Shikhar Dhawan on board for his debut opposite Huma Qureshi

 Satram Ramani, the director of Huma Qureshi and Sonakshi Sinha-starrer Double XL, reveals how cricketer Shikhar Dhawan came on board for the film.

Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi-starrer Double XL just had its trailer released last week. And apart from the actors, one of the highlights of the video was the ‘screen debut’ of cricketer Shikhar Dhawan, who was briefly seen dancing with Huma in a dream sequence. The appearance has generated quite a lot of buzz about the film. In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Double XL director Satram Ramani spoke about why he chose Shikhar for the part and how the cricketer was convinced to do the role.

The trailer opened with Huma Qureshi, dressed in a pink gown at what seems to be a fancy gala as she is approached by a suave-looking Shikhar Dhawan, who asks her for a dance. The cricketer appears in the film as part of a dream sequence in the beginning of the film. Talking about casting him, Satram says, “In the film, Huma’s character’s dream is to become a sports presenter, as the trailer also shows. She wants to talk about cricket matches and everything. So, the relevant part of the dream needed a cricketer and I am fond of Shikhar Dhawan. I see him as an alpha male, who fits in both the desi league and the elite club. I felt that was the perfect casting but I didn’t know if he would want to do it.”

Shikhar, 37, has been one of India’s best cricketers over the last decade or so, having played in over 250 international matches for the country, captaining the side in a few as well. So, how did such a celebrated cricketer agree to the cameo? Eventually, it fell to actor and the film’s producer Saqib Saleem (who also happens to be Huma’s brother) to convince Shikhar to make his ‘film debut’. “Saqib actually made a call to him and he was pretty open to it. He actually was convinced about the film’s idea and he said, ‘this film should be made’. That is the reason he supported us. He was kind enough for a one-day shoot and said, ‘I’m there for you guys’,” reveals Satram.

The filmmaker says the cricketer brought his jovial, fun nature to the sets, making the shoot a pleasurable experience. He recalls, “You must have seen his Instagram Reels and all. That is his real life persona. He is fun. He and I would have competitions on who would tell the crack jokes on set. He kept it light on set. He enjoyed it and had a good time.”

Double XL, which also stars Zaheer Iqbal, will release in theatres on November 4. Directed by Satram, the film has been written by Mudassar Aziz and Sasha Singh.

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