I started my TV commentary stint with last year’s IPL. I quite literally slipped into the studio, just a day before the tournament started. Half-an-hour of soaking things in the busy studios of Star TV, and I was mic ready. The next day, I was at work, commentating. Just like that. You know, I’ve never been camera shy, so I didn’t really need a build-up time to go on air. A camera can’t do anything to you, so be your natural self in front of it. The thing is to be real! I have always tried to be like that while doing comedy shows or other TV shows.
A Mouthful Of Zabardast Slowers
Cricket commentary from the comfort of a studio, and not from the ‘ground’, can be tricky. Cheers, or sighs, from the stadium can precede you by a couple of seconds as the action comes to you a wee bit late in telecast compared to commentators at the match venue. So, you have to speak with the awareness of that lost second in your head and still make it entertaining for the viewers, as if you are at the stadium.
Irfan Pathan of the Sunrisers Hyderabad celebrates after winning an IPL match against Mumbai Indians in 2014 (BCCI Photo)
Thankfully, people liked my commentary last year. I have also picked up a few words along the way. One such word is ‘zabardast’. My language is a mixture of Hindi, Gujarati and English. I grew up in Baroda and went to a Gujarati medium school. I haven’t learned English and Urdu the formal way. But at home, we speak a mixture of languages. I use that while commentating, sprinkling my commentary with Gujarati when it fits the situation. I’ll give you an example. The other day when Parthiv Patel—also from Gujarat—from Royal Challengers Bangalore was going great guns against Kolkata Knight Riders, I said a famous Gujarati line: “Todi naakhu, fodi naakhu, ane bhukko kari naakhu (break it, shatter it, and crush it to dust)”. My Gujarati brethren liked that very much, I am told. At times, I have also used Hyderabadi catchphrases. For instance, when Sunrisers Hyderabad play on home ground, I say: “Aaj Hyderabad mein falle udane aa gaye Hyderabad ke potte (Hyderabad boys are in town to have a great time today).” And when David Warner would go berserk I would say, “Aaj Hyderabad mein hungame (frenzy in Hyderabad today).”
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