Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who turned 47 on April 24, has always been extremely particular about the right ‘cut’ – both on and off the field. On the field, his fierce cut shot would puncture the field and the ball would not stop until it reached the boundary. And, off the field he was meticulous about what he wore -- the ‘cut’ should be impeccable. (More Cricket News)
As his millions of Tendulkar’s fans celebrated his birthday and twitter released virtual balloons on his handle on Friday, Mumbai-based master cutter Maqsood Shaikh, who stitched the batting maestro’s wedding reception suit and altered many of his imported jeans, paid tribute to the man who an eye for detail off the field as well. Dipping into nostalgia, he recalled those early 1990s days when both would meet often. In those days, ‘Maqsood bhai’, as he is popularly known, used to work at Anja San boutique – co-owned by legendary singer Asha Bhosle’s daughter Anuja -- for which Tendulkar modelled, reportedly for free, in 1991.
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Maqsood, 67, particularly remembers two anecdotes involving Tendulkar. The first was, of course, when Tendulkar, aged 22, was to get married to Dr Anjali Mehta on May 24, 1995. “I still remember he told me that the suit should suit him, and that it should be too bulky or loose, otherwise he would look heavy since he was not tall. Well-known designer James Ferreira had designed the suit and I cut it put it together,” Maqsood tells Outlook. “Sachin is one person on whom all colours gel well as he is very fair. From the Indian team’s formal navy blue blazer to bottle green to grey to black, all colours suit him in formals. And he had an eye for detail for everything.”
Master Blaster in a different pose (Photo: By special arrangement)
Later, when the West Indies played a match against India in Mumbai, touring Phil Simmons saw Tendulkar’s suit -- possibly the one he wore on his wedding reception – and went to Anja San in in Bandra (West) and Maqsood stitched one for the West Indies.
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Tendulkar has been so particular about clothes and footwear that he would ensure that everything “matched”. Once in early 1990s, when Woodland brand of shoes and accessories were launched, Tendulkar was mesmerised by the shoes. He, in the company of his former India teammate Ajay Sharma, went to Sagar Footwear in Karol Bagh in New Delhi and bought several pairs of shoes for himself and his would-be-wife. “He bought about eight pairs for his fiancée Anjali and five or six pairs for himself. We didn’t want to charge him but he insisted on paying so we gave him a big discount. But what stood out was that he was very humble and shy,” Neeraj Gulati, owner of Sagar Footwear, had told me a few years ago.
Maqsood recalls another fetish of Tendulkar – jeans and T-shirts. “Once he came to me with about 12 pairs of jeans that he had bought in England. Since he is short, the jeans needed alteration. He brought them in a bag and asked me to shorten the length,” discloses the master cutter who is originally from Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh and has ‘cut’ for many well-known film stars, starting with Uttam Kumar-starrer Amanush.
These two bulk-buying sprees of shoes and jeans testify that Tendulkar doesn’t get satisfied with a few, much like the runs and centuries he amassed over a 24-year international career. Between 1989 and 2013, the ‘Bharat Ratna’ tallied 34,357 runs, including 100 centuries, in 664 international matches.