One of the most controversial partnerships in Indian cricket is perhaps that of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli. The duo came into the spotlight right from the time that they were youngsters and played for the Indian team from the under-15 team onwards. However, the friendship, which eventually led to the duo’s breaking the record for the highest runs scored in a cricketing partnership, seemed to go awry at some point along the years. They were seen less and less in photographs together. Kambli also spoke out in a TV show about how he had not had his one-time friend’s backing when he had to leave the Indian cricket team. He also expressed his hurt when Tendulkar failed to mention his name in his farewell speech in 2013.
However, it would seem that the feud between the two is finally at an end. The launch of Rajdeep Sardesai’s new book was like a mini-reunion for the Indian cricket team of the ’80s and ’90s and among those present were Kambli and the Master Blaster himself. In a photograph clicked and tweeted by Atul Kasbekar, the two were seen together in a picture after years. “It was an emotional reunion. Meeting Sachin after all this time brought back all the memories of the times when we were young and playing the gentleman’s game together,” said Kambli, adding that they will definitely be meeting more often now.
“Whatever the causes were for the rift between us, we have buried the hatchet and decided to move on. The friendship was never really gone. I still sent him messages for his birthday and other festivals and he always responded, but it was wonderful to meet after all this time,” smiled Kambli.
Though the duo played together in the Indian cricket team, they made news much before they even made the team for their record-breaking partnership. Sachin was just short of 15 and Kambli was a mere 16, but the duo smashed a
664-run partnership, while playing for Shardashram Vidyamandir, against St. Xavier’s High School in the Harris Shield semi-finals in 1988. “We wanted to get 500 runs each! But the coach knew and we had to agree that it was not what the team needed right then, so we walked off after 664,” Kambli rues.
It’s not just that one game that the cricketer remembers fondly, but their on-field rapport overall. “It was always great fun playing cricket with Sachin. We had the burden of representing India from a young age, and I think that made adults out of us. But at the same time, we always had fun playing the game. As we had been playing since we were very young, we were very in sync. We didn’t have to call for runs. We’d just exchange a look and know whether to take a run or not. In fact, each time that we’ve actually called the other person to take a run, one of us was run out,” laughs the former left-handed Indian batsman.
Now that the duo has had their reunion, Kambli couldn’t be happier. “It was a great reunion. I hugged him, we spoke at great length and we are friends again. The love we have for each other will never die,” he signs off on that emotional note.
He says, “Thousands of fans of look at Virat and Anushka as a prospective couple that they hope will sooner or later tie the knot themselves. That is why, when they endorse a brand like Manyavar starring in an ad like that, it goes viral.”
Nishad Ramachandran of Hansa Cequity, believes that audiences prefer it when ads bring to the screens a different element, something new. “If you sell a toothpaste to a buyer by just telling him that it whitens his teeth, it won’t peak his interest,” he says, explaining that the audience’s understanding of a brand and the product that it offers has gone way beyond that.
Harish says that the idea of incorporating a real life celebrity couple to endorse a product isn’t new. “In the past, Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan have come together to work for a jewellery brand (in fact, they still do). Even Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan came together for a pressure cooker ad, where they recreated an old advertisement to fit today’s time,” he recalls.
However, celebrity couples coming together, may not always mean a happy ending. Bipasha-Karan have been viciously attacked for their endorsement. “In advertising, celebrity couples make a better impact when they are unmarried or are in a relationship. Otherwise, it doesn’t pique an audience’s interest,” says Harish.