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BCCI frets over Farhan Akhtar's web series on murky underbelly of cricket

Actor's web series about the murky underbelly of cricket administration may have nudged cricket's governing body to ask for soft-pedalling in exchange for support


Vivek Oberoi plays Vikrant Dhawan, a character allegedly inspired by former IPL chairman Lalit Modi (inset)

With the Virat Kohli-Anil Kumble war out in the open, Farhan Akhtar and Riteish Sidhwani's upcoming web series around a cricket premier league couldn't have been better timed. Inside Edge is expected to strip the veneer off India's favourite sport and its heroes to reveal the dark underbelly characterised by manipulation, corruption and power games.

THE BCCI, the national governing body for cricket in India, is allegedly concerned with how the game, and its governance is portrayed. An episode surrounding a powerful character, that sources say is fashioned around Lalit Modi, founder chairman and administrator of IPL, is of particular interest to them.

Farhan AkhtarFarhan Akhtar

In 2010, Congress minister Shashi Tharoor resigned after allegations of improper influence during the investigations carried out by tax authorities to probe the IPL valued at $4.1 billion. Following this, Modi was suspended by the BCCI after the final match of the 2010 series, saying, he had "brought a bad name to the administration of cricket and the game itself".

Insiders claim the producers may be looking at collaborating with the BCCI, especially since they need cricket footage for Season 2. A potential tie-up could translate into the governing body promoting the show via its official social media platforms.

Even as the producers refused to comment, production unit hand, on condition of anonymity, said, "The show couldn't have come at a better time. It will serve as a mirror to the way cricket is administered. The show looks at ego clashes, the power struggle between team members and spot fixing. BCCI is keen that certain portions are toned down, and in return, might help with necessary permissions for Season 2."

Actor Vivek Oberoi, who plays Vikrant Dhawan, who is allegedly inspired by Modi, had said in an earlier interview, "For Vikrant Dhawan, power is a drug. He is a mastermind, a puppeteer. This is a world far removed from the normal one. The world [portrayed in the show] is real, the people are fictional. Dhawan's world revolves around match fixing. You get to see how it actually happens. It's about how a bet is placed and how it affects every level [of stakeholders], from rookies to teams." BCCI did not respond to an email sent by mid-day.

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