Is Victory based on Dhoni or Sehwag's life? Does Harman Baweja's character in the film bear a striking resemblance to these two icons? That's the rumour floating around! "Not true," Victory director Ajitpal Mangat clarifies, "The only similarity is that like some of our cricketers, Vijay Shekhawat [the role enacted by Harman in Victory] hails from a small town. In fact, I'd say it's the story of an underdog, who rises from ashes to glory."
Victory is a make-or-break film for both Ajitpal and lead man Harman. Having dabbled in acting and later, directing ad films, Ajitpal decided to try his hand at film-making. "The script of Victory was ready way back in 2000. Much later, when I narrated the story to Manmohan Shetty, my mentor, he suggested that I should not only direct the film, but also produce it. Manmohan-ji also suggested Harman for the project and when I met him, I knew I had found Vijay Shekhawat," Ajitpal says.
Getting cricketers on board was tough, but once Ajitpal signed Brett Lee, it was easy convincing other cricketers. Come to think of it, he could've cast actors in those roles. "I wanted the matches to look authentic. With actors, it wouldn't have looked natural. That's why I chose real-life cricketers for those parts," he reasons. So why Harman? Why not someone like Dhoni in the central role? "Most of them may be fabulous cricketers, but they aren't good actors," he smiles.
Harman, labeled a Hrithik look-alike, will now face Hrithik and Farhan Akhtar [Luck By Chance] on 30th January. What are the prospects of Victory then? "There's space for everyone. I genuinely believe that two films can co-exist easily. I'm sure, they've made a good film. Victory is great as well," he says.