Why are IPL Cheerleaders all Firangis?

Back home from a rather hectic week in India. The IPL fever is raging. You can’t meet anybody in India in business circles and not get into the economics of IPL. Corporate India is just fascinated by the money gushing out of IPL. It is actually a complex economic system which is unfolding in front of our eyes. Capitalism at its best. There is a book in the making there. I would buy it in a flash – I hope someone good writes it.

Everything in the IPL seems to be well thought out and well executed, for an operation that’s in its formative stages. So there must be a good reason why all (or at least most) of the cheer leaders are firangi (I hate the term ‘non-Indian’ which is more PC. Here firangi is more apt anyway.)

I asked a few friends why this was so. There’s a cap on the number of foreign players that a team can play. But when it comes to cheer leaders, there are no rules. Nobody knew exactly why this is so. But some of the hypotheses were:

– Indian women would never do this. Goes against the grain of our culture. Besides, who would marry them after they did a gig with IPL?

– Indian women can’t do it. The problem is not that they can’t do the moves. It’s that with their body types, those moves would send the men folk amongst the spectators into orbit. That’s not good for business. Just ask the English football clubs about their rampaging drunk male fans.

– Security reasons. Shiv Sena and other cultural police pretenders threaten physical harm to women who showed that much leg and midriff. The culture cops apparently have no problem with firangi women debasing themselves.

– Economics. If you have the figure and the moves, becoming a Bollywood item girl pays much better. And is less hazardous.

– Cheerleader positions have been offered to cricketing nations whose players have not found enough spots on the IPL teams. (OK I made this up)

None of these ring true to me. But if I had to pick one, I’d go with the “afraid of Shiv Sena” reason.

Any thoughts?

Photo by S V Jagadeesh


  1. Mohan says:

    It stokes the collective national ego too. See, we are now rich enough that we can pay these foreign players and foreign girls to come and entertain us.


  2. Amit says:

    General Indian infatuation with white skin. And the belief that everything "phoren" is better.

    Same reason that plenty of Bollywood movies are shot abroad and nowadays even the item numbers have their share of blondes.

    A couple of years back I read that Indian fashion models were complaining of second-hand treatment (and pay) compared to "imported" models.

    The first IPL had a controversy where some of the cheerleading teams were explicitly told to exclude black and dark-skinned cheerleaders. And we complain of racism! Ha!

    Now, we have learnt and things are done silently, I guess.


  3. Madhu says:

    BTW- that pic is hot, barbed wire and all that !! Basab has got taste and talent for photography ;-))


    1. Madhu – the photo is by S V Jagadeesh on flickr. I would take credit for curating a photo that you liked, but honestly, there weren't too many IPL cheerleader photos available under creative commons.


  4. Shiva says:

    I think all cheer leaders are managed by a professional event management co. In the 1st year of IPL there were Indian cheerleaders as well but I guess last year since the IPL was in SA they might have signed up with this "firangi" co. and maybe continued this year as well because of "good performance".

    Just a guess…


    1. This sounds very plausible. I didn't know that there were Indian cheerleaders, once.


  5. Indian IPL Fan says:

    I have seen some of the cricketers have some "good times" with the IPL cricketers. Had there been Indian girls out there, the media would have generated a controversy! But it is okay to have fun with gori mem


  6. Krishna says:

    So that even after the game is over, the overbooked commercials can be served to a "watchful" audience that don't switch off the box in a hurry…


  7. Dip says:

    I believe IPL is a good example of the immense market potential India has if the population is exploited with some good planning and execution.
    Think of it how imaginable it was in 1980 for the Boycotts, Chapels, Hadlees of the era dying to play in an Indian domestic tournament in apr-may heat in places like Chennai, Nagpur.

    How about in 20yrs the likes of Infosys acquiring likes of IBM. Wish Indian players make an effort to create, expand and exploit the Indian market. The irony of the game is Indian players not looking much beyond cost arbitrage in west where as IBMs of world beating them on home turf.


  8. Mohan says:

    Time?! Give it a few years before desi gals learn the game.


  9. Vijay Basrur says:

    Surprisingly, KKR ran a reality show last year to select their band of cheergirls. But when the venue shifted to South Africa, the ladies were just not transported to SA. I am not so sure even if IPL 2 was held in India, those girls would have actually made it to the matches. Of the entire thing KKR made a decent bit of moolah from the reality show.

    I personally think IPL is playing out completely to what the Indian crowds want to watch. And would they want to watch Indian girls (regardless of reactions from S, MNS etc.)? I don't think so. Indians make a big deal of white skin. And hence IPL is giving it to them.

    Infact I remember reading an article in the Mint Lounge (http://bit.ly/aLlSik) which talks about a contest via SMS to meet these cheer leaders. I am sure its a raging hit.


  10. Subrata says:

    Cheerleading has two nuances that Indian performers will find tough
    (a) It is public performance. Once can cite parallels of bar-girls and the likes but dancing in front of a stadium crowd is different than that in a smoky, psychedelic room in suburban Mumbai
    (b) The moves. They are of joy and of short-bursts (yes, the performers are in skimpy clothes but let's for one moment consider that as an uniform). Leave it to Indian performers and they would render the moves alike an item number because that's how their orientation is


  11. Swapnil Pundle says:

    This cheerleading business is new to India. I think well-trained cheerleading talent and agencies that can manage a cheerleading contract must be in short supply here. That could be a reason we had to import this skill and foreign companies were brought in to manage cheerleaders.
    I believe local companies will seize this opportunity and good talent will be easily available in India pretty soon. We should see Indian cheerleaders in a year or two. As a spectator I am quite happy watching Indian cheerleaders !!
    Any pointers to companies who have been awarded the cheerleading contract by IPL teams?


  12. ila says:

    gora is better than firang ! btw, you do know ipl is running a ticker during telecasts where you can "meet" the cheergirls – that kind of thing may not be taken to kindly by desi girls maybe ? it was widely commented upon by the likes of pritish nandy et al .
    the P in the IPL can take on a whole new meaning.


  13. Sudip says:

    My take, it's time India outsourced something and this was a good avenue. Skills we don't have, skills we need, skills someone else has. So it's IT Services v/s IPL.


  14. Anuradha says:

    You forgot – Indian's obsession with WHITE complexion.


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