For the longest time Ranbir Kapoor, a passionate football player is desirous of doing a film on the sport. Well, Ranbir can eat his heart out. John Abraham has already done one football film entitled-what else? Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal. Now, John will soon embark on what seems to be the Lagaan of the football field.
In Shoojit Sircar's 1911, Sircar casts John as the Aamir Khan of a football team. And accompanying John on screen would be director Shoojit who will play one of the footballers.
Laughs Shoojit sheepishly, "Both John and I are passionate football players. He suggested I play one of the characters. In fact, I am a footballer first, then a filmmaker."
While in Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan, Aamir and his untrained peasant pals took on the Britishers at a game of cricket, in 1911, John and his Bengali brethren (yes, the film will be set in Bengal) take on professional British footballers.
Throwing some light on the project director Shoojit Sircar, himself a passionate football player, says, "It's a script written by Soumik Sen who has just directed Gulaab Gang with Madhuri Dixit. It's a fun story of the triumph of the human spirit about a small football club which wins against professional British football clubs."
Sircar doesn't deny the similarities to Lagaan. "But this a real Lagaan. 1911 is based on a true story," says Shoojit.
While John braces himself for the challenge of doing a film that does to football what Aamir Khan's Lagaan did to cricket, the real challenge for John is not to play football on screen but to look Bengali enough in a dhoti running around bare-chested in the open fields kicking some serious ball.
Says Shoojit, "Football and the bare chest is easy for John to handle. But the Bengali look and the dhoti, not that easy. John has already taken off his shirt and pants. Now he's evolved as an actor and is showing a lot more on screen than just his body."