Cricket greats feature in new Bollywood film

As teams prepare for the cricket World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, some of the game's greatest players are gearing up for an appearance of a different kind - in a new Bollywood film.

Former Pakistan paceman Wasim Akram, ex-England captains Nasser Hussain and Graham Gooch, South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs and Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds all feature in "Patiala House", which is released on Friday.

The film stars Akshay Kumar, an actor noted more for his action hero roles than his skills with the bat and ball, and tracks tensions between a traditional Punjabi father and his son in the west London suburb of Southall.

"My character Gattu wants to be a cricketer but his family is opposed to it. So, I am trapped between my ambition and my father. He wants me to work in his shop whereas I want to play cricket for England," Kumar told reporters.

Director Nikhil Advani said authenticity was essential with cricket providing the backdrop for the immigrant family drama. Southall has one of the highest concentrations of people of South Asian origin outside the sub-continent.

The script is reminiscent of Gurinder Chadha's 2002 hit "Bend It Like Beckham", set in nearby Hounslow with Parminder Nagra as the second-generation Sikh girl who defies her parents' wishes to play football.

"The film is about a cricketer's life and therefore we have taken many cricketers as actors so that we can get a real look for the film," said Advani.

Akram is rumoured to be playing the young Gattu's bowling coach and the film was shot at Test grounds, including The Oval in south London.

Advani insisted, though, that the cricket is not the central thrust of the story but "the immigrant life... and the generation gap".

The film's release is timely nevertheless, given that cricket's showpiece one-day tournament begins on February 19 and lasts for a marathon six weeks.

Joint hosts India might have been expected to have made more films about cricket given its obsession with the game, the celebrity status of its top players and Bollywood stars part-owning sides in the Indian Premier League.

But they have been few and far between, and suffered varying receptions.

Aamir Khan's 2001 offering "Lagaan" (Tax) - about a group of poor Indian villagers who take on their British colonial masters at cricket - was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and is considered a classic.

"Iqbal", a 2005 film about a cricket-mad boy from a remote Indian village who dreams of playing for the national side, was less successful at the box office.

Sport has provided rich pickings for filmmakers over the world, from biopics like "Raging Bull" and "Ali" to dramas like "Chariots of Fire", "Seabiscuit" or "This Sporting Life".

"Escape To Victory" - a 1981 film about Allied World War II prisoners who are forced to play the German national side by their Nazi captors - has become cult viewing among football fans.

It featured former England captain and World Cup winner Bobby Moore, Brazil legend Pele and a string of other former stars alongside top actors Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Max von Sydow.

Despite the all-star cast that is likely to be a draw for cricket-loving cinema-goers, Advani said that "Patiala House" reflected life for many Indian youngsters and the sons and daughters of immigrants.

"Many South Asian youngsters sacrifice careers for their family's sake and they never get a second chance to be what they wanted to actually do in real life," he said.

"But in this film Gattu gets a second chance to prove himself as a cricketer."

str-phz/bgs/slb

 

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there