He has ruled the world of tennis for more than a decade and now Leander Paes wants to make an impact in Bollywood. The 39-year-old, who made his film debut with Rajdhani Express recently, reveals that he is considering taking up acting as a serious profession.
“I’ve entertained everyone with tennis for years and now it’s time to entertain my fans with some hard-hitting real stories that I believe in. I’d like to do more films. I am now looking at myself as a student of acting,” he says.
Ask him if tennis will take a back seat now and Paes says, “Not at all. I am playing full calendar. Honestly, I love my tennis life and feel lucky to be a tennis player. But now I want to explore myself as an actor as I feel I’ve achieved all that I could in the world of tennis.” He adds, “I was offered a film way back in 1996 after I won an Olympic medal in Atlanta. But back then, I had tennis aspirations and did not take up the project.”
Interestingly, it is not only Bollywood, but also Hollywood that is beckoning Paes now. The man, whose future project includes a graphic novel (slated for a summer release this year), reveals, “I’ve got a Hollywood script on my table and I am reading it at the moment. Honestly, I want to focus on one project at a time.”
Talking about his daughter Aiyana, Leander confesses that she has been his greatest inspiration in life. Ask him about Aiyana’s reaction to Rajdhani express and he says, “She’s watched the songs and promos and already knows the lyrics of Koi Umeed by heart."
Rajdhani Express releases on January 4. The Jimmy Shergil, Puja Bose and Sayali Bhagat starrer movie is Bollywood debut for tennis player Leander Paes.