Ajay Devgan to play lead in legendary football coach Syed Abdul Rahim biopic

Ajay Devgan - InsideSport

Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan is all set to play the role of Syed Abdul Rahim in a biopic on one of India’s most successful football coach and manager. The film is scheduled to release next year.

With the FIFA World Cup 2018 finals between France and Croatia slated for Sunday, July 15, the news of Ajay Devgan playing the role of legendary footballer and coach has already tightened the grip of the football fever among Indian fans further.

Rahim, known to have laid the foundation of Indian football, was a coach and manager of the Indian national team from 1950 until his death in 1963 when he lost a battle to cancer.

A former footballer and a teacher by profession, he was a good motivator and his tenure as a coach is regarded as a “golden age” of football in India. He led the Indian team to the semi-finals of the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Football tournament making India the first ever Asian country to achieve this place.

Rahim, born on 17 August 1909 in Hyderabad, started as a coach and secretary of Hyderabad City Police from 1943 until 1963 and later he was associated with the national team.

The Indian football team, under his guidance, earned many accolades in the international football arena including the two Asian games title in 1951 and 1962. India also reached the semi-finals of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics which is still considered India’s greatest ever achievement in football.

Rahim’s last success was at the Jakarta Asian Games in 1962 where India went on to win gold, beating one of the top guns at that time –South Korea – in the finals in front of a crowd of 100,000.

Produced by Zee Studios, Boney Kapoor, Akash Chawla and Joy Sengupta, the sports drama will be directed by Amit Sharma who has the 2015 Arjun Kapoor-Sonakshi Sinha starrer Tevar to his credit and has recently wrapped up Junglee Pictures’ romcom Badhai Ho.

Amit Sharma took to Twitter to express gratitude for being the part of the film.

Saiwayn Quadras who penned the Mary Kom and Neerja biopics, and more recently John Abraham’s Parmanu, has joined hands with Namaste London, Commando, D-Day, Airlift and Junglee writer Ritesh Shah to collaborate on the screenplay and dialogues.

“We are happy to collaborate with Boney Kapoor to tell the story of India’s football coach, Syed Abdul Rahim. Ajay Devgn essaying the character makes it even more special,” Shariq Patel, CEO of Zee Studios was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirrir

Boney Kapoor told Indian Express, “An actor like Ajay is most apt for essaying this character. We hope that the film inspires millions of youngsters and soon India plays in the World Cup and becomes a potent force in World Football.”

 “When my partners Akash and Joy brought me the true-life story of Syed Abdul Rahim, I was surprised to learn that not many are even aware of this unsung hero and the achievements of India’s great team which had heroes like Chunni Goswami, PK Banerjee, Balaram, Franco, Arun Ghosh and many others. With Khelo India picking up momentum, the time is right to push India,” he said