Cheerleaders spark culture vs glamour debate(Roundup)

April 25th, 2008 - 11:43 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) The cheerleaders at the India Premier League (IPL) matches seem to have become the talk of towns across India. While many feel their gyrating performances go against the country’s “culture”, others think they just “add glamour” to the games. A day after Maharashtra objected to “scantily clad foreign girls’ dances” and asked IPL to seek prior permission for the performances, West Bengal Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty said he was against “this kind of westernisation in the name of entertainment”.

“I cannot understand the necessity of cheergirls at the IPL matches. I am not against any new concept, but Kolkatans are not yet ready for cheergirls,” he told reporters in Kolkata.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty, however, told IANS: “So far, we have not received any orders to ban cheerleaders in the April 29 match at Edens ground.”

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who owns the Kolkata Knight Riders, found nothing wrong with the concept.

“What’s wrong with cheerleaders? I am also a family person, I do not see anything negative in it,” he said.

The issue sparked quite a debate in Hyderabad, with women’s groups saying that it amounted to “exploitation of women”.

“We are thinking of staging protests. We will meet other women groups to chalk out our action plan,” said V. Sandhya, leader of Progressive Organisation of Women (POW).

But Indian selector and former cricketer Venkatpathy Raju felt otherwise. “It adds a little glamour and there is nothing wrong as long as it is not overdone,” he told IANS.

A group of Australian cheerleaders has been brought by Deccan Chargers for their matches in Hyderabad and other centres.

Bangaloreans seemed hardly touched by the controversy, and most said a “big fuss” was being made over nothing.

Political parties in Karnataka were disinterested in making any comments on the issue as most of them were busy with preparations for the upcoming assembly polls.

Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries, which had flown in cheerleaders from the US, said they would “follow the rule of the land”.

Mallya owns the Bangalore Royal Challengers team led by former India captain Rahul Dravid. “We have not received any complaints and have no information whether any group is planning a protest against the cheerleaders,” a city police officer said requesting anonymity.

Former and current cricketers were unwilling to comment as they said it would unnecessarily add to the controversy.

S. Sandhya, a college student and cricket enthusiast, said majority of the people go to watch the game and not the cheerleaders.

“There is nothing in their dance. They just gyrate to the fast tracks and often their performance does not last even a minute. There is no reason to make a big fuss about it,” she said.

K. Sathyakumari, a housewife, said the cheerleaders’ clothes were skimpy, but worst dresses were seen on TV.

“It would be better if organisers abandoned such entertainment, but it is meaningless to turn it into a controversy,” she said.

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