IPL – India’s latest Bollywood Blockbuster

The Cricket World Cup in India has once again demonstrated the country’s love for its adopted sport. Ahmedabad plays host to the quarter final between India and Australia tomorrow, as Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and co. hope to take their nation one step closer to one-day World Cup glory. On the eve of the match, DiA blogger Sandhya Kannan reports on the growth of another format of cricket in India – Twenty20, and more specifically, the Indian Premier League.

Let’s start by asking you a question.

Which kinds of films predominantly have a routine song and dance number weaved in the story and plot-line?

Hint: Kent Boyd, runner-up in last year’s dance show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ (US) performed one track from this kind of films and so did Season 4 winner Joshua Allen…Bollywood!

In India, nothing can gather a crowd or draw eye-balls from a majority of the masses as Bollywood or cricket does Ask an Indian about the Bollywood superstar – Shah Rukh Khan or the cricket maestro – Sachin Tendulkar. You will witness a visible brightening of their eyes and entire demeanour, just like a football fan in the UK when asked about the English Premier League.

Delhi Daredevils take on Chennai

So, someone from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was hit by a maverick idea. Why not bring these two crowd-pullers together? That someone was Lalit Modi, an ex-Vice-president of the BCCI, now known as the architect of the Indian Premier League (IPl). IPL gets it idea from the English Premier League in Football, implemented in the T20 form of Cricket in India, with players from around the world. But what is its connection to Bollywood?

Out of the 10 franchises or clubs, most have an association with a film-star, with teams like the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) being owned in 50 per cent partnership by Shah Rukh Khan, the king of Bollywood. Other teams like Kings XI Punjab (KXI) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) have famous names from the filmdom having a stake in the franchise. So what?

It is generally accepted universally that girls are not as interested in sports as men are. However, the Bollywood sync created a new market of female-supporters due to the eye-candy association. Now, if you see any broadcast of an IPL match, you won’t see a dearth of female-fans. All in all, this epiphany has risen above just sports or entertainment to become a lush, well-accomplished business plan that guarantees sure-shot returns for the organizers.

The Mumbai Indians celebrate a key wicket

Be it the advertisers, who are reassured by the sky-high TRP (Target Rating Points), a measure of popularity of television shows, or the cricketers who are paid in lump some per match, or the franchise owners who get a share from the match attendance along with the sale of official merchandise.

An interesting effect of the IPL is on movie-goers. Rarely will you see a film released during the IPL sesason, especially big-budget films. So, to fill the gap in movie-releases, theatre owners too have turned to broadcasting IPL matches on the big screen, and successfully add to IPL’s moolah.

The summer season of April-May is the time the majority of films look forward to earning at the box-office, and that is when IPL takes place. In effect, the films have to be postponed, clashing with each other, and eating into each other’s revenues. This has led to a ripple of dissatisfaction in the film fraternity, but to no effect.

Kings X1 Punjab take on the Kolkata Knight Riders

Not only that; but the post-match parties too have been commercialized by the model-turned-actor Arjun Rampal, who has tied-up his event-management company with KKR. So wherever KKR travels, all the post-match parties will be organized and profited by his company.

So next time, you decide to visit India, and if you are a cricket fan, don’t forget to catch-up on this juxtaposition of entertainment, sport and business. The music, voluptuous cheerleaders and the adrenaline-punched games will keep you gripped for sure.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.


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