Leander Paes has decided to step into Bollywood, but only time will tell whether he is able to change the trend his counterparts from other sports have set in the film industry so far.
Paes is not afraid: "One life is all you get. The so-called stardom is transient; it vanishes with time. I might as well have my kicks when the chance presents itself. It’s also a great medium to reach out to all my fans even after my tennis career ends."
But for the ones who have taken a chance in the past, things haven’t worked out well; proof — their vanishing act from the movie. Cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Syed Kirmani and, more recently, Vinod Kambli, Salil Ankola and Ajay Jadeja, made a foray into acting but never made it to the A-list brigade.
Salil Ankola, however, seems to be the only sportsperson who has defied the trend and has acted in more than two movies and a few daily soaps. He debuted in 2000, with Mahesh Manjrekar’s Kurukshetra, and his last film was Sanjay Srinivas’s Silence Please... The Dressing Room in 2004. But since then, he, too, has gone missing from the film scene.
Gaurav Pandey’s film Stumped (2003), is the only film that brought together lots of cricketers for cameos — Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan, Ravi Shastri, none, however, as the protagonist.
Sportstars who tried to sizzle on the silver screen, but failed
Debut: Kurukshetra (2000)
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Mahima Chaudhary and Om Puri
Plot: ACP Prithviraj Singh has been transferred 14 times in 10 years. By a twist of circumstance, he arrests the Chief Minister’s son. The film revolves around his decision to pick his family’s safety or his oath to protect the world.
Filmography: Pitaah (2002)
Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne (2003)
Silence Please...The Dressing Room (2004)
Debut: Khel (2003)
Cast: Sunny Deol, Suniel Shetty, Celina Jaitley and Gulshan Grover.
Plot: It’s about two friends in love with the same girl. A murder changes all equations.
Filmography: Pal Pal Dil Ke Saath (2009), TV show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (2007), Cricket analysis on news channel NDTV (since 2005-2006)
Debut: Annarth (2002)
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Priti Jhangiani and Johnny Lever
Plot: Someone kills a member of their own gang in secret and in retaliation, another member attacks the rival gang.
Filmography: No second film, appeared on Sach Ka Saamna (2009)
Debut: Mayechi Savali (1994)
Cast: Ajinkya Deo and
Filmography: No more films.
Debut: Kabhi Ajnabi The (1985)
Cast: Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo and Poonam Dhillon
Filmography: No more films.
Debut: John Glen’s Octopussy 1983
Cast: Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Kabir Bedi
Plot: A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent’s death leads James Bond to set off on a mission to uncover an international jewel smuggling operation, the first Bond movie to be shot extensively in Rajasthan.
Filmography: Apart from this film, the only other feature he has worked in was Nine Deaths Of The Ninja in 1985. His TV acting career is currently active.