Shah Rukh Khan
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Biopics in Bollywood have now become formula for success, and clearly cricketers are the new hot commodity. Days in past saw filmmakers explore biopics of freedom fighters, but today it not restricted to them alone. Today biopics in Bollywood are made on people who have evidently made a difference in the lives of many. Tracking the life of sport personalities like Mary Kom and Milkha Singh, the films Mary Kom and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag left with us a certain respect for the sportsmen of our country.
There are many such untold stories that need to be substantially put across, and one of such is the story of cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin. The story of Azharuddin is much of interest as it involves the two things that our country is known to worship – cricket and Bollywood. The film that is closely associated with the events in life of the cricketer has already been creating stir as it also stars Nargis Fakri who represents Sangeeta Bijlani in the cricketer’s life.
While the makers believe the film not to be a biopic as its events are dramatized, Emraan who plays the role of Azharuddin had to undergo specific training to get into the skin of his character. As Emraan recalls, “It wasn’t an easy part to portray as Azharuddin’s field play was unusual, even the manner he walked on the cricket field was different and needed practice.”
Towards the end of Azharuddin’s career, the cricketer was rumoured to be involved in match-fixing which led to his fall out with the BCCI. The case we went on for 12 years until he was proven innocent. In 2000 he was banned from cricket and it took him 12 years to get rid of charges against him. The films track not only his career and down fall, but also focuses on the personal events of his life. The film has Prachi Desai plays Naureen who was Azharuddin’s first wife and Nargis Fakri plays his love interest Sangeeta Bijlani.
Apart from the cricket related controversies in the cricketer’s life, one aspect of his life was his interest in the Bolywod industry. His closeness to Sangeeta Bijlani had put his life under public scrutiny which was then followed by his downfall.
Ekta Kapoor during the trailer launch of the film made a statement saying that it was either one of the Khans or Emraan who could have played this character. Well Emraan got lucky that way! Azharuddin was said to have a certain batting style which required Emraan to undergo training on his cricketing skills. As Azharuddin had pointed ears, Emraan too had to put clips behind his ears to make them appear similar to Azharuddin’s. While speaking about the look, Emraan elaborated on the fact that the team first thought of prosthetics, but due to the burning weather in Hyderabad, the idea of make-up involved the actor to keep away from the sun to avoid the make-up from melting. And so the focus shifted on Azharuddin’s cricketing skills and walking style so as for Emraan to look the part.
Emraan has closely worked and practiced with Mohammad Azharuddin himself so as to fit into the cricketer’s shoes well. While shooting in Hyderabad, Prachi Desai along with the team also met his first wife Naureen to know her closely and to do justice to her character. While Sangeeta Bijlani has shown disappointment with her name being a part of the film, whether Nargis could pull off a Sangeeta Bijlani or no will only be decided on Friday.
By Stuti Srivastava
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