Moving from the court to the silver screen, Saina Nehwal's biopic, Saina by Amol Gupte, is a gripping and inspiring watch. Being the first in line of Bollywood movies based on a badminton personality, Saina showcases the journey of the girl from Hisar, Haryana to the World No. 1 position on the BWF ranking.
In a country dominated by cricket, seeing other sports finding appropriate representation on the canvas of Bollywood is a tremendous victory. Saina Nehwal's biopic takes care of just that, powered by commendable acting on Parineeti Chopra's part, who plays the role of the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist.
Saina does a decent job of portraying the life of the player - covering her love for Shahrukh Khan movies to showing her guilty pleasure of having greasy aloo paranthas and savoring ice-cream. Aided by Chopra, Saina Nehwal comes alive on screen, her incredible grit and passion, a clear reflection of her dedication to the sport.
There are two things that linger with the audience after the movie concludes. Director Amol Gupte is wonderfully able to highlight Saina Nehwal's importance on the Indian badminton scene, carving her out as a role-model figure for budding shuttlers. Moreover, Gupte also captures Saina Nehwal's characteristic fighting spirit and her great mental strength against all odds, making her a force to reckon with.
Saina Nehwal - the trusted warhorse of Indian badminton
In Saina, Amol Gupte showcases what Saina Nehwal really means to Indian badminton. Being the first Indian shuttler to win an Olympic medal and the first and only Indian woman to reach the World No. 1 spot on the BWF rankings, Nehwal's story is awe-inspiring.
At a time when women's badminton was not deemed popular, it was Saina Nehwal's powerful debut and victory at the 2006 Philippines Open that made the world sit up and take notice. Since then, Nehwal has scripted a series of historic achievements, becoming a role-model for young girls in the process.
The pinnacle point of success for Saina Nehwal came when the 31-year-old ace shuttler went on to bag a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. No other Indian had previously tasted success quite like this and Nehwal became the torchbearer for Indian badminton.
Despite being written off time and again due to her scratchy performances over the last few years, Saina Nehwal remains one of the most reliable medal contenders. With an unparalleled 24 BWF titles to her name, Saina Nehwal's name is synonymous with the rise of India on the global map of badminton.
Saina Nehwal - the true epitome of mental strength and perseverance
Victories and losses are part of an athlete's life. There comes a point when a dip in the career graph inevitably arrives for any athlete and Saina Nehwal wasn't exempt from this pattern either.
In Saina, the director expertly distills out the difficult period in Saina Nehwal's career and showcases how she overcame her demons. With a persistently injury-laden career, Saina Nehwal's meteoric rise to the top of the BWF ranking table wasn't the smoothest.
Although Saina Nehwal became World No. 2 as early as 2010, she had to wait for 5 years before she could become World No. 1. Following 2010, her career was disrupted by leg injuries, forcing her form to dip. Gupte revealed how social media at the time impacted the mental health of the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist.
Players are always put under scrutiny and every bad performance is heavily called out on social media and that can act as a major demotivator in the life of an athlete. Likewise, when Saina's career faced difficult moments, many people started to write her off. Yet Saina Nehwal's never-say-die spirit coursed through her veins, ensuring that she has always been able to bounce back from the face of any adversity.
More than being able to prove her prowess on the court, the true mark of a champion lies in the individual's ability to exhibit great mental strength and in that fight, Saina Nehwal has always emerged victorious.
With the Tokyo Olympics around the corner, Saina Nehwal remains in hot pursuit of making it to an incredible fourth Olympics in her long-spanning career. Ranked at World No. 20 currently, Saina Nehwal put up a stellar performance at the recently concluded Orleans Masters 2021. Finishing as a semi-finalist, the 31-year-old came all guns blazing at the Olympic-qualifier event that once again reassured her critics that she still has a lot of fight left in her.