As match fixing goes, this one the fans will not mind. It's being fixed for movie stars to play movie directors. It's being fixed for fans to get a mobile phone for simply buying a ticket. It's being fixed for a family fun day. And it's all being fixed around cricket.
The Malayalee community from the South Indian state of Kerala is one of the most vibrant here in the UAE.
Evidence of this is an event known as the Cinema Cricket Match (CCM), which features Malayalam movie stars pitted against directors from the showbiz industry there.
The South Indian movie industry stands apart, and proudly, from Bollywood, and boasts a die-hard fan following all of its own.
So when you consider that two cricket teams, featuring film directors and actors from Kerala will take place at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on January 24, 2014, you expect a house-full.
One of the biggest superstars of South Indian cinema Mammotty is chief guest as well.
However, the organisers are taking no chances.
“This is the second season for CCM at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. This year we are offering a free mobile phone worth more than Dh100 and Dh10 du mobile credit to each visitor buying a ticket worth Dh75,” says Paul T Joseph, Chairman, CCM, and then adds, “We expect a crowd of 15,000 and orders have been placed for 15,000 mobile phones, which will be a freebie for the cricket and film enthusiasts.”
Paul stresses that the free mobile offer will be a phone of decent quality as well: “… With camera, dual sim and one- year UAE warranty.”
The cricket extravganza will also have many ‘live’ entertainment programmes and a food festival.
Dr M K Muneer, Kerala Minister for Social Welfare and Panchayats will inaugurate the match.
The two teams will be captained by M A Nishad, representing the film directors, and Kunchacko Boban, leading the actors.
About 50 personalities from the Malayalam film industry will be performing ‘live’ from 4.30 pm onwards on January 24.
Says M A Nishad, Captain of the Directors’ Eleven: “Kunchacko Boban’s presence will be a huge attraction to the event. The teams have started rigorous practice and both will be vying for the winner’s trophy.”
Directors in action will include Deepan, Ranjith Shankar, Lijo Pellissery, Sohan Seenulal, Mamas, Jean Paul Lal, while the actors’ team will star Unni Mukundan, Saiju Kurup, Vinu Mohan, Nishant Sagar and playback singers Vijay Yesudas, Madhu Balakrishnan and Afzal.