Chennai fans love cinema and cricket
Chennai: If Mumbai is the centre of the Hindi film industry, Chennai is the capital of Tamil film industry. Film actors play a big role in the daily life of people here. In fact, this is a state that has elected an actor and actress as its Chief Minister. Hence comments from film stars as to what they will be doing during the India-West Indies match at Chepauk and whom they fancy to reach the final have all been carried by most dailies here.
So important are the film stars statements that West Indies skipper Darren Sammy's comments have been given very little space in the newspapers. To match with the Hindi film world which is called Bollywood, the Tamil film industry is called Kollywood. "Cricket and film dominate our lives. Unfortunately we don't have a super star like Sachin Tendulkar from this city, but we have always produced good spinners. (Krishnamachari) Srikkanth was our last batting hero," said a volunteer at Chepauk.
A photo of Srikkanth walking out to open the innings with Sunil Gavaskar is at the entrance of the press box.
As traffic was closed near the stadium, I had to walk a little to reach the entrance. On my way, I counted at least 10 sports shops on the Wallajah Road, close to the stadium. All of them have displayed the latest cricket bats.
Competing with these shops are the restaurants. This city is considered a heaven for vegetarians and the day begins for most with idlis and dosas. Some of the West Indies players were seen visiting the famous vegetarian restaurant Woodlands to savour these two dishes. Incidentally, curd rice is so popular it was one of the items for the press box dinner. Every cricket lover from of this city makes sure not to miss any match. Cricket is so close to their hearts that they sound like cricket statisticians.
A fan, who walked along with me to the stadium and introduced himself as Kurupuswamy, said he was very proud of himself since he had watched all historic moments in this stadium.
"Do you know Sachin scored his first century on Indian soil at this venue? I have watched Rahul Dravid hit his 10,000 Test run here, Sunil Gavaskar score his 30th century, Narendra Hirwani's spell of 16 for 136, and Sehwag's triple hundred.