Calabasas Films + Media Sets present a documentary about groundbreaking tennis and entertainment star Vijay Amritraj

Calabasas Films + Media and Sterling Road Films have partnered to produce the first official documentary about tennis legend Vijay Amritraj, considered the greatest Indian and Asian player of all time.

Directed by Academy Award-nominated director Sammy Khan (“St. Louis Superman,” “The Last Man”), the feature is executive produced by Calabasas Films + Media partners Kapil Mahendra and Paul Beahan, along with Prakash Amritraj and Dhaval Desai.

The documentary chronicles Amritraj’s rise from his childhood in India, overcoming serious health problems, to his emergence as one of the most exciting players of the 1970s and 1980s – beating Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe in their prime.

Along with elder brother Anand, Vijay Amritraj was an integral part of the Indian team that boycotted the 1974 Davis Cup finals against South Africa in protest against apartheid. This boycott contributed to the isolation of the apartheid government in the sporting world.

In the mid-1970s, Vijay, Anand and youngest brother Ashok moved to Southern California, where they became key, early members of the World Tennis Team, the all-star league co-founded by Billie Jean King. Amritraj played for Jerry Buss’ colorful Los Angeles Strings team before Buss took over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Amritraj has earned a legendary reputation over the years for its style, elegance and sportsmanship. But he was not without critics. Despite being named one of the best young players of the 1970s, along with Borg and Connors, Amritraj never won a major championship. Some detractors claimed he was “too good to win”. In a culture that often celebrates ruthless victory over sportsmanship, the documentary explores the sacrifices made by all.

After tennis, Amritraj would have an even greater impact on society. Amritraj was one of the most vocal global athletes fighting injustice, culminating in a speech at the United Nations in 1988 in which he condemned apartheid. The documentary will explore how he used his platform for better: in the name of political activism to strengthen India’s place at the global table, fighting for those less fortunate, starting with his humanitarian efforts as an ambassador of peace for the United Nations, as well as his vast charitable activities.

Amritraj became one of the first Indians on American television and shook up the Hollywood entertainment space by becoming one of the first South Asian actors to have roles written specifically for him – the 1983 James Bond vehicle Octopussy, Star Trek IV: The Voyage” Home” and his own TV show in 1986, “What a Country”.

Audiences can expect a stranger-than-fiction tale of passion and hope and family preservation. Featuring on-screen appearances from some of tennis’ brightest stars, former opponents and several Hollywood legends, the film will take on the unforgettable ride of Vijay Amritraj’s life.

Director Sammy Khan said, “Vijay Amritraj was a legend and an inspiration in my house growing up and it’s an absolute honor to help tell his story. Amritraj was the pioneer of South Asian athletes and I know our film will have an urgent resonance today. Kapil, Paul, Prakash and Dhaval have been incredible partners in this journey and I can’t wait to share Amritraj’s story with audiences soon.”

“To tell Vijay’s story after so many years of charity work together is really exciting,” said Kapil Mahendra. “The anecdotes he shares from his life on and off the court with his meetings and relationships with legends of sports and Hollywood are extraordinary.”

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, keeping God in his heart and his family and India on his back. He was my greatest example of what it means to be a man and a hero. It’s a dream to bring his story to the screen with Calabasas Films and the brilliant Sammy Khan at the helm.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.