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Dhrubo Banerjee recalls how Dev Adhikari shot for Golondaaj with fractured toe

The film is based on the journey of the father of Indian football, Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhilkari.

Roushni Sarkar

Dhrubo Banerjee’s upcoming period drama Golondaaj, which is based on the father of Indian football Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari, is slated to hit the theatres on 10 October. Starring Dev Adhikari as the pioneering footballer, Golondaaj also depicts how Sarbadhikari, along with setting up the first football clubs in Calcutta, used the game as a tool for resistance against the British rulers.

“When the local people were not allowed by the British rulers to enter the Maidan, Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari founded the Wellington Club and got back the right for the local people to enter the playground,” said Banerjee, who was speaking about the historical figure who has long been forgotten and has not really received his due.

In a video recently released by the film’s backers, SVF Entertainment, Banerjee discussed the physical resemblance between Sarbadhikari and Adhikari. “I could not even dream of making the film without Dev. There is an uncanny similarity between Nagendra Prasad and Dev. The way Dev turned himself into Nagendra Prasad with each passing day is not less than a film itself,” said the director.

“We have taken two years to make this film, and Golondaaj holds a significant chapter in our career and life. All the people and the artists associated with the film have put in immense hard work," said the maker of Guptodhoner Sondhane (2018) and Durgeshgorer Guptodhon (2019).

According to him, the cast and crew team bonded extremely well while shooting the film. “Everyone regarded Dev as their elder brother while Dev treated them as his siblings throughout the making of the film. I think these beautiful bonds are to remain forever,” said Banerjee.

The filmmaker thanked the Mohammedan Sporting Club, SC East Bengal and Mohun Bagan AC, along with Indian Football Association, for making the journey easy for the team. “This also reflects the true spirit of football here in Bengal,” he said.

The visually rich trailer and the stirring song 'Juddhang Dehi'  has been well received by audiences and Banerjee is hopeful that they will be even more amazed while watching the film in theatres. “During shooting, Dev had one of his foot thumbs [toes] fractured but he continued to shoot for the sequences of the game and the other scenes till 11 at night. For me, one of those sequences was the hardest to shoot,” recalled the director. "Then he came back at 8 in the morning and completed the shooting for the entire day and then he got the opportunity to see the doctor."

But the actor didn’t stop there. Adhikari underwent wrestling training from the best trainers, but it was difficult for him to go up against a professional during the shoot. While shooting for one such scene, the wrestler’s knee made its way into Adhikari’s ribs. He was unable to breathe, and the entire area on his body turned red.

However, the actor only took half an hour to get settled and after that not only did he resume shooting for the wrestling sequence, but he also delivered the perfect shot, according to the professional.

"The film is a testament to the fact the playing football with true dedication requires blood and sweat," said Banerjee. "I told all the other team members not to practise with their sneakers on as while shooting the sequence they had to play barefoot. But no one listened then and by the third day of the shoot, their feet were skinned."

Banerjee feels that making Golondaaj has not only been a significant chapter in his career but has also turned into an experience worth cherishing forever.

The music of the film has been composed by Bickram Ghosh and, according to the director, the film is also a musical. “I am convinced that Bickram Da has done one of the best works in his career as a music composer in this film,” he said. Singers Nirmalya Roy, Sovan Ganguly and Ujjaini Mukherjee have lent their voices for the numbers in the film.

“Nirmalya has an amazing baritone voice and speaking of Ujjaini, I can only say that there is no song which Ujjaini cannot sing. Sovan is quite popular among us; he is Dev’s voice in the film. While he was recording, we could hear Dev’s voice through his rendition,” said the director, who also praised sound engineer Sayan Ganguly’s work.