Now, while the whole of India is likely to echo this
sentiment, one can think of some people who, at least
in some corner of their minds, will be wishing otherwise.
Of course, there are no doubts about their allegiances
to the country or its great aspirations, but when
one has so much money and time riding on something,
it is pretty obvious that you want it to get undivided
Some producers in Kollywood are currently in that
kind of a very unpleasant situation. They just can’t
afford to release their summer biggies when cricket
fever is at an all time high. For the cricket fever
to come down, at least marginally, India must be knocked
out of the tournament as early as possible and since
they are already past the group stages, the ever-reliable
Australia is the best hope for the film industry.
But even Australia seemed to strangely conspire against
the fading hopes of Kollywood of getting at least
two weeks of Indian cricket free summer when they
designed to lose a match in the World cup for the
first time since the turn of the millennium.
In normal circumstances, the producers would have
been brave and patient enough to hold off all their
releases till India (hopefully) completed its victories.
But, this time, it is just too difficult for a producer
to feel charitable, courteous, sportsmanly or patriotic
when it comes to cricket. The reason being that the
great Indian cricket industry seems to give a damn
about the fluctuating summer revenues of the film
industry. Ever since 2008 and the induction of the
IPL, the film industry has had its summer sunshine
cut in half and consequently they have been able to
make only that much hay during the period. That was
fair enough, both cricket and cinema got their share
of the summer sunshine.
But, 2011 is ignominious. Five days between the World
Cup and the IPL; not even enough time for a half-baked
nonsensical film to be declared a flop at the box
office. And, unlike in the World Cup where the producers
can at least hope that the Indian team complies with
their hopes, designs and prayers, there are no such
opportunities in the IPL. And, the worst news is that
the IPL is even longer this year.
So, while India prepares to take on Australia, we
will have many people making calculations in the background
(we don’t mean bookies). An Indian win would
rule out another week of possible release plans. And,
if their worst fears materialize, India and Pakistan
would go on to meet each other in the semifinals which
would mean that theaters could safely be locked out
for a week.
And, therefore, we have Engeyum Kaadhal being stumped
by ‘Engeyum Cricket’, Ko delivering a
No Ball and then being taken for a free hit. And,
there are others too who are looking for ways to avoid
being bowled out.
The film industry has always denied being greatly
affected by this cricket fever. But, we know the truth.
Discussions and plans for movies have dropped drastically
over the past month; some leading multiplexes in Chennai
are offering ‘buy one get one free’ ticket
schemes. Everyone wants to plan everything else around
the important matches and if the sequence of important
matches (read India matches) is going to stretch into
the first week of April, then the film industry can
as well say goodbye to summer. The weather sure will
be sunny, but with so much cricket going around, it
might just be a damp squib for the film industry.
But wait, it’s the world cup, it’s just
once in 4 years and in India after 15 years. So, we
will just have to be with India, one guesses. There
will be a time for the summer blockbusters.