Bollywood actor Saqib Saleem, who played cricketer Mohinder Amarnath in ’83’, says that getting the cricket star right without making fun of him was a thin line that he had to maintain.
In conversation with IANS, Saqib Shares, “When we were starting the film, Kabir told us that every actor has to be him instead of pretending to act like him. So, for me, it was like imbibing Jimmy Sir’s body language, where I was capturing the essence of how he would move his shoulders, how he would walk on the field, etc.
Saqib Saleem said, “We can’t change that because it’s his signature body language that the world has seen… We can see it on all the footage available online. But for me, it was a tight rope to walk where We did those mods without making fun of him.”
Saqib Saleem said, “Since we had been preparing for a year, body language became my second nature, it didn’t seem like a joke anymore.”
Since this movie is based on the victory of Indian cricket team which won the 1983 world cup Kapil Dev, the actor shared how watching the film with his father Salim Qureshi was a nostalgia moment.
Drawing a parallel between real and reel life, Saqib Saleem said, “You know my father Mohinder is a big fan of Amarnath. So for me, it was one of those special films where I wanted to impress my father and I wanted him to feel proud of me for my performance. Interestingly, Jimmy Sir was also trying to impress his father Lalaji with his performance during the World Cup.
“Yes, he came from a privileged background, but he was a most responsible and humble person who understood the duty of being the son of an iconic cricketer like Lala Amarnath. He was trying to prove how worthy he was to become Amarnath.”
Lala Amarnath was the first cricket captain of independent India. He was also the first batsman to score a century in Test cricket for India. Mohinder Amarnath, son of Lala Amarnath.
Asked about his understanding of Mohinder as a personality and Saqib Saleem shared, “I asked him when he faced the fast bowling of West Indies cricket greats like Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts. If so, what was going on inside them? Head? Jimmy sir replied with a laugh, ‘Son, if we hadn’t had much brains at that time, we would have ended up with ball saar pe lage… we were just doing our basics right. That’s all, it was all about the few seconds in between and your reflexes. ,
Directed by Kabir Khan, ’83’ released in theaters on Friday.