Gurunath Meiyappan of IPL’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK), is a very happy man. His team is leading the tables and has clearly emerged as the favourite to grab the DLF IPL —Twenty20, inaugural 2008 cup. The way CSK demolished the highly hyped Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkatta Knight Riders (KKR), with three overs remaining was fantastic.
Full marks to Gurunath, and the rest of the people at India Cements CSK’s, franchise to make it the hottest team in the tournament. Added to that, they could whip up terrific fan frenzy for the IPL in Chennai. Hats off, that in the heat of summer CSK could attract a full house (capacity- 42,000) crowd for the clash with the Kolkotta team on Saturday evening.
So far, CSK has clicked in a big way, and all credit should be given to India Cements. The only controversy was the unceremonious termination of Nayanthara as one of the brand ambassadors of CSK. Nayanthara had said that CSK had behaved in an “unprofessional manner”. She also said that “it is unethical for a corporate house to make such a statement without having the basic courtesy to inform me about the decision.”
After CSK’s sensational win over KKR on Saturday night, Gurunath Meiyappan of CSK sitting on the Pavilion Terrace of M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai opened up and talked exclusively to Sify.com on the raging Nayanthara controversy.
Tell us your take on the Nayanthara issue ?
First and foremost, we gave Nayanthara a long rope. After we won at Mohali against Kings X1 Punjab, I spoke to her in Hyderabad where she was shooting for some film and reminded her to come for our Chennai opening match on Wednesday, April 23 against Mumbai Indians. M.S Dhoni our captain had also spoken to her and told her it would be a big boost for the team. She had assured us that she would surely be in Chennai on Wednesday evening for the match, and would come straight from the airport to the stadium. After that it was complete silence from her end, and when we contacted Ajit her manager, he was very vague. At 12 noon on the match day when CSK committee had fixed a meeting with the guy he never turned up! By evening we realized that Nayanthara will not be turning up for the match.
But she had fainted on the sets of Kuselan and was hospitalized. How could she come for the match?
Bullshit! I spoke to P.Vasu, the director of the film who told me that she was admitted into a hospital and discharged within two hours. If she had informed us well in advance about her inconvenience to come for the match due to health reasons, we would not have terminated her MOU with us. Remember we had advertised in the press till the match day that our star guests for the evening was Vijay, Nayanthara, Hariharan and Sivamani? We were always under the impression that she would make it for the match, but she kept us in the dark and delivered a beamer at the end!
So you decided to sack her as CSK brand ambassador?
After Nayanthara’s ‘No Show’ on Wednesday, our core team of Rakesh Singh, R.Srinivasan and I called for a meeting. At that meeting all of us were unanimous that she behaved in an irresponsible manner by not coming for the inaugural match, after taking a hefty advance. We gave her a long rope and many chances but still she behaved the way an arrogant actress treats a small time producer. This is not the way to deal with a corporate like India Cements, an Rs 5000 Crore company and CSK’s owners.
Did you pay her a bomb? What was your contract with her?
We have not signed a contract, only an MOU. The deal was for Rs 40 Lakhs, out of which we paid her an advance of Rs 20 lakhs. We are willing to waive Rs 5 lakhs out of the Rs 20 lakhs paid to her as advance for her appearance at the inaugural function. We will be sending her a legal notice for return of the remaining Rs 15 lakhs advance amount paid to her.
The buzz in the local press is that you have signed Trisha to replace Nayanthara as CSK brand ambassador. Please comment
No way. It’s pure rubbish. Let me make it clear that Mr. Vijay will be the sole brand ambassador for CSK. We are very, very happy with him.
So Vijay looks the perfect brand fit for Chennai Super Kings
You are absolutely right. Vijay is the complete professional, once he is committed to a project. The man has done more for CSK than he committed. He moved around as a part of the team, cancelled his shoot and came to the stadium to watch our players at the nets. Dhoni and Vijay get along very well. The star has promised to hold a sneak preview of his “Kuruvi” for Dhoni on May 1, a day before our match against Delhi Daredevils in Chennai. Vijay was there with his family for both the matches in Chennai, and may also come to Bangalore to cheer for us on Monday (April 28) when we play Royal Challengers.
CSK seems to be rocking?
Yes. In every aspect of acquiring the team, its performance, on field entertainment and the kind of ratings we managed to pull off. We have proved that CSK is a professionally run team. We are rocking!