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Bollywood making a dozen films on Indian sports stars

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN,

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI:

Encouraged by the success of biopics made on sports personalities/events during the past three decades, Bollywood is now planning to make at least a dozen films on popular Indian sports stars.

Since 1992, Bollywood has produced 15 sports-based films in Hindi. Together, they earned INR 40 billion at the box office. And as many as eight of them had made over a billion Indian rupees each.

Waiting to hit theatres soon is a film simply titled ’83. It about India winning the Cricket World Cup in 1983 under Kapil Dev’s captaincy. Directed by Kabir Khan, actor Ranveer Singh plays Kapil Dev’s role.

Hockey legend Dhyan Chand is the subject of a biopic filmmaker Abhishek Chaubey is working on.

The other sports-based projects include Maidan, in which Ajay Devgn plays football coach Syed Abdul Rahim; Ashutosh Gowariker’s Toolsidas Junior; Tiger Shroff’s Ghanpat; Farhan Akhtar-starrer Toofan; and Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey.

While these films are about male characters, several biopics are in the pipeline about female sports stars, too. Cricketer Virat Kohli’s film star-wife Anushka Sharma will reportedly play cricketer Jhulan Goswami. Taapsee Pannu will star in a sports drama called Rashmi Rocket. She will portray Jhulan Goswami’s teammate Mithali Raj, who has led the Indian cricket team.

Actress Parineeti Chopra is busy with her next, a biopic of badminton star Saina Nehwal. Biopics on tennis player Sania Mirza and badminton player PV Sindhu have also been announced.

The enormous success of earlier films made on sports stars and events is clearly what has encouraged filmmakers to undertake so many new sports-based projects in the hope of raking in the moolah.

Dangal, made in 2016 about a wrestler training his daughters into medal-winning wrestlers for the country, was the most popular of them all. Starring Aamir Khan, it earned INR 20 billion at home and abroad. The film made more money in China than in India itself.

The other top-grossing sports-based films include Lagaan. Made in 2001 about a bunch of village cricketers who defeat a team of Englishmen during the British Raj, it also starred Aamir Khan, and collected INR 5.56 billion.

The other super hits are Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, starring Aamir Khan as a cyclist out to win a race (INR 5.2 billion, made in 1992); Sultan, starring Salman Khan as a wrestler (INR4.16 billion, 2016); MS Dhoni, starring Sushant Singh Rajput playing Dhoni (INR2.16 billion, 2016); Bhaag Milkha Bhag, starring Farhan Akhtar as Olympic medal-winning runner Milkha Singh (INR2.1 billion, 2013); Chak De! India, starring Shah Rukh Khan as a hockey coach (INR1.9 billion); Gold, starring Akshay Kumar as manager of the Indian cricket team Tapan Das (INR1.58 billion); and Mary Kom, starring Priyanka Chopra as female boxer Mary Kom (INR1.04 billion, 2014.



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President Ranil Wickremasinghe calls upon chief prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters

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(pic courtsey Divaina)

President Ranil Wickremasinghe called upon the chief prelates of the Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters on Thursday (02) morning to seek their blessings ahead of the 75th Independence day celebrations.

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US secures deal on bases to complete arc around China

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) was in the Philippines to finalise the deal (picture BBC)

BBC reported that the United States has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

With this deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints, Taiwan and the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it.

The US already had limited access to five sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – the new additions and expanded access, according to a statement from Washington, will “allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges”, likely a veiled reference to countering China in the region.

The statement came after Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Manila on Thursday.

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Nuland accuses China of failing to help SL with ‘credible and specific assurances’ acceptable to IMF

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Nuland addressing the media in Colombo (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

US hopes LG polls will be held in March

By Saman Indrajith

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, yesterday said China had not provided credible and specific assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Sri Lanka to overcome the current economic crisis.

Addressing the media in Colombo, Nuland said: “What China has offered so far is not enough. We need to see credible and specific assurances that they will meet the IMF standard of debt relief. We, the United States, are prepared to do our part. Our Paris Club partners are prepared to do their part. India has made strong commitments that it will provide the credible assurances the IMF is looking for.”

Nuland said that India and the Paris Club had given strong assurances to the IMF to help Sri Lanka to obtain a $2.9 billion bailout.

“We want to see an IMF program as quickly as possible. That is what Sri Lanka deserves; that is what Sri Lanka needs,” Nuland said.

Nuland said the US would give Sri Lanka an additional USD 30 million to provide 96,000 schoolchildren with food.

She said Sri Lankans had taken to the streets, last year, demanding cleaner, accountable and inclusive governance, with transparency, and the government was expected to hold the elections to enable people to enjoy their democratic rights.

Nuland said that the US was glad to see that consultation between the government and other parties towards reconciliation had commenced. She said that she had met with members of the Tamil political parties, earlier yesterday. “We hope that the dialogue will continue to achieve real results such as return of the lands to their rightful owners.”

Nuland said that the US hoped that local elections would be held in March, the dialogue commenced for reconciliation would continue, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act would be reformed to meet international standards.

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