ibnlive » India

Apr 25, 2008 at 09:29pm IST

IPL cheerleaders stir a moral debate

New Delhi: They are being called cricket’s item numbers. Their moves add to the fizzy cocktail of cricket and entertainment. But now these cheerleaders, specially flown in from Washington, are stirring a moral debate.

It is not just the politicians, who accuse the girls of degrading Indian culture, but it’s also cricket purists who say the cheerleaders are taking away the true essence of the game.

“I'm quite happy to be counted in a minority. I feel an aesthetic distaste for it. I think it's demeaning for women. And I think it distracts from the game of cricket,” fumed socio-historian Ramchandra Guha during CNN-IBN show Face the Nation.

CHEERLESS: Not just politicians, but purists also question the need for IPL cheerleaders.

But the 44-day competition is pulling out all stops — the celebrity quotient is high, the entertainment is loud and the dancers are in your face. It’s getting in the new cricket fan who likes his sport mixed with a dash of entertainment.

“These girls are down to spread good cheer. Now the moral police, what do they fear? That the focus will shift away from the game? But IPL without them won’t be the same,” TV personality Mandira Bedi said.

And entertainment, no doubt, is there in plenty.

Shah Rukh Khan led his friends to watch his team Kolkata Knight Riders play. It’s celebrities and cricket feeding off each other like never before. But is anyone watching the game at all anymore?

Women in Bollywood item numbers wear much less. It’s like every time the politicians see a slight bit of sex, they sort of slaver at the mouth and say let’s ban this lets ban that,” renowned ad professional Alyque Padamsee said.

The line between cricket and entertainment maybe becoming precariously thin, but the politicians are worried it’s the skimpy attire of the cheerleaders that’s mocking the game and the culture.

“I think this is gross obscenity and this should not be encouraged. Actually we are ruining the cultural fabric of the country,” former NCW chairperson Poornima Advani said.

As the jigs continue and Bollywood numbers blare on, perhaps someone should look out for that fuse that blew off or that dust bowl wicket that appalled one and all. Crickets real lovers would certainly say cheers to that.

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