Indian Paes doubling up for a crack at Bollywood

Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:47am EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Indian doubles specialist Leander Paes will juggle his tennis career with Bollywood over the next few months as he attempts to complete a career grand slam and forge a new life as a movie star.

Paes, who is playing with Czech Lukas Dlouhy at the ATP World Tour Finals, will team up again with long-time partner Mahesh Bhupathi at next year's Australian Open which is the men's doubles major to elude him.

However, at 37, Paes is already preparing for life after tennis on the silver screen and will star in the forthcoming movie Rajdhani Express.

"It's true, I started shooting my first movie already. It's something exciting. It's something new," Paes, who has 12 grand slam titles in men's and mixed doubles, said at London's O2 Arena.

"I'm 37 years old. I can't keep playing tennis for the rest of my life. In India, I'm very lucky. I have a big following. I have a lot of people that enjoy what I do."

Paes has earned $6 million from his life as a globe-trotting sportsman and national acclaim back home and he believes tennis and acting have many similarities.

"Movies for me was a natural progression, to go from tennis to movies to entertain my fans," he said. "As you can see, on the court, I have fun, I'm very passionate about what I do."

While Paes admits he enjoys singing and dancing, he says his first step into showbiz will not be strictly Bollywood.   Continued...