Mumbai. After a TV sting operation, SRK-MCA spat, and Siddharth Mallya’s tweets created headlines, SET Max, the television channel showing IPL matches to the Indian audiences, has decided to broadcast programs on IPL controversies instead of IPL matches, as the former were appreciated and talked about more by the common man and the media.
“It all started with Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth in the first season, which became the biggest talk of the tournament,” Ajay Guha, a SET max official recalled the original relationship between controversies and IPL.
The official pointed out that the second season saw fight between the government and IPL chairman Lalit Modi, which resulted in tournament being organized in South Africa. The third season saw Lalit Modi fighting it out with Shashi Tharoor and both of them losing their respective jobs.
“Last year we didn’t have any major fight in IPL as the government was busy fighting Anna Hazare and cricket fans were happy with world cup victory, so they ignored minor controversies like blog by a cheerleader,” Ajay said.
“But fights are back now; Shah Rukh Khan is fighting with security-men at Wankhede and Luke Pomersbach is fighting with a couple in a hotel,” he added.
Realizing that fights and controversies were integral part of the tournament, the television channel has decided to come up with special programs showcasing all the darker aspects of the IPL.
“We could call it IPL Fights on the lines of IPL Nights and we are hopeful of getting sponsors,” Guha hoped, “Toothpastes claiming to fight germs can sponsor such program – one such toothpaste has Shah Rukh Khan as brand ambassador – what can be a better brand placement?”
The TV channel is also planning to give sponsored awards to players, officials, or anyone associated with IPL who are found indulged in fights and controversies.
“We can have MTV Roadies Award for player who sledges or abuses the most, while we can announce Arnab Goswami Award for player that shows maximum outrage over umpire decisions,” Ajay proposed.
“We can even ask players like Virat Kohli to sponsor such awards!” he added as an afterthought.
SET Max is planning to produce and air these programs for this season itself as they don’t want to miss on the controversies already generated.
“There were allegations of match-fixing also, and we feared that we could lose viewership of those who believe in genuine encounters,” Ajay said, “But we hope to win back these viewers as fights off the ground appear to more engaging and genuine than the fight on the ground.”
(originally written for and published in English daily DNA)