Bollywood seems, currently, to be obsessed with the idea of sports biopics. After movies on the lives of Milkha Singh, Mary Kom, Phogat sisters, Sandeep Singh have hit the screens and gained popularity, and another one about Saina Nehwal in the works, suddenly, Bollywood seems interested in the idea of a biopic on PV Sindhu, the recently crowned badminton world champion.
Reports suggest Akshay Kumar is being roped in to play Sindhu's long-time coach and mentor, former All-England champion Pullela Gopichand. In fact, Sindhu herself has jumped into the speculation business by saying that Deepika Padukone should be the one to essay her character in the biopic.
Surely, many Bollywood fans would love to see this pair on screen depicting two of the greatest sportspersons that the country has produced. However, a sports biopic has to be about sports. It has to embody the spirit and essence of sport. Sadly, on this count, Bollywood has failed miserably.
Almost all the sports-based movies that this industry has churned out in the last decade, not just biopics, have stories which are full of typical Bollywood masala and devoid of the intrigues and dynamics that a true sports story has. There is no reason to believe that a movie on Sindhu's life would be an aberration.
The fact is that every top level sportsperson, be it a medallist or one of the also-rans, have to make sacrifices and work extremely hard to achieve even recognition, leave aside glory at the top level. The best stories are those about people whose rise and success was unlikely. While we don't know everything about Sindhu, she does come from a sporting background and was lucky to be taken under her wings by a man like Pullella Gopichand.
What we do not want is an artificially melodramatic account of her life, full of fictional stuff that didn't happen. This is exactly what we saw in movies like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Dangal. What is even more disappointing is that, for the sake of drama, villains were shown where they didn't exist and stupid dance numbers added to the mix to further assault the gravitas such movies should have.
Now, just imagine what would be the case if Akshay Kumar plays the role of Gopichand. We would probably be treated to the sight of the former All England Champion, one of the most humble and soft-spoken persons in the sporting world of India, beating up goons and telling white people about how he is going to avenge 200 years of servitude by making his protégé world champion.
Then, we will probably also get to see Sindhu suddenly breaking into a dance routine where she puts even Madhuri Dixit to shame. After all, if Bollywood can make Rani Laxmibai and Peshwa Bajirao shake a leg, what is stopping them from doing the same thing to Sindhu?
Is this what we want to see? Do we want a bona fide inspiring story of a genuine champion portrayed in a crass fictionalised manner on the big screen? Certainly not. So, for goodness' sake, let us find other ways of celebrating Sindhu's greatness than an Akshay Kumar-starrer Bollywood movie.