The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Goodwill series, on the silver screen

Mumbai, March 24: Why should a filmmaker be left behind'

Director Sanjay Srinivas has joined the rush to cash in on the Indo-Pakistan cricket madness. He has made a film at break-neck speed, the release of which is to coincide with the goodwill series.

Called Silence Please…The Dressing Room, produced by Brady Telesoft Pvt Ltd, the film will be released on April 9. It got an appropriate launch, too. As Pakistan’s wickets fell like ninepins at the beginning of their innings, the film’s cast and crew met at a five-star nightclub that was turned into a mini auditorium. The final one-dayer was being telecast live on a screen — in between shots from the willow were squeezed in shots from the film and some of its songs. But the thunderous voices rooting for Team India drowned out all the noise.

“I don’t think it will be a great commercial success, but I hope to cash in on the current India-Pakistan cricket fever,” said the candid Srinivas. “I don’t expect the film to be a Lagaan, but don’t expect it to be Stumped either.” Stumped was a cricket-Kargil film produced by Raveena Tandon and released around the World Cup last year that bombed.

“We will also try to show the film in Pakistan. I am sure after the goodwill series a lot of doors will open,” he added.

Silence has a real-life cricketer in the lead — Salil Ankola plays the captain of the Indian team. “It will be about what the players go through — the game seen from inside the dressing room,” says Srinivas.

The match is being played in Srinagar in the film against the backdrop of a terrorist attack. “It is not exactly the atmosphere in Srinagar to hold a friendship match, for the audience is divided,” he said. The captain is suspected of fixing the match. “The whole of the second half is the match,” the director added.

There are the other more familiar elements of the masala plot: a glamorous woman reporter (Sonali Kulkarni), suspense, terrorist infiltration attack and a brave policeman.

Srinivas said the film is based on a play that he himself wrote and directed during the World Cup last year. “It was about the India-Australia final. I predicted that they would play the final and India would lose.”

It must have been a remarkably flexible script for he said he has adapted the same to an India-Pakistan match. He shot for one month in December last year.

There are some veteran players as themselves in the film — Ajit Wadekar, Eknath Solkar, Poly Umrigar, Ghulam Parker and Yajuvendra Singh.

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