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Shraddha Kapoor’s badminton skills no roadblock for Saina Nehwal biopic, say filmmakers

It has been reported that Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor, who plays badminton champ Naina Sehwal in a biopic, has been struggling with her game, delaying the shoot. Denying this, the filmmakers say that it’s on track.

Rubbishing reports that Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor’s struggle with badminton is delaying the Saina Nehwal biopic, makers of the film say that shooting will start in February.

The biopic, titled Saina, based on badminton champion, is in pre-production stage, says co-producer, Priya Gupta. The film’s director, Amole Gupte, had told the media in August, “[Shraddha] is currently going through an intensive regimen with Jitesh Padukone (former badminton player) and is practically transforming herself into [Saina] Nehwal. She is committed. Playing [the role] will not be easy, so I want Shraddha to be ready before we start rolling.”

On Shraddha’s rumoured lack of preparedness, Priya Gupta says, “There is absolutely no truth in the reports [of delay]. We will start shooting at the end of February. Also, Shraddha was busy shooting for Saaho.” Shraddha stars in the trilingual action thriller Saaho, with Baahubali star Prabhas as the male lead. “We’re already in production and have all our concerned departments in place. We’re two-and-a-half months away from [starting the] shoot.” Amole Gupte also maintains that the movie is on. “The shooting is happening at the end of February and beginning of March,” he says.

It was also reported that the Saina biopic makers were unhappy with the script, but Gupta refutes that as well, saying, “As you know, the script of every film undergoes polishing till the last minute.”

Shraddha had announced in April that she was on board for the Saina biopic; she began training in badminton a couple of months later. Soon after that, reports surfaced that the actor, even after several training sessions, was unable to learn the game, resulting in a possible delay in the shooting or the film getting shelved altogether.

However, Gupta says that the initial training was more like Shraddha’s induction into badminton and the rigorous, more choreographed training will begin closer to the shoot. “Shraddha has done about 35-40 sessions of badminton [training]. The first part of the story is without badminton; the second schedule has badminton, which will happen much later,” she asserts.

Since the second schedule is months away, “it makes no sense for Shraddha to train in badminton for six months,” says Gupta, adding that the more intensive badminton training will start “as soon as we know the exact shoot dates”.

Other actors have also been finalised, and the full cast will be announced in a couple of weeks. The film is slated to release next year.

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