Pullela Gopichand biopic in the works; film on badminton ace will be made in Hindi, Telugu
Ace badminton star Pullela Gopichand's biopic is all set to go on the floors. The rights have been acquired by Vikram Malhotra of Airlift fame.
Badminton ace, chief national coach of the Indian badminton team and Padma Shri awardee Pullela Gopichand's journey — on and off the court — has been a commendable one. And now it is the subject of a biopic that should come to the big screen soon.
The rights for the film have been acquired by producer Vikram Malhotra — producer of movies like Airlift, Baby and the upcoming Saif Ali Khan-starrer Chef. The movie will be bilingual (Hindi and Telugu) and it is currently under development.
"I am excited at the prospect of the film and look forward to it. I liked Vikram and his team’s vision and hope that it takes the sport of badminton to millions more across the world," said Gopichand, according to a Mumbai Mirror report.
After Prakash Padukone, Gopichand is the only other badminton athlete to have won the All England Open Badminton Championship (2001). Seven years after this groundbreaking and historic win, he established the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad.
This academy, along with his mentorship have discovered and honed many badminton players to flourish in the sport. Amongst those that have been guided by Gopichand are Saina Nehwal (former world number one and bronze medalist at the 2012 London Olympics), PV Sindhu (silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics), and more recently Srikanth Kidambi (winner of two badminton super series — Australia Open and Indonesian Open — within the course of one week). Other protégés of the ace are Arundhati Pantawane, Gurusai Dutt, Arun Vishnu and Parupalli Kashyap.
Gopichand went on to become the recipient of the esteemed Arjuna Award in 1999 and won the Dronacharya Award a decade later in 2009. He was then honoured with the Padma Bhushan (India's third highest civilian award) in 2014.
“It is a huge responsibility as Gopi’s life has not only been one of inspiring achievements but also that of iconic contributions to the world of sports and our society at large. Our aim is to create an authentic and impactful rendition of his story,” said the Malhotra according to the same Mumbai Mirror report. Mumbai Mirror reports that Malhotra's banner may consider a newcomer to play Gopichand on screen.
Gopichand is married to fellow badminton player PVV Lakshmi.
The wily leg-spinner, who is in high demand in T20 leagues around the world, plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and has been signed up by Lahore Qalandars for the remaining matches of the ongoing Pakistan Super League.
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