Ajay Devgn on former football star PK Banerjee: Admire him for taking India to greater heights
As he brings Syed Abdul Rahim's story to celluloid with Maidaan, Ajay Devgn recounts meeting his protege, former football star PK Banerjee
It's raining biopics for Ajay Devgn — even as his latest offering, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, hit screens yesterday, the actor is busy giving shape to the story of late football coach Syed Abdul Rahim in Maidaan. The Amit Ravindernath Sharma-directed venture trains the spotlight on Rahim, who coached India to victory at the Asian Games in 1951 and 1962. "Our team was known as the Brazil of Asia then," beams Devgn, admitting that he has gotten increasingly fascinated with his muse as he learnt more about him while shooting for the sports drama.
"Like Tanaji [Malusare], he is an unsung hero. The story needs to be told because when the makers approached me, I wasn't aware of him. So, it will be more interesting to [introduce him to] today's generation who genuinely love the sport," says the star, who recently wrapped up the Kolkata schedule.
Syed Abdul Rahim and PK Banerjee
The actor had the opportunity to meet former Indian football star PK Banerjee — who played under Rahim — during his Kolkata stay. "It was an emotional experience. He is frail and has difficulty talking due to his age, but he's one of the greats to have played the game. I admire people like him who took our country to greater heights."
In 2020, Devgn will also be seen in Bhuj — The Pride Of India, in which he slips into the role of Indian Air Force squadron leader Vijay Karnik. Point out how his three releases have him essaying real-life characters back-to-back, and he terms it a coincidence. "Real-life characters fascinate me. As an actor, I try to analyse what might have been going on in the person's mind [during the episode that the film focuses on]; it allows me to be creative," he explains, before adding that he will soon give biopics a rest. "I am doing Golmaal 5 after these films."
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