Lispit Modi, the big daddy (now baddie) of the billion dollar baby – the Indian Premier League - was ‘sitting’ in exile at an unknown location, in an unknown country, contemplating on existence.
The man who had fathered the bonniest business baby of recent times, had been hailed the brightest whiz kid on the block, a visionary, a messiah and of course the new age Midas, was now on the run. Threats from Chota sa Shakeel and pressure from the Indian courts had forced him to go undercover. Lispit was looking for new ways to reinvent himself and come out of hiding.
Lispit’s brilliant mind which operated at a scorching pace, slammed into a new idea, an idea whose time had clearly come.
He decided he would talk to Amir, the thinking man’s Khan and his latest best friend. Shahrukh, whose surname too was Khan, was now passé, it was Amir who was in.
“Hi, Amir,” Lispit, lisped his most endearing Lisp.
“Hi Lispit, how are you?” answered Amir in his perfect tone.
“I have got an IPL idea?” he said. (For the uninitiated, in the post IPL era, ipl, (adj.) is a synonym for ingenious, inventive, inspired, imaginative, original & creative).
“That’s nice,”Amir replied.
“Can I come and discuss it with you?”
“Not now Lipsit, I am rather busy. You can come at 12.33 seconds past 12 minutes past 3 pm. I’ll give you 56 minutes and 9.78 seconds of my time.”
Lispit was thrilled. This is why he admired Amir so much. Unlike Shahrukh who was available anytime, anywhere – at award nights, at IPL tamashas, in stranger’s weddings, talking big, taking digs, chatting and tweeting, Amir was elusive and exclusive. That is why Lispit wanted Amir to be the foster father of his latest baby!
Amir hadn’t lied to Lispit. He was busy, really busy. He was working on the script of the sequel to 3 Idiots. It was to be called 5 Morons. He was to play four of the morons. Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachhan had tried triple roles and made a royal mess. Well, he, who had inherited the mantle of these thespians, would do one better; he would play four roles and all of them to Amir, sorry Perfection.
Amir had even decided what the four roles would be. The first one would be of a 6 year old boy suffering from cerebral diarrhea. The second would be an 18 year old medical student with the brains of an Einstein, the wisdom of the Buddha and the looks of well, Amir Khan. The third would be a 22 year old farmer leading a Kabaddi team against a side captained by Osama Bin Ladin. The winner would own a tax free world. The fourth role would be of an 80 year old man in love with his great grand-daughter’s best friend. He was looking for someone to play the 5th moron. It was that of a Gay who falls in love with a Lesbian in a classic case of platonic love.
Lispit walked into Amir’s ‘I’ pad dot on time. Amir’s pad had giant size posters of the star in various stages and moods of perfection.
Looking at Lispit Amir jumped up. The former was looking like a cross between Sharad Power, Rocky Sawant and Baba Rome-Dev. Amir started shaking and mumbling, “Aal ij, well, aal ij well.”
“Hey Amir, it is me Lispit, relax. I had to come in disguise; ‘the man who cannot be shamed’ is after me.
Amir nodded and went back to this ‘perfect pose’.
Lispit quickly explained the background to Amir and then declared, “Amir I have decided to move to the next level of brilliance,” he declared.
“And what is that?” Amir questioned,” looking at his perfectly manicured nails at a perfect angle and in perfect order.
“Tell me Amir what are the two main obsessions of our country men?”
“Amitabh and Amir and not necessarily in that order,” Amir replied, gazing at his perfect photograph on the wall in front.
“Yes, of course… but I did not mean in the sense of individuals but in the sense of phenomenon?”
“Do you mean to say Uncle Amitabh and I are not a phenomenon,” Amir said striking a STML (Short Term Memory Loss) pose from Ghajini.
“Of course you are? I meant... anyways what I am trying to say is that cinema and cricket drive Indians insane. Now that I have already conquered cricket it is time to turn my attention to Bollywood?”
“With me around how can you imagine conquering Bollywood?” Amir bared his teeth in an STML snarl.
“No, no… I didn’t mean as an actor or a star. There’s no way anyone can do that. You are better than the best, you are perfection personified, you are…..”
“Okay, okay move on, you have only 47 minutes and 04.04 seconds left.”
“I want to start an Indian Bollywood League on the lines of IPL.”
“But I can’t play cricket. The only six I have hit in my life is in the film Lagaan and that too after 89 retakes.”
“Amir, IBL will not be about film stars playing cricket. I want to introduce my brilliant concept, which has revolutionized the business of sport worldwide, into films. If I could make a gentleman’s game like cricket into a moolah spewing tamasha, just imagine how much money I would be able to churn out of Bollywood which is already such a tamasha,” Lispit paused for effect and seeing the superstar’s perfect eyes on his imperfect face, continued.
“Like in IPL, in IBL too we will have an auction. Super stars from both Bollywood as well as Hollywood will come under the hammer. We will have franchisees bidding for the stars?”
“And what would you do with the stars? Make them play Kabaddi or Kho Kho?”
“What a perfect sense of humor you have,” Lispit lisped a laugh and continued, “Each franchise will produce a film taking 7 Indian Stars and 4 foreign stars?”
“Then will Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise have a chance to act with me?”
“Yes of course!”
“If that happens the audience will stop calling me Bollywood’s Tom Cruise and start calling Tom, Hollywood’s Amir. Dustin too would have to accept that we have a lot more in common than lack of inches - oodles of talent!”
“Ya, sure!” Lispit nodded.
“But tell me Lispit, how can you run the IBL on the lines of IPL? With no competition, the league will fall flat.”
“Once the stars are selected and the script, the director etc. finalized, I’ll give each franchisee a year to produce the film. In the first year there will be 16 franchisees and 16 films. In each of the metros and mini metros two films will be released every week. For instance, the film of Franchisee ‘A’ will compete with that of Franchisee ‘B’ in Mumbai on 1st April. The next week, the movie of Franchisee ‘C’ will compete with that of Franchisee ‘D’ in Hyderabad and so on. The collections of the first seven days, for each of these ‘matches’, will be counted and the winner declared on the 8th day. And in this way the battle of the box office will continue till the semi-finals. The top four grossers will compete with each other in Kolkata and Delhi for the semis and the mega final will be held in Mumbai.”
“But do you think this kind of a ‘league’ would generate response from the audience.”
“Of course it will. Every release will be preceded by a fashion show in which the stars of the two films will participate. The tickets of the show will be auctioned off to the top bidders. Besides, each of the ‘matches’ will be followed by a grand bash. Here too attendance will not be by invitation but by ‘price’. The audience will also be invited to predict the winner of each match by sending an SMS.”
“There is more to come. We shall have huge tie-ups with TV channels, multiplexes, Bollywood magazines, individual sponsors, mobile companies, internet portals, et al. This will increase viewer involvement as well as rake in the rokda by the shiploads.”
“Do you have any special plans for the final? I don’t think the viewers would like to wait for a week to know the result.”
“You are as usual right. I have thought of that too. The mega final will in the Wankhede Stadium. The two films which make it to the finals will be screened on a giant screen one after the other and beamed all across Planet earth. The live audience will be given voting meters and those outside, spread all over the globe, requested to SMS their votes. After the screening, there will be a grand finale for three hours. This will be attended by the film stars of the competing films as well as IPL champions. They will sing, dance and perform together. Just imagine Amir, getting the most glamorous films stars and the demi-Gods of cricket on stage together! This will truly be the greatest show on Planet Earth!
Amir remained in perfect thought for some time and then said, “I am impressed!”
Lipsit almost fell off his chair. The last time Amir had uttered these words for someone other than himself was when his second wife Kiran had declared her love for him. “I am impressed with your choice,” he had then said.
“But Lispit, what would be my role in the scheme of things be?”
“Amir I want you to be the brand ambassador of IBL.”
“But if I am busy brand ambassadoring where will I get the time to write the script, act, direct and franchise my IBL film?”
“My dear Amir you will be doing all that for IBL 2020. For IBL 2013 I only want you to lend your name and your face.”
“IBL 2020! But why that long?”
“Come on Amir, the perfectionist that you are, if you get into IBL film production now the earliest you will be able to complete the film would be 2020, isn’t it?”
Amir nodded a perfect nod and smiled a perfect smile and the two friends parted perfect company.
A year later the grand finale of IBL was held in Mumbai. The two films competing were Sachin Tendulkar’s “Aie La” and Saurav Ganguly’s “The Night Rider.”
On the insistence of Raj Thokoray, the chairman of Marathi Manhoos Sena (MMS), Sachin’s Hindi film had Marathi subtitles and all the actors had Marathi surnames. Thus the star cast boasted of such luminaries like Brad Pitkarey, Angelina Joliekar, Daniel Craigey Priyanka Chopdey and Ranbir Kapoorkar. The story and script had been written by Raj Thokoray himself. It was a biopic of the great Maratha warrior Shivaji. While Pitkarey, was Shivaji, Joliekar played Maa Jeejabai and Kapoorkar Sambhaji. Craigey was given the crucial role of Tanaji.
Saurav’s film starring Shahrukh in the eponymous role also featured, Dada Carey, Baudi Lopez and Bhadralok Depp. Sharukh’s love interest was played by Karan Johar who was also the director of the film. The last scene of the film, which had Shahrukh making love to Karan on a hippo, as it waddled into the sunset, caught the imagination of the discerning audience worldwide.
The results were announced and Saurav’s film won by 2,34,452 votes. Raj Thokoray was livid and called the result an insult to Marathi sentiments.
“The memory of Maa Jeejabai and Maharaj Chhatrapati Shivaji has been sullied and no Marathi Manhoos will take this lying down,” he thundered.
“If the results are not reversed, the entire country will burn. Lispit Modi will not be allowed to step into Maharashtra and Amir will be beaten with brand new kolhapuris,” he declared.
Amir and Lispit went into a huddle. “I knew this would happen. I am sure this is a case of match-fixing. Shahrukh has always resorted to this kind of skullduggery,” Amir grimaced.
“What do we do now?” Lispit said.
“We will simply say there was some kind of a glitch and have a repeat telecast of both the films. The votes will once again be counted and Sachin’s film will win.”
“But how can we be sure?” Lisped Lispit.
“Match fixing, Lispit, matchfixing,” Amir grinned a perfectly sly grin.
A repeat telecast was done and the ‘fixed’ results were declared.
Shahrukh and Saurav were paid off and they were happy. With the money Shahrukh decided to sponsor his very own award night and ‘win’ all the awards. Saurav firmed up a strategy to open a chain of Bengali restaurants, in every country, called ‘Sandesh’.
Raj Thokoray was delighted that the tired souls of Maa Jeejabai and Maharaj Chatrapati Shivaji would rest in peace. Now he could go back to getting the doodhwalas, taxi drivers and other sundry non-marathas beaten up.
Lispit was overjoyed that the repeat telecast had got him double the moolah. He was now planning to launch ICL or International Cinema League with actors from every part of the world. Two Eskimos had already contacted him for telecast rights.
Amir was pleased since Shahrukh’s film had not won the IBL. His stint as the Brand Ambassador had also given him the idea for a brand new film. It would be about a 10 year old girl Basanti, who is schizophrenic but inspired by her brilliant teacher is able to win T-20 World Cup for India. Both the roles would naturally be essayed by Amir and the movie would be called Tare Basanti Par.
If ever there was a win-win situation this was it!