YEARS AGO, when Satara-based wrestler Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav was selected for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, he and his family had to run around the entire village to borrow money to travel. With great difficulty, they somehow managed to raise the amount and send him to realise his dream.
Little did he know that Jadhav was about to create history — he became the very first Indian to win a medal (a bronze) at the Olympic games. However, the script of the film – Ek Tha Khashaba – that could have shared his glory on the big screen through a biopic, remains writer Pradeep Shadangule’s dream project for the last six years.
It was in 2010, after researching on Jadhav’s life for two years, Shadangule wrote the first draft of the film.
Talking about the extensive research on the wrestler’s life, Shadangule said, he and Pune-based Sanjay Dudhane, who wrote the book ‘Olympicveer Khashaba Jadhav’, went around Kolhapur and Goleshwar, the village where he resided, to collect information about Jadhav. During these two years, the duo met his family members, villagers and wrestling groups. That’s when they discovered the respect Jadhav commanded. “There are many houses where people worship Jadhav and his photograph is kept where the deities are placed. All the akharas in Kolhapur pay him respect before beginning any match,” says Shadangule.
Interestingly, in 2012, the project gained momentum when a renowned producer agreed to produce the film. The casting began wherein Rajkumar Rao agreed to play the lead. The famous writer duo, Satyanshu and Devanshu Singh, were roped in to fine-tune the script. “They provided a nice structure to the script and took it to the next level,” says Shadangale. “Our project was suspended when we discovered that actor Riteish Deshmukh is planning to make a film on the same subject.We approached him and agreed upon a collaboration. But due to some reasons, he dropped the project completely,” says Shadangule, adding that he is again on a for a producer and is hopeful that the film will see light ahead of Olympic Games 2016 in Rio.” Though the initial plan was to make a Hindi film given its mass reach, now he plans to make it a Marathi film. “The backdrop of the film is Marathi; he grew up in Maharashtra. Hence, a film in this language will give it a realistic touch,” he adds.