While the Oscar applause for Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby can still be heard, it seems Bollywood is already ready with a remake of the Hillary Swank-starrer.
|Eye of the tiger: Sohail Khan|
Actor Abhishek Kapoor (cousin of TV diva Ekta Kapoor) makes his directorial debut with an "authentic boxing film minus the betting element."
The film Aryan, which has neared completion, stars Sohail Khan as a spunky boxer with Sneha Ullal (the Aishwarya Rai look-alike who plays the title role in the forthcoming Lucky) as his sweetheart.
Says Kapoor, "Sohail plays a struggling athlete who is frustrated in life because he can't achieve what he wants. He gets into competitive boxing and his goal is to emerge as the national champion.
With rigorous training from his coach-mentor (Puneet Issar) and and inspiration from his girlfriend (Sneha), he gets into a punch-packed mission in the boxing ring. During the sparring bouts, he remains bare-chested."
Referring to perennially bare-chested protagonists, an obvious query is why Kapoor didn't cast Sohail's more saleable sibling Salman in the suitably topless title role.
Says the director, who made an inconsequential acting debut in Uff Yeh Mohabbat, "Honestly speaking, I had written the script with Sohail in mind. And I wanted an actor without any image or over-exposure.
Sohail was so dedicated that he rigorously trained for over four months under professional coaches.
We hired an Australian kickboxing champ, Amanda Buchanan, who has brilliantly choreographed the boxing bouts, and eminent foreign action director Chris Anderson who has handled the action scenes.
We also have actual boxing champs from Maharashtra participating in scenes, instead of the customary junior artistes."
Kapoor intends to approach tennis sensation Sania Mirza and hockey champ Dhanraj Pillai to promote his film, expected to open around June this year.
The other obvious query is its similarity to Eastwood's celebrated Oscar winner, Million Dollar Baby. Is this another case of Bollywood imitating Hollywood? Kapoor merely mentions, "I have not even seen Million Dollar Baby. But I am aware that it revolves around an ambitious female boxer and her coach.
Maybe the similarity has to do with the boxing bouts then. But with her knock-out looks, I can bet Sneha is on her way to become the million dollar Bollywood babe."