Some family members even today regret that I did not follow the family tradition and make movies. Grandfather A.V. Meiyappan started AVM Studios and made memorable films. In one of them, Vazhkai (Bahar in Hindi), he even introduced the delectable Vyjanthimala. But I was more keen on golf and doing some betting in cricket. This has been misunderstood and has brought me no end of trouble. But let me clarify—my interest in placing bets and befriending Dara Singh’s son Vindoo was only to win his confidence, make a film with him. But before I could make him an offer he could not refuse, and even after calling him on his mobile over 250 times, he spilled the beans and both of us are now in jail. I feel like punching Vindoo but then I remember that he is Dara Singh’s son! In fact, I had decided to cast Sakshi (Dhoni’s wife) as the heroine because I was quite impressed with their photographs which appeared all over the media. Such vibes! They would have made a hit pair and grandfather’s soul would have become happy. Now I think I should produce and direct a thriller based on the Mumbai Crime Branch chasing me all over the place, the flight in a special aircraft and the midnight questioning at their seedy office.
Trust friends but not relatives—that’s what the betting scandal has taught me. Normally in Tamil Nadu families, the mappilai ( son-in-law) is a highly respected figure, pampered even after years of marriage. In my case my mamanar appa (father-in-law/father) has washed his hands off me with a cryptic comment that if anyone had done any wrong, the law will take its own course. But indirectly, he’s defended me saying I was not ‘really’ part of the CSK management but only an enthusiastic supporter. It is this enthusiasm which often made me sit in the team dugout, bid for the players in the auctions and address the media about the team. O, I loved bidding for the players as though they were cattle, it gave me so much of power.
Make no mistake, Srini Saar is quite shrewd and will wriggle out of the current crisis and I hope to wriggle out along with him. Being a Madrasi, he will not let down his mappilai and that is why we refer to him as the ‘Old Fox’. Some smart guy in the media blamed me for leaking out ‘vital inside information’ like the weather, the state of the pitch, the toss etc to the bookies. But this is silly because in a 20-over-a-side match, the pitch conditions are the same for both teams.
Indeed, it’s rather unfair that the jail does not have any betting facilities, which makes life rather boring. For a man who’s been betting on cricket for years, this is the ultimate insult. The Jail Reforms Commission should take note of this. Some TV experts wanted the final to be scrapped because of CSK’s illegal actions. But Srini saar laughed it away pointing out that the final was sold out.
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com