Thanks to the unexpectedly big success of David Dhawan’s Chashme Buddoor, the fear of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) has been exorcized from the minds of filmmakers, who, until recently, were fearful of losing out a part of their audience to cricket.
“Chashme Baddoor is this year’s assurance to a nervous-as-hell industry," says trade expert Komal Nahata. "The IPL is like a monster that the film industry needs to be assured against every year. Fears were quashed last year when Housefull 2 proved a hit right in the middle of the IPL.”
“Biwi No.1, Jannat, the Housefull series and now Chashme Baddoor have worked during the cricket season," says trade pundit Taran Adarsh. "IPL is no longer a threat to good films. If the content is strong, a film can withstand any opposition.”
Producer Ram Mirchandani agrees: “Last year, Housefull 2 did Rs 110 crores’ worth business and Vickey Donor made Rs 48 crores during the IPL. I think the IPL has ceased to be a threat to cinema after the first two years of its existence. They can comfortably co-exist.”
Distributor and trade pundit Suniel Wadhwa adds, “Since Jannat in 2008, the IPL has ceased to affect the film business provided the content is good. Films will do badly irrespective of the IPL if the content is bad. A recent case in point is Himmatwala.”
Producer Vipul Mehta, whose action film Commando releases today, says he is confident that cricket and cinema can co-exist. “I was confident that the IPL cannot break a film if it has the potential to draw in audiences. In Europe, movies do well even during the European League Football. The only sporting event that is a threat to the movies is the Soccer World Cup. And with due respect, the IPL does not generate the same fan frenzy as the Cricket World Cup, let alone the European League Football or the Soccer World Cup.
“Attendance in cinemas may suffer somewhat in the specific city where the IPL match is being played," he continues. "But nothing more. My film Namaste London released during the World Cup, and it is my biggest hit.”
But Shah admits that the success of Chashme Buddoor will help in the coming weeks. “Any success is a good sign. That Chashme Buddoor was the first film to successfully take on the IPL season just goes to prove that there is room for both cricket and cinema in an Indian citizen's life. Give them an entertaining film and they’ll tear themselves away from the game long enough to enjoy it.”