He is the complete opposite of what I am: Saqib Saleem on playing cricketer Mohinder Amarnath in '83
Photo: Instagram/Saqib Saleem

Saqib Saleem has made a place for himself in Bollywood soon after his debut film 'Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge'. Saqib’s small role in Dishoom, where he played a top batsman from India who gets kidnapped, brought him laurels indeed. Saqib will also be seen in another film related to cricket, in which he plays cricketer Mohinder Amarnath. The movie, '83, is a sports drama based on cricket legend Kapil Dev's life and is directed by Kabir Khan. Ranveer Singh stars as Dev in the movie.

Currently, Saqib is testing the digital waters. His web series, Crackdown, recently started streaming on an OTT platform and has been garnering positive reviews. This will be followed up with another digital release tilted 'Comedy Couple', which releases in October. Here he speaks about his latest release Crackdown, '83 and among other things. Edited excerpts from the interview:

You are performing some crazy action scenes in Crackdown. How was the experience?

This show is a huge, commercial action and a fast-paced show. I’m experiencing this action packed-character of a special secret agent for the first time. He is one unsung hero. It’s like a summer blockbuster film with loads of action and fun with every episode having a different angle at the end. Working with Director Aporva Lakhia for the first time who excels in the genre, I hope people enjoy watching it like I enjoyed working in it, especially because I was working with an exuberant director, as well as a good action director, Javed Bhai, and also with an able cast.

What are your future projects?

I have 'Comedy Couple' a Zee5 film. I have shot it completely during the lockdown so I'm very excited about it. I have done stand-up comedy in the film, which releases in October. And, after lockdown opens up my most awaited film '83, which should release in December. Since theatres were shut the film could not be released. I have watched a bit of '83 while dubbing for it. I loved it very much and I am equally excited to watch it with the audiences...ultimately audiences are the deciding factor. We are just waiting for things to get back to normal and theatres to open. We would like to watch the film in the theatres with the whole country.

Was it difficult playing Mohinder Amaranth?

Mohinder Amaranth ji, is such an iconic legend who people love and respect. He is the man in the world cup. He is a guy with an awesome personality. He is the complete opposite of what I am in real life. I am a bubbly, energetic person; he is calm and a restraint man. For me to just get into his head space and persona was a bit difficult. I had to start with meditation to learn to become calmer. Then the way he played cricket, his style of bowling and batting, matching and coming up to his level was not easy.

What was the brief given to you for the character?

Everybody had to be authentic, look-wise, play and feel like the character. So when it came to cricketing, whatever cricket I had played in my life, I had to unlearn it all. I had to take up a style that is very individualistic to Mohinder Amaranth. And, also the fact that there are a lot of people who are cricket fanatics and will be picking up the smallest nuances of the character. Thus we tried to pick up everything and while doing that had a lot of fun too. I hope after watching the film people tell me if I was even close to him.

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