Most of the sport-based biopics have done well in Bollywood. From Dangal to M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story to Mary Kom to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, most of such films have not only done well but are also considered inspirational. Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani are already making a biopic, Gold, directed by Reema Kagti and starring Akshay Kumar in leading role. It is based on the life of hockey player Balbir Singh, who was on the team that won the first Olympic medal for India in 1948.
And now Farhan and Ritesh are all set to come up with another sports biopic, on the life of Deepa Malik, India’s first and only woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games. As per reports, the script developing team of their production house, Excel Entertainment, shared the script for Ritesh. He was bowled over by the story and scheduled a meeting with Deepa Malik. What was supposed to be a thirty minute discussion went on for five hours as Deepa narrated her entire journey to Ritesh. The producer admitted, "I had watched videos of her and knew that her life story was unreal, but when I met her and she let me hold her medal, the sheer weight of the silver gave me gooseflesh. At one point in her life, she had to choose between death and life in a wheelchair and she chose the latter. But as she sat in front of me, there was nothing differently-abled about her. She was empowering, a pillar of strength, and I knew that we needed to take her fight to the big screen”
Deepa Malik, now 46, and mother of two girls, suffered from severe backache during her second pregnancy 20 years ago. She had a normal delivery but her pain increased so much that she was not even able to bend to lift her baby. The doctors then detected a tumour in her spinal column, which was operated upon immediately. She had to choose death or life in a wheelchair and she chose the latter. She got 163 stitches between her shoulder blades, when her hubby, cavalier Colonel Bikram Singh, was away in Kargil. She was initially warned that there would be some loss of movement post-surgery. But her spinal cord was so damaged that she was rendered paralysed from the chest down. Yet, she overcame the tumour bravely. After 31 surgeries and 183 stitches at the young age of 26, she went on to become a state-level cricketer for Rajasthan despite the paralytic shocks that had persisted since she was eight. Ritesh Sidhwani further shared, "In 2006, she took to javelin throw and then had to change her sport one year before the Paralympics. For an event for which people train their entire lives, she had only 12 months to learn shot put. She returned home with a silver medal in Rio”
He added, “It will be a career-defining role for any actress as it’s not only about an athlete, but also the person she is today. It will also feature her children and husband and most definitely her hometown Haryana, her present home in Delhi and her win in Rio De Janeiro, among other places."
Deepa Malik has also won accolades for her participation in various adventure sports, the first Indian to receive a license for ‘invalid and modified’ rally vehicle after pursuing the authorities in Maharashtra for 19 months. Today she is associated with the Himalayan Motorsports Association and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, undertaking an eight-day, Raid De Himalaya trip, including a 1700-km drive in sub-zero temperatures and an 18000-feet ascent. She was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2012.
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