Pakistani cricketing legend Shoaib Akhtar
Pakistani cricketing legend Shoaib Akhtar Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai filmmaker Faraz Qaiser will helm a new biopic based on the life of Pakistani cricket legend Shoaib Akhtar.

Titled ‘Rawalpindi Express’, a name that stems from the moniker Akhtar earned as a fast bowler, the film is expected to release worldwide on November 16, 2023.

Akhtar took to his Twitter on July 24 to make the announcement, with a poster of the film. “Beginning of this beautiful journey. Announcing the launch of my story, my life, my Biopic, “RAWALPINDI EXPRESS - Running against the odds”. You’re in for a ride you’ve never taken before. First foreign film about a Pakistani Sportsman,” posted Akhtar, signing off as ‘ ‘conterversially yours.’

Bankrolled by QFilm Productions, ‘Rawalpindi Express’, the film’s release date of 16.11.2023 is an ode to the fastest ball ever bowled by the speedster at 161.3 km/ph during a 2003 World Cup group match against England.

Faraz Qaiser with Shoaib Akhtar
Faraz Qaiser with Shoaib Akhtar Image Credit: Supplied

According to the makers, the film wll be shot in the UAE, along with Pakistan and Australia.

Qaiser says he spent five years researching the life of Akhtar, who, from a small town cricketer, became an international sportsperson. He called the film a beautiful story of perseverance, struggle and passion.

“The world knows Shoaib Akhtar for his lethal pace and toe crushing yorkers. On [the] field, he has rattled some of the best batsmen. I have been ardent fan and follower of him since childhood and have a vivid memory of sitting on my father’s shoulder to catch the star in action,” Qaiser said in a statement. “The idea to make a biopic came from my father and it actually seeped in my mind after I got inspired from Akhtar’s journey that he described in one of the interviews on TV. This project means everything to me. All my energies are focused on this film as I am sure that this is something different that we are trying to achieve.”

Shoaib Akhtar in 2002 in Sharjah
Shoaib Akhtar in 2002 in Sharjah Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

According to Qaiser, he met Akhtar in February 2020 to present his idea of a biopic, accompanied by his father, Qaiser Nawaz who is the writer of the film. “After extensive discussions, he finally agreed and gave us a go ahead on the project. He spent more than a week with us narrating his journey and it was fabulous to know him so up close and personal. We also got lot of inputs from people close to him who know him very well. We are really grateful towards everyone who has contributed in helping us realise our dream.”

The star cast for the film is yet to be finalised.