Mumbai, Oct. 7 -- In 2008, when the Indian Premier League was set to make its debut, it led to some concern among Bollywood directors and producers. They feared the big, star-studded T20 cricket tournament would draw audiences away from the big screen. Six years down, the fear seems to have ebbed, and we've seen more big-budget films release during the tournament.
However, now there are two more tournaments on the horizon: the Indian Super League football tournament (to start in October) will see names like Alessandro Del Piero and Robert Pires, and has star owners like Sachin Tendulkar and Ranbir Kapoor. Again, the upcoming International Premier Tennis League (to start in November) will see Roger Federer and retired tennis star Pete Sampras, among others, in action. Besides, A-list stars such as Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan already have shows on air, which threaten to further draw eyeballs away from films.
With close to 500 crore riding on upcoming movies (according to trade sources), should Bollywood be worried?
Sports over films?
"Initially, it might lead to a little concern, but ultimately, we will learn to co-exist. If Hollywood can learn to co-exist with NFL (National Football League) or Major League Baseball, we can strike the right balance," says Raj Nidimoru of the director duo Raj-DK, whose next, Happy Ending, starring Saif Ali Khan, will release later this year.
Shah Rukh Khan's Happy New Year, Akshay Kumar's The Shaukeens, Ranveer Singh-Govinda-starrer Kill Dil and Ajay Devgn's Action Jackson are slated to release during the period. "No league should be a cause of concern. If the content is good, it will work," says The Shaukeens director Abhishek Sharma.
Big stars on TV
The other big draw for the small screen is a number of shows hosted by Bollywood stars. Trade expert Vinod Mirani says: "All the three shows have been a hit in the past, and are doing well this year too." Film-maker Subhash Ghai, meanwhile, calls it the "season of TV" thanks to the presence of Bollywood stars: "When you see big stars hosting TV shows, everyone's interested," he says. Rajan Shahi, a TV show producer, believes that the promotion of these TV shows have been on par with films: "These promotional activities have helped generate a lot of buzz, enough for them to compete with films," says Shahi.