Sivakarthikeyan's cricket story to P Gopichand biopic, south Indian cinema is embracing genre of sports films

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Apr 16, 2018 13:56:17 IST

Southern cinema’s tryst with the sports genre is yet to gain prominence in the mainstream space. While filmmakers down south can take pride in films such as Golconda High School, Jeeva, 1983 and Karikunnam 6’s, the lesser known fact is that these movies merely used sports as a backdrop to drive home the actual story but never quite dealt with the sport like, say Aamir Khan’s Dangal or Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak De! India which, despite being patriotic and equally entertaining, treated the whole sports angle with a purpose.

Sivakarthikeyans cricket story to P Gopichand biopic, south Indian cinema is embracing genre of sports films

Sivakarthikeyan. Facebook

As a slew of south Indian sports-centric films are gearing up for release, can we finally expect the sports film genre in southern cinema to come of age? Well, only time will tell.

The most exciting upcoming sports-based film from south India has to be the biopic on ace shuttler Pullela Gopichand. Baaghi-fame Sudheer Babu, a former Badminton champion, will slip into the shoes of Gopichand in the yet-untitled project, to be directed by Praveen Sattaru.

In an earlier chat with this writer, Sattaru said he will begin work on the project this year. He feels making a biopic on Gopichand’s life will add a personal touch to the story, allowing audiences to connect strongly on an emotional level. “Let’s take Dangal as an example. The story of the Phogat sisters was depicted as realistically as possible and as audience when we watch it unfold on screen, we’re fully aware it’s based on a real life story. Naturally, as a viewer, you’ll like it more than a fictional story because everything you see in the movie – be it drama, euphoria and heroism – can be related with the characters we root for,” Praveen said, adding that the story of Gopichand too, will create a similar impact.

Sudheer, who is kicked about playing the national icon, said Gopichand’s success story will appeal to audiences across languages. “I'm kicked about the film. I'm confident I can do justice to the role because I'm a trained badminton player. I have been playing for many years and I understand the sensibilities of the character better than anyone.” The film will be made in Telugu, Hindi and Tamil.

Popular lyricist-turned-actor Arunraja Kamaraj is making his directorial debut with a yet-untitled Tamil project based on women’s cricket. He said it is going to be a proper sports film. He wrote the script much before the recently concluded ICC Women's World Cup in which the Indian team won millions of hearts with their tremendous game and passion.

“This story is about following our passions. How crucial family support is in a person's dream fulfillment. And a beautiful portrayal of a father-daughter relation, where she wants to make it big in women's cricket,” he said, adding some of the scenes in the film are inspired by real life incidents.

Actor Sivakarthikeyan is bankrolling the project. Siva and Arunraja go a long way back as friends. They were classmates in college and hail from the same town.

On donning the producer’s hat for the project, Siva told Firstpost, “Arun is very talented and he had shown the glimpse of promise as a director when he was a student itself. When he narrated this script to me, I was able to connect as I also hail from a middle class family. The dreams and ambitions of the protagonist set against the sports backdrop are very inspiring. I believe this will be a genuinely good sports film.”

Filmmaker Suseenthiran, who had earlier directed cricket-based Tamil film Jeeva, revealed in March that his next film Champion will be based on football. “As soon as the strike is over, I will commence work on Champion. This will be an underdog story of triumph against the backdrop of football. I’m planning to work with a team of newcomers,” he said, without divulging much information about the story.

Singer-composer hip-hop Aadhi, who made his acting as well directorial debut with last year’s runaway Tamil hit Meesaya Murukku, is making a hockey-based film next. The project, which went on the floors a few months ago, had to be stalled after he fractured his hand.

A biopic on the life of Indian athlete PT Usha is in the making. Revathy S Varmha will direct the project which will have music by AR Rahman. The film will be made in English and Malayalam. It will also be dubbed in Hindi, Chinese and Russian.

Updated Date: Apr 16, 2018 14:01:50 IST