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'800' is a genuine biopic, not a fictionalized story: Muthiah Muralidaran


Muthiah Muralidaran, Sri Lanka's proud son, is the only International Test cricket to take 800 wickets. His biopic, entitled '800', is all set to be released on October 6. In India, the movie will be released in Telugu, Hindi and Tamil by Sridevi Movies' Sivalenka Krishna Prasad. In Sri Lanka and a few other countries, '800' will be additionally released in Sinhalese. In this interview, Muthiah talks about the biopic and what to expect from it. He says that director MS Sripathy has not made a hagiography. When the biopic was manifested by Kollywood producer Venkat Prabhu many years ago, Muthiah insisted that the script shouldn't contain fictional elements. Also starring Nassar, Mahima Nambiar and others, '800' has music by Ghibran. The film's trailer was released recently in the presence of Sachin Tendulkar. Its pre-release event was held in Hyderabad in the presence of VVS Laxman.

The film was intended to be made with Vijay Sethupathy as the hero. That was before the pandemic. Due to a controversy (in Tamil Nadu), he walked out. Madhur Mittal was chosen to play me. I must say that Madhur (of 'Slum Dog Millionaire' fame) has effectively matched my body language. About 70% of his demeanor and bowling action match mine. I was never present during the training sessions. Everything was taken care of by director Sripathy.

My life has movie-like elements. A lot happened in my life and even a screenwriter wouldn't be able to think up such stuff in a fictional story. That's why I told Sripathy not to fictionalize anything and keep the entire story true to life. That said, '800' doesn't feel like a docudrama. Only 20% of its content involves cricket. The rest is about me, my family and the circumstances in which my country found itself.

My legacy is my cricket. It doesn't depend on the fate of '800'. There will always be people who are going to find '800' not so exciting. Sivalenka Krishna Prasad garu comes with vast experience in the film industry. I am glad that he is releasing our movie across India in three languages.

Telugu movies dubbed into other languages are gaining popularity in Sri Lanka. People in my country are aware of the two 'Baahubali' movies, 'RRR' and 'Pushpa: The Rise'. Bollywood movies have been popular. I personally like Nani. He is such a natural performer. There is drama and emotion in his film. I personally like 'Eega', 'Jersey' and 'Shyam Singha Roy'.

Sri Lanka is my only favourite cricket team. Ahead of the World Cup this year, I feel India is entering the tournament as a clear favourite.

Updated on September 27, 2023