Cinema and cricket have been inextricably linked in India for decades and now the latest edition of a unique cricket tournament that marries the two is set to hit TV screens in the UK.
‘Celebrity Cricket League’ is inspired by the Indian Premier League (IPL), the glitzy, furiously-paced annual extravaganza, and similar to the IPL is made up of celebrities from five regional cinema industries slugging it out at stadiums across the sub-continent.
Unlike similar events elsewhere – football matches featuring z-list celebs and even lower-rent politicians in Britain for instance – CCL attracts the biggest names in the business entertainment in India.
Among the stars whose bat and ball skills will be on display over the coming weeks include Sunil Shetty, captain of Membai Heroes, Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol, Sohail Khan, Dhanush, Sonu Sood, Telugu cinema star Venkatesh, Ram Charan Teja, Tamil icons Vishal and Kerala legend and ‘Company’ star Mohanlal.
Add to that, Bollywood star Salman Khan and maestro Sachin Tendulkar are among those promoting the event.
The team names reflect the friendly – not to mention “filmy” – regional rivalries that exist between the participants; Mumbai Heroes, Telugu Warriors, Bhojpuri Dabanggs and the slightly less evident Karnataka Bulldozers.
Celebrity Cricket League is on Colors TV (Channel 829) weekends from 9.30am.