Perhaps nothing unites cricket fans more than the signature Indian Premier League trumpet tune, which the stadium DJ belts out season after season. It is an important part of the league’s cultural identity and captures the true essence and spirit of the country’s premier T20 competition.
Strangely though, the all-familiar sound has its roots in the faraway Rainbow Nation.
The IPL has had a theme song every year, except for 2009, when it had to be moved out of India for the first time owing to the Lok Sabha Elections. Francois Pienaar, the World Cup-winning rugby captain of South Africa, was appointed the marketing head of the cash-rich competition.
Pienaar had sleepless nights, trying to put his finger on that one missing vibe he felt at the venues. He then analysed how the crowd responded to different kinds of music. He eventually realised Bollywood music was an instant hit, and even the South African spectators seemed to be tapping their feet to the various beats. Pienaar decided to mix-and-match elements to devise something that would appeal to one and all.
Pienaar, whose jersey Nelson Mandela famously wore during the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, decided to approach Lalit Modi, then the Commissioner of the league. Modi was generous enough to grant Pienaar creative freedom.
Pienaar remembered how the crowd screamed ‘Ole’ in unison when the bugle was played during the rugby fixtures and decided to experiment with it. The recording done, when they blared it from the speakers in the stadium, the crowd went wild. The reaction was the same each time they looped the track.
It isn’t much of a surprise that the tone is still an integral part of the cricketing extravaganza.
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