist the temptation to make this a “masala film, and ends up diluting his main premise. The rest of the cast isn’t too impressive, and the plot has too many holes to hold true. You will have to suspend disbelief several times to actually believe what’s happening on the screen. How does a bowler who hasn’t played for any club get into the England cricket team? How, in this day and age, can Rishi Kapoor’s character not know that his son is playing for England inspite of live tv, the internet and phones? And why does crickter Nasser Hussain (playing himself) attempt to speak Hindi? Akshay Kumar however does redeem himself a little bit – he is restrained and efficient as the protagonist, even if he doesn’t take the character to another level. It’s a huge change from the avatar we have seen him in in recent times. The film though is strictly average fare. Watch it if you must.

patialaOne thing I will say for Nikhil Advani’s “Patiala House”. It touches upon a subject that a lot of Indians will identify with — parents who think they know what’s best for their children and children straining against the leash to break out.

Vikramaditya Motwane’s “Udaan” explored that theme beautifully, and director Advani tries to combine it with another thing Indians can identify with — cricket. Unfortunately, he populates the story with so many things that the main story is lost amid Punjabi wedding sequences, slapstick comedy and an insipid romance.

Dhoni gets hitched; celebrities tweet best wishes

As one of India’s most eligible bachelors tied the knot late on Sunday night, you could almost hear the sound of a million hearts breaking.

Mahendra Singh DhoniBut along with that, you could also hear the sound of a million fingers typing furiously on their phones, so that they could tweet their best wishes to Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his bride.

Dil Bole Hadippa: Clichéd, average fare

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When director Anurag Singh set out to make “Dil Bole Hadippa”, he must have stumbled upon a book called ‘The Big Punjabi Book of Bollywood Clichés’ and decided to put in each one in this film.

As if that wasn’t enough, he has taken elements from every successful Yash Raj film and added that to the film. So you have glimpses of “DDLJ”, “Chak De India”, “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Veer Zaara” and “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi”.

Meerabai Not Out: You’ll love it if you like cricket

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To be honest, I didn’t watch “Meerabai Not Out” with a lot of expectations. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the film so much at the end of two-and-a-half hours.

Or maybe it was because it took me back to my teenage years, when many afternoons were spent cutting out pictures of my favourite cricketers and pasting them in a scrapbook.

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