Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chak De ishtyle

Is it a co-incidence or is it not? I'd like to think not.

How is it that barely a month after the release of 'Chak De India', a film about national fervour and pride (albeit via the not-frequently-visited path of Indian sport), there has been three major achievements for Indian sport in real life?

The first was on August 29th - when India defeated Syria 1-0 to win the ONGC Nehru Cup. Football. The second - on Sept 9th, when India trounced Korea 7-2 to win the Asia Cup. Hockey. The third and the latest, (and the only way you'd not have heard of it is if you've been living 20 feet underground for the past two weeks) when India defeated Pakistan by 5 runs to win the inaugral T20 World Cup. Cricket.

Three different sports, and three very impressive results. Please note that I do not say 'equally impressive', but just 'impressive'. That's cos I believe the last one was the best and toughest out of the lot. Hockey fans and players and managers can make a hue-n-cry but for all I care, nothing beats winning a World-Cup.

Now, just for fun's sake, suppose we were to draw comparisons between this chak-de trilogy and the movie itself. In both cases, the protagonists and the real-life victors weren't expected to win anything. They were at-the-most expected to perform decently well, and not put us to shame. But they proved us wrong. Very, very wrong. They just didn't win, they did it in style too. Take for example, in hockey - India trouncing the Lankans 20-0 in a group match, winning the final 7-2 etc. In cricket - Yuvraj's 6 sixes off Broad, RP Singh's wickets etc. In football - we won the final 1-0!! (Ahem..yeah, that's big too - after losing 0-6 to Japan and others in the recent future :P)

Next, the drama involved. In the movie, the women from India defeat Australia in a penalty shootout, coming back from 2 goals down to win 3-2. After watching the movie (although the final was based on an actual match), you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was just a little too dramatic, that these things don't usually happen in real life and all that. Think again. Even the most ardent asportheist (definition: a person who does not believe in reel becoming real, especially in matters of sport) would have eaten his words, the moment Sreesanth a.k.a our very own Gopumon (yes, mallu pride, a little bit, I do have..ermmm) pouched Misbah's attempted lob. You could not have written a better script, even if you wanted to. Latest reports state that most hospitals in Kerala had two major emergency situations almost exactly 12min apart - one after the 18th over and one when the match ended. Some even switched off their TVs in the last over in the post-op heart-surgery wards, in the fear that their treatment and credibility would take a huge hit. Ofcourse, all the doctors were bunched together in front of a 14" box in the snack room at around the same time too, but that's a different story.

Now for the 3rd (and almost eerie) similarity. In the movie, the Indian lasses first played Australia in the group stage and then had to meet them again in the finals. Agreed? Now get this - on each of the three occasions, India had their toughest match of the tournament against a team, say X, and had to later meet the same team X in the finals. Football - India played Syria during the group stage and lost 2-3. Hockey - India first met Korea in the group and scraped by 3-2 then. Cricket - The Indians only won via a bowl-out against Pakistan, in a match that looked a lost cause many a time. Amazing right?

Now back to my first question. Co-incidence? I think not. Call this farfetched - but we Indians are not known to be mentally supreme in sports and something has changed the players attitude and thinking recently. It might be 'Chak De' spirit and confidence instilled post watching the movie, might be the fact that the tune is now played at every game, giving these players the backing that they have a huge base of supporters rooting for them. Ofcurse, it might not be related to any of these, just that we've started playing better :) Whatever it is, hats off to these guys for making us proud and giving us a lot of things to smile about. Personally, I can't wait for the Ind-Oz cricket match in Bangalore this Saturday where we're gonna give the 'World Champions' (didn't expect to be using this term anywhere in the near future after the F50 debacle in March) a wild reception. Yeah, we've got tickets - we're gonna be there baby!

Umm..not that I'm a MCP or anything, but one striking disimilarity between the movie and these recent incidents, is that in real life - It's ALL MEN, not the women! hah :) I see a stampede of females with hockey sticks rushing to strike me down? Gotta go, cya!