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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sahara Parivar - Pune Warriors and Cheer Queens

Sahara have made waves !!  -  Last year in Mar 2010, they created history by making the winning bid of $370 M (approx 1700 crore at that time) for the Pune Franchise and participating in IPL as ‘Pune Warriors India’.  This is the highest by any in the history of IPL.  This year when teams sat for IPL auction, Sahara surprised everybody by withdrawing from it providing a body blow to BCCI.  The recent announcement of Subrata Roy that Sourav Ganguly is to take call on reconciliation has rekindled hopes.

In a hitting Press release, Sahara announced their decision to dissociate with BCCI / IPL and their plans to reinvest in setting up of 20 Sports Promotion centres with an International Standard Sports Academy.  Their other ambitious plans included 10 crore every year to support underprivileged sports achievers; 300 fully equipped medical vans for remote villages; 100+ tankers for safe drinking water, 10000 screens with dish antenna for villages for extensive literacy and education are all laudable.

The communiqué stated that their association with Team India was primarily emotional and all along, the journey was indeed, a privileged one for the entire Sahara India Pariwar. It also spoke of the fallacies on the BCCI right from entry in 2001.  They feel that their  first entry into IPL was thwarted in 2008  by technical disqualification and sought refund as only 74 matches against the advertised 94 were played last season.  The other reasons of dispute reported are : refusal of one extra foreign player, Sahara’s name not allowed due to a clash with SA airline during WC; the money of Yuvraj should not be added to auction purse.

The pull-out meant that Pune Warrior could not buy any at the IPL auction and more worrisome, their future is at stake, if Sahara stick to their guns and BCCI could not find a sponsor replacement.  BCCI has stated that IPL show will go on irrespective of any team withdrawing. 

Even as the Q of whether Pune Warriors will play in IPL 5 – here is something interesting that Pune Warriors  a la Sahara India did differently.   On field they only finished 9th of the 10 teams in fray.  IPL brought in the concept of cheer girls – scantily dressed girls – some foreigners dancing in the middle of matches, celebrating runs and wickets, dancing on the romp, entertaining the crowd.  In their match at DY Patil Sports Complex against Delhi Daredevils, Pune Warriors replaced cheer girls with traditional Indian 'Cheer Queens' to goad on the team.

The concept reportedly was  a brainchild of Sahara India Pariwar's Managing Worker Chairman Subrata Roy. Indian girls dressed in designer ethnic dance costumes cheered for the Pune Warriors.  Their costumes  were designed by ace Bollywood designer Neeta Lulla while the dance have choreographed by Tanusree Shankar and Ganesh Hegde.  The Cheer Queens sang and danced Bharata Natyam, Bengali dance, Gujarati Garba, Haryanvi dance, Maharashtrian 'Lavni,' Punjabi Bhangra, Mohiniyattam.  They claimed that it was intended to showcase and bring recognition to the rich and diverse culture of India at an international platform.  So it was no to miniskirts and other dresses and yes to traditional costumes

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Feb 2012