Have to remind fans I used to bat decently too: Mohammad Azharuddin
The teaser trailer of the upcoming biopic on Mohammad Azharuddin, titled ‘Three tons, two wives, one false step’ was shown as preview presentation in Mumbai, an event also graced by the presence of Azharuddin himself, lead actor Emraan Hashmi, producer Ekta Kapoor and director Anthony D'Souza.
The 52-year-old, the former India captain whose life itself reads like a sensationalised morality tale – rags to riches, riches to ruin – promised that the film dealt with all stages of his life. “The film will focus on three significant aspects of my life – My God, my marriage and match-fixing."
The stylish batsman, who played 99 Tests accumulating 6215 runs and 334 ODIs scoring 9378 runs for India, was banned from cricket for life in 2000 for having been found guilty of match-fixing – a glittering career tarnished in one fell blow.
“I don’t have many fans left”, said Azhar at the event. “Whenever I go out, people don’t ask me about my batting but always say Azhar sahab aap bahut ache fielder the(you were a great fielder). But I remind them that I used to bat decently too.”
He also approved of Emraan Hashmi, the actor who is to play him in Azhar, "I have watched almost all his films, and I think he is apt for the role. After this film, he will be called Azhar most of the times.”
Film explains reason for Azhar’s raised collar: Hashmi
Hashmi spoke about the difficulties in trying to copy details of Azharuddin’s unorthodox style of batting, his gangly walk, his unique stance in the slips, his mannerisms and his introvert’s style of public speaking.
"In school days we were passionate about cricket. Everyone had started putting their collars up due to some reason. There was only one man to be blamed for it, Azhar bhai.”
“I had to start from learning which foot he lands first on the ground. Many don’t know why Azhar always kept his collar up. You will find the answer in the film. We have done a lot of preparation before the shoot, including aping his walk. Even Azhar’s son complimented the walk,” said Hashmi.
One frequently circulated anecdote about Mohammed Azharuddin is that sometimes when he went out to toss, he would turn to his teammates, suffering from opening-day jitters, and grin. Collar standing up, spring itself in his step, he would tell them to relax. "Kuch bhi ho, toss toh mein kabhi haroonga nahin (Whatever happens, I'll never lose the toss)."
Until 2000, when after having led the national team for more than a decade, Azhar was faced with a toss that could not be won – having to leave with no trace of the honour that befitted such a great career.
No Salman Khan angle in Azhar: Ekta Kapoor
Prachi Desai will be seen playing the role of Azhar's first wife in the film, the woman who is known for having been kept out of the limelight intentionally by Azhar and cloistered in a conservative setting in his native Andhra Pradesh. It has not been finalised yet who is to play his second wife Sangeeta Bijlani, now popularly cast as the woman who spoilt the simple Azharuddin by introducing him to Mumbai's social circuit, but the names of Nargis Fakhri and Kareena Kapoor have been doing the rounds.
When asked if there will be an angle in the film on Bollywood star Salman Khan, the third side in the traingular scandal involving Bijlani and Azharuddin in one of the most copiously reported personal stories of the 1990s, producer Ekta Kapoor said, "Can anyone play Salman Khan? Only he can, right? There can be no Salman Khan angle in this film. Nobody can play him."
Azhar is expected to hit screens on May 13, 2016.