A consent in principle was in place for two years. There was research work. A series of sessions on, around and off the court. Then came the formal official nod. Now, it is time for light, camera and action for the biopic on India’s badminton queen.
The film will depict Saina Nehwal’s journey from a child prodigy from Haryana to India’s first Olympic medalist in Olympics, and beyond. There will also be a dose of masala, the elementary aspect of an Indian celluloid recipe. Saina is away at Wuhan, China, as story about her biopic broke back home. The Nehwal family is excited about the film.
“We are very happy about this (the film on Saina). The director (Amol Gupte) has discussed the film two years ago. We had agreed then. He would often come and meet us and Saina to know about her. He has done very good research,” says Saina’s mother Mrs. Usha Nehwal. “The film will be about her game. We are told there is also some masala. Achha he. Film main gaane bhee hone chahiye. Tab hee to film achhi banti he (It’s good. The films should also have songs. Only then the film becomes good),” she says.
Saina is no stranger to camera and lights. She has shot many an advertisement videos. So do we get to see the champion playing a cameo in the film? “Mother rules that out. Wo kya karegi (what will she do),” says Mrs Nehwal.
Gupte’s son Partho is expected to compose a song for Saina.
Shraddha Kapoor plays Saina. Bhushan Kumar is the producer. The film is expected to be released next year. According to reports Saina was excited about Shraddha playing her character on-screen . “I did not know about the cast. It’s great if Shraddha plays me. She is a very talented and hardworking actress. I am sure she will do justice to the role. The best part is, she is a good friend as well. So it will be easier to teach her badminton skills,” says Saina jocularly. “People say we look similar. That is a compliment as Shraddha looks gorgeous.”
The admiration is mutual. “Most girls have played badminton at some point in their lives in school. I feel so lucky to be playing Saina, who’s not just been the world’s No. 1 badminton player, but is also a youth icon. I can’t wait to start preparing for my role,” Shardha is quoted as saying by Times of India.
Shraddha is seen playing basketball in her forthcoming release Half Girlfriend.
Director Gupte had announced the project in 2015. As part of one and a half year research, he has met Saina’s family, friends, close associates and gathered many videos to understand the star player. “I have also been to the National Sports Club of India (in Mumbai) to watch her play. Her killer instinct is inspiring,” says the director.
“Saina was born in Haryana, but came down to Hyderabad. The film begins before her birth,” Gupte told reporters. He has also been the creative director of blockbuster Tare Zameen Par.