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Cricket wins hands down

Ajay Jadeja, who is on a different pitch with `Khel', shares his experience



Life takes on a sunny hue for Ajay Jadeja — Photo: S Arneja

CRICKET REMAINS Ajay Jadeja's primary passion despite entering a new field - the movie Khel. His predecessors Sunil Gavaskar and Sandeep Patil made forays into tinsel town years ago. "Doing Khel has been good fun," says Jadeja unwinding his experience at the executive lounge of Taj Krishna. "It's been an eye-opener and an educating ground. I have learnt the nitty-gritty of film-making. Sunny Deol and Suniel Shetty have been great help," says Jadeja, who informs that a movie he was supposed to do with Madhuri in 1997 did not work out as he was steeped in the gentleman's game. Khel worked out "as I was not doing anything."

How has the cricketing fraternity reacted to his movie? "Sachin Tendulkar, who never goes to a theatre, watched Khel at Galaxy. Kapil Paaji enjoyed it. I am happy they enjoyed it." Jadeja just followed the director's instructions. "The movie is the director's vision and one must go with him. Even my entry into the film was planned by Yusuf Khan. It was not a dashing entry. I get up from bed at 2 p.m. when the dhobi comes. You can imagine the ruffled look I had. But that was the way the director had envisaged the scene as it set the trend for my character." Acting in front of the camera was different for Jadeja. "As a cricketer the reaction is more instinctive and natural. There is no script. In a film you act on hearing the word `action'. The director spent more time with me and I had all the time to work on it. Of course one has the greatest support of the retake. " Doing Khel was not planned as Jadeja reveals. "As a child one comes out of the theatre wanting to be like the hero in a film. I used to watch movies too but the love for cricket overshadowed everything else. When I used to play, I used to watch bits and pieces of movies, never a full one in the hotel rooms."

It's just been cricket and more cricket for him till Khel happened. "Life revolved around cricket. I couldn't think of anything beyond it. Even now I am all set to get back to the game from October 23 (the beginning of the season). I will play for Jammu and Kashmir."

He hastens to add "life doesn't move in the direction you want. What has to happen will happen. I am grateful to God to have realised my dreams - play cricket, lead the country, have a good family. Now I have done even a movie."

Jadeja feels his school Sardar Patel Vidyalaya (it encourages all-round development) in New Delhi has contributed to the development of his personality.

"I am indebted to the school as every child owes everything to his school. It has not just built up confidence, but it has given students different options in life, helped us to look at the positive aspect of every person and thing."

For Jadeja, the world has revolved around 14-month Aiman (he adds Aditi chose it as it means fearless and protective) besides Khel.

"He has changed the way I look at life. I had taken to playing golf regularly but ever since he was born I have hardly played, " says a proud papa. Jadeja has been listening to scripts but has not zeroed down on any. "Once you step into the industry you are flooded with such sessions." But at the moment Jadeja is looking forward to get back on the 22-yard pitch.

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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