As India’s biggest cricket show is buffeted by storm winds, celebs-turned-team owners are feeling the stress.
The home ministry has delivered a sucker punch to the Indian Premier League, a tournament in which several hundred crores are tied up, by rejecting its revised schedule. This means Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty and Juhi Chawla, who have put their own film projects on the backburner for IPL, don’t have a clear picture yet. The big films in limbo are Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan, starring Shah Rukh Khan; Preity Zinta’s untitled film with Yash Raj Films; and Shilpa Shetty’s first home production, The Man.
“Of course, it’s unsettling,” says Shilpa. A source close to the actress confirms she had worked her schedule around IPL.
“She has just launched her spa line, and a lot of activities were planned to promote it. She had a few business trips to London, and was to shoot for her Indo-Chinese film.” Her plans may have been thrown out of whack, but Shilpa is smiling resolutely, fingers crossed for the greater good. “It’s only valid for the government to try and ensure maximum security for the people and the players,” says the Rajasthan IPL team co-owner.
Will this ever end?
But Karan Johar, whose My Name is Khan has been facing obstacles since the beginning, is a worried man. “First, it was Billoo’s release, then Shah Rukh’s shoulder operation and now the IPL confusion. Karan has changed dates three times, and he has lost Shabana Azmi, who was to play Shah Rukh’s mother. He was very upset, as he had thought of the character keeping her in mind,” says a source from the unit.
Juhi, who has three films, is trying to rejig her dates. “There is no other way,” she says, resigned.
Preity is confident that “IPL is happening 2 million per cent”. She is less perturbed than others as she has decided to devote most of her time to cricket commitments. If she is doing just one film, it’s because “there is only one of me” and so much to do. She, too, is going to grin and bear it — for the lack of any other option. “The state’s decision is for the benefit of all,” she says. “Let’s have faith in our system.”