Sportspersons team up to script a different score

Two of India’s best known cricketers – Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar – have collaborated with achievers from other sports, such as tennis player Sania Mirza and former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, to shoot the video.

Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar along with other athletes will feature in the video.   -  K. R. Deepak

A group of India’s elite athletes have joined hands to shoot a National Anthem video that will be released two days before Republic Day.

Two of India’s best known cricketers – Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar – have collaborated with achievers from other sports, such as tennis player Sania Mirza and former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, to shoot the video.

The project is the brainchild of former India cricketer Nilesh Kulkarni, who is currently the director of the Mumbai-based Indian Institute of Sports Management.

At least two of India’s Olympic medallists are likely to feature in the video, which will be unveiled by Tendulkar in Mumbai on January 24. “This video was the need of the hour, considering Indian sport is growing so much,” Kulkarni said on Tuesday.

“We discussed it with the institute’s students, and were surprised to find there was no patriotic video featuring only sportspersons.”

The trigger turned into a drive for Kulkarni and his team; so a National Anthem video was a no-brainer. “Jana Gana Mana… unites the nation,” said Kulkarni. “So does sport. It was natural for us to choose it to increase sports awareness.”

Kulkarni, a left-arm orthodox spinner, was best known for taking a wicket on the first ball he bowled in Test cricket (against Sri Lanka in 1997-98), the only Indian to do so. He has also captained the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team.

Kulkarni added, “The movement’s primary motive is to inspire youngsters to go out and play sports. We are confident that with several sporting icons in India featuring in it, the video will certainly be a big boost for Indian sport.”

Kulkarni declined to reveal names of all the athletes featured in the video, but said he was heartened by the response of all those he approached. “Virtually everyone was willing to contribute to the cause. Some of them even tweaked their schedule to be in Mumbai for the video shoot.”

The last patriotic song that featured a few renowned sportspersons was Ek Sur, popularly known as Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, released in 1988 on the State-run Doordarshan to promote national integration. This would possibly be the first time only sportspersons will feature in a National Anthem video.

The video is directed by Abhijit Panse, director of critically-acclaimed Marathi film Rege, while Ram Sampat has arranged the music.