Current BCCI president and former captain Sourav Ganguly will be the next Indian cricketer to be the subject of a Bollywood biopic film. Multiple reports have confirmed that the biopic is being made under a big banner-production house, with a budget of around Rs 200-250 crore being earmarked for the film.

“Yes, I have agreed to the biopic. It will be in Hindi but it is not possible to say the name of the director now. It will take a few more days for arranging everything,” Ganguly told News18.

Dada will join the likes of former Indian captains MS Dhoni and Mohammed Azharuddin, whose biopics were warmly received by cricket fans. Director Kabir Khan has also been working with Ranveer Singh on a project based on India’s 1983 World Cup triumph, while biopics of Indian women cricketers, like Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami are also set to go on floor.

 

Where he stands among all Indian captains will remain debatable, but one cannot ignore the fact that it was under Ganguly that India first started to win overseas Tests. He has been called the ‘God of off-side’, ‘the Prince of Calcutta’, and his spunk and aggression made him stand out off the field, too.

Ranbir Kapoor’s name has popped up to play Ganguly on screen. And while no other details regarding the script and tentative release dates have emerged yet, we definitely want to see at least these five events in the biopic, which sure has a lot of dramatic events to choose from:

World Cup 2003

Since 1983 and before 2011, it is the 2003 WC run that will remain etched in the memory of most Indian millennials, and maybe their parents too. It was only the second time in World Cup history that India had made it to the final, that too under first-time WC captain Sourav Ganguly.

Team India flew in to South Africa on the back of a poor tour to New Zealand. They survived a scare against the Netherlands in the opening game and were embarrassed by Australia in the second. The team management sought help from a sports psychologist to boost the morale of the struggling side and it paid dividends almost immediately.

 

Team India went on a seven-game winning run en route to the final, where they lost to eventual champions Australia. The summit clash didn’t go as planned for Indian fans, but the 2003 World Cup was a joyous one for various reasons, barring that one heartbreak.

Dada emerged as a capable, fierce leader, marshalling a mix of experience and youth throughout the high-profile tournament. He injected the DNA of winning on foreign soil into the Team’s attitudes and at least nine members of the 2011 WC-winning squad, including Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh, were handed debuts under Dada.

Shirtless at Lord’s

The most famous Ganguly memory is arguably about his bare-chested antics on the Lord’s balcony after leading India to a famous triangular series win in England. It was another testament of his belief in youth and ushering in a new attitude in Indian cricket.

Chasing a mammoth 326 in the final of the 2002 Natwest Trophy, India were pinned down to 146/5 after Dada and Virender Sehwag’s 104-run opening stand. On the pitch were two 21-year-olds from India’s successful Under-19 side, Yuvraj Singh and Md Kaif. But this was senior cricket, and the stakes were higher than ever before for the duo.

 

They put on 133 for the sixth wicket and Kaif remained not out as he partnered Zaheer Khan to seal the win with just three balls to spare. Ganguly ripped off his shirt and flung it in the air on the Lord’s balcony in celebration.

He was later strongly condemned by the English media for tarnishing the “gentleman’s game” image of cricket and disrespecting Lord’s protocol. But he responded by saying that he was only mimicking an act performed by the British all-rounder Andrew Flintoff during a win in India.

The Greg Chappell Episode

After John Wright moved on from his role as the Indian coach and Ganguly’s long-term advisor, former Aussie captain Greg Chappell was appointed as his successor in 2005. Soon, Ganguly’s locking of horns with him resulted in many headlines. Chappell had emailed the BCCI, stating that Ganguly was “physically and mentally” unfit to lead India and that his “divide and rule” behaviour was damaging the team, which was leaked to the media.

 

Following poor form and differences with the coach, Ganguly was dropped from the team, and was replaced as the captain of the team by Rahul Dravid. Eventually though, Ganguly was able to make a strong comeback and even score his maiden Test double century, against Pakistan.

 

Dada was also named in ESPN Cricinfo’s Test XI of the Year in 2007, outlasting Chappell in Team India’s scheme of things after the 2007 World Cup debacle. The entire series of events in those years made for enough TV channel masala, and could also serve as perfect fodder for the biopic’s script.

Eloping With Dona

As a young cricketer, Dada pulled off something audacious beyond the boundary as well. A long-standing romance with Kolkata neighbour Dona Roy took little time to blossom, but unfortunately she came from what they would call a ‘rival’ family. Sanjeev Roy, Dona’s father, was not exactly on the best of terms with the Gangulys.

 

The duo had to tie the knot in secrecy after Ganguly’s successful debut on the England tour in 1996. Former Ranji Trophy cricketer, a close confidante of Sourav, Malay Banerjee later revealed: “Right after the successful England tour, Sourav called me to his place and said, ‘I want to get married.’”. Before Banerjee could respond, Ganguly added, “I have got runs. Everyone in the family is in a good mood. If I am to do it, this is the time.”

Both the Gangulys and the Roys were left fuming upon learning about the secret marriage. Eventually, they saw sense, and as they show in movies, decided to resolve all animosity. Sourav and Dona got married on February 21, 1997 in a grand ceremony. It could well have been a Bollywood script; and maybe it now will actually see the light of the day in the biopic.

The Nagma Rumours

Around the time of the 1999 World Cup in England, rumours of Ganguly’s alleged extra-marital affair with actress Nagma were doing the rounds. He continued to deny the relationship, but Nagma confessed to having ‘existence in each other’s life” in a magazine interview in 2003.

Nagma also explained why she remained silent in those years. “There was a career at stake, besides other things, so one had to part. One had to weigh a lot of things, rather than be on an ego trip and insist on being together.”

 

She was forced to end the relationship in the ‘interest of the nation’. “When it becomes too much, it starts affecting the interest of one another. Then slowly, though you’re supposed to bring happiness to a person’s life, you bring misery. Then it’s in the best interests to move on.”

The actress had said that “love and respect for each other will remain,” and it will be interesting to see whether this episode makes the cut into the biopic or not.

Image: Twitter&Facebook/Sourav Ganguly, Twitter/Venkatesh Prasad