TRUE Story family film, Million Dollar Arm movie has now hit theaters throughout the country with excellent ratings! During my trip to LA (which I cannot stop talking about!) we also had the opportunity and honor to interview Madhur Mittal & Suraj Sharma the two stars that played Rinku and Dinesh, the true winners of the Million Dollar Arm pitching contest in India.
To play a professional athlete on screen can be challenging when you’ve NEVER physically played the sport you will be portraying – can be nerve wracking! On the bright side though, Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh didn’t either and look where they ended up. It was amazing listening to Madhur Mittal & Suraj Sharma stories of how they overcame this challenge and the fun they had while doing it:
Q : What compelled you to an audition? What was that like?
MADHUR: I think the first thing that really hit – I think I speak for the both of, is what really hit me was, this is a tremendous feat that these guys have achieved and I had no idea about these guys. Nobody in my family knew. None of my friends knew this story. And what these guys have achieved is something that nobody has ever done any sport in the history of mankind.
That is vague. So, I was really kind of upset and I know for a fact that so was Suraj that we do not- nobody knew about this story. And I think it’s very important that this story reaches people and that was the first thing that hit me. And also the fact that, you know, we’ll get a chance to portray real-life characters. And what do you think?
SURAJ: Yes, same thing. It’s just the fact that these guys came from nothing, went and did something phenomenal. And nobody seems to realize that nothing was ever- they weren’t really appreciated for what they did.
MADHUR: In a way, yes. They’re not applauded enough.
SURAJ: Exactly. And that’s super- it depressed me almost and the fact that I didn’t know myself. It was like why I’m doing that? I’m doing what everybody else is. It just leads you to think that their story really needs to be told, and people need to know this. End in itself, other than the fact that it was an amazing feat it just gives you a sense that there’s a whole lot out there that we don’t really realize; opportunity wise. And the amount someone can work in a situation where they don’t know what’s going on and make something out of themselves, is really- it’s very inspiring.
MADHUR: Also I think it gave both of us a chance to showcase something different from what people have seen us do in our last films. I played a bad guy in my last film; he played a completely different character. So, I think also it’s a great chance for us as young actors portray something different and expand our spectrum as actors.
Q: Did you guys talk to the people you actually portrayed? And what was like maybe one or two things that you pull away from with the people that you’re portraying?
MADHUR: For me, the biggest problem was that Rinku, ever since this time period that we are trying to portray, ever since then he’s changed massive, tremendously.
SURAJ: He’s so good at adapting that since- this the point when the movie ends from here to here, he’s become a completely different person, so talking to him at this point doesn’t really help me too much with all this that we’re trying to do. But Dinesh helped.
MADHUR: Yes, Dinesh helped.
SURAJ: Dinesh was with us in Delhi when we were training for baseball and he hung out with us a lot, which is obviously great for me, because I’m portraying him in the film. But what he also did was, you know, not just give us an insight hint of his mind, but he used to tell us all these stories and anecdotes of what happened when they were really going through all this that we’re portraying in the film. And that would really give us a lot of insight into how Rinku was at the point in time or how JB was and how Asif’s character was or, you know, just real insights into how these people were feeling when everything was unraveling in front of them.
SURAJ: So, that was I think, really great and getting a lot of time to spend with Dinesh was really helpful for both of us.
MADHUR: And also the fact that Pitobash’s character in real life really did have a video camera. He basically went around recording footage of everything through the process.
SURAJ: Literally everything. Yes.
MADHUR: So we had this massive footage.
SURAJ: Massive treasure.
MADHUR: That’s how we got to know them before everything happened. Just their body language was so different. Their physique was different. The way they looked at stuff and talked about everything was really different. So all these things together kind of helped us build these people in our heads.
Q: What was your favorite scene to film?
SURAJ: That a tough one. We actually had so much fun, just every day. It’s like we were quite a handful…we were just two young kids, and you give us a glove and ball….we would just keep playing all day long. They would literally have to drag us on set, but we had a lot of fun in a lot of scenes. For example, the scene where they throw up was not fun.
MADHUR: Not fun for me. It stank! They had some really disgusting vegetarian soup. Yes, and it really stank.
SURAJ: It wasn’t really while we were shooting that made it special, it was just literally the fact that everybody around us always was seemingly having an extremely awesome time. Amazing time. It’s not like you’re having an amazing time and you’re letting go of work, you know, kind of situation. It was the fact that all of that added to the dynamic that hopefully was being set up in front of the frame, you know.
MADHUR: We were enclosed in four walls and there was this huge ground in the middle. So we had no air flow and the sun just beating down from top with thousands of these people in this small space. It was really hot and we had scenes where we were running around and pitching and what not.
URAJ: Yes. It wasn’t the hardest for us. Imagine those 300 to 400 people standing there in the heat.
MADHUR: Yes, and just in the heat.
SURAJ: And they have to act excited.
MADHUR: It’s very hard and they don’t even do it professionally like we do, so it’s really hard.
SURAJ: But, you know, they managed to do it. Everybody pushed through it all. There were a lot of times when stuff got really hard or complicated for everybody.
MADHUR: Jon probably changed his t-shirt like 20 times.
SURAJ: It was really hot, but people managed. People really did, especially Jon. I felt like he’s got this adaptive feature to him that you don’t often see.
MADHUR: He’s a bit like Rinku that way.
SURAJ: Rinku’s also a little bit that way. You get somewhere, extremely different, and then you just start taking in whatever you can as fast as you can and you slowly start understanding what’s going on. A lot of people in our crew went through that when we were in India and we kind of used that when we went to America, to Atlanta.
MADHUR: Hotlanta. Ya’ll making a movie. It was fun we had a blast. Good times.
SURAJ: Yes, very good times..
Even though Madhur Mittal & Suraj Sharma’s characters had no idea what they were doing on a baseball field, I have to admit they really pulled it off well. Agree? I believe that watching them learn was an awe moment of the Million Dollar Arm movie and a TRUE STORY. Check out our group picture after the interview with both Madhur Mittal & Suraj Sharma! Great times thank you Disney for making all this possible!
Remember the Million Dollar Arm movie is already out! Make sure to grab the family and watch this great TRUE STORY! Stay connected:
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