- The actor talks about what attracted him to playing eccentric former cricketer turned alcoholic in R. Balki’s film.
The character of Padam Singh Sodhi (Paddy), played by Abhishek Bachan in “Ghoomer,” evolved with time. Director R. Balakrishnan, popularly known as R. Balki, had shared the idea of the film with the actor several years ago, much before he began writing it. But it wasn’t the familiarity with the story that made him get on board the film, it was the character he was going to portray. The conflict was exciting for him as an actor, “to play somebody so unlikeable,” and the challenge of making the audience like him by the time the film ends.
The “Paa” actor made the revelations during an interview with American Kahani on the heels of the film’s release on Zee5 Global. In “Ghoomer,” Bachchan is seen as Paddy, an eccentric former cricketer turned alcoholic, who often criticizes the world and system around him. His life takes an unexpected turn when he crosses paths with Anina Dixit, a cricketer played by Saiyami Kher, who loses her right hand in an accident. With the support of her boyfriend Jeet (Angad Bedi), she starts training with Paddy to be included in the team despite the limitations. He becomes a mentor for Anina. He teaches Anina the “Ghoomer,” a new style of bowling, and other unorthodox techniques to make her mark on the cricket ground once again. The film traces their journey against societal challenges and personal struggles and highlights how having the right mentor can push someone to achieve their full potential and overcome even the most daunting obstacles.
“Ghoomer” also stars Shabana Azmi, Angad Bedi, and Ivanka Das in pivotal roles. Amitabh Bachchan and former cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi have cameos in the film.
Bachchan liked “the certain contradiction” in Paddy. Although he came across as bitter and angry, Paddy is “the most sensitive emotional person” in the film, he said, adding that he enjoyed that because one doesn’t really get a character who thinks one thing but displays it in a completely opposite way. “I really enjoyed the fact he’s very bitter, nasty, and not a pleasant person but these are all coming from a deep-rooted love for what he does.”
But at the same time, the actor admits that the role was tough. “The entire film was very tough and demanding for all of us.,” adding that the feeling helped him perform better each day.
Bachchan didn’t have any references for the role as well as Paddy is unique. “I do not think there are any references for my character. You cannot really pick a real cricketer for his physicality or demeanor. He is so bitter, cynical, blunt, insensitive, and badly mannered.” However, there are certain aspects of Paddy’s life that one can draw parallels to. “I believe everyone has had a dream they could not achieve.”
Apart from gaining weight for the role (around nine kilograms), Bachchan also had to practice the left arm spin but didn’t need to do any particular preparation required for the physicality of his role. Saiyami’s role, on the other hand, required a lot of preparation, he said, adding that “the amount of hard work she put in is unbelievable.”
Bachchan’s dynamics with R. Balki also helped him immensely in the film. “While he’s my director, I consider him to be a friend, and that really helped me a lot.” Their first film together was “Paa,” but they have also collaborated on several commercials. “I like his sensibilities and unique take on life.”
Although the film is a sports drama, for Bachchan it’s a lot more than that. “It is a fascinating story of determination, resilience, and pursuing one’s aspirations rather than merely being a sports drama.” But that said, he believes that sports can teach a lot about life. “It teaches you integrity, teamwork and, to not give up halfway.”