First things first. Line up all our film critics and shoot ’em dead. Or maybe get them run over by the Rajdhani Express. These idiots are worse than our tennis reporters, yeah, the same who went ga-ga even after I won a Davis Cup singles match against a Papua New Guinea player world ranked 831. Of course, I did my usual antics on the court, perhaps that’s what impressed the makers of Rajdhani Express. Personally, I didn’t think it was a big deal. A super tennis star like me, I should have starred in something like ‘Dreamliner 787’.
But I liked the script, which showed me as a scruffy, mysterious, down-on-the-luck guy with a bag. This was me. For years on the international circuit, as the Beckers, Lendls, Federers and Nadals conquered and departed, I carried on in singles, the perennial first-round exit man in tournaments around the world. Then I discovered doubles, where I could hang on to someone else’s shorts or, as it happened, skirts. Luckily, the top guys had stopped playing doubles by then, which left the field clear for scruffy, down-on-the-luck guys like me. For my ‘Indian fans’, there were also the occasional singles wins over players with unpronounceable names from Vietnam, Madagascar or Rwanda-Burundi. And as usual, our media went bonkers, honours came thick and fast and so did Page 3 fame.