It is said that most successful people don’t stop after achieving a certain milestone in their lives. They use it as a launchpad eyeing the next goal. There are many waiting to cash in on a star’s popularity. Hence, you see most of our Bollywood actors endorsing brands, fiddling with politics, trying their luck at singing or on the small screen. They feel the need to conquer uncharted territory and establish themselves as all-rounders.
Our cricketers too post retirement look at avenues like politics, sports commentary, TV anchoring and some such. A few of them have tried singing; Suresh Raina sang one track in the 2015 film Meeruthiya Gangster while Sunil Gavaskar crooned in a Marathi movie. A few have also tried their hand at acting. Cricket and Bollywood being the two most celebrated ‘religions’ in India; what happens when the two come together? There should be an explosion of sorts right? Let’s take a look at few of the cricketers who tried their luck in Bollywood:
This former Indian cricketer shared screen space with the beautiful Poonam Dhillon in a 1985 romantic film called Kabhi Ajnabi The. The film also starred Debashree Roy. It tanked at the box-office and never again was Patil seen on the silver screen.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in cricket history, Sunny opened his acting career in a Marathi film called Savli Premachi, which hardly received any appreciation. He also made a brief appearance in the Hindi film Maalamal starring Naseeruddin Shah. This cricketing legend has also sung a Marathi song, Ya Duniyemadhye Thambayaala Vel Konala, which was written by noted Marathi lyricist Shantaram Nandgaonkar and became quite popular. Gavaskar these days is known for his commentary and being a cricket pundit though.
Vinod Kambli made his debut on the small screen on DD National in a serial called Miss India in 2002. The very same year he debuted in a film titled Annarth co-starring Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty. The film was just as catastrophic as the title suggested.
This once very popular all-rounder was born in Afghanistan. Durani was a slow left-arm orthodox bowler and a left-handed batsman. He was famous for being the only cricketer who would hit sixes when his fans demanded. He appeared in the film Charitra with Parveen Babi in 1973 but failed to create an impression.
The ex-wicketkeeper of the national side played a villain in Kabhi Ajnabi The, the same film that featured Sandeep Patil. And as mentioned before, the film tanked but Kirmani returned to the silver screen in 2012, as a cricket coachin the Malayalam film Mazhavillinattam Vare.
This well-known face from Bollywood and the small screen was a cricketer once upon a time who played international cricket for India in one Test match and 20 One Day Internationals from 1989 to 1997. Ankola retired at the age of 28 due to the development of a tumor in his left shin bone. He made his cinematic debut with the 2000 Hindi film Kurukshetra, where he played the role of a cop accompanying his senior officer played by Sanjay Dutt. He then appeared in Pitaah (2002), and Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne (2003) alongside Esha Deol and Zayed Khan. He acted in Silence Please… The Dressing Room, where he played a cricket captain. Although the film did not do well at the box-office, his performance was highly appreciated. He acted in the Indian soap opera titled Karam Apna Apna and also participated in the first season of Bigg Boss. One of the very few cricketers who have successfully made the Bollywood switch, he is possibly among the even fewer whose cricketing days you’ll need to be reminded of.
Jadeja, on the cricket ground was known for his fielding skills and some brilliant death over batting. Unfortunately though, he was banned for five years for match fixing. He acted in the 2003 movie Khel with Sunny Deol and Suniel Shetty. He also acted in the 2009 movie, Pal Pal Dil Ke Saath. He did a cameo in Abhishek Kapoor’s film Kai Po Che, acting as himself in a cricket commentator role. He also featured in a celebrity dance show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. These days, you’ll find Jadeja on your TV screen often, as a cricket commentator.
Kapil Dev, one of the greatest all-rounders of all time, did cameo appearances in films like Dillagi… Yeh Dillagi, Iqbal, Chain Khuli ki Main Khuli and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi.
Bhajji appeared in a special appearance in Mujhse Shaadi Karogi with Parthiv Patel and and a few of his other then teammates as well as in the 2015-movie Second Hand Husband. He also starred in a Punjabi film Bhajji in Problem in 2013, where he played himself.
One of the fastest bowlers who in his day terrorized batsmen, made his acting debut in the 2015 Australian romantic comedy film directed by Anupam Sharma called UnIndian in the lead role along with Tannishtha Chatterjee. The film was shot in Sydney.
Just because many of these cricketers failed to make a mark in the world of acting, doesn’t mean we don’t give them a chance any more. With Sreeshanth’s Cabaret and Sachin Tendulkar’s biography, Sachin: A Billion Dreams coming up, we sure have a lot to look forward to.