Sports star-turned-actor Leander Paes has a method to his madness. That explains why despite a successful sports career, he has jumped the Bollywood bandwagon. Paes has done his homework well before signing two films — Ashok Kohli’s Rajdhani Express and Arindam Mitra’s Agent K.
The actor now reveals that he met Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan before stepping into the industry. “I met Aamir Khan for suggestions before I decided to step into an actor’s shoes. He told me that since I wasn’t getting into this for fame or money, but only for passion for creativity, I should be true to that. And that’s what I am doing,” he says.When asked if he is ready for the competition in B-town, Paes says that he took his time enter the movies despite getting movie offers since 1996. He says, "I will learn from others and incorporate the lessons into my own style. I want to create my own market. I am sure there’s immense competition in Bollywood. It’s fun. It’s more about one on one relationship with people and I am ready for that. I am not here to compete with any actor in Hollywood or Bollywood."
Ask about the heroes he admires and he says, “I like Al Pacino and Clint Eastwood, but Amitabh Bachchan is like God to me. I have watched Sholay 102 times. I like the fact that he has lasted for four decades and his command over the language is phenomenal.”
Paes admits that he and Bachchan have always been friends. The actor, who was recently seen on Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati, informs, “Amitji is usually in London at the time of the Wimbledon match, so I get to see him often.”
He adds, “I admire Aamir’s focus and passion for every shot, for his attention to detail. I have tremendous respect for Shah Rukh’s (Shah Rukh Khan) brand value. Not many people have been able to do what Shah Rukh has done about creating a brand for himself.” Paes, however, says he is not sure how he is going to react if he gets to work with them. As of now, the actor is having a ball working with Gulshan Grover and Paresh Rawal— the two other actors whose are on his list of favourite actors.