MUMBAI: The Azhar movie chronicles the life and times of the former Indian Cricket Captain, through his colourful journey. It is based on incidents and facts in the life of Mohammad Azharuddin, who talks in the following interview about his life and the film:
You took over a year to say yes to a film based on your life. And now that the trailer has already released, what do you think of it?
You never think about your life being replicated on screen. So naturally it’s a different feeling. But I think Emraanbhai has done really well. He has worked very hard, trained and read a lot of paper clippings and is extremely professional. I like his approach towards work. He even hurt himself while training for the cricket portions and you have to make those sacrifices when you know you have to deliver. From whatever I have seen so far, it looks good.
Once the film releases, people will revisit the controversies of your life. Won’t it make you uncomfortable?
Azhar: People are bound to talk, but I don’t blame them. I think tough people survive difficult times. If you don’t have patience during those times, you will not survive. That is the law of nature. The first two years (after the match fixing case) were really difficult but I stood strong through the case. If I had lost (the case), it would have been a very different story. The film would have been made in a very different way. I don’t look at life negatively. I believe good things happen to positive people. Staying positive is my strength and I am thankful to Allah for giving me that strength and patience.
Even though the judiciary has given you a clean chit and withdrawn the ban, there might be people who don’t support you. There are chances that negative talk about you will resume. Does it scare you?
I am pretty used to it. Nobody can stop them from saying whatever they have to. I don’t worry about what people say about me as long as people who love me and my fans, who care for me, are happy.
After all that happened, do you wish to associate yourself with the Indian cricket team by being a part of the management or becoming a coach?
I will be happy if I am given an opportunity. I am willing to give back whatever cricket I have played. A number of players have come to me for advice but I choose to not talk about it for publicity. I am not that kind of a person. As a cricketer you must help people who are struggling and give them proper advice.
When you heard that Emraan will be playing you in the film, what was your reaction?
I thought he was the best person to do the job. I’ve seen his films. The first thing that appeals to me about an actor or a player is his or her professionalism. I think Emraan has been very professional, and has worked very hard on the film. He left no stone unturned. I’m sure people will like it. It’s not easy to copy someone. It’s a different film involving events that occurred in somebody’s life. I think people will get inspired by this.
Were you sceptical about sharing details of your life for a film?
I don’t fear anything. If I did, this film wouldn’t have been made. When you want to do something, you have to do it whole-heartedly. I think they’ve done a good job of portraying whatever has happened in my life. It’s a positive film, and people shouldn’t see it in a negative way.
Azharuddin, now that you have so closely been involved with the process of film-making, what’s your take on acting as a profession?
It’s not an easy profession at all. They have to fight it out, and there’s so much competition nowadays. When you watch a film on the big screen, you don’t realise the hard work and sacrifice that goes into making it. When you’re shooting, it takes ages sometimes to move from one shot to another. It’s a testing time for actors. You have to get into a different mould, learn so much, and still keep your mind straight. It’s a very tough job.
Why did you choose to use a film as a medium to tell your story and not, maybe, write a book instead?
It is purely because of the reach. So many people watch films. If I had written a book, only some [people] would have read it. Cinema is a large medium. Once they (audiences) see it, they will see the problems I had to face, the tough times, and how I came out of it all. I feel it is also an inspiring film. How I reacted at that time, what my attitude was, how I behaved, how other people said things against me, and how I reacted to them… if everybody has to know all that, then cinema as a medium is the biggest.
India Post News Service