NEW DELHI: Producers T-Series have announced the release of movie Saina, based on the life of badminton player Saina Nehwal, starring Parineeti Chopra, on 26 March, in the first of Bollywood’s sports films this year.
Later in June, Ranveer Singh will essay the role of cricketer Kapil Dev in ’83 while Maidaan starring Ajay Devgn as real-life football coach Syed Abdul Rahim will release in October. Taapsee Pannu is also prepping to play Mithali Raj in a film soon.
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Media experts say that since film making is a business, for sports movies to be appealing the narrative must be married to something that will be commercially successful.
“So, when you’re picking people whom you will talk about, they have to be subjects that will click and whose life has already found a certain currency. And sport is one such subject which is of interest to people,” Prasoon Joshi, writer of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic of Milkha Singh, had said in an earlier interview to Mint.
Making a sports biopic has some in-built advantages. For the audiences, they offer the charm of watching movie stars assume the roles of known sports personalities, pushing themselves out of traditional comfort zones and seeking critical appreciation. Further, there are specific marketing opportunities these films lend themselves to, allowing for several corporate partnerships, and resonating with people since it’s a story of human triumph.
Bollywood’s love for sports biopics may have been long been evident, but the Hindi film industry seems to be slowly turning to the specific genre of women and sports films to drive theatrical audiences, as real slice-of-life stories emerge and female-led cinema finds more favour at the box office.
In 2019, Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu had played 60-year old real-life sharpshooters in Saand Ki Aankh, a biographical film directed by Tushar Hiranandani that was based on the lives of Chandro and Prakashi Tomar, sisters-in-law from Uttar Pradesh, recognised as among the oldest in the field. The film had made Rs23.36 crore at the box office.