Will IPL, ISL affect Bollywood releases? Not really, say the experts

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Remember how the Indian Premier League (IPL) took our cricket-crazy country by storm in its first season (in 2008)?

As its viewership soared, the business of films released during the tournament took a hit.

Over the years, the glitzy tournament has made film-makers wary of releasing movies during the period. As IPL 7 kicks off, and with a celebrity-heavy football tournament — the Indian Super League (ISL) — set to start this year, we ask what the impact might be.

Own goal?
The ISL is proposed to start mid-September and run till the end of November. And a number of Bollywood stars — who are franchise owners — will be trying their best to bring the spotlight on it. It will encompass the Dussehra/Gandhi Jayanti weekend, and Diwali, both of which are considered big release periods for Bollywood films.

Will this affect the movie business, we wonder. "Football isn’t as popular as cricket. So no one should be afraid," says Kabir Khan, director of Bang Bang.

Trade expert Komal Nahta feels, "In spite of big stars being involved, the league won’t be an overnight success."

Producer Ramesh Taurani, though, says that "football will pose a threat eventually… But how long the process will take is the question."

Read: Bollywood films don’t fear IPL any more

Cricket, the bigger threat?
Season seven of the IPL has just kicked off, and there are almost 20 releases lined up during the period. Director of Heropanti, Sabbir Khan, adds, "The IPL is a big franchise, but over the years, the novelty factor has worn off."

Kabir adds that "the aim should be to co-exist with other forms of entertainment". But Nahta feels that "during important matches, business will be affected". Trade analyst Amod Mehra adds, that "a producer — especially one who’s made a film with a big budget of  75-80 crore — won’t risk releasing it during the IPL".

However, in the past, Bollywood has seen a few successful films during the IPL, such as the Housefull series, and Vicky Donor, Jannat 2 and Ishaqzaade (all 2012).