December 15, 2017
On the anvil are a few changes to make the traditional sport more interesting for TV audience
After a hard-core Indian rural sport of Kabaddi got sexed up into a fashionable and saleable product, earning stardom and riches for its players, here comes an effort to jazz up Tamil Nadu’s traditional, ancient bull-taming sport of Jallikattu that the animal welfare activists riled against.
Supreme Court ban on the sport following animal rights activists’ petitions, central government found a way around for holding Jallikattu, for which entre TN state got united into a movement and the government had to bow down.
Now, Jallikattu is allowed with government permission and with safety guidelines that must be followed.
New Year will see Jallikattu unfold in a manner that the state has not seen so far. “There will be lot of competitive elements that make for drama and suspense so gripping for a televised sporting event,” said event organiser Karthik Srinivasan who heads an event management company that had handled the concert of music maestro AR Rehman in Chennai and Singapore.
“Our brief is to sex up the game in a manner as to make it a compelling watch over television,” he said. And the challenge was to retain the traditional Jallikattu flavour and yet add modern elements to make it more interesting,” Karthik who is taking charge of such a big event, to be held on January 7 in Chennai.
In a team league kind of format, there will be five teams competing for top honours. In each round 20 bulls will be released for taming, and the team that gets least points in this is eliminated for three rounds. And then the final also will be played in a similar fashion.
The prize money is huge – Rs 10 lakh for the top team – but if more sponsors join, the prize money could see an increase as well. But the event will be held on 7 Janauary for one day from 3 p.ml to 9 pm. And then on January 14, Mattu Pongal, the event would be telecast.
“Chennaiyil Jallikattu” (Jallikattu in Chennai) is the name given to the event aimed to be in the ‘edutainment section’ as the youth who came together for Jallikattu movement last year had not seen what a real Jallikattu looks like. And now it would be held in city settings in a format that the youth may like.
“There are a lot of myths, lies and canards spread about Jallikattu. We want to break all that with this presentation of Jallikattu, the other side which never got publicity. Farmers and their love for the animals would be the theme on which a full documentary will be shot during the festival for airing later, Karthik said.
While Karthik and his team will handle the marketing and presentation of the event, the competitive and technical issues relating to players, bulls and teams will be done by the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Peravai (association) and Chennai Jallikattu Peravai. The associations have already secured necessary permission to hold the event.
Some 450 bulls from Madurai and surrounding areas, as also from 17 other districts will be brought for the championship.
Said Amar Reddy Prasad, secretary of Chennai Jallikattu Peravai, “we will host 4000 people, 450 bulls and 450 players from all over Tamil Nadu. We are looking at marriage halls, convention centres and small hotels to give maximum comfort to the players.”
The highlight of the event will be the taming of the hitherto untamed bulls, categorised as golden horned bulls which will fetch maximum marks for the contestants.
“We hope the people like the format of us, heavy on entertainment quotient,” Karthik said.
Said Himakiran, a Jallikattu enthusiast and owner of bulls himself, “the event brings more awareness and will breakdown several myths spread about the sport by those with vested interests.”