Cricket is the most popular sport in India and on the plane I watched a movie called Victory,a Ballywood sports flick about a cricket superstar from a small village. He becomes a great hero in the little desert village where he still lives with his aging father and sister, but then he starts getting all these big offers to do endorsements for products in the big city of Mumbai (Bombay). His agent, a guy named, Andy, who is the films antagonist, makes him very rich but makes him move from the village to the big city to live in an apartment with great views and glass floors.
The cricketer tries to get his father, a man of many brightly colored turbans, to move with him, but his father is not impressed because his father knows that Andy and his greedy ways is the beginning of the end for his son.
Then you can guess what happens next. Yes, the superstar cricketer starts striking out daily. In cricket, when you strike out it is more dramatic, because the ball hits the wicket. There is a physical sound like a baseball hitting a bat only more of a thunk. After a montage of many thunks our hero’s career is in jeopardy. His father comes to visit him and tells him his woes are all the fault of the evil Andy.(couldn’t they have found a more sinister sounding name for the guy than Andy?).
“What” Superstar cricketer replies to his father. “ You don’t want me to be rich? " His father runs away into the dark city. Later, after the son has thought about it, he chases after Dad in his Lambergini.
The movie churned on to a tragic conclusion where villagers burn down the fallen cricketers house after a particularly bad match. These folks do take this sport seriously.
About this time Continental flight 82s was landing and the Tv screen went blank. Puneet , my new Indian friend who works for Citi-bank in Tampa and gets to come home a few weeks a year, and I both have our seatbacks in the upright and locked position ready to enter the New India.
I can not help thinking that this silly Ballywood cricket film is a metaphor for modern India, a country whose launched itself from the bronze age to the 21st century in a few short decades. The village house is on fire. Blame it on Andy...