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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Movie on Hansie Cronje nears completion

Movie on Hansie Cronje nears completion

Last updated on: October 31, 2007 12:32 IST

For Hansie Cronje, the lure of lucre proved fatal. From being hero one day to villain the next, it all went wrong for the late South Africa cricket captain.

Now his brother Frans Cronje is set to bring out the story on the silver screen.

The shooting of Hansie - A true story is nearing completion after a two-month schedule. The crew was busy over the last two weeks, getting through the final takes at Madh Island, in North Mumbai, before heading back home to South Africa to complete production and distribution of the movie.

Hansie was one of South Africa's top cricketers before he was banned for life in 2000 for his involvement in match-fixing. He died in mysterious circumstances in a plane crash in June 2002.

"Hansie and I spoke about his life and there was in him a sense that his life, his mistakes should benefit others. He wanted people to learn from the mistakes he made and that is what led us first to do his biography, which we released two years ago and now this movie," Frans, who is also the producer of the movie, told rediff.com on Tuesday.

The book on Hansie, titled The Hansie Cronje Story, An Authorised Biography, sold more than 30,000 copies in South Africa and there is a great deal of interest in the forthcoming film based on the former cricketer's life.

"It is a feature film, not a documentary and it looks at Hansie the captain, the hero for his team and country, Hansie, the fallen angel and Hansie, the man of strength who could after undergoing depression find the strength to come back to remake his life," said Frans.

Frank Rautenbach, who is playing the lead role of Hansie in the movie, said he did extensive research before he began shooting.

"I spent a year-and-half on the research and on preparing myself to play the role. When you play a character you try to boil him down to his essence... and Hansie, that is not easy, because at his core, he was a paradox. He was a man who always wanted to win, who hated to lose, on the one hand and on the other, a man who contemplated losing for profit. The challenge for me is to potray a character that is so divided, so deftly conflicted within himself."

The movie was shot across South Africa, in London, Australia and now in India. While the movie is being filmed, simultaneously a documentary on the making of the movie is also being shot, wherein people who knew Hansie and about the match-fixing scandal are being interviewed.

Craig Galbraith, who is recording the documentary, has interviews running into 163 hours, which will later be compressed into an hour for the documentary movie.

The budget for the movie is around $7 million, approximately 15 million rands, one of the most expensive movies in South Africa.

Indian actor Rajat Kapoor is playing the role of the mafia don in the movie.

"The movie is about Hansie Cronje, it is about cricket, it is about Hansie's life, his turmoil and what he went through, his anguish during the match-fixing case, his untimely, unpredictable death.

"I am the Indian representative of that Indian match-fixing in terms of that bookie don, who is trying to attract his [Hansie] attention to fix matches. It is not inspired by one particular character, it is inspired by the environment of match-fixing, so they have selected one or two characters to represent that environment.

The movie is scheduled for release on September 25 next, Hansie's birthday.

Image: Hansie Cronje's brother Frans (right) with lead actor Frank Rautenbach on the sets of the movie in Mumbai

Photograph: Harish Kotian

Harish Kotian