MUMBAI: India’s film industry is to take advantage of World Cup fever to release a pair of cricket-themed movies in the coming weeks, according to production houses in Mumbai.
With the ninth World Cup underway in the Caribbean, Bollywood is preparing to woo audiences with movies featuring Indian ace-spinner Anil Kumble and well-known cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle.
Bhogle appears as himself in “Hat Trick”, which is about relationships between people who hold different views about the game.
“Indians are cricket crazy, so we thought it was appropriate to release the movie coinciding with the World Cup,” “Hat Trick” director Milan Luthria told AFP.
“We are completing the shoot for a cricket anthem, which will be used in the movie.
“As a film maker I try and explore different themes and genres. It was time to do a sports-linked story,” Luthria added.
Kumble, the lead spinner in the 15-member Indian squad currently touring the Caribbean, plays a cameo role in the soon-to-be-released “Meerabai Not Out.”
The movie stars popular television actress Mandira Bedi, a surprise star host on a Sony Entertainment cricket television show.
Mandira plays an unmarried teacher in her 30s who is passionate about cricket.
“I have given up a glamorous image in the movie,” Mandira said.
“I am a complete cricket fan as much as others are. People should be able to relate to it.”
Sports-linked themes have rarely fared well in Bollywood, although “Iqbal”, a movie about a mute boy who makes it big in cricket, won rave reviews from critics in 2005.
Other sports-related films scheduled for release in India this year include the big-budget production “Chak de! India” (Shine on India), which stars Shah Rukh Khan as a dishonoured hockey player who returns to the game after seven years as a coach to the national women’s team.
“Cycle-kick” and “Yahan ke hum Sikander” (We’re the kings here), a movie based on soccer, are also set for release this year.