Emraan Hashmi : AZHAR - the story of Mohammad Azharuddin has all the ingredients of a dramatic cinema

Emraan Hashmi : AZHAR - the story of Mohammad Azharuddin has all the ingredients of a dramatic cinema news
Vishal Verma By Vishal Verma | 11 May 2016 14:26:37.9500000 IST

The year 2016 in Bollywood will be remembered for the year of biopic on Indian cricketers. Emraan Hashmi who is playing Mohammad Azharuddin in AZHAR will be the first one to hit the screen making the biopic on Dhoni and Tendulkar waiting. Geared up with confidence Emraan Hashmi sits and speaks on the experience of playing AZHAR, his grilling training sessions with Azharuddin and what makes AZHAR a story to be told.



How much are you in cricket in real life?
I have never been a diehard crazy fanatic of the game but followed cricket. During the one and half year process of making AZHAR, I learned a lot about the man, the sport, Mohammad Azharuddin helped in giving me some tips on the perspective and yeah, it was a great experience stepping in the shoes of Azhar.

What was the reaction of Azhar in real?
He has seen the rough cut and has really liked the way his character is presented on the screen. He has not seen the final cut. Am anxious to know his reactions when he sees the final print.

How much knowledge of the controversy you had before beginning to shoot for AZHAR?
Yeah I had fair bit of knowledge. I followed the controversy for 12 years. I remember it happened during my learning days in 2000 when I just started as an assistant. This role gave me the opportunity to get all the information; files got pulled out, read articles and all research gave a better and in depth idea.

'I followed the controversy for 12 years'

What preparations you did to get into the mold of Mohammad Azharuddin
I reduced my weight. The look is a combination of efforts by the entire team. The stylist, make-up artiste and the director. Azhar bhai was there to train me as a cricketer. He was my coach for three months to teach me the nuances of the game. Was fun to learn cricket from Azhar.

Apart from his batting skills, Azhar in real was also known for his brilliant fielding and use to bowl off cutters when required.. what was the prime focus in your training with Azhar?
We primarily focused more on the batting.. that was the toughest. Fielding a bit. The three months where grilling..

Azhar had a typical accent in his vocabulary, especially when he use to speak in English.. did you work on that also?
We have taken cinematic liberty in this area. For dialogues punches I have worked on something in between my way of speaking on screen and Azhar?



Have you spoken Hyderabadi in the movie ?
Yes a bit. The portions between Prachi and me. The time when Azhar was not the famous cricketer. The conversations at his home in Hyderabad between him, his wife and his mother has the Hyderabadi tang. Also during the second half when he is speaking to his old friend Hyderabadi comes in.

Honestly, what is your opinion about Azhar and the controversy? Was he wronged or got lucky? 
The court has acquitted him.. I am no one to jump the gun and go beyond court to call him guilty. I won't say he was wronged or he got lucky. A law abiding citizen like me should respect the court judgement. Yes during those times a certain section of the people blamed him for bringing a bad name to the gentleman’s game of cricket but the court has given the judgement and as an Indian and a follower of the game I should respect what the honorable court has said.

Apart from being a legendary cricketer, what other qualities of Azhar you came across and liked?
He is down to earth. Not has much air about beign a famous Indian cricketer. He is a fighter with strong inner strengths. Have gone through the trauma of the match fixing scandal, and the tragic loss of his son with great amount of courage and that quality has strike me the most.

'Comparing biopics is like comparing two people’s life’s'

You have also gone through varied emotions of healing followed by trauma back to back - recovery of son from cancer and loss of your mother in March due to the same disease, but life moved on, you started the promotions of AZHAR without taking much break. What was the real motivation to do Azhar.. the controversy part, the inner strength of the cricketer that you just spoke about?
AZHAR – the story of Mohammad Azharuddin has all the ingredients of a dramatic cinema. A young cricketer from Hyderabad not having favorable belongings makes his way into the Indian cricket team. Becomes successful and famous quickly and within a short period of time leads the Indian cricket team at a young age and comes triumph as the most successful captain during his times.. then the twist of a fallen hero.. controversies snatches his fame, recognition and how he fights them..

It’s the year of biopics on cricket legends AZHAR, a biopic on MS DHONI, even Sachin Tendulkar who enjoys a god like status in this part of the world is involved in his docu – feature, what will make AZHAR stand out?Comparing biopics is like comparing two people’s life’s. AZHAR has its qualities, it’s the story of an unconventional cricketer and his dramatic ups and downs. Every life has its own story and its own individuality.

The director from the film Tony D'Souza has not enjoyed the required the box office success even after directing two biggies like BLUE & BOSS. Does it raise any alarm?
I have faith in people notwithstanding their box office standings. Tony is a very good technician and this time he is supported by a better script and he is completely dedicated. Azhar is my biggest challenge till date. We are hoping for the best.