While still going strong on the tennis court, Indian tennis doubles ace Leander Paes is also planning to dabble in Hindi films. He has already been offered the lead role in a Bollywood production.
"Paes has decided to take up a full-time career in Hindi films after he quits tennis. To start with, he has got an offer to play the hero in a movie," Bengal Tennis Association secretary Hiranmoy Chatterjee said.
"Paes will be in Kolkata in March for the next round of the shooting," said Chatterjee, considered close to the veteran player.
Paes, 36, one of the most successful Indian sportspersons of all times, levelled Mahesh Bhupathi's record of 11 Grand Slam title by partnering Cara Black to the Australian Open mixed doubles triumph.
Known for his dedication and sincerity on the court, the Kolkata-born Paes has also geared up for his film career with the same degree of seriousness. "He has been taking acting lessons in Anupam Kher's institute for the last one and a half years. He has also been learning Hindi for over a year," said Chatterjee.
However, Chatterjee refused to disclose the name of the film or its director. "Leander has been keeping it under wraps for so long. It is for him or the producer or the director to make things public."
Another Paes confidant and BTA official Sujoy Ghosh also confirmed Leander's foray into films. However, the player's father Vece Paes said: "Things are in a preliminary stage. He will take a final decision after weighing the pros and cons and seeing the scope."
Apart from 11 Grand Slam victories at doubles and mixed doubles events, Paes sparkled while representing India for long in the Davis Cup besides bringing home a bronze medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Also, he achieved the rare double - men's doubles/mixed doubles - in the 1999 Wimbledon championships.