Vikram Malhotra has acquired the commercial rights to produce a film Pullela Gopichand. The pre-production work has begun on the project, to be pictured as a Hindi-Telugu bilingual. The cast is not finalized yet.
Gopichand himself has confirmed the news. “I am excited at the prospect of the film and look forward to it. I liked the Vikram and his team’s vision and hope that it takes the sport of badminton to millions more across the world,” the Mirror has quoted Gopichand as saying.
Gopichand is the only Indian after Prakash Padukone to win the All-England men’s singles title. His emergence as a coach has taken Indian badminton to greater heights. Gopichand may rightly and deservingly be credit with making India a force to reckon with in world badminton, shattering China’s undisputed domination.
Praveen Sattaru, the national-award winning director, had last year announced to produce a film on Gopichand in Telugu, English and Hindi. Sudheer Babu, a former badminton player and student of Gopichand, was to portray the icon on the silver screen. There were certain plans to shoot the movie in China, Japan, Ireland and Scotland.
However, the project could not see the light of the day. First, it was reported that paucity of funds could stall the project. Then, there were reports of fall out between Gopichand and the producer as the former was not pleased with the changes in the movie.
Vikram Malhotra who has produced films like Airlift, Baby and the upcoming Chef, has now acquired the rights for the film on Gopi’s life and achievements.
The silent worker, Gopichand himself might be the one who loves to stay away from limelight but the journey and achievements of life are packed with ingredients of a blockbuster.
An excited Vikram asserts that it is an honour that a legend like Pullela Gopichand has chosen his banner to tell his story to the world. “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,” he is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
It won’t be easy to step into the large shoes of the 44-year-old legend, married to fellow badminton player PVV Lakshmi. Which actor do they have in mind to play Gopichand’s reel life avatar? “It’s a tough choice as the actor needs to be a combination of sports skills, acting talent and the ability to transform himself into Gopi. We are even considering doing the film with a newcomer,” says Vikram.
As the film crew continues to work on the project, Gopichand is busy giving Indian badminton many more moments and reasons to cheer about.