For actor Emraan Hashmi, who will play the role of former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin in a biopic, getting his cricketing style right is a big challenge.
Emraan Hashmi in and as Mohammad Azharuddin in the former cricketer's biopic titled 'Azhar'. Picture courtesy: Mohit Suri's Twitter account
The biopic, titled 'Azhar', traces the highs and lows in the life of Azharuddin.
"There are many challenges like cricketing style, which is very unconventional, I am an average gully cricketer. But when Azhar bhai came and taught me, I realised I had lot to learn in cricket. Hopefully I have got it better over the last three months," the 'Jannat' actor said.
"We play around 50 overs every day whacking the ball. We have to get it perfect before we start shooting," the 36-year-old actor said.
Recalling the day he got a call from producer Ekta Kapoor for 'Azhar', Hashmi, a self-confessed fan of Azharuddin, described the moment as his 'best'.
"In school time we were passionate about cricket. Everyone had started putting their collars up due to some reasons and there is only one man to be blamed for it, Azhar bhai. And 20 years after I get a call from Ekta Kapoor saying they are planning a movie on the life and times of Mohammad Azharuddin.
I yelled and screamed it is the best day of my life to play him," he said.
"After that, there was panic, nervousness, anxiousness because here is a man, who has been celebrated, minutely seen under the microscope by everyone, by our country for over 30 years and it is a huge task. Our team is very excited, Rajat has written fantastic script, we are very gung ho about it," he said.
Emraan started training in cricket in January and the former Indian cricketer helped the actor in getting his shots right.
"I was having no connection with the ball... He showed me the technique. I froze for couple of seconds. I felt blessed to be trained by the best batsman. It is a dream come true for me," he added.
"I won't be as good as Azhar bhai in cricket but by the time the film starts I have to be like him. I have to be and portray a character and show body language, which should look like him," he further said.
Emraan had to do weight training and yoga as a part of his preparation for the role.
Lots of names of actresses are coming out in the media to play the part of Azharuddin's estranged wife former model-actress Sangeeta Bijlani.
"I don't know where these stories come from, it seems that journalist has a dream and the next day it is printed.
There is a big wish list, we are discussing about the roles with a few actors, but we have just finished the writing part of the film. The casting is still going on as it took a year to write it," Ekta said.
Another interesting personality in the life of Sangeeta Bijlani is her former lover Bollywood superstar Salman Khan.
When asked if there will be Salman angle in the film, Ekta says, "Can anyone play Salman khan, he can only right? There can be no Salman Khan angle in this film. Nobody can play him."
The film, produced by Balaji Motion Pictures and MSM motion pictures, is expected to hit the screens on May 13, 2016.