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Bollywood hits cricket for a six!

Posted by Mohan Desai On 2:58 PM

Somebody ought to tell producer-director, ad-filmmaker and cricket aficionado Ajit Pal Mangat that next time he’s making a sports film, he needn’t go shopping for international stars.Like Brett Lee, Graeme Smith, Harbhajan Singh, Muthiah Murlitharan and Shoaib Malik all over the world… he’s got the looks, the attitude and experience before and behind the camera to star in his own home production.
But, Ajit Pal will argue, not in a film like Victory… his debut as director, which is India’s first full-fledged sports film for which he roped in 60 ‘A’ grade cricketers including the players mentioned earlier. “I wanted to cast players from all the 11 cricket playing nations of the world but I felt short… I felt I was on the cricket selection committee,” admitted Ajit Pal. “Drawing up the list wasn’t tough; but ensuring the cricket stars remain stars, was. Due to various formats of the game, cricket has a new star every day; Yuvraj is announced the best 20-20 batsman, Dhoni is the best ODI captain… there’s a different hero in a different format. It was a hell of a task.”
Lest you think Ajit Pal is giving you a Bollywood film on cricket, let us tell you Victory also stars the rugged Harman Baweja and gorgeous Amrita Rao; and yes, the film does display man’s true passion for cricket and is due to release on January 30. Cricketing shots were taken during an actual live Indo-Australia match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, they were shot in 18 different stadiums around the world with 50,000 genuine spectators, and acting as commentators in the film are Allan Border, Michael Slater, Harsha Bhogle, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Waquar Younis and umpire Daryl Harper. It cannot get more authentic than this. Aussie paceman Brett Lee, who plays a significant role, said, “This is the best script I have read on a sports film.” Harbhajan, who is most comfortable before the camera, is already being asked if he is playing the lead in a sequel to Victory. “I don’t mind, if the money is right,” the Team India spin attack bowler said.

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