Hima Das to Swapna Barman: The sportswomen Bollywood lovers need to see on screen
When Hima Das was yet to win her fifth gold medal in Europe, an idea had already taken flight in many filmmakers’ minds back home in India. The idea was to make a biopic on the incredible journey of this Assamese sprinter. The story of an underdog rising to become the glory of the nation is something filmmakers have always had their eyes on. The journey sells. In Bollywood, we have seen that several times.
While the industry is still counting on remakes of South films and sequels, fresh stories like those based on the struggles of a sports star, who is writing the script of their own biopic one medal at a time, can be a profitable gamble and an inspiration for millions.
Films like MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Mary Kom and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag were all proof of the fact that these stories are lapped up by the audience. The tougher the journey of the person, the more the money it brings in. Of course, you need to tell the story in a manner befitting the person’s struggles. While their stories are still fresh in people’s mind and continue to inspire youngsters, many new athletes, like Hima Das, Dutee Chand and Mithali Raj, in recent time, have given filmmakers every reason to make their biopics.
While it will be interesting to watch the stories of these real superstars on the big screen, we wonder which actor will be able to play these roles most convincingly. Take a look at our pick.
SAYANI GUPTA AS HIMA DAS
Right after Hima Das won her fifth gold in a month during her Europe tour, many memes about Akshay Kumar in and as Hima in her biopic went viral. While it was just a joke and no one took it seriously, we are sure filmmakers have seriously started considering making a film on Hima. We are yet to know if such a film is being made. We wonder who can play Hima Das as effortlessly as the young sprinter wins medals.
That brings us to Sayani Gupta, who transformed into a Dalit girl in Article 15 from a fearless journalist in the web series Four More Shots Please. Gupta is someone who can be an apt choice for Hima’s character in her biopic. Sayani has been doing some good work with short films and independent cinema, but it was recently when she appeared as Gaura in Article 15, determined to find her missing sister, that people noticed her versatility. It will not be a difficult task for the Bengali beauty to step into the shoes of her Assamese sister for her biopic.
KANGANA RANAUT AS DUTEE CHAND
The sprinter recently came out as India’s first openly gay athlete, which gave filmmakers one great plot. Dutee Chand, who holds an 11.24-second record in 100m sprint and is the country’s fastest woman, recently said that after she revealed that she was gay, she was approached by filmmakers who wanted to acquire the rights to her story.
Dutee wants Kangana Ranaut to play her in her biopic. In an interview with Bombay Times, she said, “I have got requests from so many filmmakers who are keen to make my biopic, but I haven’t given the nod yet. Apart from Anil Kapoor and Rakeysh Mehra, a lot of actors and actresses have independently reached out. With the number of requests coming my way, lagta hai meri story bahut hit hogi.” She added, “While I don’t know who will eventually be selected, I think Kangana Ranaut can portray me perfectly on screen, I like her as an actress.”
Kangana Ranaut is also elated about Dutee Chand choosing her to play her in the biopic. Kangana was quoted as saying, “That’s very kind of Duteeji. I am humbled that she feels I am worthy of playing her.”
Kangana, who is riding high on the praise she received for her performance in the recently released Jugdementall Hai Kya, will be seen as a kabaddi player in Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Panga. It will not be a surprise if we hear that Kangana is playing the role of Dutee in the athlete’s biopic. In Bollywood today, Kangana is the best pick to portray Dutee by transforming herself not just physically but adapting her mannerisms as well.
TAAPSEE PANNU AS MITHALI RAJ
Mithali Raj is undoubtedly the most successful captain in the history of Indian women’s cricket. There are news reports that a film based on her life is in the works. The project was announced back in 2017 by Viacom18, the script of which is still being developed. While many reports claim that Taapsee Pannu has verbally agreed to play the role of the batswoman, the actress recently revealed that she has not been approached for any such film and that she would love to do the role if given a chance.
In an interview, when asked if she is playing Mithali Raj in the latter’s biopic, she said, “If I get it, then it will be amazing to play cricket. You all please recommend my name to them [the filmmakers]. I wish I get to play this role. I really wanted to get signed for that film.”
We have seen Taapsee playing the role of an athlete in Diljit Dosanjh’s Soorma. While she was impeccable as a hockey player in Soorma, it will be a fun watch to see her replace that hockey stick with a bat and run between the wickets.
SONAKSHI SINHA AS DEEPA MALIK
Deepa Malik is the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympic Games. She won a Silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in shot put. After she won the medal in 2016, producer Ritesh Sidhwani revealed his desire to make a film on her life. In an interview, Sidhwani said, “I had watched videos of her and knew that her life story was unreal, but when I met her and she let me hold her medal, the sheer weight of the silver gave me gooseflesh. As she sat in front of me, there was nothing differently-abled about her. She was empowering, a pillar of strength, and I knew that we needed to take her fight to the big screen.”
It was reported that Ritesh was planning to make the film with his business partner Farhan Akhtar, but we didn’t hear anything about the film after that.
To play the role of a woman who possesses determination as strong as that of Deepa Malik, Sonakshi Sinha is the perfect choice. It will be a challenge for Sonakshi too to play a sportswoman like Deepa Malik in her biopic, especially since the actress hasn’t worked in a biopic as yet.
DEEPIKA PADUKONE AS PV SINDHU
In 2017, Sonu Sood announced that he would be making a biopic on shuttler PV Sindhu. Rumours had it that Deepika Padukone, who is the daughter of legendary badminton player Prakash Padukone, will play the titular role. In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Sonu confirmed that the script has been locked and the casting for the film will begin soon. Sonu, who is playing Pullela Gopichand in the biopic, said, “We are in the final stages of locking the technicians, and hopefully, will be making an announcement soon. We will finalise the cast and crew by the end of this year. Around the same time we will also start prepping. And if things fall in place as planned, then we might start shooting by the end of this year or by early 2020.”
While Deepika playing the role of Sindhu is not confirmed yet, who better than the Chhapaak actress to play a badminton star? Deepika has played the game at the national level, but gave up the racquet to conquer her Bollywood dreams. The actress can not only play badminton, but also has an athletic frame resembling Sindhu, who is the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal. It will be a delight to see the daughter of India’s best badminton player in the role of another brilliant badminton player.
SWARA BHASKER AS SWAPNA BARMAN
Swapna Barman, who won India’s first heptathlon gold at the 2018 Asian games, is an inspiration for all who have lost hope because of the yorkers life has thrown at them. The daughter of a rickshaw-puller, heptathlete Swapna has a rare congenital malformation. She has 12 toes instead of the normal 10, but she never saw her abnormality as abnormality. The 22-year-old got home India’s first hepthathlon gold.
Swapna participated in the event wearing regular shoes, made for people with 10 toes, and despite excruciating pain, got a medal to India.
Swara Bhasker seems someone who can step into the 12-toe shoes of Swapna. The actress, through her varied range of roles, has proven time and again that she can portray her characters effortlessly, be it a Veere Di Wedding or an Anarkali Of Aarah.
Interestingly, Bengali filmmaker Srijit Mukherji has already announced a biopic on Swapna Barman. Bengali actress Sohini Sarkar will be essaying the challenging role. According to reports, Sohini will soon begin her rigorous workshop to prepare for the Swapna’s role. But seeing the story of Swapna Barman is something all of India deserves. Something that is possible if Bollywood takes up her story, helping it move from being restricted to a state and to theatres across the country.
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ALSO WATCH: Meet Assam’s Hima Das, who won 5 gold medals in 20 days