Will Main Hoon Shahid Afridi be the Bhaag Milkha Bhaag for Pakistan?

A poster of Main Hoon Shahid Afridi

By Taus Rizvi

As Bhaag Milkha Bhaag leaves the audience in India spellbound with its portrayal of a sporting icon, Pakistan is eagerly awaiting the release of Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, one of its first movies on sports. “We never had a film on sport and so, I wanted to make a movie about the game we love. We have produced some of the best cricketing talent and it is only appropriate to have made a movie on cricket,” actor-producer Humayun Saeed told DNA from Pakistan.

He pointed out that the movie is not a biopic on Shahid Afridi, the maverick cricketer. “It is the story of a young cricketer who wants to become Shahid Afridi. It is about a team which emerges as the winner despite all odds. It is about a cricketer who has gone through controversies before returning as coach to help the team. It is about a boy from a poor family who achieves success,” Saeed said.

Unlike Pakistan, India has produced many movies on sports (Chak De! India and Iqbal for instance) as well as biopics (Paan Singh Tomar and soon to-be-released film on Mary Kom). Main Hoon Shahid Afridi could mark the beginning of such movies being made in Pakistan.

Saeed approached Afridi with an acting offer, but he refused as his family was averse to the idea. Afridi fans, however, need not be dejected. “He does appear in the film. But I won’t reveal when,” Saeed said.

The movie, Saeed hopes, will revive interest in cricket in Pakistan. “International cricket is not being played in Pakistan, but that doesn’t mean cricket is over. There is a dialogue in the film — Pakistan se sab chhin gaya hai, ek waqt aisa aayega ki cricket bhi chhin jaayega (Pakistan has lost everything and a time will come when we will lose our cricket too). But I hope it does not happen,” he said.

The movie is scheduled to release on Eid in Pakistan, a week before Chennai Express releases there. In India and elsewhere, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi will be released eight to 10 days later.

(Taus Rizvi is a Principal Correspondent with DNA. A club-level cricketer, he believes cricket helps in knowing a person’s character. Taus can be followed on @rizvitaus on Twitter. The above news has been republished with permission from DNA, where it first appeared)