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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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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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