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Why Bollywood filmmakers no longer fear clashing with IPL

More often than not, filmmakers steer clear of releasing their films during the cricket season for, they believe, the audience gets divided thus affecting the film's collection. The mindset seems to be changing now as films continue doing well irrespective of the cricket fever. Unlike previous years, a couple of big projects that hit theatres during the T20 World Cup were a hit. Now, many films are slated to release during the IPL as well. So what has made the filmmakers so confident?

Shah Rukh Khan in Fan
Shah Rukh Khan in Fan

Cricket fatigue
Of the Hindi films that released during the T20 World Cup (it lasted a month), Kapoor & Sons (March 18) and Ki & Ka (April 1) proved to be blockbusters. Trade expert Komal Nahta believes that producers have realised the fatigue factor of cricket in today's times. "The Indian cricket team plays tournaments one after the other but that does not mean that people are going to follow just that. If they are interested in watching a movie, they will, even if there is an ongoing cricket series."

Nahta says that this is the first year that producers are showing confidence by releasing their films after the commencement of IPL. "Kapoor & Sons did well even during WC. During IPL too there is a lineup of big releases. This is first year that so many producers are releasing their films during the IPL. I believe it is a good decision because it (IPL) won't affect the collections of films."

High licensing rate
Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi explains how the cricket league does not attract as many viewers as it used to. "There were times when IPL's live matches were screened in movie theatres. Movie producers did not release their films during the tournament and exhibitors too felt screening matches would be beneficial.

Emraan Hashmi in Azhar biopic
Emraan Hashmi in Azhar biopic

But, now they have realised cricket tournaments' novelty factor has faded a bit and film buffs are showing interest in movies even during such leagues," he says adding, "The licensing rate to screen live matches is very high which makes it unfeasible for exhibitors to screen them. They prefer movies over cricket even from the business perspective."

Cricket matches over big films
Another aspect is that when two films featuring A-list actors release in the same week, both want to get more number of screens than the other which becomes a tough task for producers. Therefore, they are more confident to clash with cricket matches now.

Randeep Hooda in Sarbjit
Randeep Hooda in Sarbjit

"There are only 52 weeks in a year to release films. If we wait for the cricket season to get over to release films, then we might end up not releasing any. Since there is so much cricket already happening, it is better to clash with one of the matches than a big film," informs Nandu Ahuja, Senior Vice President, India theatrical, Eros International.

Ahuja also points out that the decision to clash with cricket has, so far, been a profitable one. "Ki & Ka did well despite releasing during the World Cup. While some shows of a film might get affected during big matches, but people who are interested in watching a film do go and catch up a show on some other day or time."

Confidence is key
With the World Cup having just concluded, a host of films including Shah Rukh Khan's Fan, Sarbjit, to name a few, will hit theatres during IPL. "I am confident about my film. Also, I wanted to release my film during a cricket league as it revolves around a cricketer. Having said that, I think that people who want to watch a film will go and watch it, no matter what. I am a cricket fan too and will watch selective matches, but that does not take away from my interest in films," says Tony D'Souza, director of the Azhar biopic.

Releases during T20 World Cup 2016

> 'Teraa Surroor' (March 11)
> 'Kapoor & Sons' (March 18)
> 'Rocky Handsome' (March 24)
> 'Batman v Superman' (25 March)
> 'Kung Fu Panda 3' (1 April)

Ki & Ka and Kapoor & Sons
Ki & Ka and Kapoor & Sons

Releases during upcoming IPL
> 'The Jungle Book' (April 8)
> 'Fan' (April 15)
> 'Baaghi' (April 29)
> 'Azhar' biopic (May 13)
> 'Sarbjit' (May 20)

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