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Life as I'm learning it

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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an ag├Ęd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hindi football commentary on ESPNStar

For the last few months, ESPNStar has been getting on my nerves by including Hindi commentary in the football broadcasts. Though they might want to take football closer to the Indian audience, this is not the right way to do it. For the commentary is downright bad.

Throughout the match, the commentator tends to give himself some free advertisement. Every 30 minutes, you'll hear him saying, "aur mein hoon Sunil Taneja!" That's okay, but there is worse to follow. Mr Taneja shows us how it is possible to give commentary with the use of very few terms.

The Barcelona-Chelsea Champions League clash was described with just the following few words... "Ronaldinho, Brazil ke khiladi he ye... Ronaldinho... cross badiya... lekin John Terry... aage chal raha he Frank Lampard... cross badiya lekin Rafael Marquez..." Believe me, that was all you could hear. The name of the player, his country and that he could play a good cross only to be collected by the opposition defender. The country identification part is simply irritating because it is overdone. "Rafael Marquez, Mexico ke khiladi he ye..." a couple of minutes later, the ball comes back to Marquez, "Marquez, Mexico ke khiladi he ye..." Poof! I didn't know that the stylish Mexican captain would change nationality every time a back pass is played to him.

This annoying commentary made one even more irate because the commentators forget many a time that they are covering a football game. Like in a horse race, they keep giving running commentary. Mr Taneja might as well contact those who compile the Guiness book of records and ask him to be entered as the person who can speak non-stop for 90 minutes, repeating the same few words. Only those reciting a mantra repeatedly would be Mr Taneja's competitors.

Even worse is when ESPNStar displays a message that says "Both English and Hindi commentary available." One could say "Well, yes! I'm getting both, and I can make out neither!" But at times, when one could make out, the difference was evident. For example, Wayne Rooney against Newcastle. During the closing minutes of the first half, Rooney struck a powerful drive, but it hit his captain, Gary Neville, who was in the penalty are, on the side of the face. The Hindi commentator passed it off with an insignificant comment. The English commentator seized on the opportunity: "Well, Gary Neville might reeling under the effect of Rooney's powerful strike. But really, it is Newcastle who have taken it on the chin. At half time, it is Manchester United 1, Newcastle United nil."

The solution

But miseries don't last long. My friend, Vijay Anand, thanks to four years of diligent study in the field of Electronics and Communication engineering, understood that digital signals can actually be split and regrouped, and that ESPNStar won't be an exception to the rule. Further research on his part revealed that ESPNStar relays Hindi commentary only on the Left speaker, and that English commentary is available on the Right speaker.

Voila! If you live in Chennai, have a set-top box and hate Hindi commentary, simply modify the Audio option for the channel that you want! If you set it to Right, you've set it right! No more Hindi commentary, no more Sunil Taneja and no more cross badiya, lekin... Enjoy maadi!


Anonymous Pravin said...

Thanks for the suggestion. However, today's match on Star Sports carries the English commentary on the left speaker.

4/23/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Thejo said...

I usually skip your posts about EPL because I don't follow it, but, this one I really enjoyed. Awaiting the follow-up about the Hindi commentary on Doordarshan during cricket matches.

4/23/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good one by Vijayanand..


4/23/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Vijay Krishna said...

@Pravin: Well, sometimes even the Left is right!

@Thejo: Cricket commentary, well, it's not that bad in Hindi. Probably that's because these folks grew up with cricket, and they understand it better.

@KG: Anna University-na summa va?

4/23/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger maverick said...

I didn't know that hindi commentary was enforced on you guys in Chennai (I would think English would be preferred by most people there). Here in Blore its upto the cable guy and everyone prefers it in english so he doesn't tamper with it. I can imagine what a torture it would be to sit through with Mr. Taneja!!! Thank God you figured it out.

4/23/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Suresh S SCJP1.4 said...

this is nice.
Taneja Plz u can go for hip hop

4/23/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Vinayak said...

enjoy "maadi"?????

Is someone a pseudo-bangalorean here :)) ?

4/23/2006 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Pratyush said...

A very good and pertinent entry. I was watching the Barca game and it was runied by the hindi commentary.

I am glad I will be watching the second leg in English.

You write very well. Keep up the good work. :)

4/24/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Praveen G K said...

good article....!!!I used to experience this while watching cricket matches on DD..with Sushil doshi (I hope I have spelt the name right) doing the honours!!!!

4/24/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Vijay said...

Yep. I used to have similar audio problems with BBC World also. With no VijayAnand to my help, i was racking the STB until i stumbled upon the Audio Option somewhere in the menu..

Sunil Taneja, Sushil Doshi.. Hmm, hope some of u have heard Radhakrishnan (RK) giving Tamil commentary for F-1 races.. "Narain Karthikeyan pit-stop vandhu adaindhulaar.. Avarudaya car engine-il irundhu poga varugiradhu.." :)

4/25/2006 02:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Balaji said...

STB my a***. Does any one has the DTH? Does that suck up to Hindi as well?

5/05/2006 10:34:00 AM  

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