From Fast Bowler Dreams to Spin Wizard: The ‘800’ Biopic Chronicles Muthiah Muralidharan’s Legendary Journey
Muthiah Muralidharan, fondly known as Murali, once dreamt of being a fast bowler for Sri Lanka but fate had other plans. Growing up at St Antony’s College, Kandy, he shifted to off-spin and etched his name in cricketing history. His illustrious career from 1992 to 2010 saw him become the leading wicket-taker in international test cricket, claiming a remarkable 800 wickets. Now, his incredible journey is set to hit the silver screen in the biopic ‘800,’ slated for release in October 2023. Starring Madhurr Mittal and directed by MS Sripathy, the film not only celebrates his cricketing feats but also delves into the challenges he faced.
The Birth of ‘800’:
The idea for ‘800’ emerged from the hearts of two childhood friends from Chennai: filmmaker Venkat Prabhu and Madhimalar, now Muralidharan’s wife. Venkat Prabhu, upon seeing Murali’s impressive trophy collection, suggested his life was ideal for a biopic. Initially hesitant, Murali’s manager convinced him that the film could also benefit his foundation, the Foundation of Goodness, in Sri Lanka.
Casting Challenges and Triumph:
Originally, Tamil star Vijay Sethupathi was chosen to portray Murali, but controversy arose due to Murali’s perceived comments supporting the Sri Lankan forces’ actions against the LTTE. Madhurr Mittal, acclaimed for his role in ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ stepped in to take the lead. Murali praises Madhurr’s dedication to capturing his bowling action and body language.
Reliving Childhood Memories:
‘800’ transports us to Murali’s childhood in Kandy, Sri Lanka, where his love for cricket was born. He reminisces about eagerly anticipating the afternoon hours when he could join almost 600 others in playing tennis-ball cricket at his school’s vast ground. His passion for the sport ignited when he was just eight years old, eventually leading him to win the Bata Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1991.
Triumphs and Controversies:
Murali’s cricketing journey was marked by both remarkable triumphs and controversies. The infamous incident during the 1995 Boxing Day Test, where Australian umpire Darrell Hair called out Murali for his unconventional bowling technique, was one such challenging phase. Murali shares that ‘800’ delves into these trying times and his perspective on forgiveness.
IPL Memories and Chennai Connection:
Murali also cherishes his time with the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL’s early years, recalling the camaraderie within the team. He was excited to play for Chennai due to his close ties with the city and Tamil Nadu. Murali reveals that the late cricketer VB Chandrasekar once advised him that the first IPL auctions should prioritize “Dhoni and Murali,” solidifying their places in CSK’s history.
Murali’s remarkable journey, from his early dreams of fast bowling to becoming a cricket legend, unfolds in ‘800.’
To Watch out the Trailer of “800 The Movie” – Trailer