India has always been a cricket-crazy nation, and that has reflected in our films too. Some directors have ventured beyond the obvious and made films on hockey (Chak De! India, 2007) and football (Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, 2007), but they’ve been few and far between.
Now, Bollywood seems to be waking up to the power and grit of other sports and athletes. Be it sprinting in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or boxing in an upcoming Mary Kom biopic, here are some upcoming sports films to look forward to.
Gunning for the national sport
In 2007, hockey took centre stage with Chak De! India. And now, it seems the national sport is back in the reckoning with multiple biopics on hockey wizard Dhyan Chand being planned. Interestingly, superstar Shah Rukh Khan is one of the choices to play the sporting hero on the big screen. In fact, SRK had told us earlier: “Hockey, as a sport, isn’t new to me since I have been an athlete throughout my school and college life, and I’ve especially played a lot of hockey.” Actor-director Satyajeet Puri has also contacted Chand’s son, Ashok Kumar, regarding a film on his life.
Kicking up a storm
Akshay Kumar, who has been promoting martial arts in the country for a long time, plans to take his passion a step further. He will produce a movie based on the arts, which will be a first in India. But he is unlikely to act in the film that his company Hari Om Entertainment will produce. Apparently, he is looking to rope in newcomers for the film. “Right now, the script is being worked on. Once he finishes shooting for the films he is currently working on, Akshay will personally do the research and pick the cast and director,” says an industry insider.
Running for glory
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is putting ‘The Flying Sikh’, Milkha Singh’s life on the big screen with the Farhan Akhtar-starrer, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Apparently, Milkha has sold the story for just one rupee. The name of the film comes from the last words spoken by his father, which was to save his life during the Partition of India riots. Milkha lost his family members during that time. The story deals with his perseverance as an athlete and also as a courageous human spirit. The film went on the floors in February 2012 and has been shot in India, Tokyo, Melbourne and Rome.
She is a five-time World Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six World Championships. Now, as Sanjay Leela Bhansali puts together a biopic on Mary Kom, the film is bound to make news. Helmed by famous art director Omung Kumar, the film will star Priyanka Chopra in the lead as the diminutive Kom. The film has been in pre-production for a long time now with Priyanka going through extensive preparations to play a hard-core boxer.
One of the most rustic sports in India, kabaddi will be featured in National Award-winning actor Annu Kapoor’s next, titled Muavza. In the film, Kapoor plays a kabaddi coach who inspires a team and puts them back on a winning streak. “It’s a very interesting and powerful role. I don’t think kabaddi has ever been shown in such a light in our films. I am happy with the way my role has turned out,” says Kapoor, who recently won the coveted award for Vicky Donor (2012).