This morning, Anushka Sharma shared a picture of herself with a leather cricketing ball, implying that she has started prep for her next, Chakda Xpress. While I am already waiting eagerly for Anushka’s return to the screen, her prep pictures have just increased my curiosity to see her play the part of the ace cricketer Jhulan Goswami, from whose life the film is inspired. And I am sure with a world class cricketer husband like Virat Kohli, she will be getting some top notch professional advice at home as well. But seeing her getting into the groove reminds me of all the amazing portrayals of sportswomen that our leading actresses have given over the years. And as we get ready for Chakda Xpress, here’s a look back at some of the notable ones.

Anushka Sharma prepping for Chakda Xpress (Source: Instagram | @anushkasharma)

Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Mary Kom

Playing a much-loved Olympic medalist and 6-time World Amateur Boxing Champion on screen couldn’t have been easy. There were several expectations and considering the love and stature  Mary Kom enjoys across the world, Priyanka Chopra Jonas had to bring her A-game and put in her all, and she did just that. She brought out the nuances of not just the admired sportsperson, but also the amazing person Mary Kom is, making me fall in love with both the actress and the athlete. And that portrayal by Priyanka will be remembered for the ages.

Priyanka Chopra in Mary Kom (Source: Instagram | @priyankachopra)

Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra in Dangal

In an inspiring story led by Aamir Khan, it was always going to be a challenge to live up to the expectations for Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra, but the on screen sisters rose to the challenge and made a place into the audience’s heart. The honest portrayal and the hard work these two put to play the celebrated wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat was exemplary, and I just became an ardent admirer of all four of them after watching the film. The current career trajectory of both these actresses is a testament to the amazing work they put in for Dangal.  

Dangal (Source: Instagram | @sanyamalhotra_)

Parineeti Chopra in Saina

Even when the theatre business was hanging in a limbo due to the pandemic last year, Parineeti Chopra‘s impeccable portrayal of the ace shuttler Saina Nehwal didn’t get unnoticed. While Saina’s name had already been a part of every household, Parineeti’s portrayal made the former world number 1’s story a part of it too. She brought authenticity and rawness to the part, and I was immensely moved by not just the inspiring story of Saina but Parineeti’s dedication as well.

Saina Nehwal and Parineeti Chopra (Source: Instagram | @parineetichopra)

Taapsee Pannu in Rashmi Rocket

While other stories in this list were inspired from real-life sportspersons, Taapsee Pannu brought alive the fictional story of a Kutch-based athlete, Rashmi, raising the important issue of gender testing. Through her portrayal, the actress gave voice to the stories of several women athletes who have to face discrimination and humiliation due to the different hormonal levels in their body. As much as I loved the fearless Rashmi in the film, I also empathised with her helpless condition when she is dragged through the mud. The way she rises above every obstacle not only inspired me but several other people in the country who are bogged down by such discriminatory practices. And Taapsee’s tryst with sports film doesn’t end here as she is now all set to bring alive the story of the celebrated Indian cricketer and captain of the Indian women’s national team, Mithali Raj, in her biopic, Shabaash Mithu, and I am eagerly waiting for that one.

Taapsee Pannu In Rashmi Rocket and Shabaash Mithu (Source: Instagram | @taapsee)

It feels great to see so many inspiring stories of these great women being brought alive on screen, and what makes them more special is that the women doing that are also leading inspiring lives of their own. With Anushka and Taapsee all set to bring to me two such more admirable stories, I am really thrilled to see that magic happen on screen.