Bollywood Buzz

Shoojit Sircar gifts a football film to John on his wedding

They go back along way. So, when John Abraham married girlfriend of three years Priya Runchal in a private ceremony in LA, it was obvious for Shoojit Sircar — in Kolkata around that time — to sit back and plan a wedding gift. But the ‘Madras Cafe’ director seems to have delivered a gift at John’s door even before the wedding took place. It’s none other than a film script, says Shoojit. Shoojit’s next with John is based on Mohun Bagan’s victory against East Yorkshire Regiment on July 29, 1911, when the country was under British rule. By being the first native team to have won the IFA Shield, Mohun Bagan dribbled straight into the pages of history. It’s also a known fact that the Mohun Bagan players, in folded dhotis, played barefoot against the British team wearing boots and shorts. The infrastructural support and bias typical of the white rulers.

“Though John did not quite unveil his wedding plans, I knew something like this was about to happen. So, I gifted him the script in advance. And yes, he loved it. Mohun Bagan’s win is an amazing story; for me, it’s the real ‘Lagaan’.”

The script is written by Soumik Sen, who’s set to mark his debut in B’wood with Gulaab Gang starring Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Juhi Chawla. While Soumik and Shoojit are part of the Bengali Club in Bollywood, with John, there’s a lot more than cinema, says the director. “Both of us love football. In fact, when not shooting, we engage ourselves in the game. And since John’s wedding gift had to be special, this is what I planned,” he says, adding, “Now, I’m going to ask John for a gala treat. There’s no sparing him on that.”

The movie is currently in pre-production stage and Shoojit admits that a lot of homework needs to go into getting the depiction of the era right. Meanwhile, a film in Bengal has already paid tribute to the historic event on celluloid. Called Egaro, the film won critical appreciation even though it was made on a small budget and a handful of young actors. “I have not seen Egaro,” Shoojit tells us. His film, produced by John Abraham and Ronnie Lahiri, will start rolling early next year. It will be shot entirely in Bengal. Who said Kolkata is not part of John’s wedding celebrations!


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