MUMBAI: A mysterious calm surrounds the sets of Café Rio and Football Extraaa, the two shows on Sony Six especially created for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The atmosphere is calm and dark, but then as a few spot boys enter, the eeriness begins to drift.
As lights are lit, the crimson yellow, flame orange and sky blue colors of Brasil bring the set to life.
Café Rio, a live primetime show at 8 pm leading up to the match kick-offs, entails interesting facts about victorious teams, historical venues and stalwart players along with in-depth analysis and discussion about squads, player forms, group standings and strategies.
The adjacent set belongs to the live breakfast show Football Extraa, which is aired between 8 am to 9 am, relives the excitement and fun of the previous day matches.
The two sets are designed with hand painted cutouts and buntings along with touch screen graphic screens. The innovatively created Café Rio set could have been created anywhere between the price range of 8 to 10 lakhs while the small scale Football Extraa set would be within the range of 5 to 6 lakhs.
As several hands begin to spruce up the set, in walks the dapper Indian football team captain and panelist Sunil Chhetri who finds the set as an invigorating mix of colour and energy which helps him identify with the action in Brasil. Soon follows the make-up man to give him the right touchup over his clean shaven face.
When questioned about the most surprising moment for him this World Cup, he raises his brow and matter-of-factly states, “It was definitely Chile beating Spain. Netherlands as a team too have done their homework.”
He adds, “Thanks to Sony Six I am having a gala time. It’s been a combination of work and pleasure for me. I do my research well in advance and try to bring my knowledge to the table.”
The shows need a tremendous amount of research and insight. The research team comprises of two people who are the ‘Wikipedia’ of football and act as statisticians too. The blueprint of the show is prepared in the morning while the information is computed three and a half hours before the show begins.
A total of 120 people complete the production and post-production teams led by three senior producers and a senior executive producer which also includes camera persons and spot boys.
The production and research teams work on the graphics together on the analysis software provided by wTVision. A total of five high definition (HD) cameras and a jib capture the various set angles.
The anchor and the studio guests, who arrive just two hours earlier, are briefed about the day’s happenings. Their inputs too are taken into consideration, especially the narration style.
Amidst the chaos, noiselessly walks in British sports presenter, Joe Morrison, who gobbles down two to three bananas hiding from other’s eyes.
As we settle down to interview him, the slender presenter goes down memory lane and says that though the 1982 WC holds close to his heart, he isn’t complaining about the current one as well.
When quizzed about the football scene in India, he quickly replies: “It has been steady. Pessimists say there is no talent. I think this thought is Bu**Sh**! Over the last eight to nine years, the appetite for football has grown in India. There is no shortage of talent here. The fundamental problem is that no one is searching for the right talent.”
When asked which is the team he is supporting ardently? A crafty grin says it all. “England and it will always be England. But I do have a soft spot for Brasil,” he confesses.
The set goes hush as it’s time to shoot before the big game. As the two guests, Robbie Fowler and Sunil Chhetri along with host Joe Morrison take their seats; loud voices turn into whispers as the floor manager commands everyone to put their mobile phones on silent mode. Everyone obeys.
The final countdown to the show, produced at Reliance MediaWorks located in the heart of Filmcity, begins.
As the producers’ voice nears 3,2,1… Morrison’s crystal clear voice rings in the air… “Someone is going home, tonight!”