Last year, the inaugural edition of the IPL saw some big names from Bollywood such as SRK, Preity Zinta, Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar cheering the cricketers of the world. This year, get ready to see as many as 40 cricketing greats sharing screen space in the Hurman S Baweja starrer Victory. The film that talks about a small town boy's rise to stardom brings together some big cricketing names from India, Australia, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, England and South Africa. One of the cricketers who would be seen playing himself in Victory is Aussie spinner Brad Hogg. We caught up with Brad Hogg and got him talking on his experience starring in a Bollywood film. You don't want to miss this one!
Brad...you star in Victory? Is this your first feature film appearance? How do you feel?
Definitely, my first feature film appearance. It's been a fantastic experience and I truly enjoyed every moment of it.
Could you tell us a little on how you bagged the film?
I just got a phone call from the makers saying that they need some help with some cricketers. I immediately put my hands up as there was no way that I was going to let go of this opportunity.
But what exactly made you say yes to this project?
Opportunities like this to star in a Bollywood film don't come every now and then. You just have to take each opportunity as and when it comes.
You play yourself in the film. How easy or difficult was it?
It's a little bit difficult with a camera right up on your face. But looking back it's just been a fantastic experience, something that I will always cherish for the rest of my life. I'm just fortunate to be a part of something, which is so big.
So do we get to see you bowling your 'Chinamans' in the film?
Yes....You will get to see me bowling my Chinamans and much more (laughs)
How was it working with Harman Baweja?
It's been fantastic. We don't really get exposed to actors such as Harman every now and then. It's been a great experience to work with a professional actor like Harman and I even learnt a few things.
And how do you rate him as a cricketer?
He wasn't too bad, but at the same time he's no Sachin Tendulkar either (laughs).He has done the best job that he possible could have. So I think it's a good experience for him to know how the cricketers go out there and play at the highest level and I think he enjoyed the experience as much as we enjoyed his company.
So which other Australian cricketers do we get to see in the film? We know there are Brett Lee and Stuart Clark in the film apart from you?
There are a few others too, you have to watch the film for that. We got a great contingent of Australian players and it was a great fun-filled experience for all of us.
Australian cricketers are well-known for their sledging. Do we get to see that on screen to?
(laughs) I'm not too sure. Maybe a few words here and there, though we didn't change much of the action from what happens on field. Hopefully you see the same in the film as well.
Do you get to mouth any dialogues in the film?
Yes I do get to say one or two lines in English (smiles)
Victory is a Bollywood film. What has been your exposure to Bollywood cinema? Have you ever seen any Hindi film?
When we travelled to India, I got a chance to check out some Indian films while surfing the television channels, it gave me an idea of the kind of movies you guys make. I can't name any particular movie but it's interesting to see the way you guys go about doing your business.
Coming back to your career, you've retired from international cricket. Do you miss all the on-field action?
Not really as I am pretty settled at this moment. I enjoyed my career as it was and had a fantastic time. The highlights of my career would be playing some really challenging Test cricket against India. Majority of my matches were played against India and I just enjoyed that competition.
So who do you rate as your favorite Indian cricketer?
Whenever I have played against India, I have enjoyed the experience. They are just good players of spin and have an amazing batting line-up. I think the Indian cricketer I enjoyed bowling to most was Ganguly. He is such a great player of spin bowling and I just enjoyed the competition between him and myself.
There is a lot of talk going on about the Aussie dominance coming to an end. Recently they have been beaten by teams like India and South Africa. Do you think their reign as the 'Numero Uno' team is over?
I think they are still up there as the number one team. Obviously with the retirement of some senior players, we have gone through a change in the personnel and I think that's creating great, healthy competition within Australian cricket. However with some of the recent defeats, it all comes back to a level playing field which is good for cricket.
You didn't feature in the inaugural edition of the IPL. Do we get to see you this time around?
I am not sure yet (smiles). I'm just waiting to see if I can get my name there in. IPL will be a fantastic competition this year too. Twenty 20 cricket is a great concept and is really coming forward.
On a closing note, do we get to see a pulsating India-Australia final in the climax of Victory?
(laughs) I think we'll leave that for the viewers to find out so that they buy the tickets and see what happens in the end. No point giving it all away, ain't it mate?