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Sachin Tendulkar, the "artiste" Dwarfs Sachin , the Cricketer?

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin TendulkarRitam Banerjee/Getty Images
Linus FernandesAnalyst IIMay 22, 2011

Sachin Tendulkar is an “artiste.” Not a mere cricketer, not a mere entertainer but a performer who uses creativity, imagination and skill arranging elements in such a way to affect the human senses and emotions and having a certain aesthetic value.

This definition of the batsman comes courtesy of that Income Tax Appellate Tribunal which overruled an IT officer’s objections that Tendulkar’s income earned via commercials should not be granted tax-exemption.

The said officer contended that by appearing in commercials, Tendulkar does not become an actor.

But no, the tribunal ruled otherwise.

The clamour to bestow the Bharat Ratna on the iconic cricketer of his generation  scaled a crescendo following the ODI World Cup victory. Unfortunately, the title “Jewel of India” can only be conferred for artistic, literary and scientific achievements, as well as "recognition of public service of the highest order."

Perhaps, this is the first step from being labelled a mere sportsperson to one indulging in artistic endeavour.

Perhaps, this is a much-needed push in the desired direction. If change does not come from above, it will come from below.

Perhaps, it is justified for the hours of practice that a sportsman puts into honing his skills in the net. Surely as much as any top-notch musician or thespian.

Surely, there is a case to be made for the many moments of joy, exhilaration and celebration provided by the master batsman over the past two decades.

But hold on. Tendulkar is an "artiste" for his efforts in front of camera and lights, not for his on-field exploits.

But seriously, would you and I purchase any products endorsed by Sachin the "artiste?" Are we not buying into his sporting persona?

Can you imagine Sachin Tendulkar running around trees and serenading young starlets in the rain? How does five minutes of action or sales spiel qualify one to be termed a virtuoso?

When hero worship crosses over into the realm of ridiculousness, should one not call a "foul?"

How fair is this decision to Harsha Bhogle who was denied an exemption some years ago? Is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in the same class as kings of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan?

Note the reference is merely to his acting prowess. Nothing more, nothing less.

If this is an mis-guided attempt to bend over backwards to satisfy a cricketer in the aftermath of the euphoria of a much cherished World Cup win, it's time to ask for a reality check.

No, SRT, you are not an "artiste" in front of the camera. Your craft, your skill, your grace is best exhibited on the field.

Stand up and tell your fans that.

Stand up and tell the IT department that.

Stand up and tell your fellow Indians that you do not need a Bharat Ratna to be considered an unblemished gem of the state.

Stand up and tell them that you do not crave or care for special treatment.

Stand up.Now.


Quote of the day:
I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity. ---Tom Stoppard 

Shah Rukh Khan exempted as well.
Shah Rukh Khan exempted as well.Tom Shaw/Getty Images

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