Friday, 14 November 2008

Thanks for the Dadagiri

If Indian cricket is Bollywood, Sachin Tendulkar is its Amitabh Bachchan, who refuses to age or wane and M S Dhoni, its SRK – the urbane, glib-talking heartthrob.

I bet he’s not going to like this but Sourav Ganguly has been its Mithun Chakraborty.

Daily chores over, rickshaw-pullers, labourers, coolies and small shopkeepers throng dingy theatres in nondescript towns where Mithun badmouths baddies before battering them thrice a day. Script, storyline, cinematography, music – everything else is secondary. Week after week, they cheer every blow Mithun lands on the villain and whistle every time he shakes a leg with a buxom beauty.

Ganguly has been as much a hero of the hoi polloi, the messiah of the mass, who could identify with his brand of leadership. Indeed, few knew better how to involve, incite and ignite public minds.

And the touch of Bollywood is too unmistakable in his comeback as well. Pushed to the brink of the precipice by a gora villain, the post-interval session sees the hero clawing his way up to punish the baddie and settle score.

In many ways, Ganguly reflected the ambition and aspiration of a nation which, bankrolled by a burgeoning economy, dreamt of entering the big league, demanding equal respect.

Fans shared his wholesome hatred for prevailing norms, which suggested cricket is played between two sides but won only by Australia. And when he took his shirt off in Lord’s hallowed balcony and hurled a mouthful back to Flintoff, it was virtually a collective catharsis for a nation which had stopped turning the other cheek.

Indeed, if Dhoni & Co are speaking an aggressive language on the field, it was Ganguly who had laid down its grammar.

And as the man walked into sunset with a trail of eulogies and effigies, bouquets and brickbats behind him, few acknowledged his contribution.

It’s not the 18000-plus runs he scored, mostly through the off-side of which he was the God. Neither is the fact that he taught how to win Tests abroad. Nor is it about instilling aggression in teammates.

Most importantly, Ganguly restored faith in public mind and upheld its integrity, thus helping cricket survive a potential disaster, a splitting of the game and its followers.

Ganguly inherited the team at a time when Indian cricket was struggling to shed the match-fixing slur. Every dropped catch set the tongue wagging, every dismissal was dissected in hushed tones and every outcome was seen through a veil of suspicion. It was clearly cricket’s darkest hour.

To his credit, Ganguly established the integrity of the game and a secular India embraced cricket as its religion.

In between his fairytale Test debut and Bradmanesque exit, Ganguly was never the best batsman around, neither statistically nor aesthetically. And still Ganguly on song ranked among the most beautiful scenes in cricket.

Few incurred so much hatred, and fewer got the love that came his way. Much more than just a cricketer, Ganguly was a character, whose exit leaves the game poorer.

Tendulkar’s greatness doesn’t trigger debate, Dravid’s persona doesn’t strain friendship and Kumble is a genuine sweetheart.

In contrast, 16 years of ceaseless scrutiny has yielded precious little and jury is still out on whether Ganguly is the saint or the Satan.

31 comments:

Naked Cricket said...

like the mithun number, cuts to the chase!

Avik... said...

Hmmm... Interesting analogy...

Prabhuji and Dada !!!

Greatbong will love this...

Soulberry said...

Gangs was brilliant.

Som said...

NC, missed it completely. which number?

Som said...

Avik, welcome abord and keep coming:))

Som said...

Soulberry, no doubt about that. May I say cricket just lost (a) character!

Naked Cricket said...

som, the mithun analogy

Som said...

NC, blinking over, tubelight is on.

Trideep said...

Som,

Was waiting for this one.. It took a long time.. But it was definitely worth the wait.. I feel Dada will always be remembered for changing the face of Indian cricket. The seeds of the aggression that we see today was planted by Dada.

Straight Point said...

Indeed, if Dhoni & Co are speaking an aggressive language on the field, it was Ganguly who had laid down its grammar.

indeed SOM!

we will miss dada 'the character' who wrote his own 'bollywoodian' script...

Som said...

Trideep, thanks for not forgetting Doosra. No doubt, we owe the aggression to Dada. One Bengali who didn't spent his life with the lone mission of remaining a
'Bhadralok', isn't it?

Som said...

SP, yes indeed. Anyway, heard he has inked a deal with SMG's PMG and will be wielding the columnist's pen now. Hope he stokes some fire there too:)

Trideep said...

Very true SOM.

Q said...

I'd love to see Dada do "I am a Disco Dancer!"...

Sanju said...

Very true

Sudip Kafle and Sujan Kafle said...

This is from cric-news.blogspot.com

My url address has changed because someone just took the address and hacked it.

My new url is http://cricketcurrent.blogspot.com

Please change the link in your sidebar.

Som said...

Q, god forbid that. Ganguly cut a sorry figure trying to out-dance Hrithik Roshan in that bike advt. I don't think he would repeat the mistake again.

Som said...

Sanju, welcome to Doosra and keep coming :))

Som said...

Sudip-Sujan, will do so in a while. Hack the hacker.

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Anonymous said...

Hey Som.... was really waiting for that..... a greatly scripted post...

If Sachin is Amitabh Bachchan and Dhoni is SRK, you got to be Taran Adarsh...

BTW..who would be the Amir Khan of Indian cricket?? Any Guesses...:)

Som said...

Anonymous...hate to be T Adarsh. I'm happy being an Adarsh blogger only.
Regarding Amir Khan, it could be Dravid, both being perfectionist. What's your take?

Anonymous said...

Hey Som or may say Adarsh blogger: Me thinks the same here....... BTW VVS Laxman could be called the Abhishek Bachchan... given his successes when coupled against (Ash)tralia....What say????

Anonymous said...

Hey Somadarsh.... me thinks u have missed the Nagma aspect in this DADAlogy

Som said...

Anonymous, your VVS analogy was unique indeed! Regarding Dada's Nagma saga, I didn't want to reopen his old wounds. I remember Ganguly suffering from a certain Nagmatites at that point of his career.

scorpicity said...

Take a bow som... couldn't have summed it better... by far the best piece on him!

Som said...

Thanks Scorpicity, me contemplating turning Professional Trubite Writer.

Anonymous said...

Hey Som.... We would be thrilled to have you in that role of tribute writer. BTW whom do you think you will be tributing next???

Som said...

Anonymous, I think 'The Wall' might be next in my line of fire.

Anonymous said...

the great wall had a great fall...right Som?

Som said...

Anony, we surely don't want him go like that. Hope he returns amng runs against the Poms.