Sourav Ganguly, Dona & Odissi

Published : Oct 04, 2003 00:00 IST

HOW the Mumbai media initially viewed Sourav in the handy telly prism through which it sought to elevate Sachin as the Little Master mind!


HOW the Mumbai media initially viewed Sourav in the handy telly prism through which it sought to elevate Sachin as the Little Master mind! By reading so much meaning into how Sachin "outwitted" a Sourav suddenly reduced to a non-huddling leader of men. Through the first three days of play. During which Rest of India's Irani Cup appeared full to the "Wah Taj" brim. Yet to the striking Zakir Hussain beat did Sourav play in the end. After Sou's first stanza fall, for a O as large as a football, had created the illusion that his shirt was about to be taken off in a different telelight altogether.

Well, Sachin did look all set to Mumbai "cap" it in Chennai. Before being Sunday glimpsed to Sou cop it. A Sachin (to the photo finish) taking too long to mindset his field. At a time when Ten's pet umpire, David Shepherd, had already been announced as the flavour of the Indian Test season to come. For Sourav to be in a position to celebrate, in the same bated-batted breath, an ROI victory alongside the summary sacking of Asoka de Silva. As Sri Lanka's immovable umpiring property in India.

Sachin's real captaincy test came only on the 4th day. When L. Balaji (egged on by L. Siva) stood firm through 126 balls for 26. Helping Sourav's Rahulinchpin (ultimately 121) to Chepaukick start, afresh, the ROI innings. For a rollercoaster Rahul-Laxman TVS mobike ride to ensue. A rollercoaster leaving the Chepauk 4th wicket-gate no longer all that open. For the Sachin-led ball to find the Indian captaincy credibility-gap. Between Rahul's derring-do deputy bat and Sourav's leading-edge pad. Thus did Laxman (99), materialising in between the vicecap and the cap, once again turn the Chepauk lunch tables on Sachinama. In an under-100 knock redolent of those Chepauking-size 65 & 66 vs Steve's Australia.

Nothing that Sachin tried (through his "Aiga!" interjecting leadership) worked during that Sunday midway session. Hours seeing the languidly willowy Laxman joining the neo inventive Rahul in ensuring that there was no more Powar to Mumbai's elbow. There was a bit of stagefright as Rahul left soon after Laxman. But Sourav still packed enough punch in his left to Mumbait Sachin to a 3-wicket defeat.

Rahul's shot play here was nothing short of a Vijetake-off revelation. Four sixes from Rahul's rejuvenated Britannia Balla revived memories of what the once six-smashing Dilip Vengsarkar told me. Dilip observed that he became truly aggressive, in his shot production, only after he wooed and wed Mona Lisa Manali. So did Rahul, now, turn over a new batting leaf only after Vijeta and he had got Scotland locked. The Nagpuritan style in which Rahul orange squeezed the Mumbai bowling suggested that his long honeymoon with Vijeta is far from over. As Sourav too began looking in more macho Chennai touch towards the end, you knew that Dona's Mumbai Odissi recital had not been in vain.

Yet hugely disappointed did I feel with Sourva's Mumbai reaction to a Dona related Odissi query. "It's very boring! Bombay Times noted Sourav. Good God, Sou, after The Seven Year Itch countering steps taken by Dona to wean you into dance, how possibly could you be so dismissive of Odissi? A dance form lagging in no way behind Bharata Natyam in its arts and graces. To learn that Dona's guru is Kelucharan Mahapatra is to savour dance in its quintessential form. A Kelucharan in whose masterly care we had Raghunath Panigrahi resonating Odissi as a rare art form. In which first, Sanjukta Panigrahi and, then, Kumkum Das super excelled on the Sur Singar Birla Matushri Sabhaghar stage. That distant evening saw a wildly ovated Kumkum "arrive" as Sanjukta's reshmee Odissi rival in the dance arena.

Dona's dance now has its base in the same Kelucharan Mahapatra. So Dona Ganguly must have something really telly worth while to project as an Odissi exponent. Indeed we viewers would love to absorb a dancing Dona in the same vivid hues as a striking Sourav on TV! Sourav Maharaj, as he dances down the wicket, is all Birju Maharaj — all Kathak, all vigour. Dona, as she sets the Odissi stage a-tap, is all Sanjukta, all elegance.

So never again, even unwittingly, run down Dona and her Odissi, Sourav. If you do, you are in danger of inviting spot TV comparison with none other than Laloo Yadav. Remember how Laloo — after viewing Sanjukta Panigrahi initiate Odissi (in all its shades and nuances) through TV eye-holding movements — Patna-exclaimed: "Enough of her! Ask her to get off the stage pronto! Surely it's now some other lady dancer's turn to perform."

To describe Odissi as "very boring," Sourav, is to uphold the Buffalo TV outlook of a Laloo Yadav. By contrast, how Rahul has been all music appreciation long before he heard Vijeta, compulsively, sing at that arranged-marriage "girl seeing" ceremony. So much so that Rahul today is a bit of a loner in the Indian team. As one tuning with the best of only Lata Mangeshkar. In a Gaud Sarang canvas of Allah Tero naam Ishwar Tero naam. That is why, perhaps, we had Lata lilting on SonyMax even as Rahul was in full 121 flower.

Oh yes, the Mast mast body language of Raveena is now a day-and-night past in the life and times of Rahul. But what about Sachin — if he is at all a competitor, still, leading the way in the Sourav-Rahul fray? Well could Thespian Nutan be Sachin's performing ideal in this Navratri season. As Sachin watches Gujju Anjali garba go along in the vintage vein of Main toh chhod chalee baabul ka des, peeya ka ghar pyaara lage. And why not, when that ghar is La Mer? Where even Anjali's Sachin calls the `shots' only after Ash.

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