MUMBAI: Who says actors and films do not make a difference to the quality of our life? A biopic on the life of athlete-turned-outlaw Paan Singh Tomar has made its makers aware of their social responsibility. They are set to establish a charitable trust to look after retired, out-of-favour athletes and sportpersons. The film’s director Tigmanshu Dhulia, lead actor Irrfan Khan and producers UTV Motion Pictures are spearheading the trust, which is being called SOS – Save Our Sportspersons.
Dhulia laments the state of former athletes in the country.
"Not everyone is as fortunate as Milkha Singh. We met so many athletes and sportspersons who either died due to poverty or are living wretched lives.
"Four-time Olympics hockey gold medalist Shankar Laxman died due to lack of medical attention. K.D. Yadav, the 1952 Olympics bronze medalist, died penniless. Sarwan Singh, the 1954 Asian Games gold medalist, had to sell his medal for money.
"Asian Games gold medal winner Parduman Singh died penniless. We want to do something to help such people before it’s too late," he added.
Dhulia says the move to initiate a trust for needy athletes arose from megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s concern for them, after he watched ‘Paan Singh Tomar’.
"He saw the film and grew very concerned about how we treat our sportspersons. We’ve of course been thinking about these unfortunate sportspersons all through the making of our own.
"Our initiative towards helping athletes who have fallen on hard times comes from him," he said.
Armed with the determination to get this project on the way, Dhulia and his team are set to get the SOS project going. Hopefully, Big B would be the face of the project.
Dhulia hopes to discuss the matter with the 69-year-old veteran, who is currently recuperating after two surgeries that he underwent last month.