Vijender Singh
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Sports Celebs: On your marks!

Vijender Singh

By HT

Mumbai, June 10 -- With their good looks and popularity, many sports stars seem fitting candidates for lead roles in Bollywood films. Cricketers Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee and shuttler Saina Nehwal, all of whom have made excellent contributions to their respective games, have been approached by film-makers.

"Film-makers are always on the lookout for a popular and known face. Sports stars have huge popularity in India and that works for the makers. Their fan base would instantly get attracted towards their films. But, eventually, they sign films only if they get excited about the roles they are offered," says industry expert Taran Adarsh.     

SAINA NEHWAL     A biopic is reportedly being planned on Saina Nehwal, but at a press conference recently, the badminton player said that does not want to be known for anything apart from the game. "I want people to know me for the sport and my game, and for nothing else. Also, it's very important to remain focussed as once you lose focus, you can't perform well anymore. So it is a conscious effort on my part to avoid the limelight. If the film happens, it will only show my struggle to achieve what I have," she said.     

VIJENDER SINGH     The Olympic boxer will soon be seen in a Bollywood film produced by Akshay Kumar. In an interview to HT Cafe, Singh confessed that acting was always on his agenda. He said, "I have not tried to become an actor, but I knew I could act. Whenever I watched Bollywood films, I used to think that even I could perform those scenes."     

SHOAIB AKHTAR     While he has not given the nod to any Bollywood films so far, he has shown interest in anchoring sports-based television shows in India. "In 2007, I was offered a film, but it didn't work out. Actually, I've been approached a number of times by many film-makers. I am interested in Bollywood, but I don't think I can act. But then, you never know about life and destiny," said the former Pakistani cricketer in a recent interview to HT Cafe. When asked if he is open to doing TV shows, he said, "Sports is my first love and, if I can contribute to it through any means, I'd be open to it. So I'd like to do sports-based Indian TV shows. I am commentating on TV already, so I have that experience as well."     

BRETT LEE     Former Australian pace bowler Brett Lee, who had teamed up with singer Asha Bhosle for a duet in 2011, did a cameo, in Victory (2009). "I keep getting (Bollywood) offers, but the timings and all make it a bit hard. Let's see how it goes," said Lee in an interview to HT in 2013.