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"Preity Zinta is my favourite actress and I' not saying that because she is the co-owner of Kings XI Punjab," said express bowler Brett Lee at the press conference of his acting debut Victory in Jaipur yesterday. Lee alongwith Mike Hussey, Brad Hogg, Simon Katich, RP Singh, Praveen Kumar, Dinesh Karthik and Yousuf Pathan played a competitive game under the luminous floodlights in the dexterously maintained Sawai Maan Singh Stadium. While huge sixes were being lofted all over the park, director Ajit Pal canned one shot after another in the beauteous 35 MM camera which was always at the risk of being smashed by one of Dinesh Karthik's massive strikes.
Victory stars the sensation of 2008 Harman Baweja in the role of a cricketer from a humble background rubbing shoulders with the best in the business. "This is for the first time that you'll see real players will be playing in a film. Except for Harman, all professional players are playing," said producer Manmohan Shetty. Incidentally, this happens to be his first production post the winding-up at Adlabs. Shetty hasn't coined a name for his production house (set up along with industrious daughter Pooja Shetty) yet and as for the budget of Victory, this is what he has to say, "It's a big budget looking film but we still don't know the exact amount as it is yet to be complete."
Alright let's bring you an 'ankhon dekha haal' of what really happened at this unusual on location of a Hindi film. No grease paint adorned heroine simpering-n-careening away to glory, no humongous delays and no starry tantrums from the film crew. The film's hero Harman Baweja remained ensconced in the player's dressing room politely distancing himself from media speculation as his first big release Love Story 2050 is yet to be released. Without an iota of doubt Brett Lee was the hero of the day. Right from having fun with his mates at Sheraton Rajputana swimming pool (Yup watching them jump in water fully clothed was a sight) to being mobbed by the frantic crowd at the stadium who jumped barricades (A couple of demure looking policeman were more keen on protecting the newly baked pitch especially for the impending IPL fiesta than shooing away the irate public).
Lee was the cynosure of all eyes and like a star he mingled with fans, burnt sky hugging fire crackers and patiently answered queries from fan-like journos keen on knowing if he would build up a six pack or eight pack to maybe giving the Khans and the Roshans a run for their money. "I am a cricketer he said," with a shining-sword smile and the impact was hard to miss. "Playing for Australia is my first love but there are so many other things that I like doing like fashion, music (he carried his guitar even to the stadium), and watching movies and now being a part of it. When it releases in Australia there will be lots pf laughs, lots of fun." So, why did he agree to do Victory where he plays himself? "It is a fantastic script and hats off to people who've written it."
When quizzed about the recent altercations between Indian and Australian players, Lee diplomatically said, "The relations between Indian and Australian cricketers are brilliant. There have been a few instances but these kind of things happen." Actor Dalip Tahil who plays the coach of Indian cricket team in the field light-heartedly jumped in at this moment, "We are trying to get Brett busy with Bollywood assignments so that he doesn't find time for cricket."
Everyone wanted a piece of Brett Lee (though there were some who were overwhelmed with the presence of Mr Highest Average Mike Hussey too). So Brett, would you sing for us? "Haan mein tumhara hoon aur tuhara ho rahoonga," he mouthed his lines from the Asha Bhonsle. And what's the best Hindi film you've ever watched? "Any film starring Preity Zinta," he said with a chuckle. Talk about keeping your team honour in good humour. Or does it have to do something with the rumours of their alleged fling a few years ago. Hmmmm…we aren't jumping to conclusions. Are we! Never mind...
Victory also stars Amrita Rao and Anupam Kher in pivotal roles. The music of the film has been given by Anu Malik and it is slated to release in October 2008.