Information wanted on Durban golf legend

2012-07-14 00:00

DURBAN golfing legend Papwa Sewgolum is set to be honoured on the big screen, and the South African-based producer of the movie, David Selvan, has set his sights on an international release for Papwa.

“The story is based on the human message, that a person with talent and fortitude can make it against all odds. I believe people who watch it will be moved to tears and uplifted,” said Selvan, who has worked extensively in Los Angeles and London.

Papwa tells the real-life story of Sewgolum, a South African of Indian descent who defied the odds and the discriminatory sports codes of apartheid to play golf.

“Papwa could have been a world-famous golfer but for apartheid. He beat Gary Player, then known to be the best golfer in the world.

“He had an extraordinary talent and was also an inspirational figure, a person who succeeded despite his very humble background. This is therefore both a personal and a historically significant story.”

Selvan said he was hoping to get an A-list Bollywood actor to play the lead.

The film is one of the many film projects selected for the Durban FilmMart, which runs from July 20 to 23 alongside the Durban International Film Festival (Diff).

Selvan plans to use FilmMart to pitch Papwa to international financiers, broadcasters and co-producers and to receive insight and advice from experts who will assist in marketing the film to an international market.

In the meantime, however, he and the film’s writer and director, Catherine Stewart, and executive producer Georgina Hamilton are appealing for information from friends and family who knew Sewgolum personally to ensure the script is as accurate as possible.

To date the team has sourced material from high court judge Christopher Nicholson’s acclaimed biography Papwa Sewgolum: From Pariah to Legend, and has also received support and contributions from Sewgolum’s son, Rajen, also a seasoned golfer.

Selvan, who hopes to complete production on the film next year, would like to premiere the film in Durban and Los Angeles. “Durban is the heart of where this story begins and ends and it would be wonderful to have a premier in Papwa’s home city,” he added.

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