Please Don’t Start the Music


Please Don’t Start the Music

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Ilove Sachin.

Like every red-blooded, patriotic Indian, I have been a die-hard fan since the day that I learnt that India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters. His gravitas, gentlemanly disposition, and unparalleled mastery as a batsman gave me hope through those dark pre-teen years when I refused to grow beyond what you’d politely call overgrown toddler proportions. And because Sachin Tendulkar Sir convinced me that Boost is better than Bournvita, I believed him and drank Boost, but it never became the secret of my energy.

So naturally, upon discovering that the Master Blaster had released a single to launch his app, I looked up the video with inadequate amount of enthusiasm. However, at the altar of my hero worship, this song chopped down my excitement, deep-fried it in a hot mess of vocals, ’90s nostalgia, and Sonu Nigam’s crazy eyes, and served up the subsequent enthu-cutlets as prasad. It was like the moment when your father sends you a Candy Crush request on Facebook and you start to respect him a little less than you used to.

See, Sachin Tendulkar and Pokemon Go are the only two artefacts of most of our childhoods, which are gifts that keep on giving. Even after Sachin retired, he kept us going. Whether it was an autobiography that let us in on the makings of his legendary career, an app where he promises to give us personal updates about the IPL and restore some shred of relevance to the whole affair, or even a lifetime movie starring controversial Twitter influencer Virendra Sehwag.

But on a track record lined with the Arjuna Award, Padma Vibhushana, and the LG People’s Choice Award, this song is a crater into which even the most pure adulation will go to die. It is like ever since Shri Tendulkarji became an honourable Rajya Sabha member under the “arts category”, he decided to expand his status as a patron of the arts to all art forms. I fear there will now be a Master Blaster of interpretive dance on my timeline and my body is not ready.

Sonu can insist that Sachin did not need pitch correction, but Sachin must know music is not cricket and pitches can be bitches.

In his defence, Sachin is only human. He is only one of the many accomplished celebrities of our times to be bitten by the “I’m actually a rock star” bug. There’s Priyanka Chopra and her wanderlust-laden themes of feeling exotic featuring Pitbull and spandex, and Farhan Akhtar’s cover of what rock music would sound like, if it were set to actual rocks scraping against the blackboard of an abandoned asylum. Even Subrata Roy, the owner of the barren investor landmass Sahara, has a wife who turned into an Alok Nath-approved Courtney Love for one single.

Hell, Sachin is not even the only cricketer who has woken up one day and decided to trade in his credibility for pop stardom. Brett Lee’s white boy promises to stay loyal to our desi hearts and Dwayne Bravo’s reggae rendition of “Chalo, chalo”, a song we assume is based on the call to action that the entire Pakistani cricket team used to goad Inzamam to take one run in a time of crisis, spring to mind as apt examples. Like their mentor (not competitor) Sachin Tendulkar, even Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have dabbled with music on a few shows here and there. Maybe someday they’ll come out with their own singles “Balle waala banda” and “Oye Captain, Mera Captain” respectively. Luckily for my gentle heart, today is not that day.

Today we have Sachin’s song and that is what we must reckon with. In the ’90s, a video of Sachin goofing around with Sonu Nigam would have been life-altering content for all of us and you know it. But unfortunately, it is 2017 and nothing is that sacred. Especially a song with lyrics that are a copy-paste job from the Sachin Tendulkar Wiki page, set to Sonu’s leftover ululations from his critically acclaimed and commercially confusing venture: Classically Mild. With this latest offering though, he’s gone sonically wild and taken Sachin along for the safari, which explains why he sounds like Bambi in the meadow where his mom was shot – that is if the hunter would have made Bambi sing about the experience and set it to a sick eletctro sleaze riff.

Sonu can insist that Sachin did not need pitch correction in as many interviews as he likes, but Sachin must know music is not cricket and pitches can be bitches. Hold on to the bat my good man, and may you never trade it in for a mike.