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National award-winning filmmaker Rahul Dholakia confirmed that he will exit Taapsee Pannu’s film Shabaash Mithu and Srijit Mukherji will take over as the director. Sharing a note on Twitter, Dholakia said that while the project was very important to him, the COVID-19 pandemic messed with everyone’s schedules, including his own.

“There are some films which you know you have to do. Shabaash Mithu was that film. When I read the script I was certain, this film I had to do; that was almost a year and a half ago – unfortunately I have to end the journey that started in November 2019. I won’t be directing the fabulous script written by Priya Aven, and conceived by Ajit Andhare,” his statement read.

The Parzania director further wrote, “I have so many fond memories attached to this film that I can’t help but get emotional when I write this note. This film was always about passion – The passion of Mithali Raj, the greatest Indian woman cricketer ever, and her story which we were trying to tell.”

“”The passion of a studio head like Ajit Andhare who sat with us on all discussions- in covid, in lockdowns; at all times- the passion of a writer like Priya who worked very hard to strike the balance between emotion and cricket; the passion of Taapsee; who learnt to play cricket so well, that it was a delight shooting with her – the passion of every team member, actor, player who was trying to help us achieve this dream.”” – Rahul Dholakia, Filmmaker-screenwriter

The statement concluded, “Unfortunately I won’t be part of the dream, but I am and will always be there for them to realize their dream. Covid messed up everyone’s schedules, mine was no different. Ajit has a vision, and a plan for the film and the way to release it. I wish him and the team the very best for it. Thank you. Best wishes, Rahul Dholakia.”

Sharing the statement on Twitter, Dholakia wrote, “Good luck #ShabaashMithu !! And for any further comments on this matter kindly contact @MandviSharma ! Thank you all!”

Shabaash Mithu is based on the life of Indian women’s cricket captain Mithali Raj and stars Taapsee Pannu as the cricketer. Filmmaker Srijit Mukherji, who replaces Dholakia in the project, has won multiple national awards for his films including Jaatishwar, Chotushkone, Ek Je Chhilo Raja. He helms two shorts in the upcoming Netflix anthology Ray, namely Forget Me Not and Bahrupiya.

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