LIFE

Some cricket, some films

A scene from the film Deewar.

A scene from the film Deewar.  

CRICKET WAS dismissed by a noted British playwright as a "game of fools''. As for commercial cinema, intellectuals still deride it as an affront on aesthetic sensibilities. However, when the two come together in a market-driven world, it can transform itself into the best source of sustenance especially for a television channel.

Indeed, when Set Max repositioned itself in January last year by endeavouring to provide the best of cinema and the best of cricket to its viewers, it was based on a hunch and a market survey -- that cricket and cinema are the two favourite pastimes of people living in India.

And with exclusive rights to air live all the one- day matches from tournaments, the channel has been offering its viewers several entertaining film and cricket-based programmes. Along this journey, it has discovered that movies are on a weak wicket as compared to cricket which, it claims, consistently rates higher with audiences.

And a survey done by Initiative Media Analysis has now vindicated their stand. While the average television rating points for cricket matches shown on Max between December 2001 and August 2002 is 0.842, the movies in comparison show an average of 0.28. The ratings for the ICC matches were much higher, at 4.1 per cent. Even cricket matches not featuring the Indian team fare better than the average rating of movies on Max! And so, this November, Set Max has a unique offering for cricket lovers in the form of some special episodes of "Cricket Masala'' and "Kapil Dil Se''. While Kapil Dev endeavours to bring stars like Shaun Pollock, Sanath Jayasurya, Jonty Rhodes, Sonali Bindre and Aftab Shivdasani in conversation with him, Ruby Bhatia continues to take viewers on a roller-coaster ride into the world of cricket -- on and off the field -- analysing news, highlighting interviews and getting interviews. With both shows packed with hot gossip and interesting information, it may not come as a surprise that they command a high viewership.

Of course, the channel continues its cinema offering with a mix of some good Bollywood masala like Dev Anand's multi-starrer, "Censor'', the sensitive story of a little boy, "Rahul'' , the rib-tickling Govinda starrer, "Kyunki Main Jhoot Nahin Bolta'' and of course, the ever-green "Deewar'' which has been shown umpteen number of times on television.

By Kannan K.

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