Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cafe Rio is Killing the World Cup Broadcast

How John Abraham and Gaurav Kapur make you want to destroy something beautiful.
I hope that the children of every TV executive who flung Gaurav Kapur and John Abraham onto our screens during the FIFA World Cup gifts their father a picture of John Abraham in his underwear on Father’s day. To be politically correct and gender balanced – if it is a woman executive, I hope she is gifted a picture of Gaurav Kapoor in his underwear whenever the next Mother’s day comes along.
You spend a gazillion dollars getting the broadcast rights. The feed is fantastic. You control yourself and don’t break into IPL style strategic timeouts. (Tears of joy). And you don' think the pre-match show through?
You could donate all your profits to charity, clean up the surface of every single ocean, build a elevator to Everest, bring the magnificent Dinosaurs back to life and feed every child on planet earth a rich multi-vitamin nourishing meal. But nothing, I repeat nothing justifies John Abraham and Gaurav Kapur as hosts of a pre-match show.
Two otherwise tolerable self-made men, who have achieved significant success against odds - but clearly out of their elements at a sports pre-match show. You wouldn't want them near a pre-Tupperware party, if such a thing exists, leave alone the greatest television event in years. 
Seriously, what were they thinking?
“We need to increase TRP”
“I was thinking Mandira Bedi backed by Sidhu’s vocals”
“They will burn our office down if we do that again”
“In that case, we need a male John Abraham”
“You mean, John Abraham”
“No, we need a male John Abraham. That is how he is addressed”
If you were one of the lucky ones, and did not see CafĂ© Rio, the pre-match how– here is how it rolled. Gaurav Kapur started, which should have been warning enough but I am a forgiving type of chap who does not jump to conclusions, and believes every person has his place in the world. For example, Gaurav Kapur plays the impossible and under appreciated role of being a poor man’s Kunal Kapoor. Who in turn is a poor man’s Milind Gunaji. Milind Gunaji, of course is a poor man’s Andrea Pirlo – and you have got to be made of stone to not have a man crush on Mr. Pirlo. So, for a brief moment I forgave Gaurav Kapur and burped. The Football was starting soon! Andrea Pirlo. Sigh.
Then came the former French defender Mikael Silvestre. That was actually a pleasant surprise, although it was clear that right from Frame 1- Mikael was sort of wondering about the need for the fog machines and the ridiculously tall stools for the panelists. The French man’s eyes darted around as soon as Gaurav Kapur introduced him as a French Man who once played for the French football team. To Mikael’s relief, Peter Crouch was introduced quickly as someone who needs no introduction. Then Gaurav Kapur spoke about how tall Peter was. Followed by nervous laughter from the French and English. In that moment, traditional rivals seemed united in their discomfort on doing this. Maybe this was why the British and French East Indian companies left India.
The three men looked around the studio for next few agonizing moments, before an inspired Mr. Kapur blurted “Look, your feet touch the ground Peter even when you are on the stool” Peter Crouch looked down. It was an accurate assessment. Mikael Silvester, looked down. So did Mr. Kapur. I looked down as well. In that moment, I reached out for my slipper and flirted with the thought of flinging it at the screen. And they say I am one of the calmest people you will meet. The mind shuddered at the thought of how my EPL fanboy friends from Karve Road and Kothrud with their weather beaten Liverpool shirts and hairy arm pits were taking it.
Someone must have given a cue in his ear piece, for then Gaurav Kapur mumbled something about the time for Indian women to go crazy, announcing in grand dramatic fashion the entry of the show’s hunky brand ambassador – accompanied by slick camera work which started out with Mr. Abraham’s boots, zooming out and lingering uncomfortably long on no-go areas in the trouser region, and then focusing on his single dimple which according to legend is everlasting – strengthened by titanium and Graphene inserts. That was John Abraham’s introduction. Before the opening match of the….and I don’t know how best to write this without using CAPSLOCK. Before the FREAKING FOOTBALL WORLD CUP
Perhaps, John’s name did not really ring a bell for Peter and Michael, for Mr. Abraham then mentioned about his long and illustrious attachment with football. “I had to choose between sports and academics. I chose academics” Like every single bloody child in this world. You dumb wit. I wish I had a cheese grater to wipe that dimple off your face.

Just when I had started respecting you for the solid content you are producing, the football team, and the work with charities. Why? You know how difficult it is for a guy to respect John Abraham?
“Of course after academics, I got into walking around in my underwear for women”
Eh. Oh. Hold On. My mind screamed. My face, my once beautiful flawless face, broke out in an explosion of Pimples. Elegant wild Cheetahs jumped off cliffs. Timeless sequoia tress shuddered and fell down. Butterflies, beautiful multi colored butterflies flung themselves under the tracks of Armored Battle Tanks. I ran out of the room into the prayer hall. God shrugged and advised that I break the damn TV. So I ran back, possessed with rage and fury. Fortunately, there was a commercial break in progress and trust me, if there ever was the time for a commercial break it was then.The show restarted to an image of John Abraham flinging balloons out of a basket at the screen. And after loudly asking no one in particular on why on earth was he flinging balloons? I thanked God that he was not doing it while in his underwear with Gaurav Kapur commenting on how beautiful the stubble on John’s face was.
I just wish that Mr Abraham and Mr Kapur would have taken this as seriously as they take their other endeavors. Clearly, Gaurav Kapur thought he could do this with the flow, and use his wit to see it through. And clearly, it is not working. Clearly Mr Abraham thought of his enthusiasm +interest + dimples as a great substitute for sporting sense.Clearly, that is not true.
 Also, a point worth noting is a sport show should have at most one non-sporting host/emcee. Any one more than that, and the show goes all tangential. 

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