Harman Baweja talks about Victory and his real cricketing experience on the sets with Rajan Singh
Victory is the story of human spirits. Victory is obviously about the life of a cricketer and its about how he starts his journey from Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and from there on how he becomes a part of team India. During his journey he also has to face lots of obstacles. Even if one has talent and passion, one still needs a lot more than just that. Finally in the end, when he becomes a part of team India many drama starts unfolding. Victory talks about his journey and the unfolding drama when he becomes a part of the Indian cricket team.
Did you sign Victory purely because of the fact that the film had international cricketers?
When I had signed Victory, the film was devoid of any international cricketers. I had signed the film purely on the basis of the fact that the script of the film appealed to me a lot. I loved the story of the film; I loved the screenplay of the film. The best part about Victory is that it deals with the relationship of a cricketer with cricket. The film also talks about the protagonists relationship with his teammates, with his dada who stays in Rajasthan, with his neighborhood friends with whom he has grown up. Victory is a film about relationships.
Who are the other cricketers in the film apart from Harbhajan Singh and Brett Lee?
If I were to reveal everything in the very beginning, there would be no fun left.
How is Victory different from other sports based films?
In every love story, boy and girl fall in love with each other but again that does not mean that every love story is same only. You will get to see different things in the film. A film based on sports will obviously not be the same when compared with other sports films. Victory is authentic and it has lots of cricketers in the film, Victory is so close to being a true story that people will actually believe it and it could have been a true story but it is not.
The film involves cricket as its background and obviously you must have trained for it, tell us a bit about your training exercise?
When I had signed Victory then the first thing I realized was that I will have to spent months just looking like a cricketer and training to look like a cricketer. We had films based on cricket in the past but because we had international cricketers as part of the film so it was required on my part to look authentic. The authenticity level should be such that one glance and people are able to say that he looks like a proper cricketer. I trained for about three to four months with Pravin Amre, who played for team India in the mid nineties. I took training from him for three to four months. Daily we used to practice for around four hours, which was divided into two hours in morning and two hours in evenings. We had training drills, then we practiced for figure nine, one on one drills. A bat was provided whose length and thickness was similar to that of a normal cricket stump. I was supposed to middle six consecutive balls with that special bat and then my day used to get over. All in all it was lots of training and running between the wickets. You dont get to realize all these things when you are playing cricket at a domestic level in your town that this game involves so many technicalities. I had to learn everything in a span of around four months. Whoever has seen the rushes, including the cricketers were very impressed.
Its also being rumoured that we will also get to see your six-pack in the film. How true is it?
I dont have a six-pack. From where did you get to see it? There is no six-pack in the film.
Did you get injured while playing with any of the cricketers?
Well not with just one cricketer but with most of the cricketers. It was difficult because at the end of the day, it was I who was to face their balls. Even if one is padded with all the possible gears you do get injuries. I had to do few shots over and over again. Yes it was difficult but it was fun also.
It was also reported in newspapers that while shooting for the film you scored few sixes when Brett Lee was bowling to you.
Well it was not sixes and sixes. The whole thing was bit exaggerated. Let me tell you everything in detail. Brett Lee and I were busy shooting at night. The whole sequence was picturised in night and it was around 2 am. I told Brett Lee that I had enough of his filmi balls; he should now bowl me a real Brett Lee bowl. After this Lee looked at me and asked me if I was sure about this. Next thing I see is that Brett Lee is doing stretches and twisting and turning his body. Then I took my position and Hayden got behind the stumps. Simon Katich, Mike Hussey and Stuart Clarke had taken their positions by then. They were all set and started going ten steps backward to take their final position. Then everything dawned upon me and realized that he was now going to bowl a real Brett Lee delivery. And just before Lee was about to bowl, Hayden who was keeping wickets screamed and said, get his toes mate, get his toes! I said that you guys couldnt do this to me. The ball almost came up to my shoulder and it was almost a bouncer, I whacked a pull shot and it went to the boundaries and then I got honest reaction from all the Aussies after they encored by saying whatttt! We watched the whole game over and over again in slow motion; it was a moment of glory for me.
Where does Amrita Rao figures in the whole scheme of things?
Every cricketer has a love story and here in this film its provided by Amrita Rao. Amrita Rao has got a very strong character in the film but because the film is cricket centric, the focus is more on cricket. You will realize this only after you have seen the film, that how Amrita is a very integral part of the film. She is the one who is the whole support system of Vijay Shekhawat, the role I play in the film, till the last frame of the film.
Your last film had Priyanka Chopra opposite you and Victory has Amrita Rao, whom do you consider as a better actor?
I think both Priyanka Chopra and Amrita Rao are brilliant actresses. I am lucky that I have managed to work with two good actresses. As far as Amrita is concerned she is a great human being and we had a great time shooting the film. There was no any seniority or juniority on the sets when we were shooting the film. Obviously when I had started shooting Victory, Love Story 2050 had not released by then, I was still a newcomer. It was great working with her.
Any expectations from 2009?
Well lets hope 2009 is a victorious year for me. I am not nervous, but I am excited.
We can also witness one strange thing in the credits of the film; your name now carries a Singh to it.
I am a Sardar and my actual name is Harman Singh Baweja and to top it all my director Ajitpal Mangat too is a Sardar and he told me why not put the Singh back in my name. It does not make any difference. I told him that I am ok with whatever he feels right.
Tell us a bit about your role in the film?
I play a Rajasthani boy in the film who hails from Jaisalmer. People over there normally wear baaliya in their ears so in that way its very authentic to the character. I actually dont know that Dhoni wears such studs. I dont think he wears it in both his ears.
Victory Music Launch
Did the cricketers while shooting for the film give you any tips?
During shooting I obviously took tips from all the cricketers and the simple reason for this was only because of the amount of knowledge they have about this game. I just cannot match to their level despite seeing their numerous videos. They guided me constantly throughout the shooting of the film. They informed me of the minor nuances as to what conversation exactly happens between two batsmen when they are on the crease, their mannerism and other things. We all bonded with each other.
Ok, finally, in the end which cricketer became closest to you after the shooting was done?
Bhajji has become a very close friend. He is a sardar and I am a Mona sardar. He is Harbhajan and I am Harman.
Thanks a ton.