On Monday morning, Kona Film Corporation revealed details about the banner’s next production. Their fifth production will be a biopic on weightlifter Karnam Malleswari who was the first Indian woman to bag an Olympic medal. The announcement came on the occasion of the retired sportswoman’s 45th birthday.
The untitled film will be bankrolled by Kona Film Corporation along with MVV Satyanarayana’s MVV Cinema. While Kona Venkat will be penning the story, Raju Gadu fame Sanjanaa Reddy will be directing the biopic.
— KonaFilmCorporation (@KonaFilmCorp) June 1, 2020
Karnam Malleswari won the bronze medal at the 69kg weightlifting event at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. It was the first time an official Olympic medal competition for women’s weightlifting was introduced. Born in Voosavanipeta near Amadalavalasa, Andhra Pradesh, she began her career at the age of 12 and trained under coach Neelamshetty Appanna.
The biopic will reportedly be a multilingual and will see a pan-India release. Details about the rest of the cast and crew are yet to be announced.
At a time when the idea of women’s empowerment is used as a formulaic bait only to bring audiences to theatres, some sports films about women have managed to stay true to the idea and won several hearts.
Here are five such films we recommend:
Bend It Like Beckham, 2002
When you watch this film, the conundrum facing every traditional Indian household and its women will flash in front of your eyes. And in the end, you’ll be left with the tagline, “Who wants to cook Aloo gobi when you can bend a ball like Beckham?”. The film talks about an Indian girl from a conservative family in the UK, who’s passionate about soccer and is, naturally, not allowed to pursue a career in the sport. Starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and others, the film was helmed by Gurinder Chadha and explores the young woman’s struggle to play the game she loves.
Chak De! India, 2007
A classic sports movie looked up to till today for its brilliant sporting set pieces, as well as Salim-Sulaiman’s songs. Despite the presence of a big star like Shah Rukh Khan, the women of the film were given lots of space, making it a film that celebrated women along with strong feelings of patriotism that didn’t feel forced or aggressive. Apart from Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Malvade, Shilpa Shukla, Sagarika Ghatge, and Chitrashi Rawat also starred in the film helmed by Shimit Amin. The film is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Mary Kom, 2014
Priyanka Chopra managed to impress us in this movie with her fierce mien. The film dwelt on the struggles faced by Indian Olympic boxer Mary Kom before she rose high. Darshan Kumaar and Sunil Thapa starred along with Chopra in the film helmed by Omung Kumar. While it is an impressive attempt, the film did face (valid) criticism over representation. Why was Priyanka cast in this role, while there was a chance for Bollywood to finally cast someone from the northeastern part of India in a mainstream film? The film is streaming on Netflix.
At a time when Indian parents refused to see their children in trousers and vests, the Phogat sisters from Haryana entered the wrestling ring and managed to reach great heights with a supportive father, Mahavir Singh Phogat behind them. The film starring Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, and Sanya Malhotra is loosely based on this real-life story. Helmed by Nitesh Tiwari, the film is streaming on Netflix.
Irudhi Suttru, 2016
A wonderful performance-led film that also managed to hit the bulls-eye with a strong emotional core. Though a debutant, Ritika Singh pulled off the short-tempered livewire girl of small means, with big dreams with great ease. The film talks about how she goes on to become a boxing champion after her coach identifies talent that others failed to notice. Starring Madhavan, Nasser, and Zakir Hussain the film was helmed by Sudha Kongara. The film is streaming on Viu.