Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar, who was in the public eye for almost a quarter-century before hanging up his boots, says his fans will still get to discover an unknown side to his personality and cricketing career when they watch the upcoming biopic Sachin: A Billion Dreams.
The movie, which uses real-life footage with recreated scenes from the cricketer’s past, releases on 26 May. Produced by Ravi Bhagchandka of 200 Not Out Productions and Shrikant Bhasi of Carnival Pictures, the film covers the cricketer’s life and career, starting from his formative years right up to his retirement in 2013.
“I know fans would want to see something more than they have in the last 24 years,” Tendulkar, 44, said in an interview. “Nobody knows what was going on in my mind at that time, so we have tried to speak a lot about the highs and lows. Also, we found a meeting point between what was comfortable for the family to share with fans, so they can see something never seen before or thought of.”
A fiercely private person, Tendulkar said the filmmakers didn’t push him beyond his comfort zone in sharing his story for the film.
“I didn’t want to disclose, didn’t want to do certain things. Above all, when they said I have to act, I said no,” he said, laughing. “Once a sportsman, always a sportsman. I want to let it be that way. They (the filmmakers) said ‘everyone knows your real life story, whatever has happened, all those moments on the field have been captured by millions. We are not going to create something that has never happened in your life. We wanted to keep everything as normal or natural as possible’.”
The Tendulkars have shared some family footage for the film, whatever “the whole family was comfortable letting go out in public”.
Directed by James Erskine, the film was four years in the making, with the editing alone taking a year-and-a-half, said Bhagchandka, because of the quantity of footage they had. Tendulkar did not get involved in the filming process, trusting and allowing the filmmakers to do what they thought best.
The film would give another peek into the life of Tendulkar, one of the greatest batsmen the game of cricket has seen and whose popularity hasn’t waned in the three years since he quit playing. It’s not uncommon for fans to chant “Sachin, Sachin” even now when he makes public appearances, like for the Indian Super League football team Kerala Blasters, which he co-owns.
Tendulkar wrote a nearly 500-page autobiography, Playing It My Way, in 2014. But the makers of Sachin: A Billion Dreams believe the audio-visual format will give his fans and cinema enthusiasts much more to cheer about.
“This is not a documentary,” insists Tendulkar, who is now also the promoter of a Pro-Kabaddi team.
He retired from Test cricket in November 2013 after playing a record 200 Test matches—which inspired the name of Bhagchandka’s company—after scoring 15,921 runs, more than any other cricketer.
But Tendulkar said the process of making and watching A Billion Dreams did not make him miss cricket. “After 24 years, the kind of retirement I had, I was a satisfied man. For every player who has played for a long time, there comes a day when you have to say this is it. I am stopping now. You always think about that day, how it would be, how it would finish and how it would stay with you. And I have some amazing memories.”
“When I look back, I see those moments, it feels nice, that all this happened in my life.”