Indian football & Rahim Saab

A very special film on Indian football is now being made, with the revered Indian coach Syed Abdul Rahim, or Rahim Saab, as the main character. This will be a film about the ‘golden era’ of Indian football.


By Screen Shot

Syed Abdul Rahim, or Rahim Saab, as he is referred to with reverence in the Kolkata Maidan and in other footballing centres around the country, has been acknowledged as the best Indian coach. Several coaches, Indian and international have plied their trade in India. Some, such as Ciric Milovan from Belgrade, earned superstar coach status, but of all Indian coaches, nobody was considered the in the category of Rahim Saab.

Now, in a glimpse of Indian football of the “golden age”,  Ajay Devgn starrer, ‘Maidaan’ is an upcoming biopic, based on the life of Syed Abdul Rahim, in the year 1952-62 of the golden era.

A sports drama directed by Amit Ravindernath Sharma, stars Ajay Devgn in the role of Syed Abdul Rahim known as the architect of modern Indian football. National award winner Keerthy Suresh will be making her Hindi film debut with Maidaan.

Badhaai Ho fame director Amit Sharma-directed Maidaan is produced by Zee Studios in association with Bayview Projects LLP. The shooting started on August 19, 2019.

Keerthi Suresh was the first choice to play lead female opposite Ajay Devgn, but makers felt that she looks too young to play a motherly role in the film. So another South Indian actress, Priyamani, grabbed the role.

The film is supposedly based on the real-life experiences of Syed Rahim.

Who is Syed Abdul Rahim?

Syed Abdul Rahim was born in the year 1909 in Hyderabad, and is also known as Rahim Saab. From the year 1950 till his death in 1963, he was an Indian Football coach and manager of the Indian national team. He was a teacher by profession and his time as a football coach of India is considered to be the “golden age” as under his guidance, the Indian team was able to reach the semi-finals of the Melbourne Olympic football tournament in 1956 and India became the first-ever Asian country to reach this milestone.

Rahim also coached the Hyderabad city police from 1943-63 and later in the year 1951, India won its Asian Games gold medal. It was only in 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta that he had his last and final success, where India won a gold medal beating South Korea.


Maidaan is touted to be one of Ajay’s best performances till date, and the team has shown immense confidence in the film’s content through the pandemic. The VFX work is going on in full swing to recreate the era gone by, as the film’s core team wants to create an uncompromised cinematic experience of this sport drama for the viewers.

Earlier last year in an exclusive interview with Pinkvilla, Boney Kapoor had opened up about Maidaan. The producer had said, “Mind you, I watched the film without the soul of it, which are the matches, as we shot them very recently. I feel it’s going to be a landmark film in Ajay Devgn’s career. According to me, it’s his best performance till date and Amit Sharma too has excelled from Tevar to Badhaai Ho and now Maidaan.”

He had also promised ample drama in this film set against the backdrop of football with some unbelievable true events. “The good thing about Maidaan is that today’s generation doesn’t know what Indian football has achieved over the years. In the Melbourne Olympics, we lost at a semi-final by self-goal. There are many such surprises in the screenplay. And our film won’t be just football, football, football – it has got a lot of emotions involving the players and families,” Boney Kapoor had said.

Maidaan is Amit Sharma’s next after Badhaai Ho. The music and background score of Maidaan is done by AR Rahman, whereas the story is written by Akash Chawla, Arunava Joy Sengupta and Saiwyn Quadras. And for those you missed it, here’s another reminder. 


Principal photography commenced on August 19 ; 2019 and experienced long delays due to COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately ending in May 2022.The film was scheduled to release in theatre on June 3 ; 2022 but was delayed due to impending post-production works. Now it is scheduled to be released in theatres on  May 12, 2023.

Earlier Maidaan was scheduled to hit the screens on 11th December 2020 but due to Corona its release was shifted to 13th August 2021. After this, it was decided to release it on 15 October 2021 on the occasion of Dussehra, after being shifted from August. The release date has changed once again and the film was fixed on June 3, 2022 and finally released on Feb 17, 2023.


The budget of the movie is expected to be around Rs 100 Cr

Name of movie: Maidaan
Release: (February 17) At theatres

Star cast: Ajay Devgan as Syed Abdul Rahim; Priyamani as Syed Abdul Rahim’s wife; Nitanshi Goel as Syed Abdul Rahim’s Daughter; Aryann Bhowmik; Gajraj Rao; Rudranil Ghosh; Rohit Mondal; Rishabh Joshi; Diego Torres Kuri.

Director:   Amit Ravindernath Sharma

Producer:  Boney Kapoor, Akash Chawla, Arunava Joy Sengupta
Writer:  Ritesh Shah; Akash Chawla, Arunava Joy Sengupta, Saiwyn Quadras
Production House : Zee Studios