At the opening game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tonight (on April 3), Shah Rukh Khan will be seen cheering for his team, defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders, against Delhi Daredevils, in Kolkata. However, he won’t be the only Bollywood star there. Akshay Kumar has also found a way to get his finger in the promotion pie.
In HT Café’s story on April 2, it was reported that Shah Rukh had apparently using his influence to prevent the promotion of the Akshay-starrer Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai 2 (OUATIM 2) at the IPL. The reason, cited by a reliable source, was that OUATIM 2 will compete with the SRK-starrer Chennai Express at the box office as both the films release around Eid in August this year. And though Akshay was nowhere to be seen during the opening ceremony (on April 2), he will make his presence felt — along with OUATIM 2 co-star Imran Khan — at the game tonight.
This is being made possible by a mobile phone brand that Akshay endorses.
“The brand is sponsoring the box that Akshay and Imran will be seated in. Now, there’s no way they can be stopped from watching the game live,” says an insider, adding that “the idea isn’t to bluntly promote their film. Both actors wanted to be there anyway. They won’t be hard-selling their movie, but of course, viewers can make the connect.”
Akshay confirms the news, but refuses to look at it as a fight. He says, “It’s true that I’m going with Imran to Kolkata. But I believe that battles should be restricted to the box office and not reach the cricket field.” Ekta Kapoor (producer of OUATIM 2) too makes light of the clash, saying, “Akshay and Imran are going to watch the match because both of them love cricket.”
Apparently, Akshay and Imran will fly to Kolkata on a private jet. However, they might not sit through the entire game as both of them are in the middle of a shooting schedule in Mumbai.
Will other films jump onto the IPL bandwagon?
Last year, the cast of Abbas-Mustan’s Players and Prabhudheva’s Rowdy Rathore were seen during the IPL matches, clearly promoting their respective films.
This year, though IPL chief executive Sundar Raman says “we don’t do film promotions at IPL”, we wonder which other movies will try to extract some visibility. Over a dozen films, including Shootout At Wadala, Bombay Talkies and Go Goa Gone will hit theatres during the IPL.
So far, however, none of these films have planned any official promotional activities. “It’s a good platform to grab eyeballs, but it’s too early to take a call. We will decide when the time is right,” says a producer of an upcoming comedy film.