March 21, 2005

Sania Mania!!

Suddenly everybody is behind her, praising, idolizing and making her a brand-ambassador or an iconoclast. Media, businessmen, sportsmen, politicians, and rest of the countrymen who identify themselves as tennis-fans are following her 24*7. Marketing managers of brands from jewellery to sports wear were on queue to make her promote their brand. Well acclaimed print media were behind her to get good snaps (obvious!) and to roll-out special Sania-edited sports supplements (ridiculous!!). There were much celebrated interviews on every TV channel, before and after matches were being played! All after the jump she could afford, within two weeks, in the world tennis rankings list. Else if you had asked these people about Sania Mirza, answer would have been an obvious "Sania, who?".

I agree, we Indians do not have enough sports icons, at least not as much to satisfy the whole of world's second largest population, who have not diversified their sports arena, other than concentrating largely on Cricket and Hockey. For sure, Sania is doing a great job, but the hype that is given to this act of confident performances are surely out of bounds. And up to what percentage can we consider this as love for the country or for the sports event?

India have had sports(wo)men who had excelled in various events of sports. We had Leander Paes and Karnam Malleshwari who won Olympics medals for the country, and Anju Boby George who raised our hopes of another one! We have grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand who has always palyed great chess for the country! Recently we got Narain Karthikeyan as India's first Formula One driver. But publicity that Sania gets is more, though her contributions are not more than any of these achievements, at least as of now. So why is that she adored by all the media and publicity managers? Marketing their brand should be the ultimate aim!

Most of this hype, in this era when consumer is "king" in this "liberalised" country, has been to find new ways of marketing through this girl who did her hard work to reach this position when nobody was around to cheer her. And rest of these new found tennis-fans, who does not own a company of their own, admire Sania not for her strong forehand shots but for her individual glamour! It is the skimpy clothes that she wears that attracts them and the media and that is the same reason why photographers queue up to get her "best" snap. If not, why is that Malleshwari or Anju or Paes or Anand do not get this wide media coverage? Why is that this many brands do not compete to make them ambassadors? It is because, when they won their laurels, they were not in "good shape" to be marketed as a youth icon or a "sex symbol" and had less fanfare.

Let us hope that Sania has the ability to distinguish milk and water! I am sure she does, at least when she told that she want to become a youth icon than a sex symbol!

Lastly, I had read a blog of Rashmi Bansal which actually made me write this one!

I think that it is the culture in which one is brought up that individual's culture. And it is relative from individual to individual! Even the definition of "fundamentalism" and "terrorism" are relative in that sense!! I doubt how much it is true when one goes on to say that the best cultured women are the least dressed!!

And there are more questions that this blog makes me ask....

  • How much worse is the situation (ability to dream big) of Muslim women in India when compared to others?
  • Is Sania the first India Muslim women who appear in public with so less clothing? What about those innumerous Muslim women who appeared and still appear onscreen in more "modern" outfits?
  • Is Indian Muslim community so much fundamental and arrogant that they made a fuss about any Muslim women's dressing habits? And are we in a situation where rest of the world think that Muslims in India belong to the breed of so-called "terrorists" ?
  • On a broader stretch, when will people stop thinking that whole of Muslim community are fundamentalists, for the acts of a minority of them?

Yeah..I can go on asking questions...But it is the answers that are important!!

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