Amit Sharma “My Next After Badhaai Ho Is A Much Bigger Challenge.”

Badhai Ho, Amit. Your film has won two  National awards.

Amit is still in state  of  disbelief. “When the National awards were announced on Friday I only heard Surekha Sikrihad won  for best  supporting actress. So I  called her up to  congratulate her. She  said, ‘Tumhe bhi milega.’ And sure enough I got to know  Badhai Ho has won the National award for the  popular  film  providing wholesome  entertainment.  I  am in seventh heaven. I can’t believe our film  has gone so far.We just made the film that we wanted  to as honestly as we  could.”

Coincidentally, Keerthy Suresh  who has won the National award for best actress makes her Bollywood debut withAmit Sharma’s next film , a bio-pic on football player and coach Syed Abdul  Rahim.Often called the founding father  of  Indian football, Rahim was a champion  player but also a very influential coach.

The  film starts  shooting on Mumbai  from the second week of August.

Amit admits  Keerthy has a  supporting role. “It is definitely  not like her  author-backed  central role in Mahanati. But she has  a well-defined role. Those who have seen  my Badhai Ho  and even  my earlier film Tevar would know  I can never cast actresses in decorative roles.”

Ajay Devgan plays Rahim.

Says Amit, “This will be  a much  bigger challenge  than Badhaai Ho. Our film  covers a time span of  60 years from 1900 to 1960.We  have  to recreate  a football field from the era in Mumbai.We will also shoot in Kolkata and Lucknow, And  portions abroad, as  Rahim’s teams  went to  the Olympics twice.”

Easily  this looks  like a tough  film to make. “Oh yes, far  tougher than  Badhaai Ho. We auditioned nearly 1500  actors to play  football players. After  we selected  the  teamplayers  they were coached  in football for  five months. This film is not  about shooting emotions inside a small flat . We have to go out there and run in the field. It  will be exhausting. But I look forward  to the  challenge.”

As Amit looks back at his triumph he thinks of his late mother. “I know she’s watching over me and making all this happen.I know I am blessed by her. I  hope I never disappoint her.”

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