Main Hun Shahid Afridi', a Pakistani film on a boy's struggle to become a cricketer, has the cricketer's support
Cricket and cinema are two of the favourite pastimes of people in the subcontinent, and the success of films like "Chak De! India" proves that. The trend is being replicated across the border too - last year, Pakistan-born and UK-based filmmaker Faisal Aman Khan made a film on the life of cricketer Imran Khan. And now, it's Pakistan's former cricket skipper Shahid Afridi whose name - and possibly his cameo - will be part of a Pakistani film on cricket.
The film, "Main Hun Shahid Afridi", is being produced by Humayun Saeed and Shazad Nasib, and is, of course, based on cricket. Pakistani actor-turned-producer Humayun tells us, "It's for the first time in the history of Pakistani films that that a sports movie will be directed, produced and shot here. It's about the youth of today in Pakistan who would like to pursue a career in sports." But why is the movie titled "Main Hun Shahid Afridi"? Says Humayun, "Today, every young boy in Pakistan wants to become Shahid Afridi. The story of the film basically revolves around the life of a young boy and his struggle to become a cricketer. The story is very simple and uncomplicated, but the message is that today's generation, who want to enter sports, should concentrate more on their passion for the game rather than get into scandals and controversies."
Humayun elaborates, "Almost 50% of the shooting of the movie is done. We have shot the movie at some popular stadiums in Sialkot, Islamabad and Karachi. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) helped us a lot, providing proper facilities and experienced coaches to train the cast for the movie. The cast had to go through rigorous training sessions for a month before the shooting started. Also, well-known cricketers from the Pakistan cricket team have given us their support."
The movie is being directed by Osama Ali Raza and has been written by Wasay Chaudhary. "The lead is being played by a 19-year-old boy called Noman Habib who is a talented actor and also a professional cricketer. I shall also be part of the movie and will be playing the role of a coach," adds Humayun.
Is Afridi acting in the movie? Says Humayun, "Shahid is a good friend and he knows about the movie. We had approached him to act in it, but he refused to do it, mainly due to family pressure and religious reasons. However, we hope to convince him to make a special appearance in the movie. We have just completed a photoshoot with Shahid which will be used in the movie."
Are there any plans to rope in international cricketers for the film? Says Humayun, "Why not? We would love to have support from international cricketers. I have spoken to Shahid and he has shown some interest in taking the conversation forward to some of his cricketer friends like Sachin Tendulkar and Sangakkara. I think it'll be great if they agree to do so."
Humayun also says that the film will feature the T20 format, which will be introduced in Pakistan soon in the form of the Pakistan Premier League. "The film is based on the new T20 format and inspired by the IPL matches. But very soon, we shall see the same concept and format being introduced in Pakistan at the PPL matches. The film will show two teams - ek garib aur doosri ameer team," he says.
Well-known Pakistani singers Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shafqat Amanat Ali have been roped in for two songs in the movie. "We want to take the movie to the global audience and would also try to organize a special screening for our audiences in India," says Humayun.