Barring the sporadic promotional visits by film stars to the studios, the programming has mostly been devoid of Bollywood.
It has instead been hardcore cricket-based shows, very unlike the ‘cricketainment’ programmes on Sony, the previous IPL broadcaster.
All that may change during the final next Sunday.
The move has obviously been to attract the general viewer and up the TRPs, which have not exactly gone through the roof.
By merging Bollywood quotient into its programming, the broadcaster, which had shelled out a whopping Rs 16,000 crores (for five years) to buy the rights to the IPL, is testing the ‘cricketainment’ waters, potentially the sign of things to come for the next four years.
Mirror understands that a slew of Bollywood stars – Ranbir Kapoor, Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandes, Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit – will be unleashed on the viewers and as many as 16 channels will show the final.
Star’s regular sports channels will have day-long programmes on the big day, culminating with the final starting from 7 pm; the GE (general entertainment) channels of the network will join the IPL bandwagon too.
Star Plus, Star Gold, Star Pravah (Marathi) and Asianet Movies, among others, will be the channels that will beam the final.
So far, the IPL has been shown with commentary in six languages – English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali and Kannada – and the final will be in eight languages, with Marathi and Malayalam experts commentating on the game too.
There may not be the ‘thoko meter’ of the past years but music, dance and Bollywood will be back.
Star and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials were not available for comment, but sources in direct knowledge of the development have confirmed this.