It's not easy to be an international cricketer, and it's even tougher to play the role of one in a biopic, as Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi, who has been cast to play the role of former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin in his biopic titled Azhar, recently found out.
Emraan Hashmi in Azhar
"There are many challenges like (Azhar's) cricketing style, which is very unconventional. We have to get it perfect before we start shooting (next month). I've been practising for nearly 50 overs in the nets daily ever since we finalised the script, perfecting things like his stance and the famous wrist movement.
"In fact, I have even been practising Azhar's entry onto the ground," said self-confessed gully cricketer Emraan at the release of the film's teaser at a city multiplex yesterday.
Azharuddin was implicated in a match-fixing scandal in 2000, and was consequently banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. He however, appealed against the decision and the Andhra Pradesh High Court subsequently lifted the ban in November 2012.
Yesterday, Azharuddin refused to speak on the subject of match-fixing but admitted that he was initially reluctant to give his nod for the film because of certain "other reasons". "When I heard about the idea of the movie, I was not convinced.
But when Tony (D'Souza, director) showed me the script, I gave him the go-ahead," said the 52-year-old stylish batsman, who played 99 Tests accumulating 6215 runs. He played 334 ODIs, scoring 9378 runs for India.
Azhar said the film will focus on three significant aspects of his life — "My God, my marriage and match-fixing." The film will release in May next year.