Tennis champions, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are all set to tell their story to the world in their upcoming docu-series called Break Point. Releasing on October 1 on Zee 5, Break Point is all about Leander-Mahesh' heroics in the field of Tennis and how their bromance turned into a break up. In a candid chat with us, Leander Paes opened up about shooting for Break Point amidst pandemic, bond with Mahesh Bhupathi and more.
Excerpts from the interview:
What made you sign Break Point?
Well, I have been getting offers for last twenty years to tell a biopic or a feature film on Leander-Mahesh. But i felt that to do a 90 minutes, or 120 minutes feature film will not do the story any justice. I felt that it was very important to do in an episode format, in a docu-series format so that we had enough time to tell the nuances of how champions are built in India where two young boys aged 15 and 16 had a dream to win Wimbeldon and how we achieved it.
How was it getting candid and sharing your experience on camera?
I think when you look at a biopic or a docu-series, it is very important to be real and tell the story truthfully. That is the reason we did not take any actors. That is the reason we played our roles ourselves, our parents are there, our siblings are there, teammates are there, also our opponents are there. The story is really real and I would like to give kudos to Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Nitesh Tiwari and Piyush Gupta for telling such a great story. When you see the series, you will actually see the nuances of human emotions play itself out.
Why do you think now is the best time to put out your story?
Jokingly says, "So, I remember Nitesh Bhai was asked asked a few days ago, '10 saal pehle kahani kyun nahi kiya (Why didn't you do this story 10 years back? He said that 'yeh kahaani tab nahi aaya, abhi aaya toh abhi kar raha hoon (This story did not come to me 10 years ago, it came to me now, so I am doing it now)."
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Did you have memorable flashbacks while shooting Break Point?
Incredible ones. I mean to look at all the archival footage and the memorabilia that is there. To look at all the things that we have achieved and through the highs and the lows, you realise how close the bond is between Mahesh and I. You realise also as much as there are such differences, there is also a brotherhood that has stood the test of the time.
What do you have to say about Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari?
They are geniuses. They are not only magical with their craft but they are such good people that even when you are debating over a subject or conversing over an ideology, they give their opinions factually and also listen to your points. These guys are thorough professionals and are very good at their craft.
What challenges did you face while shooting amidst pandemic?
We actually went up to Rishikesh and I actually asked why there? We never played here so my question was why are we are here? And it turned out to be such a healing process. Going through all the archival stuff and revisiting everything. That actually gave a chance to Mahesh and myself to have conversations that were left unsaid.
What do you think will be audiences' take away from this?
I grew up in Calcutta playing Gully Cricket and Gully football, barefoot. And if that young boy from Calcutta can choose another boy and become Wimbledon champions, can become No 1 in the world, if we can achieve success, every young child watching this, it will inspire them that they can be champions too.
Is there anything that you would like to change, if given a chance?
You got to watch the docu-series. We were really true to our craft, we were really true to our story. We were brave enough to tell our weaknesses, we were brave enough to tell where we made mistakes and in that we addressed those mistakes. Life has come full circle, which is quite amazing.
In the trailer, there is a line that says 'Will you do it again'. Were you surprised by Mahesh Bhupathi's answer?
Has your bond grown stronger with Mahesh Bhupathi?
Our bond has always been like that of brotherhood. You have fights, you laugh together, you have disagreements, you travel the whole world, conquering the whole world winning the grand slams and getting to no 1 in the world. In that you know each other's strengths and weaknesses. That's the beautiful part of our friendship is that is it stood the test of time. In that I know, if I ever need him, he will be there for me and if he ever needs me I will be there. And instead of trying to change each other because we are so different in character and personality, we celebrate our differences. That's what made us win, right?
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