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Chandigarh: Author Khushwant Singh’s book on centenarian marathon-runner Fauja Singh to be a biopic now

Omung Kumar B, the director of Mary Kom and Sarabjit, among other films, will direct the film that is being adapted to the big screen by Aleya Motion Magic, ThinkInk Picturez and Blue Lotus Creative.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
January 23, 2021 8:05:13 am
Turbaned Tornado, Fauja Singh, Fauja Singh biopic, Khushwant Singh, Khushwant Singh book on Fauja Singh, Chandigarh city news, Indian Express newsAuthor Khushwant Singh with Fauja Singh. (Express Photo)

We need hope, inspiration, light and a way forward— more so now, than ever before. “Amid these trying times brought in by the pandemic, I feel the inspirational story of Fauja Singh will make into the most apt film. It will lift up the spirits and inspire millions in so many myriad ways.

Fauja Singh’s life is extraordinary and yet so human and it must reach to wider audiences,” reflects Chandigarh-based author Khushwant Singh, whose biography of iconic marathon-runner Fauja Singh, ‘Turbaned Tornado’ (Rupa Publications), will now be a biopic.

Omung Kumar B, the director of Mary Kom and Sarabjit, among other films, will direct the film that is being adapted to the big screen by Aleya Motion Magic, ThinkInk Picturez and Blue Lotus Creative.

The biography of Fauja Singh, Turbaned Tornado, was released in July 2011 in the House of Lords, London. The book will be Khushwant’s second work to be adapted into a movie. Last year, Guneet Monga, producer of films such as ‘Lunch Box’ and ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, had announced the adaptation of Khushwant Singh’s novel ‘Maharaja in Denims’ for a movie.

Khushwant had written about the ‘force’ Fauja first in his book, ‘Sikhs Unlimited’ in 2007 and in 2009, he was approached by Harmander Singh, Fauja’s coach to write his biography, the real life story of the 109-year-old, better known as the ‘Sikh Superman’ who stunned the world by shattering world records as a marathon runner.

“I was excited and charged, and flew to London to begin work on the biography. All my interviews with Fauja Singh were while walking on the streets of Ilford, as he told me on the first day that he either sleeps or walks, and does not sit. So, we walked miles, having tea, lunch, snack at various gurudwaras here, as I recorded his fascinating journey of over decades,” recalls Khushwant, who is currently the State Information Commissioner of Punjab and has also written the authorised biography of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

The biography of Fauja Singh authored by Khushwant has received a remarkable response from readers, and has also led him to spend a lot more time with Fauja Singh, on signing tours in Australia, Canada and later at the Mumbai Marathon, where Fauja was invited.

“His energy, wit, humour and quick thinking is infectious, as is his will to defy the odds and keep going. It was after the tragic death of his son that he began running at the age of 89, coming out of deep depression. He is a simple man, with amazing grit, as he gives away all that he gets from ads and sponsorships to charity, and spends a good portion of his pension on shoes, he has a passion for good shoes. He travelled with at least six pairs of shoes on his recent trip to Mumbai, and I am not talking about sports shoes,” smiles Khushwant, who has written extensively about Fauja and his running graph, even after the biography.

Elated that the biography will now be a film, which will hopefully release next year, Khushwant says that the venture also validates his continuous and consistent work, and his perseverance to write about Punjab and its people.

“I stuck to my belief that you can be anywhere and continue your creative process. Both Fauja and Amarinder, are two such diverse people and writing about them required so much research and work and I am happy that after 15-16 years of work, my writing will find new audiences.

Fauja Singh’s incredible story has to be brought out before the world to highlight the thinking, toil and determination of the man. I am absolutely delighted to be associated with this project in the creative capacity,” says Khushwant.

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