Leander Paes has been offered 11 scripts in 16 years, all of them sports-dramas. But having played sports all his life, portraying a sportsman doesn’t interest the tennis star. “It’ll be a great hobby to pick up. I’ve been getting offers for past 16 years. Since I won my Olympic medal in Atlanta, I have got about 11 different offers. So far nothing has excited me. I’m a patriot. I like the fast, ‘get up and go adventure style’ movies. The creative side, if it means something and connects with Leander as a person, will matter more to me,” says Paes.
Paes has had offers for remakes of Hollywood films such as Tin Cup, the Olympic Hero and The Natural. “Sport movies such as Chak De, Goal and stuff like that. Sports dramas and movies that had sport-themes conjuring patriotism, a national force. Tennis does that for me anyway. I don’t need to do a film for that.” Sports dramas don’t really interest the tennis ace. “It’ll be wonderful to not use the physique, the speed and the body again, and use more the expression and the brain and delve into forgetting a bit of what Leander is,” he adds.
He has trained as an actor, and is open to playing negative roles. “100 per cent! It’s a vehicle, like tennis was one for me to reach out, so is the entertainment industry.”His kind of films? “It has to be something more character based. Not a candyfloss, dancing-around trees type.”