Shivaraj Kumar inspired by Jesse Owens

Shivanna’s next film is inspired by an international stalwart

Many of ‘Hattrick’ hero Shivaraj Kumar’s fans are not clued in to the fact that their screen idol is a trained Kuchipudi dancer. And fewer still may know that the Kannada superstar is not known to be a sports buff and hardly ever associates himself with sporting causes. So, it came as a surprise when director Narendra Babu, known for his sport-based movies, managed to rope in Shivanna to star in his next film, based on the legendary runner Jesse Owens – the man who thwarted Adolf Hitler’s ‘Aryan ideals’ to win four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Titled ‘Saranga’, the movie is inspired by Owen’s life though not exactly a biopic of the original sprint king of athletics. “I am trying to tell the story of a sportsman in today’s marketing context. It is not just a sports movie but a thought-provoking one,” says the director. In the past, Narendra Babu had directed a movie based on the game of kabaddi, which went on to garner critical acclaim but failed to set the cash registers ringing. The movie secured two State Government Awards besides some visibility at the national level as well. The movie is expected to go on the floors by December after the director completes the rest of the casting.