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Cricket craze is gone: will the movie survive
By Behindwoods News Bureau.
March 26, 2007
It is a movie that was made with only the World Cup in mind. It was supposed to cash in on the mindless and fanatical passion of Indians for cricket. At a time when some movies were backing out of their release dates fearing the world cup,
the producers of this movie were planning the schedules to be able to make the release coincide with the peak of the cricket fever. In a country where cricket has ceased to be just a game (a leading cricket writer recently described cricket thus, ‘one bloke with a lump of leather in his hands trying to throw down three sticks and another bloke with a piece of wood in his hand trying to protect the sticks’) it only makes sense to mix cricket with movies and…. you have a winner; its not that simple. Aamir Khan did it with a lot of success back in 2001 in Lagaan but it need not work this time round.

In 2007, trying the magical amalgamation of movies and cricket is Say Salaam India. Maybe this is the first time you are hearing this name. Well, that is not without reason, the movie has been shot on a budget which reportedly is not much above shoestring. It stars two actors/models who at their peak were strugglers at best. Now, at least four years past their peak (which had nothing much to write home about) they try to register success. The rest of the cast consists of a handful of boys picked up by the director.

Hat Trick, the movie that had released a weekend back too had used cricket, but more as a ‘metaphor’ according to director Milan Luthria. But Say Salaam India is centered on cricket. Given the cricket frenzy in the country trade pundits were giving this motley team a chance at the box office. But all that seems to have faded now.

Maybe the movie has come a weekend too late. By the time the movie hits theaters the Men in Blue (Indian cricket team) will have landed in India to ‘God only knows’ what kind of reception after a World cup performance devoid of pride, courage and character. Effigies burning, houses under siege, careers facing the axe- Indian cricket has not seen worse days in a long time. Amidst all this you have a movie releasing that has a team of underdogs (wearing blue jerseys) rallying to defeat a team of brats (wearing yellow jerseys-Australia).

Barring a miraculous defeat of Bangladesh at the hands of (a bunch of Saturday afternoon children’s park amateurs- as a cricket analyst described) Bermuda, Say Salaam India will sink without a trace maybe even without a proper release and that will be the end of the cricket-cinema combine for quite some time. At least until the Indian cricket team picks itself up and does the country proud.

By the way, if the producers of Say Salaam India are listening, it might be a good idea to let the movie remain in the cans until the Men in Blue see better days. The gamble might just pay off.
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