Satnam Singh Bhamara has a wonderful sense of humour: Roman Gackowski
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Satnam Singh Bhamara has a wonderful sense of humour: Roman Gackowski

Roman Gackowski shares how he really enjoyed the humourous side of Satnam Singh Bhamara while filming One In A Billion with him.

hollywood Updated: Feb 19, 2017 10:03 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Satnam Singh Bhamara,Roman Gackowski,One In A Billion
Roman Gackowski’s (R) One In A Billion highlights the journey of Satnam Singh Bhamara from his native village, Ballo Ke, to becoming the first Indian to be drafted into the National Basketball Association, USA.

Basketball player Satnam Singh Bhamara’s humour impressed Roman Gackowski when he met the basketball player for the first time. And the Emmy-award winning director confesses it was quite a surprise.

“When we see or first meet an athlete who is as physically intimidating as Satnam, you expect they are the same off the court or playing field. What we learned is that he is very much the opposite. He has a wonderful sense of humour and is extremely respectful, perhaps too much so in that he is learning to be even more aggressive on the court,” shares Roman, who with producer Michael Ratner has made a documentary, One In a Billion, on Satnam.

Basketball player Satnam Singh Bhamara at Guru Nanak stadiam in Ludhiana. (JS Grewal/HT Photo)

He adds that they were interested in the project as they wanted to highlight Satnam the person in it. “In many ways, Satnam was a true pioneer in his attempt to become the first ever Indian-born player to be drafted in the NBA, yet we always felt that the core of the story was the young man himself,” says Roman, adding that he had a wonderful time shooting the film in India as Satnam’s family made sure that they were pampered with yummy authentic local cuisine.

What’s his favourite part of the documentary? “A scene when Satnam recounts the moment when both he and his coach at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, realised that he had finally overcome the language barrier that had been making everyday life, as well as basketball, difficult for him. You can hear in his voice and see it in his face, the relief and happiness that Satnam felt at that moment, and that it would be a turning point in his journey. It is a simple moment in the film but one in which everyone in the edit room wanted to give him a hug because we were all so happy for him,” recounts Roman.

As talks veered to the possibility of a Bollywood film being made on Satnam, Roman said that if that happens, he will be more than willing to help. “We would absolutely do whatever we can to help bring Satnam’s story to the screen as a biopic. His story is certainly worthy of such an effort and feel it would garner attention not only in India but worldwide. Also we came to know a lot about the industry (Bollywood) from the people we worked with in India for One in a Billion, especially from Satnam himself who is a huge fan of Bollywood,” he concluded.

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First Published: Feb 18, 2017 19:59 IST