As Begum Pataudi nee Sharmila Tagore threw the ball into the ground for the exhibition match ahead of the main Pataudi Polo Cup - the game kick-started with Seven Islands (also the title sponsor) team battling the Army Polo and Riding Club (APRC).
Despite early March, the heat was searing at the Jaipur Polo Grounds. But it could not deter the enthusiasts who turned up to witness the game. Though Nawab Saif Ali and wife Kareena Kapoor Khan were missing from action, sisters Soha and Saba made up for it, as they showed up along with their mother to lend support to the teams.
Both the daughters enthusiastically watched the action on ground and shared fond memories of their father, Tiger Pataudi taking them for several games during their childhood. “Whenever it was polo time, our father wanted us to be there. He was a permanent fixture here during the season. So, even before we could understand the sport we would come here to watch matches. I once remember saying polo is an aggressive sport and my father rebutted with, ‘it is not an aggressive sport but a gentleman’s sport as long as you follow the rules or else you can get hurt,’” recalled Soha even as she praised the women riders in the Seven Islands team. Polo is the only sport which allows players of both sexes to play in the same team.
Though Kareena failed to make it, on ground things were kept smoldering with Karisma’s ex-husband Sanjay Kapur playing for the Seven Islands team, which won this match. Post the camaraderie of the exhibition match, the final of Delhi Polo Spring Season 2013, was held between Team Jindals, spearheaded by MP Naveen Jindal and Action Polo headed by Angad Kalaan.
Angad scored a hat-trick for his team but unfortunately lost as Simran Shergill and Max Charlton played like stars for the Jindals. Naveen captained his team to a glorious win by scoring three goals to reach the final score of 9 - 3.5. The last chukkar was crucial for both the teams but Team Jindals laid its claim to the 106 year-old RMRM Gold Vase trophy, a perfect birthday gift for its captain!
Commentator Sharad Saxena’s humour kept the enthusiasts entertained throughout with wise ones like, ‘the horses are being distracted by all the pretty women standing just off the field!’
But it wasn’t just polo which was playing on Sharmila’s mind as Metrolife found out later. The Begum expressed her happiness to be associated with the Seven Islands International Film Festival which has ‘Royalty’ as its theme in its second edition.
The Pataudi family is endorsing the fest which will be held in UK this year. “When we were told about the concept, we really liked it, as it is a theme-based festival.
“Like Polo is a royal game and is associated with glamour, the film festival too will have films on ‘Royalty’ from around the world,” shared Sharmila.