Curry , Cinema and Cricket, talk to a native and he would tell you these are the 3 things that an Indian swears by , the things that define, connect and bind the region with a common thread ,the pillars of popularity and the reasons for mass unity even at the times of adversity.
So what happens when one of them is hit by a spate of controversies, is blemished with the stains of violating the code of conduct and hits a road-block now and then? Yes, any Cinema is a mirror of the society and in the same vein the movies have also had a reflection of Cricket Betting /Match-fixing issues as the theme in a number of flicks over years.
To think of it , Bhatt camp’s Emran Hashmi starrer Jannat is the one that props up as one with betting as its core theme .The masala flick talked of how a petty gambler is seduced into a career of high-stakes match-fixing which creates a havoc in his personal life and then the downfall.The movie also mirrored the ‘Bob Woolmer’ murder and the controversy that ensued.
Lagaan –The Ashutosh Gowariker 19th century drama had the sledging, bodyline bowling and even match fixing (Yashpal Sharma as Lakha , inducted in Bhuvan’s team was actually a mole in the team who played to the Britishers’ comfort) which not only made it popular in a Cricket-crazy nation but was also nominated in the list of the Best Foreign Language Films that year by the Academy for the coveted ‘Oscar’.
Iqbal – As betting / match fixing spread from the Mumbai- Dubai- Karachi syndicate to the small towns and hinterlands of the nation, Bollywood got up and took notice. Shreyas Talpade burst on the circuit with this 2005 film and was applauded and lapped up by Bollywood with both hands . Backed by Nagesh Kukunoor and Ghai’s Mukta Films, the movie in one of the scenes has Guruji (played by Girish Karnad) trying to bribe the young Iqbal to bowl badly so that the national team scouts at the game would select Kamal(another rich lad) for the national cricket team. Iqbal succumbs to his offer, out of concern for his father, who is facing financial difficulties and may lose his lands . However, another sports agent offers him a better deal and we have a happy finish on our hands.The movie talked of the fixing and the misconduct in the selection process.
In PKTDK, Sallu Bhai fixes a University level Cricket match in a bid to show his heroism and coolness to the adorable Muskan, played by Kajol. As we said before these movies showed the scandal in a lighter vein, in a friendly banter one may say.
Cricket – Malayalam filmmakers Shaji Kailas and A K Sajan are coming with a movie based on the life and times of Sreesanth as the backdrop where they discuss the rise and pitfalls of a cricketer mired in controversies and scandals as a result of his own misconduct.
Apart from the ones mentioned , there have been numerous movies that have talked, discussed , become preachy or just left it to the viewers and have had cricket as their major theme . Some notable mentions –
There have also been talks of legalizing and getting the entire industry under the IT purview raised by Kings XI Punjab owner Priety Zinta much on the lines of Ladbrokes.com and in the far West which has again brought the old bone of contention of Indian society ,culture and customs to the table.
But we feel that maybe its high time we evolve to the changing dimensions and as the geographical contours of boundaries are erased every single second with technology bringing the world in our palms,its time to act rationally and FAST !