Saqib Saleem: 'I was psyched when the role of Vice-Captain Amarnath came to me'

Saqib Saleem: 'I was psyched when the role of Vice-Captain Amarnath came to me'

Akash Bhatnagar

Being from a generation that has seen India lift the cricket World Cup in 2011 and witnessed the excitement across the country first hand, I could only imagine what the situation would have been when we did it for the first time in the 1983 World Cup, especially when no one expected us to perform. So, as soon as it was announced that Kabir Khan was bringing that story alive on screen with Ranveer Singh in the lead in ’83, I was invested in the film from the word go. After an extended delay due to the pandemic, ’83 is finally on the cusp of release and I am really excited about it, and so is Saqib Saleem, who plays Vice Captain Mohinder Amarnath in the film, as he opens up about his journey on ’83.

Saqib is an absolute cricket maniac and nerd, who played state level cricket until he turned 20, thus he feels that he had been prepping for the sports drama his whole life.

He says:

“I have been prepping for this role my entire life. As a child, teenager and until my 20s, all I wanted was to be a cricketer. I was obsessed with it. I've played cricket at the state level and I thought that someday I would pursue the sport as a profession. I was psyched when the role of Vice Captain Amarnath in ’83 came to me. All those hours spend watching matches, analysing players' game and crunching numbers were well worth it. I made great memories and I gave the film everything I had.”

Opening up about the work that he has put in for the film, the actor shares that quitting the gym was among one of the most difficult things that he had to do, considering in the 80s, cricketers didn't train in gyms; they ran, cycled and did bodyweight exercises. Thus, Saqib had to lose definition, bulk and cuts to look like Amarnath.

Committed to authenticity, Saqib was on a rigorous training to ace batsmanship, one of Amarnath's strongest suits. The actor's cricket background helped him sink into the character. Now, that I know that Saqib already has a background in cricket, my expectations from his portrayal have increased a lot. Waiting eagerly now to witness history in the making on the big screen.