'Saina' was about to be shelved four times: Amole Gupte

·2-min read

Mumbai, Mar 8 (PTI) Filmmaker Amole Gupte on Monday said he is relieved that his upcoming ambitious project 'Saina', a biopic on ace badminton player Saina Nehwal, is ready for a theatrical release after almost getting shelved multiple times in the past.

The project was first announced in 2017, with actor Shraddha Kapoor attached to play the titular role.

While the preparations were on in full swing, 'Saina' hit a roadblock when Kapoor bowed out of the project. In 2019, actor Parineeti Chopra came on board to play the part.

During the trailer launch of 'Saina', Gupte acknowledged the support of producer Bhushan Kumar, who held on to the film even when it was heading to be put on the back burner.

'I cannot forget the solid, rock like support of Bhushan Kumar. The film was about to be shelved four times. He would ask me, 'Don't we have to (make the film)? I'm here.' 'That's the strength of the man who stood behind me. Otherwise we wouldn't have reached this (stage) today,' the director told reporters here.

At the trailer launch, also attended by Chopra, when Gupte was asked the reason behind Kapoor's departure from the film, the director said he cannot talk much as he has recently recovered from COVID-19.

'What did you say? I couldn't hear. I can't answer this question, I am shivering,' he quipped and asked to move on to the next question.

The film marks Gupte's return to direction, four years after his last feature 'Sniff'.

The director has previously helmed acclaimed films like the sports-drama 'Hawa Hawai' (2014) and the 2011 hit 'Stanley Ka Dabba'.

Gupte said he was attached to 'Saina' the moment producer Sujay Jairaj approached him after buying rights to Nehwal's life for a screen adaptation in 2015.

The story of Nehwal's rise as a girl from a middle class family in Haryana to becoming the World No 1 badminton player was fascinating, the director added.

'Imagine the quantity of emotion in a life story where a simple lower middle class mother and father from Haryana bring up a girl who becomes World No 1. It had a lot of emotions,' Gupte said.

He said the family's emotional journey struck a chord with him, something he has attempted to chronicle in the film.

'If there's harmony in a family, the ups and downs of emotions can be recorded, observed, put on paper like a poet, a playwright, lyricist or a filmmaker.

'I never marketed my life. I am not making a product but films, which are my passion...' he added.

'Saina' is scheduled to be released on March 26.

The film also stars Meghna Malik and Manav Kaul. PTI JUR RDS RDS