So Shah Rukh Khan is in the news again. (When is he not?) The Indian hockey team is not in the news. (When is it ever?) The IPL, which is one month away, is also in the news. The Hockey World Cup, starting this month, is not. Now what if SRK – champion of the ostracised, darling of the media – bought the Indian hockey team?
The Badshah of Bollywood is playing real life hero to the long-neglected Indian men’s hockey team.
King Khan has announced a takeover of the team from Hockey India for the whopping sum of Rs 17 crore, the same amount Aamir Khan-starrer 3 Idiots is earning per day.
This brings a definitive end to the crisis that began in January, after 22 of India’s top hockey players rejected Hockey India’s offer of Rs 25,000 each as incentive and refused to resume practice for the World Cup to be held in New Delhi this month.
Hockey India politely declined to cough up the estimated sum of nearly Rs 1.08 crore that the players were demanding as rewards for wining medals in 2009. Officials said the body had only Rs 30 lakh in their kitty — Rs 54.7 crore less than the budget of Khan’s upcoming film My Name is Khan.
Dates of the players for shooting their new promotional video ‘Puck de India’ have already been booked. The music video, composed by A.R. Rahman and choreographed by Khan’s close friend Farah Khan, is touted as the next sporting anthem of India and is likely to win Rahman his first Grammy nomination for ‘Best Composition for the world’s most underrated, underdog, underpaid, developing country’s sporting team not coached by a foreigner’.
Despite lyricist Gulzar admitting that Indian hockey does not involve the use of a puck, Khan argued that ‘aal izz well’ in the name of creative liberty.
While the hockey players have a small role in the video, it will feature several prominent guest appearances by Indian cricketers. Unfortunately dates for the shoot are clashing with the team’s World Cup matches. Khan is currently in talks with organisers to shift the venue of the tournament to New York to appease NRI audiences.
The players are also set to get a radical makeover, with uniforms designed by Khan’s best friend and personal stylist Karan Johar. The hot shorts (not unlike those worn by John Abraham in Dostana) and tee will be imprinted with the Red Chillies logo. Khan is also taking a personal interest in selecting the team’s cheering squad to boost their morale. The women’s hockey team, (yes it does exist) are potential candidates.
While the choice of a coach for the team has not been revealed, sources say that Khan has started training the boys by showing them the match-winning strategies employed in his film Chak de India. Each player has also been promised his own personal vanity van filled with Koffee hampers if the team wins.
Khan’s takeover of the Indian hockey team has created quite a stir in Bollywood. Not to be outdone, his on-again, off-again buddy/rival Salman Khan is said to be keen on buying the Indian kabaddi team. Meanwhile Aamir Khan, counting on the resounding success of his cricket film Lagaan, is planning another sporting flick centered on India’s official national sport – kho kho.