A teaser of the film based on former fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar’s life, ‘Rawalpindi Express - A Shoaib Akhtar Biopic’, was released on Instagram on Tuesday, despite the ex-cricketer earlier disassociating himself from its production.

The development comes amid reports of a legal skirmish between Akhtar and the makers of the film. Actor Mirza Gohar Rasheed is all set to play the cricketing legend instead of Umair Jaswal who stepped away from the project earlier.

In January this year, Akhtar announced that he has decided to “disassociate” himself from ‘Rawalpindi Express’ and its makers by terminating the agreement through his management and legal teams. Citing “disagreements” and “contractual violations”, he threatened “legal action” against anyone attempting to use his name and life story in any manner.

The movie was announced in July last year, and Akhtar at the time had expressed his excitement over the project.

However, later, Akhtar said: “Very sadly, I would like to inform all of you that after careful consideration for 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.”

The film has been made by Muhammad Faraz Qaiser and produced by Kafeel Anwar. The cast includes Faran Tahir, Saleem Mairaj, Raheela Agha, Salman Shahid, Shafqat Cheema and Usman Peerzada.

Akhtar, who was given the title of ‘Rawalpindi Express’ due to his fast-bowling technique, made his Test match debut in November 1997.

He is also known as one of only three bowlers to have ever broken the 100 mph barrier in cricket history, with a delivery of 100.2 mph, during a one-day international against England at the 2003 World Cup.

His career was not without controversy. In 2006, Akhtar, along with fellow cricketer Mohammed Asif, was suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board after the duo tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Akhtar announced his retirement during the 2011 World Cup.

In September 2011, a few months following his retirement, he released his autobiography ‘Controversially Yours’, co-written with Indian journalist Anshu Dogra.

Akhtar currently hosts a YouTube channel with 3.5 million subscribers, where he welcomes sports celebrities and interacts with fans.


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