Upala KBR (DNA; April 13, 2017)

Last year, Karan Johar announced a project — a biopic on the life of hockey legend Dhyan Chand. The buzz was Varun Dhawan was approached to play the lead, something he denied at the time. It was speculated that Karan and Varun weren’t too keen on Rohit Vaid helming the biopic. Issues with the script at the time were also cited as reasons for the stalemate. Another hold-up was that the director couldn’t be ousted from the project as he holds the rights to the film. It was he who had developed the script after a meeting with co-producers Pooja and Arti Shetty, who are collaborating on the film.

Now, with Vaid’s National Award win (his directorial Mahayodha Ram took home Best Animation Film), the star and co-producer have been forced to do a rethink. Moreover, Vaid has overhauled the script and is eager to approach Varun once again with the revised version.

Vaid apprises us of the status quo. “The people involved knew that I’d bought the rights of Dhyan Chand and had offered it to them on the condition that I would direct. There was no issue! They only wanted some changes incorporated. I’ve reworked the script along with Agneepath writer Ila Bedi.”

He further admits that he “will approach Varun again with the new script,” but that he has given other actors a narration as well, Sidharth Malhotra included. He adds, “Shah Rukh Khan showed great interest, but he won’t fit the age group. Ranbir Kapoor is a friend and was also given a narration. He loved the story, but he was already doing another biopic (Sanjay Dutt), so he couldn’t do it.”

The director says that his film portrays Dhyan Chand’s life from his childhood to his last match. “It took me five years to do research on him as nobody had a clue about him anymore and there’s hardly anything in his autobiography. We spoke to his son Ashok Dhyanchand and to many people in India and Pakistan. What we have now is very exciting.”