Those who have seen him win the popular dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 3 cannot stop gushing over his dancing prowess. However, very few know that 37-year-old Baichung Bhutia, the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena, is good at acting as well.
Bhutia did a cameo in a Bengali film Kuasa (Fog) around a decade back, in which he played himself. Years later and having hung his boots, he is getting offers again to act in films, but he has said no so far.
On Monday he is meeting filmmaker Shoojit Sircar, of Vicky Donor and Madras Café fame, but the footballer said he is not clear about the agenda of the meeting.
Is there a film on him on the anvil? “As of now, no,” he said before catching a flight to Kolkata from Ranchi where he attended a private event, “Sircar wanted to meet me. I said yes for Monday. The agenda is not yet clear to me.”
Of late, Indian cinema has seen a surge in biographical sports dramas. The success of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biographical film on ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh, has further boosted making of such films. Priyanka Chopra will be playing Olympian Mary Kom in a film while there are talks on a film on Sachin Tendulkar.
Farhan Akhtar as Mikha was superb. Sachin has already announced that if there is a film on him, he would like Aamir Khan to play him. Who does Bhutia think would do justice to his character if there is a film on him?
“Ranbir Kapoor,” he said, explaining, “Football, unlike athletics, is a technical sport. The whole purpose of making a film would go wasted if the actor playing a footballer is not aware of the technicalities. And among the whole lot of actors, I know Ranbir is the best when it comes to playing football. We have played together in a couple of exhibition and fundraising matches and I found Kapoor to be very good.”
Bhutia rates Ranbir a better footballer than actor John Abraham, whose fondness for soccer is well known. Abraham played a footballer in his 2007 film Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal and is set to be part of another movie on football.
The former Indian soccer captain is also impressed with Team India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s keenness for football. “He plays football well. He can do a lot of good by promoting soccer in the country, especially Jharkhand, where there is an abundance of sporting talent,” Bhutia said.