Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kiss and Yell

The idea of announcing a Relationship Status itself is fairly new in our society. But suddenly we are surrounded by places where this is done with ample display of affection. I-am-in-a-relationship is a buzzy place to be in these days especially if you are in the cricket stadia. At least that’s what the celebs are doing.

For pointers, watch the extra innings between Liz Hurley and Shane Warne. Hurley, currently enjoying her Indian holiday with beau Warne — who captains Rajasthan Royals — is clearly enjoying herself. Warne and the 45-year-old Hollywood actor are joined at the hip, arriving at hotels and travelling together in the team bus. In the stadium, Hurley, who recently admitted she “wasn’t into cricket before” hasn’t shied away from her very public display of affection (PDA). The two even went to seal The Royals win in Jaipur over Kochi Tuskers with a celebratory kiss. “She has eyes only for Warne. They surely seem to be making the most of their time together and are not at all conscious of shutterbugs or the fact that Warne’s children Jackson, Brooke and Summer along with Hurley’s nine-year-old son Damien are always around,” remarked a source from the Rajasthan Royals camp during the team’s outing in Chandigarh. Warne and Hurley were booked in Hotel Mountview in Chandigarh with their families in rooms signed in as ‘Warne family 1&2’. Hurley, it seems, has a history of PDA. Samantha Brett, a columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald remarked in her recent column how Hurley is “little too lovey-dovey...publicly, that is”.

Sealing cricketing wins with a kiss seems to be the done thing this IPL season. The Deepika Padukone-Siddhartha Mallya hug-and-kiss routine has been viewed on YouTube over 84,000 times in the last five days overshadowing Chris Gayle’s bludgeoning knock at the Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers match. The fans are loving every bit of the action off the field as well. “This IPL, there’s so much non-cricket action in the stands, it makes for a good game. It’s good to see Deepika come out in the open,” says Chandigarh-based model Sonia Dhiman, who has bought box tickets for Kings XI Punjab’s next match in Dharamsala with a purpose. “That’s the best place to get noticed,” she quips.

Box seats at stadia are perhaps the most coveted places and not without reason. Apart from the loud cheering and the opportunity to rub shoulders with the celebrities, one’s privy to a lot of PDA moments, dutifully recorded by cameras who know where to focus. For the blockbuster India-Pakistan World Cup match at Mohali last month, Aamir Khan flew in with wife Kiran Rao. The two cheered the team together and those who shared space in the box recall Rao holding on to her hubby each time the ball crossed the fence. “She kept calling Aamir ‘My Love’ and the two would whisper into each other’s ears as the cameras zoomed in. The young crowd below the stands kept looking up and taking pictures,” says a journalist who was present for the match.

Celebrities in stands aren’t new to Indian cricket, their PDA is. “Times have changed both on and off the field. I see nothing wrong so long as the players aren’t doing it on the field,” feels veteran cricketer Kapil Dev, who says in the same breath, “Cricket and cricketers are now seen as glamourous, so women want to be associated with them. Also the media likes to highlight such opportunities, which were earlier rare.”

Referring to recent PDA news splashes, Punjab’s well-known psychologist Rajshree Sarda makes a point. “Indians are no longer as prudish. Celebrities are conscious of their acts. If somebody lesser-known was hugging a non-celebrity, there would not be much talk about it,” says Sarda, who agrees that it’s the upper crust that is more comfortable with displaying relationship intimacy. “In the pre-IPL era, cricket stadia never boasted of so much glamour. Also, the adrenaline rush seems to be making people express lot physically,” she says. We aren’t complaining. (With inputs from Shalini Gupta)


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