Back in 2008, Jannat opened a can of worms by putting the match-fixing menace on the silver screen. And even though the Emraan Hashmi-starrer went on to become a sleeper hit, the film, Mahesh Bhatt claims, had rattled the Indian Premier League (IPL) bosses because the T20 tournament had just begun.
Now, there’s a new twist in the tale. As the makers have come up with a sequel to Jannat, they want to promote it during the ongoing tournament. But despite their best efforts, a positive response is still awaited from the IPL officials. As a result, producers feel it’s “perhaps a kind of backlash from them (IPL).”
“Yes, it has been brought to my attention by the film’s marketing team that we aren’t able to get a confirmation,” says filmmaker-writer Bhatt. “Jannat, perhaps for the first time, had put spotlight on the match-fixing malice that still exists. At that time, the IPL brand was ascending towards the sky and was looked upon as a god of entertainment. So there was a strong lobby against the film because it cast aspersions on cricket. It was considered tantamount to tarnishing something as ‘holy’ as the IPL.”Despite the resistance, the Jannat makers stuck to the film since they had done extensive research before making it. "From within the IPL establishment, we had received calls threatening us with legal action. But we held on because we had gone through a gamut of research," says Bhatt.
When contacted, Sundar Raman, the CEO of IPL came up with a terse reply: “Why should I talk about whom we are in discussions with?” he asked.
But rumours suggest that IPL bosses have a feeling that Jannat 2 has something to do with match fixing as well. And that’s why the Bhatts’ request for Jannat 2 promotions at the IPL has been turned down. Reportedly, they have also asked for a screening of the film before taking a call. “We are not giving up hope. They must understand this sequel has nothing to do with cricket. It’s about arms, urban crime and the illegal business of guns,” says Bhatt, adding that his team is still engaged with IPL officials. “Something should emerge. Our intention has never been to malign cricket,” says Bhatt.