Meet Murlikant Petkar, Inspiration Behind Kartik Aaryan’s ‘Chandu Champion’ ​​

Kabir Khan's sports drama 'Chandu Champion' is inspired by Paralympic gold medalist Murlikant Petkar's life, which also intrigued the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Directed by Kabir Khan, “Chandu Champion” is an upcoming Bollywood sports-drama film starring actor Kartik Aaryan in the lead role. In the film, Aaryan portrays Paralympic gold medalist Murlikant Petkar. Before you decide to watch the movie, here’s a glimpse into the life journey of this remarkable man.

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Who Is Murlikant Petkar?

Born on November 1, 1944, in Peth Islampur, Sangli, Maharashtra, Petkar showed early talent in sports, excelling in hockey and wrestling. He joined the Indian Army’s Boys Battalion in Pune to evade repercussions after defeating the village head’s son in wrestling, as he humorously recounts on his website.

After joining the army, Petkar excelled in sports as a jawan in the Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) Corps. He represented the Indian Army at the International Services Sports Meet in Tokyo in 1964 and achieved national boxing acclaim in 1965.

However, in 1965, Petkar’s life changed dramatically during the Indo-Pak war. He sustained nine bullet wounds, one of which remains lodged in his backbone, resulting in paralysis from the knee down. He remained in a coma for nearly a year and was bedridden for two years thereafter.

Despite his severe injury, Petkar persevered and began swimming to aid his recovery.

In the 1968 Paralympics, he competed in table tennis and swimming. Four years later, at the 1972 Paralympics, Petkar made history as India’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist. Throughout his career, he amassed an impressive tally of 12 gold medals in international events, 34 gold medals in national competitions, and 40 gold medals at the state level.

Sushant Singh Rajput Wanted To Play Murlikant Petkar On-Screen

Before Kabir Khan and Kartik Aaryan, the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who passed away in June 2020, expressed interest in portraying the life of Petkar on screen. During his preparation for “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story,” Sushant visited the Paralympic gold medallist and his family in Mumbai. Arjun Petkar, Murlikant Petkar’s son, shared with The Indian Express that Sushant admired his father’s achievements and desired to depict him in a biopic.

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