Shreyas Talpade: 'Had it not been for Pravin Tambe, I would have been asked to play a coach, not a cricketer'

ByRuchi Kaushal
Apr 02, 2022 06:31 AM IST

Shreyas Talpade, who plays IPL cricketer Pravin Tambe in latter's biopic Kaun Pravin Tambe, shares his biggest takeaway from the film.

Seventeen years after making his debut as a deaf and mute cricketer in Iqbal, actor Shreyas Talpade is back as a cricketer again in the film, Kaun Pravin Tambe. At 46, Shreyas is happy, proud of all his films he has worked in and looking forward to getting more roles like this one. Shreyas plays Pravin Tambe, the right-hand bowler who made his IPL debut at the age of 41 because age is nothing but a number. Also read: Kaun Pravin Tambe trailer: Shreyas Talpade shines as cricketer who never gave up

Shreyas Talpade in a still from Kaun Pravin Tambe. 
Shreyas Talpade in a still from Kaun Pravin Tambe. 

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Shreyas opened up about the film Kaun Pravin Tambe, the similarities he shares with the life of Pravin, and why he is now longing to do more serious roles. Excerpts:

What is so special about Kaun Pravin Tambe?

The story itself about Pravin Tambe is so inspiring to say the least. It will be interesting for people to find out what was he doing till the age of 41, his struggles, obstacles and how he kept motivating himself. It is for all those people who believe in their dreams but are always told, ‘tu pagal ho gya hai kya (have you gone mad)?’ But they are still fighting, believing and finally achieving their dreams. There was no way I would have said no to a role like this.

From playing a deaf and mute cricketer in your Bollywood debut Iqbal to emulating a real cricketer in Kaun Pravin Tambe. How different was it 17 years later?

First of all, I would like to thank him for what he did. Had it not been for Pravin Tambe, 17 years after Iqbal, people would have probably considered me to play a coach and not a cricketer. Iqbal was a fictional story in which I didn’t hear or say a word. Kaun Pravin Tambe is a true story and I am hearing and speaking on screen. The core of both the films is same – chasing your dreams. We all like underdog stories.

And how far have you come in these 17 years.

The journey has been phenomenal with lots of ups and downs. I learnt a lot. I don’t know if I am wiser today but probably, I won’t repeat the same mistakes. I will make some new mistakes. I am trying to redefine myself and evolve into a better actor. There have been lot of changes; I am happy and proud of all of them. I do not and will never regret any of my films, whether they have worked at the box office or not. I have always stood by my choices. Success comes with a lot of happiness, so I am a happy person today.

The trailer shows your character claiming that he is not interested in getting married but falls in love. How things happened in your real life?

For the longest time, I was of the opinion that I don’t want to get married so early. And then I met Deepti and it was love at fight sight. Just like my song ‘Dekha Jo Tujhe Yar Dil Me Baji Guitar’, the guitars were playing for me. She is the only one I dated. We had a courtship of four years and then got married. It is similar in that sense, it is the only affair I had. I proposed to her four days after meeting her. I told her, ‘I really like you and I want to get married to you.’ She felt I had lost it and was mad. But when your heart tells you that this is the person for you, you just follow that.

How much work did you do on the game of cricket. Did you feel 17 years older?

A lot. I had not played cricket in these years in between. To restart the entire thing was slightly difficult but not impossible. Because at the end of the day, you are getting to do two things you love, one is acting and the other is playing cricket. So getting to play cricket in a film, there are lot of things to motivate me. There used to be pains, sprains, injuries, but then you think about who the story is based on. That fighter keeps inspiring you to get up and do it.

We had a coach but started practising with Pravin. I was also focussing on how he is as a person. He is a very simple and sincere guy, that’s what I primarily focused on. I also had to learn his bowling action, his medium-pace bowling, batting, his spin bowling and the certain pattern in which he speaks.

Shreyas you have a face that you will always look young on screen. Do you find any similarity with life of Pravin Tambe?

That is one big takeaway from this film – age is just a number. If you think that you have the passion to do something, age won’t bother you. It is unbelievable that someone at that age can still play with such enthusiasm, agility and energy. I have personally started believing in the same. If you are happy inside, the happiness will also show on your face.

You have done some critically acclaimed films like Iqbal, Dor earlier and then moved to more commercial films like Golmaal, Om Shanti Om. Why?

I would love to do more serious films. There was a time when people felt I can’t do comedy. Then I did Golmaal and was appreciated for my comic timing and kept doing comedies one after the other. People felt that I was good for comedy. Suddenly there was a shift, people started believing that I can probably only do comedy. Kaun Pravin Tambe marks my return to serious genre that I started my career with. I hope people will see me in a new light as an actor and will offer me more serious parts.

You have done a lot of work in the Marathi industry. The regional cinema is now getting bigger than Bollywood. Your comments.

It’s phenomenal. What happened with Pushpa is just amazing. That has given confidence to a lot of people in regional cinema and they deserve it. Phenomenal films are being made in Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and look at all these big stars! It is a time for regional cinema to rise and shine. Also, more the revenue, better we will try to present our films to the audience. I hope this is a new beginning for a great new wave for cinema in general and regional cinema in particular.

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