NewZNew (Chandigarh) : Prithipal Singh…a Story is a befitting tribute to the hockey legend, who was a top scorer in three Olympics. The movie which releases this Friday has been directed by Babita Puri, a 40 year old film maker based in Chandigarh and Toronto and co-produced by Sundeep Misra.
It’s the story of an Olympic champion. Of a player who won a gold (1964 Tokyo), silver (1960 Rome) and a bronze (1968 Mexico). It’s the story of a man who crossed the border in 1947, a witness to the carnage, of making a new home, and with his skills becoming a legend in Indian sport. It’s also the story of a man who took on authority for what he felt was right.
He was gunned down in front of the Vice-Chancellors office with more than 45 eye-witnesses. None of the eyewitnesses testified and today the very people who killed Prithipal are free. They live without fear of being caught.
Prithipal the hockey legend and winner of an Olympic gold, silver and bronze is remembered more for the way he died than for his legendary exploits on the field or the gold that he won one afternoon in Tokyo. It’s also the story of a man we have forgotten. It’s time we told it.
Played brilliantly by Vikas Kumar, for whom this is a debut, he has brought Prithipal alive on screen. In a sense, the film – Prithipal Singh…a story – is a tribute to him. It’s a factual piece of cinema. Inspired by his life, the film is a cinematic expression of what Prithipal was, as a player and as a human being.
Babita Puri, an award winning documentary director and an alumni of the New York Film Academy, for whom this is her debut film, said, “I have always believed in the story. Prithipal Singh is a story of Punjab; of an Olympic Champion. It’s a story that resonates across the nation. We might not have the reach of a big production house. But that shouldn’t deter anyone from telling a story.”
Vikas Kumar who had a prominent role in the super-hit series CID and is now recognized as one of the best acting coaches in Mumbai, said about his role in the film: “I’m fortunate, grateful and proud that I was chosen to portray Prithipal Singh; a man who lived by his principles and probably lost his life for the same. I had an instant connect with the character (on many levels), and knew that I would have to portray it with a lot of responsibility.”
Aman Trikha, on a wave of popularity after singing for Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo has sung a beautiful number for Prithipal Singh…a story. “It’s my sheer honour to sing for a film based on such a legendary figure – Prithipal Singh. That intense song ‘Dard Da Marham Tu’ – is the narration of the protagonist’s life experiences & how he got his share of apathy & the degree of dejection. And most unfortunately, He was brutally murdered by his own people through a conspiracy. You don’t get to sing these kind of timeless melodies everyday these days & I’d been really wanting to sing something so pure like this since a very long time!
While recording it, I could feel the level of that pathos & there were many moments when I just broke down into tears with a heavy heart. The heart – wrenching lyrics & melody got on me tremendously, as I could feel that emptiness. As they say, Legends Never Die… They Live On! I salute to the Legend of Prithipal Singh – He will Always live on in my heart”, said Aman.
Talking about his research on Prithipal Singh, Sundeep Misra, Co-producer of the movie said, “Sometimes characters just jump out of history. And sometimes you need to dig them out. It required some thinking and digging deep to bring out Prithipal and present him again. Not with an allure that is common to cinema. But quite simply as he was – great player and a man who refused to bend. Sometimes, it’s good not to distort history. In Prithipal Singh…a story, we didn’t dare do that.”