ONSIDER the frills: 240 halogen lights of 1,000 watts; six video cameras, live coverage on two cable television channels. Pitch report by Harsha Bhogle. Commentary in English, Hindi and Marathi. Main sponsor: Shogun. Instadia advertising by Pepsi, Britannia, Crush, Amul, Sand Piper. Third umpire for line disputes. Live Kingfisher Band to cheer
spectators. Widescreen television. "Vada-pav!" Now consider the thrills. The venue: Subhash Maidan, not the Wankhede or Brabourne Stadium. The occasion: the Raj Kapoor memorial cricket tournament, not some hip cup or the other. The stars: Vinod Korgaonkar and Vijay Lad, Mangesh Adatrao and Satish Shetty, not Sachin or Azhar, Saurav or Rahul. The attendance: 15,000-20,000 to watch nonentities, not the 500-600 that watch Ranji stars. Total prize money: Rs 3.75 lakh, Rs 1 lakh for the winner.
Welcome to Chembur, where Urbs Prima Indus' three biggest commodities—cricket, commerce and cinema—have converged to create Asia's biggest tennis-ball tournament.