By Sonali Kulkarni
Sachin Tendulkar has been a huge role model — especially for my generation. There were other sports stars like PT Usha and Martina Navratilova, but the affect that Sachin had on many of us is beyond compare. He was truly the first international mega sports star from India — someone people looked up to for inspiration. He continues to make the India proud.
I met Sachin only once when I was shooting for a toothpaste ad in Perth [Australia]. During the course of the trip I was sitting at a roadside café one day when caught sight of Sachin walking with another Indian cricketer. I was uncontrollably thrilled to see the batting star there and felt it was all a dream! I went and introduced myself to Sachin, who was so polite. After talking to him for some time I learnt that the Indian team was going to play a One-Day International (ODI) match the next day. He invited me to watch the game and I did go to see it. But I must admit, the way I reacted on seeing Sachin must have surely embarrassed my crew.
Sachin has had a huge impact not only on my generation but, am sure, on future generations as well. His abiding love for the sport is unmatched. He has survived so many challenges playing with different cricketers, different generations, across the globe and in all formats of the game. His attitude has hugely contributed to his success.
The way he has carried himself shouldering the many expectations of millions in the country and overseas during his long career is quite amazing. Whenever he walks out to bat people expect a century or a double century. He has to live up to the pressure of that kind of expectations. It must very tough for Sachin, yet he remains so calm and dignified.
I have huge respect for Sachin. He has given cricket a huge lift. Sachin has been like Lata Mangeshkar — every parent wants his/her child to sing like her. Similarly every parent wants his/her child to play the sport like Tendulkar does.
As an unabashed fan of yours, thank you Sachin for all the joy you have given us on the field of play and being an enormous source of joy.
— As told to Devarchit Varma
(Sonali Kulkarni has acted in many languages. Her most noteworthy Hindi film was the multi-starrer ‘Dil Chahata Hai’ opposite Saif Ali Khan. Her latest release, the Gujarati film ‘The Good Road’, is India’s official entry for this year’s Oscars)
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