After ‘Madras Cafe’, director Shoojit Sircar is making another period film with John Abraham by telling the century-old true story of Mohun Bagan’s historic win against an English football club in 1911.
The director, who considers himself a footballer first and a filmmaker later, said the idea had been brewing for a long time. He plans to shoot the film by the end of this year or early next year once he finishes his project with Amitabh Bachchan. The entire film will be shot in Bengal.
Shoojit, who has successfully collaborated with Abraham on ‘Vicky Donar’ and on political thriller ‘Madras Cafe’, says the script is a wedding gift to Abraham. The 41-year-old actor married girlfriend Priya Runchal in the US this month.
“This is a wedding gift for John. It is true-story. Mohun Bagan had just got created and they managed to defeat a top level English football club. It was a moral win and I think our true ‘Lagaan’ because football was not our game, it was their game. John plays one of the players in this film,” Shoojit told PTI in an interview.
Written by ‘Gulaab Gang’ director Soumik Sen, the story is based on Mohun Bagan’s victory against East Yorkshire Regiment back in 1911. They became the first native team to have won the IFA Shield by defeating Yorkshire. The Indian players played barefeet and in dhotis while the British team wore boots and shorts.
Sircar seems to have a penchant for real-life stories. His last film ‘Madras Cafe’ was inspired by the Sri Lankan civil war.
The director, a football enthusiast, is planning to rope in famous football players from India and abroad for the film.
“The story has always been in the domain but it was Soumik who suggested that we should make a movie. Like me, John is also a football enthusiast so he boarded the project,” Shoojit said.
Abraham will star and produce the film, whose title is ‘1911’. Shoojit has already begun the pre-production work.
“It is a period setting and a true story, so it needs lot of detailing. I think it will take 8 to 9 months of preparation before we begin shooting. Mohun Bagan will also be part of the project because it was a big victory for them and is one of their most famous match.
“After ‘Madras Cafe’, I wanted to do a fun film and football is my passion. this script inspired both of us,” he added.
Abraham’s very private wedding did not surprise Shoojit as he knew that the actor was thinking about getting married while they worked on ‘Madras Cafe’.
“We discussed about it during ‘Madras Cafe’ and I used to laugh at him because he was thinking about getting married now while I was married for 11 years. But I knew that he would do something like this because he is a very private person and whatever I know about Priya, she is also very private,” Shoojit said.