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Bollywood stars who can portray sportspersons in biopics

Biopics on sportspersons being the flavour of the season, we list some of our athletic heroes who could inspire a celluloid saga and the actors who could slip into their sneakers

A sceptic can always point out that Bollywood loves to ape the West. After all, the Hindi film industry was quick to follow Hollywood as it witnessed a steady flow of successful biopics in the recent past. As far as this personality-driven genre goes, several Indian films based on sportspersons are in the pipeline. Sushant Singh Rajput is playing MS Dhoni while John Abraham will be essaying the celebrated wrestler Gama Pahalwan — among others. Pouncing on this trend, hitlist drops some more names from the Indian sports arena and the actors who could do a great job portraying them on the big screen...

Rahul Dravid
Actor: Sidharth Malhotra
Lowdown: With his era coinciding with Sachin Tendulkar’s, there was no choice but playing a second fiddle. And how gracefully he did so! For his no-nonsense attitude — like the roles Sid has portrayed so far — on and off the ground, a fitting tribute would be a movie on his scale upwards.

Given his serious image and intense onscreen charm, Sidharth Malhotra could do justice to playing former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid in a biopic Pic/Emmanual Karbhari
Given his serious image and intense onscreen charm, Sidharth Malhotra could do justice to playing former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid in a biopic Pic/Emmanual Karbhari

Dhyan Chand
Actor: Shah Rukh Khan
Dhyan Chand and Shah Rukh Khan

Lowdown: After his affable Chak De! India act, SRK playing the hockey legend would be a tribute to our national game and the fitter-than-ever star, who just doesn’t seem to age. It would be a delight to travel back to the days India had a world-class hero before even having independence.

Sushil Kumar
Actor: Salman Khan
Sushil Kumar and Salman Khan

Lowdown: For all his proclivities towards dropping his shirt and showing off his bod, Sallu bhai should very well fill in for Sushil on the big screen. Besides, the Jat grappler not only has an interesting tale but is also the only Indian to have earned two Olympic medals in an individual event.

Bhaichang Bhutia
Actor: Aamir Khan
Bhaichang Bhutia and Aamir Khan

Lowdown: If he could play a clean-shaven college student as well as a Tibetan, then it won’t really be an uphill task — given his perfectionist standards — for him to play the brightest football star India ever had. Also, it’d be interesting to see the focus shift to something other than cricket.

Saina Nehwal
Actress: Priyanka Chopra
Saina Nehwal and Priyanka Chopra

Lowdown: No other female badminton player from India managed to reach where Sania did. Hailing from a
state that scores the worst sex ratio in the country, Saina’s ups and downs — including her recent form — could enable a film. Also, PC seems like the obvious choice to pick up a racquet.

Sarita Devi
Actress: Shilpa Shukla
Sarita Devi and Shilpa Shukla

Lowdown: One of the most underrated actresses of her time, Shilpa has what it takes to portray the struggle of a Manipuri girl. Sarita used to live on a farm before boxing became her identity. Also, the way she protested the wrongful decision at the recent Asian Games inspires a script more than a ban.

Sania Mirza
Actress: Parineeti Chopra
Sania Mirza and Parineeti Chopra

Lowdown: Sania has courted both trophies as well as controversies with oomph. And while she was at it, she also ensured that a legion of girls in our country could dream of what she achieved. On the other hand, her periodic trysts with political rows add spice to the tale. Like Pari.

Vishwananthan Anand
Actor: R Madhavan
Vishwananthan Anand and R Madhavan

Lowdown: If there is one sport where an Indian dominated individually for the longest period of time, it’s got to be chess. Anand’s legacy in this particular field, where words don’t count as much as one’s moves, is remarkable. Bespectacled Maddy could easily slip into the role.

Pullela Gopichand
Actor: Rajkummar Rao
Pullela Gopichand and Rajkummar Rao

Lowdown: Once Gopichand turned down a lucrative offer by a coke brand explaining he himself doesn’t drink aerated drinks. A man of lofty principles, he not only broke grounds in badminton but also nurtured budding talents. Someone as versatile as Rao might showcase that side.

Jimmy George
Actor: Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Jimmy George and Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Lowdown: If you’re wondering Jimmy who, Google him up please. Undoubtedly the most decorated volleyball player to come out of India, the Kerala-born legend was appreciated even in Europe but his own country remained oblivious. In all probability, Nawaz’s the guy to bring him back to fore.

Yogeshwar Dutt
Actor: Dhanush
Yogeshwar Dutt and Dhanush

Lowdown: Associating muscles with Dhanush sounds like blasphemy but at the same time, we can’t overlook his commitments to the roles he undertakes. With that in mind, we believe a script highlighting the never-say-die wrestling hero ought to have Dhanush’s name on the credit roll more than anybody else’s.

PT Usha
Actress: Poorna Jagannathan
PT Usha and Poorna Jagannathan

Lowdown: No other Indian sprinter has come close to an Olympic medal — so far — the way Usha did. And Poorna has the physical contours required as well as the acting chops to do justice to the Payyoli Express’ eminent rise from a non-descript village to the global stage.

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