Advani ‘lines up’ biopic, yet to pot it
Pankaj Advani, the 23-time world billiards and snooker champion, has a story to tell. ‘The golden boy’ feels that if there was a biopic made on him, Ayushmann Khuranna or Ranbir Kapoor would be best suited to play him. Even after notching up that record, he feels that there is still some time before a biopic happens.
He has even received offers to write an autobiography but he feels there is still time before he gives that thought serious thought.
What about the female lead in the film? “I can only say that I have somebody in my life right now. And, when I do make an announcement, I will let everybody know. But I don’t know when that will happen. She is neither from this discipline, now from sports, and also not from India,” he said during a visit to HT House in Lucknow. He was accompanied by three time world champion and five time Asian Games’ medal winner Geet Sethi. The duo is in the city to participate the All India Billiards Championship.
“Probably, he is waiting to win 30 world championship titles. In other sports after one Olympic medal a film is made but in cue sports, standards are so high that you need to probably win so many tiles for a film to be made,” Sethi said.
“There is a lot to tell and everyone has a story. We were in Kuwait then. We went to the US for a holiday in 1999 when the Gulf War broke out and airports were shut. We were in stuck in Belgrade airport (then Yugoslavia) without money and then it was somehow arranged and we had to come to India instead. Thereafter, my parents decided to stay put in India and we settled in Bengaluru. It was great for me, as I got introduced to this sport.
“After that my father passed away and we went through a period of tough times. But, family support kept us going. There is more that you will probably see in the movie, whenever that happens,” Advani said.
He recalls that as a child, when he was not allowed to go play during exams, his mother bought him a small special table on which he used to play with chopsticks and marbles. “Probably, it was the love for the game and that developed further,” Advani said. His favourite female actors are Alia Bhat and Kriti Sanon.
Cue sports players, looking dapper dressed in bows and waistcoats, have a history to their clothes. “In 1972, snooker was shown on TV for the first time. They found out maximum ratings were in the afternoon and women were watching. So, to attract more women, they smartened the dress and it became a dress code. I feel 70% of our TV viewers are women,” Sethi said.
The best conspiracies are hatched around a billiard table. “Yes, in Bollywood, we see either conspiracy being hatched or it’s associated with ‘ayaashi’ (luxuries). But in reality, there is nothing like that. Being featured in films, it did good for the popularity for the game. Probably, it looks visually very attractive so people feature it in films,” said Sethi.
The veteran player adds, “The billiards room is a charming place. I used to peek inside and wonder when I will get inside — it was love at first sight. I started at 13. It’s great that people are playing the game irrespective of class.”
Advani said that it may look like a simple game but it needs a lot of physical and mental strength. “The game takes a lot out of you — mentally, physically and emotionally. People may feel otherwise but it requires lot of physical fitness as well. It needs core fitness, endurance, cardio-vascular strength and strong legs, back and upper-lower back. Besides, mental strength is required as it’s all about concentration.”
Sethi added, “The game is very meditative in nature. It transports you to a different world. It’s ultimate yoga.”
Advani said that he has to sacrifice ice-cream during tournaments. “I was playing the juniors tournament then and due to ice-cream I had to miss upon it. Then I made a thumb-rule that I won’t ever have ice-cream before tournaments,” he said.