After doing itsy-bitsy roles yet impactful ones in the films like OYE LUCKY! LUCKY OYE!, UDAAN, SHAITAAN, STUDENT OF THE YEAR, FUKREY, Manjot Singh is all set for a new challenge. As he has been roped in to play the role of former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu in the upcoming biopic (on Mohammad Azharuddin) AZHAR that also stars Emraan Hashmi.
Ask him if he feels AZHAR is a big opportunity for him and Manjot says in a timid tone, “Whether make or break let’s see once the film releases i.e. on 13th May 2016. I am thankful to Balaji (Motion Pictures) that they chose me. Right now I am gaining confidence to do my best.”“Yes it’s challenging because till now I played myself on screen. For the first time I am playing the famous cricketer. So I have mixed feelings. In fact I was shocked and even asked the makers whether I can play this role. But they cleared my doubts and suggested me to go for an audition. I auditioned for the part and they were happy for it,” says Manjot.
On probing him how he is preparing for the role, Manjot shares, “I have started doing the workshops for it. I keep observing Siddhu ji’s body language, the way he talks & walks, his hand gestures, etc. I have learnt one thing that usually, as the person ages, his energy levels are drained but in Siddhu ji’s case, with growing age his energy levels have only increased. He is very impulsive, energetic, a mastermind and spontaneous. So I have to prepare hard to match up his level.” He adds further, “I have read about him, his life and family.”
The film will go on floors in August and Manjot will be essaying the three phases and age groups of Navjot Singh’s life. “I will portray the three age groups of his life. When he started cricket, when Azhar and Navjot became great friends and when he left cricket. Unlike his current image, people will get to see the serious and mischievous side of Navjot in the film. People will witness the slim and shy Siddhuji in the biopic. The film will highlight Azharuddin & Navjot’s portion than concentrating on latter’s personality,” he says
Manjot will soon meet Navjot. “I have not yet met him but I am keen to meet Siddhu ji. I already spoke to production people and they will fix the meeting soon,” Manjot reveals.
Although he is playing a cricketer, he is not a crazy fan of the sport. He says, “I love playing cricket but I am not a crazy fan. I don’t keep a tab on every match. In fact, I didn’t know much about Siddhu ji.”
On a parting note, ask Manjot if he is getting typecast in Bollywood and offered roles because he belongs to a specific community and he clears, “Actually, earlier Sardars (Sikh) were only shown as comedian or in special dance numbers. But now Bollywood has gradually matured up. There is a trend where Sardar can do romance, action and drama. They have significant roles too.”