“Three hundred years ago, it was spices and gold that brought the world to India. In the twenty-first century, Bollywood and cricket will take India to the world” – quote from The Gamechangers.
The sports world is starting to provide us more thrills off-the field than on-the field. The fast blurring line between the showbiz industry and sports has made T20 cricket look like just another prime-time reality show.
At the opposite pole, it takes one vertically challenged man to lift the game, from a recreational jig to the highest plinth of meditation with a super-human 200* not out.
Notwithstanding its recent blemishes, the game is an integral part of the Indian Soul and has hauntingly got under our skin like A.R.Rahman's music- to borrow FIP's words.
Do you know which the most entertaining spectator sport in the world today is? It’s not football or motorsports or even beach volleyball. It is called “SPOILSPORTS”! Lo and behold! And there descended the superstar of SPOILSPORTS - The Fake IBL Player, who was more entertaining than any other REAL player in IBL 2 (The Indian Bollywood League!).
He saw, he blogged and he conquered! Every newspaper and TV news channel in India covered his blog and its revelations in detail throughout the duration of IBL 2. It was front page material in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan.
The curious case of the IPL Icons
Sensational, Scandalous, Funny, Scathing, Irreverent, imaginative, entertaining, poison pen – the endless adjectives different people used to describe the blog, depending upon who they were. While the blog had a disclaimer in fine print, ”All characters appearing in this work (blog) are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and unintentional”. The caricatures were so real that any coincidence seemed to be only coincidental.
In The Gamechangers, the FIP is back with more inside stories; trademark tongue-in-cheek humour and his refreshing irreverence for the demi-gods of cricket, which had both the common man and the cricket lover eating out of his hand, and catapulted his blog to the second spot next only to Amir Khan’s blog.
Evolving from a blog dismissed by one irate official as "poison pen writing of the dirtiest variety”, the book turns out to be thoroughly mocking, mostly humorous and even manages to be insightful in parts. The FIP has tweaked and fine-tuned his cynical nicknames for the players, staff and owners of the IPL, most of which are already legendary.
Appam Chutiya is up there with Augustus Caesar! And no one involved in the tournament, from the ball boys to the ICC, has been spared in the book!
The plot moves at a feverish pace through 35 days of IBL-2 with the author and the smart detective PMS, who is hired to expose the FIP, taking turns in narrating the story. The FIP blog is used only as a focal point to further the plot: that consists of off-the-field drama during IBL 2 and the suave detective’s efforts to expose the FIP, with the blessings of Sadde Guru Sherlock Holmes.
As in any detective story, everyone from Lalu to Gautam Sarkar to the ICC , qualifies to be a suspect! The sub-plots involving the Indian cricket captain’s love interest and the power equations in the cricketing world, add the right masala ingredients to make it a Bollywood potboiler! ( A movie deal might not be far ahead i guess!)
First generation woman entrepreneur of IPL merchandise
It appears that the FIP has consciously changed some of the facts and names to escape likely legal cobwebs or maybe the plot demanded the changes. Nevertheless, the book is a light read giving a humorous account of the IBL circus off-the-field and comes across as a tad opinionated at certain places. Nevertheless, episodes like the one describing the “Tire and Fire” Project tried out by the Phoren babas are hilarious enough to through you off the chair!
FIP talks a lot about himself but reveals nothing at all. The mystery is whether detective PMS nabs the culprit or the FIP gives him a royal slip to remain an enigma! (We won’t play spoilsports spilling the climax!)
Verdict: Go ahead and give it a read. This is a creamy serving of baby corn soup to warm up your appetite for the three-course IPL (3) feast!
P.S: Junta who liked the blog will love the book!
P.P.S: Junta who have not read the blog will be googling for it once they read the book!
Top blog lines that did not make the book:
From reader's choice awards - Little John to Bookha Naan where Little John barges into his room and says “You say new pitch, but it’s old pitch. How you say how to do balling when you don’t know pitch”. Amidst FIP's fans, the fiery dialogue is as famous as the Big B's lines from Zanjeer!
Top Chapters :
The Legend of Appam Chutiya:
“ 'Appam Chutiya! Appam Chutiya!' they chanted as a bemused Prasanth stood in the middle of the room. People were rolling on the floor, clutching their stomachs, tears streaming down their faces.................. The blogger's special focus on him and the response to his nickname reinforced his belief that he was rich,famous and absolutely irresistible to women.”
“They made him jog, which he did willingly. Then they made him sprint, which was in execution at best a fast jog. They made him stretch and i was happy to see that he could actually touch his toes. They made him do crunches, during which he came dangerously close to falling asleep everytime he lay back.................... The coaches screamed and shouted at him to go for it, but he said, 'Too far' and waited for the next ball”
The Moment of Truth
“I looked up and saw Ashok staring at me. 'Yaar,' I said, 'Woh hum sabko Appam Chutiya bana raha hai' ”
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