Does cricket ma­nia pose a threat to film re­leases?

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Prashant Singh

The past month has been tough for new re­leases from Bol­ly­wood that didn’t have the big­gest marquee names. Could cricket be the rea­son? The 10th edi­tion of In­dian Premier League kicked off on April 5, and since then, films such as Laali Ki Shaadi Mein Laad­doo Dee­wana, Begum Jaan, Noor and Maatr have failed to take off. In March, though, films such as Naam Sha­bana, Phillauri and Badri­nath Ki Dul­ha­nia had hit the bull’s eye at the box of­fice.

If so, how is the in­dus­try go­ing to fare this month and next month? The IPL fi­nal match is on May 21, and from June 1, the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy tour­na­ment begins.

Trade an­a­lyst Ko­mal Nahta doesn’t think that cricket per se has af­fected these films. “[The flops have] noth­ing to do with IPL. The only rea­son was that the con­tent was bad,” says Nahta. He might have a point, as Baahubali 2, re­leased on April 28, is get­ting big crowds.

But Bol­ly­wood (and Hol­ly­wood film) dis­trib­u­tors do seem to take note of when cricket would pull peo­ple away from the­atres. Films such as Atithi in Lon­don, Be­hen Hogi Teri, Bank­chor, Raabta and the English film War for the Planet of the Apes will be out only af­ter the tour­na­ment ends on June 18. Im­me­di­ately af­ter the Cham­pi­ons Cup, Sal­man Khan’s big Eid re­lease, Tube­light, will hit cin­e­mas.

“It could be a co­in­ci­dence,” says ex­hibitor-dis­trib­u­tor Ak­shaye Rathi. Di­rec­tor Sab­bir Khan, who has had a num­ber of re­leases dur­ing big cricket tour­na­ments, be­lieves that sport and Bol­ly­wood can co-ex­ist. Nahta says, “Cricket is no longer the huge threat it used to be [for new re­leases] about five years ago.”

From top: An IPL match; stills from Bank­chor and Atithi in Lon­don

PHOTO: SWA­PAN MA­HA­P­A­TRA/PTI

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