It is official now! Leading Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu will be essaying the role of Indian cricket legend and the current captain of women's team in Test and ODI format, Mithali Raj. The film is being produced by Viacom18 Studios and will be directed by Rahul Dholakia.
Taapsee already has experience of portraying a sportsperson in a biopic. Her recent release Saand ki Aankh saw her portraying the role of Prakashi Tomar alongside Bhumi Pednekar, who played Chandro Tomar, in a biopic of the two sharpshooters.
The announcement of this project was made on the apt occasion of Mithali's birthday. Taapsee took to Instagram where she wished the person she would be playing on screen a happy birthday as well as expressing her joy at being chosen for the role.
"Happy Happy Birthday Captain @mithaliraj! You have made all of us proud in more than many ways and it's truly an honour to be chosen to showcase your journey on screen. On this Birthday of yours I don't know what gift I can give you but this promise that I shall give it all I have to make sure you will be proud of what you see of yourself on screen with #ShabaashMithu. P.S- I am all prepared to learn THE 'cover drive' #HappyBirthdayCaptain (sic)," the famous actress wrote.
Along with the text, there was also a photograph of Mithali cutting a cake alongside Pannu. This will be the third sports biopic that the actress would be part of. Apart from her role in Saand ki Aankh, she also starred in the movie Soorma which was based on the life of former Indian hockey player Sandeep Singh.
Ajit Andhare, Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18 also made the announcement, on Twitter. "Thrilled to announce our next with @taapsee takes guard as @M_Raj03, untold & ignored story of the rise of Indian women cricket, in a cricket crazy nation! When world goes big on cricket, we go different, #artoflookingsideways. So waited for this moment. Happy birthday Mithali!"
Viacom 18 has made other biopics on sports personalities in the past. In 2013, it produced Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, based on the life of legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh. Next year, it came out with Mary Kom, a biopic on the eponymous multi-time boxing World Champion.
Both Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Mary Kom were successful but received mixed reviews. While film critics were generally positive in their response, many pointed to the various liberties taken with the facts in both the flicks. How this movie will turn out remains to be seen.