After the dates for the ICC World Cup and Indian Premiere League (IPL) were announced last year, many filmmakers rescheduled the release of their movies as they felt films couldn’t compete with India’s obsession with cricket. But, Abhishek Bachchan chooses to take on the challenge with not one, but two releases this summer.
Game opens on April 1 during the last days of the ongoing World Cup, when cricket fever will be at its peak, while Dum Maaro Dum follows three weeks later (April 22), in the midst of IPL Season 4. The actor says, “There are so many examples of films having worked despite cricket.”
Abhishek points out that the recently released Tanu Weds Manu is a hit. “The collections didn’t even dip during the India-England match. Of our total population of 1.2 billion, if only 0.2 billion watch the film, it’s more than enough for us to have significant collections,” he reasons, adding while there are preconceived notions about good and bad periods for film releases, there are also examples of films that have broken the myth.
“Belief was that we shouldn’t release movies during Ramzan. But we have seen a couple of films doing very well during that period,” he says, adding he’s not worried about Game as the World Cup ends on April 2. The actor is also unperturbed about Dum Maaro Dum releasing during the IPL. “If you see the viewership of the IPL during the last couple of years, you’ll realise it’s not something that will substantially threaten a film’s release,” he explains However, Abhishek agrees that he discussed the release date of Dum Maaro Dum with producer-director buddy, Rohan Sippy. “He said that if the film is bad, it wouldn’t work even if it releases in the best period. And if it’s good, nothing can stop it from being a hit. I believe that too,” he says.
When asked if there’s an overdose of cricket in the recent years, he says that Team India has been playing a lot. “Based on TRPs of the matches, I think a fatigue factor is apparent from the viewers’ end. But it’s different for the World Cup, which is the biggest sporting event and comes every four years. We have to win this year.”
Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax Multiplexes, says, “Audience will watch certain films irrespective of cricket. After all, how much cricket can one continue seeing? That’s why a suspense thriller like Game and an action drama like Dum Maaro Dum look promising. If the films are good, they will work.”
Manmohan Desai, MD of G7 and Maratha Mandir cinemas says he will celebrate on April 1, when Game and Faltu release. “We’re going through bad times, as films are not doing well despite a decrease in ticket prices. We hope Game, Faltu and Dum Maaro Dum are the miracle answers to our prayers. After quite some time, we’ll see Abhishek in commercial films and going by the promos, we hope they work at the box office.”