Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Manuel

NO PAIN, NO GAIN: John Abraham pushes himself an extra mile

John Abraham believes if you want to achieve something, you’ve got to go through pain…

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 5, 2010)

It is true that a picture speaks a thousand words. But this stark and screaming one of John Abraham pumping 140 lbs dumbells in the gym, does 473 actually. The Bollywood hunk himself believes it is a “wild, crazy and ugly” picture. “But it speaks the state of my mind,” he is quick to explain. He is at an inbetween stage. In between films. He’s finished Abbas Tyrewala’s 1-800 Love and has Nishikant Kamath’s
(Mumbai Meri Jaan) untilted action project lined up next. Then there’s Dostana 2 starting in June. Before which he has four months to himself. “To look at life, to introspect, to ask myself questions about things I’ve done and which need to be done, to solve 10,000 problems, my mind is caught in a melee,” carries on the actor, “there’s a lot of nervous energy, there’s tension waiting to be relieved, and the gym is my release. I’m not lifting heavy weights to prove a point. The gym is like my church and working out is like praying…”
He’s umindful of the fact that, like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, he’s stuck to doing one film a year only. There was Dostana in 2008 and New York in 2009. That’s it. “Like everybody else, I get offers all the time, but you’ll never hear I refused a film… I don’t take pride in saying that. The point is not to do everything you get… but to do the right thing,” says John. And right now, he’s not doing anything. Yet he’s the only actor, apart from SRK and Akshay Kumar, with a non-filmi lineage who’s hanging in there. Perhaps that’s because John has a huge and loyal fan following that’s got nothing to do with the success or failure of his films.
But it doesn’t worry him who’s doing what in Bollywood. “I’ve studied economics, so I know that if somebody else’s film works, so will I as an industry,” he says. And he’s busy benchpressing in the gym towards his own benchmarks. He’s got severe tendonitis in both elbows, shin splints, he fractured the bones, severed the veins in his left foot in a 2006 bike accident, he broke the navicular bone in his right foot last year… yet, as his T-shirt suggests, John Abraham is aware that pain is temporary, pride is forever. “If you want to achieve something, you’ve got to go through pain,” he warns. “I’m trying to reach a pinnacle, at the gym, in films and life itself. I want to get to a point where I can say, yes, I’ve got what it takes.”

WHO AM I? Shah Rukh Khan as Rizwan Khan


Shah Rukh Khan speaks exclusively to BT about his role in the biggest film of his career

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 29, 2009)

Shah Rukh Khan, the pains and failures of 2009 behind him if not entirely forgotten, is looking forward to the New Year because it brings with it the imminent release and promise of the biggest film of his career (his words, not mine) – Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan. He’s had a bad year starting with the shoulder injury and surgery, then the uninspiring box-office returns for Billu – his only release in 2009, and finally the humiliating decimation of his IPL team in South Africa. But, as the poet T. S. Eliot famously wrote, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice”… and SRK, suspect, is secretly hoping that the next voice cinema audiences will listen to is going to be his in 2010. Or rather Rizwan Khan’s, the autistic character he plays in My Name Is Khan, which is slated for a grand bi-lingual worldwide release in February. Actually, the character in this ambitious film suffers from asperger’s syndrome, an autistic disorder whose main symptom is a difficulty in social interaction. It is a role that Shah Rukh, who is notoriously among Bollywood’s least social people, must have slipped into with consummate ease. Over a glass of tea in his vanity van one night late at Mehboob Studios, I asked him whether audiences were ready for another challenged hero after Bachchan with progeria in Paa and, before that, Aamir with dyslexia in Taare Zameen Par. Shah Rukh replied, “Audiences understand what you tell them. People like a good story. And this is a joyous film with a new romantic thought, the journey of an ordinary man. It is a love story with an epic feel. All love stories have obstacles, but the obstacle in My Name Is Khan is real, it happens in everyday life. For me, the film was an opportunity to play a challenged character… bahut maaza aaya!” What he was saying was contrary to public belief that the film is based on terrorism. Shah Rukh scowled. “I don’t know where you got that idea,” he said in exasperation, “yes, it is set in the aftermath of 9/11, and it is heroic without the fighting and screaming, but My Name Is Khan is a heartening and even funny film… even though we didn’t try to make a funny film! I am excited about it as I am about all my films. But this one I’m very proud of. Mainly because I’ve co-produced it with Karan. Also because Kajol and I are acting together after eight years.” He’s not seen a trial of the film as yet to voice an opinion on how well it will do at the box-office. That Shah Rukh never does. Not for his own films nor anybody else’s. In fact, he said he’s hardly seen any of his films completely. “Trials mean analysis,” he explained, “but trial reactions are different from theatre reactions. I don’t make a film for myself, I make it for the story. Besides, I’m shy of myself on screen, I’m not vain, it’s just that I’m not fond of my face or physique. Maybe that’s why I’m an actor – so that I can play someone else.”
Perhaps, he was still in character for the film. Or, maybe, interacting with people is as much a problem for Shah Rukh Khan in real life as it is for Rizwan Khan in reel. “I’m not antisocial,” he protested, “I’m a quiet person, strangely reclusive, I’m not as confident as you think I am. I have issues. I’m thankful to Allah… to be not so gifted and have all this. It may sound pompous, but I’m great enough to be humble, I’m very happy when people say ‘SRK’s the best’… there is a sense of achievement, I’m happy by what I’ve done, but humble enough to know it’s not because of me. Yet put me on stage, say, at Salt Lake Stadium before a million people and I will comfortably entertain you for an hour. As long as I’m an entertainer, I have no problems. It’s when I’m Shah Rukh Khan that the problems arise. I’m a fun guy… yet my kids enjoy their mother’s company more.”

Aamir Khan, who at 44 plays a 22-year-old collegian, says in his mind he is stuck at 18!

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 22, 2009)

Aamir Khan, as you know, has gone into hiding to promote his new film that releases this Friday. In disguise, to people’s surprise, he has popped up in different parts of the country over the past week: at Varanasi, as a Banarasi babu; outside Sourav Ganguly’s house in Kolkata as a cricket fan; in an Ahmedabad school, defying Narendra Modi’s fatwa; at the Chanderi village in Madhya Pradesh; then a Punjabi wedding in Faridkot; and, yesterday in Chennai. How this is helping the film, I don’t know; but I’m sure Aamir does, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to Mumbai as Santa Claus on Christmas Day. He is hoping the festival will prove as successful for him as it did last year when he released Ghajini, and in 2007 — for Taare Zameen Par. Just before he went underground, Aamir told me over a quiet cup of tea at his Pali Hill home: “Christmas is a coincidence, but I’m hoping it will be third time lucky. I also believe for a film made well, any time is a good time to release it, otherwise no matter how you plan it…”
He has no doubts that this film has been made well. It’s been produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and directed by Raju Hirani. And, acting opposite him for the first time in his 20-year-career is Kareena Kapoor. Of his gorgeous co-star, Aamir said enthusiastically, “She’s outstanding, a great and
instinctive actress, extremely committed, a team player, we get along well, and she’s good looking… what more to ask for?” I agreed. The vibe between the two actors is exciting, and they look good together, the age difference between them notwithstanding. In the film, he plays a 22-year-old collegian. “That,” he told me, “was the biggest challenge for me as an actor at 44. I’m asked often if I feel my age. No, I really don’t. All of us are stuck in our heads at a particular age. And that age depends on your personality. I’m stuck at 18. And, I’ll be 18 till I die!”
He got into this film straight from Ghajini. Which meant, he had to shed that eight-pack streetfighter’s body painstakingly built up over 13 months for one raw scene of action. “It was heartbreaking,” Aamir revealed. “I didn’t want to lose it. But I had to look boyish. I had to stop training, get onto a careful and strict diet, and I began playing badminton… for three-four hours. Catch a 44-year-old doing that!” But he did it, because this is the same Aamir Khan who has always used his body as a tool in his films. “The way I look is important,” he admitted, “but for any character, it begins with how you feel in your head. What makes the character tick? You get into the mind of the character. From that flows how the body will look. My character in the new film is a free-spirited kind of guy, unusual in his thinking, and with a childlike curiosity about life and things around him.” He really didn’t want to play this role. “Get someone who’s 22,” Aamir advised Raju Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra when they approached him. They told Aamir, “In real life, you are the character of this film, you don’t follow the path, you’re non-conformist, you do what your heart tells you. As for looking young – if you could build yourself up to look huge in Ghajini, now work on becoming small. Go for it.” And Aamir did. He said of Raju, “His big strength is that his films are not only entertaining, but also enriching. Like Munnabhai! You go home taking something valuable from the film.” And as for Vinod, who is rumoured in Bollywood to be arrogant and bold, Aamir said, “He is how he is, but he understands his director and creative team and supports them, and he has a passion for cinema. Being a director himself, Vinod is creative and he gives his films a great release. I look for that quality in a producer… whether he is able to give the film a good platform after I’ve worked so hard on it.” That Aamir Khan always does, whether he’s making the film for himself or some other producer. And he enjoys making one film at a time, which he will release on Christmas Day! “I could do more, in my lifetime I could do 500 films, but when I’m doing a film all my energies are into it. At that point, I don’t enjoy taking on anything else. I enjoy the space I am in. I’m not a factory or a huge production system. I’m… kya bolta hai… a handloom product. A one-machine-one person-one shirt kind of actor. I’m not a largescale outfit producing a million shirts. Numbers don’t excite me and are not my strength. I enjoy marketing a film. But towards the audience. My connect is with the audience. I enjoy dealing with the audience, not with exhibitors, distributors.” And that is what he is probably doing somewhere in the country right now, maybe in disguise! (Contributed by Meena Iyer, Aakansha Naval Shete)

BOLLYWOOD CALLING: Sir Ben Kingsley
Looking like Gandhi, eager to be Shah Jehan, but happy to discuss his role in Ambika Hinduja’s film with Big B

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 3, 2009)

Sir Ben Kingsley is in town, still looking like Attenborough’s Gandhi of a quarter century ago, though now with a natty little French beard that’s taken away the Mahatma’s air of benevolence and given him a hawk-like, quizzical expression. This, I think, is his look of Teen Patti, young Ambika Hinduja’s February 2010 release in which Sir Ben plays Perci Trachtenberg, the world’s greatest living mathematician, opposite Amitabh Bachchan. He was in Goa earlier this week, the star guest at the International Film Festival of India in Panaji, from where he air-dashed to Delhi and then to Mumbai. But because his publicist in LA could not get him to meet me here, Sir Ben made a phone call from Goa.

“I love India,” said Sir Ben who’s been here quite a few times since Gandhi, “it’s always been a happy experience for me. But this time I’m not here as a tourist, I’ve come as an actor, to work, and it feels tremendously good to be given the kind of lovely welcome I was…” He’s thrilled that people here still identify him with Gandhi. “Isn’t it unusual to be recognised and appreciated by a whole sub-continent,” he asked. “It puts a responsibility on me, it’s a humbling and steadying experience, and I believe this is unique for any actor.” But, yes, along with that, is Sir Ben now concerned how Indian audiences will react to his new character in Teen Patti? “I’m afraid I’ll be booed off screen,” he laughed, pleased at his own joke. Whether he likes it or not, people talk to him about
Gandhi, they ask him if this was his best role. “I was privileged to play Gandhi,” Sir Ben admitted, “but I’ve done 60 films since then, and I’m equally proud of all of them. I understand people here have seen about five of my films, and if they like Gandhi best — fair enough, but that’s not all my work. I’ve also done films like Sexy Beast, Fifty Dead Men Walking and Elegy in which I play extremely different people. The range I’ve been offered in my films is extraordinary, the variety is my joy, my new dream now is to play Emperor Shah Jehan in Taj Mahal, a film which I see as a struggle for love… rather than a straightforward love story. I hope to raise finance for it and begin shooting in autumn 2010.”

He talked about Teen Patti, a film he was excited about even when he read the script, and for which he shot in a private casino in London and at the St. John’s College, Cambridge University. The film is described as being an emotionally-rivetting and razor-sharp thriller about greed, deception and giant feelings of imagination. “It was a sweet ride,” Sir Ben explained, “of a storyteller, a listener, a forgiver… I’m not quite an outsider in the film, more like an observer. I’ve used my screen time skillfully to act as a constant thread through the film.” He has no Hindi dialogue in the film, which is fortunate, because Sir Ben knows no Hindi. But he knew of Amitabh Bachchan even before he met the great actor.

“He’s very hard working, charming, and a lovely actor,” Sir Ben said of Bachchan, “but what I liked best is that he’s vulnerable… I mean vulnerable in a good way, he’s not closed off, he doesn’t live within the walls of his own ego.” Ambika Hinduja, who is industrialist Ashok Hinduja’s filmmaking daughter, described Sir Ben as being very friendly and down-toearth. “He was patient and calm, a nice person, absolutely professional, and he thought our Indian crew worked four times as hard as any Hollywood crew,” revealed Ambika. “On the sets, everybody addressed him as Sir Ben, including Mr. Bachchan. But in the credits of the film, he wanted to be known simply as Ben Kingsley.”
LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK: Bollywood hit producer Boney Kapoor prepares for his next blockbuster,
Milenge Milenge, starring Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor

Boney Kapoor is buoyed by the success of Wanted and the future prospects of the last Kareena-Shahid film together

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; November 9, 2009)

Boney Kapoor is maha excited. Not over Wanted, his September blockbuster that got close to Rs 40 crore billing, but by his January release Milenge Milenge — which is the last time you will see Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor romantically paired on screen. I don’t have to tell you the film’s been in the making for a while, but Boney is confident it will be successful. “I can feel it in my bones,” he said emphatically, “why should it not work, it’s a good love story, it’s got fantastic music.” But what about the chemistry between Kareena and Shahid, I asked. “That’s there,” Boney declared, “besides, once the lights are off in the theatre, you forget whether they are a couple or not, and they become characters.”
He’s been a major player in Bollywood for 33 years now, and has always been big on ideas, and bigger on executing them. Which accounts for some 30 successes over the 80s, 90s and so far into the 2000s. Now he rattled off their names to me not in any order but as they came to mind. “There was Judaai in 1997 with Anil Kapoor and Sridevi which was a major hit but not a blockbuster,” he began, “Company, Pukar in 2000 — that won the National Award, and Loafer which was very successful, also Run in 2004… Abhishek Bachchan’s cleansing began with this film, and Sirf Tum in which Sushmita Sen had the superhit song Dilbar… then No Entry, the biggest commercial success of 2005, and Wanted now, which I would rate as one of the Top 10 films of all time. It’s still running! And it’s a case study to the business that has evolved now. When people talk of a film raking in Rs 200 crore… that’s a western concept to lure eyeballs. What you get in hand is what matters. I gave you the Indian boxoffice figures for Wanted. The overseas, satellite, home video/audio, branding rights are separate.”
He’s had some lemons at the box office as well, films like Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja in 1993 that I wasn’t reminding him about. However, Boney said on his own, “I’m a complete hands-on filmmaker, I’ve been through it all, I’ve done so many films, and several for my brothers Anil and Sanjay too, that I’ve got to know the complete and detailed aspects of filmmaking and distribution. With today’s invasion of corporates, the role of the producer is not underlined, there’s just a mad rush to put the package together. That’s why you’ve seen so many packages falling like nine pins! The control of the project is the engine… and it’s important to have a producer driving it with passion. Yes, the corporates brought in discipline where the business of filmmaking is concerned, and they streamlined the revenue mode, but they took away the passion.” That Boney has passion, there is no doubt. “I’ve been through the highs and lows, I’ve had a fractured financial status, but even then… if I can still churn out a blockbuster, what magic might I have done with a complete back-up,” he asked. The answer to that, perhaps, is in the films his production house BSK Network and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. is making. I’ve already told you about Milenge Milenge. Then there’s the Anees Bazmee directed It’s My Life with Genelia, Harman Baweja and Nana Patekar, a remake of the successful South Indian film Bombraillu in Telugu and Santosh Subramaniam in Tamil. Isn’t Hurman bad news in Bollywood, I asked. “Wasn’t Amitabh bad news until Zanjeer,” Boney shot back. And he’s got three more films in mind for which Boney Kapoor can already hear the cash tills at the box office ringing. They are all sequels. “I’m starting Mr. India 2 — Be Positive,
there’s a strong possibility of Anil and Sridevi being the
lead pair, plus a new, young couple, and somebody big playing the major and unusual role of the villain. Then I’ve got a fix for No Entry 2. And somebody suggested a good idea for Most Wanted. Everything depends on the viability of the projects and availability of the main crew. I’m a strong believer in the need for a good support system. My cast is always according to the need of the film. What works is not a package, but the product.”

I don’t know what the trade pundits have to say about Karan Johar’s Kurbaan, but Saif Ali Khan, whose first film this is opposite Kareena

Saif Ali Khan

Saif Ali Khan More Pics

Kapoor, is very confident about the November 20 release.

MARK MANUEL (Bombay Times; November 5, 2009)

“I’ve a good feeling about it,” he told me. We were talking on the phone because he’s here, there and everywhere promoting the film, and just not available in Mumbai.

Tuesday he was in Delhi, yesterday London, next Dubai. “There’s more to life than shooting,” he sighed. In the background, I could hear Kareena prompting his replies. They’re not doing all the promotions together, because she’s busy making Stepmom with Karan at the same time, and Saif… well, after this he swore he’s taking a month off in December to “train and get into serious shape” before they start shooting for his home production Agent Vinod. His idea of training is not the same as Aamir’s or, say, Salman’s.
“I won’t get a funda trainer… but just kill myself in the gym. It’ll be a combo of yoga and weights. You don’t need a NASA scientist to get a great body,” he chortled.

He’s worked with Karan before in Kal Ho Na Ho, but that time, the filmmaker was completely involved in every aspect of the film. This time, Karan has left it to director Rensil D’Silva. “So the film’s got its own flavour,” explained Saif, “Rensil has brought his ad world sensibilities to Kurbaan, and this is not a filmi kind of movie… it’s a love story and thriller with a socio-politically relevant background. When I step back and see the promos, the posters, I’m like – wow!” Which means he’s confident about what it will do at the box-office. “But there’s also the risk of an off-screen couple being boring on-screen,” he admitted.

“Which means Bebo and I have to choose our roles carefully. We’ve got to present an exciting avatar on-screen… more than the usual pairing. And that we have done in this film. I was equally confident about Love Aaj Kal (his last film and first home production)… but there were moments of panic as well then. In this business, it’s tough to be consistent about your emotions. I can’t be like a rock. I go through ambivalence.”

There’s a lot riding for Kareena, as well, in Kurbaan… especially since her last film Main Aur Mrs Khanna, and Kambakht Ishq before that, didn’t exactly do much for her at the box-office. Saif, aware that she is listening to our conversation, defended his co-star and love. “I preferred her in Jab We Met,” he said cleverly.

“And I thought she looked stunning in Kambakht Ishq. It was a clever attempt at a commercial potboiler. Akshay was very funny. But people discuss Kambakth Ishq as if it was of great national importance. It was a fun film. Main Aur Mrs Khanna… I’m not sure, I saw a rough print, I don’t watch too many films, I’m not an authority… it was a sweet film, I don’t know what to say, baba! I think she chooses all kinds of films. She covers the entire spectrum of Hindi cinema in her choices… not all of them for the best! She’s done Kambakht Ishq and Main Aur Mrs Khanna this year, now she’s got Kurbaan, then 3 Idiots, and she’s working on Stepmom… all different. I think she works more for the audience than herself!”

They’ve worked together in Tashan earlier. The film, well, was disastrous… but it brought them close. Was Kareena different as an actress then, I asked. Saif hummed and hawed, then safely replied, “The same… she’s focused and a sensitive artiste, very concentrated. Also great fun to work with. I had just a couple of scenes with her in Tashan. So Kurbaan is really my first experience with her. There are few people I’ve met who are more passionate about their work. And I’m impressed with that. It’s not just about giving your shot… her knowledge of cinema is great and all round, and she has a deep interest, which I find very cool.”

Naturally, there must have been joys and pains in working with her. I pictured him giving her a backward glance then saying, “No pains, being together, creating something special, watching each other at work… those were the joys. I normally don’t have to worry about my co-star’s moods because I’ve not been so deeply involved with a co-star. But here we were connected. So I had to take time… to get comfortable… to find my own space… to figure out what to do between shots, how to unwind, I mean… we didn’t have to be together all the time. It’s a bit like working with your mom… she knows you so well, there’s no scope of impressing her!

” So, who’s your favourite actress, I asked Saif Ali Khan, the artful dodger. “Suchitra Sen, Zeenat Aman, Madhubala…” he began. Then, “Oh, you mean who I’ve worked with… I don’t know what to say… I’ve not worked with too many… but Rani’s a great co-star and Kareena’s fab… but my favourite actress, hmmm…” And Kareena Kapoor replied for him from the background, “Monica Bedi!”

BAAP RE BAAP: Amartya Sen and daughter Nandana

Nobel Laureate Prof. Amartya Sen discusses cinema exclusively for BT with actress daughter Nandana Sen in Mumbai

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; October 25, 2009)


It’s funny, with a daughter like the lovely international actress Nandana Sen, you would have thought Nobel Prize economist Prof. Amartya Sen would be well informed about cinema. But he’s not. He knows just about five people connected with filmmaking. And these he counted for me with much difficulty and some prompting from Nandana. “I knew Satyajit Ray extremely well,” he began, “he and I studied at Santiniketan. I had huge admiration for him. And I know Mira Nair, Shyam Benegal, and, and… what’s his name, Mrinal Sen! I do know Nandita Das and like her films, also. And I met… what’s the name of the guy who acted with you in Rang Rasiya… I shook his hand? Randeep Hooda? Yes, I met him. I also met Amitabh Bachchan, whom I don’t know, and Shabana Azmi, who’s an old friend. I used to like her father’s poetry and now, I like her husband’s. And Salman Khan…”


He was in Mumbai to deliver a keynote lecture for the Indian Philosophy Congress yesterday and I was meeting the distinguished father and sexy daughter at his suite in the Taj. I was drinking coffee. The professor ordered a pot of Darjeeling tea. When it came, he was appalled. “This tea is too strong for Darjeeling,” he grumbled, “it’s got the strength of Assam.” Then to
Nandana, who was busy eating pistachios noisily, he said, “Chuck it in the sink!” He is unintentionally humorous, he speaks in a deep, rumbling voice, and he chooses his words carefully — as if aware that when Prof. Amartya Sen speaks, people hang onto his words even if he isn’t talking welfare economics. That’s his hobby horse. And he travels around the world at 76 on his Nobel Prize ticket, astonishing scientists and academicians with his philosophy on poverty, gender inequality and political liberalism. But I had got him onto cinema. And Prof. Sen was struggling.


“You’re wasting your time, I’m not knowledgeable about
films,” he said trying to discourage me. “You asking me who I like is like asking me a cooking recipe. I’m happy to tell you. But my recipe won’t alleviate the culinary world much!” Nandana, fortunately, was not having any of it. “Baba, you like Sharmila Tagore, isn’t she one of your favourites,” she chided him. “Yes,” Prof. Sen admitted. “And Katherine Hepburn… what a fantastic actress, so sharp and intelligent.” Then he surprised me by saying, “Jane Fonda, I know. I’ve had a couple of dinners with her. Her husband, Ted Turner, started the UN Foundation and was a trustee. So is my wife, Emma Rothschild. And the dinners where spouses gather, are quite impressive. There’s also Nelson Mandela.” But to come back to cinema, he doesn’t see too many films, though he thinks he’s seen all of Nandana’s. Rang Rasiya, in which she plays Raja Ravi Varma’s muse and appears topless in one breathtaking scene, Prof. Amartya saw at the London Film Festival and actually liked. “It’s not been released and nobody seems to know why,” he said querulously. “Has it been made for the archives? It would have been a great success in Europe and the US after receiving favourable notice in London.”


He hardly visits Mumbai. His work brings him to Delhi. And his
heart takes him to Kolkata. Now Prof. Amartya Sen looked out of the window at the Gateway and said, “I’ve not been here since the November disaster, but I have various memories here. The best one is of defeating the Australian cricket team! I was in the health club, exercising on the bike and watching a news channel, when they came in. They wanted the bike and to change the channel. I objected. They were a little assertive and gave me the democratic argument that there were more of them. But I was here first, I told them. Then their captain, Steve Waugh, came. He conceded that I had a point. I thought, no matter how poorly India did in cricket against Australia, I had done reasonably well!”