IPL match commentary in Kannada a huge hit

Gundappa Vishwanath and Vijay Bharadwaj

For IPL, the Kannada commentary introduced this season has been a spectacular success: it has increased viewership by a whopping 26 per cent. Star Suvarna Plus, which broadcasts the matches with Kannada commentary, says the increase in cumulative growth came about in the first 17 IPL games.

On the panel of commentators are Vijay Bharadwaj, G K Anil Kumar, Chandramouli Kanavi and the legendary Gundappa Vishwanath. Vijay Bharadwaj and G K Anil Kumar spoke exclusively to Surupasree Sarmmah of Metrolife.

 Vijay Bharadwaj

What do you think about the idea of a running commentary in Kannada?

It’s a fantastic idea. In fact, I’ve been waiting for this for so long. I was always keen on doing commentary in Kannada. But the thing is, we didn’t have an opportunity. The response is tremendous and incredible. Karnataka is not a small state and Kannada commentary is the best thing to have happened at the IPL this year.

Is it the first time?

No, it is the second time. The first time we did Kannada commentary was during the 2015 World Cup.

Were you expecting such an enthusiastic response?

Yes. In fact, the response we got during World Cup match between Australia and New Zealand was huge. That’s the reason I was waiting for this to happen. It is a great feeling that even in petrol bunks and markets, people are plugged in. This is really motivating.

Which cricket terminology do you find difficult to translate into Kannada?

The format is that we don’t translate cricket terms to Kannada. If it’s a boundary, we say it’s a boundary. If it’s a wicket, we say it’s a wicket. Actually, the game is such that you cannot translate everything into Kannada. If you look at the language we are using, it’s colloquial. For example, we never say ‘chendu’ for deliveries. People get used to our style. We use cricketing terms in English but explain them in Kannada.

What kind of response are you getting from your own circles?

Tremendous. I hadn’t got this kind of a response even when I was playing. When I go to a restaurant, people give their responses and opinions. Now they are able to understand the nitty gritty of the game. In rural places, they don’t understand English. But now they are getting close to the smallest details of the game.

Any reactions on social media?

Yes, many people are on Twitter are commenting. In fact from places like America, England and the Middle East. This shows people want to watch the match not just in English but in their own language.

 G K Anil Kumar

Your thoughts?

We got a chance to attend workshops to help us keep the commentary precise and to the point. Being the assistant coach of the Karnataka Ranji Trophy team further helps me to be in tune with the format of the game and grasp the technicalities. With Kannada commentary, I am totally involved in the game.

Is it helping youngsters to connect better to their mother-tongue?

Yes. Most have only heard commentary in English or Hindi, so listening to it in Kannada is refreshing. It is definitely taking them back to their roots. In fact, we have got calls from rural areas appreciating this step. We are pretty surprised with the kind of reach it has had in the first 17 matches.

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IPL match commentary in Kannada a huge hit

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