It’s raining sports films: Showbiz lens remains fixed on sportspersons
Cricket, football, hockey- you name it, and it’s been explored in Hindi films. Such has been the impact of sports on the entertainment industry over the years. And even the track record suggests that if made well, films based on either sports or sportspersons can hit the bulls eye. Cases in point? Lagaan (2001), Dangal (2016), Chak De! India (2007), and many more.
And therefore, such films continue to be announced. Ex-cricketer Sourav Ganguly confirmed recently that he has given his nod to a biopic, while Ajay Devgn already has Maidaan, centered on football, lined up.
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, alongwith husband Nitesh Tiwary, are making a web series on Tennis duo Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. Ashwiny tells us, “Sports and sportspeople will always be there to live a story of inspiration and aspiration. With the changing times and the youngsters of our country either taking up sports themselves or following it religiously, it is important to keep nurturing minds with different kinds of sports stories.”
Adding that it’s not what we say, but how we say it, Tiwari continues, “Sports stories in any medium will always have a repeat value and significant takeaways each time we consume them.”
Trade expert Atul Mohan feels the recent Olympic achievements will of course lead to a spurt in the number of sports films, but the fact that all the projects mentioned here were announced much before the event says a lot. “Taapsee Pannu was doing Shabaash Mithu (biopic on cricketer Mithali Raj) and Rashmi Rocket. In the past, MS Dhoni- The Untold Story, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, all had different sports, and all of them were successful. Now, the story telling pattern has changed, generic rom-coms don’t work. People want something motivational, inspiring stories. What’s better than a patriotic film, or sports biopic that will inspire people. That’s why every studio is aiming at atleast one sports film today,” he reasons.
Another biopic in the offing is one on woman track and field athlete Pinki Pramanik. Ashoke Pandit, who has announced it, says he found it to be a very interesting story, fit for a film. He tells us, “It is not only a film based on sports, but also how Pinki underwent torture, where she was framed for rape and for being a man. The way she was put in prison where there were men, then her sex determination test video was leaked, the way she fought the system, mafia and stood back again… when my writer Priyanka Ghatak narrated this, I said this is the film we have to make.”
He agrees that in the current times, such stories become even more important. “It will be an inspiration to all those athletes who are coming up, to take this up in the future,” adds Pandit.
Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi says sports is one genre in films which can bring a lot of thrills for a good cinematic experience. That is important when one takes into account how the need of the hour is to get people to visit theatres in order for them to sustain.
“If captured right, sportsperson films can really create solid play around making an engaging narrative for a couple of hours. Whether it’s football or athletics, sports lend themselves phenomenally to cinematic formats, as long as they are done right. It’s terrific opportunity to utilise,” he says.