Stories trace their way over twists and turns, treading new paths. Like we are just experiencing, with ‘Futsal’ emerging as a brand to be reckoned with.
Over the weekend we witnessed some new action, all set to captivate audiences, from the word go. The launch of ‘Premier Futsal’ had us glued to our TVs, as it kick-started from Chennai. Indeed a glitzy start to a very fast-paced game. Premier Futsal exploded onto the scene with lights, sound, colour – in a totally engaging pastime and people cheered as the football legends walked up to kick off the game.
Flashes of glamour, foot-tapping music, giant screens (we’ve been exposed to this in cricket), cheerleaders, digital billboard…exposing all the spectators to a really grand extravaganza, not seen before as far as football is concerned. Both the matches played on Friday were captivating, with Mumbai 5s emerging as winner in the first match. We knew there is much more in store.
The crowning glory was the Futsal anthem composed by Oscar Award-winning AR Rahman, who crooned “Naam hai futsal”, “Kick, Kick, Kick it, Just tricker, tricker, tricker trick it, We go, we go, we go wicked…”
This actually was a flashback to the time, when there unfolded a twist in the cricket story – when IPL was launched. And, we know that for all Indians (and especially from where I come from – the City of Joy – Kolkata), cricket is a part of daily life, no, it is a religion. It can be either watching cricket or playing cricket. And, of course, football is also very much part of the daily vocabulary from that part of the country.
When IPL imploded on the sports scene, with a star-studded opening ceremony including superstars from all over the globe, it had all cricket fans captivated from Day 1. All eyes were on the action – the auctioning of players (which happened for the first time!), coming face-to-face with well-known faces like Chris Gayle, Michael Hussey, Malinga and so on. Die-hard critics may vouch for the fact that interest for IPL has waned over the years, but engaging it is, even today! The buying of players is always in the spotlight controversies and all; incidentally, this year, the highest bid was for$1,000,000 (around Rs 53,000,000!).
Talking of new engaging action line, the weekend also saw the launch of pro-boxing into the Indian sports scenario. And, the nation was thrilled to see Virender Singh do a ‘Sultan’ and win. “Unfazed, undefeated and unanimous in pro boxing,” said a headline. You could spot familiar faces in the audience – celebrities, actors, cricketers and politicians, who waited with abated breath, as they watched him claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super middleweight title. Everyone expected him to win, as the buzz in the stadium and on social media spun into a crescendo! #VijenderSingh was trending as number one on Twitter too. So, pro-boxing is here to stay.
Then ‘Talk to AK’ saw Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal unleashing another activity to engage the Dilliwalas, along the same lines as our PM’s ‘Man ki Baat’. The similarity was clear. The only difference being that Kejriwal’s show is an interactive, ‘two-way’ act, when people can ask the Delhi CM questions and he gives the answers. But, yes, Kejriwal’s first session on July 17 evoked a mixed response from social media enthusiasts.
As this column is being filed, I spotted another blockbuster-to-be (according to film watchdogs), emerging over the horizon. The teaser review of ‘Kabali’ that features the ‘God’ of South Indian films was trending and how! That’s when “When Rajini’s style gives you goosebumps” (as per a daily’s headline)!!
It will hit the screens on Friday. And, as always, it can only be Rajinikanth when a movie teaser hits one million likes within an hour on Facebook, and then trends on Twitter. Not to miss out on word-of-mouth that escalates it to a maddening ‘hype’ of magnum size. Creating a manic ‘josh’ among movie-goers, is what was expected of the undisputed king of Tamil cinema. Incidentally, Kabali tickets sold out in two hours in US, and is to release in 400 screens! It can’t get bigger than this!
Well, sometimes it is a one-way street, snowballing into a movement. What say?