Indian tennis star and actor Vijay Amritraj are the subject of a new documentary – Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: Calabasas Films + Media and Sterling Road Films are teaming up to produce the first official documentary about former tennis player and actor Vijay Amritraj.
Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sami Khan (St. Louis Superman), the currently untitled feature is produced by Calabasas partners Kapil Mahendra and Paul Beahan, alongside Prakash Amritraj and Dhaval Desai.
The documentary will trace Amritraj’s rise from his childhood in India, overcoming serious health problems, to his emergence as a top player in the 1970s and 1980s, beating Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. in their bonuses.
Along with his older brother Anand, Vijay Amritraj was an integral part of the Indian team that boycotted the 1974 Davis Cup final against South Africa in protest against apartheid. Vijay is also the older brother of Ashok Amritraj (himself a former tennis player), the longtime film producer who is currently CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment and former CEO of National Geographic Films.
In the mid-1970s, Vijay, Anand and Ashok moved to Southern California where they became the first members of World Team Tennis – the league of stars co-founded by Billie Jean King. Amritraj played for Jerry Buss’ colorful Los Angeles Strings team before Buss took over the Lakers.
Amritraj was well known for his style, elegance and sportsmanship. But some thought he could have taken the sport even further. He never won a major championship. Some claimed he was “too nice to win”. In a culture that often celebrates ruthless victory over sportsmanship, the documentary explores the toll that weighs on athletes.
After tennis, Amritraj would go on to speak out against apartheid and the film will explore how he used his platform for good.
He also became one of the first Indians to play American television roles in the 1983 James Bond film. Octopus, Star Trek IV: The Journey Home and Viacom’s American sitcom Which country ! He was also a regular character on the NBC television series The last quarter and a guest star on shows such as Hart to Hart.
Director Sami Khan said: “Vijay Amritraj was a legend and an inspiration in my household growing up and it’s an absolute honor to help tell his story. Amritraj was a trailblazer for South Asian athletes, and I know that our film will resonate urgently today. Kapil, Paul, Prakash and Dhaval are incredible partners on this journey, and I look forward to sharing Amritraj’s story with audiences soon.
“Telling Vijay’s story after so many years of charity work together is really exciting,” Kapil Mahendra added. “The anecdotes he shares of his life on and off the court with his encounters and relationships with sports and Hollywood legends are outstanding.”
Prakash Amritraj added: “For so long people of color have been told ‘you can’t’ and ‘you won’t’, Vijay has always been a symbol of ‘I can’ and ‘I will’. And he did it with God in his heart, and his family and India on his back. He was my best example of what it is to be a man and a hero. He is a dreams of bringing his story to the screen with Calabasas Films and the brilliant Sami Khan at the helm.