Article Hindi

You can't escape from cricket in our country: 22 Yards actor Barun Sobti

The popular actor plays a sports agent in former sports journalist-turned-director Mitali Ghoshal’s directorial debut 22 Yards.

Geetika Tyagi, Barun Sobti, Sourav Ganguly, Amartya Ray and Mitali Ghoshal at the 22 Yards trailer launch. Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

When a celebrated former captain of the Indian team turns up for the trailer launch of a relatively unknown Hindi film, you take notice of it. 22 Yards marks the directorial debut of former journalist Mitali Ghoshal. The drama is based on a sports agent, played by popular TV and film actor Barun Sobti.

Sharing his experience of working in such a film, the soft-spoken Sobti said, “Irrespective of how much you want you can't escape from cricket in our country. I have grown up playing cricket but that was not the point when I started preparing for the role. When I heard the story, it is such an emotional [one], I didn't think about the professional way of playing the game, but had to get our hearts into the characters and I guess we did that.”

Sourav Ganguly, the former India cricket captain, underlined the importance of a sports agent in the professional career of a sportsman.

“This is a special relationship prevalent in sports. All cricketers should learn how to handle it. That’s a very fine balance when you play for the country. You see the end product of it, but what actually goes behind is a lot more, lot tougher than what you see at the end. When a cricketer gets a hundred, the bat goes up, they have 15 sponsors. It’s the reality of life. I believe the game controls the other, and it’s never the other way around. It is important that every young cricketer should look after their game, everything else gets looked after," said Ganguly.

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A film on a sports agent is perhaps the first-of-its-kind in Hindi cinema. What attracted the director to a film on this subject?

“I was a sports journalist, that is the main reason why I thought of making this film,” explained Ghoshal.

“Sports agents are very important. He contributes financially to a sport. Besides, the writer Samrat wrote a beautiful story. I hadn’t planned to make a story on a sports agent, but from a filmmaker’s perspective, I found this story very nice. Hence, I decided to tell it to the audience,” added Ghoshal.

The film also has actress Geetika Tyagi playing a journalist, who ruins Sobti's career through a sensational story. Coincidentally, Tyagi was once a journalist too. "Like Mitali, I was also a journalist, but she was into sports, while I was into crime [journalism]. So, it was education [in sports journalism] for me. Mitali gave me lots of tips I got to learn about media goals, all those conversations, the body language of a sports journalist," said Tyagi on her experience of playing a sports journalist.

22 Yards will be released on 22 February.