Sports can only be promoted if the govt and corporate houses step in, say filmmakers

NEW DELHI: Even as films on sports remain a sprinkle despite announcements by the government for promoting sports, actor Nafisa Ali has said the corporate houses and the union and state governments have to join the effort to promote sports.

She said she was saddened that corporate houses were concentrating only on a few sports like cricket, football, tennis or badminton, and no efforts were being made to explore the talent available in smaller towns in the country.

Nafisa was talking to after the screening of the film ‘Khwaabb’ which marks the directorial debut of Zaid Ali Khan, son of renowned shooter and Arjuna Award winner Moraad Ali Khan who has produced the film. Nafisa stars in the film along with newcomers Navdip Singh and Simer Motiani.

Interestingly, this week marked the limited release of two films on sports: Zaid Ali Khan’s ‘Khwaabb’ which is being released in just a few cities, and Amole Gupte’s ‘Hawaa Hawwai’ about roller skating which has been released nationally.

So far, very few films have been made on sports, and names that immediately come to mind are those of Nagesh Kukunoor’s ‘Iqbal’ about cricket, Shimit Amin’s 2007 ‘Chak De! India’ about hockey, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s real-life drama ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’ about athlete Milkha Singh, children’s film ‘Goal’ by Gulbahar Singh about football, and Aamir Khan’s ‘Lagaan’ which touched on cricket only as part of the drama.

‘Khwaabb’ is about athletics and swimming, but also sends out a strong message on behalf of those sports aspirants who are unable to make it to international tournaments despite proving their talent at the local or even the district level.

Stressing the need for promoting such films, Zaid said that the film had got tax exemption only in Delhi. It was also being released in Mumbai, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, Pune, and Dubai with a total of 60 to 70 prints but may be released later in the rest of the country.

He said the main aim of the film was to inspire aspirants, and therefore even the music of the film including the title song by Sonu Nigam had an inspirational quality.

“It was a real challenge to shoot some underwater sporting action in India but we could capture some scintillating action scenes with the experience of Aharon Rothschild, our cinematographer from the United States.”

He was confident that film will work well with young children and the main subject will click with the audiences.

He said that the film was shot at seven different locations including Jamshedpur, Morna in Uttar Pradesh, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Delhi, Faridabad and Dubai.

Both he and his father Moraar said publicity had been done both on television channels as well as on digital media and social websites. “It is important to bring awareness amongst the masses about the condition of Olympic sports in India; ‘Khwaabb’ is a step in that direction. Everyone rejoices in winning, but it is the journey towards winning a medal which needs the real support”, said Moraad.

Asked about what he planned to do in future, he said he would now like to attempt something for television as he felt the future of entertainment was on the small screen, but would come back to filmmaking.

He said in an answer to a question about his comment that ‘Conventional Bollywood is very calculative’ that there was no film culture for independent filmmakers and even the government did not give much encouragement unless some big names were involved. He said he had preferred making a debut as an independent filmmaker because of lack of support from the studios, but had got good support from Salma Khan who had released his music, and shooter Abhinav Bindra.

Under the banner of Bullseye productions, “Khwaabb” is a realistic depiction of the Indian sporting scenario focusing on swimming and athletics. It captures the dream and emotions of aspiring sportsmen. 'Khwaabb' is a story about the birth of a dream, of ambition and the fierce passion to achieve that dream amidst unceasing tribulations.

It is also about the way sheer, raw talent gets wasted or destroyed by corrupt and power hungry sports administrators of our country.

Releasing the music of the film, Salman said: “I have played almost all kinds of sports. I have done swimming, played football. I even used to play cricket, and I strongly feel that sports should be encouraged in the nation, and if there are no facilities for training, how will our sportspersons perform?”

The title track is sung by Sonu Nigam, composed by acclaimed musician Sandeep Chowta. The album has a rustic fun track “TV ki Jai Ho” sung by Kailash Kher and a soft love ballad “Shamein” sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal. Both songs are composed by Sajjad Ali Chandwani. Young and extremely talented Amal Mallik has scored the soundtrack of the film. Top international drummer Virgil Donati has played for the title track, the lyrics for which have been penned by Sameer.

Gupte told that his film was not only motivational and inspirational, but even showed how those who failed to get any help could attempt to reach their goals on their own.

He hoped the film would inspire others to make films on sports and encourage worthy aspirants. His main cast including son Partho Gupte, Saqib Saleem and Pragya demonstrated their skating skills at I-Skate in Gurgaon to promote the film. The film also stars Makrand Deshpande among others.

Answering a question, Amole said it is easy to work with children. “You just need to understand them and let them be comfortable with you”. He had got inspired to make this film while escorting Parth for skating classes, he added. He said it was a film about people who dare to dream and then work to fulfill that dream.

Partho said, “My dad, the director, never scolds me on the sets and it is very interesting to work with him”. Performing the role of coach in the movie, Saqib Saleem said, “Sharing the sets with Partho was fun, and working under the captainship of Amole Gupte helps you learn a lot”.

The song 'Kuch Sapne Sone Nahin Dete' summarises the theme of the film, produced by Fox Star Studios.

Amole had earlier co-directed ‘Taare Zameen Par’ with Aamir Khan, and directed ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’ starring his son Partho. 

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