For a country that has happily shaken every possible appendage to the rhythm of Bipasha Basu’s heaving bosom in Beedi jalayi le (Omkara) and for each time Aishwarya’s biting-lip-act in Kajrare (Bunty aur Babli) was repeated in marriage parties, our ministers are now going coy over cheerleaders.
Apparently some Maharashtra ministers insist that cheerleaders for the IPL cricket matches “are vulgar, obscene and no better than bar girls.” Maybe we should have Rakhi Sawant dancing or have Yana Gupta doing a Babuji? Some suggest we should have Indian dances and dancers instead of the skimpily clad cheering squads that are there for IPL matches. Let’s see, what dances can we have? Bharatnatyam mudras? Kathakali dancers in IPL team colours or perhaps even Bihu? The indigenous-to-Maharashtra Lavni might be a bit too much though, no?
According to some, a cheerleader for cricket is playing “to the depraved base instincts of the repressed Indian male.” It’s funny that something similar was said about Shilpa Shetty’s movie posters too and now she has become the international ambassador for Indian-womanhood. Funnier still is that some object to the cheerleaders because they are “Western concepts of entertainment”, perhaps they forget that cricket was imported too.
After years of being a gentleman’s, stuffy, you-hit-ball, I–run-after-it game, the new formats – T20 and IPL – are bringing some life back into the sport. It’s faster, more colourful and finishes quickly. As for ministers who have expressed concern over mothers and daughters having to watch “these cheerleaders”, they should look closely at the crowd that has been coming to see the matches. The women and girls there seem perfectly happy enjoying the game. Other than the ministers – who perhaps need more work than sit and debate on non-issues – no one else seems to have a problem. It took a Sania Mirza to revive interest in tennis, cricket too has long needed an image overhaul, and if we are cheering while that’s happening: What’s so wrong in that?
What do you think of the cheerleaders: Should they be banned or should we cheer along and enjoy the matches? Use the comment form to send in your feedback.