If you do not have an examination on Monday, or you do not care for the battle of the willows, this weekend might probably be the best to walk into a city theatre and find tickets to the movie you want to watch.

What with the Word Cup and examination fever taking many a hostage, let us acknowledge that it has not a particularly exciting season for multiplexes and cinemas in the city.

According to V.N. Chidambaram, chairman, Kamala Cinemas, this time of the year is usually a little dull, as many choose to watch films after the examinations are over.

“This time, in addition to the exams, the World Cup has captured the attention of many. On days India plays a match, it is perhaps a good idea to close the theatre,” he laughs.

Kavita Toravi, a physiotherapist from Chennai, is a great cricket fan, who roots for the Indian team. “Obviously I prefer cricket to watching a movie. Nothing like watching a live match at home, a movie I can catch up with any day.”

A hardcore India fan, she thinks an India-Pakistan match is a “must watch” and wild horses could not drag her away from the TV screen on such a day.

The drop in sale of tickets cannot be attributed specifically to the World Cup alone, feel some.

It is about the World Cup, examination season and the kind of films being released this season, says Arjun Chockalingam, executive director, Sangam Cinemas.

“If an ‘Enthiran' is released now, it will attract huge crowds no matter what. Content and the kind of films released also matter,” he emphasises.

All the same, pointing to one particular reason for lull in ticket sales or bulk bookings is difficult, Mr. Chockalingam notes. “It's like this – producers delay releasing good films as they want the examination season to get over. Then there are the matches. So the reasons are, in some ways, interconnected.”

Some feel the World Cup may not really impact ticket sales in a big way. A spokesperson of another multiplex in the city observes that big matches have hardly begun.

“This time of the year is anyway not very vibrant for us. It is not like people would keenly watch India playing Bangladesh or Kenya, like they would watch India playing bigger teams. We will know when the World Cup picks up.”

But the big matches have already begun. Especially this weekend – when Sri Lanka clashed with Pakistan on Saturday; and India would take on England on Sunday. “There is absolutely no way I am going to be doing anything else [but watch the matches] this weekend,” says Manoj Shah, a businessman. “We have a nice group of friends who come together and we'd rather sit down for a match any day.” Despite the fact that for him, the weekend is probably the best time to catch a movie.

The movie can wait. For Senthil Kumar as well. This web-designer, and cricketer himself, is a strong India supporter; this time however, he is rooting for South Africa to take home the cup. As for the India–England match, he says, he is going to be watching it “ball by ball.”

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012

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