Welcome, fans of film and sport alike, to yet another story that features more twists and turns than the skyline of the Himalayas. A story where our filmmakers embark on the Herculean task of producing a single, solid Pakistani sports biopic about our national cricketing heroes… and unfortunately, drop the ball.
The Shadows of Misfires and Legal Woes
To start off, let’s revisit the illustrious attempt at cinema known as ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’, a film that promised to be a heart-thumping tribute to our beloved all-rounder. Alas, the actual delivery was less ‘sizzling hook shot’ and more ‘droopped catch’. Now, we’re not saying the film was a disaster, but let’s just say it certainly didn’t score a century at the box office.
Shahid Afridi was mercurial on the day, and offered nothing less than box office stuff on the field. It’s sad that we missed an opportunity with him and haven’t translated that shocking fastest century into a movie or a documentary yet.
Just when we thought our luck couldn’t get worse, we got wind of a biopic in the works based on the life of the Rawalpindi Express himself, Shoaib Akhtar. The only problem? Our fast-paced maverick of a cricketer wasn’t onboard. As a result, we’re left with an unsolicited intermission in the saga, thanks to a stay order straight from the courts.
Now that we look at it, Akhtar’s biopic could have done wonders. Akhtar has had a seemingly troubled childhood. Before the Rawalpindi Express was tearing in and silencing crowds in Kolkata and Chennai, the young prodigy was roaming the streets of Rawalpindi for an opening. The box office nature of his introduction to cricket and the eventual success could have made a decent movie, but we’re left to rue what could be.
Also, what’s to say about a biopic on Imran Khan? Again, the film Kaptaan has been leading us on a sad cat and mouse chase. From release rumors in 2016 to 2022, all we have are just still shots of Abdul Mannan Khan and Saeeda Imtiaz as the leading pair.
Dear Bollywood, How Do You Do It?
Now eastwards to our neighbors, who are surely lighting a lamp somewhere laughing at our trail of box office woes. With Bollywood boasting an impressive lineup of sports biopics, from ’83’ featuring Kapil Dev’s World Cup exploits, to the inspiring journey of M.S Dhoni, we can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy.
Let’s not forget Mary Kom and Milkha Singh, whose stories of triumph in the face of adversity have also been encapsulated wonderfully. Meanwhile, we’re left pondering over that age-old question: “Hum kahan hain?”
A Beacon of Hope for Pakistani Sports Biopic
To give credit where it’s due, we have managed to churn out a piece worth mentioning. ‘Bhaag Amina Bhaag‘, a cinematic tribute to sprinter Naseem Hameed who made us all proud by clinching gold in the 100m event at the South Asian games. The telefilm released in 2011 was impressive and showed the woes and story of Naseem. But surely, one swallow does not a summer make?
Remain hopeful, fellow patriots. The story isn’t over yet. If we can scale the dizzying heights of K2 and sprint across the finish line on the world stage, surely our filmmakers can dispatch a Pakistani sports biopic for a six too. For now, we aren’t short of ideas or inspiration, but actual implementation.