The ever-resourceful filmmaker R Balki had the rare privilege of directing the legendary bowler Bishen Singh Bedi just months before his passing forth on October 23.
Speaking emotionally on the loss Balki, an avid cricket buff says, “His spinbowling was sheer poetry: there’s no other way to describe it. What he did with the ball on the field was just indescribably beautiful.You had to see him doing it to know what I mean.For cricket fans he was the poet on the field.”
Says Balki, Bishen Singhji was also a great humanitarian. “He could never allow wrong to go unchecked. As a man with a powerful voice he spoke up on issues fearlessly. He didn’t care what about the repercussions. He spoke his mind regardless of how it would affect him.”
Balki had worked with Bishen Singh Bedi’s son Angad Bedi before he working with the legendary father in Ghoomer. He would hear riveting stories on the cricketing legend from his son, before Balki got a chance to work with the Legend in Ghoomer.
Recalling the experience, Balki says, “Doing the cameo in Ghoomer was a cakewalk for Bishen Singh Bediji.He was playing himself, of course. When I made bold to explain what he had to do he cut me short saying, ‘I know what to do. I’ve faced the camera before.’ He was a great rancouteur and he told stories about himself effortlessly, as if it all happened yesterday. He always had the greatest admiration for Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. And the two families remained close friends until the very end.”
About Bediji health, Balki says, “He had a stroke some time back. But he came to the premiere of Ghoomer and he was in good health. He liked the film.Considering Ghoomer is about cricket I couldn’t have hoped for a better compliment.”