Anushka Sharma was ‘obvious choice’, Virat Kohli has been ‘very helpful’: Producer Karnesh Ssharma on Chakda Xpress

Film producer Karnesh Ssharma says his sister Anushka Sharma was the obvious choice for their upcoming film Chakda Xpress, which is inspired by the life and times of former Indian cricket captain Jhulan Goswami.

The siblings co-founded Clean Slate Filmz in 2013 and are known for churning out critically-acclaimed films like NH10, Pari, Phillauri, Netflix’s Bulbbul and Amazon Prime Video series Pataal Lok.

Their upcoming projects include Netflix Original series Mai, featuring seasoned actor Sakshi Tanwar, Qala, which is the debut film of late actor Irrfan Khan’s son Babil, and Anushka’s Chakda Xpress.

Helmed by Prosit Roy, Chakda Xpress marks Anushka Sharma‘s return to movies after a gap of four years. Her last released movie is Zero.

“Anushka is the obvious choice purely because the story spans across 12 years, so it needs somebody (bigger). It is a big budget film and you need a bigger actor to mount it and put it out there to justify the budget. From acting, to star value, (to) reach, there is no doubt about Anushka,” Karnesh Ssharma told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of an event.

Asked about the criticism that Anushka received when the first look of Chakda Xpress was released where some social media users praised the actor’s look while others stated that she did not look like Jhulan Goswami and her Bengali accent was not good, Karnesh said he welcomes all the reactions both good and bad.

“You accept that because we also felt good about the good reactions that came. It is art and it is open to debate and discussion. As long as it doesn’t get violent and belittle (people), we accept it. And because of that, we work harder on things, which you will see in the film. It is all positive. It is how you look at it,” he added.

Anushka Sharma, who recently announced that she was stepping away from the production house to dedicate more time to acting, is “putting in the hard work and training to be a fast bowler”, the producer said.

Asked if there were any tips from Anushka’s cricketer husband Virat Kohli for the film, Karnesh said, “He has been very helpful. He has helped us get coaches.”

Karnesh said the movie is about women’s cricket, their struggle in the popular game and what they go through.

“It is not just (about) Jhulan and her teammates, Jhulan is the face of it but all these women who have tried to create difference, all they want is opportunity and respect. They didn’t get money and opportunity yet they played,” he said.

“Today, women’s cricket is in a much better place now. (But) it is important to keep telling these stories to remind people that these women have struggled and support their game. It is happening but we need to put out a greater number,” he added.

The shoot of Chakda Xpress will commence from June and the team is looking forward to releasing it early next year on Netflix.

Qala, which brings back the successful Bulbbul duo of director Anvitaa Dutt and Tripti Dimri, also marks the debut of late star Irrfan Khan’s son Babil.

“Babil is a very talented actor. He is raw and unusual. It is obvious for people to compare him (with his father) but let him express himself. He is a wonderful talent. Qala is a mother-daughter story set in the early 90s in a musical Bollywood setting,” he shared.

Karnesh Ssharma and his partner Amreesh Chandra’s streaming platform Clean Slate Studioz has been announced as the new principal partner for Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

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