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This design created more space and natural light into the building. An Access hatch had … Continued. Toggle Menu. News Projects Case Studies Testimonials. Latest Posts. He believes he can have his career and make his endorsement money while maintaining enough control to give his celebrity back once his playing days are finished. That feels like the real battle at the center of Kohli's daily life: his idealism versus a culture obsessed with him as a proxy and not a man.
That's what I call our hotel rooms: royal jails. You can't do anything. I think back to the first time I saw him and, once again, the story of the boiling frog. Seven years ago, while I waited at the Indian team hotel in Bangalore during the World Cup, he sat basically unbothered in a restaurant, except for a few young fans who waited patiently outside for him to finish eating.
He was becoming the star of the team, replacing Sachin Tendulkar as the best player in the world, and only one or two reporters hung out in the lobby.
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No paparazzi. That was a different time. Now he eats all his meals from room service and sneaks through the staff corridors of hotels. I can't even think of going down to the hotel restaurant to eat. Forget going out of the hotel.
After a while, we just talk about modern fame. He's got strong opinions. Because humans evolved to live in tribes and villages, he and I agree that the inability to control a reputation is doing damage to an entire generation of famous people, and there is almost no academic or medical scholarship to decode exactly what that damage looks like. Only two or three serious studies have ever been done about how fame changes someone's psyche, the most thorough published in , long before social media.
The studies say that celebrity forces people to objectively see themselves through the eyes of other people and that the human animal is not designed to handle that. Kohli laughs and agrees that his life is some sort of experiment for future generations to study. He recently turned 29 and is clinging to his hard-won clarity. Now things are unlocking in a way that is very difficult for me to explain to people.
But I understand that I was always meant to do this. If I am meant to do this in every lifetime of mine, I will do it times over. It's a blessing. His is a fragile and idealistic peace. He considers the coming spring and summer. Playing cricket means living in hotel rooms and spending long stretches of time abroad. But with the Indian Premier League just weeks away, he's facing an extended stay in India, longer than he's been here in more than a decade. His peace is most at threat when he's at home.
Kohli says modern fame is so malignant: "If you don't have the ability to handle it, you're gone.
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The reason he's in this trailer is that he agreed to pose for the story you're reading. It's important to show sponsors he can move the needle in America. Upstairs, his manager pulls me aside to say that Kohli has his own "One8" brand that makes athletic gear, casual wear, underwear and, of course, a men's fragrance. He sells the promise of a different and better life to people exactly like the ones who hound him at shopping malls. Days like today are when his idealism gets tested. Sometimes he zones out, and while he doesn't explain, it seems clear that he disappears to protect or steady the actual person who lives inside the worshipped avatar of Virat Kohli.
With a crew of people waiting upstairs, he sits in a chair in front of a mirror.
His team is preparing his outside for public, and he's preparing his inside. Gujral, his manager, steps in and gets combative. He and the reporter argue. The interview finishes, and the reporter wants a picture, handing her magazine to Kohli. Gujral stops them. The magazine has a different brand watch on it. Everyone comes in and tries to ask about cricket, and every time Gujral steps in.
People try to ask non-cricket questions that might end up giving them a cricket answer.
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The interviewer doesn't seem to realize she's been shown the matrix and glibly moves on. Kohli sips Perrier, trying to calm down. And how does it feel to be one of the country's favorite The question peters out; even the reporters are sheepish at the job they've been sent here to do today. Gujral turns to Virat. How does it feel? The interview is over. The interviewer asks for a picture too.
The next guy says he just has one question. Gujral asks why come to an interview for one question and throws him out. The door shuts. Gujral just shakes his head. Kohli's voice tightens. He wants people to ask him about the expensive watches and his fashion sense or whatever deal his people made in exchange for these hours of his life. That's what he agreed to give away today. His driver pulls out into the chaos of Mumbai traffic. Gujral sits next to him. His bald security guy sits in the passenger seat next to the driver. People honk horns and weave in and out with no regard to lanes.
Kohli looks out the window at the world. He does that a lot, watching people with their briefcases and backpacks, chasing a dream. He loves to see them because that's how he sees himself.