While Sakshi & Sindhu Do Us Proud In Rio, Here’s Looking At The 7 Female Athleles Who Shone Bright In Bollywood .
- Mary Kom: The kitschy larger-than-life bio-pic on India’s most celebrated female boxer suffered from an overdose of sexiness. Admit it. Did Priyanka Chopra look anything like Mary Kom? No. Director OmungKumar chose Priyanka for the box-office rather than the boxing-office. She oozed oomph in and out of the ring. What worked were the moments that showed her trying to balance out her life in the ring with her life with the wedding-ring. Playing her husband Darshan Kumaar infused infinite compassion into what would have otherwise been just a showcase for Chopra’s acting chops.
- Chak De: Easily the best Indian film on women athletes this monumental film follows the destiny of an all-women’s hockey team. Every actress (some of them real-life athletes) who formed a part of ‘Kabir’ Shah RukhKhan’s team came across as a flesh-and-blood entity , blemishes and all. It’s another matter that not one of the 12 girls who played members of the hockey team so vividly could make a mark beyond this film. Such is the powerful impact of a film that focuses on the struggles of female team to invade a male bastion. Director ShimitAmin has made only one other feature film since Chak Dein 2008. What do you do after you attain everlasting fame for directing one film.
- Saala Khadoos: Hugely underrated story of a spirited female boxer played by real-life boxer Ritika Singh, and her surly coach Madhavan. Directed by Sudha Prasad, the film showed how the female boxer fought all prejudice at home and in the public arena to occupy a place in the boxing ring. Unlike Mary Kom which suffered on account of an over-glamorous player, Ritika Singh was every inch a boxer.The film showed her confronting her sexual attractin to her coach headlong. This film deserved larger audience.
- Bend It Like Beckham: Gurinder Chadha’s film about a young Punjabi-British girl’s attempts to be a football champ remains the quintessential sports film about the fair sex’s unfair sexist battles at home (where Mama wants /JaswinderJess to put away the football and play with dolls) and on the field(where boys think it is their birthright to bully any girl who dares to descent on a male bastion) Bend It Like Beckhamshowed that the kick was powerful when delivered earnestly.It didn’t matter if the leg kicking the ball was waxed or hairy.
- Meerabai Not Out: A little-known oddball which had real-life cricket commentator Mandira Bedi cast as a girl who will play cricket with her mohallah team, come what may.Mandira played an Anil Kumble fan in this quaint film directed by Chandrakant Kulkarni
- Sultan: Anushka Sharma looked nothing like a wrestler. Her body structure was more akin to a trapeze artiste (which Parineeti Chopra will be playing in a forthcoming film) than a wrestler. Yet, Anushka as Arfa killed the part with her infinite self-possession and intuitive understanding of how difficult it is for a woman to crack the gender code and become successful in a domain governed my masculine rules. Admirably Arfawrestled not just opponents in the rings but those that cannot be seen as well. It’s not easy being a woman and a wrestler at the same time.Dirtor Ali Abbas Zafar treaded compassionate ground as he took on Arfa’s problems in tackling gender discrimination in the sports domain.
- Dangal: The Aamir Khan wrestling saga will focus on real-life wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat’s two wrestler daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari who went all the way to Olympics. Could the two sisters have made an impact in the sport arena without their father’s patronage? Are we really anywhere close to producing more Sakshi Maliks and P T Ushas?In the meanwhile more films on real-life female athletes like Sania Mirza and Sneha Naihwal coming up.