Six years ago, when writer-director Amol Gupte began bringing badminton ace Saina Nehwal’s eventful journey to screen, he had no idea that the film’s journey would be filled with unforeseeable stops. At one point, Gupte thought that his desire to do the biopic of Saina would remain unfulfilled. “And today we have copies of the film. What more can we ask for? ”He says a few days before the film hits theaters on March 26.
It was in 2018, when Saina went upstairs with Shraddha Kapoor in the lead role. Weeks after filming, reports revealed that the actor was considering opting out of the project, which led to speculation that Gupte was unhappy with Shraddha’s performance. None of them commented at the time.
Saina’s producer Bhushan Kumar, however, broke his silence in early 2019 and said Shraddha’s poor health from dengue fever was the reason she couldn’t continue the film. Soon Parineeti Chopra was announced as his replacement.
In an interview with indianexpress.com, Gupte talks about the stressful time, while also quashing rumors of hostility between him and Shraddha Kapoor.
“Once Shraddha got on board, she hung out. She was finely tailored as an athlete for the role, and then she contracted dengue. Here is the reverse. It is not Shraddha but a mosquito, if I am to bring the truth to it. You can make a movie where there are emotional scenes but here you have to stay 12 hours on a badminton set and show that you are Saina Nehwal. Fatigue from dengue cannot keep you there. So there was a disproportionate gap.
Gupte says that Shraddha used the forced breakup with Saina to shoot Nitesh Tiwar’s college drama Chhichhore because it was a lighter film. As Team Saina waited for Shraddha to recover, another setback awaited them. Katrina Kaif was released from Street Dancer 3D by Bhushan Kumar around this time. The producer urgently needed her replacement as it was a “great movie”.
“… Another setback, which has nothing to do with me. There was a bigger movie by my producer Mr Bhushan Kumar and he was in crisis demanding Shraddha to be the heroine of this movie with Varun Dhawan. In the same breath, he brought Parineeti Chopra for all of us. So it was a victory for all of us. It’s not that someone was kicked out or that someone was leaving the movie. This kind of hostile scenario doesn’t happen in my films or in my life, ”says Gupte.
But hasn’t the waiting period exhausted the director? Didn’t that make him fear that the film would see the light of day? “Yeah sure,” the director said, before adding, “That self-doubt is going to happen with every new information you get, which is a setback. my producer was determined to make the film. (Also) waiting is part of the process. I respect the expectation. What are you doing during the waiting period? You modify the script a little more. You write another scene. You change the shape and shape of the film. “
Saina retraces Saina Nehwal’s journey to become world champion. He also retraces his link with his parents and touches on the taboos linked to gender in our society.
The biopic also stars Manav Kaul, Subhrajyoti Barat, and Meghna Malik, among others.
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