We had a real identity crisis in Australia. Fun-time-happy-internet-vodcasters (or as one journalist called it, five minute piss-artists) one minute. Serious-film-makers-trying-to-get-to-the-truth the next.
Some odd stuff happened to us, which included Sam asking Jason Donavan for parking advice, but the Dean Jones / Ravi Shastri cross over was certainly up there.
Inevitably it was all India’s fault. For some reason the Indian TV channel NDTV befriended us in Australia; Jaideep and Amitoj were their two main dudes on tour, and when they weren’t putting Dean Jones in a silly costume, they were hanging around with us. So it was always a natural fit for Hansie, our Two Chuck mascot (who is fighting for a writer’s credit for the film) to appear on NDTV with Professor Deano. We were happy to do it, because Sam and I are natural media whores and we love it when Hansie gets on TV.
The problem was we only had half an hour before we had to do a key interview for the film with Ravi Shastri.
The ever-bullish “Professor Deano”, as he made everyone call him when he was dressed up, didn’t see this as the problem it quickly became when Australian women’s all rounder Ellyse Perry was spotted nearby. Before she knew what was happening she was added to the casting and it was Professor Deano, Ellyse Perry and Hansie. Just when things couldn’t get any weirder, we were all kicked out of the ground to shoot outside.
Now we were running around the outside of the SCG looking for a background that looked like the outback. I’m not sure why. I was trying not to think too much about it, in my mind I was preparing for Shastri. But I couldn’t do that, as I had to hold Professor Deano’s Cricket Australia ID instead.
The small segment consisted of Professor Deano interviewing Hansie and Ellyse before forcing the two of them to play a weird game of cricket which ended with a piece of wood flying around dangerously as Professor Deano screeched into a microphone. It made little sense to anyone watching it, but I am sure NDTV edited it into something special.
Free at last, Sam, Hansie and I ran off into the ground, Sam to the press box to fetch Shastri, and me to got ready with the crew before going to face to face with Shastri again.
A few months earlier we had interviewed him for a podcast on Cricinfo, and it wasn’t always pleasant. This time he was standing in front of me. And when Shastri stands in front of you, he really stands over you. The man is just big, with a voice like a foghorn, making you feel like you’re standing in front of an impatient transformer.
Even his soundcheck was loud and bombastic.
Halfway through the interview I think Shastri remembered he didn’t like me. Suddenly he was so close it felt like he was suddenly on top of me. “Do you have a problem with that?”. As I squealed nervously I looked around for support. Anthony (Aka AK, TK, A-Kor, Manthony, TK-Maxx) our cinematographer, isn’t stupid – he’d taken several steps back.
Perhaps it was just to fit the imposing figure in the frame, or perhaps it was because when Shastri says what he means, you need serious space between you and him.
It’s a shame he hadn’t been on our NDTV shoot, I think he would have really enjoyed that.