As many of you may know, I have nothing but the highest regard for Shahrukh Khan’s intelligence and acting prowess and though I may refuse to acknowledge this in mixed company, an embarrassingly serious crush on his 6-pack abs. So when I heard that SRK had acquired the ownership of the Kolkata franchise of the IPL, I felt that indescribable sensation in an indescribable body part, the kind of which I first felt when I saw a bare-torsoed man,his essentials covered by a white towel, jump off the diving board in Baazigar.
In a way this was inevitable. Owning a company with the name “Red Chillies”, it was fated that the great Khan would plump for the “Red” bastion of Bengal.
But then I got a bit confused.
The “red” part was ok but what kind of chillies, red or small, could SRK possibly be interested in?
The mystery started unraveling once the initial auction results were out. SRK and his now Man Friday Sourav Ganguly had invested top dollar for Shoaib “Chuck De” Akthar, the cricketing equivalent of radioactive waste–an entity that is not just useless in itself but has the potential to harm those around it, a lump of noxious trash whose producers (in Akthar’s case his home country Pakistan) would pay money to get rid of. I will confess that my first reaction was a gigantic “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” of shock — how could anyone, far less someone as smart as SRK, pay a single paisa for this volatile cocktail of non-performance, bluster, performance-enhancing drugs and total lunacy?
Everything started to make sense however once I saw this picture.
As Shahrukh Khan himself said— all that’s important is entertainment.
In other words, “who would provide the greatest entertainment” is the guiding philosophy for being bought by Shahrukh.
By “entertainment” however what he may have meant, though we cannot be sure, is ” entertainment for himself”.
Here’s the fact. It’s not your averages and strike rates that matter in the world of the Khan. What really cuts the butter is how hot and juicy your chilly is.
Which is why it does not matter that, with only 4 foreign players being allowed in a team at one time, the Kolkata management has not picked a single Indian batsman of repute (and no Akash Chopra does not yet have any repute in the shorter versions of the game). [Ganguly, if you remember, was not “picked”] making the team extremely thin batting wise.
It’s also quite besides the point that, from a purely cricketing stand point, this makes the Kolkata team looks one of the most ill-balanced in the league.
Instead what’s of utmost importance is the physical variety of the players—from uber-muscled he-men like Shoaib Akthar to waif-like, cutey-pie Unlucky “Chikna” Ajit Agarkar, a lethal double-bill of entertainment for the opposition batsmen. Misbah-ul-Haq —now he only rhymes with cock. Which is why Kolkata does not need him. The real deal however is Salman Butt. That’s because Shoaib loves Salman (they run around topless in Mumbai in the wee hours of the morning) and SRK, well, let’s say he finds the Butt worth investing in.
The coup-d’grace was of course the naming of the team –the Kolkata Knightriders. What could be classier than invoking David Hasselhoff and what could be more honest than phonetically implying that the players are defined by their proclivity to ride, perhaps each other, at night. Indeed what could be more “in theme” than making the team logo a medieval Greek helmet, no doubt a hat-tip to the days when muscled men would play sports in the nude ( Factoid: The word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek word “gymnos” which means naked)
Think I am reading too much into everything? Go to the official Knightriders team site and do check out a video titled, of all things, “Ball Eater” which shows a player sensuously eating… yes you got it.
And how could I forget the mascot Hoog-Lee and the theme song “Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re” ? Growing up in Kolkata, the word “korbo” has sinister connotations of fornication and when the chorus goes “Korbo Re”, my voice magically joins in. And just when I think things cannot get better, it does.
With a reference to my favorite movie of all time, Gunda.
On being asked who will be the ‘goonda’ of the team among Sourav Ganguly, Shoaib Akhtar and Ricky Ponting, Shah Rukh Khan said, “The two guys – Sourav and John will be the goondas, it can’t be me because I’m innocent and Sourav is already known as ‘Dada’, in fact the whole team will be a pack of goons.”
As I read this, my demented mind couldn’t help but think of the following hypothetical scene, again inspired by Gunda.
Scene: The Knight Riders have been handed a drubbing by Chennai.
Sourav Ganguly : Chennai Super Kings ne humaara rumaal phara hain.
Akthar: Hum unke pantloon pharenge.
SRK: Woh bhi peeche se.
John Buchanan: Angootha Lagake.
So bring it on Hyderabad and Mumbai and Priety Zinta. As our webpage says “We are the King’s men. We Rule” where of course SRK is the King.
Remember even if we lose, there is one thing that is guaranteed— in the (un)likely situation that Kolkata Knightriders have their “asses whipped” by every other team in the IPL, SRK would still be entertained by the fact that he owns the “best whipping boys” in the land.
And ultimately that’s all that matters.