For some time now, hockey legend Dhyan Chand has been in the news over some Bharat Ratna speculation. But even before the Indian government takes a final call on conferring him with the highest civilian honour, Bollywood has woken up to the wizard’s magic. Apparently, multiple biopics on Chand are in the pipeline with superstar Shah Rukh Khan being one of the choices to play the sporting hero on big screen.
SRK confirms: “Yes, I have been approached for a movie based on the legendary Dhyan Chandji’s life. Hockey, as a sport, isn’t new to me since I have been an athlete throughout my school and college life, and I’ve especially played a lot of hockey.” Not many may know that SRK, during his school days at St Columba’s, Delhi, captained the football and hockey teams besides playing cricket at the zonal and national levels.
Of course, the actor has already had a brush with hockey in his film Chak De! India (2007), in which he played the coach of the women’s national hockey team. Although details of SRK’s project are currently unknown, a couple of other biopics on Chand are underway. Sources close to Chand’s family reveal that Manmohan Shetty (of Walkwater Media) and actor-director Satyajeet Puri have contacted Chand’s son, Ashok Kumar, regarding a film on his life.
“Yes, I am going to make a biopic. And it’s not like I have planned it after the success of Paan Singh Tomar or The Dirty Picture. I have been working on it for the past two years. Chand was a one-man army. My film will be a tribute to all the hockey players who still play a sport that could have been dead a long time ago in our country.” confirms Puri, who has worked as a child actor in films like Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), Anuraag (1972) and Bidaai (1974) in the past.
As for Walkwater Media, Shetty’s daughter Pooja, the joint managing director, refers to the talk as “just floating rumours.” She adds: “Our adaptation of the novel, The Zoya Factor is surely on, and as for other projects, we will announce them as and when we are ready. There are a couple of projects that are still at the scripting level, but announcements will only be made after we are sure of them happening.”
Puri, on his part, admits that he has met Ashok regarding the biographical film. “I think Ashok has sold the rights to someone else, but since Dhyan Chand is a national treasure, no one needs permission to make his story into a movie,” says Puri who plans to start his film in the next “four to five” months.
It’s interesting to note that Chand’s biopic comes immediately after a string of films on real-life sports persons such as Paan Singh Tomar and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Ask SRK about this trend and he says: “Honestly speaking, I haven’t watched Paan Singh Tomar yet but I’m generally very interested in such (sports-based) roles.”