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Sep 15, 2008 at 02:17pm IST

Movie on Hansie Cronje to open in S Africa

Johannesburg: The movie Hansie, a labour of love by Frans Cronje, brother of deceased former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje, will be premiered to invited guests across South Africa in four major cities on Wednesday.

The movie is based on the life of Hansie Cronje, who fell from grace in 2000 after his suspected involvement in a match-fixing scandal in India.

For Frans Cronjé, Hansie's older brother, telling Hansie's story has not been an easy journey but a necessary one, as he explained his six-year quest to make the film amidst huge financial constraints.

MOVIE ON HANSIE: Frans Cronje, brother of deceased former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje, has made a film on his brother's life.

"There are many reasons for making the film. There are lessons to be learned from Hansie's life. I think we can all learn from Hansie's mistakes and successes," Frans Cronje said ahead of the premiere.

Hansie opens across South Africa on September 24. Sources also said that there are also discussions on taking the movie to India and other international markets, especially in the Test-playing nations of the world, where Cronje was hailed as well.

The movie has the blessing of all those who knew Hansie best, in his close circle of friends and family. But it has also had its share of problems.

Members of the cast complained that they were not paid for a long time, and Frans initially kept matters related to the film away from the media.

But now that the film is ready to be released, it is expected to generate huge audiences as they flock to see an insider view of the life and times of one of the most controversial sporting figures of recent times.

Cronje was adored by the South African public and commanded the respect of millions throughout the world for his shining cricket captaincy as he led South Africa back to international glory in the post-apartheid era. But his downfall came swiftly as Indian police disclosed Cronje's involvement with Indian bookmakers, followed by a dramatic confession by Cronje that "the Devil made me do it".

The incident precipitated one of the biggest international cricket crises of the past decade as the International Cricket Council and national cricket authorities across the globe launched investigations.

In South Africa, the King Commission of Enquiry ended inconclusively after long delays, but Cronje was banned for life.

The movie reportedly discusses all these issues, but also reflects on Cronje's attempts to make amends to the society which even today, six years after his death in a plane crash under unusual circumstances, sees him as a sporting icon.

"This is his story, about the fall of a hero and his own struggle to rise above his mistakes to start anew," said Frans Cronje, who produced and wrote the script for Hansie, which is directed by renowned actor and filmmaker Regardt van den Bergh.

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