As a long time South African cricket fan who follows them ardently, strategizes what they should do to win a strong opponent, and works out scenarios for them to win an important game, I can't stop myself drawing parallels between the SA cricket team and the unemployed angry young heroes of the 80s(mostly Indian movies). For the last several World Cups they have been the strongest team to enter the competition. On paper they appear to be the best; but like the cliché goes- cricket is played on green fields, not on paper. The team somehow gets into an inexplicable situation and invents ways to lose control of a match (or tournament) from a winning position.
The unemployed 80s hero is very similar. He can fight eve-teasing rowdies to save the heroine; he can use “rope” as a mode of transport and time his jump perfectly to fight the villain and his goons to save his sister/mother who were kidnapped and tied to wooden chairs in the basement of a building that is under construction. He can solve complex problems, help his friend’s love life, advise people across all age groups on how they should lead a principled life, empathize with daily wage workers and their problems-BUT CANNOT FIND A F***ING job. The multifunctional, all-rounder, loved-by-all charming guy can’t find a means to earn his living. Why? SA has not been able to win a world tournament. Why? Well! Shit just happens.
The 80s hero graduates from college, stands in a long queue waiting to be interviewed by a bespectacled panel who look for ways to eliminate candidates. He walks in to the room like he owns it, brimming with confidence. He even answers questions like “What is the capital of Denmark?”, “What is the GDP of Cambodia?” and manages to impress the interviewers. Just when the panel members nod to each other and are about to hire our hero, the black color dial phone in the corner of the room rings. The baldest member of the panel picks up the phone and says “yes…aahan…yeah..Okay sir…okay…definitely sir (pronounced as saar)..I will do the needful” and ends the call. Turns to our hero, puts a sad face and says “That was our MD, he just recommended his nephew from Delhi to this job. We are sorry. You have great credentials, but we can’t hire you.” Well that’s what happened to SA in 1992 WC semifinal game against England in Sydney. They were Duckworth Lewis-ed out of the tourney. Rain and fortune were against them. Not their fault right? Not the hero’s too.
A couple of months later,our hero helps a gentleman recover his bag when a robber snatched it and tried to run away with it. This said gentleman gathers that our hero is jobless (Otherwise, whose calendar is free enough to save a stranger on a Tuesday afternoon at the municipal bus depot). As a sign of gratitude, this said gentleman gives him his visiting card. This guy happens to be an industrialist, and invites our hero for a job interview. Wow! This is his best chance. Big industrialist and all, has his name printed on a card and walks around the town carrying stacks of those cards. Our hero is going to find a job before we break for the intermission. Well… that’s what we think. On the morning of the interview, our hero runs into a critical situation. He is waiting for the bus. An evil rich guy hits a helpless girl on the street with his car and speeds away. The public, who witnessed this, do nothing. They mind their jobs and avoid this situation. Our hero cries for help. No one responds. He carries the poor girl in his arms and shouts even louder. Now an auto-rickshaw wala stops and offers a ride to the hospital. They admit the girl, her parents are thankful and call the doctor a God. The doctor humbly points to the hero and says “he is the one you should thank”. After doing the quintessential good deed for the day, he remembers “Oh my God I am late for my job interview.” Our hero rushes into the interview room with a bloody, shoddy, dirty shirt, soiled shoes, and unkempt hair. The panel is disappointed with the hero’s punctuality (or the lack of it), and tilt their left wrist and look at their watches for directorial touch. The gentleman who recommended our hero feels let down and looks at him asking “what happened” with his eyes. Our hero has no answers. He draws a blank. He is helpless and has no way of talking himself out of this situation. The industrialist walks out of the room shaking his head in disappointment. So, after all, our hero hasn’t got a job yet. Very similar to what happened in SA in the 1999 WC. Allan Donald and his brain freeze. Oh that run out! You don’t have be a SA fan to feel bad for that 1999 WC semis against Australia.
Soon after the intermission, our hero gets a job. But the audience has now predicted something is wrong-we are just halfway into this movie, no way is our hero getting a happy ending here. Something is fishy. This is how SA won all their 2011 WC’s league games. Top of the table after the first round; walked in to the knockouts like a boss. The audience’s hunch turned out to be true. The hero in his new job was actually working for a company that was doing something illegal (like organ trade or something). The scrupulous guy he is, confronts his boss, his management and walks out of the company untying his tie and shaking his head. You know what? Remember that car which almost ran over the helpless girl before the interval; that actually belongs to this illegal company’s MD/GM’s son. Total bad guys WONLY these people! It is in that fashion how SA walked out of 2011 WC and packed their bags. Of course no bad guys involved, but similar in the speedy exit.
Close to the end of the movie, the hero realizes that all companies that have job openings are either dominated by nepotism or run by corrupt illegal individuals (those BAAAAAST**DS). So he decides to pursue ways of self employment. After encouraging speeches from family and the heroine, our hero starts an auto-rickshaw agency (calls that auto wala who offered to give a ride to the hospital). He even employs the father of the injured little girl. Now these are a bunch of good guys who don’t charge pregnant women, old women, and school-going children any tariff. And they all live happily ever after. A movie can be scripted and edited to have a happy ending-pleasing the audience. Unfortunately, sporting events don’t work that way. Can SA overcome all oddities and have their happy ending. Can Ab De Villiers be their hero and director to win this WC and please their fans? Let’s wait and see.