Post the renaming of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award and the resurgence in Indian men’s and women’s hockey, the Dhyan Chand biopic has gained momentum. Producers Ronnie Screwvala and director Abhishek Chaubey are trying to finalise the cast as soon as possible.
The makers have a young actor in mind to play the role of Dhyan Chand, India’s hockey wizard. “They want to cast a person who can travel the ages between 23 and 40. There have been names discussed from Shah Rukh Khan, because of his Chak De connection, to Vicky Kaushal. The actor will be finalised soon and an announcement may very well come this month itself,” say sources.
“Major Dhyan Chand was 23 when he won his first Olympic gold. He won three in a row — in 1928, 1932 and 1936. In fact, Adolf Hitler was so impressed with Dhyan Chand that he offered him German citizenship as well as the position of a colonel in his army, which Dhyan Chand refused,” says film historian and writer Imtiaz Baghdadi.
Long ago, after the success of the film Chak De India which was released in 2007, plans were afoot to cast Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role in the film backed by Pooja Shetty and directed by Ila Bedi Gupta, who even met Shah Rukh in this connection; but the actor let the ball pass.
Later on, Shah Rukh Khan got the rights, but relinquished them to the current producers Ronnie Screwvala and Premnath Rajagopalan. Abhishek Bachchan once told us that the role of Dhyan Chand was perfect for King Khan.