Cricket Scandal Fascinates India
A scandal has erupted around India’s national pastime. And at its heart is Bollywood startlet Nupur Mehta. The struggling actor has been alleged in a match fixing scandal surrounding last year’s World Cup Cricket semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali.
Mehta confirmed on Monday that the blurry picture first splashed across the UK Paper Sunday Times was indeed hers, but she denied any link to match fixing.
The paper claimed that a Bollywood star had enticed Pakistani players to under perform, but did not name her specifically. Allegations of match fixing periodically surface in the media with claims that both players and officials are being influenced with huge sums of money.
Mehta shot back in an interview with Mail Today: “I have no connection with the match-fixing episode that has been linked to me. I am just a cricket fan. I am shocked that a newspaper like the Sunday Times of London has used my picture this way. It is not right.”
Mehta is best known for her vampy role in the 2005 box office bomb, Jo Bole So Nihaal. She was featured on the cover of Astha Atray’s novel Monsoon Bride after winning a contest. Additionally, she has appeared in a few TV ads for Fanta and Pirelli.
An unknown bookie commented to the Times of India that seeing Mehta’s name attached to the scandal was no surprise: “A bookie’s face is known to the cops and people in the cricketing world, so we use B and C grade Bollywood actresses to reach cricketers.”
The scenario of using glamour girls to bribe and seduce cricket players is nothing new. In fact, the plot of Mahest Bhatt’s film Jannat revolves around this concept. Bhatt commented, “the pressure of winning and the humiliation of defeat make cricketers very vulnerable. Bookies and match-fixers use women to manipulate their targets to achieve their objectives.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said that it would investigate allegations that Indian bookmaker are using actors and luring cricketers into throwing games — as reported by the Sunday Times.
Mehta continues to deny any involvement and has threatened to sue the Sunday Times for publishing the picture without her permission. While the b-grade actor may suffer some temporary inconvenience while the allegations are explored, it’s practically certain that the glut of media attention will prove anything but inconvenient to the starlet’s burgeoning career.