Couple of years ago, John Abraham, who is a sports fanatic, had expressed his keen interest in making a film on football. While he has been a part of the film based on the subject [Goal] way back in 2007, he wanted to make a film based on real incident. So the actor had announced 1911 based on India’s first iconic win for India’s team. But soon there was no progress on the film, with buzz that it has been put on the back burner. Now, the actor-producer has decided to revive his dream and has joined hands with Nikkhil Advani and Bhushan Kumar.
Confirming the same an elated John says “What makes 1911 special is that it is not just about the coach, the players or even the game, it’s also about India’s freedom struggle. Like with Parmanu, the idea is to educate in an entertaining way so viewers walk out of the theatre saying, ‘Wow, I didn’t know this!’
Nikkhil Advani had spoken to reports recently wherein he described 1911 as John Abraham’s pet project. He further went to state about how passionate the actor-producer is about the film, mentioning that his face lights up when he narrates the entire story that transpired during that time period. He also revealed that John had approached him for 1911 even before Nikkhil offered him Batla House and that during the shoot of Satyameva Jayate they started working on the script. Further talking about his interest in making the film Nikkhil says “I’ve been wanting to make a film set in Kolkata, talking about its people, culture and heritage. 1911 is even better because it moves beyond Bengal to encompass all of India and its history. It’s a huge responsibility to tell this story right as it’s almost folklore to the people of Bengal as well as it’s so close to John. I’m thrilled he thinks that I will be able to do it justice”
On the other hand, Bhushan Kumar came on board since the T-Series head honcho has inked a six film deal with the duo, namely, Nikkhil Advani and John Abraham. Elaborating on his dream coming true, John believes that football is the new age cricket and that it is more appealing to the masses. He also spoke about why 1911 was special since the match happened during the pre-Independence era when India was under the British Rule. He described it as India’s freedom struggle and believes that the film will educate the masses just like Parmanu – The Story of Pokhran. Revealing his pleasure about being part of the project Bhushan Kumar added, “We are extremely happy to announce our first film as part of our six-film deal and it gives me great pleasure to be associated with a film which tells the story of the emergence of the most iconic club in India, as well as a truly inspiring moment in our history”
Interestingly, 1911 will be extensively shot in Kolkata. Further talking about bringing forth Bengali culture, Nikkhil Advani expressed his excitement. Bhushan Kumar too has spoken about being associated with such an important film that became an inspiring moment in the history.
For the uninitiated, the Mohan Bagan Athletic Club was established in 1889 by three well-known aristocratic Bengali families in North Kolkata. The team won its first trophy only 15 years later but under their coach, Sailen Basu, quickly rose in the ranks. In 1911, it was invited to take part in the prestigious Indian Football Association (IFA) Shield. With brilliant players like Hiralal Mukherjee, Bhuti Sukul, Sudhir Chatterjee, Manmohan Mukherjee, Rajen Sengupta, Nilmadhav Bhattarya, Kanu Roy, Habul Sarkar, Abhilash Ghosh, the team captained by Shibdas Bhaduri who played alongside his older brother Bijoydas Bhaduri, notched up one win after another, making it to the final where they were up against East Yorkshire Regiment, an elite branch of the British army. On July 29, almost 10,000 football enthusiasts lined up as the players took the field. The Indians were a match for the better trained British players in every way till Sergeant Jackson scored the first goal with just 15 minutes left for the final. Mohun Bagan responded with one of their own and then it was a fight to the finish.