These are two real life Slumdog Millionaires from eastern Uttar Pradesh. And Sony Pictures will release a Hollywood blockbuster based on their lives in 2011.
Rinku Singh, 20, son of a truck driver from UP’s Bhadohi district, and Dinesh Patel, 20, from Varanasi, hadn’t even heard of baseball two years ago.
Then, last year, these two javelin throwers and aspiring cricketers won a television reality show that was trying to unearth talent in India for US Major League Baseball.
Singh and Patel came first and second, respectively, in the Million Dollar Arms Contest on Zee Sports and Ten Sports, which ran from November 2007 to April 2008 across India.
Both of them are now top pitchers (the baseball equivalent of a bowler in cricket) of Pittsburgh Pirates, a team at the bottom of Major League Baseball, the big professional baseball league in the US, making them the first Indians to play at this level.
They were signed on the day Barrack Obama won the US presidential elections.
Both had to overcome enormous obstacles to reach where they have. Singh’s father used to call him a “loafer, for his love of sports, and Patel made his living for a while as a construction worker in and around Varanasi.
But that is now firmly behind them.
“Rinku and Dinesh are best pitchers of the Pittsburg Pirates and the most famous Indians in the US,” said Vivek Daglur, a representative of the Million Dollar Arm.
Confirming that Sony Pictures had acquired the rights to make a movie based on their lives, Daglur said: “The film will portray the real life story of these two heroes — from their days in their villages to Lucknow Sports College to their rise to stardom in the US.”
He added that Indian actors will be signed up to play these two. Talking to HT at Khanpur, Singh said: “Dinesh wants Salman Khan to play his role, while I want Shah Rukh Khan to play me.”
Sony Pictures could not be contacted for its comments.