IPL craze reaches fever pitch in Kolkata

April 18th, 2008 - 12:32 pm ICT by admin  


Kolkata, April 18 (IANS) Businessmen are ready to shut shop, housewives are vowing off chores, young professionals are rushing to buy TV sets and college students are willing to fast for luck - all for the love of cricket, which people here say is a religion. The City of Joy is in frenzy as the Kolkata Knight Riders start the opening match of the Indian Premier League Friday evening against the Bangalore Royal Challengers at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.

Rohit Bera, an engineer, told IANS: “I am thrilled about the Knight Riders’ matches. I won’t miss a single one of them and am flying to Bangalore for the opening match. Cricket is a religion and this is how it should be celebrated.”

Trina Saha, a college student and Sourav Ganguly fan, said: “Every time I fast India wins a match. This time also I will fast on the days of all fourteen matches of the Knight Riders.”

“I have got myself a new flat-screen television just to watch the matches,” Bengali film actor June Mallya said.

While hectic preparations are on at the Eden Gardens here for the second match of Kolkata Knight Riders Sunday, residents are planning to stop everything else on each match day.

“No school, no office, no cooking, lots of pizzas and cheering for the Knight Riders - that’s how our family is going to enjoy the matches,” housewife Sayanti Mukherjee happily declared, perhaps forgetting that the matches are in the evenings.

Grocery shop owner Montu Pal said: “I will keep my shop closed all days of the Knight Riders’ matches.”

People here certainly see their home team, owned by Shah Rukh Khan, as the USP of the IPL.

“IPL has no value minus the Kolkata Knight Riders. No sports team from Kolkata has ever looked so stylish,” said school student Arka Sen.

Fans of Ganguly and King Khan in south Kolkata have decided to organise a ‘yagna’ (fire ceremony) for the victory of the Knight Riders.

“If Knight Riders win the league we will organise a blood donation camp in our area,” said Alok Roy, a Ganguly fan.

However, intellectuals of the city were a bit wary of the hype around the IPL’s Twenty20 matches.

“Cricket and films have three things in common - glamour, entertainment and money. When you amalgamate these two fields you get sleek teams and stylish publicity. But the million dollar question is whether the teams owned by film actors and businessmen will actually play cricket or is it going to be all filmy,” asked filmmaker Aparna Sen.

Painter Subhaprasanna said: “It seems this new genre of cricket is meant exclusively for Gen Y. Real cricket does not need the support of film actors and businessmen. I personally don’t support this hype.”

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