KARACHI: In 2013, Indian filmmakers produced a movie on the life of India’s best athlete Milkha Singh whose role was depicted by actor Farhan Akhtar. The movie helped India propagate the success of the athlete.
India followed the tradition and later produced movies on true-life stories of their athletes like Paan Singh Tomar, Marry Kom and very recently former cricket captain Muhammad Azharuddin.
A Pakistani filmmaker, Adnan Sarwar, produced a movie “Shah” on the life of Pakistan’s only Olympic medalist boxer Hussain Shah. The movie, though displayed some factual errors, was a good step by Pakistan’s film industry to tell the world about Pakistan’s glorious sports past.
However, there are still some top athletes with remarkable performances on global arena awaits something to be done on their life stories, so that future athletes and fellow countrymen can know what it takes to become like Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan, Naseem Hameed, Samiullah, Hasan Sardar or Abdul Khaliq.
Although Pakistan’s film industry is still in struggling stage but with some great productions recently, it has been able to achieve a reasonable place in market and now Pakistani sportsmen are hoping for a biopic on them.
Major General (retired) Akram Sahi, the head of Athletics Federation of Pakistan, has suggested that Pakistani filmmakers should make biopics on the life of country’s top athletes who have raised Pakistan’s flag on several occasions from the 1950s to 1970s.
“See, India made a movie on Milkha Singh and everyone got to know about Milkha and it surely has encouraged more people to opt for athletics there,” commented Sahi while talking to this correspondent on sidelines of 48th national athletics championship in Karachi.
Sahi feels that Pakistani filmmakers should work on the life of athletes like Abdul Khaliq and Mohammad Younis.
“I am not saying that do it because India did this too, we should not copy them but we must highlight achievements of our athletes using all forums, including films,” he said.
“We have produced so many good athletes and people like Abdul Khaliq and Mohammad Younis truly deserve a biopic on their life,” he added.
Abdul Khaliq was, unarguably, the best sprinter produced by Pakistan with winning the 100m gold medal in Asian games twice, in 1954 and in 1958.
Mohammad Younis won the 1500m race Gold medal in 1974 Asian Games in Tehran.
Sahi hopes that biopics on Pakistani athletes would help countrymen know about the glorious past of Pakistan’s athletics.
Filmmaker Adnan Sarwar, too, feels that Pakistani sportsmen deserve biopics and their stories should be told to everyone.
Adnan who produced the movie Shah on the life of boxer Hussain Shah, told geo.tv that filmmakers have certain responsibilities and they can play an important role in shaping up people’s thoughts.
“We did Shah and told everyone that sports biopics can be made and do business in country, I believe other filmmakers should also step-up,” said Adnan.
“Shah’s story was very strong and I was working on the project from 2011. It took me four years to gather everything to produce Shah, and I am satisfied with what I did,” he added.
Sarwar, who now feels that he would also highlight Pakistan’s achievements in hockey through the medium of cinema.
“If I would ever work on sports genre again, it would be something on hockey as I grew up watching Shahbaz’s era and Pakistan’s golden period,” he said.