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Updated January 28th, 2024 at 20:06 IST

Chandu Champion: Meet Paralympian Murlikant Petkar Who Inspired Kartik Aaryan's Sports Drama

Unknown to many, Kartik Aaryan's upcoming film Chandu Champion is a biopic of a war veteran and here's everything you need to know about him.

Kartik Aaryan in Chandu Champion
Kartik Aaryan in Chandu Champion | Image:Instagram
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In Kabir Khan’s upcoming directorial venture Chandu Champion, Kartik Aaryan is all set to play the lead. Unknown to many, the movie is a biopic celebrating the life of war hero and India's first Paralympics gold medalist, Murlikant Petkar. What do we know about him? Read ahead to know.

Murlikant Petkar: A war hero turned Paralympic gold medalist

Born on October 13, 1944, in Peth Islampur, Maharashtra, Murlikant served in the Indian Army. Initially a talented boxer, his life took a drastic turn during the 1965 war against Pakistan. Aerial attacks left him with nine bullet injuries that resulted in permanent paraplegia.

Murlikant Petkar | Image: X

Despite the adversity, Petkar's resilience shone through. Bedridden for two years and dealing with memory loss, he found solace in sports during rehabilitation. His journey marked a triumphant return to athletic pursuits. Petkar's post-war life saw him excelling in various sports. He became the state champion in shot put, javelin throw, discus throw, table tennis, and archery at the Maharashtra State Athletic Meet in 1967.

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His determination led him to participate in the 1968 Paralympic Games, where he transitioned from table tennis to swimming.

Murlikant Petkar’s journey of recognition and resilience

In the 1972 Paralympic Games, Murlikant created history by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal. His remarkable achievement in swimming secured four medals, setting the stage for a distinguished career. Post-retirement from the army, Petkar joined TELCO in Pune and worked there for 30 years.

Murlikant Petkar with PM Modi | Image: X

In 2018, he received the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award, from then-President Ram Nath Kovind.

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Petkar's journey wasn't without challenges. In 1982, his claim for an Arjuna Award was rejected. Undeterred, he stashed away his certificates, vowing to never seek awards again. However, later he was awarded the Padma Shri in 2018. As he walked to receive the honour, crutches tied to his forearms, Petkar stood upright while greeting the President in military style. 

Know more about his life in theatres near you on June 14 this year. For the unversed, Chandu Champion will clash with Kangana’s Emergency at the box office.

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Published January 28th, 2024 at 20:06 IST

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