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Shreyas Talpade On Playing Pravin Tambe



Shreyas Talpade

Subhash K Jha  Speaks To Shreyas Talpade On Playing Pravin Tambe

Pravin Tambe has fetched you unprecedented acclaim,  and richly deserved. How does it make you feel?

Shreyas Talpade: It feels wonderful. Very special.It actually feels like  a dream Or should I say, a dream-come-true. I have been waiting for something  like this for a really long time. Finally it is happening I can’t thank the film’s team enough. And  specially the audience for showering this love on me and the film.For an actor this is the  biggest  reward possible.I want to take it all in. I want to cherish every moment of this beautiful  experience. Right now  you are  listening to  a very happy man.

How did the Tambe project come your say? I believe you were the only option for the role?

Shreyas Talpade: I don’t know  whether I was the  only option. But thank  God I was one of the options. I  guess the alignment of stars in my horoscope  was  to my advantage . Probably  the fact that  I had done a cricket film Iqbal  early in my career, worked to my advantage, along  with diverse films like Dor and the  Housefull series and Om Shanti Om. The producers were insistent that I play Tambe. Probably the Maharashtrian identity helps. I am a  proper middlclass Maharashtrian. I think that was a huge factor in playing the  character….I think this  is a  question more for the  producers than me. I can only thank them for their faith in me when  most  producers and filmmakers  had given up, just as  in the case with Pravin Tambe,  you know …abb kya karega?  Abhi kya hoga?

What was your preparation for the character like? How frequent was your interaction with the real Tambe?

Shreyas Talpade: The preparation was extensive. It took almost three months  . I met Pravin Tambe several times  to get to know him better, to understand his psyche. I met his family also. I feel honoured to have met a personality  like Pravin Tambe. I learnt so much from  him  just by being  in his company.  For me the  biggest takeaway from this film   is that age is  just a  number. This,  Pravin so strongly believes in. It’s  not  just lip-service: at the age  of 50 he is  playing cricket like  a pro. He  can give  any youngster a run for his money.

Are  the two  of you close now?

Shreyas Talpade: I am happy to say Pravin and I are pretty much  like family now. We look at each other as  brothers. We bonded immediately. We were  on the phone the other  night after he saw the film. We  both  got emotional. It’s a great feeling .  He told me he  had  been trying to get his Instagram account  verified  for  years . He finally got a blue tick.Yeah, so  last few  days after  the film’s release have been phenomenal. Thanks to Tambe, I got a chance  to  play a cricketer seventeen years after Iqbal.People would have said, ‘It’s your age to play a cricket coach now.’

So many sports biopics are being made. Do you see that as a healthy trend?

Shreyas Talpade: are a company dedicated  to sports. They have lots of  sport-related scripts  in their kitty. The phenomenal success  of Kaun Pravin Tambe  only confirms their  faith in the genre.So yes, we will see  a  lot more sports content in coming months and years. There are so many unsung heroes in our country. This is   just the beginning. People love the stories  about unsung  heroes. So many of my  friends  have called me after seeing Kaun Pravin Tambe to say that the film has changed them forever.Even I am  inspired to  rejuvenate my dreams after playing Tambe.

Did you make a conscious effort to follow his personality in your interpretation of the character?

Shreyas Talpade: While interacting with Tambe, the director told me that I needed  to get Tambe’s spirit right. His perseverance is what makes him what he  he is.  I had to get that  right. What kept him going towards  his dream for twenty years. Tambe felt   it was him and not me  on screen. My wife cried after watching the  film. She said she  didn’t see me  in the  film.She saw only Pravin Tambe.

Do you see the OTT platform as a blessing for underrated actors like you?

Shreyas Talpade: OTT  is definitely  a blessing for  an actor  like me.For me its  is an extension  of the  experimental  theatre I used to do. That  experiment  is happening manifold on OTT and there  is trigger-audience  for  it.  There are so many  stories waiting to be told and performed. Now we have the  opportunity. I   don’t know whether I am  underrated. I am just an actor trying to do my best. But I  guess the OTT is like  an IPL for  us actors. We know  there  is an audience for what we  do, no matter how unconventional.

Incidentally the two landmark films of your career Iqbal and Kaun Pravin Tambe have cricket in common. Are you a cricket fanatic in real life?

Shreyas Talpade : I love cricket. I love table tennis and badminton as well. But with cricket I  think I’ve a special  connect. Probably God wanted me to be  a  cricketer.My elder brother  also wanted me to be  a cricketer. He  probably  thought he  would be Sachin Tendulkar and I would be little  Tendulkar at that point of time. God had other plans. Still there is a lot of untapped cricket in me. Who would have thought that one day I’d  play two memorable roles as  cricketers?  There has to be some divine connect between me  and cricket.

How do you look  back on your career so far?

Shreyas Talpade: My career has been adventurous. I come from a normal  middleclass family with no film connections. I have  auditioned to get my  best roles. Luckily for me  filmmakers like Subhash Ghai, Nagesh Kukunoor and  Farah  Khan had faith in  me. I admit I should not have done some  of the  films that I did.I  also admit I didn’t some things that  I should have.  I  didn’t market  myself well. I was  averse to social media. But that’s the need of the hour.It took me some  time to accept the  marketing reality.  I won’t make the same mistakes again. Maybe I will make  new mistakes.All my mistakes are mine.I am happy with  both the rights or wrongs in my life. John Lever says Duniya gol hai,and so is  destiny. Hopefully I  will have new challenges and new appreciation in future.

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