Shreyas Talpade on Kaun Pravin Tambe, why he feels connected to the cricketer: ‘My career has also been pretty dramatic’-Entertainment News , Firstpost

Shreyas Talpade on Kaun Pravin Tambe ‘A lot of drama and emotional turmoil has happened in Pravin Tambe’s life; technically there was no requirement to take creative liberties to do false dramatisation’

Shreyas Talpade had won praises in the role of a speech and hearing-impaired aspiring cricketer in Iqbal (2005), his Hindi debut which remains the highlight of his career, and 17 years later, the actor is once again being applauded for his role of an aspiring cricketer and a pace bowler in his recent release, Kaun Pravin Tambe, a biopic on cricketer and late bloomer Pravin Tambe – a well-known name in Mumbai club cricket — becoming the oldest cricketer to make a debut in the history of the IPL. Tambe, who was spotted by Rajasthan Royals talent scouts, played for the inaugural season’s champions during IPL 2013 when he was 41 and he further realised his childhood dream in the 2013/14 Ranji season when he played for the Mumbai Ranji team at the age of 42.

“I had seen Pravin Tambe play in an IPL match and at that time I was wondering who this guy was, making his debut at the age of 41. At that point of time I wondered what his story was, why now? And when I got a call to play him I was obviously very keen and when I heard the story it was so amazing, something that you can’t refuse. Also, such stories need to be told, people need to know not only the kind of struggle that he went through but also it is such a hugely inspiring story. I get so many calls where people say that we had pretty much given up on our dream but not anymore. They want to restart and keep working on it till they reach their goal,” says Talpade.

Directed by Jayprad Desai Kaun Pravin Tambe released on Disney + Hotstar on 1 April. “The response has been so overwhelming; my phone hasn’t stopped ringing since Friday. Messages keep pouring in. There have been a lot of positive reviews and emotional feedback, the way people are reacting is humbling,” adds the actor.

While the film’s team had pretty much done a lot of research in terms of story format on Tambe, Talpade had many meetings with the cricketer to understand him, his struggle, his bowling action and his relationship with his family and friends. “I got to know insights about him which is spectacular. He is still a very simple, grounded and extremely sincere guy whether it is the sports, his family or friends, or his relationships. I tried to understand him as a person, as a bowler, as a father, as a husband, and as a friend. I had interactions with his friends, his coach Vidyadhar Paradkar, his wife, and his family. It was as extensive as we could do. I tried to be him and not just portray his character. It was important that this story came out in the right manner. The people reacting and relating to it is quite phenomenal,” says Talpade.

Shreyas Talpade in Kaun Pravin Tambe?

“Pravin is so passionate about cricket and the only agenda in his life is that he wants to play cricket. That is the reason at the age of 50 he is still playing in various leagues like the Caribbean and UAE. His enthusiasm and energy is amazing. This only proves that age is just a number, it is we who have set these norms in our head that I have turned 40, 45 and now how will I do it. There were so many detractors who discouraged Pravin to go forward but he somehow shut his ears to all of that and achieved his dreams,” Talpade further adds.

Besides getting the sport right, Talpade says, the challenge was to get Tambe’s spirit right. “I wanted Pravin to feel proud when he saw the film and that we have done justice to his journey. In Iqbal, it was a fictional character but this one is a true story based on somebody’s life,” says the actor. Physical fitness is something the actor had to work on before the shoot. He has been playing cricket actively but lately he has stopped, he says. “I knew the kind of prep that was needed to be part of the film based on cricket and we did extensive training for three months before we started shooting. I worked on my physical fitness, flexibility and stamina. We used to train for about three hours a day. I was playing Pravin Tambe from the age of 20 to the age of 42, and he had the same kind of energy when he was 15 so his energy was very critical to be showcased. I wanted to make sure that it comes across well. Most importantly, the idea was to showcase the spirit of Pravin Tambe. It was not about doing certain prosthetics and trying to get the look right,” says Talpade while reiterating that most of the film is based on facts.

“We have taken miniscule creative liberties as far as the story is concerned because a lot of drama and emotional turmoil has happened in his life and that in itself was enough for us to showcase in two hours. Technically there was no requirement to take creative liberties to do false dramatisation,” he says.

The story of Pravin Tambe, Shreyas says, resonated with him deeply, and one of the primary reasons he could sink into the character was because of his “dramatic” journey and his own struggles in his film career. And not just cricket but the biopic also brings Talpade back to serious and dramatic roles. “My career, my journey has also been pretty dramatic, much like Pravin’s. Why people felt that they didn’t see me in the film and that they saw Pravin Tambe is because I really connected with him on some very divine level, I guess. Now after a few years when I look back I would wonder how I did certain things in the film because I don’t think I was doing it, it was some miraculous power that was guiding me and making me do that. When you surrender yourself this kind of magic happens,” says the actor, who was recently in news for voicing Allu Arjun’s character in the Hindi version of Pushpa: The Rise.

Shreyas Talpade on Kaun Pravin Tambe why he feels connected to the cricketer My career has also been pretty dramatic

Shreyas Talpade in Kaun Pravin Tambe?

He continues, “My Hindi debut Iqbal happened when we were getting into the era of multi-starrer comedies but I was considered a serious actor after Iqbal and Dor. At that time it became a challenge for me to showcase my comic side as well. But I didn’t want to miss out on those comedies as a lot of those kinds of films were happening. Luckily I got an opportunity with Golmaal Returns and that is how people saw my comic side. Then, after a few comedies, people forgot that I had started with a serious film. Now it was very important and again challenging for me to showcase the serious actor in me. As actors we want to dabble in various genres, it cannot be only comedy or only serious. Kaun Pravin Tambe came at the right time. My career phase just before Pravin Tambe happened is something that most actors wouldn’t want to experience and thanks to Pravin Tambe that 17 years after Iqbal I return as a cricketer again and not as a coach which otherwise would have been a norm that 17 years are over that I did Iqbal, so now he should play a coach, how can he play a cricketer.”

With OTT reviving careers of many, Talpade, who is currently shooting daily Marathi soap Mazhi Tuzhi Reshimgaathi, too, plans to consider opportunities that are coming his way. “There have been offers for web series. OTT is like our IPL of sorts giving opportunities to try out some stuff. I want to be a part of it. I also somewhere relate to it and compare OTT with the experimental theatre we used to have earlier. We would experiment with characters, with story plots, writing and there was a certain audience for that, similarly OTT platform gives you that advantage and liberty,” says Talpade, who accepts having made mistakes with his choices and not ‘marketing’ himself well enough but Kaun Pravin Tambe is certainly a redefining moment for him.

“An actor who people had probably written off gets an opportunity and people like his work… I have been getting calls from people saying they want to see me in content-driven good films. Certain sections of my fans were not happy with my earlier choices and I respect that. I want to keep my fans happy and entertained going forward. I am getting more offers but it is still too early to talk about it. It has been 17 to 18 years since I started my journey in the Hindi film industry and the fact that I am still here is proof enough that the audience somewhere really loves me and I am still doing some good work. I have no regrets or complaints,” he concludes.

Seema Sinha is a Mumbai-based mainstream entertainment journalist who has been covering Bollywood and television industry for over two decades. Her forte is candid tell-all interviews, news reporting and newsbreaks, investigative journalism and more. She believes in dismissing what is gossipy, casual, frivolous and fluff.

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