Kirti Azad to open new innings with ‘Kirket’
You get a sense of how eagerly Ranchi is looking forward to the third Test between India and South Africa, beginning on Saturday, when hoardings promoting it are outnumbered by political messages ahead of this year’s assembly elections.
Conspicuous among them and closer to eye level were smaller billboards in blue with a blowup of former India all-rounder Kirti Azad looking anguished; one from where ‘Kirket’ blazed in Hindi. It is Azad’s debut as an actor. Directed by Yogendra Singh, the 128-minute film in Hindi is set for a worldwide release on Friday.
“The plot revolves around my 10-year struggle to get the Bihar Cricket Association recognised, how we were mistreated,” said Azad, 60, who is from Bihar and was a key member of the 1983 World Cup winning squad, in New Delhi on Thursday.
Syed Kirmani, Sunil Gavaskar and Sandeep Patil are other members of that team who have acted in films. Their captain Kapil Dev has appeared in a cameo in four films. Directed by Kabir Khan, a film on India’s World Cup win in 1983 is in the works.
“It is also about how I formed a team and organised matches to keep the sport alive in Bihar. Unknown to me, Sonu Jha (the producer who also plays the villain and resembles a former top cricket official from the region) was tracking the developments.
“When we met, he showed me a bunch of newspaper clippings and that touched a raw nerve. Vishal Vijaykumar, who wrote the screenplay, then came on board and they insisted that I do the main role. They said since I was not camera-shy, it would make the story of my struggle and that of Bihar cricket look natural. At a recent press show, the audience clapped some eight times and my eyes welled up,” said Azad who played seven Tests and 25 One-day Internationals.
Following the creation of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association and after Jagmohan Dalmiya returned as president in 2001, the Indian board had disaffiliated Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) because of factionalism. It wasn’t till July 2016 that BCA again became a full member of the board. Bihar’s return to domestic cricket happened in 2018-19 following a directive from the Supreme Court.