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Anushka Sharma plays Indian cricketer Jhulan Goswami in Netflix biopic ‘Chakda Xpress’

Anushka Sharma is returning to acting after a three-year-long hiatus with the biopic of Jhulan Goswami, one of India’s foremost women cricketers. Titled Chakda Xpress, the Netflix film will trace the struggles of the ace cricketer on her way to record highs in her career.

It will also shed light on the time the Indian women’s cricket team, which is world-famous today, had to face relative obscurity compared to the men’s team.

Here’s what we know about Chakda Xpress so far

Focus on the struggle of the women’s cricket team

Anushka Sharma
Image: Courtesy of Screenshot/Netflix India/YouTube

Sharma shared the first look of the film on social media on 6 January 2022.

The short clip shows the members of the Indian women’s team affixing tapes on the back of the jerseys to cover the names of the men’s cricket team members, indicating that the women players didn’t even have their own jerseys at the time. Then, they write their names on the blank tapes before taking to the field.

Sharma, who plays Goswami, then breaks the fourth wall to address viewers.

“If the jersey doesn’t carry your name…how will you have a fan following? But don’t worry, today we have put our name on the jersey, tomorrow you will know who we are,” she says in character.

In the clip, Sharma speaks in Hindi with a Bengali accent.

Sharma praises Goswami

“It is a really special film because it is essentially a story of tremendous sacrifice. Chakda Xpress is inspired by the life and times of former Indian captain Jhulan Goswami and it will be an eye-opener into the world of women’s cricket. At a time when Jhulan decided to become a cricketer and make her country proud on the global stage, it was very tough for women to even think of playing the sport. This film is a dramatic retelling of several instances that shaped her life and also women’s cricket,” Sharma wrote on Instagram.

“From support systems, to facilities, to having a stable income from playing the game, to even having a future in cricket – very little propelled women of India to take up cricket as a profession. Jhulan had a fighting and extremely uncertain cricketing career and she stayed motivated to make her country proud. She strived to change the stereotype that women can’t make a career out of playing cricket in India so that the next generation of girls had a better playing field. Her life is a living testimony that passion and perseverance triumphs over any or all adversities and Chakda Xpress is the most definitive look into the not so rosy world of women’s cricket back then. There is still a lot of work to be done and we have to empower them with the best so that the sport can flourish for women in India,” she adds, while underlining Goswami’s commitment to the game despite the lack of support.

Here’s the rest of the post:

 

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Goswami recounts the days of struggle

Sharing the first look on Instagram, Goswami wrote, “When you represent India, that’s all that is on your mind. Tum desh ke liye khel rahe ho, apne liye nahi. 11 women playing to place Team India’s name in history.”

“It doesn’t matter if they said ladkiyan cricket nahi khel sakti. It doesn’t matter if sometimes a man’s accomplishments are placed above your own. It doesn’t matter if the stadiums are empty. When you pull up on to the pitch to bowl, all you see is the opponent holding the cricket bat and the stumps you need to knock out. It’s this level of unblinking focus that lends itself to success. That, and remembering that you’re here not in spite of everything that went wrong, but because of everything that went right. It’s about knowing one’s place in the world and having one’s feet firmly on the ground,” Goswami added.

“You deserve to be here. And this is only the beginning. Team India is not just the roaring sound of 1.3 billion voices cheering and praying. Sometimes, it is one girl from Chakda playing a game of cricket with her team shaking, screaming for, and rising together when the stumps are finally knocked out. Now is the time to watch the women shine. It’s our time and we’re here to play. Today, you see us. Tomorrow, you’ll remember our names. Join us, as we cheer for Team India and bring to you this story. Chakda Xpress is now filming. Meet you on the field,” she wrote.

About Goswami

As a player, Goswami holds many records. She is the highest wicket-taker in ODIs with 240 wickets and has the second-longest career in women’s ODI and Tests. She also holds the record for the youngest player to take ten wickets in a match.

Anushka Sharma’s projects

Chakda Xpress is the second Netflix film for Sharma’s Clean Slate Filmz after Bulbbul (2020). Sharma was last seen in Zero (2018) and has also produced Paatal Lok. She is also producing Qala, which marks the Bollywood debut of Irrfan Khan’s son Babil.

See the first look here:

(Main and Featured images: Netflix India/YouTube)

Manas Sen Gupta
Manas enjoys reading detective fiction and writing about anything that interests him. When not doing either of the two, he checks Instagram for the latest posts by travellers. Winter is his favourite season and he can happily eat a bowl of noodles any time of the day.
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