After waiting for almost two years, Meerabai Not Out is expected to release on December 5…
Finally its releasing. Look at the timing… Just after Anil Kumble has retired. It was shot some time ago. But its not dated because the feeling people have towards cricket, the passion they have towards cricket, the love they have towards cricket is timeless. And if anything the passion has increased after the series against Australia and the hammering of England. The spirits are very high.
What is the difference between Mandira Bedi and your character in the film, Meera Achrekar?
There are plenty of differences. There is one similarity and that is their love for cricket. Apart from that, Meera Achrekar and Mandira Bedi come from two different worlds. Ok, theres one more similarity. Both their names start with M! Thats where it ends. Meera lives in Mumbai, in a small little colony in Borivli. She is part of a staunch middle-class Maharashtrian family. She is a mathematics teacher in a Hindi medium school called Vishwa Prem Vidyalaya. Her two passions are work and cricket.
Did you have to do any homework for the role?
Certainly! I had to work on my accent. We decided not to have too much of Marathi in the film because its releasing throughout India. Its not like I am speaking long phrases in Marathi. Otherwise we would have made a Marathi film. We worked a lot on the look of the character, though.
I know everyone says that about every film — that my look here is different. But let me tell you I have been in this entertainment business for many years, right from Shanti. And Shanti is a character that stood out because of the way I looked and the way my personality came through. Heres another character that I have played in my career which is truly different from anything I have ever done.
What was the experience of acting with Anil Kumble?
He did a tiny little guest appearance. He is a gentleman. He has been an unsung hero, a thorough gentleman. A cricketer and a gentleman — thats what I would call him. He is absolutely wonderful to work with.
Its an emotional time for Indian cricket, having lost Kumble and Ganguly. Your reactions...
Yes, it is an emotional time for Indian cricket. As far as the retirement of the man closer to your home all I can say is that he announced his retirement a day before the series started and the next match he scored a century. I think there are very few cricketers who can do something like that. Sourav Ganguly has always been special. He went out on a high. Another retirement is going to happen shortly (hinting at Rahul Dravid). Everyone is talking about it and it does look impending. So it sure is an emotional time for Indian cricket but the old order always changes giving way to the new. Thats the way life is.
Many people in Bengal watched cricket just for Ganguly. Some sure watch it for Tendulkar. What happens to the interest in cricket when the Fab Four go?
I think cricket in our country is beyond one individual. Of course, there will be great disappointment and maybe a recession for some time but the passion will eventually surpass everything. Dont get me wrong. I am not diminishing the importance of a Sachin Tendulkar or a Sourav Ganguly or a Rahul Dravid. We love the game and we have our heroes.
People at one point watched Formula One racing just for Michael Schumacher — but that doesnt mean a Lewis Hamilton coming along cannot ignite interest. The love for the sport continues. Sunil Gavaskar retired, Kapil Dev retired… They were legends. My grandmother was fond of cricket just for Gavaskar. But new people come along. Look at Dhoni… he has been a case of overnight success. He has come along and created his own fans of the game. A Childrens Day poll said he was the most popular icon among children. The game continues. It wont be easy but new Sachin Tendulkars will be born.