‘I NEVER IMAGINED I'D BE PLAYING MOHINDER AMARNATH'
GLOBAL MOVIE MAGAZINE|January 2022
‘What a lovely person he is!’
Saqib Saleem steps into cricket legend Mohinder Amarnath’s shoes in Kabir Khan’s well-reviewed film ‘83.

‘Jimmy’ Amarnath was the Man of the Match in the 1983 World Cup semifinal and final.

“When we were standing in the balcony before the take, Kabir sir announced that we were shooting with the actual 1983 trophy. All of us started crying -- 14 boys hugging each other and Kabir sir in the middle,”

How did this role come to you?

I reached out to Kabir Khan sir for this role when I got to know that they are making a film on the World Cup. He asked me to audition for the part.

I passed the test and the next day, I was asked to come to the stadium to show my cricketing skills.

I didn’t tell them that I have played state level cricket because I didn’t want to oversell myself.

Balwinder Sandhu, who was in the 1983 World Cup team, is our cricket consultant on the film.

He bowled two-three balls, and after I hit them, he looked at me and said, ‘You have played a decent level of cricket.’

Then I told him that I have played state level.

So he told me to go and watch Mohinder Amarnath’s videos.

Did years of watching and living cricket play a big hand in warming up for the film?

The understanding of the game was better, but I had to play cricket like somebody else.

All the cricket that I have played in my life was in my own style, so I had to unlearn that and learn new techniques.

Jimmy sir had a distinct bowling and batting action, but like they say, till the time it’s not difficult, it’s not enjoyable.

How did you prepare for the role?

We trained for cricket for about six-seven months in Mumbai and then we went to London for the shoot.

When the cricket training was on, it did look taxing as there was a lot of physical prep.

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