Coach P Gopichand (left) claps while watching a match at 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janerio in Brazil.(PTI)
Coach P Gopichand (left) claps while watching a match at 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janerio in Brazil.(PTI)

A story worth telling: Biopic on PV Sindhu’s coach Gopichand planned

Along with PV Sindhu, another person whose stature has phenomenally grown in course of the Rio Olympics is her coach, Pullela Gopichand.
By TS Sudhir | Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON AUG 20, 2016 12:57 AM IST

Along with PV Sindhu, another person whose stature has phenomenally grown in course of the Rio Olympics is her coach, Pullela Gopichand.

The persona of Gopi – as he is better known within the badminton circuit – is set to get bigger with a Hindi-Telugu biopic being planned on the 2001-All England Badminton champion.

Abhisek Nama, the biopic producer, believes Gopi’s exploits will be as much a hit on celluloid as he had been on the court.

“Gopichand’s life is very filmy, the early struggle, his love story, his mother’s emotion, his injury that almost finished his career and then his win that changed the face of Indian badminton. It is a story waiting to be told,’’ says Nama.

To be directed by national award-winning director Praveen Sattaru, the film `Pullela Gopichand’ will be the first on an Indian badminton player, though Amole Gupte of ‘Stanley ka Dubba’ fame is also reportedly planning a film on Saina Nehwal.

The film is scheduled to go on the floor this November and will be shot across Hyderabad, Lucknow, Bengaluru and Birmingham.

As it happened | Rio 2016: Silver for India’s golden girl, Sindhu puts up tough fight

“We have been working on the script for the last 18 months. Gopi has cleared the script. Now with the Olympics performance, the film will have more value,’’ says Nama.

Playing Gopi will be actor Sudheer Babu, a former badminton player himself who used to train with Gopi at the Prakash Padukone academy in Bengaluru in the late 90s.

PV Sindhu celebrates with her coach Gopichand after defeating Japans Nozomi Okuhara during the womens singles semifinal match in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (PTI Photo)
PV Sindhu celebrates with her coach Gopichand after defeating Japans Nozomi Okuhara during the womens singles semifinal match in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (PTI Photo)

“I do not need to prepare for this role because I have seen him from close quarters. I have played doubles with him. I only need to change my look to resemble him,’’ says Babu. The player-turned-actor has acted in Telugu movies like `Ye Maaya Chesave’.

Gopichand’s family has extended support to the venture. “I think it will be an inspirational movie that the younger generation should definitely see. Gopi has undergone a lot of hardship to achieve what he did,” says Lakshmi, Gopichand’s wife. She was a national badminton champion herself and married him in 2002.

Read | Rio 2016: ‘Fierce competitor’ Pullela Gopichand plays the perfect mentor

The film on Gopichand comes after a string of Hindi films on sports stars such as sprinter Milkha Singh, boxer Mary Kom, and cricketers Azharuddin and MS Dhoni.

Gopichand will not star in the movie. But students at his badminton academy in Hyderabad are excited. “All of us here at the academy know of what went into the making of Gopichand. It will depend on the skills of the filmmaker on how well he is able to convey what he went through,” says HS Prannoy. Everyone is hoping the movie will be a smash hit.

In pics: PV Sindhu becomes first woman to clinch silver for India in badminton

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