The cricket fraternity backed my film 'Victory', says director

Mumbai, Dec 30 (IANS) It's not every day that Indian and international cricket stars come together to act in a Bollywood movie and what is even more rare is that they slash their fees, some taking not even a penny, as happened with "Victory".

"The real cricketers know we aren't faking it. 'Victory' hasn't been shot at one stadium masquerading as several stadiums. We've gone all over the world to various venues for cricket and shot with real cricketers. That's why our national cricketers are willing to stand by the film without charging a single penny in this day and age when free meals are a dream," says the director of the film, Ajitpal Mangat.

He also admits the cricketers cost a bomb when they act. "They don't come cheap. They cost. And every cricketer's fee is different. Most cricketers I've used in the film realised their advertisement rates wouldn't work for me. The real-life cricketers aren't used in my film as a marketing gimmick. Still you've to pay them what they want. Or they don't work with you. But the ones that worked with me spread the good word."

Ajitpal had to work his schedules around the cricketers. "They are very busy. So we had to work our schedules around these cricketers' diaries. But the support I've received from the cricket fraternity is amazing. And the cricket boards were really cooperative. They felt 'Victory' could inspire our youngsters to play cricket."

The director rues the fact that barring "Chak De! India" there have been no significant sports films. "And the films on cricket in this country are woefully inadequate."

Ajitpal doesn't see the IPL matches coming in the way of "Victory". "IPL is sports drama, not drama. 'Victory' tells us what happens to Sachin Tendulkar off the field when he's out for zero."

Harman Baweja stars with Amrita Rao in "Victory", which is scheduled to release Jan 30.

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