Shoaib Akhtar abandons biopic, revokes story rights

Rawalpindi Express, a biopic on the legendary bowler Shoaib Akhtar, is no longer on the cards. The former cricketer took to Twitter on Saturday to announce that he has distanced himself from the “dream project” and legally revoked all rights to his life’s story.

He cited “failure to resolve disagreements” and “constant contractual violations” as reasons for his sudden change of heart. “Very sadly, I would like to inform all of you that after careful consideration of months, I have decided to disassociate myself from the film Rawalpindi Express and its makers by terminating the agreement through my management and legal team,” he shared in a statement on the micro-blogging site.

He assured that although he tried to stay onboard, the project just didn’t work out as he had hoped. “Definitely, it was a dream project and I tried a lot to prevent [this] and stay in the boat but unfortunately, things were not going well,” added Shoaib. “Failure to resolve disagreements amicably and constant contractual violations finally resulted in us to cut ties with them,” he continued.

The host said he has formally and legally left the project and will hit back if the filmmakers decide to go ahead without his approval. “I have left the project after complying [with] all legal protocols of revoking the rights to the story of my life. Severe legal action will be taken if the makers continue to make biography film and use my name or life story events in any way,” he added.

Previously scheduled to release in November this year, the “first foreign film about a Pakistani sportsman” was announced in July in 2022. The film’s director, Muhammad Faraz Qaiser, said it was a dream come true for him since he had finally set in motion an idea, that he had back in 2016.

In November, singer and actor Umair Jaswal had also confirmed onboarding the film to play Shoaib Akhtar but soon after, he, too, announced he would no longer be part of the project. This month, he took to Instagram to share that he will not be playing the ex-cricketer’s role due to “creative and personal reasons.”

The filmmakers have not released a statement on the matter.  

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