Film for 'redemption' of Hansie Cronje

Johannesburg, Sep 30: Former South African captain Hansie Cronje's life is all set to be documented through a film produced by his brother Frans Cronje, who hopes that it will bring 'redemption' for his brother.

Frans, who is also producing the film, said, ''This film is not just about cricket, it's about redemption. In the end, Hansie found redemption and was able to rebuild his life. I also believe that if we cannot forgive people when they make mistakes, then we are not human.'' ''It's relevant to a country like South Africa. If Nelson Mandela can come out of prison after 27 years preaching forgiveness after everything that had happened to him and the black population, then we should be able to forgive Hansie,'' Frans was quoted as saying by 'The Independent'.

Hansie was banned for life from professional cricket after he admitted his role in a match-fixing scandal which shook the cricketing world in the year 2000. He died in a plane crash on June 1, 2002.

Costing 4 million pounds, the 100-minute film Hansie traces his rise and fall, and 'failings' as a human being, said Frans.

''Hansie realised that he was wrong and he was sorry for it all.

He knew what he had done was unethical. He knew it was wrong but we all do things that are wrong. The important thing is to admit it and turn away from it,'' Frans, who is also a professional screenwriter said.

''He was very harshly treated by the media and especially the British media, and the cricket establishment,'' he added.

The film crew is shooting in Cape Town, George and Johannesburg, and in London next month where Hansie will be filmed by the Thames before a Lord's Test.

''He promised his headteacher that if he ever played at Lord's, he would buy him a ticket. Well, he did play, he bought the ticket and the headteacher went to the match,'' Frans said.

Frank Rautenbach, the actor who plays the role of Hansie, said, ''Why did he do it? Why do people do something they know is risky? Why do people smoke when they can get cancer? ''People do things, not always because of the return but because they think they can get away with it. It's temptation,'' Rautenbach said.

The 35-year-old actor added, ''Right at the end of the confession, Hansie said he'd like to thank Indian police for tipping them off. He was suicidal because he couldn't get out of it. Hansie did want to get out, but got in too deep. If he hadn't been caught out, then who knows what might have happened?'' Sarah Thompson, 27-year-old actress, who is playing the role of Hansie's wife Bertha, said, ''What's amazing is that, despite everything, he's still really popular among ordinary people.'' ''It seems he was getting his life together before he died helping disabled children and inspiring them,'' Thompson added.

Cricket South Africa's Dr Ali Bacher, who was the head of South Africa's United Cricket Board when the scandal broke, said Hansie enjoyed enduring popularity.

''People abroad don't understand it, but Hansie is still a popular man here. He was close to players like Alan Donald and Jonty Rhodes who offered him 100 per cent support when it all came out.'' ''If someone admits everything in something like this, they shouldn't be banned for life. They should be allowed rehabilitation and reconciliation. Nelson Mandela may not have forgotten but he has forgiven,'' he added.


Story first published: Sunday, September 30, 2007, 14:33 [IST]
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