Deepika Kumari, the bonafide stalwart of Indian archery, is heading for her third Olympics in Tokyo in pursuit of the elusive Olympics medal. Her recent string of performances has once again put her atop of the world rankings in women's recurve archery.
India's most successful archer till date, Deepika's rise to the pinnacle of success is the stuff of legend. Deepika announced her arrival in style, winning two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in individual and team events, which were being hosted in New Delhi. In the years that followed, Kumari quickly rose to the top. Winning medals in World Cups and World Championships, Kumari soon found herself in a spot no other Indian archer been before- World number one. Kumari carved out her own destiny with sheer determination and fought her way to the top and inspired many others to do so. The 27-year-old has been a part of every Women's Recurve medal India has ever won. With 35 world cup medals (stages and finals) under her belt, including 11 gold medals, the Jamshedpur athlete has been a true inspiration in her field of sport for the upcoming generation.
But did you know Deepika was supposed to act in a movie?
In 2018, the ace archer was supposed to make her debut in a film in the lead role. The film, tentatively titled 'Bisahi' was a movie based on witch-hunting.
The movie was aimed at raising awareness about the social evil of witch-hunting, which is still practised in some parts of the country including Deepika's home state, Jharkhand, where the film was set.
Deepika, who was always in doubt of acting in the movie had initially refused the offer but changed her decision in March 2018 after reading the script which she found provoking. The entire film was supposed to be shot in Jharkhand with all the important cast members belonging to the state.
Bisahi's producer, Suresh Seth Bhagat had said that the film would document society's prejudices against those women who stand out but are tormented on the name of witch-hunting. By raising this, he wanted to take the issue onto the international stage.
However, in May 2018, Deepika decided to put her big-screen debut on hold, backing out of the film to focus on her training.
She had told Indian Express, "It was a good subject, but I soon realised that if I did the film, it would not be possible for me to do my best in training and competitions," Deepika told the daily.
The archer said that she didn't know how the international calendar looked like when she signed the film, but as soon as she saw the competition schedule, she thought it would be too hectic for her. Apart from the all-important Asian Games, there was an Archery World Cup scheduled that year as well.
"Though the producers had said that I needed to work on the film for only 10-11 days, it would not clash with my competitions, and I had to shoot only on weekends, I would not have got any rest as the weekdays would have been consumed totally by my training," she added.
Though Deepika didn't act in a silver-screen project, her story and journey were known popular to the world by the Netflix documentary called Ladies First that was made on her life, which garnered awards and plenty of positive responses.