Sachin A Billion Dreams is about the highs and lows of my life: Sachin Tendulkar | Release today
Sachin A Billion Dreams, which features India’s biggest ever sports icon, Sachin Tendulkar, will release today. Here’s an exclusive chat with the Master BlasterUpdated: May 26, 2017 09:00 IST
The success of biopics such as Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mary Kom and MS Dhoni: The Untold Story have prompted many Bollywood producers to make films on sports personalities. But one film which was planned before all of them was based on a man who answers to the name of Sachin Tendulkar.
Sachin A Billion Dreams, which features India’s biggest ever sports icon in a tell-all avatar, went under-production in 2012. Sachin says, “This film is completed now. The work on it started in 2012. I didn’t realise, but Ravi (the producer) told me that we started working on it even before Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mary Kom and other biopics.”
People from his immediate circle would be spilling the beans about the other sides of Sachin’s personality. He adds, “It’s just not my side. Wife, friends, brother, other family members, other players, everyone has spoken about it. So there are things that the audience doesn’t know about me yet.”
HT caught up with the God of cricket for this freewheeling chat. Ravi Bhagchandka, film’s producer, was also a part of this conversation.
Excerpts from his interview:
Q: You have done so many ad films. Many people must have approached you for a film in the past. What prompted you to say yes to Sachin A Billion Dreams?
Sachin Tendulkar: Many people approached me for acting, but not for a film on my life. This is the first time somebody came to me to make a film on my life. Even then I said don’t force me for acting. I said to Ravi (the producer) ‘once a sportsman, always a sportsman’. Acting wagairah se chodd do mujhe (laughs). He assured me it’s not about acting, but about what’s been happening in 24 years of my life.
Q: We can see you in the trailer looking really emotional. So, how was it to go back in time and reliving every moment?
Sachin: It was a very different feeling. When you’re playing, you try to focus on different aspects of the game… You look to correct your mistakes. You’re also thinking forward, how I am going to play. I looked back to my dismissals to understand how could I get better. Otherwise you don’t go back to assess your life. We had to cover not just 24 years of my playing career, but from the time when I was only 5.
It starts from my old house. My brother stays there. We shot there. We didn’t recreate any set. It’s actually my house that you’ll see in the film. The actual playground where I grew up.. The first ball I played. There’s also Shivaji Park Kamath Memorial pitch. I played on that very pitch.
Q: You recall everything...
Sachin: (Laughs) I recall only important things. Things that took me forward. Like when we went back there, the first thing I did was taking ‘Shivaji Park Ka Hawa’. Then there is a Ganesh temple where I used to go every day.
Q: You also say in the film that ‘cricket mere liye puja karne jaisa tha’ (Cricket was like worship to me).
Sachin: Haan bilkul, that is how we were brought up. That is how my coach, family instilled values in me.
Q: I remember the farewell speech you gave at Wankhede Stadium. You talked about the times when you simply went silent at home after a defeat. How did your family deal with it?
Sachin: A few days before a series or when I returned from a tour, it took me some days to unwind, relax and be normal, because I was so much into the game. Anjali has spoken about all these things.
Q: Sachin A Billion Dreams has used real footage, a bit of acting is also there. Why did you decide to go for such a style?
Ravi Bhagchandka: You know when we look at global sporting icons like Mohammed Ali, Michael Jordon, (Ayrton) Senna, maybe Roger Federer in future, these kind of stories are very real. Most of the times we see actors playing these characters, but we had so many questions to ask Sachin. From his playing years when he was on the pinnacle of success, his injuries, when he was out of form, family life, everything that his fans wanted to know. We had real footages, something you can’t recreate. Any actor could have done that, but Sachin is someone who always sets trends, so we thought why not him.
Q: You made it difficult for everybody to read your mind when you were playing. But here you are going to reveal the other side of your life. Your philosophy, inner emotions, strategy...
Sachin: It’s just not my side. Wife, friends, brother, other family members, other players everyone has spoken about it, so there are things that the audience doesn’t know about me yet. I have spoken about the highs and lows of my life.
Q: Though Sachin is playing Sachin, but going into that territory must be very different rather difficult.
Sachin: Not so much because I was just being myself, and that is how we agreed to do it. The difference I realised over a period of time is that on cricket field the camera captured whatever I did. In ad films, I did whatever I was asked to do. I couldn’t just go and do whatever I want. There was a lot of planning, but I wanted this film to be like cricket. Whatever I do should be captured.
Q: What about the mischievous side of Sachin Tendulkar that every cricketer keeps talking about. You play a lot of pranks...
Sachin: (Smiles) Yes, I do. That is also there in the movie (laughs).
Q: Did you anticipate how others were going to talk about you?
Sachin: I wasn’t there when Anjali was talking. She has spoken the way she feels. She has experienced the journey.
Q: Mahendra Singh Dhoni talks like a fan-boy in the trailer. You both have shared the dressing room for so many years. Commanding such respect from contemporaries is difficult...
Sachin: What can I say! I just did what I felt I was good at. You develop relationships while doing so. And it’s mutual. Such things can’t be forced upon.
Q: You’re talking directly to your fans, audiences in Sachin A Billion Dreams. Did breaking the fourth wall make you anxious?
Sachin: See, I had to think, remember before saying anything. It had to be engaging. We haven’t tried to put something out of the box to create a controversy. I have stated the facts. Whatever happened is there.
Q: Including the match-fixing scandal?
Sachin: Whatever I felt. So many other aspects also. The way they happened. The way I felt about them.
Q: It’s been a few years since you last batted for India. Why the film is coming out now?
Sachin: (Laughs) This film is completed now. The work on it started in 2012. I didn’t realise, but Ravi told me that we started working on it even before Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mary Kom and other biopics.
Ravi: Because the film travels almost 37 years in time, so it took us two and a half years to figure out what to keep in the film.
Sachin: These guys have gone through some 10,000 hours of footage. So my question is what’s happening with the other 9,999 hours of footage (laughs).
Ravi: We’ll make 4-5 parts more (laughs).
Q: What made you go for a director like James Erskine?
Ravi: James has done a number of sports-based films. With all due respect, Indian directors who grew up in India were always surrounded by Sachin’s aura even if you are not a big fan of cricket. I thought an objective take would come for somebody who hasn’t seen that kind of madness.
Q: I will add two questions. Are you going to act in more films after this? And…
Sachin: (mischievously) Let me answer this one first. No.
Q: And who are the other sports personalities you would like to see a biopic on?
Sachin: I guess Roger Federer.
Q: I thought you’re going to say John McEnroe.
Sachin: I know, but in today’s times, it’s Roger Federer for me.
Q: No Indian athletes?
Sachin: (Smiles) They are anyway making films on so many sports people.
Sachin A Billion Dreams will hit the screens on May 26, 2017.
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