afaqs! news bureau

Sony to air, Balaji to produce Box Cricket League

The 'sports reality show' will be played by 120 celebrities over 19 matches. The property is expected to be launched on December 1. It will occupy a weekday slot.

Balaji Telefilms, along with Sony Entertainment Television (SET), has planned the launch of a "one-of-its-kind" sports reality show, Box Cricket League (BCL).

Sony to air, Balaji to produce Box Cricket League
Sony to air, Balaji to produce Box Cricket League

As the name suggests, it will be a cricket-based show. The interesting part is that the game will be played in an air-conditioned studio.

The format was originally conceptualised by Marinating Films, a production house in which Ekta Kapoor's production company Balaji Telefilms owns 51 per cent stake. Marinating Films conducted the pilot phase of the property in March. It hasn't been aired on any TV channel yet, though.

The IP of BCL will lie with Balaji.

BCL is being compared to Celebrity Cricket League (CCL). But Balaji's group CEO Sameer Nair clarifies that while CCL is a proper game of cricket played by celebrities, BCL is an "innovation where men and women will be seen playing together."

Sony to air, Balaji to produce Box Cricket League
Sony to air, Balaji to produce Box Cricket League
BCL will be played on an indoor field and a soft ball will be used. "There is a whole range of fun and exciting rules," he says, "for instance, you can even score 8 (runs) in BCL. There is a challenge which allows you to double the runs you make."

Ekta Kapoor adds, "With BCL, we've tweaked the rules of cricket. For the first time, female stars will play alongside their male counterparts. And when the girls get onto the field, expect reality television like never before."

While CCL is owned and played by film celebrities, BCL will bring small-screen stars (120 celebrities) under one roof. BCL will have eight teams, namely, Delhi Dragons, Kolkata Baabu Moshayes, Ahmedabad Express, Chandigarh Cubs, Jaipur Raj Joshiley, Rowdy Bangalore, Mumbai Warriors and Pune Anmol Ratn.

The show will have 19 matches (14 overs each). BCL is expected to be launched on December 1 and will occupy a weekday slot on Sony. At the initial stages Marinating Films had approached Sony Six, but eventually decided to air it on Sony instead.

The teams will belong to one of two groups, A and B. Each team in Group A will play against each team in Group B, such that four teams will qualify for the semi-finals. Matches will commence with a face-off between the teams, in which they will perform signature dance moves. Each team will dance to its own anthem. Giving the mundane coin toss a skip, BCL has introduced a 'filmy toss' with options like 'Jai or Veeru', 'Basanti or Dhanno'.

During the sixth and tenth overs, the batting captain will challenge the bowling captain to hit a certain number of runs in a single over, with a particular bowler.

Dancers Noorin Sha and Vrushika Mehta (BCL's 'titlis') will perform acts during time-outs/ball change beraks. Behind the scenes action, locker room gossip and creative awards like 'Gentleman of the Match' and 'Most Stylish Player of the Match' will bring in the 'reality show' feel.

About the team selection process, Balaji's Nair explains, "More than us selecting, it was they (the tram members) who came forward to be a part of BCL. There are team owners who went on to form their teams. They are all each other's colleagues/friends. They hang out together, work together, and now they will play together."

The shooting begins mid-November. The matches will be played in front of a live audience.

The production house is taking this opportunity to integrate brands into the property. Many brands have already come forward as team sponsors.

Nachiket Pantvaidya, senior EVP and business head, SET, says, "The biggest celebs in India are TV stars and all of them in one property makes us that much more powerful. This property will give US a platform to show (viewers) what happens in a TV star's life."