Keerthy Suresh, who won the National Award for Best Actress, will make her Bollywood debut with Amit’s next film.
We can’t help but say badhaai ho to director Amit Sharma, whose film bagged two National Awards.
And the filmmaker is still in a state of disbelief over the development. “When the National Awards were announced on Friday, I only heard Surekha Sikri had won for best-supporting actress. So I called her up to congratulate her and she said, ‘Tumhe bhi milega’ (You will also get one). And sure enough, I got to know Badhaai Ho won the National Award for Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. I am in seventh heaven. I can’t believe our film has gone so far. We just made the film that we wanted to as honestly as we could.”
Coincidentally, Keerthy Suresh, who won the National Award for Best Actress for her Telugu film Mahanati, will make her Bollywood debut with Amit’s next film, a biopic on the football player and coach Syed Abdul Rahim. Often called the founding father of Indian football, Rahim was a champion player but also a very influential coach.
The film starts shooting in Mumbai from the second week of August, and the director admits that Keerthy has a supporting role in his next.
“It is definitely not like her author-backed central role in Mahanati, but she has a well-defined role. Those who have seen Badhaai Ho, and even my earlier film Tevar, would know that I can never cast actresses in decorative roles.”
Meanwhile, Ajay Devgn has been cast to play the iconic football personality, Rahim. “This film will be a much bigger challenge than Badhaai Ho. Our film covers a time span of 60 years, from 1900 to 1960. We have to recreate a football field from that era in Mumbai. We will also shoot in Kolkata and Lucknow, and even abroad, as Rahim’s teams went to the Olympics twice,” says the filmmaker.
He further adds that prepping for the film has not been easy either. “It has been far tougher than Badhaai Ho. We auditioned nearly 1500 actors to play football players. After we selected the team players, they were coached in football for five months. This film is not about shooting emotions inside a small flat. We have to go out there and run in the field. It will be exhausting, but I look forward to the challenge,” he says.
As Amit looks back at his triumph, he thinks of his late mother. “I know she’s watching over me and making all this happen. I know she blesses me. I hope I never disappoint her,” he smiles.