The entire Indian sub-continent has been gripped by the World Cup fever so much so that everything has started to sound, smell and appear soaked in cricket. But is it really all about the game?
The mega-event has affected other aspects of life (though inadvertently) and will continue to do so in the next 50 days. While watching Patiala House, the latest Bollywood flick with cricket forming the base of its storyline, I suddenly realised the timing of its release. It couldn't have been better, just before the World Cup. With every Indian 'Bleeding Blue', the movie has been assured of a successful opening if not a prolonged run. And before you people jump to any conclusion, let me clarify that it is actually a decent watch - full on cricket and melodrama (don't we Indians simply love them to core!?).
And after sitting through those 2 hours and watching the likes of Andrew Symonds, Nasser Hussain, Kieron Pollard and Dirk Nannes sweating to give the movie an authentic feel, I thought how the World Cup is a bonanza time for the market and its shareholders. Even the ones who have nothing to do with cricket have built their marketing campaigns around the tournament.
Everyone's desperate to squeeze out their share of fame and profit. News channels making World Cup special shows with multiple ad slots, newspapers non-hesitant to add a few more pages for minting money from full page ads and multiplexes preferring to show matches in place of movies when the tournament begins. According to a report, number of Bollywood releases between February 19 and May 22 (this period includes World Cup and IPL) has declined to 13 with the absence of big banners.
Indian pacer Sreesanth, not one to be left behind, after failing to make it to the original 15-member squad released a music album to support the team. Luckily (no pun intended), he got a place in the team as Praveen Kumar failed to recover from his elbow injury in time.
But amidst all this frenzy, India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee must be a little relieved. While the entire country, soaked in the World Cup euphoria, will be glued to their TV sets or lining outside the stadia or surfing net for the latest updates, he can drop a few bombshells (if he has planned to) without much public hysteria. And even if there are some disappointments, one India win can take care of them as it has always done. At least for some time!