At a press conference yesterday to announce Zee Sports’ tie-up with the All India Football Federation for soccer telecasts, numerous pearls of wit and wisdom were dispensed – especially by Zee Telefilms chairman Subhash Chandra.
Audience member: Sir, will this deal result in the glamorisation of football in India?
Chandra: Arre, what more glamorisation do you want? (Indicating, with a sweep of his hand, the mini-skirted Zee mascots generously sprinkled around the hall) Can’t you see all these girls walking around? Heh heh. (Some sports journos – usually the most cynical of the tribe - also look around, leer and go heh heh.)
Later, Chandra mocked the current state of cricket (onfield and off) in the country– a reasonable enough thing to do at this time, but ironic coming from a man who has himself been involved in high-profile channel wars with ESPN and others for cricketing rights. “It pains me to say this,” he said, looking about as pained as Brer Fox halfway through a hard-earned rabbit stew, “but India contributes 90 per cent of the money to world cricket, and now look at what a laughing stock we have become, heh heh. Ranked lower than everyone but Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, and washing all our dirty linen in public. Shameful, heh?”
My first press conference in weeks, and as entertaining as expected. Unfortunately the food (the only real justification for going to one of these things) was bad - which means 4.5 marks out of ten.