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Shimit Amin on Shah Rukh Khan

By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Friday, October 06, 2006
We've seen films about cricket. And football....In fact Vivek Agnihotri is currently scripting a football film.

But hockey?! Shimit Ab Tak Chappan Amin is directing a film centered around the game of hockey. In what looks like a seriously tongue-in-cheek homage to the spirit of sportsmanship, Shah Rukh Khan has been cast as the coach of an all-girls' hockey team.

Director Shimit Amin is seriously enthused about hockey. "It's a dying art form....While we continue to go into ecstasy over cricket we hardly seem to realize that hockey is a true-blue Indian game and we need to give it the respect it deserves."

The reticent movie maker admits he doesn't play any sport. "But I watch a lot of them. I've never played any sport. And I knew nothing about hockey until I researched for my film. I feel a detachment from the subject always provides added insights into the film . If you look at Hollywood they invite directors from the outside to make films about their themes and culture. Sam Mendes who made the very American.

American Beauty is a Britisher. Likewise when I came to India from the US to make Ab Tak Chappan for Ram Gopal Varma, I knew as much about the workings of the Indian police force and encounter killings as I did about hockey. The challenge to me in making a film that allows me to go into unexplored territory."

The director has cast girls as hockey players in the team. "Yes we're working suitable girls who have to be sporty and swift hockey players. It isn't easy. The game is no longer that popular. It requires physically fit players. And it looks like a struggle ahead to get girl players in place before we go into production."

Jaideep Sahni has scripted this very unsual film. Says Shimit, "This is a very exciting time to be a film director in Hindi cinema. Last year we had several films that broke the mould. Once in a while something comes along to push the envelope. After Ab Tak Chappan I wanted to make a film that was completely Indian in spirit."

Shimit is all praise for his producers. "I'm so glad I came to Yashraj Films for my second film. After Ram Gopal Varma I again needed a producer who would provide me with complete creative freedom. I'm not the least surprised if I withdraw into my own work-shell and not react to such stories. I'd rather be seen than heard."

The director says he loves family ties as portrayed in films. "I love the idea of families staying together , interacting through crisis and drama. In fact the hockey film is also about family ties."

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