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Bollywood making a dozen films on Indian sports stars




Our Special Correspondent


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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Bid to use private member’s motion to put off LG polls alleged



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has questioned the rationale behind President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s warning that the military will be deployed to curb protest vis-a-vis a Foreign Ministry undertaking to boost foreign trade and investment.

Addressing the Parliament, during the Budget committee stage debate, on 28 Nov., Prof. Peiris said the Foreign Ministry couldn’t expect to succeed in economic diplomacy while the government was resorting to repressive measures.

Prof. Peiris asked who would want to invest in a country where the people were warned of dire consequences if they held protests, and elections were arbitrarily postponed.

Referring to the long overdue Provincial Council polls, Prof. Peiris discussed how postponement of scheduled Local Government polls could further jeopardise Sri Lanka’s standing among the international community.

Prof. Peiris alleged that the government was planning to use private members’ motion submitted by Attorney-at-Law Premanath C. Dolawatta (SLPP, Colombo District) to put off scheduled Local Government polls further. The ex-Minister claimed that the motion meant to enhance youth representation in governance would be utilised to delay the polls indefinitely. He recalled how the Yahapalana government had postponed the Provincial Council elections indefinitely.

The rebel SLPP Chairman pointed out that the government had chosen MP Dolawatta’s motion, handed over recently, though SJB’s Imthiaz Bakeer Markar submitted a private member’s motion on the same lines much earlier.

MP Dolawatta handed over a copy of his motion to President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Oct 31. Prof. Peiris said that they wouldn’t find fault with the lawmaker for making proposals which the academic said were timely.

Prof. Peiris warned Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC, that Sri Lanka wouldn’t be an appealing destination for investments unless the government adopted tangible measures to curb corruption. Shocking disclosures at parliamentary watchdog committees underscored that corruption was at unprecedented level and needed immediate attention.

Speaking on behalf of the breakaway SLPP faction, Nidahasa Jathika Sabhawa aka Freedom People’s Congress Prof. Peiris said that the recent declaration by the World Bank that it would audit the procurement and distribution of fertiliser here meant that the world had no faith in our system.

Commenting on assurances given by the government that a new Anti-Corruption Bill would be introduced soon, Prof. Peiris said that existing laws were quite sufficient. The issue at hand is absence of political will to battle corruption, the former Minister said, meant flight of professionals and intolerable increase in taxes on business wouldn’t encourage Foreign Ministry’s drive.

At the onset of his speech, lawmaker Peiris asked whether the government was genuine about the recent declaration that the national issue could be resolved by the enactment of a new Constitution by the next Independence Day. Who would take such a promise seriously against the backdrop of all previous attempts undertaken by far more stable governments failing to achieve the desired results? the former law professor asked. The former minister also questioned the feasibility of forming an apparatus on the lines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Prof. Peiris asked whether those now at the helm really had the wherewithal to meet the South African standards.

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State FM assures there won’t be shortage of milk powder



State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Parliament yesterday (29) that there would be no shortage of milk powder in the coming days due to the Customs holding a consignment of six containers of milk powder, imported into the country, for violating regulations.

Minister Siyambalapitiya said the six containers had 105,375 kilos of full cream milk powder, imported from New Zealand, via Malaysia. It reached the Colombo port on 20 Oct. It was only after the consignment had arrived in the Port that the importers submitted the letters to get the consignment released from the Controller Imports and Exports. Arrangements would be made to release the stock from the harbour on the recommendation of the Secretary to the Ministry of Trade and Food Security.

As such, there is no need for permission from the Controller Import and Export to release the stock, the minister said, adding that there were no limitations imposed on importing milk powder and there would be no cause for panic buying in fear of a shortage of milk powder in the coming days.

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Dolawatta responds to GL




SLPP MP Premanath C. Dolawatta said his private member’s motion wouldn’t lead to the postponement of local government polls. He said he felt the need to restore the 25% quota for youth, even before he entered Parliament, consequent to the August 2020 general election. The government and the Opposition could quickly reach a consensus on the proposals, and avoid unnecessary complications. MP Dolawatta said so when The Island sought his response to accusations made by Prof. Peiris, who said that time was rapidly running out for Local Government polls. As the nomination process needed to be commenced soon to ensure that 341 Local Government bodies could be constituted by 20 March 2023.

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