Bollywood’s bringing on a sporty biopic bonanza to binge on

Biopics will be rocketing, shuttling, kicking, boxing, checkmating, snookering (if that's even a word) and of course, cricketing their way into Bollywood screens in the coming year or two. 

A baker's dozen more or less if all of them make it to the screen with the love (if not the game) of our nation, cricket, having biopics on erstwhile captains of both the men's and the women’s cricket team. No bias there especially with its fans comprising millions of both genders. 

Let's start the list with Bollywood legend and superstar Amitabh Bachchan. 

1. Jhund – Biopic on Vijay Barse, founder of NGO, Slum Soccer

Jhund (Crowd in Hindi) a sports drama is directed by Sairat maker Nagraj Manjule and has Big B in the lead role who tweeted about it when filming began in December 2018 at Nagpur.

Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Vijay Barse, a retired sports professor, who motivated street children to form a football team in order to help them find a purpose in life. 

It was wrapped up on 31 August 2019 but with a stay order in November 2020, the film's release is on hold while filmmakers work to resolve copyright issues in the courts. 

Release Date: Hopefully soon 

2. Maidaan – Biopic on Syed Abdul Rahim, Coach and Manager of Indian National Football Team 

Maidaan (Field in Hindi) is a biographical sports film on the life of football coach Syed Abdul Rahim who is known as the architect of modern Indian football. 

Ajay Devgn will play the lead role along with Priyamani who replaced National Award winner Keerthy Suresh after the initial announcement. 

Rahim was the coach and manager of the Indian national team from 1950 till his death in 1963 and played a key role in helping the nation recognise the importance of the sport.

Release Date: October 15, 2021 ( coinciding with Dussehra )

3. 83 – Biopic on Captain Kapil Dev leading India’s 1983 Cricket World Cup victory 

Directed by Kabir Khan, ‘83 is a sports drama film with Ranveer Singh as Kapil Dev, his real life wife Deepika Padukone reel wife Romi Devi along with 12 versatile actors, sportsmen, singers, performers donning the roles of the rest of the victorious Indian team who lifted the 1983 Cricket World Cup.  

It plans to have a parallel Tamil and Telugu release with Kamal Hassan and Nagarjuna producing those respectively. 

Release Date: Hopefully in the 1st quarter of 2021 after several delays due to COVID -19

4. Saina – Biopic on Indian badminton player, former world number 1, Saina Nehwal

Directed by Amole Gupte this biographical sports film is based on the life of Indian professional badminton singles player Saina Nehwal.

Parineeti Chopra bagged the lead role after Shraddha Kapoor who was originally cast, dropped off and is in training. 

Close to 12 courts were recreated to represent international venues where Sania Nehwal has played. 

Manav Kaul plays the role of Pullela Gopichand Nehwal's inspiring coach, in the film which also features Paresh Rawal. 

Release Date: Was originally 2020, new date to be announced.

5. Shabaash Mithu – Biopic on the Captain of Indian Women's Cricket Team, Mithali Raj.

And the romance with bat and ball has begun, tweeted Tapsee, who after Rashmi Rocket, is playing the lead role in Shabaash Mithu, a biopic based on cricketer Mithali Raj’s life. 

The film is directed by Rahul Dholakia. 

An inspiring role model, Mithali is an Indian cricketer and Test, ODI Captain of India’s women's national cricket team. 

Release Date: To be announced

6. Abhinav Bindra – biopic on former Indian World and Olympic Air Rifle champion

Harshvardhan Kapoor, son of Bollywood’s ageless star Anil Kapoor is all set to play Abhinav Bindra in a biopic in which he will share space onscreen with his dad.

It is based on the true-life story of Abhinav Bindra, Indian businessman and retired professional shooter who is the first and only Indian shooter to hold both the World and Olympic championship in the 10 metre Air Rifle event. 

An adaptation of Bindra's autobiography "A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold", it will be directed by Kannan Iyer of Ek Thi Daayan fame and was announced a couple of years ago.

Release Date: To be announced

7. Viswanathan Anand – biopic on Indian chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand.

The biopic on Indian chess grandmaster, Vishwanath Anand is to be directed by Aanand L Rai  of Tanu Weds Manu fame. He announced it in December.

The cast and title of the film have not been disclosed yet. 

Anand, a five-time world chess champion is considered to be the greatest chess player India has produced

Release Date: To be announced

8. Dhyan Chand – Biopic on Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand 

RSVP films announced a biopic on legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand to be produced by Ronnie Screwvala and directed by Abhishek Chaubey of Sonchiriya fame.

Though the screenplay has already been zeroed in, the actors are yet to be finalised. 

Dhyan Chand was celebrated as ‘The Wizard’ and represented the Indian hockey team from 1925 to 1949. 

He scored over 1500 goals as a centre forward in the 185 matches he played during his international career, which includes three Olympic gold medal wins in 1928,1932 and 1936. 

He was felicitated with the Padma Bhushan in 1956 and his birth anniversary on August 29, is celebrated as the National Sports Day.

Release date: In theatres in 2022

9. Murli: The Unsing Hero – biopic on disabled jawan turned paralympics gold medalist Murlikant Petkar. 

Murlikant Petkar, a jawan who got injured irreversibly during India's 1965 war against Pakistanis won a Paralympic Gold medal in 1972.

A Padma Shri awardee, Petkar also set a world record in the 50m freestyle swimming and participated in the javelin, precision javelin throw as well as the slalom events. 

The late actor Sushant Singh Rajput was to play the role and bagged it soon after he played the role of India's Captain Cool M.S. Dhoni. 

Release Date: Don’t know if it will take off the blocks post SSR’s death. 

The movies below are not biopics of sportspeople but are still sports-centric films

10. Toolsidas Junior – A sports drama on the life of a snooker player

Announced in December, Toolsidas Junior is an upcoming sports drama on the life of a snooker player to be produced by T-Series Bhushan Kumar and Ashutosh Gowariker. 

The film will be directed by Mridul, and will feature Sanjay Dutt and Dilip Tahil and child artiste Varun Buddhadev.

It will also mark the return of Rajiv Kapoor, brother of late Rishi Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor, to films after 28 years.

Release Date: To be announced

11. Rashmi Rocket – The journey of an athlete from being a village girl to becoming a runner

Taapsee Pannu is playing the lead in Rashmi Rocket as a girl from a village in Gujarat who overcomes various obstacles to follow her journey as a runner.

Tapsee tweeted about the completion of shoot at the Rann of Kutch in January. 

The movie is directed by Akarsh Khurana and features Priyanshu Painyuli and Abhishek Banerjee as well. 

Release Date: To be announced

12. Jersey – official Hindi adaptation of a Telugu film on cricket

Shahid Kapoor is all set to play a cricketer in the Hindi remake of Jersey, a Telugu film that released in April 2019.  

The remake will be directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri who has also directed the original, with Mrunal Thakur cast opposite Shahid, whose dad  Pankaj Kapur is also part of the cast. 

Release Date: November 5, 2021 (In time for Diwali) 

13. Toofan – a sports drama about a national level boxer

Toofan (Storm in Hindi) is a sports drama film directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and starring Farhan Akhtar as a national level boxer.

Paresh Rawal plays the role of his coach while Mrunal Thakur and Isha Talwar have pivotal supporting roles. 

Filming commenced in Dongri on 26 August 2019 and was completed in March 2020 but the release was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Release Date: To be announced