||Salil Ankola |
|"When I signed 'Kurukshetra', my role was not a small one." |
Salil Ankola tells the truth.
For a person who was part of the most glamorous sport in the country i.e. Cricket, Salil Ankola, is now playing his role in the most alluring profession of the nation - Acting.
3to6.com speaks to this good-looking cricketer-turned-actor who is slowly, but steadily, inching towards success.
Meeting Salil Ankola and not talking about Cricket is almost criminal. We had to ask him how much he missed cricket and pat came a reply,
"You won't believe it, in the morning when I woke up I told my wife that I might go to the nets and play some cricket. Last night I dreamt that I was playing cricket. It's been years that I haven't bowled. It's a passion that will always be there."
Taking cue from life itself, that never ceases to halt, Salil too, has moved to something that is as interesting as his former profession - Acting. But for a person who was already a celebrity in the first place, to start his film career with a film like 'Kurukshetra' with very little to do was a real googly.
"When I signed 'Kurukshetra', my role was not a small one. It was a huge role but some things happened which I do not want to bitch about. The film has come and gone and luckily after watching me in the film, people felt that I have a good screen presence and that I was very comfortable in front of the camera. Though I know it could have worked out better, if the songs and some other scenes we shot would have been included; there was some kind of a hitch in the making of the film. Anyway, I am glad I chose 'Kurukshetra' as my first film for a fact that I learnt how things work in Hindi films."
Considering that Mahesh Manjrekar is a dear friend of his and that 'Kurukshetra' was his launch pad of sorts, does he feel he got a fair deal vis--vis the length of his role?
"I don't think it's a question of getting a fair deal or not. Had I felt anything of that sort, I would have left the film there and then. I knew that working with Mahesh would teach me a hell of a lot. Mahesh, let me tell you, is a very good teacher. And had I not got a fair deal, I wouldn't have signed 3 more films with him."
Has Mahesh promised to offer you something more interesting in his other projects?
"Look, only if you are good will anybody help you. Mahesh must have found me a little capable and that's the reason he signed me. And apart from 'Pita', I am doing one major film with him that I would like 'him' to talk about first rather than me speaking about it. I want him to announce it."
What is his role in 'Pita' like?
"Unlike the character in 'Kurukshetra' who did not have any link to the story, my character in 'Pita' is an integral part of the story. And mine is the only character who has a romantic angle with songs and stuff."
Honestly speaking, doesn't he feel he deserved a better start?
"Unlike cricket, you cannot have a strategy in films. All said and done, acting was a new career for me and I did not want to jump into it without learning the ropes. When I looked around, I realized that people here have been acting for years. Renuka Shahane has been acting for 14 years, Pallavi Joshi has been acting since the age of five and so on. For that reason, I wanted to study the art first rather than jump into it unprepared. There are so many star kids who take up films just because they have a big producer backing up. But what happens in the end is a big flop. What I am trying to say is that I want to be very sure of myself. Unlike those people who would do a Vashu Bhagnani big budgeted film with all that jazz and flop big time. This is what happened with a particular girl who failed terribly. That's because she had no experience in front of the camera, none at all. She had no experience in emoting. So despite the fact that the role offered to her was a good one that was especially written for her, it turned out to be such a waste. And I did not want that to happen to me. Moreover, the fact that so many cricketers had come into this field and failed is what made me wary. I didn't want to be one of those cricketers who did only one film and the next thing you know is that a question is being asked on 'KBC' as to 'Who was that cricketer who did this that particular film," laughs Salil.
What does he relish most, being an ex-cricketer or an actor
"Though I would love to be known as a cricketer, the fact is that now I am in a different profession altogether for which I am working very hard. And I would like people to acknowledge me by the trade that I am in, as of now. And people talking about me with reference to my acting gives me a lot of pleasure. People are noticing my work and that pleases me a lot."
Finally, does he feel that since all his predecessors who tried their hand at acting failed, is there an extra pressure on him considering that so far he is the most successful cricketer in the glamour world?
"Pressure is bound to be there. The day the pressure is off you, that is the day you will find yourself not performing up to your optimum. If you have to do well in life, you have to be under pressure for performing in whatever field you are." Now that's like a true sportsman!