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.”