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Channel the sporting spirit through these upcoming biopics and dramas.

Bleed For This (boxing) Still - The Bleeder
Whiplash star Miles Teller will be seen alongside Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) in this biopic on former American boxing champion, Vinny Pazienza. Ben Younger — the man behind the 2000 Vin Diesel-Ben Affleck crime drama, Boiler Room  — has directed this movie, with Martin Scorcese as one of the producers. Slated for a November release, the film’s trailer (released late last month) already has viewers raving about Teller’s transformation into a heavyweight. It remains to be seen if it fares better than last year’s Sylvester Stallone-starrer Creed, the last boxing movie to come out of Hollywood.

Sachin: A BILLION DREAMS (cricket) Poster - Sachin
Olympics or not, if it’s Sachin Tendulkar in question, he must join the list. Ever since the cricketer tweeted the poster of this James Erskine-movie, many theories have surfaced as to what this film is all about. What we know so far is that it stars the Master Blaster himself and his brother Arjun and will focus on the finer details about the former’s personal and professional life. With music by A R Rahman, fans are eagerly waiting for the crew to announce the release date. Till then be content with the trailer, which has been viewed over five million times so far.

Budhia Singh: born to run (running) Still - Budhia SIngh
Do you know that a four-year-old boy from Orissa made headlines a decade ago when he ran from Bhubaneshwar to Puri over a distance of more than 60 kilometres in just over seven hours? Now 14, Budhia Singh will see his story unfold in theatres when the Soumendra Padhi-directed biopic releases next month. The titular character will be essayed by young actor, Mayur Patole, who beat over 1,000 people in auditions. Veteran actor Manoj Bajpayee, who learnt Oriya for the role, will play his coach. The movie has already won the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film.

The Bleeder (boxing) 
Go back in time with The Bleeder, a biopic on heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner. Wepner is famous for challenging Muhammad Ali and consequently getting beaten by the legend in a heavyweight title fight in 1975. The former will be portrayed by Liev Schreiber (Spotlight), while Pooch Hall will play Ali. Schreiber will be accompanied by his real-life wife Naomi Watts, who plays Linda (Wepner’s third wife). Directed by Philippe Falardeau, the movie’s title is inspired by Wepner’s boxing nickname, The Bayonne Bleeder.

MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (cricket) Still - MS Dhoni
Although cricket may not be an Olympic sport, it’s hard to ignore this movie, where Sushant Singh Rajput plays India’s most successful cricket captain. It sounds promising already with Neeraj Pandey as the director, who has made hits like A Wednesday, Special 26, Baby, and others. Currently working on Rustom and Baby’s sequel, Pandey has a task on his hands to convince the cricketing diaspora of his choice of lead actor. But going by the trailer, he seems to have got it right. Rajput does look Dhoni-sque. Can he maintain the swagger till the end? You will have to wait till September to find out.

DAngal (wrestling) Poster - Dangal1
India’s wrestling contingent may have been hit by Narsingh Yadav’s dope test failure, but that may not affect the chances of Dangal. Latest reports suggest that Aamir Khan has sought a change in the marketing strategy of the promotions to lean it more towards to the cause of women empowerment. Has it got anything to do with the backlash over Anushka Sharma’s role in Sultan? Your guess is as good as ours. However if you really need some fitness inspiration then this is it. Aamir Khan hasn’t looked this good ever since Ghajini, and credit has to be given to Rahul Bhatt, his trainer for the movie. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, it stars Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra, who play Khan’s medal-winning daughters.

My favourite sports
movies are Cinderella Man, Karate Kid, Rocky and Ip Man. These films have well-trained actors, often no stunt double, and are remembered
­— Dhilip Subbarayan, stunt choreographer

Hands of Stone (boxing) Still - Hands of Stone
Raging Bull-star Roberto De Niro plays boxing trainer Ray Arcel in Jonathan Jackubowicz’s biopic.
It centres on the life of Roberto Duran, a Panamanian who was famous for his deadly punches during his boxing heydays. He will be portrayed by Edgar Ramirez, who moved to Panama and interacted with Duran and his family to understand his role better. Musician Usher Raymond IV (also known as Usher) trained for two years to look the part of Sugar Ray Leonard, Duran’s legendary nemesis whom the singer portrays in the movie. Going by the trailer, we say both Ramirez and Usher have done a good job in prepping their looks for the ring.

— Karan Pillai



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