Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cafe Rio - The Torture Chamber

The 2014 FIFA World Cup enters the knock out stages today and what a thrilling ride it has been so far. As fans, we have been treated to some really high quality football in the first half of the tournament. The remaining half is when the real battles begin and some mouth-watering clashes are lined up. Greatness and ever-lasting glory beckon all the teams and the carnival is waiting to explode ! Can't wait.

Greatness is being witnessed elsewhere too. In the studio of Sony Six who hold the TV broadcasting rights of the tournament in India. Their panel of experts along with the extremely knowledgeable hosts have contributed no less to set the tournament on fire for the viewers in India. The only minor difference is that this fire has been lit up our bottoms and each passing day some freshly ground dry chilli powder is shoved up those tender areas using hot iron rods. Yes it is that painful.
Through  a program named Cafe Rio, the broadcasters have piled upon us such garbage in the name of sports commentating, that for years to come, if one were to give an example of excruciating pain, it would be the experience of having to watch the program.

A small tribute to the gentlemen who have been part of this golden chapter of sports commentating.

John Abraham- His association with 'football' goes back a long time and I know exactly how long. 23rd November 2007 was the date a horror movie named Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal starring John was released. I would not delve into the details of the plot, for the pain is still raw. The physical scars caused by the self inflicted wounds after watching the movie might have faded but the mental scars just refuse to leave me. Often I wake up at night..screaming and drenched with sweat. The dreams are always the same. I am watching the movie again and the doors are bolted from outside. May Lord have mercy and rid me of these memories. Amen.

Being a self-proclaimed subject matter expert of the sport, John was in the expert panel of commentators during the opening ceremony of the World Cup. He was so bad that he was forced to go underground after this single appearance .Government sources confirm that he has been provided Z plus category security. These security men will keep round the clock check and will escort him in all his public appearances till the end of World cup. These security are not for his protection though. Orders have been issued that should he make any attempts to talk about football again, he should be immediately brought down. Orders issued in the interest of public health and safety.

Gaurav Kapoor -  The Master with a double doctorate in Buffoonery. This joker who would do well being in the arena of a circus has entered our lives like a breath of fresh fart, one whose stink just wouldn't leave. If you thought that the torture was to be limited to the IPL which you anyway were not watching, you were in for a rude shock. His presence in the Sony Six studio as the host of the Cafe Rio show is similar to having Sajid Khan moderate a debate on macro -economic challenges faced by the world and attended by a panel of Nobel laureate economists.
Gaurav's twitter handle describes him as "Multimedia mercenary. Lover of soup". Can't say we weren't warned.
Sources say that CDs of him hosting the event are clandestinely being shipped across our western border. It was only after Pakistan filed a complaint with the United mean United Nation on this blatant violation of human rights and Modi sent a hanky to Nawaz Sharif  as reconciliatory gesture, did the tension abate between the two nations. On similar humanitarian grounds, Sony Six seemingly has rested Gaurav for the remainder of the tournament. He of course has no clue about it and continues to yap in some corner of the studio. For trivia, he also featured in a movie named Sssshh. If only he knew the meaning of the title.

Peter Crouch - The birth of Peter Crouch, the ex-striker from England has an interesting story behind it. Reliable sources say that Brahma was working on an urgent assignment for a major zoo for whom He was supposed to deliver a giraffe. However no sooner had he finished working on the legs, that he was berated extensively by Lady Saraswati for having forgotten to get home the onions. It was getting really impossible to work with three heads. There was simple no coordination or even any effort towards that end among the three. It was the one on the right which was at fault for the onion fiasco but this was no time for argument and in that cold wintry evening of late January, Brahma  had to take the painful walk back to the market. To make matters worse, on his way back, he slipped and fell. The head on the right got slightly bruised and that was when Hell broke loose. All the three heads got into a heated argument each trying to put the blame on the other. The constraints of lateral movement brought about by the common neck  only added fuel to the always. It was amidst all this chaos and confusion and the unending chatter among the three, that Brahma finally reached back his lab and instead of placing the torso of a giraffe on the pair of legs, accidentally  added that of a human being. That human being was born as Peter Crouch on the 30th of January 1981 and because of this slight error of Brahma's workmanship on that fateful night, he has not stopped growing since. He last recorded height was 6ft 7 and a half inches and sources confirm that the last half inch actually grew as he was commentating inside the studio of Sony Six. Oh I digress so much. So Peter Crouch who has represented England for five years scored 22 goals during this period. Almost all of them were scored through headers. He obviously couldn't trust his feet which merrily kept growing even while he ran towards goalposts. Thus to be fair to Peter, not much intellectual output should be expected of a person whose head has been continuously banged with footballs for the majority of his adult life. He lived upto his expectations and continued to dish out one boring analysis after another till he too was finally taken off air by the channel. He has protested that he will grow some more if he isn't reinstated soon.

Mikael Silvestre - A footballer with considerable club and international experience, his legendary commentating skills throw a beacon of light on the future when the world would have been taken over by Robots and where show of any human emotion whatsoever would be a criminal offence punishable by death.And not just any death- Death by being made to watch Himmatwala and if one somehow survives that, then Humshakals. I shudder to think of it and may not even my worst enemy have to go through such extreme torture.   Mikael is so stiff in front of the camera that I wonder if he is solely on a diet of Viagra capsules. Or is it that he is being forced to be a part of this show. Maybe the guys at Sony Six had a picture of his wife and kids held hostage in a talk show hosted by Gaurav with the clause that they would only be released if he took up this assignment. Or is it a case of prolonged unclear bowels. Piles maybe. I do not know. However sources say that there is one political party that is overjoyed at the skills shown by Mikael and have offered him a permanent position.The job would be to impart lessons to one of its key senior members on how not to smile, particularly at extremely inopportune moments. Their spokesperson said that a person who manages to keep a straight face even in the face of extreme buffoonery that happens in the Cafe Rio studio is no less than a genius.But there is one more reason that comes to mind. Maybe he is just overawed and starstruck at being in the presence of an all-time football genius in the studio. Yes I am referring to the legendary footballer Sunil Chhetri.
Who is he ??? ...did you just ask that ???..  Oh my God !!! Shame on you !

Sunil Chhetri - This gentleman is the captain of our football team. Oh yes we do have a national team. When and Who do they play ? That is not really important. As of this June we are ranked 154th in a list of 207 countries and can proudly say that we are ahead of Eritrea, Swaziland, Tahiti, Bhutan, Somalia, South Sudan among others. And the great Mr.Chhetri is the captain of this team which continues to make the nation proud in major footballing events of the world such as Nehru Cup. All great men reach one such stage in life when they truly emerge from the shadows of commonness and stamp the mark of their greatness. That stage for Sunil Chhetri, as history books would later elaborate upon, is the Cafe Rio studio. The panache and confidence with which he expresses his expert views in the presence of other gentlemen who have actually played some serious international football is stuff that legends are made of. Sunil Chhetri has an opinion on everything and more importantly has to invariably express it. He yaps and yaps and we he stops for a breather, he yaps some more. Reaching barely upto the last known height of Peter Crouch's knees and seeming more like a model for the advertisement on 'What happens if you do not drink Complan', Chhetri may well need a hand to climb up the chairs in the studio but his name for sure would be written in golden letters in the annals of football commentating history.

There have been a few others who have been part of the commentating  panel, but who have failed to achieve the same level of standards as set the above mentioned gentlemen. Nonetheless they deserve mention too.

Robbie Fowler - Another ex-British footballer with an accent so thick that one is tempted to just yank his mouth open with a pair of tongs and see just what is it that is weighing his tongue down so much. Sony Six should actually consider adding subtitles to the TV screen as soon as Robbie starts speaking. In the absence of subtitles, I have not been able to gather much of what he says.It sounds like English at times but most often it sounds like a person gurgling. He actually might be speaking some sense but I have no clue.

Nikhil Chinappa - I also have no clue what this gentleman is doing as a host of a show of a sporting event and an event as serious as World Cup. C'mon Sony, did you think that this was MTV Grind going on in Brazil?  I do not know what is the criteria that Sony Six used to short-list the hosts for the Cafe Rio show but being asinine seems to be on top of that list. To his credit, Nikhil tried really hard to fit into the role or whatever he interpreted that role to be . He grew a lot of facial hair. It did not help.

Serious Indian chap who does the morning show - Unlike the rest of his peers who force you to question the Gun control in India, this chap actually is quite tolerable or maybe I am just too groggy in the morning to really notice. The format of the morning show is for the really sleepy 'experts' to take calls from over enthusiastic Indians who give a rat's ass on how India fared in the Hockey World Cup (and thank God for that) but would lose sleep over whether Germany would use the 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 combination in a tournament where the chances of India qualifying is probably lesser than that of Honey Singh winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.
So anyway this chap has been given the responsibility to repeat in verbatim what the callers have to ask, but in a dialect  of English that is comprehensible to all. This is no mean task, I say. Given our utter disdain for anything familiar to correct Grammar and our fascination to ramble on and on without coming to the point, the chap is doing a fairly good job at assembling the thoughts and getting them answered. Would a parrot have been cheaper ? Can't say for sure.

New Blonde in the block- Over the last week or so, we have a chap hosting the show who has completely killed the USP of the show. Talking sense and talking about football and both at the same time was something that was so not Cafe Rio. I do not like this guy at all and I do not like this show anymore. Bring back Gaurav I say. The last I heard , he was in consultation with Ram Gopal Verma on being part of his next horror venture. The combination has lethal potential.

A toast to the World Cup. May the best team win...and God let that team be Argentina !