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

Seventeen years after making his debut as a deaf and dumb 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 looks forward to getting more roles like this one. Shreyas plays Pravin Tambe, the right-handed bowler who made his IPL debut at the age of 41 because age is nothing more than a number. Also read: Kaun Pravin Tambe trailer: Shreyas Talpade shines like a cricketer who never gave up

In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Shreyas opened up about the film Kaun Pravin Tambe, the similarities he shares with Pravin’s life and why he now longs to do more serious roles. Extract:

What is so special about Kaun Pravin Tambe?

The very story of Pravin Tambe is so inspiring to say the least. It will be interesting for people to find out what he did until he was 41 years old, his struggles, obstacles and how he continued to motivate himself. It’s for all those people who believe in their dreams but who always hear “tu pagal ho gya hai kya (have you gone crazy)?” But they are still struggling, 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 dumb cricketer in your Bollywood debut Iqbal to imitating a real cricketer in Kaun Pravin Tambe. How different was it 17 years later?

First of all, I want to thank him for what he did. Had it not been for Pravin Tambe, 17 years after Iqbal, people would probably have thought I would play a coach and not a cricketer. Iqbal was a fictional story where I did not hear or say a word. Kaun Pravin Tambe is a true story and I hear and speak on screen. The essence of both movies is the same – chase your dreams. We all like underdog stories.

And how far have you come in these 17 years.

The journey has been phenomenal with many ups and downs. I learned a lot. I do not know if I am wiser today but I probably will not repeat the same mistake. I will make some new mistakes. I try to redefine myself and develop into a better actor. There have been many changes; I’m happy and proud of them all. I do not regret and will never regret any of my films, whether they have worked at the checkout or not. I have always stood for my choices. Success comes with a lot of happiness, so I am a happy person today.

The trailer shows your character who claims that he is not interested in getting married but falls in love. How did things happen in your real life?

Most of all, I was of the opinion that I do not want to get married so early. And then I met Deepti and it was love at battle. Just like my song ‘Dekha Jo Tujhe Yar Dil Me Baji Guitar’, the guitars played for me. She’s the only one I’m dating. We had a courtship for four years and then got married. It’s similar in that sense, it’s the only deal I’ve had. I proposed to her four days after meeting her. I told her, “I really like you and I want to marry you.” She felt I had lost it and was angry. But when your heart tells you that this is the person for you, you just follow it.

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

Very. I had not played cricket in those years in between. Restarting it was a bit difficult but not impossible. Because at the end of the day, you get to do two things you love, one is acting and the other is playing cricket. How to play cricket in a movie, there are many things that motivate me. Before, it was pain, sprains, injuries, but then you think about who the story is based on. That fighter continues to inspire you to get up and do it.

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

Shreyas you have a face that you will always look young on screen. Do you find any resemblance to Pravin Tambe’s life?

It’s a great takeaway from this movie – age is just a number. If you think you have the passion to do something, age will not bother you. It is incredible that someone at that age can still play with such enthusiasm, agility and energy. I have personally started to believe the same thing. If you are happy inside, happiness will also be visible on your face.

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

I would like to make more serious films. There was a time when people felt I could not do comedy. Then I did Golmaal and was appreciated for my comic timing and continued to make comedies one after the other. People felt I was good for comedy. Suddenly there was a shift, people started to think that I could probably just do comedy. Kaun Pravin Tambe marks my return to the serious genre with which I began my career. I hope people will see me in a new light as an actor and offer me more serious roles.

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

It’s phenomenal. What happened to Pushpa is just amazing. It has given confidence to many people in regional film and they deserve it. Phenomenal movies are made in marathi, bengali, malayalam, kannada, tamil, telugu and watch all these big stars! It’s a time for the regional cinema to rise and shine. In addition, the more revenue, the better we will try to present our films to the audience. I hope this is a new beginning for a big new wave for film in general and regional film in particular.

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