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By Arun
Around 24 hours after this is published, cinema halls across India are going to wear a deserted look. That has got nothing to do with what is being written here. The cinema halls are going to be doomed to abandonment on Thursday, the 24th of March irrespective of whether this gets published or not. The reason, for all those who follow cricket (that counts most of us in), is the India-Australia quarterfinal. One thing is for sure, there are not going to be any second chances and at the end of the day one of the marquee names is going to be knocked out of the tournament, and we fervently hope that it is not the team wearing blue.

  Engeyum Kadhal
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 attention.

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.
Tags : Engeyum Kaadhal, Ko
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