Actress Athiya Shetty, who made her acting debut with Salman Khan Films’ ‘Hero’ (2015) opposite another debutant, Sooraj Pancholi, has not quite lived up to the expectations which the audience had from her. It has been three years since she entered Bollywood, but her portfolio has only two odd films. However, things might change for the newcomer with her new movie.
Last seen in Anees Bazmee’s comic-caper ‘Mubarkan’ (2016), Athiya has been roped in to play the female lead in filmmaker Manish Harishanka’s upcoming film, which is actually a biopic on Kashmiri footballer Afshan Ashiq, who set up a team of women footballers in Kashmir valley and started training them in the game. Titled ‘Hope Solo’, the film sees Shetty in the role of the footballer.
The actress was approached for the role almost six months ago, but all the formalities were fulfilled recently. “Unlike most Indian biopics, this film will not be a success story but an emotional journey that portrays one girl’s fight against a system. It will focus on several movements like Khelo India, a national programme for the development of sports in the country, and the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme for women empowerment. Afshan’s dream has always been to be a national-level goalkeeper and represent India in international women’s football. The film will focus on these aspirations,” a source reveals.
To get into the skin of her character, Athiya is currently training hard in the game of football. “Athiya is presently practising football daily to step into Afshan’s shoes and has also been training as a goalkeeper. Her prep will also include learning Kashmiri and acclimatising with the accent,” adds the source.
Casting for other important characters is underway. The film will mount the shooting floor later this year and will be extensively shot across the beautiful landscape of Kashmir.