Jayprad Desai’s next on the 2022 Fake IPL Scam

Director Jayprad Desai. Photo: Deepak Sahu

Director Jayprad Desai, known for Kaun Pravin Tambe on Disney+Hotstar and Mukhbir on ZEE5, is gearing up for Phir Aayi Haseen Dilruba produced by Anand L. Rai. The film has already sparked anticipation as one of Netflix’s eagerly-awaited releases for 2024.

And Desai’s next project delves into the captivating tale of the Fake IPL, deemed as one of the most audacious scams in cricketing history. Inspired by Faraz Ahsan’s acclaimed book, First Copy, the narrative unfolds against the backdrop of Gujarat, where the Fake IPL unfolded, drawing the attention of Russian gamblers.

Collaborating on the screenplay are Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal, known for their work in films such as 2 States, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Brahmastra and the web series Farzi and Taaza Khabar.

With production set to commence shortly, the film aims for an early 2025 release, promising an exploration into the intrigue and suspense surrounding the notorious scandal.

A Gujarat village, Molipur of Mehsana district, almost pulled off an elaborate con with a fake IPL in July 2022, complete with farm laborers masquerading as players, a Harsha Bhogle mimic as radio announcer and even an “official” Telegram channel to take punts – for a remote audience of Russian punters addicted to betting on the thrills and spills of T20. The accused had collected Rs. 3 lakh before they were busted—at the ‘Quarter-Final stage’, as per The Guardian.

The tournament began three weeks after the actual IPL concluded in May. “They installed a cricket pitch, complete with boundary lines and halogen lamps, and also high-resolution cameras on the ground, and used computer-generated graphics to display scores on a live streaming screen. The gang allegedly hired laborers and unemployed young people, paying them 400 rupees a game, and broadcast the matches live on a YouTube channel called “IPL”.

The players took turns to wear jerseys of the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans, police said, acting on the instructions of a Russia-based mastermind. Crowd-noise sound effects were downloaded from the internet and a speaker with a knack for mimicking one of IPL’s real Indian commentators was used to make the tournament appear authentic.





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