Extra oomph on field

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 3.09.04

Mandira in the nets… Mandira at extra cover… Mandira at long leg… Sex appeal has invaded the pitch like never before. Some would say it’s at silly point, others might prefer leg slip, but there’s certainly nothing extraaa about oomph and the game anymore.

It’s staring us in the face, and how! From the small screen in the bedroom to the billboard on the city streets, Mandira Bedi is back with a bang — and so is cricket on MAX. The ad campaign for ICC Champions Trophy features a new-look (leaner and sexier) Mandira in a series of smart outdoor ads and a classy TV spot. The TV commercial inspired by Michael Jackson’s Stranger In Moscow sees the maiden in black splash about in the rain, with kids playing cricket for company.

“I was in Holland for the Videocon Cup when the promo aired and I got at least 50 messages saying how good it was,” says Mandira, taking a breather between travelling around Delhi for Gully Cricket and preparing for her trip to England. “I got drenched, but even while shooting I realised it would be a fantastic ad.”

The Extraaa Innings off-screen campaign marries wordplay with fielding positions. So, Mandira in the nets finds her wrapped in a net, arms spread invitingly wide, Mandira at extra cover sees her swathed in yards and yards of sari and Mandira at long leg catches her flashing more than a bit of leg (“I haven’t shown that much leg since school”).

Apart from those featuring Mandira, the MAX campaign contains a ‘Cricket fever is back on MAX’ set of TV and print commercials. A music video featuring Mandira, Kapil Dev, Charu Sharma and the little MAX kid (the one who famously challenges Kapil in the promos) is also slated to go on air.

“Once upon a time, cricket was telecast with the wrap-around programming ruled by experts and their analysis, all serious and technical. And then MAX came along,” is how Tushar Shah, VP, marketing & commercial of SET India, would put it. The channel has gala plans for Champions Trophy that starts September 10 at Edgbaston. New faces on the MAX commentary team like Ian Chappell and Michael Slater join veterans Tony Greig, Barry Richards, Rameez Raja and Donna Symmonds. Rakshanda Khan will do a Maria Goretti, mike in hand.

Mandira, too, is “all charged up” as “it will be great to be back”. But first up are the ICC Awards immediately before the tournament, which she will host in a Kiran Uttam Ghosh outfit.

“I’m taking Mandira out of saris and noodle straps and are putting her in skirts,” says Kiran. “The look is all about understated chic, lending a subtle sexiness. The colours are extremely bright, in keeping with Mandira’s vibrant personality.”