I think most people have gotten used to seeing the odd celebrity face at the IPL (especially during strategic breaks) waxing eloquent about “the boys” for a few precious air minutes. But somehow seeing Neeta Ambani there (Neeta Ben to some) seemed to me like an odd little trespass on behalf of the rich and restless on what felt like purely Bollywood turf thus far (at least from the front end anyway, I know she owns the team.)
Allow me to explain; when Bollywood celebrities jump into the fray and do stuff on camera for sport or politics or Bollywood itself people will mutter the occasion “publicity stunt” comment but eventually get over it since they are for all intents and purposes entertainers (just like Amitabh Bachchan said, “I am merely an actor, it is my job.”) But when you throw the Ambani clout into the mix, you get the kind of unnecessary (for lack of a better word) ass-kissing AND asinine reportage that makes everyone uncomfortable!
Take for instance this news-wire from The Press Trust of India (apparently India’s premier news agency) and pretty much any site which turns up when you Google “Neeta Ambani + IPL” gives you:
IPL over kids’ exams for Neeta Ambani
So now she’s a bad mother? Come on! Look at these kids, do they in any way, shape or form look like they “hunger” for anything much less their mother’s attention?!
Port Elizabeth, May 11 The school examinations of her kids are on but Mumbai Indians owner Neeta Ambani, whose arrival coincided with the team’s return to winning ways in the IPL, is planning to stay put in South Africa for some time after being requested to by Sachin Tendulkar and Co. “I have just come in and left my children back home for their school examinations. I was planning to go home tonight but I think I will talk to my children and my team who are requesting me to stay back,” Ambani told the Indian Premier League’s official website.
Mumbai Indians defeated the Bangalore Royal Challengers by 16 runs (and Kings XI Punjab by 8 wickets yesterday) after enduring three back-to-back losses. The win coincided with Ambani’s arrival but she laughed off suggestions that she was the lucky mascot for Tendulkar’s men. “I don’t think I’m a lucky mascot for the team. All I believe is that one should always have the positive spirit going and then the victory will be theirs,” she said. Ambani singled out J. P. Duminy, who scored a fifty yesterday, for praise, saying the South African has repaid her faith in him well. “I am glad with his performance. I remember at the time when I went to Goa during the auction everyone was saying that go after X player and Y player, but I wanted Duminy in my side. And I am happy that he will be with us for the full season,” she said.
The first lady of the Indian business fraternity admitted that the players, along with mentors Shaun Pollock and Jonty Rhodes, were always at hand to make her familiar with the nuances of the game. “I enjoyed sitting in the dugout. They (the players) kept on educating me about the game and kept telling me how the next ball will behave. They were informing me about their plans while the match was going on. So it was quite enjoyable,” she recalled. Neeta Ambani also praised youngsters like Ajinkya Rahane for performing well in the tournament. “I am delighted to see these youngsters performing well for the team. I see a great future for them in the coming days. Rahane, (Chetanya) Nanda, (Dhawal) Kulkarni and (Saurabh) Tiwary are the future,” she said.
Oh Preity Zinta.
Now take for instance when Preity Zinta bounced up to Samir Kochchar on the field and on behalf of the Kings XI Punjab and made her dislike for the Duckworth-Lewis rule abundantly clear, neither Frank nor Tony would have batted an eye-lid. She’s cute, dimpled and dramatic. It’s all good.
P.S. Duminy you better deliver or suffer the Reliance wrath.