Thursday, May 26, 2022
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Leander Paes: Both Our Families Tried Everything To Keep Us Together After Me and Mahesh Broke Up

Leander Paes opens up about the making of ‘Break Point’ and what he, Mahesh and their families went through when their friendship turned bitter.

Leander Paes: Both Our Families Tried Everything To Keep Us Together After Me and Mahesh Broke Up
Leander Paes Source: Instagram

The Indian tennis champions, Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes gave the audiences some beautiful moments that nobody could match up to.  ‘Break Point’ is a docu-series about two young Indian boys, Leander and Mahesh, who grew up in India with a dream. There is a human touch to the story. In the series, the two tennis champions will be seen telling the world as to what actually happened to their friendship.

In conversation with Outlook, one half of the popular tennis duo, Leander Paes, opens up about the making of ‘Break Point’ and what he, Mahesh and their families went through when their friendship turned bitter.  Excerpts:  

Tell us about your first meeting with Mahesh Bhupati

When I was 16 and Mahesh was 15, I had a dream that we would win Wimbledon together and be world champions. When I asked him that would you like to win Wimbledon together, he just laughed at me and said ‘you are crazy!’ After which I remember telling him, ‘Yes, I am crazy, but we will play it together and win it together.”

What is the best part about ‘Break Point’?

‘Break Point’ shows that even though you are a champion, you have vulnerability because you are a human being as well and how do you deal with those human emotions is very important. And one of the best parts of ‘Break Point’ is the journey that Mahesh and I have been through with Ashwiny and Nitesh. We got to talk about certain conversations which were left unsaid for twenty years and with having a little more maturity and wisdom now we are able to laugh at some of the situations. For me 'Break Point' has been a great journey and through all the episodes you will see different nuances of the perspectives of each of us. We didn’t have actors playing our roles, we did it ourselves.  

What was the preparation for the docu-series like?

There was no preparation required for ‘Break Point’ because you have lived your life and you are doing it yourself.  The best thing about Nitesh and Ashwiny was they just allowed us to be ourselves and we just narrated our story. We just spoke and narrated our stories. So, it is raw and human. A big gratitude goes out to Zee 5 for believing in our story.   

What is the take away from the series for the young generation?

Particularly from my life it was like my dream was to emulate my father and win an Olympic medal.  I wanted to prove that we Indians can be champion to any field wanted to be in. So, for me it is a lot about patriotism, community and a lot about people. It is basically about being true to yourself and showing how are champions made. When you watch what Mahesh and me have done, you will realise that his strengths were my weaknesses and his weaknesses were my strengths. Through our stories we tried to show that in team sport, how we can conquer the world of tennis. I want to inspire people to be the best they can be even if it is through my flaws, what not to do and what to do, my strengths on how champions are made and how to build a team. These are all learning lessons. I am sensitive enough and rugged enough to live that story live and learn from both success and failure.  

How did your family deal with the bitterness between you and Mahesh? 

Both our families tried everything possible to keep us together. There were times when Mahesh’s parents and sister were trying to protect him. And I know likewise for my family, they wanted to do the best for me. But what has been amazing about this whole Leander-Mahesh journey is that there were so many people involved starting from coaches, trainers, friends, siblings and in ‘Break Point’ you get to see their nuances on how they reacted to the whole situation. I feel a lot of these perspectives even Mahesh and me were no aware of till the time we made ‘Break Point’. But it is really beautifully told.

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