So cinema is on strike, and all we have to contend with is overcommercialised cricket. But, as evidenced from Shilpa Shetty shrieking in the stands and Shah Rukh Khan looking confused and cheerleaders being flung every which way, the worlds of cricket and cinema -- our country's two obsessions -- have collided.
Here's a bunch of unlikely eventualities that don't seem *that* unlikely if you really think about them. So raise a toast and check out what I think could be the filmi fallout of IPL 2009:
1. Following much on-field ignominy, Saurav Ganguly buys a stake in YashRaj Studios and casts Shah Rukh Khan to play Aditya Panscholi's valet in a series of romantic comedies starring Harman Baweja as the hero. The films will flop all over the world, except in Kolkata -- but Shah Rukh Khan will do a fantastic job every single time he gets a dialogue, which averages to three lines a film.
2. Struck by how wonderful the otherwise bubbly Preity Zinta looks when devastated -- a sight common enough these days due to the less than stellar performance from her Punjab Kings XI -- Sanjay Leela Bhansali gives her a role that takes advantage of her pretty poignancy. In a giggle-less script, Preity performs extraordinarily well. However, as can be said for most Bhansali films, this too could have been a decent one if not for Rani Mukerji and a gaggle of dimly-lit dancing prostitutes.
3. Ashutosh Gowarikar and Aamir Khan decide the time is ripe for a Lagaan sequel based around the evolution of Twenty20 cricket. All preparations are made: Aamir finds a new gimmicky look he hasn't yet tried, a band of misfits are herded around and given atrocious beards, and AR Rahman composes a spectacular soundtrack. The film should be a surefire success, except it runs longer than two IPL matches back to back, and for the first time ever, we want Lalit Modi's 'strategic timeouts' as often as possible. Finally, Sajid Khan wisecracks about the film at an awards show.
4. Sajid Nadiadwala rushes to sign up Chris Gayle as the villain in his next Akshaystarrer. Gayle is amused by the idea and has a genuine fondness for Akshay Kumar but the deal falls through when the hard-hitting batsman asks for a bound script before signing on the dotted line. On a related note, S Sreesanth goes for several auditions where casting directors giggle at him as they keep talking about some fake blogpost.
5. The Great Indian Laughter Challenge XI is formed, a team of has-been and never-will-be comedians coached by the inimitable Navjyot Singh Sidhu. Mimicry artists are found and cast in the roles of fake Ishants, fake Yuvrajs, fake Jayasuriyas and the like, and bad jokes are made at the expense of our fine cricketers. Naturally, the team can't bat their way out of a paper bag. Naturally, they then go on to demolish the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
6. A clever, incisively sharp independent film is made about match-fixing during IPL 2. There's a terrific ensemble cast and some really witty writing, and the satirical film revels in lots of subtext. Lalit Modi, however, is offended by the subject matter and calls for the film to be banned. His furore, of course, has less to do with libel and more to do with his not being consulted for product placement opportunities within the movie.
7. Oh, and at the end of the tournament, Mandira Bedi suggests we should start a women's IPL, at which point an exasperated Ravi Shastri clocks her one in the mouth.
How goes it, true believers? Enjoying the IPL? Think it isn't as much fun as last year? Mail me with any words on cricket, cinema or anything else, or head to my blog for more lunacy. Till next week, cheers.