The game of Kabaddi goes back to an ancient era when Lord Krishna apparently played the fast paced contact sport as a boy, per learned writings. Cut to present, the game has transformed into a stylized league sport with backing from some of the top celebrities and featuring the best Kabaddi pros in the country. The Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League is all set to commence with the Puneri Paltan taking panga with the Telugu Titans, on the 25th of June in Pune.
Organized by Mashal Sports and Star India, in association with the International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India, the Pro Kabaddi league is now a bi-annual event in its fourth season.
With the second season having notched up its TV ratings in 2015 – despite India being a cricket-crazy nation – the organizers decided it worth everyone’s while to conduct two seasons a year, one before the T20 World Cup and the other after the Indian Premier League.
The third season this January matched in viewership to the cricket league and Star Sports plans on making it an even bigger season this time around, with a new campaign – ‘Don’t Watch Fake, #AsliPanga Dekh’. In a bid to maximize its viewership, the channel is taking on other television prime time favourites in a series of ad films. The ads created in-house, take a dig at the saas-bahu saga laden with supernatural elements, the newshour debate and the movie blockbuster that defies logic.
This one spoofs TV news anchor Arnab Goswami’s prime time newshour debate, which always ends with building more noise than spreading any news. Watch it till the debate gets over to see how ‘fake’ the fights really are! A voiceover suggests the viewer ‘Don’t Watch Fake, #AsliPanga Dekh’, while the scenes now cut to the asli panga – the pro kabbadi games.
The second ad film pulls a fast one on daily soaps that are now bereft of rational plots. In the hunger for TRPs and pointless office and housing society discussions, they have resorted to the supernatural. The lead protagonist in the family does not suffer at her in-laws home anymore; she is now transformed into a fly or subjected to torture from a snake woman in the family!
Much like what has been portrayed here:
The third one takes a hilarious over-the-top dig at South Indian movies. You know the climax scene where the villain has captured the mother, and is waiting for her son to come rescue her, with him yelling about sinister plots of killing them together. There’s also the smart bullet which knows its target all too well!
The channel is sharing a horde of content in the run up to the big tournament on its social media platforms. The Star Sports Facebook and Twitter pages have been building the idea of #AsliPanga with an array of interesting visuals and gifs.
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) June 12, 2016
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) June 15, 2016
There are gifs explaining the aspects of the game too, in addition to those sharing information about the teams and player stats.
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) May 26, 2016
There's no shortcut in raiding, but during a struggle the yellow areas on the sides, known as the 'Lobby', activate! pic.twitter.com/SzKhiRj4SC
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) June 1, 2016
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) June 14, 2016
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) May 27, 2016
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) June 14, 2016
Wooing the TV and digital audience
The Star Sports Pro Kabbadi League has come a long way in every season. Developing a taste for Kabaddi games in a cricket watching nation is a commendable effort, one that has paid off with increasing viewership and more brand sponsors. While the first season was all about promoting Kabaddi as exciting and fun to watch as cricket with ad films urging viewers to take pangas to move ahead in life, this time around the tournament is on a league of its own.
In ‘Don’t Watch Fake, #AsliPanga Dekh’, the channel has directly poked an audience which is stuck to watching mindless soaps, noisy newsroom debates and over the top irrational action movies. Moreover, there is an interesting mix of content on social media platforms, told in an interesting medium of gifs. There’s the informative, the hilarious, the Kabaddi facts all building the story of Pro Kabaddi League as the #AsliPanga.
With ad films targeting TV viewers and social media content wooing digital users, Star Sports is on to raking in the views this time too.