Pele's movie inspired me to make Bhaichung Bhutia biopic: Anand Kumar

Anand Kumar, filmmaker

73-Anand-Kumar-and-Bhaichung-Bhutia Anand Kumar (left) with Bhaichung Bhutia

You have directed popular films like Zila Ghaziabad and Delhii Heights. How did this idea about a biopic on Bhaichung Bhutia come up?

From the time I played under-17 cricket for Delhi, I have been a sportsman at heart. Even today, sports is something that keeps me alive, with my fitness schedules. I always wanted to make a movie on sports. With this idea I met Bhutia last year. He is a loveable person, hugely popular, and comes from a simple background.

Also, I was probably inspired by the Hollywood movie on Pele.

How involved is Bhutia?

Naturally, Bhutia is very much involved in the film. My writer—Prashant Pandey—is spending a lot of time these days with Bhutia in Siliguri and Delhi. He [Bhutia] was indeed happy and welcomed the idea when he heard that I wanted to make a biopic on him.

There were biopics on cricketers in recent times. This is the first time Bollywood is attempting a biopic on a footballer.

Football has been catching up lately [in India], since Indian Super League (ISL) took off with big names like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly associated with it. Boxing, athletics and wrestling are not that popular in India, but films like Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Dangal were huge hits. It is the story of the making of such legends which is worth telling. I believe, all Indians, especially young people, must watch such films, so that they get inspired to take up some sport.

Is it true that Tiger Shroff is playing Bhutia in the film?

At the moment I really cannot reveal who will play the lead. But it is definitely a top star.