Thiruvananthapuram: With the World T-20 reaching its climax soon, the Malayalam film industry seems to have been bitten by the T-20 bug.
Last week, actors led by Malayalam star Mohanlal, captain of the Kerala Strikers, the team that is part of the "Celebrity Cricket League" (CCL) held its first detailed work-out session.
Saturday, film directors held their selection-cum-practise session at Thalassery in Kannur district, the cricket hub in the state. There is now a team called "Directors Cricket Team" (DCT).
Much of the star cricketing activity would not have happened at all if it were not for the interest shown by ace director Priyadarshan. The director's wife, Lissy, a former actress, had set the ball rolling.
Saturday, a whole group of Malayalam film directors descended on Thalassery to select the first team comprising only directors; launching the team were veteran directors Joshy and Siddique.
Popular director M.A. Nishad, a former under-19 player, has been selected as the captain of the DCT. In the team are other directors like Johnny Antony, Aravind, Rahul Madhav, Arjun and Aashiq Abu. Acting as manager of the team is Mecartin, whose films have been hits in Kerala.
And the DCT is not limited in its ambition. "This is probably the first ever cricket team of film directors. We are going to play in the Kerala Premier League (KPL) matches in Dubai; the month-long tournament only begins in November," said Nishad.
The DCT was planned after the stupendous success of the CCL. Thousands of fans lined up to see their stars engaged in a game of cricket during the first edition of the matches, and the chairman of selectors of the Kerala Ranji Cricket team, R.K.V. Gopakumar now says that the second edition of the CCL will begin in February 2013 at Kochi. There is no doubt that tickets for the matches will sell like hot cakes.
But will the directors have such a vast following too? "It remains to be seen, how fast the DCT catches up in popularity. The average Keralite has a greater desire to see actors in action; directors are not quite so hot. But we cannot underestimate these crafty directors. They could have a trick or two to pull off, to grab the limelight," says Gopakumar.
Speaking to IANS, superstar Suresh Gopi, the brand ambassador and director of KPL in Dubai, said that the second edition of KPL had evinced a lot of interest.
Gopi, who was in Dubai making arrangements for the matches, said, "This time, we expect to have around 14 teams. Irrespective of whether the game is played by actors or directors, in the end, it is cricket that wins. Don't underestimate the DCT, they will have in their ranks people like Priyadarshan and Santosh Sivan, both accomplished players who may not quite be past their prime yet."
After the actors and the directors, will the producers now plunge into cricket? Suresh Kumar, leading producer and an office bearer of the Producer's Association in the Malayalam film industry, said the producers would steer clear of cricket, for now.