`Hitz': here comes the zing

India's Mohammed Kaif effecting that Kingsmead leap-frog run out of Nick Knight in the World Cup Group A match against England on Feb. 26, 2003 .-Pic. REUTERS

IF they hadn't called up to pinpoint it, I might have missed it on the tube. But at least three young cricketers from Mumbai instantly rang (during the Friday afternoon of June 27) to ask if it was true — what they had just heard on 24 x 7.

IF they hadn't called up to pinpoint it, I might have missed it on the tube. But at least three young cricketers from Mumbai instantly rang (during the Friday afternoon of June 27) to ask if it was true — what they had just heard on 24 x 7. Upshot — I touch on the clanger 24 x 7 dropped that day. Calling Prannoy Roy vis-a-vis Geeta Roy! About that diva's Jaa jaa jaa jaa bewafaa number being so callously attributed (by 24 x 7) to our neo-generation cricketers' mod music-fashioning pet, Pancham (R. D. Burman).

Prannoy well knows how, for our younger line of cricketers led by Sachin, all idea of zing music begins with Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar and ends with R.D. Burman & A.R. Rahman. Since the June 27, 24 x 7 clip was aired more than once, I expect even our captive young cricketers, having the time, displayed the inclination to watch the Pancham rewind. A Pancham fond enough of football and hockey, in his Louis Armstrong salad days, to stand in a serpentine Marine Drive queue and clinch match tickets for himself and his master composer-father, S. D. Burman. For the SD who, with the help of RD, once offered to attune his 40-piece orchestra — live — to the tenor of a key hockey match, due to be played at Bombay's BHA Stadium!

Now, therefore, some of our sporting young (from Mumbai) naturally sought to be enlightened by me if the Geeta Roy number that 24 x 7 had credited to their very own Panchamda — as a mark of respect to RD's 65th birth anniversary! — was their icon's composition at all. It certainly wasn't. What a shame 24 x 7 should have goofed up on the one composer commanding a cult following in India's World Cup cricket team! If anything, Geeta Roy's Jaa jaa jaa jaa bewafaa is an Aar Paar torch-song composed by RD's predecessor trendsetter: O. P. Nayyar. The OP from whose custody Geeta's phenom successor, the crickety Asha Bhosle, moved on to R.D. Burman. In Sapna mera toot gayaa tune with the trend of the times.

Too late (by that Friday night) 24 x 7 withdrew the RD-offending clip. Okay, so 24 x 7 is a highly sophisticated English channel not too bothered about getting its Hindi "hitz'' right. But NDTV INDIA — need it so mechanically have picked up the Pancham clip from 24 x 7? Abhigyan Prakash, as that nascent Hindi channel's head honcho, had only to refer the matter to the still radiant Poonam Dhillon to set the bloomer right. In fact, just a call to the Wisden bashing Sanjay would have had our Manjrekar whizkid warblingly identifying the number as just not fitting in the Pancham format.

All this happened while I was absorbing (yet again) the finer fielding points of Wilko presenting HITZ on espn. This, of course, is the TV short, spotlighting how India, as a cricket team, has come on by leaps and bounds in the field. Here too I have a cover point caveat to enter. Why, oh why, has this HITZ short not been updated to include India's zillion memorable moments in the 2003 World Cup? If espnstar prides itself upon being Cricket Ke Asli Badshah, the clip featuring Ravi Shastri could have been deleted to bring viewers "on the ball'' with the Big Top-style tumbler feats of Yuvraj, Kaif & Co.

What comes as a revelation in this HITZ short is Reetinder Singh Sodhi materialising with the airborne Kaif-like stump vision to bring off a dream run out. We talk of our team today being shorn of nerve-tingling all-rounders. In Reetinder we had an all-rounder with limitless potential to develop into a daredevil pearl-diver. In fact, each Sardar playing for India after Bishen has been a wonder fielder (sayeth Mandira). Maninder Singh for starters. Even Navjot Singh Sidhu, remember, ended up as an exemplary fielder at the inspirational instance of his son. But Reetinder, he was (perhaps still is) in the Kaif-Yuvraj class.

HITZ is a short film that (brought up to date) each selector, each coach, each Pooh-Bah, in our Cricket Board set-up should be made to sit up and watch. As espnstar archival material, it is a misty reminder of how meticulously I laboured to put together The Victory Story (as a 102-minute feature film) from stray Indian News Review leftovers of our Test cricket. Today what can't you accomplish, on film, given the technology we have. The bottomline on HITZ is that it looks as dated as Marilyn Monroe — as it now comes across. Let espnstar do some judicious pruning in its last reel (retaining only those 1983 World Cup shots) and it could bring HITZ (as a showpiece) in sensational sync with Sourav's India, winning 8 matches "running'', in the World Cup. To view Azhar and Ajay field in HITZ is to divine how the Snazzy Two among our movers ended up as shakers. To watch Kapil Dev bend to the task is to savour the flavour of the athlete supreme in India-rubber action. To think that Kapil Dil Se should have smugly settled, in 2003, for "the athletics of romance'' in the nubile company of film floozie after film floozie — on SonyMax. Catch 'em young by all means, Kaps. After all. Preity still has Zeenie enough legs to Haryanvi hold your imagination. But hold on to them so much and no more, Kaps. Let your best catch still be the same one as Nina Gupta's. That prize Viv Richards' catch. The catch snatch of the World Cup from under that Windies idol's glistening black nose.