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‘Delhi girls are well-groomed’

With fame has come a dash of glamour. Pankaj Advani is on the guest lists of the well-heeled. Debjeet Kundu chats with him.

entertainment Updated: Sep 18, 2008 19:41 IST
Debjeet Kundu

"I’m open to a relationship with an older woman,” says Pankaj Advani, the world billiards champion, when asked if he would love to date someone like his Bollywood favourites, Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor.

“Whoever it is, she must have a good sense of humour and should like me for what I’m as a person and not what I’ve achieved as a sportsman,” adds the 23-year-old singleton, who finds Delhi girls “very well-groomed”. <b1>

As India wakes up to the fact that there is more to life than cricket, Advani, who beat six-time world pro-billiards champion Geet Sethi recently, feels “this the best phase for Indian sports”.

But he adds with a slight scepticism, “The question is, how long will we [the Olympic medallists, Paes, Advani himself, et al] be remembered?” The Olympics come once in four years, a world championship once a year. But [a] cricket [tournament] is every other day.”

Advani’s latest win — he won his first world snooker title in 2003, and his first world billiards title in 2005 — was not an easy victory: “I was under pressure. We all know what he [Sethi] is capable of.”

A top sportsperson’s life is never quite regular, and Advani, who has just finished his BCom, laments that he could not have a “vibrant college life”. But the price of achievement is justified, he adds.

The good life
With fame has come a dash of glamour — Advani is on the guest lists of the well-heeled and well-styled. He is not immune to the charm of the beau monde. “It is very addictive.... But one needs to conduct oneself well,” says the level-headed player. “A sportsman should not only be a champion in his arena, but also wherever he goes. He’s an ambassador.”

Like any young man, he is fond of the jeans-tee look, but his preference for linen marks him out as rather sophisticated. He has a wardrobe overhaul in mind, for which he might pick designer and film costumier Manish Malhotra.

Advani is quite the Bollywood buff — he could watch Jab We Met 60 times for the “outstanding” Kareena; and he really likes the new pack of Shahid Kapur, Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor.

If an offer comes along, Advani is not averse to acting. He’d like to be paired with “someone like Amrita Rao”.