Young sports persons of the region are overjoyed with actor Aamir Khan shooting in villages around Ludhiana for ‘Dangal’, a biopic on Haryanvi wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat.
Sports enthusiasts feel such movies inspire the youth. Other inspirational films that made a mark, they say, are ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ (BMB) and ‘Mary Kom’ and wish for more such films from Bollywood.
Arshdeep Singh Kailay (20), a student of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, who is best athlete at the university for past two years, says: “Cinema is a powerful medium that inspires the best. I drew great inspiration from BMB. Ever since I watched it, I have learnt to accept all kinds of challenges in athletics and life. Moreover, I have also intensified focus on my body because of this film. Of course, Milkha Singh is my idol.”
On a similar note, Patiala-based bodybuilder Manish Kumar (30) who has won two gold medals this year in international bodybuilding contests held in Austria and Hungary says, “It is a known fact that very few youngsters read books but they watch films. Filmmakers should turn their attention to other stars of the field like oldest Marathon runner Fauja Singh, athlete PT Usha, tennis player Sania Mirza, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and India’s female hockey team captain Ritu Rani.”
Some also feel games and sports can be popularised through cinema. Class 10 student Jai Hundal (16), an archery player from the Millenium School, Amritsar, who has represented Punjab several times, says, “I am really passionate about archery and want to reach Olympics one day but it is sad that many do not know about this sport despite its historical importance. If Bollywood makes a film on Limba Ram, a celebrated archer, the sport will get prominence.”
Volley ball player Gurpreet Kaur (24) who has represented India at several international competitions including Asian Games (2010 & 2014) and Asian Championship (2014) suggests, “Film writers should also pick stories of those sports players who could not attain victory as failure also teaches much.”
Meanwhile, some wrestlers from Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have also been roped in for ‘Dangal’.
Kapil Kumar (31) says with pride, “We are grateful to Aamir Khan and Nitesh Tewari, writer and director of Dangal, for choosing the subject. It will be a big tribute to wrestling.”