“I was psyched when the role of Vice-Captain Mohinder Amarnath in 83 came to me” – Saqib Saleem

Saqib Saleem's upcoming film 83 is only a few days away from releasing in theatres. The versatile actor affirms that he had been prepping for the sports drama his whole life. Saqib is an absolute cricket maniac and nerd, who played state-level cricket until he turned 20. Opening up about the groundwork that went into his portrayal of Vice-Captain Mohinder Amarnath, he conveys that years of watching and living cricket played a large hand in warming up for the film.

"I was psyched when the role of Vice-Captain Mohinder Amarnath in 83 came to me" - Saqib Saleem

Directed by Kabir Khan, 83 is based on India's victory in the 1983 Cricket World Cup. Saqib is part of an ensemble cast that includes Ranveer Singh, who will be seen as Captain Kapil Dev. Quitting the gym is among one of the most difficult things that Saqib did to ready himself for the role. Known as a gym junkie, the actors had to steer clear of working out in the gym to appear believable as Mohinder Amarnath. The rationale was that in the 80s (the era of the film) cricketers didn't train in gyms; they ran, cycled, and did bodyweight exercises. Saqib had to lose definition, bulk, and cuts to look like Amarnath.

Committed to authenticity, Saqib not only underwent a massive body transformation but also walked in the shoes of Amarnath to embody his composed demeanour. The actor was on rigorous training to ace batsmanship, one of Amarnath's strongest suits. The actor's cricket background helped him sink into the character. 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 spent watching matches, analysing players' games and crunching numbers were well worth it. I made great memories and I gave the film everything I had.”

ALSO READ: RSVP announces horror-comedy Kakuda starring Riteish Deshmukh, Sonakshi Sinha, Saqib Saleem; film goes on floors today

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