Director Reema Kagti gets candid about how was her experience of making a sports film for the first time!
Biopics, historical events, sports and social issues — Gold, Reema Kagti’s latest outing combines all that is trending in Bollywood. The movie is centered around an important event in India’s sports history. The director, who has made hit films before, believes that bringing historical events to people’s conscience makes the culture richer and people aware of their roots. With hits like Talaash,Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd which she directed and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Dil Dhadakne Do which she scripted with Zoya Akhtar, Reema has successfully left a mark in the audience’s heart.
When asked about what inspired a sports film since that is a genre which she never played with, Reema revealed how the story moved her. “A friend of mind, Ankur Tiwari, had told me about the 1948 Olympic field hockey match and I researched about it. I found there was a young Bengali assistant manager of the Indian Hockey squad during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, who felt really demotivated and had pulled out the Indian National Congress flag to inspire the players and was later banned for this. He went on to become one of the most influential administrators and was also the manager 12 years later, for the 1948 team. When I found out about the locker-room scene in Berlin, I knew and strongly felt that I have to make this into a film. I was so inspired by the story. I really wanted to bring it out and narrate it to the people.”
The film talks about the first gold medal that India won as an independent nation and many other stories that many would not be aware about.
How did she narrow down on Akshay Kumar and Mouni Roy to play the leads? “Akshay is a terrific actor hence we decided to go with him. Also, it was because of his physicality which would perfectly work for the character, Tapan Das. I have to thank my casting director Nandini Shrikent, who chose Mouni. She did a terrific job,” said she.
Reema, who is “extremely happy” with the success of the film, which has become the third highest opener of 2018 and the best opener for Akshay Kumar, said, “It feels so good when you work on something sincerely and people like it.”
The film shows people’s way of living and culture during that era. One would wonder how challenging it would have been for the director to create a scene of that era, which was so different from contemporary times. She revealed, “The scale to recreate Olympics and the era was indeed a challenge. But with my great crew, we worked it out, revising and changing. We had researched the period and figured out the basic look which I shared with the production and set designers, and then they put their own ideas to design it better.”
She added, “However, the matches were definitely the most challenging. We were shooting them in Europe and the weather there is extremely unpredictable as it literally changes every 10-15 minutes making the shoot a nightmare.”
There have been questions about what led to this transition from rom-com film like Honeymoon Travels, to a sports film, she said that it is all about what inspires you, “There was no transition as such. It’s a germ of an idea that pulls you in. The idea of that gentleman who pulled out the flag hooked me. So it is just the trigger of an idea.”
Even though the film brings forward the life story of Tapan Das, Reema refused to call it a biopic, rather it is “a fictional retelling of what happened.”
Writer: Chahak Mittal
Source: The Pioneer