Interview Director of the Australian comedy Save Your Legs, Boyd Hicklin, says that while the movie is centred around cricket, it is first and foremost a story about mates growing up together
In 2001 when Abbotsford Anglers, a cricket club in Melbourne, decided to tour India, Boyd Hicklin signed on to document the adventure. Ten years on, Boyd revisited the crazy tour for his feature film debut Save Your Legs which opened at the Mumbai Film Festival.
While the Save Your Legs is about a cricket club’s adventures in India, Boyd comments over the phone, “It is a growing up film, a comedy, a bromance but first and foremost it’s a story about mates growing up together.”
Talking about the Mumbai screening, Boyd says: “I was really proud and excited. A big crowd, lots of laughs and, most importantly, the Indian audience really got involved and responded well to the humour and spirit of the film.”
With Save Your Legs being based on real events, Boyd said, “It’s hard to reflect the brilliant friends I have in real life and do justice to them on the big screen, so we had to stretch the truth, meld some characters together and change some aspects to ‘protect the innocent. What goes on tour, stays on tour!’ But really, they loved it.”
Save Your Legs tells the story of Ted, the eternal Peter Pan who lives for cricket. When he realises his friends are moving on and his beloved cricket club, Abbotford Anglers, is falling apart, he decides a tour of India will set it all right. India becomes a metaphor for discovery and finding yourself. Save Your Legs also underlines the basic difference between the way men and women bond.
“Women seem to find it much easier to share their feelings whereas our young men tend to try to keep everything under wraps until it all comes out in one big, regretful outburst. Our boys need to work out their issues in their own ways; Rick likes to have his issues out in the open, while Ted wants it all to be simple and uncomplicated, like when they were young men together.”
Gurinder Chadha, the director of Bend It Like Beckham, “Came out of the film with a huge smile on her face. Like Beckham in Bend it…, Sachin (Tendulkar) is a major part of the story but does not make an appearance. Sachin is an icon in the film, a symbol of perfection that Ted has clung onto since his youth. Like a constant force for good, Sachin has always been there for Ted. When Sachin reveals his plans to retire, Ted realises that nothing stays the same, we all have to adapt to an ever changing world.”
Melbourne-based Boyd is a trained graphic designer and successful advertising professional. Talking about how his ad training helped, Boyd says: “Good ads are compressed stories. Making ads helped me develop comic timing and efficiency of storytelling. They discipline you to be creative and highly focused. What they don’t prepare you for is the marathon race that is making a film. And in India. Whoa! Intense!”
Boyd says he chose India and cricket because they “allow things to happen.” Boyd says he “was impressed with the professionalism of the Indian crew. It was easy for them as they were coming to this small film after MI-4 .
India is a challenging place to shoot in, it is chaotic and noisy. Everyone got a little bit sick but once they got acclimatised it was all good.”
Boyd described shooting cricket as “a blessing and a curse. I love the game and especially the D-Grade joy of it, but it is a huge game filled with subtleties and detail.
We didn’t want to make it a film all about cricket, so we had to simplify some of the details of cricket to appeal to those who may not know the difference between deep-fine-leg and silly-mid-on. It was important to make it authentic, to look like real D-Grade cricket and to not stretch the believability for cricket tragics. I think we achieved that.”
The documentary, says Boyd “gave me the confidence to make a bigger film with a big heart. You don’t have to be a lover of cricket to enjoy the film. The core of the story is chasing a dream, it is about a man who does not want to grow up, he wants to keep on playing cricket.”
There were many memorable moments, but the most surreal was shooting “a Bollywood style dance number complete with choreographer and extras. The movie had started with me and a handy cam. It was that small. From there to go to shooting a big, bold dance sequence tells the subliminal message that we are not afraid to go to surreal spaces. It sows the seed of the idea that these boys can do anything.”
Sachin Tendulkar is a major part of the story but does not make an appearance in