If all goes well, the Indian and Sri Lankan cricket teams will attend the premiere in Mumbai of Ajitpal Mangat's cricket film Victory on January 30. Confirming this development the anxious director said, "We expect the entire team to pitch in at the premiere. And Harbhajan Singh who has a part in Victory will be attending our music release on December 28. The real cricketers know we aren't faking it. Victory hasn't been shot at one stadium masquerading as several stadiums. We've gone all over the world to various venues for cricket and shot with real cricketers. That's why our national cricketers are willing to stand by the film without charging a single penny in this day and age when free meals are a dream."
He also admits the cricketers cost a bomb to act. "They don't come cheap. They cost. And every cricketer's fee is different. Most cricketers I've used in the film realized their advertisement rates wouldn't work for me. The real-life cricketers aren't used in my film as a marketing gimmick. Still you've to pay them what they want. Or they don't work with you. But the ones that worked with me spread the good word."
Ajitpal had to work his schedules around the cricketers. "They are very busy. So we had to work our schedules around these cricketers' diaries. But the support I've received from the cricket fraternity is amazing. And the cricket boards were really co-operative. They felt Victory could inspire our youngsters to play cricket."
The director rues the fact that barring Chak De India there have been no significant sports films. "And the films on cricket in this country are woefully inadequate." Ajitpal doesn't see the IPL matches coming in the way of Victory. "IPL is sports drama, not drama. Victory tells us what happens to Sachin Tendulkar off the field when he's out for Zero."