A string of major film releases have been postponed inIndia's film capital Mumbai because of the start of the cricket test matchseries today (March 8) between Pakistan and India.

Distributors fear that the test matches, which are hugelypopular in India, will adversely affect the takings of their films in cinemas.The series, which includes three test matches and six one-day matches, lastsuntil April 17. It is the first visit to India by the Pakistani team in sixyears.

Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Parinita is skippinga planned April launch and has set May 20 as the new release date. Khamosh,starring Shilpa Shetty, has been rescheduled from March 11 until the end ofnext month.

Khamosh director Deepak Tijori told ScreenDaily.com:"Everyone is watching cricket - there is really no point in releasing a film inthis period".

Reacting to the huge demand for the matches, some Indianexhibitors are screening the games live in their theatres.