Sportsmen who ditched the field, went on the sets
India's biggest obsessions, sports and films, are inseparable. So what happens when the two combine? Do we always get a winner?
Boxer Vijender Singh and tennis ace Leander Paes want to find out, and so are all set to make their acting debuts. We look at Bollywood's sports connection.
Call it coincidence or deliberate, on the tennis field, he's called the Indian Express while his Bollywood debut is titled Rajdhani Express! Armed with acting lessons from Anupam Kher (and some useful tips from Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan), Leander's aam aadmi character will be up against Paresh Rawal in the film.
Image: Leander Paes
With his boyish looks, the boxing champ was waiting to happen to Bollywood.
Making his debut with Govinda's daughter Narmada in director Lovely Singh's next film, Vijender has already worked his charm on his heroine, who gushed in an interview, 'Vijender is an interesting person... he's cute."
More than being called cute, the Olympic medallist would be hoping for a knockout performance!
Image: Vijender Singh
Photographs: Feng Li/Getty Images
Son of former spinner Bishan Singh Bedi and himself a state-level cricketer, Angad dumped his dreams of representing Team India for a career in acting.
After successfully hosting the youth show Emotional Atyachaar, Angad now enter films, with Vashu Bhagnani's F.A.L.T.U. The young actor also participated in Khatron Ke Khiladi Season 3 but failed to impress with his stunts.
Image: Angad Bedi
After his promising cricketing career was curtailed the flamboyant southpaw turned to movies. He tried to make his presence felt in Annarth (2002), which flopped massively.
However, India's Comeback Man bounced back in his second innings; this time, as the Bigg Boss 3 entry and despite the eviction, managed to grab eyeballs with his in-house antics.
Image: Vinod Kambli
Having made his international cricket debut with Sachin Tendulkar, Salil realised early that cricket isn't working for him. His move to act in television serials, especially Chahat Aur Nafrat, Kora Kagaz and Karam Apna Apna almost gave him great hopes of a second career.
However, he couldn't sustain; even a pitch at Bigg Boss didn't help. News of his battling depression and alcoholism a few years ago made matters worse.
Image: Salil Ankola
Good friends with Suniel Shetty, Jadeja couldn't have asked for a better debut in the former's Khel in 2003.
When his Bollywood dreams crashed with Khel flopping miserably, the former Indian batsman tried television, with the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa in 2006.
After his elimination, he fell back on cricket. He can now be seen on news chat shows, discussing what he knows best the gentleman's game, what else.
Image: Ajay Jadeja
'Sometimes, you've got to act on the cricket field as well,' Gavaskar had quipped famously about acting.
The sportsman worked in the Marathi film Premachi Saavli and later made a guest appearance in Maalamaal.
Once, Amitabh Bachchan apparently told Gavaskar, 'We've seen you on screen. You were pretty good, very relaxed.' A nod from the biggest superstar should suffice, what say?
Image: Sunil Gavaskar
He's an example of how one can be successful in both one's chosen field of sport and acting.
One of the greatest wrestlers of India, Singh's strapping physique made him a natural choice for heroic roles in films in the 1960s in which he played the lead. Known for playing Hanuman in Ramayan, Singh graduated to character roles including his famous turn as Big B's father in Mard (1985).
Image: Dara Singh