As the curtain on the Football World Cup has been raised, and there would be frenzy in all forms of media to cover it, the occasion provides an opportunity to interpret it in a different manner. The different manner could be to see how the game of football has evolved in the world of Hindi cinema and also to throw some light on the manner in which South Africa has been used as a location by Hindi films.
In football, the first Hindi film that had made a significant impact was Hip Hip Hurray. It marked the arrival of Prakash Jha as a consummate film maker and how long a distance has he indeed traveled from 1983, to 2010 with Rajniti. It was followed by Sahib starring Anil Kapoor and Sahib could touch the chord of the audience all over as it was the first film that could view the game of football as also the game of life from the perspective of a football goalkeeper. Bend It Like Beckham was another cult film whose reference has to be alluded to, as here was a film that underlined the trials and tribulations of a Punjabi girl from a conservative family who wanted to become a football player. The film was a roaring success all over the world and it encouraged many a girls to take up the game of football in a big way. Goal was the last film that was made with football as a theme and it was instrumental in changing the image of John Abraham from being an actor who could play roles of a negative character to an actor who can play the role of positive character with panache.
As far as using South Africa as a location is concerned, it was Rajiv Rai, who for the first time shot his whole film Vishwatma in South Africa, as he was in the hit list of the dons in Mumbai after the phenomenal success of Tridev, and Rajiv Rai finally settled down in South Africa itself, never returning back to India. South Africa had got a major shot in the arm as a tourist destination through IPL as well, and the second film which was shot throughout in South Africa was Cash. It was supposed to be an action film, but it could appeal to the audience.
As South Africa has been an integral part of Indian cinema, and as Rajiv Rai is settled in South Africa, may be after the World Cup is over, he could think about making an Indian Escape to Victory with Indian film stars across generations.
By: Suman Rai