Bollywood and cricket are often referred to as the two popular religions of India. The upcoming few months will see the Indian cricket team play back-to-back tournaments.
The upcoming India tour to Australia will mark the beginning of a long cricketing season. This will include the ICC World Twenty20 tournament and the Asia Cup, and will end with the Indian Premier League (IPL) in May.
Bollywood has faced stiff competition from the IPL ever since it kicked off. Do filmmakers have reason to worry this time around too? “I don’t think other tournaments, including the IPL, are any longer a huge threat. But, a series like the World Twenty20 will surely affect business a bit,” says filmmaker R Balki, whose next, Ki And Ka, starring Arjun Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan, releases on April 1.
Like Balki, other directors, too, believe that there’s nothing to worry about. “We don’t expect everyone to keep watching films or cricket all the time; I am sure they can both co-exist,” says director Sabbir Khan, whose next, Baaghi, starring Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor, hits theatres on April 29.
Probably that’s why a number of films are lined up for release till May. However, not many movies starring big actors will hit theatres till May, with a few exceptions. “I don’t think there’s any need to panic. People will make time for both the passions as per their tastes and interests. For ages, cricket and Bollywood have survived alongside each other,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
On the alert
But Balki reveals that when the release date of his film was being finalised, the schedule of the World Twenty20 tournament was checked first. “We decided on April 1 [as the release date], as there are no matches on that day and the next day as well. Still, I pray that India qualifies for the finals, even though our business will be slightly hit [on that day],” he says.
Although the IPL has been taking place for seven years now, makers are no longer afraid of the tournament, as films like Housefull 2 (2012), Vicky Donor (2012) and Chashme Baddoor (2013) have done well during such periods in the past. “We have seen that a number of films have done well while the IPL was on. If the content is good and entertaining, the movie will do well, regardless of when it’s releasing,” says Sabbir.