Everyone plays cricket in India but to be able to impress someone as great as Sachin Tendulkar himself, you need to have something special and Sushant Singh Rajput was able to do just that.
While preparing himself to play the role of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, former Indian wicket-keeper Kiren More was trusted with the responsibility of transforming the actor into a cricketing athlete.
He’d work with Sushant for nine months straight, working on his techniques both as a batman and a keeper and look after the minutest of details which could help him become more like the unorthodox player that Dhoni was.
Following the death of the actor, More shared his experience training him for the role in an interview with The Indian Express and even shared the insights of the moment when the master blaster showed up at his batting practice and lauded him too.
“I remember the moment when Sachin Tendulkar was left stunned when he saw Sushant Singh batting,” More said. “A few weeks into the training, I remember Sushant practising the famous Helicopter shot of Dhoni. That’s when Tendulkar came to the training ground at BKC Bandra, a Mumbai suburb.”
“Tendulkar was watching from the gallery and when I met him later, after practice, he asked me, ‘who is this boy? He is batting so well. Itni achi batting kar rah hai,’ I told him that it’s the actor Sushant, who is preparing for a biopic on Dhoni. Tendulkar was so shocked and said, ‘he can play proper professional cricket if he wants to. He seems that good.’”
That’s not it. During practice, Sachin’s son Arjun used to bowl for him and Sushant would pull for a shot whenever the pacer hit him with a bouncer. The two became such good friends that Arjun even wanted to bat with his willow.
As an actor, he used to take his job very seriously and just like the film’s producer Arun Pandey revealed recently, he wanted to become just like Dhoni so that millions of his fans from all over the country and the world would accept him in the role.
Based on the success of the film and the fact that it earned him a Filmfare nomination for the Best Actor award, it’s safe to say that he went for the maximum.