"But I am not going to act," was Sachin Tendulkar's response when he was approached for a biopic and the cricket legend concedes that it took him a while to accept the idea of a film on his life.
Fiercely protective of his privacy despite becoming a public figure in his teenage, it was not easy for Tendulkar to open up for the biopic which is now ready for release. In the making for almost five years, Sachin: A Billion Dreams by British filmmaker James Erskine is all set for a worldwide release on May 26.
"When Ravi (Bhagchandka, producer) met me in 2012, his idea was that the life of other sports personalities have been covered so there should be a film on my life. My first reply was: But I am not going to act. It took me a while to say yes," Tendulkar told PTI in an interview here. Sports biopics are in vogue in Bollywood thanks to the success of Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and M S Dhoni: The Untold Story but Tendulkar believes fictionalising his life would not have worked. "In my case it (fiction) cannot be possible because everything is real life. Everyone knows what has happened to me. If I have scored 55 runs, people know that. I cannot turn around and make it 155. Ravi said everything would be captured from real life. So, I was convinced that there would be no retakes here."
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The cricketer, also called the Master Blaster by fans for his exquisite batting, says he finds the idea of talking about himself "uncomfortable" but the film helped him relive some of the most crucial moments in Indian cricket.
"I continue to be slightly uncomfortable (to talk about myself). Thats why I have got other guys to talk about me. I always wanted to play cricket for India. Rest of the things happened around it. And when I got there, it was about winning the World Cup for India.
"This film is about that. It is about chasing my dreams. My dream was not only my dream, it was a dream shared by a billion plus people."
The 2000 match-fixing scandal that rocked Indian cricket and shook its foundation is hardly ever been discussed by Tendulkar. But the trailers of the biopic suggest that fans can finally see him addressing the controversial topic.
Asked what prompted him to finally open up, Tendulkar said, "The ups and downs have been there in my life and thats part and parcel of any sportsmans career. This was not something that every sportsman experienced. Whatever I have said, whatever I know, it is there for everyone to see in the film."
Tendulkar says the film will also provide an insight into his mind as he dealt with the crests and troughs of international cricket and life.
"The runs that I scored, the highs and lows, nobody known what is going on in mind in those moments. I have spoken about those moments. My family is talking about myself. My mother, sister, my brothers and Anjali (wife) have spoken about me.
"My relationship with my children has been explored and there are family videos that no one had access to, which are now a part of the film," he revealed. Sachin: A billion dreams is written and directed by James Erskine and produced by Ravi Bhagchandka and Carnival Motion Pictures under 200 NotOut Productions.