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Javed Akhtar to write web-series Barefoot 11 for Voot

The series will tell the Partition era story of two athletes, a Hindu and a Muslim, who bring together India through football.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Sonal Pandya

After writing screenplays and lyrics for feature films, Javed Akhtar is moving into a new space by writing the upcoming web-series, Barefoot 11, for the OTT (over the top) platform Voot. Barefoot 11, set in India after Partition, will revolve around two athletes, a Hindu and a Muslim, who unite the new nation through the sport of football.

The OTT platform, which launched two years ago, announced 18 original web-series across several languages. Besides the sports-drama, there is also Asura, a psychological crime thriller, the legal drama Law & Honour, the crime-drama Jamtara and X-Ray, a web-series based on Satyajit Ray's short stories.

The veteran writer, at the launch of the Voot originals, shared he was excited by the opportunity. “This is the first time I'm doing something for web. This is an opportunity, a challenge, but it is something that is really exciting me. I hope I won't disappoint you, I won't disappoint myself,” he said on Viacom 18’s Twitter handle.

After the success of Gold (2018), Barefoot 11 will explore how India coped with the events of the Partition by rallying around sports. The web-series is due to begin filming soon.

Speaking to IndianExpress.com about the show, Akhtar said, “As the name suggests, it’s about 11 football players. And barefoot not only symbolises them playing without shoes but that there was nothing between them and their land. It’s much more than just a sports story. It’s an uplifting tale that will make you feel proud of your nation.”

The writer went on to talk about the trials with writing about the past. “When you are writing a historical, it has to match with time. What has been done 25 years back, wouldn’t work today. The tempo, pitch and energy level are different. We cannot let it be out of sync. Even when it comes to words, you sometimes have to imagine that maybe they spoke this way. The sense of history has to be there but taking in view the comprehension of the younger generation. Trust me, it’s like walking a tightrope,” Akhtar explained.