Bollywood, ManUnited join hands for football’s `Chak De India’ moment

November 14th, 2007 - 2:15 am ICT by admin  
The Hindi film industry also hopes that Dhan Dhana Dhan . . . Goal, starring John Abraham and his off-screen girlfriend Bipasha Basu, will win over new audiences outside India by featuring one of the world’s most famous football clubs.

According to The Times, the film’s director, Vivek Agnihotri, spent four years trying to convince a producer to make a film about a sport considered a minority pursuit in India.

He eventually found a backer in Ronnie Screwvala, head of UTV Motion Pictures.

The film was shot on location during the off-season at Old Trafford. Although there are no cameo roles for any of the players, Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo are likely to be used to promote the film.

It is a story of a struggling Southall club facing closure. The manager takes his players to the home of the Premier League champions to inspire them to winning ways.

The actors had training for their roles from Andy Ansah, the former Southend United striker, who choreographed the film’s matches.

Abraham had a head start, having captained his school football team. “I loved soccer and would have loved to take it up as a career, but apparently the universe had other plans for me,” he wrote on his personal website.

The makers of Goal are hoping that the Indian public is more receptive to a film about football after the national team won the Nehru Cup in Delhi in August, beating Syria, the favourites, 1-0.

The Premier League is already popular among the young urban elite in India and had an audience of 42 million last season.

The Premier League is extending its coaches’ training programme to India, where clubs including United and Chelsea are believed to be looking at setting up schools. (ANI)

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