Since its inception in 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has consistently been taking a massive chunk out of the viewership pie for its month-and-a-half-long duration. And factoring in how cricket crazy Indians are, film producers have been circumspect about releasing their movies during the tournament.
Case in point: the three big releases during IPL 2011 — Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Game, Anees Bazmee’s Thank You and Rohan Sippy’s Dum Maaro Dum — all proved to be duds.
However, things improved last year. Sajid Khan’s Housefull 2, the Arjun Kapoor-Parineeti Chopra starrer Ishaqzaade and Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Vicky Donor released during the tournament and did well.
Director duo Krishna DK-Raj Nidimoru are IPL veterans of sorts. Two of their past ventures — 99 (2009) and Shor In The City (2011) —released during the IPL. This time, they have another film — Go Goa Gone. Raj says, "The business does take a hit on a big match day, but otherwise, only about 15 per cent business gets affected. Trade analyst Komal Nahta says, "Initially, the IPL did affect business, but over time, the impact has lessened considerably."
This year, a spate of big films will release during the IPL — Shootout At Wadala, Bombay Talkies, the Zanjeer remake, Go Goa Gone, Chashme Baddoor, Nautanki Saala, Ek Thi Daayan, I Love NY, Gippi and Aurangzeb. Here are the biggest players:
Releases on: April 5
Stars: Ali Zafar, Siddharth, Tapsee Pannu, Rishi Kapoor
USP: It’s a remake of the ’80s hit. David Dhawan aims to put the classic tale of friendship and romance in a new avatar.
Filmmaker’s logic: "Audiences want entertainment – be it from cricket or cinema. They’ll choose what entertains them the most," says Rudrarup Datta, head (marketing, project operations), Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.
Trade logic:"About a couple of years ago, the IPL would have been a threat to a movie. But if a project is of a certain standard, nothing can mar its chances," says trade expert Vikas Mohan.
Shootout At Wadala
Releases on: May 1
Stars: John Abraham, Kangana Ranaut, Anil Kapoor
USP: Sanjay Gupta’s film is based on slain gangster Manya Surve and other real people, including Dawood Ibrahim and cop Isaque Bhagwan. The film has multiple item numbers, featuring Priyanka Chopra, Sunny Leone and Sophie Choudry.
Filmmaker’s logic: "It’s a calculated risk. But by May 1, the tournament will be midway. Also, May 1 (Labour Day) is a partial holiday in a lot of places, so that will help," says Sanjay Gupta.
Trade logic: "It depends on how good the film is. If a movie is impressive, it doesn’t matter who the opposition is," says trade expert Komal Nahta.
Releases on: May 1
Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
USP: Consisting of four shorts, it marks 100 year of Indian cinema and brings together four prominent filmmakers — Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap and Zoya Akhtar.
Filmmaker’s logic: "Releasing on May 1 is important since the film marks the centenary of Indian cinema. IPL’s novelty factor has withered over the past couple of years," says Ashi Dua, co-producer of Bombay Talkies.
Trade logic: "It’s not a commercial film. So there’s no pressure to take the box office by storm. But it will face competition from Shootout At Wadala," says trade expert Vinod Mirani.
Go Goa Gone
Releases on: May 10
Stars: Saif Ali Khan, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das
USP: It is being pitched as India’s first zom-com (zombie comedy). The first trailer has generated immense buzz. It sees the return of director duo Raj and DK, who impressed with their last venture, Shor In The City.
Filmmaker’s logic: "The IPL might affect business in a negligible way, but if the word-of-mouth is strong, the film is bound to recover later. It’s not as big a headache as it used to be," says Raj.
Trade logic: "People decide whether or not to watch a film after watching the trailer. This one’s generated good buzz in the metros," says exhibitor and distributor Akshaye Rathi.