Glam, gloss, glitz & cricket

Rahul Dravid... viewed to `GTX' out the old defensive approach. — Pic. V. GANESAN-

HOW the TV part of TVS arrests the eye as we head for the Kolkata Cup Final day. Even while DD remains the terrestrial torture without peer, what about a teaser trailer of things in `Tour Australia' store? As the one minding the EspnStar store here, Harsha was a rolled gold mine of info. As I caught up with the lad Bhoglending an ear to Ian Chappell. An Ian all set to EspnStar in the Channel 9 India-Australia show.

But a side show first. Spotting Harsha on the Harsh Goenka CEAT awards' sidelines made me wonder if the Bhogle Boy was not there to do a bit of Charuwatch. Though only Harsh could have told Harsha as to what precisely there was left to watch in Charu. In a Charu merely driving home the stark truth that crickbiz is showbiz, showbiz is crickbiz. That the twain can meet in Sonymphet Mandira. As Charu gathered all the cliches in the World (Cup) to make his CEAT-SONY emcee point, as Mandira sounded even more of a cricket ignoramus than before, the evening at times looked an elaborate exercise in glitzy vacuity.

Yet Harsh Goenka himself talked cricket, crisp cricket, doing his hosting bit with flair. As I had a word with Harsh before it was `curtains' for Charu-Mandi, I was struck by his enthusiasm for the game. But surely, Harsh, the CEAT awards are getting seasoned enough for such enthusiasm to be tempered by pragmatism? In sum such a show might be all glam. In substance it has to be something more than the flim-flam I witnessed for years on end at the Filmfare Awards function. You no more mindlessly ask Hema Malini, "What's the secret of your beauty?", than you ask Umrao Jaan Rekha: "What's the secret of your bounty?"

Polly Umrigar going in Taj Mahal Hoteliering tandem with Hema Malini looked a tall big fish just out of Gateway of India water. Harsh therefore should have used his imagination here. By getting Venkat, upstage, to Ayyangarnish the Malini magnetism. Do rewind to how Hema, as a striking stripling, felt drawn to Venkat in his playing prime. Rewind to how Mom Jaya Chakravarthy was surprisingly dismissive of the idea? Arguing in the India Rubber Year of 1971: "After all, how could a mere cricketer be earning the kind of money needed to maintain my superstar daughter?" Whether Hema would have been happy to dance to Venkat's tune is a matter now best left to Kris Srikkanth's Fourth Umpire viewing verdict.

But Ajit Wadekar hitching his Shivaji Park wagon to Poonam Dhillon I was not going to let go without question. I reminded Ajit about how he had chivvied Tiger Pataudi, saying he himself had a Rekha, in tow, at home, to rival Sharmila on the silver screen. Wonder how dim a view Wifie Rekha now took of Ajit publicly getting on so famously with Poonam. Yet, truth to tell, once again was Harsh off target here. Any Poonam teaming would have been NDTV-INDIA 24 x 7 `news' only if Harsh had been on the button in stage managing Abhigyan Prakash being there alongside his Dhillon Darling. So as to round off the Sohni Mahiwal legend.

The Legend of a Lifetime Sunil Gavaskar certainly looked as viewed by Shobha De that nite. Yet Shobha, as the Neeta Nattering STARDUST trailblazer, could not, here, have conscientiously objected if it had been Leena Chandavarkar making over such a prize award to Sunny. Didn't the Deadly Devi, all Star & Style, go to town about the Leena-Sunil "Saraswat connection"? Yet a vaguely distant hook-up it now looks. This perhaps explained Sunny looking abs fabs update in the Saraswatan company of Shobha (Rajadhyaksha).

Amidst all such razzledazzle, the climax of a Bish Bedi honouring Vijay Hazare with the Lifetime Achievement Award restored a semblance of cricketing sanity to the CEAT goings-on. This Bedi-dignifying presentation came as a timely reminder that there still is a lot of cricket left to be played by India in Australia. Where Vijay Hazare had none other than Don Bradman admiring his 116 & 145 in the January 1948 Adelaide Test. As `Over to Australia' it is, Harsha tells me that EspnStar is going to make it a Channel 9 telecast for All India to remember forever. Harsharp Shooter Bhogle himself would be doing the live updating and anchoring as the Tests and the ODIs unfold. While `Wilkosher' Allan would be staying with the BEST OF THE DAY norm of sum-up. There is also going to be a Sunny By Night to cap and wrap it all. Not to mention topical interview-based shows by Harsha.

The EspnStar team represents the creme de la creme of TV commentary for us committed viewers. From the Indian side, Harsha would be live com-interacting with Sunny and Geoffrey, Ravi and Ian. As Wasim Akram articulately joins the team from the second Test at Adelaide. The one point of sad doubt — is Boycs really fit for the Aussie fray? Seeing how Geoffrey, overnight, returned to England. Leaving Ravi holding the Nov 1 BEST OF THE DAY Bombay baby. What a super baby sitter Ravi here turned out to be! All by himself Ravi, as Cricket Ka Asli Ghee Badshah, put his finger unerringly on what ailed Rahul's India — looking `Wankhedead beat' that one-day.

More power to your Amrita tested Mard elbow, Ravi! A Man for All Ritus is Our Man Ravi. As Raveena, after looking spot caught 'on the rebound' by the Sugar Free wheeling Harsha, is all set to wed. Following the Royal Rahul Ditch. A Nagpurposeful khiladi, our Vijeta, as the Scotlandmark woman in Rahul's life. Happily getting her hub to swing to a neo GTXtreme in playing his one-day shots. Imagine, Rahul (59) so Mumbai flowered while VVS, in hitting an explosive 21, eligibly entered his 30th year. On the very Nov 1 Saturday Ash too was `Going On 30'!