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BOLLYWOOD: The success of the film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag on legendary athlete Milkha Singh has triggered a race in Bollywood to make films on sports stars.
While Sanjay Leela Bhansali has already been making a film on Mary Kom with Priyanka playing the role of the world boxing champion, now we will have a film on the greatest Indian wrestler Gama Pehalwan, also known as the Great Gama.
Actor John Abraham is producing the film under his production house JA Entertainment.
John, who is fresh from getting married in December, will play the role of Gama in the film which is yet to be named.
Actor-director Parmeet Sethi will direct the film. The shooting will begin later this year.
Who was Gama Pehalwan?: The Great Gama was the name of wrestler Ghulam Muhammed who was born in Amritsar in 1880. At age 20, Gama was crowned Rustam-e-Zamana or the World Champion in 1910. His daily diet included 10 litres of milk, one and a half pounds of almond paste, meat, eggs, fruits, etc. About 5ft, 7 inches tall, Gama weighed 200 pounds.
He remained unbeaten throughout his life. Gama’s last major bout was at the age of 49 in 1929 when he beat Jesse Petersen in one and a half minutes. But he continued to wrestle into the 1940s.
In 1947, Gama shifted to Lahore where he died in 1960. Indian industrialist GD Birla gave Gama Rs 2,000 and a monthly pension of Rs 300 when the great wrestler suffered heart ailment and asthma and faced financial difficulties. After Birla’s gesture to their wrestler, Pakistan also increased pension for Gama.
Gama is also famous for lifting a 1200-kg stone in Baroda in 1902. He had gone to Baroda to attend a wrestling tournament. But there was no wrestler who could fight him. So Gama lifted the 12-quintal stone up to his chest and carried it for some distance. This two-and-a-half feet stone is displayed at Baroda Museum, with an inscription telling that Gama had lifted it in December 1902.
Gama has inspired characters of video games such as Street Fighter EX and Shadow Hearts: Covenant.
Bruce Lee was a big fan of Gama.